Year of the Dog Discrimination?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Beltway Brouhaha?

The National Security Agency program to eavesdrop on terrorists calling or e-mailing people in the United States may be controversial in Washington, but far less so across the country. A new Rasmussen poll reveals that 64 percent of Americans believe the National Security Agency should be allowed to intercept such conversations, including 51 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of independents. Fewer than one in four actually opposed the idea.

What's more, 48 percent believe President Bush is not the first president to authorize such actions.

Questionable Quotation

It sounded like a good story: an article on the front page of yesterday's Los Angeles Times about federal protection for wolves quoted a news release from Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal's office. The release said flatly that the governor had "decreed that the [Endangered Species Act] is no longer in force and that the state 'now considers the wolf as a federal dog' unworthy of protection."

Strong stuff, if only it were true. What looks like a press release, titled "Wyoming Governor Tells Feds to Go To Hell," has been floating around the Internet for months and was actually written as an April fool’s joke. An L.A. Times Editor tells the Casper Wyoming Star-Tribune that a reporter saw the release on the Internet and "thought it sounded" like the governor.

Doggie Discrimination?

In China's ancient 12-animal astrological cycle, those born in the Year of the Dog, which comes around again in late January, are expected to have bad luck in the new year. But some Chinese employers are already ensuring misfortune for those born in previous dog years — refusing to hire them in hopes of avoiding bad luck themselves.

The China Youth Daily reports that lawmakers have proposed a new labor law to combat that and other apparently widespread hiring biases, including discrimination based on height and blood type. The proposal is also a response to a rule in one province's that forced women who applied for government jobs to show they had symmetrically shaped breasts, an effort that was halted after a public outcry.

Hollywood Jacques

And who says French President Jacques Chirac isn't a nice guy? Producers looking to secure filming locations for their movie version of the best selling novel "The Da Vinci Code" expected a five-minute photo-op when they met with President Chirac last year. But producer Brian Glazer says the meeting stretched to an hour with Chirac first offering to smooth out any problems they might have filming at the Louvre, Paris' world famous museum.

But then Chirac suggested his daughter's best friend would be good for the film's leading female role. Glazer tells Newsweek that Chirac also wondered aloud, half seriously, if they could sweeten the paycheck for French actor Jean Reno. Director Ron Howard called the request "hilarious," but adds, "Fortunately, the deal was already closed."

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report