Noontime News is a snapshot of our RSS feeds from the noon (Eastern time) hour.

Today’s the Day on Finance Reform

“Today is the big day on Wall Street reform. House and Senate conferees are deciding whether robust reforms stay intact or whether a more watered-down version, responding to late Wall Street lobbying, takes its place. “

Cantor Tries To Brush Off Barton’s Defense Of BP: ‘He Is Not The Issue’

“Yesterday, House Republicans decided to let Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) keep his seat as the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, despite his apology to BP executives last week for the White House’s supposed “shakedown” of the company. Barton apologized to his Republican colleagues during a meeting behind closed doors, and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) apparently though that was enough to excuse Barton for his “poor choice of words.”

This morning on MSNBC, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) defended his party’s decision, claiming Barton “is not the issue.””

Supreme Court: Washington can release names of ballot signers

“A near unanimous Supreme Court ruled Washington state can release the names of the roughly 138,000 people who signed ballot petitions to overturn a same-sex domestic partnership law. The court found the Washington Public Records Act covered the release of referendum signatures and the state has a responsibility to promote “transparency and accountability” in the electoral process.”

Tea Party, flush with success, goes after Alaska’s Murkowski

“The Tea Party Express, fresh off an election victory in Utah, promised Wednesday that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski would be its next victim. The group’s promise of big spending to defeat her is intensifying interest in Murkowski challenger Joe Miller, a strict Constitutionalist whose views are unknown to most voters in Alaska.”

ACLU: Consumers’ privacy at risk in Internet tax case

“The American Civil Liberties Union contends that North Carolina’s efforts to collect sales taxes from online retailers could lead to government snooping on consumers’ online shopping habits. The nonprofit advocacy group argued that the state’s audit of seeks private customer information the government doesn’t need and should not have.”

Lincoln Stands Strong on Derivatives, and Vindicates Obama’s Support

“David Cho reports that moderate Democrats, with the support of the Democratic leadership, are pressuring Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) to scale back a proposal that would force derivatives to be cleared on an exchange instead of being traded in private deals:

At the meeting among key Democrats in the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Lincoln resisted calls for compromise, a Democratic aide briefed on the conversation said. Her refusal to strike a deal is dividing liberal Democrats supporting the proposal and moderates who want it removed. The issue is expected to be in the spotlight Thursday as the House and Senate seek to reconcile their versions of the bill.”

Initial Jobless Claims Remain Stuck Above 450,000

“This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that initial jobless claims fell by the largest amount in two months. Still, they remain high — at 457,000, 19,000 less than last week but just 2,000 less than a fortnight ago — demonstrating the continued sluggish pace of job growth. The new claims number dropped slightly more than economists predicted.”

Tibetan Activist Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison

“Karma Samdru was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday on charges of grave robbing and dealing in looted antiquities, in a case supporters said was aimed at punishing his activism.”

Gillard Becomes Australia’s First Female Prime Minister

“Party officials decided to replace Prime Minister Kevin Rudd with his deputy, Julia Gillard, who becomes the nation’s first female prime minister. “

Sexual Assaults Add to Miseries of Haiti’s Ruins

“Violence against women escalated following the Jan. 12 earthquake, say officials and women’s groups.”

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