Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Good News, Bad News
Private polling information has given the House Republicans good news and bad news on Social Security. GOP pollsters (search) ran 14 focus groups of likely swing voters, and while participants rejected the term "crisis," a majority agreed that there are significant problems with Social Security. However, very few knew any details of the president's plan. Only 20 percent had heard of personal retirement accounts or knew that such accounts would be voluntary.
After reading a description of personal accounts, a majority of all age groups supported the proposal. And while some Republicans in Congress have called it a tax hike, a proposal to raise or eliminate the income cap on Social Security taxes received very strong support
"Point of No Return"?
The International Climate Change Task Force (search), established by the liberal American Center for Progress, among others, to develop long-term solutions to global warming has warned that the planet could reach a "point of no return" in ten years, when ice around the North Pole completely melts away.
But Scottish scientists working at the Norwegian Polar Institute (search) say the melting sea ice is merely part of a natural global cycle and will soon be coming back. After researching 300 years worth of logbooks made by Arctic explorers, climatologist Chad Dick now believes the ice expands and contracts over regular periods of 60 to 80 years, and that after reaching its ebb, it will begin to expand again over the next five years.
An NYU professor has compared evangelical Christians to Islamic fundamentalists, saying both are "ready to kill those who do not agree with them." Writing in the Lost Angeles Times, William Thatcher Dowell (search), a former Middle East correspondent for Time Magazine, also says Christians who want to display the Ten Commandments on public grounds are like Saudi Arabia's fanatical Wahhabi Muslims, whose beliefs form the spiritual basis for Al Qaeda.
Dowell adds that President Bush will eventually have to "pay off the political bill" for the support of evangelicals, who he says, "nudged the President back into the White House."
The Web site for Ocean Haven, a small seaside Oregon Inn, proclaims, "We welcome diversity" — and says its owners "Respect the interdependence and diversity of all life." But some forms of life aren't welcome – including, "smokers, pets, folks traveling in a hummer, or folks who voted for Bush and his nature destructive policies."
"Kristie," who runs Ocean Haven, confirms that there are no rooms at her inn for Bush backers, and says the policy has generated a lot of response. Democrats, she says, are mostly "Freaked out and embarrassed" by the Bush Ban, while Republican voters "are proud and tell me."
— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report