Vermont Vote

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Vermont Vote

Fifty-two communities in Vermont are, in effect, determining their own foreign policy today — voting on a referendum that would urge state leaders to stop sending the state's National Guard (search) troops to war. The resolution would also ask President Bush to immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq.

The issue was raised across the state at Vermont's annual Town Meeting Day (search), where residents usually gather to vote on local issues. But the Washington Times reports that the referendum is part of a growing anti-war sentiment across the state including in Brattleboro, Vermont, where officials removed the phrase "freedom is not free" from a bridge dedicated to a fallen soldier because it sounded "jingoistic."

No Hospitals For Niyazov

Turkmenistan's dictator Saparmurat Niyazov (search), who recently fired 15,000 health care workers across the country, has now shut down all hospitals outside the capital city of Ashgabat. The BBC reports that Niyazov says local hospitals are unnecessary, and believes that if people get sick, they can come to the capital, even though Ashgabat is on the southern border of a country slightly larger than California.

Niyazov, who has been accused of destroying social services while spending millions on gold statues in his own image, also closed all rural libraries saying they're pointless since Turkmenistan's villagers don't read.

Patriotic Pair

The AARP (search) has dismissed an attack ad accusing the group of supporting gay marriage while opposing U.S. troops in Iraq, but the gay couple seen kissing in the ad is demanding an apology. Richard Raymen and Steven Hansen of Portland, Oregon say USA Next is illegally using a photo from their wedding, making them unwilling models for a "right wing hate campaign."

Their lawyer says the ad implies that gay marriage is the opposite of supporting U.S. troops, adding that his clients are patriotic and support the soldiers in Iraq. The couple says they're considering a lawsuit, but USA Next contends they merely bought the photo from the Portland Free Press, which owns the copyright.

Oldest and Second Oldest Professions

Britain's Labour party has dropped a prospective candidate for parliament, after she admitted to having worked as a French whore. Fifty-five-year-old Christine Wheatley (search) doesn't see what the fuss is about, adding, "Yes, I worked as a tart. I'm not ashamed."

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Britain's prestigious Oxford Union (search) British debating society, which has welcomed presidents and prime ministers says the group is excited to hear from this week's speaker, who he says is the "biggest and apparently the best" in his field. So who is he? None other than American porn star Ron Jeremy, who will be the first adult film actor ever to address the 183-year-old institution.

— FOX News' Michael Levine contributed to this report