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

Influential Mosque Opponent Promotes Religious Freedom Abroad For U.S. Government

“As president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Dr. Richard Land is an influential opponent of the Cordoba House project in New York. But when he’s not speaking on behalf of one of the most powerful religious bodies in the country, Land has a second — some would say ironic — ecumenical role: member of the federally created United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

In his role as a commissioner, Land’s job is to press for a U.S. foreign policy that advances religious freedoms around the world. Reached by phone today, Land maintained that there is no contradiction between his service on the Commission and his efforts to see the Cordoba House Islamic cultural center project moved farther north in Manhattan. “

Flashback: Angle Told Reid In ’93 To ‘STOP FUNDING’ Entitlement Programs

“Here’s a fun a flashback, amidst all the current talk from Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle that she doesn’t want to “phase out” Social Security — as she used to say — but wants to protect it. Seventeen years ago, she wrote an angry letter to Harry Reid in which she called upon Congress to “STOP FUNDING THE WASTEFUL SOCIAL AND ENTITLEMENT PROGRAMS.” (All-caps in the original.)”

Chamber Blames Women For Pay Gap: They Should Choose The Right ‘Place To Work’ And ‘Partner At Home’

“Today is the anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted the right to vote to women. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has decided to use this day of equal rights for women to argue that women are now to blame for unequal pay in the workplace. On the organization’s official blog, ChamberPost, Senior Director of Communications Brad Peck today makes the argument that the pay gap between men and women in the American workforce — women currently earn roughly 77 cents to every dollar a man earns — is “the result of individual choice rather than discrimination.” He argues that, instead of bold legislative action being taken to help correct this pay gap, women should pick the “obvious, immediate, power-of-the-individual solution: choosing the right place to work and choosing the right partner at home“:

Most of the current “pay gap” is the result of individual choice rather than discrimination. […]

It is true that culturally speaking women are more likely to have to make the tough choices about work-life balance. But as we all seek to fit our values into a dynamic 24/7 economy, let’s not overlook the obvious, immediate, power-of-the-individual solution: choosing the right place to work and choosing the right partner at home.

Peck’s argument that women could close the pay gap by simply choosing jobs in better paying fields and marrying wealthier men is based on a faulty premise — that the pay gap in the United States between genders exists because women choose to work for less and men choose to work for more. “

Dean suggests ‘compromise’ on Park 51: No point doing ‘something good’ if met with ‘enormous resistance.’

“Today, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) appeared on radio network WABC-77 and fielded questions from a host about a variety of political issues. At one point, the host asked Dean what his position was “on the controversy surrounding the mosque at Ground Zero,” referring to the Park 51 Islamic community center and mosque. Dean responded by saying he favored some sort of “compromise” of the issue that involved using the proposed site for “people of all faiths.” He called the presence of the mosque an “affront to people who lost their lives, including Muslims.” He then went on to say that while the congregation building the mosque probably has good intentions, “there’s no point trying to do something good if it’s met with enormous resistance from a lot of folks“.”

World Net Daily Drops Ann Coulter From Conference For Speaking To ‘Twisted And Dangerous’ Gay Conservatives

“Earlier this month, the new gay conservative group GOProud vowed to put the “fun” back in politics at next month’s inaugural Homocon Conference by featuring special guest, right-wing pundit Ann Coulter. In an apparent lack of imagination, GOProud Board Chairman Christopher Barron said he “could not think of any conservative more fun” than the “the right-wing Judy Garland,” a nickname Coulter suggested herself.

Fellow right-wing groups have rebuked her decision. Rick Scarborough of right-wing Christian group Vision America said Coulter “can’t hold herself forth as a defender of traditional values while playing footsie with homosexual groups.” Scarborough called on conservatives to boycott her books to show “this betrayal to our values is not without cost.” Americans For Truth About Homosexuality President Peter LaBarbera asked Coulter to reconsider speaking to the “phony homosexual ‘conservatives.’” To him, it is akin to speaking before “Republicans for Responsible Porn Use” and sends a “dangerous message to young Americans that homosexuality is OK. (It’s actually a sin.)” “

9/11 family member Ted Olson breaks from the GOP on NYC mosque: Obama ‘was right about this.’

