Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Venezuela and Mexico are on the brink of breaking diplomatic relations Monday night after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called Mexican leader Vicente Fox, a "lap dog" of U.S. imperialism for supporting a U.S. free trade proposal and warned the Mexican president, "Don't mess with me, sir, because you'll get stung."

Infuriated, Mexico demanded an apology and threatened to sever diplomatic relations. But rather than apologize, Venezuela withdrew its ambassador. Mexico followed suit shortly thereafter and Fox says Mexico will do what is necessary to "put a stop to anybody who offends the dignity of Mexico."

Iran Blames Israel

Iran is now blaming the hotel atrocities in Amman, Jordan last week not on Islamic extremists, but on Israel. A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry told reporters, "Most probably the Zionist regime was behind them." This after Iran's government-sponsored association of Muslim Journalists blamed Zionists for causing the riots in Paris, saying discrimination against French Muslims was carried out "under the influence of the Zionist lobby in France."

Public Flogging for Bible Discussion

A Saudi schoolteacher who warned his students against the consequences of terrorism faces a public flogging and more than three years in prison after he discussed the Bible and praised Jews in class. Saudi Arabia's Al-Madina newspaper reports that Mohammad al-Harbi was charged with promoting a "dubious ideology, mocking religion, saying the Jews were right, [and] discussing the Gospel." Saudi authorities say al-Harbi's sentence of 40 months in jail and 50 lashes a week in the public square is fitting for blasphemy. But al-Harbi says the case was retribution from Islamic studies teachers who objected to his anti-terror teaching...and says he'll appeal the sentence.

Defending Terrell

The Reverend Jesse Jackson and Ralph Nader have rushed to the defense of suspended Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens, who was disciplined for making negative comments about the team. Owens, who has a history of outrageous behavior, was docked four games' pay and deactivated for the rest of the year, after saying the Eagles displayed "a lack of class" by not publicly recognizing his 100th career touchdown. Owens has since apologized. Jackson called the punishment "much too severe for the charge." And Ralph Nader has also called for the suspension to be lifted arguing that Eagles ticket holders paid to watch the exciting receiver on the field.


— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report