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

Ethics panel recommends censure for Rep. Rangel

“The House ethics committee is recommending that 20-term Rep. Charles Rangel of New York be censured and pay any unpaid taxes for financial and fundraising misconduct.

The House will likely consider a censure motion after Thanksgiving. If it passes, Rangel would suffer the embarrassment of standing before his colleagues and receiving an oral rebuke by the speaker.

The five Democrats and five Republicans deliberated for several hours behind closed doors Thursday. Earlier, at a sanctions hearing, Rangel apologized for his misconduct but said he was not a crooked politician out for personal gain.”

Fox News President: Jon Stewart Is Crazy And NPR Is Run By Nazis

“The second part of The Daily Beast’s interview with Fox News president Roger Ailes is out today, and Ailes’ encore doesn’t disappoint.

He responded harshly to Jon Stewart’s pervasive criticism of cable news and had some tough, tough words for NPR.”

Texas Gov. Perry Open To U.S. Military Going Into Mexico

“Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has long criticized the federal government on border security. He’s firmly in the camp that argues that the border needs to be “secured” before any kind of immigration reform can be legislated. On MSNBC this morning, Perry blamed “the federal government’s abject failure” to provide troops and equipment to “defeat this drug cartel threat” for the recent deaths of American citizens near the border. When host Chuck Todd then asked Perry if the U.S. military should cross the border to help Mexico combat drug cartels, Perry said “we have to have use every aspect of law enforcement that we have, including the military.””

DeLay Begins His Defense With A Big Mistake

“Tom DeLay’s lawyers began his defense yesterday by helping prove the prosecution’s case.

DeLay, the former Republican House majority leader, is standing trial in Texas on allegations that he orchestrated a money swap. In 2002, his Texas PAC gave $190,000 in corporate money to the RNC, which then turned around and gave a total of $190,000 to seven Texas state house candidates picked by DeLay’s PAC. Under Texas law, corporate money cannot be used to fund state campaigns.

The defense has argued repeatedly that DeLay was not involved in the PAC’s day-to-day operations and, as such, did not know about the swap until after the fact.

But yesterday, DeLay’s lawyer seemed to prove otherwise. According to the Houston Chronicle, his lawyer introduced scheduling calendars in an attempt to show that DeLay only had meetings with the PAC’s director, Jim Ellis, weeks after the swap happened. But he missed something: DeLay and Ellis attended the same meeting just hours after Ellis had taken out a blank check from the PAC to give to the RNC for the swap. Prosecutors, however, pointed that out. “

Sen. Coburn Supports Increasing Taxes ‘If We Cut Spending’

“Last week, the co-chairs of President Obama’s deficit reduction commission released a report outlining their recommendations to reduce the budget deficit. Since then, a raucous debate has erupted over the proper measures that should be taken to rein in the U.S. debt.

Yesterday morning, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) appeared on CSPAN’s Washington Journal to discuss his thoughts on the commission and the proper steps to reduce the deficit in general. At one point, the senator explained that even though he “has said we don’t need increased taxes, I’ll take increased taxes if we cut spending. We have to look down the road and solve problems for everybody, no matter what their label is”.”

Grayson: GOP Tax Plan Gives Rich Enough Money To Buy 800 Cigars A Year, Light Them With $100 Bills

“One of the key issues at stake in the ongoing lame duck congressional session is whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Conservatives have argued for extending these tax cuts, despite their cost of adding $830 billion to the federal budget deficit over the next ten years. Yesterday, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) took to the House floor to visualize the impact of the Bush tax cuts on the wallets of the richest Americans. The congressman explained that, for the top one percent of income earners in the United States — those who earn at least $1.4 million a year — the Bush tax cuts would give them a tax break of $83,347 a year.

“Let’s give some thought as to what the high and mighty might do with that money,” the Florida congressman said. Used floor charts, Grayson explained that the $83,347 a year was enough to buy 800 expensive cigars — “that’s one for the morning and one for the evening” — and “light each one of those cigars with a hundred dollar bill.””