“This afternoon, Ted Olson — whose wife died in the September 11th attacks — distanced himself from other conservatives and told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell that he did not oppose the building of a mosque near ground zero. “It may not make me popular with some people, but I think probably the President was right about this,” he began:

OLSON: I do believe that people of all religions have a right to build edifices or structures, places of religious worship or study where the community allows them to do it under zoning laws and that sort of thing. And that we don’t want to turn an act of hate against us by extremists into an act of intolerance for people of religious faith. And I don’t think it should be a political issue. It shouldn’t be a Republican or Democrat issue either. I believe Governor Christie from New Jersey said it as well, that this should not be in that political partisan marketplace.”

Arctic villages stop seismic tests as Canada mulls oil future

“Above the Arctic Circle in Canada near Greenland, five Inuit villages have won a court order that blocks a German icebreaker from conducting seismic tests of an underwater region that abounds with marine life — and possibly with oil, gas and minerals.”

In Louisiana, Candidates Fight For – And Over – Oil Jobs

“Rep. Charlie Melancon’s (D-La.) best chance of stealing Sen. David Vitter’s (R-La.) Senate seat come November might involve winning the ongoing war of words over the Gulf oil spill.

Not surprisingly, the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster has become one of the top campaign issues in Gulf Coast states in the run-up to the November mid-term elections. And it has taken center stage in the Vitter-Melancon Senate race. Both candidates, ever-conscious of the oil industry’s influence in the region, must walk a fine line between castigating BP for the spill and ensuring that regulators do not stifle an industry that is a key part of the Louisiana’s economy.”

New Group Fights Jeff Greene’s Money with Money

“The Center for Responsive Politics reports that Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) is getting some serious help in his Senate primary contest against billionaire Jeff Greene from a group called “Florida Is Not For Sale,” one of the seven new independent expenditure committees approved by the FEC last month. Reports filed with the FEC show that the group has already spent $245,470 on the race, with much of the money coming from donors who have previously maxed out their contribution limits to the campaign:

Because of the timing of the expenditures, the public won’t know who is funding these advertisements until after the election. But, according to a Center for Responsive Politics review of the group’s most recent campaign finance filings, the first $75,000 that the Florida Is Not For Sale committee raised came from prolific Democratic donors. All of them previously donated the legal maximum dollar amounts to Meek’s campaign in June 2009.

Now, a year later, they are giving 10 times as much to the Florida Is Not For Sale committee to help their preferred candidate win the race, with one using a corporate account to do so.”

The Engine of Job Growth, the Engine of Job Loss

“The Wall Street Journal takes a look at a new Bureau of Labor Statistics analysis of what kind of businesses are gaining and shedding jobs. As is often true, small businesses are both the biggest creators of new jobs and the biggest destroyers of existing positions. Small businesses are managing to create some new jobs right now, but poor demand, constrained access to credit and many other issues mean they are lagging in recovery in comparison with large businesses — currently enjoying record-high profits.

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees accounted for 61.8 percent of all job cuts in the private sector in the fourth quarter, the Labor Department reported Wednesday, while the same sized businesses created 54.1 percent of new jobs. Companies of this size employ roughly 29 percent of all workers. The numbers are a reverse from the same time a year ago, when small businesses made up a larger share of jobs that were added as opposed to lost. Small firms made up half of all jobs lost at the end of 2008 but also comprised 53.9 percent of all job gains. …”

Why The Ninth Circuit’s Stay on Gay Marriage Might Help Supporters’ Chances

“At the American Constitution Society blog, Rick Hasen breaks down the possible meanings of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to put a hold on gay marriages in California. He concludes that while it’s hard to read anything into how the Ninth Circuit will ultimately rule on Proposition 8, the decision might increase the chances that the Supreme Court will side with gay-marriage supporters.

