TPM News

U.S. treasuries have rallied substantially year to date, driving down their yield to what some believe to be bubble-like levels.

Yet there's another fixed income market booming right now -- Sukuk's, or Islamic bonds. Sukuk's don't technically pay interest, they rather pay a portion of cashflow, similar to a bond yield, related to an underlying investment in order to be compliant with Islamic law.


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Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean appeared last night on Countdown, to defend his remarks that the Muslim community center project near Ground Zero in New York should be moved to a different location. During the interview, Dean called for a dialogue between 9/11 families and the center's organizers -- and insisted that he was not associating himself in any way with the outspoken opponents on the right such as Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.

Keith Olbermann mentioned during his introduction of Dean that Arshad Hasan, the head of the Dean-founded liberal political group Democracy For America, has criticized Democrats -- without directly mentioning Dean -- who have sought to compromise with an "implacable opposition." And Olbermann put tough questions to Dean, such as asking what compromise he can imagine people like Gingrich and Palin would accept.

"Yes, I don't think the Sarah Palins and Newt Gingriches have any interest. They're clearly exploiting this for whatever political gain they think they can get out of it," said Dean. "But I think there are some people of good will, perhaps, including some of the families of the victims that we might actually sit down around a table with. This is a tough issue I think some of my own folks on my end of the spectrum of the party are demonizing some fairly decent people who are opposed to this. And, again, in no way am I defending, you know, the right wing of the Republican Party.

"But there are 65 percent of the people in this country are not right-wing bigots. Some of them really have deep emotional feelings about this. And I think we at least ought to respectfully hear them and sit down with Muslim-Americans and with some of the people that object to this, and have a thoughtful, reasonable dialogue and see what comes out of it. And in order for it to be a fair, thoughtful and reasonable dialogue, you have to be willing to move."

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Stephen Colbert announced on his show last night that on September 8 and 9 he will dedicate his show to honoring American troops who have recently withdrawn from Iraq.

Called "Been There, Won That: The Returnification of the Ameri-Can-Do Troopscape," the special will feature appearances by Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), General Ray Odierno, and Vice President Joe Biden.

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Earlier this month, as BP pumped cement into the ruined blowout preventer on the bottom of the Gulf, the government released a four-page, scant-on-details report that claimed that only a quarter of the 4.9 millions of barrels of oil was left in the Gulf. The rest, they said, had been cleaned up, evaporated or dispersed into nonexistence.

And so the government essentially declared 'Mission Accomplished!' in the Gulf.

But skepticism quickly seeped into media reports, followed by scientific findings that there's still oil -- a lot of oil -- floating around in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Jon Stewart was pretty incredulous last night at Dick Morris' claim on Fox News that the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero is actually a "terrorist command center." He said: "You know, just for the record, I'm against establishing a terrorist command post at Ground Zero. Or really anywhere in the city."

Stewart then followed Fox News' lead, and played what Stewart called "six degrees of people who don't eat bacon" to connect Rupert Murdoch, Fox News, and Osama Bin Laden -- and was left with the question: "Is Fox News a terrorist command center?"

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Stephen Colbert was happy to report last night that "we're out of Iraq! And best of all we got out two weeks ahead of schedule. Now Iraq will always be remembered as the war that ended early."

He added: "Let's give credit where credit is due -- to George W. Bush. After all, if this man hadn't led us into war, it certainly wouldn't be over now!"

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Republican Congressional candidate Jim Renacci has taken the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to court, claiming the union defamed him by claiming in ads that he lied on his taxes. The ads were aimed at helping his Democratic opponent, incumbent Rep. John Boccieri (D-OH).

The battle pits the GOP against a powerful union trying to protect a freshman Democratic pickup from 2008. Prognosticators say Boccieri's 16th District seat carries advantages for the Democrats, but could go either way. Let's put it this way: It's the kind of place that Republicans say they can win this year.

It's likely Renacci suit against a major name in organized labor won't hurt his goal of rallying Republican voters for November. According to local news site, Renacci says in his suit that "the union's advertising contains false and defamatory statements that Renacci tried to cheat on his taxes."

"[T]the people of our district have been witness to a new low in the level of political discourse, as John Boccieri and the union bosses at AFSCME have engaged in some of the most reprehensible and ethically bankrupt conduct this district has ever seen," Renacci told reporters in a press conference outside court house steps yesterday.

AFSCME sees things a little differently.

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A new InsiderAdvantage poll finds former Republican Rep. Nathan Deal four points ahead of former Dem Gov. Roy Barnes in the Georgia gubernatorial race.

The latest numbers, which are InsiderAdvantage's first results for the Deal-Barnes matchup, show Deal on top 45%-41%. Libertarian candidate John Monds polls at 5% in the survey. Last week, a Rasmussen poll released right after Deal's narrow victory in the Republican primary runoff showed a larger nine-point advantage for the Republican nominee. That poll did not include a specific third-party candidate.

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A lawyer representing former Blackwater employees who accuse company founder Erik Prince of defrauding the government will head to Abu Dhabi this weekend to depose the head of the controversial contractor.

Susan Burke, who has already settled seven suits against Prince in relation to the shooting of Iraqi citizens in 2007, will depose Prince in the United Arab Emirates, writes her husband Jamison Koehler.

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