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In a mass email

In a mass email sent out today, RNC chieftan Ken Mehlman calls out to the faithful: phone Congress and demand phase-out this year!

"Since his State of the Union speech in February," says the Mehlman, "President Bush has shown remarkable leadership by traveling the country, talking to Americans about the challenges facing Social Security and the need for personal accounts to be a part of that solution. Simply put, personal accounts will help secure Social Security for future generations and allow younger Americans to grow a nest egg they own and can pass on to whomever they want."

As I said below, we're updating our lists and we need your assistance.

Where does your representative

Where does your representative stand on the new flimflam private accounts bill Republicans are trying to push through the House? You know, the one that saves the Trust Fund that doesn't exist by blowing it on private accounts.

We're making a (new) list and we're checking it (at least) twice.

So if you've seen coverage in the local press about where your member of Congress stands on the issue, or whether he or she is trying to weasel out of taking a position at all, please let us know.

Send us an email at the comments email up there at the upper left of the site. We need your help.

For those of us

For those of us who are true connoisseurs of the higher Rep. Cunningham (R-Wade) chicanery, this may fall a bit short of the normal standard we like to set for the Duke. Still, it seems he again broke the rules: this time hawking novelty Navy fighter pilot hero Duke Cunningham buck knives decorated with the seal of the United States Congress. It seems profiting personally from the regalia of office is a no-no.

More on the Rhode

More on the Rhode Island senate race ...

I should say, by way of explanation and disclosure, that I lived in Rhode Island from 1992 to 1998. So I feel a certain attachment to the place and its politics.

With respect to the post below, one friend wrote in to tell me that I'd misread the new poll showing Linc Chafee just ahead of his nearest Democratic challenger 41% to 36%. "Any incumbent under 50 is in some trouble," he told me.

Yes and no. Certainly, under normal circumstances, any incumbent who's running that far under 50% is in a lot of trouble, by definition. And Chafee still is in a lot of trouble, especially since Rhode Island is such a blue state. But if you've lived in Rhode Island you know that Chafees are sort of like cats with nine lives. They're uncannily hard to beat.

More to the point, if the incumbent Republican is way down in the low 40s, far better that your guy is ahead of him, rather than behind.

I've heard good things about Whitehouse, Chafee's likely opponent. And I think he's got a decent shot at winning. But the stone cold truth is that with Jim Langevin in the race Chafee would be heading back to Rhode Island for good. And now that's not clear.

Of course, the GOP money caucus could still run a primary challenger against Chafee. And that could knock Chafee out for good too.

Unsettling news out of

Unsettling news out of Rhode Island. Chafee back on top in Senate trial heat. (Note to DSCC: if you can't land this one ... Who didn't put the squeeze on Langevin?)

Late Update: A Reader tells me that Chafee has always led Whitehouse and Brown, the two remaining Dems in the race. Thus, it's wrong for me to say he's "back on top". Maybe. The other way to put it would be to say that with Langevin out of the race, Chafee is now leading everyone in the Dem field. True, his numbers still aren't great. Only 41% to 36% over state AG Sheldon Whitehouse. But it all comes down to the same point: Langevin's getting out of the race was a disaster. Who didn't make sure he stayed in?

I didnt take that

I didn't take that dreadful MZM money, did I?

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports today that Katherine Harris (R-Money) has offered to return the money that earlier reports suggest may have been coerced from MZM employees. This follows another story in the competitor paper, the Sun-Herald, which earlier reported Harris's place high atop the MZM love-list.

Now, the funny thing is, when you read into the Herald-Tribune piece you see that the emphasis is very much on the word 'offer'. From what I can tell from the article, Harris has now sent letters to each 'contributor', offering to refund their money.

So I guess all these folks have to do is admit their involvement (even as a victim) in what I take it would be a felony and they can have their two or four grand back.

I bet she'll have a lot of takers.

Youll remember that during

You'll remember that during SpongeBob's time of need, the United Church of Christ was there to stand with him in the face of attacks from the likes of radical cleric James Dobson (actually, Dobson isn't even a cleric, but what I guess you'd call a lay extremist).

They were also the ones who tried to run an ad celebrating their church's message of outreach and inclusion of gays and lesbians only to have NBC and CBS reject it because such a position is, by their lights, too controversial.

In any case, they're having their General Synod this weekend. And they've even got a blog set up to provide some play-by-play.

Okay, I guess 'play-by-play' may be a bit of a sacrilegious way to describe it. But, you get the idea.

Stop by.

Late Update: Here's a good post about how ABC justified running an ad by Dobson's Focus on the Family after rejecting the UCC's ad. And here's another on the UCC president's endorsement of a resolution backing gay marriage.

A TPM Reader called

A TPM Reader called my attention to this choice Tom DeLay quote at the end of an article about a new congressional pay raise ...

"It's not a pay raise," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas. "It's an adjustment so that they're not losing their purchasing power."

Maybe someone can file this one away for future use.