Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Guerrillas in the Midst
Hezbollah guerrillas reportedly are roaming around southern Lebanon unchecked because United Nations troops are not going out on patrols after dark. A German newspaper reports that a Spanish official with the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon — known as UNIFIL — says no night patrols are carried out "because of the danger involved."
One junior officer said his battalion has left its camp only once since its deployment. And a U.N. envoy admits that Syria is smuggling weapons into Lebanon — in defiance of the truce that ended the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict this summer. But the envoy would not take responsibility for this — saying the Lebanese army has not asked U.N. troops to monitor the border.
An Indonesian militant on trial in Jakarta is charged with masterminding the murder of three Christian high school girls whose heads were cut off as "trophies" for Ramadan.
The girls' severed heads were dumped in plastic bags, along with a handwritten note that said: "Wanted, 100 more Christian heads, teenaged or adult, male or female."
The suspect is said to have considered bombings during Ramadan, but decided that beheading Christians would qualify as "an act of Muslim charity." He faces the death penalty if convicted.
"Holidays" Out, "Christmas" In
The folks at Wal-Mart are putting Christmas back into the holidays in a big way. Wal-Mart announced today that it will use "Merry Christmas" — "early and often" this season. Last year Wal-Mart and other retailers were boycotted by some groups because they downplayed Christmas in favor of a generic and politically correct "holiday" theme.
But a Wal-Mart spokeswoman says the company learned its lesson — and will have what's described as an "in-your-face" Christmas theme this year — featuring Christmas music over the loudspeakers and signs that count down the days until Christmas.
Not a Bimbo
Actress Johanna Goldsmith says she isn't a bimbo — she just played one on TV. Goldsmith had the part of the flirtatious Caucasian blonde who caused quite a stir in that Republican Party ad, winking at the camera and telling African-American Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Harold Ford Jr. to "call me."
Critics decried the ad as racist — and say it may have put Ford's opponent — Republican winner Bob Corker — over the top. Corker also denounced the ad — calling it "tacky."
But Goldsmith — who says she is of Mexican heritage and has "dated all nationalities" — tells a Nashville newspaper she doesn't think the spot was racist — and looked at the ad as "just a job like any other." She doesn't consider herself political — and describes herself as a "conservative, quiet person" who is "family-oriented."
—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.