And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...
Glass Half Empty
Minnesota residents who are drowning their government shutdown sorrows in an alcoholic beverage better drink up fast. Many bars, restaurants and liquor stores are running low on supplies and will be unable to renew their alcohol purchasing cards because the people who normally do that are out of work.
Local reports say cigarette sellers could soon be in a similar bind in Minnesota.
Not Such a Hot Topic?
As various polls show the public's concern over global warming is fading, Al Gore is launching a new campaign to raise awareness about it. "The Climate Reality Project" is planning a global event in September that Gore says will broadcast the reality of the climate crisis.
A Gallup survey shows last year 53 percent of Americans felt at least somewhat threatened by global warming -- that was down 10 percentage points over three years.
A Pew poll showed similar findings, with only 32 percent saying global warming is a serious problem -- down 13 points since 2007.
All's Fair in Love and War
Singer-actor Justin Timberlake has gotten his own invitation to a Marine Corps ball after he urged movie co-star Mila Kunis to say yes to a YouTube request from a deployed marine in Afghanistan. Sergeant Scott Moore posted his video for Kunis as part of a bet. She accepted the invite this week.
Moore says he felt bad for putting the actress on the spot but -- quote -- "It's not like I was going to bump into her on the streets of [Afghanistan] between now and the ball."
And finally, genuine or a Photoshop fail?
That is the question concerning a new picture released by Syria's state news agency of President Bashar Assad swearing in a newly appointed governor. Some western media have noticed irregularities, including that the two men are not looking directly at one another.