Turnout, Despite Threats

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Fighting Back

Iraqi police are investigating an election incident at a small Iraqi village south of Baghdad. The villagers, a mix of Shia (search) and Sunni Muslim (search) turned out in large numbers to vote in Sunday’s election, even though insurgents threatened voters with violence.

The Australian Broadcasting Company (search) reports that when the insurgents returned to make good on their threats, they got a nasty surprise. The residents fought back, killing five insurgents and wounding eight, then burning the insurgents’ car. Australian broadcast reporter Mark Willesy concludes, "The people of that village have certainly had enough of the insurgents."

Chapel Controversy

People in public life sometimes object to symbols of religion in public places. But for some a North Carolina senator went too far when he ordered that Bibles, hymnals and a cross be removed from the chapel at the state capitol. Senate majority leader Tony Rand (search), a Democrat, says some leaders were offended by the chapel’s Christian emphasis.

But another higher-ranking Democrat, the Senate president, reversed the ruling after Republican lawmakers complained. Those who were offended by the presence of a cross and Bible in the chapel are now requesting that religious symbols there be kept in a drawer.

Birthday Bickering

What was supposed to have been a simple resolution, honoring President Reagan’s birthday, passed the state Senate in Minnesota this week, but only after Democrats insisted the bill be rewritten to include the fact that Reagan never won in that state. Democrats would only accept the line referring to the unprecedented economic expansion and opportunity of the Reagan years, if a line was added saying that it was, "not paralleled until the Clinton presidency."

Democrats also insisted on saying the current administration should learn in Reagan the, "need for world support in foreign initiatives." Republican Senator Dave Clice (search) said the bill was just supposed to be a simple little happy birthday, but it turned out to be an argument over the last 25 years of politics.

Bothersome Bear Bill

Maryland House minority leader George Edwards (search) is sick of suburban leaders trying to ban bear hunting in his rural part of the state. So sick, in fact, that the Republican has introduced a bill to trap some of the bears and release them in areas represented by those who are objecting.

Edwards says, "If people want to tell us we have to live with the bears, they should be willing to accept the bears, too. Fair is fair." But Democrat Barbara Frush (search), who has sponsored a bill to end bear hunts in the state, says Edwards is "trying to make fun of something that I and others feel is very important."

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report