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


Dems Fight To Protect For-Profit Colleges From Disclosure Rules

“There’s a fight brewing between Democrats over whether to allow the government to crack down on for-profit colleges and universities.

The Department of Education is tired of federally subsidized student loans going to shady for-profit colleges that have poor track records of getting the students who do graduates good work — often leaving them stuck with mountains of debt. To curb this phenomenon, the agency has been moving along with a new regulation they call the “Gainful Employment” rule.”

Thirteen House Dems Vote With GOP To Defund Obama ‘Czars’

“Thirteen Democrats bolstered the GOP’s frame that several of President Obama’s unconfirmed advisers are “czars” by voting for an amendment to the House spending bill that would defund their offices.”

Ohio, Other States Gear Up For Wisconsin-Like Fights Over Worker Rights

“Over the course of a week, national attention has turned to Wisconsin. There, a definitional battle between Democratic backed state workers and anti-union Republicans will play out over the course of days, amid the most impassioned protests the country has seen since the anti-health care rallies of August 2009.”

Read More: Wisconsin Dem Senator Posts ‘brb’ Message On Facebook
Read More: Wis. Dem Legislator: We Are No Longer At Hotel In Rockford — And Focus Should Be On The Issues
Read More: John Boehner: I Stand With WI Gov. Scott Walker
Read More: Obey: Wisconsin Gov. Walker Is Channeling Mubarak
Read More: DNC playing role in Wisconsin protests

Rep. Jeff Flake: Birthers Need to “Accept Reality” (Video)

“For Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), people who don’t believe President Barack Obama was born in the United States “ought to get off this kick”.

On CNN’s American Morning, Flake responded to a poll that found that 51% of likely Republican primary voters don’t believe President Obama was born in the U.S. Only 28% of people who say they were voting in the primary believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States, while 28 % say they were unsure.”

ChamberLeaks: Plan Solicited By Chamber Lawyers Included Malware Hacking Of Activist Computers

“Last Thursday, ThinkProgress revealed that lawyers representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the most powerful trade associations for large corporations like ExxonMobil and CitiGroup, had solicited a proposal from a set of military contractors to develop a surreptitious campaign to attack the Chamber’s political opponents, including ThinkProgress, the Change to Win labor coalition, SEIU, StopTheChamber.com, MoveOn.org and others. The lawyers from the Chamber’s longtime law firm Hunton and Williams had been compiling their own data set on some of these targets. However, the lawyers sought the military contractors for assistance. […]
In addition to the Team Themis plans that ThinkProgress and other outlets have reported on, a closer look at the proposals show that the firms had planned to use exploits to steal information from the Chamber’s opponents, or worse.”

Republican State Lawmaker Blasts WY Anti-Gay Marriage Bill: ‘You Made [Gays] Into Second-Class Citizens’

“With newly-earned majorities, Republicans are now seizing the opportunity to impose their right-wing ideology on the people they govern. GOP-led states across the nation are cracking down on constituencies seemingly distasteful to the conservative element, be it public employees, uninsured Americans, immigrants, Muslims, women, children, and gay people.

Now, the ironically named “Equality State” of Wyoming is joining the great march backwards. Yesterday, its state Senate agreed to consider a bill passed by the House that would void out-of-state same-sex marriages and civil unions.”

Segregation In America: ‘Dragging On And On’

“Racial segregation in the U.S. housing market has ebbed since it peaked around 1960. But even in 2011, few American neighborhoods are truly integrated, according to demographer John Logan. “Black-white segregation is a phenomenon that is dragging on and on,” he says.”

Mideast violence spreads to home port of U.S. 5th Fleet

“The toll of dead and injured from an overnight attack on peaceful protesters in Bahrain mounted Thursday, and with threats of new unrest in this strategic emirate, the United States faced a painful new foreign-policy dilemma in the home port of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet.”

Loan Mod Program Left Homeowner’s Fate in Hands of Dysfunctional Industry

“Last February, with 6 million homeowners in danger of losing their homes, the mortgage industry was assembled at a luxury hotel in San Diego applauding themselves—literally.

“As a group, we owe ourselves a round of applause,” said Yvette Gilmore, vice president of loss mitigation at Freddie Mac, citing the industry’s efforts to avoid foreclosures, garnering loud clapping from the ballroom full of bank executives, lawyers and others in the industry.

That same weekend, nearby homeowner Alexis Burris was agonizing over the impending loss of her home. She had spent a year seeking help from the mortgage servicing company that handled her loan—and that had the power to decide whether to save her house or foreclose on it—but had found the servicer to be anything but helpful.

There were delays, numerous errors and the servicer “continually lost everything,” Burris said. “There were some papers I had to send them 11 times.”

Millions of others homeowners have been caught in the dysfunctional machinery of the loan servicing industry. “

China Assails New U.S. Policy on Internet Freedom

“The Foreign Ministry said a new Obama administration policy was an attempt to meddle in the affairs of other countries.”

Read More: Canada Hit by Cyberattack From China


Good News: Hibernating Bears ‘A Metabolic Marvel’

“For the first time, scientists say they have been able to monitor a bear’s vital signs continuously during a six-month period of hibernation. To their surprise, the researchers discovered that despite lowering its metabolism by 75 percent, a hibernating bear’s internal temperature barely drops at all.[…]

The fact that a bear could reduce its metabolism so much with such a small drop in temperature was a surprise. Barnes says two factors appear to be responsible. First, a bear has a lot of fat and thick fur, so it is well-insulated. Second, when a bear’s internal temperature drops below about 90 degrees Fahrenheit (99 degrees is normal for a bear), it starts to shiver. The shivering produces heat, and the bear’s temperature rises a few degrees. This periodic shivering occurs throughout the winter.”

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