TPM News

More than 120 suspected mobsters were arrested in yesterday's massive mafia bust. And along with the arrests came hundreds of pages of court documents detailing alleged illegal activity taking place across three states: New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island. From allegations of extortion in Midtown Manhattan and murder in Queens, to strip clubs in Providence and gambling on Long Island, allow TPM to take you on a little tour of the underworld:

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Two months after House Ethics Committee lawyers Morgan Kim and Stacey Sovereign were suspended by former Chief Counsel Blake Chisam, their future in the office is still unclear.

It's also uncertain if newly appointed Ethics Committee Chairman Jo Bonner (R-AL) will be successful in his push to relaunch the investigation into alleged ethics violations by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

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The Westboro Baptist Church, the notorious Kansas congregation known for their stunt conservative-themed protests of high-profile funerals, has found a new target: 62-year-old rocker Ozzy Osbourne. Yes, Ozzy, who's now about as controversial as Michael Bolton (albeit after a long career that had some colorful highlights.)

Nevertheless, the Westboro Baptist Church -- which is led by the decidedly controversial 81-year-old Fred Phelps -- reports there's much to fear from Osbourne, a reality show comedy foil and cellular phone pitchman. In a flier the church is currently distributing in Kansas City, MO ahead of Osbourne's scheduled concert there Saturday night, Westboro says unequivocally that "God hates Ozzy Osbourne."

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Ahead of the State of the Union address, House progressives want a word with President Obama about Social Security.

In a letter delivered Friday to request a meeting with President Obama, 33 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus seek assurances that he will not work with Republicans to cut or privatize Social Security.

"[T]here is no Social Security crisis," the members write.

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Mike Huckabee may be picking up steam heading into the 2012 presidential primary, as a new poll finds him well ahead of the other potential challengers just two months after he placed fourth in the same survey. It's the second poll this week to find the former Arkansas governor leading the GOP field.

In the poll, 24% of Republican voters said Huckabee was their top choice for the party nod. Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney trailed by 10 points each at 14%, while Newt Gingrich trailed further behind at 11%. Tim Pawlenty led the second-tier candidates at 8%, followed by Ron Paul (7%), Mitch Daniels (4%), and John Thune (1%.)

Huckabee's support has grown eight points since PPP last polled the question in November. At that time, Palin led the pack at 21%, with Gingrich and Romney close behind at 19% and 18% respectively.

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A state representative from New Hampshire, Lars Christiansen (R), is taking his fight to free a convicted child molester to the state house.

According to the Concord Monitor, Christiansen will submit a petition to the newly created Committee to Redress Grievances asking it to look into the case of Timothy Dupont. Dupont was convicted in 2001 of 69 counts of felonious sexual assault on a female relative under age 13.

The committee couldn't affect Dupont's sentence (21 to 42 years), according to the Monitor. All it could do is suggest some sort of legislative remedy.

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Arizona Republicans aren't just in the driver's seat on on GOP policies like immigration -- they are now seeking to leapfrog the 2012 primary calendar and vote in February next year, too.

As Real Clear Politics reports, the 80-member state GOP executive committee has passed a resolution that would ask that Republican Gov. Jan Brewer -- who has the power to set the state's presidential primary date -- schedule the event for February. The resolution will next be voted on tomorrow by the whole state party committee, made up of 1,400 members.

"We should go early because we're a good bellwether of the country," Mecum said. "We're willing to break the rules to go early."

A wrinkle in this plan, of course, is that the RNC's official new primary calendar -- which was adopted in part to push the race back from its very early events last cycle -- allows only four contests in February 2012: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. And if another state goes earlier, it could potentially trigger a race among the official early states to reschedule their contests for even sooner.

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Newly-elected Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is already busy at work, on such issues as fundraising and party organization -- and turning the page from predecessor Michael Steele, who he defeated for re-election last week.

"I have no goal to become ... some cable TV rock star," Priebus told USA Today. "I'm the guy from Wisconsin. I'm somebody who is willing to work like a dog."

And, it seems, part of working like a dog means getting rid of the people who worked for Michael Steele.

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Jon Stewart glibly told the nation last night to not fret about the country's enormous debt to China, saying the tab was so big that China couldn't call it in without setting off a global economic catastrophe.

"When a country owes you $1 billion, they've got a problem," Stewart began. "But when a country owes you $1 trillion, you've got a problem. "

"We're AIG," he added.

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