Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Poison Pen

The New Republic has released a letter from the soldier who has authored several accounts of offensive behavior from U.S. troops in Iraq. The writer identified as Private Scott Thomas says his full name is Scott Thomas Beauchamp, and says his intention was, "To write honestly about my experiences without fear of reprisal... They were never intended as a reflection of the entire U.S. Military."

He speaks of being in what he calls "an ideological battle that I never wanted to join." But it turns out Beauchamp has his own blog — Sir Real Scott Thomas — and on it he calls the war "misguided," and also refers to "silly Republicans."

The New Republic still has offered no evidence corroborating Beauchamp's accounts of one soldier using a Bradley fighting vehicle to slaughter dogs — another using part of a human skull as a crown — and a group of soldiers ridiculing a disfigured woman.

Second Effort

The New York Times has written an almost apologetic note to readers saying that it was so amazed by poll results showing that support for the initial invasion of Iraq is higher now than two months ago — that it re-did the poll.

The Times says that a second run at the question a few days later revealed nearly identical results — 42 percent saying the U.S. did the right thing — 51 percent disagreeing.

The paper writes — "While we didn't understand a lot more about what was driving the change, we had confidence in the results... One thing is for sure. We'll be asking the question again."

Energy Crisis

A noted conservation biologist and climate researcher says the increased use of renewable energy will lead to what he calls the "rape of nature."

Jesse Ausubel of the Rockefeller University in New York writes that solar, wind and biofuel sources are "boutique fuels" that look attractive on a small scale. But he says they will require vast amounts of land for large scale production. He says generating the same energy as a 1,000 megawatt nuclear reactor would take 965-square miles of prime Midwestern farm land, or 58-square miles of solar power cells.

Ausubell tells newscientist.com — "If we want to minimize the rape of nature, the best energy solution is increased efficiency, natural gas with carbon capture, and nuclear power."

Climate models upon which those dire global warming predictions are often based use statistics from a vast array of weather stations across the world. We told you some months ago about a California meteorologist who has a volunteer network that is going to these sites and often finding they are not properly set up to take accurate measurements.

Now Anthony Watts says the National Climatic Data Center has removed the addresses of the stations from its data base — even though the research is publicly funded and the information has been available for years. Watts writes on his Web site that the timing is "suspect."

Meanwhile, he's found what he writes is the worst station yet — in Tucson. This equipment is found in the middle of a parking lot — with sensors he says are not at the standard observing height. Watts says that adds a "positive bias" to the measurements.

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