Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
Masked gunmen burst into the European Union office in Gaza City today, leaving just 30 minutes later after delivering what they called an expression of protest to EU officials. Were the men protesting Europe's stance towards the new Hamas government? Or Israel? Or deplorable living conditions in Gaza?
Turns out, they were demanding an apology from Denmark over newspaper cartoons of the prophet Muhammad... originally published five months ago. The gunmen threatened Danish citizens visiting Gaza with violence, unless the government apologizes for the drawings of Muhammad, which are banned under Islam.
Still the One
The star player at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this weekend was not Bill Gates, Brad Pitt or John Kerry. It was Bill Clinton, who arrived in a 10-car motorcade, and delivered his remarks to a packed house. The former president addressed what he called the three greatest challenges facing the world today, but terrorism didn't make the list. Instead, Clinton called climate change the world's biggest threat, followed by "global inequality."
Clinton mentioned terrorism only as a manifestation of his third biggest challenge: the world's "apparently irreconcilable cultural and religious" divides.
Hillary and Health Care
New York Senator Hillary Clinton blasted Wal-Mart last week for failing to spend enough on health care for its employees. But Clinton could not say whether she advised the company to expand benefits when she sat on its board of directors from 1986 to 1992, saying, "that was a long time ago, I have to remember." A staffer told reporters that Wal-Mart is "a very different company now," a claim backed up by the Wall Street Journal, which notes that Wal-Mart offers more extensive and generous health benefits than when Clinton served on the board.
The University of Vermont has rejected its affirmative action department's call to ban the Red Cross from holding blood drives on campus because the organization does not accept blood from sexually active gay men. The department was acting on a student complaint that the Red Cross position, meant to lower the risk of HIV-positive blood contaminating the national supply, violates the university's non-discrimination policy.
The Burlington Free Press reports that the University's vice president ruled, "Donating blood is an individual choice and action — not rising to the definition of protected activity."
‘Spine Transplant’ Required?
Former CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather argues that today's reporters are suffering from a lack of backbone, saying, "American journalism needs a spine transplant and we need it quickly." Rather added that the public should make its voice heard by asking leaders and publishers’ tough questions.
Those remarks came during a Q&A session in which all the questions were pre-selected by members of Rather's entourage. The Los Angeles Times reports that Rather was not asked about the discredited story on President Bush's National Guard Service.
— FOX News' Aaron Bruns contributed to this report