Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The Empire Strikes back
A former policy adviser to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is slamming Senators Olympia Snowe and Jay Rockefeller over their letter to Exxon Mobile that we told you about last month. The senators demanded that Exxon abandon its support for scientists who do not believe that humans are the primary cause of global warming. Now Lord Christopher Monckton — also known as the Viscount of Brenchley — says the letter is part of "an internationally-coordinated series of maladroit and malevolent attempts to silence" the climate change skeptics. Monckton says the senators' comparisons of those scientists to the tobacco industry are "unjustifiable and unworthy of any credible elected representatives." He goes on to say, "either withdraw that monstrous comparison forthwith, or resign so as not to pollute the office you hold."
Huge Economic Growth
What country has seen a growth in its gross domestic project of 17 percent last year — and an estimated 13 percent this year? An increase in the number of registered companies of more than 400 percent and in salaries by 100 percent in three years? The answer — Iraq.
Newsweek magazine reports the economy in Iraq is "booming." And Newsweek acknowledges that this is getting little or no media exposure — writing — "there's a vibrancy at the grass roots that is invisible in most international coverage of Iraq." Speaking of Iraq — hundreds of people are lining up for what is becoming the hottest job opening in that country — executioner for Saddam Hussein. The Ledger reports people have sent messages through cabinet officials, government guards and clerical workers begging for the job. An advisor to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says picking a hangman will be very difficult "because so many people want revenge for the loss of their loved ones."
Another issue — where the execution will be held. One idea was to have it in Baghdad's largest sports arena. But most officials say it will probably happen at a specially built gallows at the American prison where Hussein is currently held — Camp Cropper. Hussein's death sentence is currently working its way through the appeals process.
Call Me Mom
And the anti-war movement's newest hero is a 69-year old grandmother in Bennington, Vermont who is facing 60 days in jail for blocking traffic during a protest three years ago. Rosemarie Jackowski is 4'10" and — when asked by police during her booking if she had any aliases — replied, "yes, I do. 'Mom'."
Jackowski is part of the so-called "Bennington 12" — all of whom but her pleaded guilty and enrolled in a first-offender program. Jackowski fought the charge, was convicted, had her conviction thrown out by the Vermont Supreme Court, but now faces retrial. She insists she did nothing wrong.
The city says she put public safety at risk, and blocked at least one hospital-bound ambulance. A police lieutenant says — "it's not about being a grandmother — it's about 'you broke the law and have to suffer the consequences.'"
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.