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


Judge: Sir Allen Stanford Incompetent To Stand Trial

“Texas billionaire Allen Stanford, who allegedly defrauded investors of millions of dollars in a vast offshore Ponzi scheme, isn’t currently competent to stand trial, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

However, Stanford wouldn’t be released to a mental facility, as his lawyers had requested. Instead, U.S. District Judge David Hittner recommended that the Attorney General have Stanford moved to a federal facility with suitable medical capabilities to deal with his reported traumatic brain injury, addiction to an anti-anxiety medication and major depressive disorder.”

Ethics Committee: Wall Street Fundraisers Weren’t As Bad As DeLay

“Nothing to see here, folks!

That’s the takeaway of the House Ethics Committee’s 616-page report on fundraisers targeting financial industry lobbyists held by members of the House around the time the legislative body was voting on an overhaul of financial regulation in December of 2009.

Despite the recommendations of the more independent Office of Congressional Ethics, the House Ethics Committee wouldn’t be looking into whether events geared towards financial lobbyists held by three members of Congress had the appearance of impropriety.”

Lockheed Starts Using Virtual Reality To Test New Products

“Lockheed Martin opened a virtual reality and simulation laboratory in Littleton, Colo, where they can use virtual reality technology to simulate tests of new products and processes before bringing them into the real world.

Some say that the Collaborative Human Immersive Laboratory (CHIL) facility sounds a whole lot like the holodecks on Star Trek. Lockheed Martin spokespeople won’t go that far, but the similarities are unmistakable. It’s a do-it-all kind of facility.”

Hans von Spakovsky: Obama’s DOJ Is Politicized!

“Bush-era Justice Department official Hans von Spakovsky, who according to career lawyers politicized DOJ during his time there, now says in a National Review story that it’s the Obama administration that has been playing politics in the nation’s top law enforcement agency.

Von Spakovsky says that Robin C. Ashton, the woman who now heads DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility, is “petty and juvenile” and “should be disqualified from serving in any career leadership position at Justice, much less the one responsible for enforcing ethical standards.””

New Computer Program Predicts Likelihood Of Violent Civil Unrest Abroad

“Scientists working on a project sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory now have a forecasting model that they claim can accurately predict civil unrest against foreign governments.

A team composed of academics at Kansas State University and New York’s Binghamton University developed the Predictive Societal Indicators of Radicalism Model of Domestic Political Violence Forecast.”

Spokane Official: MLK Day Bomb May Have Been Filled With Rat Poison

“The bomb found along a Martin Luther King Day parade route in Spokane, Wash., may have been packed with a blood-thinning chemical that’s found in rat poison in an effort to inflict worse injuries. “

New Mexico Governor Appoints Man Who Believes Environmentalists Are Communists To Head State Agency

“Newly elected New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R) has made a series of troubling moves since taking office last month, from proposing the elimination of a crucial state women’s services commission to making her first priority the revocation of illegal immigrants’ driver’s licenses. But the Tea Party-backed governor’s selection of Harrison Schmitt to head the state’s Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, which oversees all environmental matters in New Mexico, is the most disturbing action to date.”

Insurance Company Drops Cancer Patient And Veteran Because He Accidentally Underpaid By Two Cents

“One of the worst abuses of the private health insurance industry is the practice of denying claims to pay for necessary care or revoking the coverage of policyholders for frivolous reasons. A Vietnam veteran from Thornton, Colorado, is the latest victim of this practice.

Vietnam vet Ronald Flanagan has been battling cancer for more than two years. Two weeks ago, Flanagan was getting prepped for a bone biopsy at the local Exempla Rock Creek Medical Center. But at the last minute, his wife called the hospital and told them to stop the procedure because she had just received notice that they no longer have insurance. The reason why? The couple had accidentally underpaid their insurer by two pennies and it decided to drop them from their plan.”

Murder Of Judge John Roll Triggers ‘Judicial Emergency’ In Arizona

“In the moments before his death, Chief Judge John Roll was waiting to speak with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) about how to solve his court’s unmanageable caseload. So his murder is all the more tragic because it has exacerbated the very problem he was working with Giffords to solve:

Judge Roslyn O. Silver, who took Roll’s place as chief judge for Arizona, on Friday declared a judicial emergency to allow statutory time limits for trying accused criminals to be temporarily suspended in the district because of an acute shortage of judges. On Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals extended Silver’s temporary order for a year. […] Presently, three judgeships are vacant in the District of Arizona, and a committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States recently recommended that five additional judgeships be added to enable the court to handle its exploding caseload.”

25 Years After Challenger, Space Still Dangerous

“The explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 “was a trauma to the nation’s psyche,” says Sen. Bill Nelson, a former astronaut. But NASA and the American public have learned a few things about space science since then.”

Color-Coded Terror Warnings Get The Red Light

“By the end of April, terror threats to the U.S. will no longer be described in shades of green, blue, yellow, orange and red, The Associated Press has learned. The nation’s color-coded terror warning system will be phased out beginning this week, according to government officials familiar with the plan.”

Obama Takes His Message To The Heartland

“The president called for a new “Sputnik moment” as he spoke to workers at three Wisconsin factories and reinforced his call for further investment in infrastructure and education. Meanwhile, back in Washington, Republicans delved into two contentious issues: spending and health care.”

Egypt’s Young Seize Role of Key Opposition to Mubarak

“Hosni Mubarak’s traditional foes have been displaced by the leaderless tens of thousands of young Egyptians who turned out this week to demand an end to his 30-year rule.”

Read More: Protesters in Egypt Defy Ban as Government Cracks Down

The Female Factor: Women Make Their Mark at Davos, Though Still a Distinct Minority

“The Swiss event, which gave rise to the emblematic Davos Man, is now increasingly populated by Davos Woman, but organizers see a need to amplify that presence.”

Editor’s Note: Davos is the World Economic Forum

Reader Comments Welcome. Share news stories you have seen here…please be sure to attribute them. Comments with violations of Fair Use guidelines may be edited.