And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...
A Tale of Two Crosses
We begin with a tale of two crosses -- one ripped down, one standing strong.
Chinese police tore down a red cross in a city known as "China's Jerusalem," saying it violated building codes -- though officials won't specify which ones.
Christian leaders say it is the latest example of the government suppressing Christianity -- the fast-growing faith -- including the destruction of some religious buildings.
Back here at home, the 17-foot cross-shaped steel beam pulled from the wreckage of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks will remain in the national memorial museum.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an atheist group's claims, that the cross is a religious symbol that has no place in a government-sponsored institution.
The group is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court.
Humor of the Situation
Turkey is one of the administration's partners in trying to find peace in the Israel-Gaza conflict.
And now, it is not exaggeration to say Turkish society is no laughing matter.
Turkey's Deputy Prime minister is decrying what he considers the moral corruption in his country -- saying that a woman -- quote -- "Should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times."
Naturally, that comment did not sit well with many.
One political rival quipped -- quote -- "We need to hear the happy laughter of women."
Facts Are Stubborn Things
Finally, the reports of the death of the Arctic ice cap have been greatly exaggerated.
In 2009, then-Senator John Kerry made a bold prediction.
Quote -- "The truth is that the threat we face is not an abstract concern for the future. It is already upon us and its effects are being felt worldwide, right now. Scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013. Not in 2050, but four years from now."
Kerry and those scientists were dead wrong.
The National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA say the Arctic not only had ice in 2013 but had more of it than the year before.
Quote -- "For Earth's ice and snow cover taken as a whole, this year has been a bit of a bright spot within a long-term sobering trend."