Noontime News is a snapshot of our RSS feeds from the noon (Eastern time) hour.
“On Monday, a disastrous leak in one of the world’s largest pipeline systems gushed over 1 million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River, located in southwest Michigan. Already, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has declared the area a disaster zone, quickly activating State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to ensure all state resources are devoted to oil spill response. “From my perspective, the response has been anemic,” Granholm said. Spill workers and volunteers have been hard at work, cleaning the horrifyingly oily water.”
“Over the past two months, many Republican pundits and members of Congress have been calling for the end of unemployment benefit extensions for the millions of Americans who can’t find work. Meanwhile, GOP Senators held the unemployment insurance (UI) extension bill hostage for weeks as 2.5 million Americans were left without the “desperately needed lifeline” of UI benefits. Even as five workers fight for every one job opening, Republicans are still calling the unemployed “spoiled” and suggesting that blocking benefits is fine because it only affects a “small amount of people.”
Last week at a fundraiser for Michigan GOP congressional candidate Rocky Raczowski, conservative pundit Phyllis Schlafly added her voice to the chorus crying out against government assistance for the poor or unemployed:
“One of the things Obama’s been doing is deliberately trying to increase the percentage of our population that is dependent on government for your living. For example, do you know what was the second biggest demographic group that voted for Obama? Obviously the blacks were the biggest demographic, y’all know what was the second biggest? Unmarried women. 70% of unmarried women voted for Obama. And this is because when you kick your husband out, you’ve got to have Big Brother Government to be your provider. And they know that. They’ve admitted it. And they have all kinds of bills to continue to subsidize illegitimacy…”
“Today is Medicare’s 45th anniversary, and the Republican National Committee is celebrating the occasion by trying to attack “Obamacare” and by pretending the GOP has been a defender of Medicare. The RNC posted an online research briefing called “Happy 45th Birthday Medicare!” alleging President Obama used the Affordable Care Act to take money out of Medicare: “THANKS TO OBAMACARE,” they write, “DEMOCRATS HAVE SLASHED MEDICARE FUNDING.”Even though the GOP likes to position itself as a guardian of Medicare, the party virulently opposed its creation at the time, as the Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky outlined in a post last year:
Ronald Reagan: “[I]f you don’t [stop Medicare] and I don’t do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.” ”
“Earlier this week, two leading economists released a study that “empirically proved” that the government’s response to the Great Recession, including the stimulus bill, prevented the loss of “some 8½ million jobs.” The study’s authors — former McCain economic adviser Mark Zandi and former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Blinder — concluded that “there is little doubt that in total, the policy response was highly effective.”
What do those congressmen who opposed the stimulus bill think about the study’s findings? We caught up with Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) yesterday to get his thoughts:
Wolf: I don’t believe that that study is accurate, but it’s hard for me to comment on it until I can see it.”
“Officials for BP have moved to Tuesday the likely start for their next effort to kill the Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf of Mexico. BP Senior Vice President Kent Wells said Friday that the delay by a day in the so-called “static kill” was necessary because debris was found at the bottom of a nearby relief well.”
“Out to convince voters that the bailout of the U.S. auto industry has been a success — and to build buzz for its controversial poster child, Chevy's Volt electric car — President Barack Obama on Friday drove a car publicly for the first time in more than three years and implored consumers, "Don't bet against the American people."”
“Remember that controversial rule in the financial regulatory reform law, designed to prevent banks from making risky bets on their own behalf? It did not take long for banks to figure out how to get around it. At The Atlantic, Daniel Indiviglio explains that banks including Goldman Sachs are just reclassifying “proprietary traders” — ones who trade the company’s own money — as “asset managers.”
One of the more aggressive new requirements, the so-called Volcker Rule, would limit proprietary trading to 3% of Tier 1 capital. But the rule may be easy to sidestep. Goldman Sachs is leading the way around the regulation, by simply reclassifying many of its prop traders as asset managers. “
“The House passed an oil spill response package today in a 209-193 vote, despite strong objections from Republicans.
The package passed after hours of floor debate. Republicans argued that the bills are ill conceived, would kill jobs and are too far-reaching.
If signed into law, the package, among other things, would:
Remove the cap — currently at $75 million — on a company’s liability for economic damages from an oil spill
Facilitate the restructuring of the now-defunct Minerals Management Service, which was responsible for permitting and licensing offshore oil and gas drilling
Require that oil companies use new safety technologies meant to avoid blowouts at an oil well
Provide whistleblower protections for workers who report safety violations on oil rigs”
“The sentences are the latest indication that Beijing is intensifying its crackdown on any dissent that questions Chinese rule in Xinjiang.”
“The 63 deaths have made July the deadliest month for American troops in the nine-year war in Afghanistan, according to a Web site that tracks casualties.”
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