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

As a service to our readers, Noontime News will be a CPAC-free zone. We will provide one link per day with no excerpt: CPAC

Scanlon Sentenced To 20 Months In Prison For Role In Abramoff Scandal

“A U.S. District Judge sentenced Michael Scanlon, Jack Abramoff’s partner in a wide-ranging lobbying sandal, to 20 months in federal prison and 300 hours of community service.

Scanlon also may have to cough up more than $20 million to compensate several Indian tribes, as well as Abramoff’s former lobbying firm, for his role in defrauding them”

Meet Olympia Snowe’s New Hard Rocking Tea Party Challenger

“Maine moderate Olympia Snowe, whose Senate seat has long been considered vulnerable in a Republican primary, has a new Tea Party challenger: Andrew Ian Dodge.

The state coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots in Maine, Dodge told TPM he will announce his entrance into the race Friday at a press conference.”

Mubarak Steps Down In Egypt (VIDEO)

“After 30-years of rule and 18 days of popular protest, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak turned power over to the country’s military, bowing to the unrest that has gripped his nation and captivated the world. Vice President Omar Suleiman announced that Mubarak had stepped down in a televised statement, and said that the higher council of the armed forces will lead the nation.”

Read More: Egypt Post-Mubarak: Key Facts on the Military’s Long-Standing Role
Read More: President Obama Praises Egyptian People and Army
Read More: Quiet Worries as Israel Watches an Ally Depart
Read More: In New York City’s Little Egypt, Infectious Joy

Brown: By Blocking Unemployment Aid Set To Expire, The GOP Says ‘Too Damn Bad’ To American Workers

“After months of working on anything but jobs legislation, GOP lawmakers got an opportunity this week to actually address the crisis. Tomorrow, the Trade Assistance Adjustment (TAA) Program and the Health Care Tax Credit (HCTC) will expire. TAA helps retrain and re-employ workers who have lost their jobs due to foreign trade. HCTC provides compensation to help unemployed workers afford private health insurance. While 72 percent of Americans oppose cutting such critical unemployment assistance, the GOP is seemingly insistent that it expire.

On Tuesday, the House GOP’s plan to extend TAA was pulled from the House floor due to conservative backlash against the government “getting too involved in the economy.” That left the typically obstinate Senate as the last hope to extend the much-needed aid. Together on the Senate floor yesterday, Sens. Robert Casey (D-PA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) offered three different proposals to extend both benefits for 18 months, 4.5 months, and just the HCTC for 18 months by unanimous consent. However, each time, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) was there to block it.”

Norquist: The Right Has To ‘Marginalize’ Islamophobia, ‘There’s No Place For That’ In The GOP

“It is no secret that Islamophobia has been widely prevalent in the conservative movement, particular since President Obama took office. From Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Allen West (R-FL) to Newt Gingrich and those hyperventilating against the Islamic community center near Ground Zero, the right is promoting a baseless and irrational fear about Muslim participation in American civil society.

Frank Gaffney is one of the right’s main proponents of anti-Muslim fearmongering. He recently claimed that conservatives are being infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood and “radical Islamists,” and he recently attacked Americans for Tax Reform leader Grover Norquist for “credentialing the perpetrators of this Muslim Brotherhood influence operation”.

ThinkProgress caught up with Norquist — whose wife is Muslim — and asked him to respond to Gaffney and the general Muslim fearmongering from the right.”

Read More: Former Bush-Cheney National Spokesman Thinks Muslims Are Incapable Of Democracy: ‘This Is The Middle East’

Gas Costs Rise, Set Record For This Time Of Year

“The national average hit $3.127 per gallon on Friday, about 50 cents higher than a year ago.The rise in gasoline prices has so far outpaced increases seen in 2008. That year, gas prices began to soar in late February and eventually hit an all-time high of $4.11 per gallon in July.”

Vermont Gov. Proposes Single-Payer Health Plan

“Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin unveiled a bill this week that would abolish most forms of private health insurance and move state residents into a publicly funded insurance pool.”

House GOP’s vote-getter off to a rough start

“Following some embarrassing new smudges on his Capitol Hill won-loss record, the Republican representing Bakersfield, Kevin McCarthy, in California's southern Central Valley, must demonstrate anew the vote-wrangling skills demanded of him as House majority whip.”

New Wisconsin GOP Governor Pushes For Massive Rollback Of Worker Rights

“Wisconsin’s new Republican governor has set a new benchmark in fraying state-union relations in the wake of massive GOP victories in the November elections.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Scott Walker proposed stripping nearly all government workers — except fire fighters, police, and state patrolmen — of their collective bargaining rights. Under his plan, which he’ll include in his forthcoming budget proposal, state workers would no longer be able to negotiate for better pensions or health benefits or anything other than higher salaries, which couldn’t rise at a quicker pace than the Consumer Price Index. And, as a warning shot across the bow to these same workers, he says he’s alerted the National Guard ahead of any civil disobedience.”

Satire: Senator Honored For Work With Overprivileged Americans

“HOUSTON—Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), long a champion of the country’s most advantaged Americans, was honored for his 20 years of work with the overprivileged Sunday. … “Few men have done so much for those few who already have so much.” … Cornyn later delivered a speech in which he vowed to continue his work with the nation’s least needy. “

Good News: Human ancestor Lucy walked like we do, researchers say

“Our celebrated ancestor Lucy was no waddling, hunched-over ape-woman who felt more at home in the trees. New research from the University of Missouri in Columbia offers the most conclusive evidence yet that Lucy and her tribe spent their lives on solid ground and walked much as modern humans do — more than 3 million years ago.”

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