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

Steele Stands By Record On Hardball — Without Gaffes! (VIDEO)

“Former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who was defeated for re-election at the party’s meeting just this past Friday, is now popping up again on cable TV. And in an appearance this afternoon on Hardball, the previously gaffe-tastic Steele was…a remarkably level-headed pundit, with the weight of the RNC taken off his shoulders.”

Schwarzenegger: Being Governor Cost Me At Least $200M

“Poor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Fresh off the end of his last term as governor of California, he told an Austrian newspaper that his time in office cost him at least $200 million in expenses and lost income that he could have otherwise made from acting.”

Pat Buchanan: Left Has Been Conducting ‘Something Of A Lynch Mob’ Against Palin, Beck, Limbaugh

“Criticism of Sarah Palin in the wake of the Tucson shootings has been described as everything from “blood libel” to part of an “ongoing pogrom” against conservatives. And now, Pat Buchanan has added a new hyperbolic comparison to the list, describing President Obama’s speech on Wednesday as “a fairly stern admonition, especially to the far left in this country, which has been quite frankly conducting something of a lynch mob against Glenn Beck, against Sarah Palin, against Rush Limbaugh.””

LePage Relents, Attends MLK Day Event After Refusing NAACP Invites And Telling Them To ‘Kiss My Butt’

“As ThinkProgress reported Friday, Maine’s tea party-backed Gov. Paul LePage (R) declined invitations from the NAACP to attend events honoring Martin Luther King Day today because he said he had prior commitments. When LePage was criticized for skipping the events, he fired back, saying, “I am not going to be held hostage by a special interest group,” and telling the civil rights group to “kiss my butt.”

But today, LePage backpedaled and attended an MLK Day breakfast in his hometown of Waterville. The breakfast, which LePage attended in the past as mayor of the town, was not sponsored by the NAACP, but by Spectrum Generations and the Waterville Rotary Club.”

Right-Wing Radio Host Mark Levin Rips ‘Race-Baiting’ Jeb Bush For Urging Outreach To Latinos

“This past week, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) told the GOP it would be “incredibly stupid” to ignore Latinos as a political force. “This is about the conservative cause. If you look over the horizon over the next 10 or 20 years…without an active involvement of Hispanics, we will not be the governing philosophy,” he said.

During an interview with Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera which aired this weekend, Bush — who opposed the original Arizona law SB-1070 and is in favor of comprehensive immigration reform — said he is alienating conservatives in his efforts to reach out to Latinos.”

Read More about Mark Levin: Mark Levin threatens to sue left-wing talkers

Rep. Giffords’ Progress Brightens News Out of Tucson

“Doctors in Tucson, Ariz., are talking about the day Rep, Gabrielle Giffords will leave the hospital. One of her surgeons says Giffords may be just days, at the earliest, from being transferred to a rehabilitation center.”

Democrats Seek Right Message To Boost Health Law

“For Republicans intent on repealing the new health care law, the message has been simple: It’s bad. Democrats, on the other hand, have had a much more difficult job selling the merits of the law — often doing more to confuse than to enthuse the public. […]
“It will ruin the best health care system in the world, it will bankrupt our nation, and it will ruin our economy,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).[…]

Democrats, on the other hand, have had a much more difficult job selling the merits of the law. They have had to explain not only why the bill is good, but also what’s actually in it. That has led lawmakers and President Obama on occasion to resort to reciting lengthy laundry lists of provisions. Those have often done more to confuse than to enthuse the public.”
Read More: Is health care law really a ‘job killer’? Experts doubt it

N.J. Governor Puts Teacher Tenure In Hot Seat

“New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has zeroed in on tenure as he aims to get rid of ineffective teachers and improve that state’s schools. Teacher advocates say schools need to adopt a better evaluation process rather than eliminate tenure.”

Group forms to back Rep. Pence for GOP presidential run

“A group of conservatives on Monday urged Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana to run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, setting up an independent committee aimed at marshaling money and support on his behalf.”

Cut Off, Ivory Coast Chief Is Scraping for Cash

“President Laurent Gbagbo is intent on paying two groups vital to his hold on power: the military and civil servants.”

G.E. to Share Jet Technology With China in New Joint Venture

“General Electric wants to remain an important supplier to the Chinese aviation industry as it tries to challenge Boeing and Airbus in making commercial jetliners.”

Satire: U.S. Renews Contract With Spotted Ground Squirrels Through 2015

“The Department of the Interior announced this week that ongoing negotiations with the nation’s population of spotted ground squirrels have been resolved and that the rodents are now contracted to continue activities on U.S. soil through Dec. 31, 2015. […] Under the terms of the agreement, which was conducted through third-party labor mediators, the ground squirrels will be responsible for scurrying up and down trees; rustling in undergrowth; chittering; and eating a variety of seeds, berries, and nuts.[…]

Negotiations between [the ground squirrel’s] firm of Hannigan, Chen & Falbaum and the Interior Department took nearly two years, and at one point reportedly grew so strained that the government considered opening the bidding to blue jays, marmots, and Lockheed Martin.

A deal was reached only after the ground squirrels acquiesced to signing a non- compete clause that forbids the animals from pursuing foraging opportunities in the Asian or Latin American markets.

“We think this was a deal that had to happen, and both sides are satisfied,” said assistant secretary for wildlife Tom Strickland, who originally balked at the ground squirrel’s terms and was chastised by the pro-squirrel-labor lobby for his use of the “disparaging and insensitive” slang term “gopher” during a television interview early in the negotiations.”

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