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


Anti-Gay Activist: Gay Rights Groups Stole The Rainbow From Us!

“An activist for a sub-group of the anti-gay group the National Organization for Marriage is speaking out against the use of the rainbow as a symbol for gay rights. “We are the real rainbow coalition. The gay lobby does not own the rainbow,” she said.

Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse is the founder and president of the Ruth Institute, which describes itself as “a project of the National Organization for Marriage.” On its site, the group describes its mission statement as “to promote life-long married love to college students by creating an intellectual and social climate favorable to marriage.””

House Passes Tax Cut Plan, Obama To Sign

“After a bumpy ride, and a brief, unexpected revolt by rank and file Democrats, the House passed President Obama’s tax plan late Thursday night by a vote of 277 to 148. The vast majority of the ‘no’ votes were cast by Democrats.

Because the package that passed the House is identical to the version that passed the Senate earlier this week, the bill will head directly to the White House for Obama’s signature.”

Wyden Cancer Bout Complicates Dems’ Lame-Duck Agenda

“The exceedingly good news is that Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) is expected to make a full recovery from prostate cancer, for which he will undergo surgery early next week. For Democrats, though, that could create real logistical problems, if they hope to round out a still-crowded lame-duck session in the next several days.

“[I]t now appears that I will be missing votes tomorrow and possibly next week while I prepare and undergo this procedure,” Wyden said in a statement. “I expect to be back to work full-time when the Senate reconvenes in January.”
Update: Wyden’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Hoelzer, has just confirmed to TPM that Sen. Wyden will be available this weekend to vote on the key DADT and DREAM Act votes. “

After Spending Bill Implodes, Reid Schedules Vote on DADT Repeal

“On Thursday night, Senate Republicans killed must-pass legislation to fund the government, and forced Democrats to accept GOP spending demands to avert a federal shutdown. The development infuriated Democratic members and led to unusually angry, churlish exchanges on the Senate floor. But as a consolation prize for defeated Democrats, they’ll have a real shot at finally repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell on Sunday evening.”
From Earlier: Lieberman: DADT Repeal Should Come Before START (VIDEO)

Durbin: The $1.1 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill Is ‘Exactly The Number’ McConnell Asked For

“Senate Republicans have spent the last few days acting shocked and outraged over this year’s omnibus spending bill, which would fund the government through next Sept. 30. Republicans are threatening to derail the lame duck session and shutdown the government over the “disrespectful” measure.

Leading the Republicans’ reckless campaign over the omnibus spending bill, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took to the Senate floor this morning to publicly denounce the 2,000 page bill. Aghast over its physical enormity, McConnell parroted the GOP talking points on the bill: it was dropped in the dead of night, it “runs just under 2,000 pages,” and “it spends more than half a billion dollars per page.” McConnell dropped his own one-page continuing resolution that would hold the government at current spending levels until Feb. 18.

Overhearing McConnell’s tantrum, Senate Majority Whip Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) came to the floor. Acknowledging that the omnibus does indeed cost over a trillion dollars, Durbin offered one small helpful reminder to assuage McConnell’s “horror” over the figure: that $1.1 trillion number was “exactly the amount” he asked for himself.”

Unmanned Mexican Drone Crashes Near El Paso, Texas

“A remote-control drone operated by the Mexican government crashed in the United States near El Paso, Texas, this week, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency confirms to TPM.

“CBP/U.S. Border Patrol responded to a concerned citizen’s call and recovered small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle which belonged to the government of Mexico (GOM),” CBP Press Officer Roger Maier told TPM in an e-mail. “We worked collaboratively with the GOM and other US Federal agencies to coordinate the return of the UAV to the GOM.””

Warning: ‘Greater Exposure’ To Fox News Will Lead To ‘Increased Misinformation’ On Policy Issues

“Last week, World Public Opinion (WPO) released a poll exploring political information in a post-Citizens United national election and found that 90 percent of voters “said that in the 2010 election they encountered information they believed was misleading or false, with 56% saying this occurred frequently.” More troubling, the poll also found “strong evidence that voters were substantially misinformed on many of the key issues of the campaign.” WPO said that voter misinformation contained beliefs about current issues such as TARP, the Recovery Act, health care reform, the economy, and climate change that were “at odds with the conclusions of government agencies, generally regarded as non-partisan, consisting of professional economists and scientists.”

WPO found one bright spot in its lengthy report: “Those who had greater exposure to news sources were generally better informed. In the great majority of cases, those with higher levels of exposure to news sources had lower levels of misinformation.” However, there was one exception, Fox News.”

Polls: War In Afghanistan Now As Unpopular As Iraq, Obama Should Focus On Withdrawal Over Deficit

“As the White House releases its review of the strategy in Afghanistan, claiming “progress” has been made and that a July troop withdrawal is on track, Americans appear increasingly impatient with the decade-long war. A new ABC News-Washington Post poll finds that a record 60 percent of Americans now think the war has “not been worth fighting” — a more than 20-point increase since President Obama’s election two years ago. As the Post notes, it’s “a grim assessment,” and the war in Afghanistan is now as unpopular as the Iraq war was under the Bush administration:

Negative views of the war for the first time are at the level of those recorded for the war in Iraq, whose unpopularity dragged George W. Bush to historic lows in approval across his second term. On average from 2005 through 2009, 60 percent called that war not worth fighting, the same number who say so about Afghanistan now.”

From Steel To Tech, Pittsburgh Transforms Itself

“Some people still call it the Steel City, but the soot from a bygone era is gone. It’s been replaced by efforts to transform the city into a high-tech center. And with an unemployment rate that’s lower than the national average and 1,600 technology companies, the city is well on its way.”

Revenues for ANCs Skyrocket, but Not Payouts to Natives

“Revenues of Alaska Native Corporations that are major federal contractors have grown much faster than profits and dividends they have paid to native shareholders, according to an analysis of financial data compiled by ProPublica.

Seventeen of the highest-grossing ANCs saw revenues rise 82 percent from 2005 through 2009, while profits increased just 14 percent, the analysis shows. During this period, most native shareholders received less than $500 a year in dividends from the corporations. “

European Leaders Agree to a Permanent Crisis Fund

“In an effort to calm fears of spreading financial instability, European Union leaders agreed Thursday to create a permanent support fund for the euro after 2013.”

In France, Civil Unions Gain Favor Over Marriage

“Civil unions confer most of the benefits and protections of marriage, and French couples increasingly prefer them.”

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