Dollars for Dems

The latest from the Political Grapevine:

Dollars for Dems

John Kerry has contributed a quarter of a million dollars to Washington State Democrats raising funds for a hand recount in the closely contested governor's race.

A machine recount gave Republican Dino Rossi (search) a 42-vote lead over Democrat Christine Gregoire (search) and Democrats hope a statewide hand count of nearly three million ballots will overturn those results. But the King County elections director, a Democrat, says a machine count is preferable because it is "more accurate than a manual count."

Kerry's $250,000 dollar donation still leaves state Democrats well short of the $1 million dollars they'll need to finance the recount.

Constitutional Contrarians

Michigan's Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm (search) is scrapping same-sex partner benefits for state employees, after voters passed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and same sex civil unions. But a similar ban passed in Ohio hasn't stopped five public universities from continuing to provide health benefits to same sex partners.

Lawyers for the institutions say they're still reviewing the amendment, but they won't change their policy without a judicial ruling, adding that they're prepared to defend their decisions in court.

Telegraph's Tall Tales?

A British judge has sided with parliament member George Galloway (search) in his libel case against the conservative Daily Telegraph newspaper, awarding him nearly $300,000 dollars. The Telegraph had accused the outspoken anti-war lawmaker of being on Saddam Hussein's payroll, citing documents it says were found in Baghdad's foreign ministry last year.

But Galloway's lawyers argued that the Telegraph never checked the authenticity of the documents, which Galloway says were fake. Executive editor Neil Darbyshire said the ruling is a "blow to the principle of freedom of expression in this country," and lawyers for the paper say they'll appeal the decision.

Art World Award

Five hundred of the most powerful people in the art world have weighed in on what they say is the most influential work of art of the 20th century. It's not Picasso's Guernica (search), or Warhol's pop art Marilyn Monroes. In fact, you've probably seen thousands just like it, and not necessarily in museums.

It is Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain," and it is an ordinary men's urinal, which Duchamp reportedly pulled the from the wall at his favorite bar. The piece might not seem the most artistic creation, especially since the artist didn't even create it, but experts agree that it had a major impact in bringing commonplace items into works of art.

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report