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

Bachmann Drops Out Of GOP Conference Chair Race

“Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), who had attempted to leverage her superstar status among Tea Party activists into a role in the House Republican leadership as GOP Conference Chair, instead ended her bid tonight and endorsed the leadership’s favored candidate, Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas. … However, she only picked up the public support of five other House members.”

Allen West’s Incoming Chief Of Staff Calls Pelosi ‘Garbage’

“Joyce Kaufman, the south Florida talk-radio host and new incoming chief of staff for Rep.-elect Allen West (R-FL) has made an auspicious debut in her staff work: Calling outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “garbage.””

Joe Barton: Health Care Repeal Is My Alamo

“Barton laid out his plan for, essentially, undoing most of what President Obama and Democrats accomplished in the past two years. He laid out the central fronts: the battle to repeal what he calls Obamacare, the fight against the EPA, backing the growing insurgency opposed to net neutrality regulations, taking on “environmental radicalism” and — of course — defending the “traditional, incandescent light bulb” against government regulators who want to replace it with what Barton called “the little, squiggly, pig-tailed ones.””

Rumsfeld Attacks Defense Cuts, Which Garner Support From Tea Party-Progressive Coalition

“The chairmen of President Obama’s Deficit Reduction Commission released a report outlining their recommendations to reduce the budget deficit today. The report — which outlines billions of dollars in defense cuts, in addition to other cuts — is sure to spark a furious debate over what measures should be taken to reduce U.S. debt.

Former Bush Secretary of Defense made his recommendations for deficit reduction yesterday through his Twitter account, @RumsfeldOffice. He tweeted, “Tough fiscal choices ahead: Reforming entitlements should top the list – cutting the defense budget should not“.”

Three Good Ideas And Three Not So Good Ideas From The Chairmen Of The Debt Commission

“From Think Progress guest blogger Michael Linden, Associate Director for Tax and Budget Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund: “Earlier today, the co-chairmen of President Obama’s fiscal commission released their draft proposal (a.k.a. chairmen’s mark) to reduce the deficit. This is not the final report of the fiscal commission, but it is likely going to be the starting point for the remainder of the panel’s discussions. There’s a lot in there, but let’s highlight three good ideas and three bad ideas.””

While GOP Sought Exemption For Their Industry, PA Debt Collector Tricked Consumers With Phony Courtroom

“During the congressional battle over Wall Street reform, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) advanced a bill to create the Consumer Financial Protection Agency and grant it the power to write and enforce rules governing payday lenders, debt collectors, and other financial companies that are not part of banks. This was not popular with key Republicans. In March, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who played a crucial role on behalf of Republicans in negotiating the bill, “pressed Mr. Dodd to scale back substantially the power that the consumer protection agency would have over such companies.” The Republican counter-proposal set forth in May by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) also attempted to exempt these industries, prompting President Obama to rip the plan as “worse than the status quo” with “dangerous carve outs for payday lenders, debt collectors, and other financial services operations.”
[…] Yesterday, however, a shocking lawsuit brought by the state of Pennsylvania against a debt collector in Erie, PA illustrates why federal oversight is necessary for the industry, which deals with vulnerable people often on the brink of financial collapse. Unicredit America Inc. is accused of using phony Sheriff’s deputies and a corporate office decorated as a courtroom to confuse debtors into thinking they were in legal trouble in order to coerce them into making immediate payments. “

PNC Bank Will No Longer Fund Mountain Top Removal

“PNC Bank, the top funder of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining, has announced that it will end its support for the ecologically devastating practice. “This move makes PNC bank number seven to issue a position on MTR,” the Rainforest Action Network’s Amanda Starbuck writes, “following in the footsteps of Bank of America, Citi, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Credit Suisse.” PNC’s decision leaves UBS and GE Capital the only major banks that support mountaintop removal. After the Bush administration rewrote rules to encourage the blowing up of mountains for their coal, the Appalachians were rapidly reshaped by rapacious coal companies. This year, the Obama administration once again began enforcing laws against the total destruction of public waters and land, after scientists revealed the full extent of the immoral practice. Now, PNC Bank will neither fund MTR projects nor make loans to companies like Massey Energy that specialize in MTR.”

