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

Democrat Kathy Hochul Wins Upset In NY-26, Medicare Vote Key To Victory

“Republicans are going to have plenty of questions about their plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program tomorrow morning after Democrats romped to an improbable victory in a special election focused almost entirely on the issue.

Democrat Kathy Hochul lead 48-43 with over 83% of the votes counted and her victory looks to be a strong one — the Associated Press called the race within an hour of the polls closing.”

Read More: DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Cites Newt In NY-26 Win
Read More: Both Parties Gearing Up For Spin War After NY-26 Results
Read More: Corwin Gets Pre-Emptive Legal Action In NY-26
Read More: Fearing Potential Upset In NY-26, Conservatives Now Insist Election Is Not A Referendum On Ryan Plan

GOP 2012 Presidential Candidates
Report: Santorum To Officially Declare Candidacy In Early June

Report: Obama Justice Department Green Lights John Edwards Prosecution

“The Obama administration’s Justice Department has given federal prosecutors the go ahead to prosecute former Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards, ABC reported late Tuesday.

Edwards is aware he is facing an indictment and is considering his options, ABC’s Jonathan Karl reported.”

VIDEO: AIPAC Attendees Say Jews Who Criticize Israel Are Traitors, Demand Loyalty To Netanyahu

“Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the U.S. Congress. Despite once again rebuking the long-standing U.S. policy that Israel should withdraw to the 1967 borders with mutally agreed land swaps, Netanyahu was repeatedly applauded by Members of Congress (even moreso than Obama).

One reason the Israeli government has been able to secure such steady support for its policies, even when they conflict with U.S. policies, is due to the efforts of American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC). AIPAC’s lobbying network is considered one of the nation’s finest, and every year it holds an annual convention in Washington, D.C. that is heavily attended by members of Congress, usually drawing at least half of the members of the Senate, for example.”

Read More: The U.S. Congress Cheers Netanyahu’s Claim That Israel Does Not Occupy The West Bank

CFTC Charges Oil Traders For ‘Puking’ On Market

“The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the nation’s regulator of oil and other futures markets, has charged crude oil speculators for artificially driving up the price of oil during 2008, when oil reached a record $147 a barrel on a speculative bubble that helped crash the global economy. James Dyer and Nicholas Wildgoose, former BP traders who were working for oil trading house Arcadia/Parnon, were charged for a scheme to hoard oil”

After Leading Iraq War Cheerleading, GOP Rep. Davis Concedes It Was A ‘Mistake,’ ‘Gross Error’

“Earlier this week, longtime hawk Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY) appeared on a local news station to talk foreign policy. While the conversation focused on Libya, at one point Davis pivoted and compared America’s recent military engagement against Muammar Gaddafi to President Bush’s quagmire in Iraq. Davis said the decision to go to war in Iraq was a “mistake” and a “gross error” based on “bad information.” He said he was glad troops are beginning to draw down in Iraq, and claimed that the open-ended commitment in that country should not be repeated in Libya.”

Texas Judge Blocks Naming Street For Cesar Chavez Amid Fears Of The ‘Minority Becoming A Majority’

“Yesterday a Texas judge blocked the city of San Antonio from renaming a street after Cesar Chavez, the late labor activist who fought for higher wages and better working conditions for migrant farm workers. The restraining order came just days after the City Council voted to rename Durango Street, one of San Antonio’s main thoroughfares. Chavez was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, for his work on civil rights and is a hero to many in the city, which is 61 percent Hispanic. Yet a state district judge sided with groups that protest that naming the street after Chavez somehow interferes with “maintain[ing] the integrity of our history.””

REPORT: Across The Country, Conservatives Shift Taxpayer Dollars From Public to Private Schools

“As ThinkProgress previously reported, a handful of billionaires and right-wing think tanks and foundations are pushing school voucher legislation nationwide, with the effect of undermining public education. These schemes funnel taxpayer dollars to private schools with the promise of better education for students — a claim that has never been backed up with actual evidence.

While many of the conservatives who are for expanding vouchers claim they are not trying to undermine public education but rather inject more competition into it — “school choice,” as they call it — Wisconsin’s superintendent Tony Evers said yesterday that it is morally wrong for his state to be expanding taxpayer funds for Milkwaukee’s voucher program while at the same time slashing money for the state’s public schools.”

