And now some fresh pickings from the political grapevine:
Joining the Club
They're everywhere in an election year. Voter Registration tables are popping up at shopping malls, movie theaters, ... and now strip clubs. The Association of Club Executives -- their national trade group -- sent a letter to nearly 4,000 club owners, asking them to register customers to vote .. and encourage them to vote against President Bush.
In the letter, association president Michael Ocello warns that what he calls "ultra -conservatives" like President Bush might try to crack down on strip clubs. And the publisher of Exotic Dancer Magazine says that if the president is reelected "it could be very damaging to our industry."
The letter told club owners "If we are to survive, we must act now." A spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee said strip club owners ... were not a group the campaign was targeting for support.
Log Cabin Republicans Denied
The North Carolina Republican Party kicked off its state convention earlier today, but it's banning the Log Cabin Republicans, a group of gay Republicans, from setting up a booth, insisting -- what [the group is] ... advocating and promoting ... is diametrically opposed to the values of the ... party."
Last month, the Log Cabin Republicans applied for a table at the convention and sent in an application fee of $75, but last week their money was returned... and their application was denied.
What's more, the Convention was planning to hold a vote today to renew the party's platform, which says -- "homosexuality is not normal and should not be established as ... acceptable." One Log Cabin Republican, quoted by the Raleigh News and Observer, says he is "extremely disappointed."
Leaders Let Vote Lie
Despite pleas from President Bush yesterday for lawmakers to pass his new $2.4 trillion budget, Republican leaders in the Senate have decided to postpone a vote on the budget until next month -- at the earliest. The problem is that four Republican Senators, including John McCain of Arizona, refuse to approve the budget, insisting that any subsequent tax cuts must be off-set with tax increases or spending cuts. When asked what could change their minds, McCain said -- "Some of us could get killed in tragic accidents."
Authorities Against Al-Jazeera
Saudi Arabia's religious authorities have issued a new edict, banning Muslims from watching the Arab TV network Al-Jazeera -- which the U.S. often accuses of being anti-American and anti-Israeli. Thing is, the edict condemns Al-Jazeera as "Zionist television" and "a podium for airing poisonous ideas."
And it warns Muslims against "introducing evil to their homes and destroying them by watching Al-Jazeera, which is a provocative and evil channel." Instead, the edict says, "Saudis can have access to all the news and information [they need] through Saudi newspapers, radio and television."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report