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

Anthony Weiner’s Spitting Mad Rant Against Republicans On The House Floor

“The House was debating a bill last night that would provide up to $7.4 billion in health care aid to rescue and recovery workers who have faced health problems since their work in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The bill ultimately failed 255-159, and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was not happy about it. Not one bit.

In a rant that lasted for almost two minutes, a hopping mad Weiner railed against “cowardly” Republicans who claimed they were voting against the bill because of “procedure.” Weiner spat: “It’s Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans, rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes!””

Recession was deeper than gov’t previously thought

“The Commerce Department, in revisions issued Friday, estimates the economy shrank 2.6 percent last year — the steepest drop since 1946. That’s worse than the 2.4 percent decline originally estimated.

The economy’s plunge underscores why the unemployment rate surged to 10.1 percent in October, a 26-year high.”

Rep. Lamar Smith Says Reducing Racial Disparity In Crack Cocaine Sentencing Hurts Minorities

“Yesterday, the House passed the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, landmark legislation that “changed a quarter-century old law” mandating hugely disproportionate prison terms for powder cocaine over crack cocaine. Enacted in 1986 as part of “a wave of racially-tinged media hysteria,” the law disproportionately targets minorities and “exacerbates racial disparities in the federal prison system.” The new legislation narrows that disparity between powder and crack cocaine from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1.

The bill, which had already passed the Senate, garnered bipartisan support in the House. In fact, precisely because the bill had “the support of conservative stalwarts such as Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the Prison Fellowship Ministries and activist Grover Norquist,” it sailed through on a voice vote. However, the lone public dissenter of the bill, Rep. Lamar Smith (TX), took to the House floor to rail against Congress for supporting the bill. Despite his party’s assertion to the contrary, Smith insisted that reducing the crack to powder disparity actually hurts minority communities.”

As Tennesseans Desperately Search For Work, Wamp Suggests Unemployed Are ‘Just Sitting Back Waiting’

“This past Tuesday, Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN), who is also a leading candidate for the GOP nomination for governor, joined a conference call with the right-wing National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). When the subject of extending unemployment benefits arose, Wamp complained that giving people unemployment insurance was “creating a culture of dependence which we do not need.” He then said that he wants “people out there scraping and clawing and looking for work and not just sitting back waiting”.”

Rep. Gingrey on the GOP: ‘I don’t think we’ll ever be as big a tent organization as the Democratic Party.’

“Yesterday, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine announced the Democratic Party’s new effort to link the GOP and the Tea Party movement as “one and the same.” Today on C-Span, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) disputed Kaine’s characterization. “What Gov. Kaine just said is absolutely untrue,” Gingrey contested. But earlier in the segment, Gingrey conceded the “intent” of the new House Tea Party caucus is “to make sure” that the relationship between the Tea Party and the GOP “was solidified.” Later, when host Susan Swain asked if their Tea Party caucus is going to be a “big tent” group, Gingrey seemingly misunderstood the question, and answered in terms of the GOP as a whole:

SWAIN: Will you as members of Congress adopt a statement specifically suggesting that you want to be a big tent organization?

GINGREY: We are a big tent organization if you are referring to my party, the Republican Party, I don’t think we’ll ever be as big a tent organization as the Democratic Party, their DNA is just a little bit different from ours quite frankly.”

Lindsey Graham considering overturning the 14th amendment to end ‘birthright citizenship.’

“Politico reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who many previously thought would co-sponsor comprehensive immigration reform this year, is considering radically changing the 14th amendment. Graham may introduce a constitutional amendment that would overturn the portion of the Constitution which states “[a]ll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” In other words, Graham wants to end the practice of granting citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants born on U.S. soil.”

GOP-backed health care amendment removed from Florida ballot

“Calling the wording of a Republican-backed constitutional amendment on health care “manifestly misleading,” a Circuit Court judge in Leon County has tossed it off the November ballot. The proposal had been drafted and put forward by the GOP-led state legislature as a counter to the new federal health care plan. It would prohibit the state from participating in any health insurance exchange that compels people to buy insurance.”

House ethics panel charges Rangel on 13 counts

“A special House of Representatives subcommittee on Thursday outlined 13 counts of ethics violations against Rep. Charles Rangel, the former chairman of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. The charges place his political career in jeopardy and could put Democrats on the defensive as November's elections approach.”

Partisan Inflexibility Could Sink Spill Response Bills

“Partisan squabbling may sink legislation responding to the massive oil spill in the Gulf, considered must-pass by many in Congress. In both the House and the Senate, Democrats and Republicans are struggling to find a workable compromise.”

Senate Moves EduJobs and FMAP Funding

“This evening, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) attached an amendment with funding to preserve teachers’ jobs and to provide much-needed Medicaid funding to states to a Federal Aviation Administration bill. The amendment is fully paid-for, and the FAA bill is just a vehicle. Reid filed cloture, meaning the Senate will vote on the provisions on Monday.”

World Population Forecast to Top 7 Billion in 2011

“The world’s population will top 7 billion next year, while the ratio of working age adults to the elderly will decline precipitously in developed countries.”

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