The stay decision, Hasen argues, might have been issued for a number of reasons, most obviously to preserve the status quo. That way, if the opinion of Judge Vaughn Walker ends up getting reversed, the state won’t be involved in a whole new round of litigation surrounding the gay marriages that occurred in the intervening period of time.

But the decision itself might help gay marriage supporters because it will buy more time for public opinion to continue warming to the idea of gay marriage before it reaches the Supreme Court:
Had the Ninth Circuit upheld Judge Walker’s denial of a stay, the issue would have fallen into the lap of Justice Kennedy (the Supreme Court Justice who handles emergency appeals from the Ninth Circuit) on an expedited schedule. Observers believe he’s likely the swing vote on Proposition 8’s constitutionality, and an emergency stay request could have brought the issue to him without giving him time for adequate reflection and rumination on the constitutional issues.”

DISCLOSE Act is Not Dead Yet

“I wrote before the recess that it appeared likely that the DISCLOSE Act wasn’t dead yet, but now it’s official: Senate Dems plan to bring it up for another vote when Congress resumes next month.

As always, the usual GOP suspects are being singled out in hopes that they’ll lend the single vote necessary to invoke cloture, but this time advocates say they have an additional card to play:

Senate Dems and their reform-advocate allies are targeting Sens. Scott Brown (R-MA),Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME), all of whom voted against cloture last month. The 3 GOPers said the bill was rushed in an attempt to influence the ‘10 midterms on Dems’ behalf.

Now, though, reform advocates believe they have removed that most significant objection all 3 GOPers had. If the measure is passed in late Sept. or early Oct., it would not go into effect until after the midterms.

The negotiation that we hope will be able to break the filibuster is the mere fact that this will no longer apply to the 2010 elections,” said Craig Holman, a top lobbyist at Public Citizen, which backs the bill. “It will only apply to 2012 and beyond, and we hope that will be enough to make Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins and Scott Brown vote to end the filibuster.””

G.M. to Develop Small Engines With China Partner

“The plan to develop fuel-efficient engines and advanced transmissions with S.A.I. C. deepens G.M.’s cooperation with one of its major partners in China.”

Satire: Obama Declares Victory, Sort Of, Depending On How You Look At It, In Iraq

“Addressing troops at Andrews Air Force Base Tuesday, President Barack Obama claimed victory in Iraq, saying that formal combat operations in the region would end Aug. 31, and that the United States had emerged from the seven-year war triumphant, kind of.

“Granted, this is not the definitive, World War II–like victory most of us expected,” Obama continued. “But there’s a military triumph in there somewhere, I swear. You just have to look at it from the right angles.”


Obama also noted that during the war more Iraqi insurgents died than American troops, which, he admitted, isn’t necessarily the best way to determine a war’s victor, but is nonetheless still preferable to the other way around.


“By the end of this month, victory, to a certain extent, will be ours, and we can finally welcome our troops back home,” Obama concluded. “That is unless they are one of the 50,000 U.S. soldiers who will have to stay in the region for the foreseeable future.”


With the cessation of combat operations, and the declaration of what sources said couldn’t be called a complete and utter failure because to do so would be to admit that the U.S. wasted $750 billion, lost 4,400 troops, and killed 100,000 Iraqi civilians for absolutely nothing, both Democrats and Republicans have attempted to take credit for the quasi-victory.


“President Obama deserves zero praise for this borderline accomplishment,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told reporters. “After all, if it weren’t for President Bush ordering the initial invasion of Iraq and making it his central foreign policy initiative, we wouldn’t be here right now awkwardly celebrating the muddled outcome of whatever the hell it is we’ve been doing over there for the past seven years.””

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