The latest from the Political Grapevine:
Got Him Nailed?
Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri (search), now in a high-security prison in Britain on 16 charges, including soliciting the murder of Jews and possessing terrorist documents, failed to appear before a British court today because, he complained, his toe nails are too long.
Al-Masri's lawyer insists, "[He] has physical difficulties. He is unable to walk." Prosecutors say they are "very cynical" about the claim. Al-Masri's absence didn't stop a judge from setting a trial date of July Fourth.
An Iraqi extremist group in Fallujah says that while it may seem like insurgents there were defeated by U.S. troops, in fact, U.S. troops walked straight into a trap.
In a message posted on Islamic Web sites, the Consultative Council of Mujahideen of Fallujah (search) says Iraqi insurgents lured U.S. troops into Fallujah's alleys, and then attacked them with the help of Iraqi sharp shooters from above.
The group claims that: more than 6,500 U.S. troops have been killed, more than 1,350 tanks have been destroyed, more than 800 humvees have been destroyed, and 41 aircraft have been shot down.
Speaking of Iraqi terrorists, the Islamic Army in Iraq, which took two French journalists and their Syrian driver hostage this past summer, is now warning the "uncivilized ... [and] ignorant" Americans that "[this year] will bring woes on America."
In a statement posted online, the group says, "The Mujahideen have prepared ... a big surprise for you inside America. ... [They] will take the battle from inside our country to yours. We address you after you finished celebrating the new year, hoping that you are no longer drunk ... We will give American civilians a taste of what civilians in our country go through."
The Senate's new minority leader, Harry Reid (search) of Nevada, has now offered an example to back up his claim last month that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was an "embarrassment to the ... court" with his "poorly written [opinions]" — unlike those by Justice Antonin Scalia.
Reid says a good example of a "poorly written" opinion is Thomas' dissent from — of all cases — Hillside Dairy v. Lyons, a 2003 case that focused on California milk regulation.
What's more, as the Wall Street Journal points out, Thomas' opinion is only one paragraph long, and largely just citations. As for Scalia's opinion: he didn't write one.
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report