TPM News

On November 25th, Dubai asked to delay debt payments exceeding $1 billion to the conglomerate Dubai World. Although major international banks downplayed the impact of the decision, the news reverberated through global markets. One week later, Standard & Poor's cut the ratings of six Dubai companies to junk status.

Dubai has emerged as a prime example of 21st century excess. Rapid development produced a spectacular, ever-evolving skyline. But the city's recent financial instability might signal an end to its quick rise. Above, the electric Grosvenor House Hotel in Dubai.

Photo cc:DidoCstudents

Dubai's Burj al Arab building at night.

Photo cc:articotropical

The Burj Dubai is still under construction, but when completed, it will be the tallest skyscraper in the world, measuring in at 2,684 feet. It is set to be completed early next year.

Photo by Imre Solt

The Dubai skyline.

Photo via wikimedia

Students take a break in front of the American University at Dubai in 2005.

Photo cc:mamamusings

The Wild Wadi Water Park features a heated/cooled wave pool, several water slides and two artificial surfing machines.

Photo cc:saudi

Shoppers look in on the winter wonderland of Ski Dubai, an indoor ski slope inside the Mall of the Emirates, one of the largest shopping malls in the world. There are over 50 shopping malls in Dubai.

Photo cc:jonrawlinson

In a building boom, it seems Dubai is always under construction.

Photo via wikimedia

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem cutting the ribbon at the opening of Retail City in 2007 in the Sheikh Rashid Hall at the Dubai World Trade Centre Exhibition Complex.

Photo via wikimedia

Constant construction meant an ongoing demand for laborers, often from less developed neighboring countries.

Photo cc / paul keller

Working between 2-4 p.m. is strictly prohibited in Dubai's construction sites in July and August due to extremely hot weather. Many laborers use this break to nap around construction sites.

Photo cc:p.j.p.

A common sight in Dubai, near the Dubai Marina project in 2006.

Photo cc:paulkeller

The Dubai stock exchange.

Photo: newscom/Noufal Ibrahim/Xinhua/Sipa Pres

Inside the Dubai Atlantis

Photo cc:Zitona

A view from the Dubai "walk."

Photo cc:faceymcface1

The Dubai Palace hotel.

Photos cc:zitona

The Palm Atlantis Dubai Aquarium.

Photo cc:lorigreig

The Dubai Global Village.

Photo cc:bilalmirza

The state of Muslim America in 2008, according to a new report from the Council on American-Islamic Relations out today: Civil rights for Muslims are in peril, even as America becomes a less dangerous place to practice Islam.

The data comes from CAIR's annual "Seeking Full Inclusion" report, which aggregates and analyzes the civil rights violations reported to the group throughout the year. The report on 2008 was released today, and shows a rise in discrimination against school-age Muslims and Muslim institutions, but a sharp decline in hate crime violence. Despite the increases, though, there are signs that the country is becoming more tolerant toward Muslims.

Eight years after the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., CAIR legislative director Cory Saylor told TPMDC the report suggests the darkest days American Muslims faced after 9/11 have past.

"Our thinking is that the spike after 9/11 has dissipated," he said. "I hate to say it like this, but it's looking like violence against Muslims in America has returned to normal level."

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In addition to the public option, Democrats in the Senate are also working hard on abortion language that will satisfy Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), who's threatening to filibuster if language restricting federal funding of abortions isn't dramatically strengthened. That will have to wait, likely until next week.

"The language is not ready," Nelson said of an amendment he's working on, which he says is modeled on a restrictive amendment to the House health care bill written by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI). "I'm ready but the language is not."

In all likelihood, the amendment will be offered once it's clear that it won't blow up the entire reform effort. So there you have it. Next week is shaping up to be a busy one.

Birther leader Orly Taitz, who may be the hardest working lawyer in the country, isn't letting a little issue like the dismissal of her case get in the way of submitting new filings in court.

The Orange County Register has the rundown of her latest effort, which comes in a Birther case in which she allegedly suborned perjury. A judge in California threw out the case in late October.

