Presidential Candidates Missing Senate Votes

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Missing Votes

The six senators running for president have missed a total of 131 votes so far this year — about 17 percent — while they have been out campaigning.

John McCain has missed the most Senate votes this year — 42 of 126 — 33 percent. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have missed the fewest: three apiece.

Recess Ramifications

Democrats upset with President Bush's recess appointments of three controversial picks for key federal positions are studying options for reversing the appointments or blocking them in the future.

climate change has been identified as — all those darn pine trees.

A National Academy of Sciences report says the pine forests of Europe, Siberia and Canada may contribute to global warming because they trap sunlight reflected from snow — making the Earth warmer.

Conventional wisdom is that trees help cool the Earth by absorbing carbon dioxide and giving off moisture that creates clouds. But the report says that is only true for tropical forests. It says some computer models suggest that cutting forests in higher altitudes may reduce global warming.

"Great Sin"

Pakistan's tourism minister says she fears for her safety — and that of her family — after radical Muslims pronounced her guilty of a "great sin" by hugging a man.

The minister apparently hugged a skydiving instructor after a charity parachute jump. Two clerics at Islamabad's Red Mosque called it "an illegitimate and forbidden act." They have demanded she be fired and forced to apologize publicly.

The Red Mosque has recently embarked on a Taliban-style anti-vice campaign and has been linked to militant groups.

—FOX News Channel's Martin Hill contributed to this report.