After Blowback, Tennessee Chamber Of Commerce Reverses Support For Anti-Gay Law

“In a sweeping attack against its LGBT community, the GOP-dominated Tennessee legislature overturned a Nashville non-discrimination ordinance that prohibits businesses that contract with the state from discriminating against sexual orientation and gender identity. The legislature responded by passing what’s being called the “Special Access to Discriminate” (SAD) Act, a bill that prohibits any municipality from extending non-discrimination protections to LGBT people because state law does not currently cover sexual orientation or gender identity as a protected class. Though many businesses already have similar policies, the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce joined with religious-right groups to push the SAD Act into law. “Our position is now, and has historically been, that employment standards from the government should be consistent across the state and not create an additional burden on companies that are endeavoring to be competitive and provide jobs to all Tennesseans based on their individual qualifications and merit,” the Chamber said in a statement earlier this month.

But, after significant blowback from the LGBT community, as well as the Chamber’s member companies, the business lobby swiftly reversed its position on the bill, stating yesterday that because the bill “has turned into a debate on diversity and inclusiveness principles, which we support, we are now officially opposing this legislation”.”

Sheer Meanness: Cantor Says Congress Won’t Pay For Missouri Disaster Relief Unless Spending Is Cut Elsewhere

“Firefighters and rescue workers who arrived in Joplin, MO, found that the deadly tornado that hit the state Sunday had left a “barren, smoky wasteland” in its path. Rescue workers worked through more storms in an effort to find potential survivors, even as the death toll rose to at least 119. President Obama pledged full support to the state Monday, telling survivors, “We’re here with you. We’re going to stay by you.”

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), however, said that before Congress approved federal funds for disaster relief, it had to offset the spending with cuts to other programs.”

Read More: Joplin’s Tornado Leaves 7 Mile Path Of Destruction

Kansas Lawmaker Says Women Should Plan Ahead For Rape: ‘I Have A Spare Tire’

“The anti-choice tidal wave stemming from the 2010 elections has produced nearly 1,000 anti-choice bills this year alone. When Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) took office last year, he called on the state legislature to create “a culture of life” and, in the last 15 minutes of their annual session, they delivered. The Republican majority passed a law to ban insurance companies from offering abortion coverage in their general health plans, except when a woman’s life is at risk.

However, one pro-choice Republican, state Rep. Barbara Bollier, feared that Republicans were cutting off “a way for women to cover the cost of terminating pregnancies” — particularly when they’re unintended. During the House debate, she “questioned whether women would buy abortion-only policies long before they have crisis or unwanted pregnancies or are rape victims.” But state Rep. Pete DeGraaf (R) was ready with a shocking retort. DeGraaf said women should plan ahead for situations such as rape because, after all, “I have a spare tire on my car“.”

Obama: U.S., U.K Relationship ‘Never Rests’

“Queen Elizabeth II welcomed the Obamas to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday for the first day of a state visit ahead of the G-8 summit in France later this week. Obama and the queen reaffirmed the bond between the U.S. and U.K. that has strengthened through the sacrifice of war and a history of common values.”

Gates: Spending cuts will force tough choices for military

“The outgoing defense secretary, Robert Gates, said Tuesday that the U.S. military would become smaller and service members’ pay and benefits could be reduced as the Pentagon struggles to meet President Barack Obama’s stringent cost-cutting targets. Americans would face tough choices over whether to eliminate some weapons programs, shrink the size of fighting units, and overhaul health care and retirement packages.”

French women accuse minister of sex harassment

“PARIS (Reuters) – Two French women are filing legal complaints against a government minister they accuse of sexual harassment, apparently encouraged to speak up after the recent arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn in sex crime charges.”

Read More: How Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s arrest awoke a dormant anger in the heart of France’s women

China crisis over Yangtze river drought forces drastic dam measures

“Severe drought has forced China to release 5bn cubic metres from Three Gorges reservoir for irrigation and drinking water”

Hosni Mubarak charged with murder

“Former president’s sons Alaa and Gamal are also referred to criminal court days before more planned protests in Egypt “

Good News: Nature’s Secret: Why Honey Bees Are Better Politicians Than Humans

“How do [bees] choose a new home?

Bees are natural democrats. They’ve been shaped that way by evolution, plus they’ve got this spectacular, secret extra ingredient (which I’ll describe in a minute). But first, here’s the routine”

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