With the new filing, she submitted a putative immigration form showing Barack Obama's ethnic code listed as "Equatorial Guinea." And she lashes out against a "well orchestrated effort ... to assassinate my character," saying she receives death threats on a daily basis.

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December 1: Marine One lifts off from the South Lawn of the White House on its way to Andrews Air Force Base, before heading to the U.S. Military Academy West Point in New York. Through the window, President Barack Obama is seen reviewing the speech he will give to West Point cadets on his new strategy for Afghanistan. More photos from our first slideshow on Obama's speech can be found here.

Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

Obama reviews his speech on board Marine One as NSC Adviser General Jim Jones, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confer.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, and the president review the speech on board Air Force One.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Obama contemplates a portrait in the superintendent's quarters of West Point before delivering his speech.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett keep the President company as he waits backstage before delivering his speech.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Alone again, naturally: The president, moments before he heads on stage.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

West Point cadets listen as Obama outlines his plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

The president also describes a planned troop withdrawal in 18 months.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

West Point cadets.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

From right, Secretary of State Clinton, Defense Secretary Gates, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, Admiral Mullen, and more of the President's top military advisers are present for the speech.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

After delivering his remarks, Obama greets cadets from the audience.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Admiral Mullen shakes hands with the president on board Air Force One, en route to Washington, D.C.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Obama disembarks from Air Force One upon his return to Andrews Air Force Base.

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

One of the most dogged public option advocates in the Senate--and a key liaison between progressives and leadership--says no way, no how to yet another compromise.

"There's no negotiations as far as I'm concerned," insisted Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). "We've compromised the public option three times, maybe four, depending on how you define it. This bill is not going to continue to become more pro-insurance company."

So the opt out is where you draw the line?

"Yeah, the opt out was not our first choice. Delinking from Medicare was not our first choice," Brown said.

Several conservative Democrats have entrenched their positions against the public option, and have threatened to filibuster the health care bill if it's not further compromised

"I think in the end that none of my colleagues want to be on the wrong side of history," Brown said. "I think that no Democrat wants to kill the most important bill in their political lives--in their careers--on a procedural vote."

That creates some complicated math. With Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) insisting that he'll filibuster any bill that includes public option of any kind--even a trigger--Reid has a maximum of 59 votes in his caucus for a health care bill. That means to retain a public option at all Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) must be brought aboard, and she's said the measure must be changed to a trigger of some sort.

Brown says he won't be helping in that effort: "I'm not drawing a line in the sand. I am not part of any effort to give the insurance companies more."

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The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library has come up with a new way for Reaganites to bask in the glory of Ronaldus Magnus: A free iPhone application!

I just spent the last few minutes downloading and fiddling around with the app. It has a gallery of pictures of Reagan in all his glory, for an admirer to cycle through with only the swipe of a finger (such as the pic shown above). There is also Reagan playing mini-golf in the Oval Office, Reagan visiting with the Pope, Reagan with his horse, Reagan in front of an American flag, and other such glorious memories.

There is also ready access to the library's YouTube account, to watch Reagan's 1980 Republican acceptance speech, his 1981 inaugural address, his 1961 speech opposing the creation of Medicare, and other great moments in Reagan history.

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Sounds like Michaele and Tareq Salahi have Rep. Peter King (R-NY) on their side.

King, who says he wants to subpoena White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers over Party Crasher Gate, seems to be more forgiving of the Salahi couple who started the whole affair.

He said this morning on CBS it was up to them if they wanted to testify.

"I think they have enough legal problems without increasing it by testifying," King said.

Rogers, on the other hand, is covering up for the White House by declining to testify, King suggested, asking today what she had to hide.

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Ben Bernanke got an earful today when he appeared at the Senate Banking Committee hearing. Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) lambasted the Fed chairman, telling him: "You are the definition of moral hazard." Bunning faulted Bernanke for hewing too closely to the policies of his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, and said his tenure has been a disaster.

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