Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Nationwide Petition Drive

Early last month, the pro-choice group NARAL sent an e-mail to supporters asking for 500,000 signatures to convince senators that Judge Alito is "Wrong for Our Country." So how did they do? In their latest e-mail, NARAL thanks its volunteers and members for garnering 2,000 signatures in its "Oppose Alito" petition drive leaving the group just 498,000 signatures short of its goal.

Uncommon Complaint

A British police bodyguard has won a $70,000 discrimination settlement from Scotland Yard not because he was passed over, but because he was "over-promoted" based on his race. Sergeant Leslie Turner was the first black officer to guard the royal family, but after he was suddenly reassigned last year, Turner sued the police department for advancing him too quickly.

Turner claimed he'd landed the position only because he was black, and lacked proper training and support leading to the mistakes that cost him his job.

Patriotism Problem?

When a group of children painted an American flag on their street's pavement on Independence Day in the town that calls itself the flag capital of the USA, few residents had a problem with their display of patriotism. Then, the lawyers got involved.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Duluth, Georgia's city attorney warned that the flag could set a precedent for swastikas or other offensive symbols on city streets. The Duluth city council agreed the flag should be removed, but asked residents to do it themselves, avoiding a direct attack on the Stars and Stripes. One 9-year-old girl took responsibility tearfully apologizing and telling the council, "We will do whatever it takes to remove it."

A National Audience

Israelis have been glued to their television sets since Prime Minster Ariel Sharon was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday, watching for news of their leader's life or death battle following his massive stroke. With so many staying home, police say they've noticed an interesting phenomenon: a massive drop in the crime rate.

A police spokesman says burglaries, car thefts, and other crimes have more than halved since Sharon's stroke and attributes the decline to the fact that homeowners and would be burglars have been preoccupied with their prime minister's fight for life.

— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report