Boehner’s Home State Tea Party Slams His Secret Plot To Kill The Congressional Ethics Office

“This November, the future House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) rode the Tea Party rhetoric to power, promising to gut “business as usual” on Capitol Hill. Touting an earmark ban and public access to bills as clear moves toward transparency, Boehner seemed demonstrably clear on another accountability issue – congressional ethics. “I think the American people expect that their members of Congress should be held to a high ethical standard,” he said in August.

In spite of that expectation, Boehner is threatening to axe the Office of Congressional ethics. Established in March of 2008 after the Jack Abramoff scandal, the Office of Congressional Ethics is responsible for “launching investigations of wrongdoings by House Members” in order to “stiffen the spine of the House ethics committee.” Operating as an inspector general of sorts, the OCE has “won praise for reviving the House’s notoriously moribund and secretive ethics process.”

Despite strong conservative support for OCE, “GOP leaders are gearing up to kill the fledgling” OCE. In doing so, Boehner is clashing head-on with the rhetoric of many newly-elected Republicans and the driving force behind them — the Tea Party. In Boehner’s home-state, the Tea Party has not only noticed this fact, but has issued him a warning.”

FLASHBACK: Republicans Warned That GM Rescue Was ‘Road Toward Socialism,’ ‘Predictable’ Disaster

“This morning, a rejuvenated General Motors made its initial public offering of stock, hoping to raise $23.1 billion. As a result of the offering, which is the largest in the nation’s history, the federal government’s ownership in the auto company was halved “and billions of dollars in bailout money was returned to the federal government.” According to the New York Times, “a complete exit by the government could happen even within the next two years.”

“Supporting the American auto industry required tough decisions and shared sacrifices, but it helped save jobs, rescue an industry at the heart of America’s manufacturing sector, and make it more competitive for the future,” said President Obama in a statement today. At the time of the auto company rescue, however, Republicans severely criticized the administration’s effort, warning that keeping the companies from a catastrophic collapse would lead the country down “the road to socialism,” and end in “predictable” disaster.”

Obama: GOP endangers U.S. with delay on START treaty

“President Barack Obama emphatically put his personal prestige behind the pending New START arms control treaty with Russia, calling it a “national security imperative” that the Senate pass it by year’s end as he huddled Thursday at the White House with a bipartisan cast of foreign-policy luminaries from previous administrations.”

Rocky Road Ahead for DREAM Act

“After failing to win comprehensive immigration reform during a period when Democrats controlled both the White House and Congress, immigration proponents are now hoping to use the lame-duck session to snag an 11th-hour consolation prize: the DREAM Act.

On Tuesday, President Obama pledged to personally lobby resistant members of Congress to support the bill. But even though the DREAM Act has drawn Republican support in the past, it’s unclear whether the White House can win over enough Senate Republicans to make up for the handful of Democrats who are expected to vote against the bill. “

SEC Investigating Citigroup Mortgage Deal

“The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Citigroup’s role in a $1 billion deal that the bank created in the run-up to the financial crisis. The agency is looking at whether Citi improperly pushed an independent manager to put specific assets into the deal, according to people familiar with the probe.”

As Ireland Nears Bailout, Portugal Waits in Wings

“The country is perceived to be as weak a link in the euro zone as Ireland, though for different reasons.”

Afghan Hero Dog Is Euthanized by Mistake in U.S.

“The dog, Target, survived a suicide bombing, but after she escaped from her adoptive family in Arizona, a shelter mistakenly administered a lethal injection.”

Satire: World’s Power Brokers Hold Annual Summit Where They …

“ST. MORITZ, SWITZERLAND—One hundred fifty of the world’s most powerful people in the fields of politics, banking, business, and media met this past weekend at an exclusive Swiss resort for the 54th annual invitation-only summit where they show each other [the reason they are so important and powerful]. “I always look forward to this crucial and productive gathering,” said industrialist and banker Jacob Wallenberg of the Swedish Wallenbergs, a prominent European family that has wielded significant clout in global financial and political affairs for more than two centuries.”

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