Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Women No Better Off?
Amnesty International (search) says Iraqi women, whom Saddam Hussein once threw in torture chambers and rape rooms, are no better off now than they were under the old regime. In a new report, the human rights group says Saddam's repression has been replaced by more murders and sexual abuse, insisting the violence has "restricted women's freedom of movement and ability to go to school or to work."
What's more, Amnesty International says U.S. soldiers are partially to blame, saying, "Women have been subjected to sexual threats by members of the U.S.-led forces, and some women detained by U.S. forces have been sexually abused, possibly raped."
Speaking of Iraq, New York Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton (search) who visited there over the weekend said, "many parts of [the country] ... are functioning quite well." At a press conference from Baghdad, Clinton applauded last month's Iraqi elections, and said any attempts to stop them were a "abject failure." What's more, she said, "the fact that you have these suicide bombers now, wreaking such hatred and violence while people pray is, to me, an indication of their failure."
Democracy Not Ready For Export?
Americans may hold Democracy near and dear, but promoting it elsewhere is not so popular either here... or elsewhere. According to a new AP-Ipsos poll, 53 percent of Americans say it should not be the role of the U.S. to promote democracy abroad. Fifty-three percent of Italians agree, as do 60 percent of Spaniards, 66 percent of Britons, 80 percent of Germans, and 84 percent of French.
Bush Urinal Stickers
Stickers on urinals all over Belgium where President Bush was today for a third day are inviting people to relieve themselves on likenesses of the President himself, and the American flag.
The stickers distributed by the Belgian Socialist Party (search) can be found in the bathrooms of schools, youth clubs, and pubs, and even in the office restrooms of Belgium's Vice Prime Minister, Johan Vande Lanotte. After all, the man who designed the stickers is one of Vande Lanotte's spokesmen. The leader of the Socialist Party was asked about them on Belgian television but, as The Weekley Standard points out, he refused to condemn them, only saying they weren't his idea.
Meanwhile, here's how one reporter at President Bush's press conference with EU leaders today summed it all up in his notebook — "The same old Bush Junior."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report