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Special Report

Lawmakers Not Feeling the Pinch?

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Wealth of Information

While many Americans are very concerned about making ends meet, members of Congress saw their personal wealth collectively rise more than 16 percent between 2008 and 2009.

The non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics has a new study on financial disclosures, showing nearly half of House lawmakers -- 261 -- are millionaires, a slight increase from the previous year. Of those congressional millionaires, 55 have an average wealth of $10 million or more, with eight in the $100 million-plus range.

In 2009, the median wealth of a House member was $765,000, that's an increase of $120,000 compared to the previous year. Median wealth for senators stood at nearly $2.38 million, up about a hundred-grand from 2008.

U.N.-Believers

Religious freedom advocates here in the U.S. are urging United Nations' members to vote against a defamation of religions resolution backed by Islamic countries.

Critics worry the proposal does more harm than good and actually restricts religious freedom and leads to violence. A bipartisan letter signed by 42 members of Congress urges 150 heads of state to vote no.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue says -- quote -- "These Muslim nations already kill Christians and Jews with impunity -- they don't need any further encouragement to bring their idea of justice to the shores of other nations."

The Dog Whisperer

Tuesday we showed you Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin cuddling with his new Bulgarian sheepdog puppy. Now, he has asked Russians to help him come up with a name for that puppy.

Former President George W. Bush, who owns a Scottish terrier -- Barney -- wrote in his memoir about meeting Putin's other dog saying -- quote -- "A big black Labrador came charging across the lawn. With a twinkle in his eye, Vladimir said, 'Bigger, stronger, faster than Barney.'"

Bush says he later told the story to the Canadian prime minister, who replied -- quote -- "You're lucky he only showed you his dog."