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


Obama Gets 12 Stitches After Being Elbowed In Lip During Basketball Game

“President Obama received 12 stitches in his lip today after being elbowed during a basketball game at Fort McNair with personal aide Reggie Love and members of his family.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs issued the following statement:

After being inadvertently hit with an opposing player’s elbow in the lip while playing basketball with friends and family, the President received 12 stitches today administered by the White House Medical Unit. They were done in the doctor’s office located on the ground floor of the White House.”

Steele on thin ice at helm of Republican Party

“A significant bloc of Republican National Committee members wants embattled chairman Michael Steele to step aside, but the rank and file have failed to settle on a clear alternative, according to Associated Press interviews with committee members.

More than four dozen interviews with members of the 168-member central committee found fear that a badly damaged Steele could emerge from the wreckage of a knockdown, drag-out fight to head the party as it challenges President Barack Obama in 2012. While most agree that Steele’s time has been rough — and costly — the members also recognize that a leadership fight could overshadow gains that Republicans made in the midterm elections.”

Meet The Five Incoming Republicans Who Might Have GOP Leaders Sweating Bullets

“A manual for incoming freshman Republicans, distributed by GOP leadership is meant to help them hit the ground running — but also to stay out of trouble.

“It is important to keep in mind that even if you haven’t violated any rules, the appearance of impropriety can be just as damaging. So always be certain that everything you do as a member is — and appears to be — above board,” it reads.

With scores of new members, many untested in politics, coming to Washington, it’s inevitable that at least a few will keep leadership awake at night, wondering if and how they might embarrass the party. Everyone’s been put on notice, but here are five GOPers who, given their past scrapes, will likely be getting the gimlet eye from the top brass.”

Rep. Inslee Attacks Anti-Innovation GOP: Move To Clean Energy ‘Or China Is Going To Eat Our Lunch’

“In an interview that aired last night on Fox News, Sarah Palin pushed the GOP’s anti-innovation meme and attacked those in Congress who oppose drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Palin called them “extreme politicians over on the left who want to buy into” arguments against drilling from “extreme environmentalists.” The former GOP half-term Alaska governor argued that the U.S. needs “to drill and fill up the pipeline again.”

But in a separate interview later in the program, Rep. Jay Inslee (D-WA) noted that drilling in the Arctic refuge really won’t solve America’s energy problems, won’t have much impact on the price of gasoline, and most importantly, moves the United States away from the direction of moving to a clean energy economy. Then, appearing to borrow a phrase from his GOP colleague Rep. Bob Inglis (SC), Inslee noted that China will outpace the U.S. if it doesn’t focus more on a clean energy economy.”

CBO: Recovery Act Raised GDP And Lowered Unemployment But Effects Are ‘Expected To Wane’

“ABC News reports that the Congressional Budget Office this week released its latest report on the effects of the Recovery Act and found that it “raised the GDP, lowered unemployment, and increased the number of people with jobs.” At the same time however, the CBO said that the Recovery Act’s effects “on output peaked in the first half of 2010 and are now diminishing” and that its effect “on employment and unemployment are estimated to lag slightly behind the effects on output; they are expected to wane gradually beginning in the fourth quarter.””

Justice Brennan: A Liberal Icon Gets Another Look

“A long-awaited biography examines the life of Justice William J. Brennan Jr. and his influence during 34 years on the Supreme Court. Stephen Wermiel’s interviews with Brennan during his lifetime reveal a man who defies the stereotype of the liberal justice trying to impose personal views on the law.”

Enabling The Disabled To Play Sweet Music

“The 60-member interPLAY orchestra gives adults with disabilities a chance to discover the music within. “My job is to find out where that music is in this population and get it out,” says conductor Paula Moore.”

U.S. Iraq envoy worried about new WikiLeaks release

“With reports swirling that a third document-dump by the Internet organization WikiLeaks could be imminent – and might reveal confidential comments by foreign leaders about their governments – American diplomats are in damage-control mode.”

In a Sleepy Russian City, Not All Welcome a Cultural Revolution

“What began as a self-styled cultural revolution is now slipping into a culture war of sorts. On one side is a self-assured elite from Moscow, here to instruct the provinces about what is new, cool and on the cutting edge. On the other side are the guardians of a local culture, who feel threatened and belittled by the implication that they are a bunch of rubes.

“The Moscow group hasn’t understood that Perm doesn’t live in the 21st century, but 40 years ago,” said Vladimir Abashev, a professor of philology at Perm State University. “Their cultural policy is aimed at a very small minority.””

In China, Cultivating the Urge to Splurge

“The government of Wuqi (pronounced, roughly, Wu-tzi) offers more generous health insurance to its citizens than many places. Its schools are free all the way through high school, rather than through only ninth grade, as is usual in China, and have been the subject of admiring stories in the Chinese media. Over the last decade, the city has embarked on an ambitious tree-planting program that has brought green to the yellow-brown hills of the Loess Plateau, where Wuqi is located. The Communists ended their Long March in those hills in 1935, and the Wuqi International Hotel is meant to host tourists who come for this history.

The larger idea is to build a more sustainable economy, or what Chinese leaders have called a balanced and harmonious society. In that economy, families would not have to save 20 percent of their income in order to pay for schooling and medical care, as many do now. They would instead be able to afford more of the comforts of modern life — better housing, clothing, transportation and communication. In time, China would become the world’s next great consumer society. “

Satire: Frustrated Obama Sends Nation Rambling 75,000-Word E-Mail

“President Barack Obama sent a rambling 75,000-word e-mail to the entire nation Wednesday, revealing deep frustrations with America’s political culture, his presidency, U.S. citizens, and himself.

The e-mail, which was titled “A couple things,” addressed countless topics in a dense, stream-of-consciousness rant that often went on for hundreds of words without any punctuation or paragraph breaks. Throughout, the president expressed his aggravation on subjects as disparate as the war in Afghanistan, the sluggish economic recovery, his live-in mother-in-law, China’s undervalued currency, Boston’s Logan Airport, and tort reform. […] According to White House sources, Obama “snapped” late Tuesday afternoon when a staffer reminded him he was scheduled to take a call from incoming Speaker of the House John Boehner. At that point, a visibly disgusted Obama was observed slowly repeating the words “House Speaker Boehner” before ordering everyone to leave the Oval Office, where he sat typing and, according to some, banging angrily on his keyboard for the next five hours.[…]

“Yes we can!” the e-mail concluded. “Ugh, you know what? Forget it. Believe what you want. Yours, Barack.””

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