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

Miller: We Can Assume All Poor Spellers Support Me

“At the suggestion of a TPM Reader M I took a closer look at this suit filed today on behalf of Senate candidate Joe Miller by longtime Palin lawyer Thomas Van Flein. In addition to citing Bush v. Gore, Van Flein makes an incredibly novel and I would think fairly preposterous argument.

Remember, the essence of Miller’s claim is that the State of Alaska may only accept write-in ballots for Sen. Lisa Murkowski if her name is spelled correctly, letter for letter. The State of Alaska is arguing for a somewhat looser ‘voter intent’ standard for judging the write-in ballots. On principle, I agree with the latter approach, so long as it is carried out on some reasonable standard. But Miller’s approach at least follows a logic we can all understand if not necessarily agree with.

But Miller’s lawyer has another argument. Namely, that ballots with mispellings of Murkowski’s name should be interpreted not as votes for her but rather as protest votes against her.”

House Chairmen, Key Pelosi Allies Back Hoyer In Whip Race

“A number of influential House chairmen, including key allies of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have signed a letter this morning endorsing Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in his race against Democratic Whip James Clyburn to be the new minority whip next Congress.

“Leader Hoyer is ready to hit the ground running as Democratic Whip,” the chairmen write. “He is one of our party’s most effective messengers, with the ability to challenge Republicans on the Floor, build support for our party’s middle-class policies across America, and fight back against the special-interest money that played such an important role for Republicans in this election.””

Anti-Abortion Pastor Who Put Doctor’s Home Address On ‘Wanted’ Posters Convicted For Stalking

“North Carolina Rev. Phillip “Flip” Benham’s wild-west antics earned him two years probation yesterday after a judge convicted him for stalking an abortion doctor. Leader of the “unashamedly” Christian, anti-abortion group Operation Save America, Benham distributed old-West style “Wanted” posters earlier this year that “included the names, addresses and photos of four Charlotte, N.C., doctors who perform abortions.” While Benham claimed his actions were protected by the First Amendment, he violated a new North Carolina law meant to protect citizens from being targeted by “a lone-wolf assailant”.”

GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz Willing To Investigate Bush For Torture: I Have No ‘Hesitation Whatsoever’

“This afternoon, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a member of the House Government Oversight Committee, appeared on MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show to talk about what he feels should be the GOP’s legislative agenda.

At one point, Chaffetz started to list off a number of investigations — like probing the Countrywide “Friends Of Angelo” scandal — he wanted to conduct in the House of Representatives now that Republicans are in control of that body. Ratigan asked the congressman how “far back” he thinks is “appropriate” for these investigations. He noted that Chaffetz had not listed a “torture investigation.” Chaffetz responded by saying that that “may be on the list as well. I’m not afraid of going after the Bush administration”.”

House Republicans Name Program That Already Expired As First Spending Item They Would Cut

“ThinkProgress has been documenting the struggles that House Republicans have been having as they attempt to claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility without laying out any real spending cuts to which anyone might object. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) epitomized this dance, saying on PBS’ Newshour that he had a path to budget balance, and then outlined cuts that amounted to less than one half of one percent of the budget.

One program which House Republicans have consistently seized upon to bolster their budget-cutting bona fides is the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Emergency Contingency Fund, a successful program that has created 250,000 jobs in 37 states via subsidized employment programs for low-income and unemployed workers. And according to National Journal, Republicans are once again railing against the program, selecting it as one of their first programs to cut.
But the crux of the issue is that eliminating the TANF emergency fund will not save any money because the program has already expired. It was funded at $5 billion for two years, and ended on September 30, 2010. There is no money left for Price to save.”

Language opens another rift between Tibetans, Chinese

“For those ethnic Tibetans who can't read Mandarin, it's a meaningless jumble. For others, it's an unsubtle reminder that even though Tibetans are the biggest population locally — some 70 percent of the roughly 87,000 people in Tongren city, official statistics say — it's Han Chinese, the national majority, who call the shots.”

As House changed hands, young voters sat on theirs

“Only about 20 percent of the nation's young people turned out to vote last week, a drop from the last midterm election in 2006.”

McConnell-DeMint standoff over earmark vote heats up

“For a nonbinding resolution, Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) proposal that Republican senators give up earmarks in the 112th Congress is generating a lot of controversy. Politico reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been busy expressing his concerns with the idea in public and lobbying quietly to defeat the measure behind closed doors, risking open conflict with the Tea Party in the process.”

Could a mandatory E-Verify bill make it past Obama?

“Most immigration legislation is expected to stall next legislative session, as a heavily pro-enforcement House attempts to get bills past a president and Senate leadership that prefer a more comprehensive approach. Some of the measures proposed by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who will most likely head the subcommittee on immigration, seem almost certain to fail: An anti-birthright citizenship bill, for example, would almost certainly be voted down in the Senate if it passes the House due to strong opposition from Democrats.

Will it be possible for House Republicans to get any immigration bills signed into law? No one is quite sure, but over the next few days I’ll be looking at some of the bills that pro-enforcement and pro-immigration reform groups think stand a chance. First on the list: an expansion of E-Verify, a controversial program that allows employers to use their workers’ Social Security numbers to verify that they can legally work in the United States.”

What’s next for the Tea Party?

“The Heritage Foundation just wrapped up a panel discussion to that effect, called “Where Does the Tea Party Go from Here?” Panelists included Billie Tucker, executive director of the First Coast Tea Party in Florida, Ed Morrissey from Hot Air, and Byron York, the chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner. After some initial hand-wringing about whether enjoying great success in enacting its agenda will dissipate the Tea Party movement, the panelists all agreed that such a prospect was unlikely if only because the House GOP won’t be able to enact the majority of its agenda.

“After the last two years, many would view gridlock as progress,” said Morrissey. “A lot of [the Tea Party’s] platform was negatives: to stop what the administration and Democrats had been doing. … If they see the House working hard and passing things, keeping up with all of these issues, even if not all of them get through the Senate, or if the president vetoes them, they’ll understand.””

World Briefing | EUROPE: Turkey: Europe Seeks Changes on Speech Freedoms

“Turkey must make strides in safeguarding freedom of speech and of the press if it wants to join the European Union, says a report.”

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