Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Ignored Advice

The Capitol Hill firestorm over the dismissal of several U.S. attorneys was touched off when Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty ignored guidance from the White House and rejected advice from senior administration lawyers about his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

ABC News reports that McNulty was advised against giving specific reasons for the dismissals —but ended up using the phrase "performance-related." Many took that as a contradiction of earlier testimony by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

So why did McNulty go his own way? The story cites sources as saying McNulty thought he could draw on his long friendship with Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer. But Schumer grilled McNulty in the hearing and Gonzales was said to be furious with his testimony.

Just the Facts?

Reporters digging into Barack Obama's background have found some instances where the facts do not appear to square with his memories.

The Chicago Tribune has reported problems with a story in the senator's first book about seeing a life magazine picture of a black man who damaged his skin using chemicals to try to lighten it. The magazine says it ran no such picture or article. Obama recently said it may have been Ebony magazine — but Ebony says no as well.

And The Politico reports on Obama's contention that he was conceived by his parents after their inspiration from the "Bloody Sunday" civil rights march in Selma, Alabama in 1965.

It turns out Obama was born in 1961 — four years earlier.

Show Me the Money

Congressional Democrats working on a budget are trying to find money for favored domestic programs without raising taxes, cutting defense spending or deepening the deficit. The Los Angeles Times says they are relying on what are called "reserve funds" to pay for the extra spending. But the Times says the funds are empty.

Republican Senator Craig Thomas wants to eliminate reserve funds, calling them "a blank check signed by the American taxpayer." And a budget analyst with The Heritage Foundation said the use of reserve funds could result in a tax increase of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Banning LEGOs

Teachers at a Seattle day care center decided to ban LEGO building blocks — those colorful little bricks kids use to build such creations as robots, monster trucks, space ships and vast futuristic cities. The Hilltop Children's Center bills itself as a nationally recognized, non-profit, non-religious facility. So why did the teachers toss the LEGOs?

We'll let them explain: "We agreed that we want to take part in shaping the children's understandings from a perspective of social justice. So we decided to take the LEGOs out of the classroom. The children were building their assumptions about ownership and the social power it conveys — assumptions that mirrored those of a class-based, capitalist society — a society that we teachers believe to be unjust and oppressive."

After months of what the teachers called "social justice exploration" — they let the LEGOs back in — but kids were only allowed to build "public structures" of standard sizes in a village dedicated to what they called "collectivity and consensus."

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