Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Starr Witness Against GOP?
CBS reported this week that even "conservative icon" Ken Starr (search) says the Republicans plan to block judicial filibusters is a "radical departure from our history and from our traditions," and "an assault on the judicial branch of government." But Starr, in an e-mail printed in National Review Online, says CBS got it backwards — and says his full remarks make clear he was actually criticizing Democrats for "invoking judicial philosophy as a grounds for voting against a qualified nominee."
Starr added, "I said in sharp language that that practice was wrong," and "I likewise made clear that the 'filibuster' represents an entirely new use (and misuse) of a venerable tradition."
British Parliament member George Galloway (search) has promised to give U.S. senators a "bloody good" beating over allegations that he profited from corruption in the U.N. Oil-for-Food program. A Senate subcommittee has accused Galloway of receiving millions of barrels of oil from Saddam Hussein in exchange for his support. But Galloway says the committee is "a bunch of liars," and promised to appear before the Senate to "give them both barrels — verbal guns, of course, not oil."
Galloway adds, "This is a right-wing committee with an agenda that reached its conclusion before even considering the facts. Joseph McCarthy (search) must be smiling admiringly in Hades."
Praise for the President
Jane Fonda (search) has called President Bush a "radical ideologue" — but that opinion didn't stop her from praising the first family in an interview this week. Fonda told the New York Post that First Lady Laura Bush's controversial comedy routine at the White House Correspondents' Dinner was "really funny. Her approval rating is way up, as it should be."
And when the interviewer criticized the president's performance at a recent news conference, Fonda came to his defense saying, "I thought he was very impressive." And, she added, "I don't know him, but I have always thought if I were alone in a room with him, I would really like him."
Paying their Respects
Pope John Paul II's death last month provoked an outpouring of emotion, even in the Arab world. The Middle East Media Research Institute reports that the local paper in a small Algerian town printed an Islamic prayer for the pope — normally said only upon the death of a Muslim. The notice read, "To God we belong and to God we return." But it was clear they didn't entirely understand the pope's life since the paper noted that all of the townspeople wanted to "present their condolences to the wife and children of John Paul II."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report