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


Obama Speaks Out On Mosque Controversy: ‘Our Commitment To Religious Freedom Must Be Unshakeable’

“Tonight, President Obama hosted an iftaar dinner at the White House — a feast marking the culmination of a day of fasting for practicing Muslims during the current Islamic calendar month of Ramadan. At remarks delivered at the dinner, Obama spoke out on the controversy surrounding the construction of a new Islamic center near the Ground Zero site, firmly siding in favor of the project:

OBAMA: Let me be clear: as a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country, and will not be treated differently by their government, is essential to who we are. The writ of our Founders must endure.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: ‘I’m disappointed and was blindsided’ by McCollum’s immigration bill.

“Earlier this week, Florida Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum (R) unveiled a proposed immigration bill which many argue is “even tougher” than Arizona’s controversial immigration law, SB-1070. While McCollum likely believes his support of the bill will win him some votes, he has also sparked a backlash amongst several notable Latino members of the Florida Republican Party. Most notably, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL). The Cuban-American U.S. congresswoman and co-chair of McCollum’s Statewide Hispanic Leadership Team was in disbelief and doesn’t think the anti-immigrant legislation will solve the state’s problems. “

After Supporting Hearings On The 14th Amendment, McCain Backtracks: ‘I Certainly Don’t’ Support Repeal

“Last week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) joined the growing movement within the GOP to reassess the 14th Amendment and its mandate that anyone born in the U.S. automatically be granted citizenship. “I support the concept of holding hearings” on the issue, McCain told reporters last Wednesday.

But just over a week later, McCain changed his tune, telling the AP, “I’m not requesting hearings,” and that he “certainly” doesn’t support changing the 14th Amendment:

“When I was asked … I said ‘Look, if senators want to have hearings then senators have hearings, that’s how the Senate works, but I’m not requesting hearings,’” McCain said in an interview Thursday.”

Sharron Angle Claims United Nations Is Unconstitutional

“In a recent interview with a local TV station, Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle claimed that it is unconstitutional for the United States to remain in the United Nations:

ANGLE: The United Nations resides on our soil and costs us money. We are – I don’t see any place in the Constitution — in those eight priorities — about the United Nations. So when we start talking about cutting programs, 5-percent per year, I think the United Nations fits into that category, yes.”

KC Fed chief: Low interest rates holding back recovery

“The Federal Reserve’s zero-interest-rate policy amounts to a “dangerous gamble” that may be holding back the recovery and risking a repeat of the financial crisis that put us here, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City said Friday.”

Ensign Blames CREW for Ethics Woes

“Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.) is raising money for a legal defense fund to fight the numerous ethics charges against him. In his appeal he blames Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which he refers to as “a liberal organization,” for his present troubles, and says he’s been “accused of doing things I absolutely did not do.”

In response, CREW’s Director Melanie Sloan released the following statement:

“Senator Ensign had an extended affair with a campaign staffer, who happened to be married to his chief of staff Doug Hampton, fired them both, and had his parents pay them off without properly reporting it to the Federal Election Commission. He then conspired to help Mr. Hampton to set up a lobbying business to lobby his own office, in violation of federal law. So what exactly are the things that Senator Ensign is being accused of that he did not do?””

Why Are the Rangel and Waters Hearings Happening Now?

“The Ethics Committee has known about Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-N.Y.) violations since September 2008 and Rep. Maxine Waters’s (D-Calif.) misdeeds since June 2009, so why is it only making its findings available now? That’s the legitimate question that Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, wants to know.

Sloan doesn’t exactly give an answer in her op-ed, but she hints that politics might have something to do with it:

With control of the House likely up for grabs, some — including Rangel — have said that Republicans on the ethics committee have refused to reach a settlement with Rangel specifically because of a desire to focus national attention on Democrats’ ethics problems and to gain an edge in the election. “

GOP Accuses Reid of Flip-Flopping on Birthright Citizenship

“Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has come out squarely against Republicans’ ideas about looking into changes to birthright citizenship for children born in the U.S. to illegal immigrant parents. “They’ve either taken leave of their senses or their principles,” he said of Republicans last week. But Reid once considered a change to birthright citizenship himself, and the National Senate Republican Committee wants to make sure no one forgets it.

The NSRC pointed to a Washington Times post on Reid’s Immigration Stabilization Act of 1993, which never made it out of committee. The bill did not propose amending the Constitution — the path Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has proposed as an end to birthright citizenship — but would have changed the way it was interpreted. The end result was the same: children of illegal immigrants would not obtaini automatic citizenship. “Senator Reid took a far different view of the immigration issue before he was facing a very serious threat to his re-election,” the NSRC wrote today.

But the switch actually came earlier: During a 2006 floor speech, Reid called his 1993 bill a “travesty” and “the biggest mistake I ever made”.”

Cross Is Point of Contention in Poland

“A 13-foot-high cross placed outside the presidential palace in Warsaw to memorialize the late president is igniting political tensions between secularists and nationalists.”

Miffed at Russia, Belarus President Seeks Better Ties With West

“Alexander G. Lukashenko had once promised to build a “union state” combining Belarus with Russia, which has cut economic subsidies to Belarus.”

Satire: Shrimp Boat Captain Worn Out From Long Day Of Putting Human Face On Crisis

“Fourth-generation shrimp boat captain Buford Comeaux said Wednesday that he was wiped out from a 14-hour day spent personifying the human toll of the BP oil spill in the media. “They get me out of bed at the crack of dawn, and they make me do interviews all morning,” said Comeaux, 49, who acknowledged he had lost track of how many times he had uttered the phrase ‘shrimping is all I know’ since the disaster began in April.
[…]
Comeaux reportedly slept heavily for four hours before waking at sunrise so CNN could shoot some B-roll of him walking forlornly down a pier.”

Satire: Florida Marlins Delay Game Until Their Fan

“The Florida Marlins delayed the start of their game against the St. Louis Cardinals last Sunday when Steve, their fan, failed to show up at Sun Life Stadium by the scheduled 1 p.m. start time.

“Well, we can’t really start without him,” added [Marlins manager Edwin] Rodriguez, who had earlier called Steve’s cell phone and house, but received no answer. “How would that look?”

[…]

The third-place Marlins, who have struggled with attendance for some time, have come to count on Steve to lovingly call out players’ names, start “Let’s go, Marlins” chants, and boo the visiting team. In addition, the team was reportedly excited to see what Steve would write on a sign to make fun of Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols.

Steve is the only person to attend a Marlins baseball game in eight years.”

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