TPM News


January 4, 2010: In an elaborate ceremony today, Dubai officially unveiled the world's tallest building: the Burj Khalifa. Standing 828 meters (2,717 feet) tall, the skyscraper will house a host of superlatives. The New York Times reports: "It will have the world's first Armani hotel; the world's highest swimming pool, on the 76th floor; the highest observation deck, on the 124th floor; and the highest mosque, on the 158th floor."



Previously known as the Burj Dubai, the building's name was changed, in a rather suprising move, during the opening ceremony. The skyscraper is now dubbed after the United Arab Emirates' president and Abu Dhabi ruler, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Less than six weeks ago, Abu Dhabi pumped billions of bailout funds into Dubai. Take a look at our previous photo gallery of the other excesses and contradictions of the city-state.

Newscom/Peter Kneffel






Newscom/Peter Kneffel




December 29, 2009: A worker washes the skyscraper's facade a week before its official opening. According to the The Sydney Morning Herald, an Australian company, Cox Gomyl, is contracted to clean the monolith's 24,000 windows.

Newscom/Zuma Wire






Newscom/Zuma Wire




December 29, 2009: Several of the migrant laborers that worked on the building take a break near its base.

Newscom/Zuma Wire






Newscom/Zuma Wire




The Burj Khalifa dwarfs other skyscrapers across the globe in both size and energy consumption.

Newscom/AFP






cc: jrodmanjr




January 4, 2010: Onlookers await the evening celebrations that will mark the opening of the building.

Newscom/Peter Kneffel






Newscom/Peter Kneffel






cc: citronate

Pat Buchanan today defended Brit Hume's comments that Tiger Woods should abandon Buddhism and become a Christian if he wants true "forgiveness." Buchanan said that Hume gave an "uninformed opinion," but that it doesn't necessarily matter that he was denigrating Buddhism, because "there are not a lot of Buddhists watching Fox."

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Tomorrow, former Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA) is set to [burst back](http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/gop-ex-rep-richard-pombo-seeks-redemption-through-california-house-race.php) onto the national political scene with a new bid for Congress in California.

Luckily, TPM's archives are bursting with stories of Pombo's ethical troubles -- the very troubles that helped sink his 2006 reelection bid after seven terms in office.

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Appearing just now on the Ed Schultz show on MSNBC, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) said that former Vice President Dick Cheney's attacks against President Obama are just a ploy to increase Cheney's book sales -- and rhetorically asked whether the Devil himself had a hand in the book.

"You know, honestly I think he's just trying to prime his book tour, his upcoming book tour," said Grayson. "He got $2 million to write about his memories, and he's trying to stay in the public eye in order to push sales for his book. That's what I think."

"I'm wondering, though, who's doing the introduction to his book? Is it Mephistopheles? I don't know -- maybe it's Satan."

Grayson also responded to the frequent Republican attacks against him: "I am attacked by them all the time. But as Franklin Roosevelt said, I welcome their hatred."

Cheney has been a frequent target of the fiery liberal Grayson's jibes. Grayson has told Cheney to "STFU," and has also imagined Cheney as a vampire with blood dripping from his teeth, who turns into a bat and flies away after he finishes speaking his attacks against Obama.

President Obama's first State of the Union address will touch on the Flight 253 incident, White House aides say.

Obama has been meeting with advisers and his speechwriting team for weeks to craft the speech. Even though he addressed Congress last winter, it will be his first official State of the Union.

It was expected that deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility would be major focus points in the speech, along with health care. The White House is aiming to schedule the address for after the final health care bill passes Congress and heads to Obama's desk.

But today reporters asked White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton if Flight 253 would consume the speech.

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Former Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), who lost his seat in 2006, will be trying to make a comeback from a neighboring, open GOP-held seat.

Pombo, who was first elected to the House in 1992, lost in 2006 to Democrat Jerry McNerney, thanks in part to Pombo's ties to Jack Abramoff. McNerney was re-elected in 2008 against a different Republican candidate, and Barack Obama even carried the historically-GOP district.

Now, Pombo is seeking the Republican nomination for the more Republican seat of GOP Rep. George Radanovich, who announced his retirement last week. When Radanovich made his announcement, he also said that he had recruited state Sen. Jeff Denham to be the new Republican candidate. As a result, Pombo won't have a clear path to the nomination, but will instead have to go through a primary, in which his opponent is supporting by the retiring incumbent, in order to get back to Congress.

Yet another organization with ties to prominent Democrats has received money from accused Ponzi scamster Hassan Nemazee. This time, it was the William J. Clinton Foundation that received a hefty donation from Nemazee, the New York financier and Democratic Party fundraiser.

Nemazee, who was charged with stealing $292 million from several banks, gave between $50,000 and $100,000 to the former president's charity in 2009, according to a donor list released yesterday.

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On New Year's Eve, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez was doing an interview with Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) about terrorism when Sanchez suddenly swung the conversation around to Ensign's sex/lobbying/pay-off scandal involving two of his former aides.

As TPM noted, the senator seemed caught off guard. But CNN tells us that Sanchez didn't violate any ground rules.

"There were no pre-conditions for the interview with Sen. Ensign," a spokesman for CNN wrote in an email.

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