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

Wis. Dem Chair: Russ Feingold, Tammy Baldwin Could Run For Senate Seat

“On a conference call with reporters just now, Wisconsin Democratic Party chairman Mike Tate predicted that the party would have one or more strong candidates in the race to succeed Dem Sen. Herb Kohl, who announced his retirement earlier on Friday. Indeed, Tate directly named some key potential candidates who are already looking at it, or might soon be doing so.”

Read More: Paul Ryan Considering Run For Open Wisconsin Senate Seat

Tom Coburn Denies Negotiating Cash Payout For John Ensign’s Mistress And Her Husband

“If the Senate Ethics Committee’s report on the ethics scandals of former Sen. John Ensign were a movie, the Nevada Republican would no doubt be the star — but Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) would get second billing.

Coburn’s role as an intermediary between his friend and former roommate Ensign and Doug Hampton, the husband of the woman Ensign was having an affair with, has been pretty well established. Coburn has denied playing the role of negotiator over the amount of money Ensign should pay the Hamptons.”

Read More: John Ensign Chief Of Staff John Lopez Granted Immunity

Slideshow: ‘They’re Tryin’ To Wash Us Away’

“The 1927 flood is the standard against which all Mississippi River floods, including this year’s, are measured.”

Read More: Vicksburg, Miss., Prepares For Flood

How Osama Bin Laden Checked His Email

“How did the world’s most wanted man send email? In short, carefully.

In order to avoid eavesdropping, the compound where Osama bin Laden was found and killed by U.S. forces had no internet connection or phone line. The leader of Al Qaeda relied on couriers to ferry messages to and from him on small flash drives, U.S. officials told the Associated Press.”

Sixth Circuit Gives The Thumbs Up To Federal Judge Who Belongs To Whites-Only Country Club

“The Code of Conduct for United States Judges unambiguously states that “[a] judge should not hold membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, or national origin.” Nevertheless, a sharply divided Judicial Council of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 10-8 to permit a federal bankruptcy judge to remain a member of a country club that has no women or African Americans as full-fledged members.”

GOP 2012 Presidential Candidates
Ron Paul: I Would Not Have Voted For The 1964 Civil Rights Act (VIDEO)
Ron Paul: ‘Why Not?’ Abolish FEMA, Government Should Not ‘Take Care Of Us When We Do Dumb Things’

Hedge Funder John Paulson Earns More Hourly Than Most Americans Do In A Lifetime And Pays A Lower Tax Rate

“As ThinkProgress has previously noted, necessary services and public investments in Main Street America are being gutted as some of the wealthiest Americans are getting away with paying less in taxes than they have in a generation.

Progressive activist and former Texas agricultural commissioner Jim Hightower notes one particularly egregious exammple of this unfair economic arrangement: the case of hedge fund billionaire John Paulson. Hightower writes that an American who earned $50,000 a year for 47 years would earn $2.4 million, which would be a healthy sum. Yet Paulson earns that much in an hour […]

The reason Paulson is able to pay so little in taxes compared to the average American is because of what’s known as the “hedge fund loophole.” People who work for hedge funds are allowed to classify income that they’ve gained from investing other people’s money as capital gains rather than normal income.”

High School Sophomore Challenges Bachmann To Basic ‘Fact Test’ On U.S. Constitution

“In expounding upon the Constitution, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) rarely troubles with reading it. Her musings on the subject have earned her yet another Politifact “pants on fire” award and ensured the employment of fact-checkers everywhere. Now, the Minnesota Independent reports that one American — a high school sophomore — wants to take the Congresswoman head on. Fed up with the “injustice” that Bachmann’s “politically expedient” inaccuracies serve to “women everywhere,” New Jersey 10th grader Amy Myers is challenging Bachmann to a public debate — or a basic “fact test” — on the Constitution.”

Florida Republicans Blast Gov. Scott’s Plan To Privatize Prisons: ‘We Should Never Privatize Public Safety’

“Last Saturday, the Florida GOP-led legislature finalized the state’s $69.7 billion budget — and business won big. In this case, the victor was the private prison industry as the GOP’s budget deal includes — at Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) suggestion — “one of the biggest prison privatization programs” in a state with “the third largest state prison system” in the U.S. Indeed, “no other state has sought to privatize so many lock-ups at any one time.”

This lucrative victory for the private prison industry is not surprising given how much they paid for it. As ThinkProgress reported last week, the prison industry — which includes the nation’s second largest private corrections company GEO Group — has doled out hundreds of thousands to Scott and the GOP in Florida since 2003. But not all Republicans are happy about the undue influence.”

Microsoft Structured Acquisition Of Skype To Avoid U.S. Taxes

“On Tuesday, tech giant Microsoft announced to the world that it would be purchasing Internet communication service Skype in an all-cash, $8.5 billion acquisition deal.

One fact that has gone underreported about the deal is how Microsoft structured it to keep its taxes as low as possible. As the Wall Street Journal’s Ronald Barusch notes, Microsoft and Skype saved billions of dollars in taxes because Microsoft used its foreign profits to purchase Skype, which also happens to base its corporate headquarters in a major tax haven itself, Luxembourg.”

Some New Grads Still Struggle To Land Jobs

“On college campuses, the outlook for new grads is better than it’s been for the past couple of years — with starting salaries averaging about $50,000. Still, for many students — especially those without technical skills or a business background — landing a good job remains tough.”

Long-term funding worsens for Medicare and Social Security

“The foul economy has shaved a few more years off the life expectancy of Medicare and Social Security, according to a new government report released Friday.”

Pakistan’s parliament condemns bin Laden raid

“ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s parliament condemned Saturday the U.S. raid to find and kill Osama bin Laden, calling for a review of U.S. ties and warning that Pakistan could cut supply lines to American forces in Afghanistan if there were more such attacks.”

Iran postpones blinding man in retribution punishment

“TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran has postponed blinding a convicted man in retribution for throwing acid in the face of a woman in 2004, the semi-official Fars news agency reported on Saturday.”

Greek crisis forces thousands of Athenians into rural migration

“High in the hills of Arcadia, in a big stone house on the edge of this village overlooking verdant pastures and a valley beyond, a group of young Athenians are busy rebuilding their lives.

Until recently Andritsaina was not much of a prospect for urban Greeks. “But that,” said Yiannis Dikiakos, “was before Athens turned into the explosive cauldron that it has become. We woke up one day and thought we’ve had enough. We want to live the real Greece and we want to live it somewhere else.””

Good News: Stephen Colbert To FEC: I Don’t Want To Be The ‘Chump’ Without Unlimited Corporate Cash (VIDEO)

“Stephen Colbert doesn’t “want to be the one chump” without any unlimited corporate money going to his political action committee. That’s why he showed up the the Federal Election Commission building in D.C. to formally request an advisory opinion on behalf of “Colbert Super PAC,” a proposed independent expenditure only committee able to accept unlimited corporate, individual, political committee and labor contributions.”

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