Exclusive: Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito Dismisses His Profligate Right-Wing Fundraising As ‘Not Important’

“Last night, the American Spectator — a right-wing magazine known for its role in the “Arkansas Project,” a well-funded effort to invent stories with the goal of eventually impeaching President Clinton — held its annual gala fundraising event. The Spectator is more than merely an ideological outlet. Spectator publisher Al Regnery helps lead a secretive group of conservatives called the “Conservative Action Project,” formed after President Obama’s election, to help lobby for conservative legislative priorities, elect Republicans (the Conservative Action Project helped campaign against Democrat Bill Owens in NY-23), and block President Obama’s judicial appointments. The Spectator’s gala last night, with ticket prices/sponsorship levels ranging from $250 to $25,000, featured prominent Republicans like RNC chairman Michael Steele, hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer (a major donor to Republican campaign committees and attack ad groups), and U.S. Chamber of Commerce board member and former Allied Capital CEO William Walton. Among the attendees toasting Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the keynote speaker for the event, was Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito.”

EPA takes first step to cut industrial plant emissions

“The Environmental Protection Agency Wednesday unveiled what new large industrial plants will have to do to minimize their greenhouse gas emissions starting in January.”
Companion Piece: Oil industry: There’s not enough time to review EPA’s power plant emissions guidance From American Petroleum Institute: “The EPA is railroading job killing regulations onto states, localities and America’s businesses, during a time of uncertain economic recovery, without giving those affected adequate time to review, provide comments, or even implement the new regulations”.

Liberal spending groups begin sprouting green shoots

“It looks like the left-wing independent spending infrastructure, long moribund, is starting to show its first signs of new life. According to The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, Media Matters founder David Brock is in the planning stages of forming a new group designed to counter the successful network of shadow GOP organizations — like American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS – conceived by Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie:

“David is on the road right now talking to donors and strategists who would be interested in this,” the source tells me, adding that Brock intends to create a 527, which has partial donor disclosure rules. “He’s out pitching it right now.””

Thune supports earmark moratorium, contrary to conservative blogger’s report

[Conservative blogger] Erick Erickson pronounced Sen. John Thune’s (R-S.D.) potential 2012 presidential bid dead today when sources informed him that Thune was opposing Sen. Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) proposal for an earmark moratorium among GOP senators. Erickson wrote:

Thune is whipping votes for Mitch McConnell in order to defeat the Coburn-DeMint earmarks moratorium. There is no way Thune would so blatantly defy the grassroots of the GOP, the tea party movement, and virtually every major conservative group in Washington if he had any interest in being President in 2012.

“Senator Thune is not and has not been whipping against Senator DeMint’s earmark ban. Senator Thune has supported earmark moratoriums in the past and he continues to support an earmark moratorium,” [Thune spokesman Kyle] Downey wrote.”

Norheimsund Journal: Opposition to Power Line at a Fjord Runs Deep

“Critics of construction plans in Norway say pylons would mar majestic mountain landscapes.”

Life in Shadows for Mentally Ill in China, With Violent Flares

“Psychiatry has been revived in China, but mental health remains a medical backwater, desperately short of financing, practitioners and esteem.”

Satire: Report: Global Warming Issue From 2 Or 3 Years Ago May Still Be Problem

“According to a report released this week by the Center for Global Development, climate change, the popular mid-2000s issue that raised awareness of the fact that the earth’s continuous rise in temperature will have catastrophic ecological effects, has apparently not been resolved, and may still be a problem.
“Global warming, if you remember correctly, was the single greatest problem of our lifetime back in 2007 and the early part of 2008,” CGD president Nancy Birdsall said. “But then the debates over Social Security reform and the World Trade Center mosque came up, and the government had to shift its focus away from the dramatic rise in sea levels, the rapid spread of deadly infectious diseases, and the imminent destruction of our entire planet.”
According to the 300-page document, though global warming—and the worldwide homelessness and drought associated with it—was a desperate problem immediately following the release of the Academy Award–winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, China’s undervalued currency, the midterm elections, and gay marriage have since monopolized lawmakers’ time.
“I was a bit surprised by our findings, because I, along with the rest of my colleagues, thought that the process of fixing climate change ended soon after [2007 rock concert] Live Earth,” CGD assistant director George Oliver told reporters.[…]”We kind of just assumed that the threat of total annihilation spurred everyone into action back in ’07 and that everything got better,” Oliver added.”

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