Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

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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 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.

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 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.

This should be fun ...

Congressman Duke Cunningham cordially invites you to his Annual Golf Tournament

Belmont Country Club in Ashburn, VA

$1,000 PAC per golfer/ $500 individual per golfer/ $2,500 per foursome

I hear Duke has a set of clubs he's putting up for sale too.

Only $199,000.

According to Steve Clemons's most recent update, the White House and the senate leadership have basically given up on the prospect of getting John Bolton's nomination through the United States senate. And it's worth noting that in itself that is a huge and quite improbable victory for those who started more than three months ago now trying to mobilize opposition to this very unfortunate nomination.

What remains to be seen now is whether President Bush will bypass the senate and install Bolton at the UN by a recess appointment.

For starters, it's worth saying that that's the president's right. Whether it's fair in the abstract is just as irrelevant as the question is about the filibuster.

But it is also becoming increasingly clear that winning on Bolton is more important to the White House than having someone in that position who would be in any way effective in the job by any measure. He would, I assume, be the first UN Ambassador ever to be seated who quite publicly lacked the confidence of the United States senate. And what does it tell you exactly about President Bush's foreign policy priorities today -- and all the challenges that the country currently faces in Iraq and elsewhere -- that he's putting so much into sustaining this single nomination? There's nothing else going on in the world that could use the attention and political muscle more than this?

A TPM Reader goes on a sightseeing tour in the neighborhood of chez Duke and gets pictures.