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

Key Question For Wis. Dems: To Run Fake Candidates, Or Not?

“Wisconsin Democrats now face a key decision in the state Senate recalls: After Republicans have declared a strategy to plant fake candidates in the Democratic primaries — in order to delay the general elections from July to August, and make trouble in the Dem primaries while the GOP incumbents run unopposed — will they respond in kind and plant fake candidates on the Republican side?”

Jindal Gives Senators Confidential Copies Of Health Care Agency Report

“Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration has handed over a report it commissioned on the agency that manages state employees’ health insurance, after state senators on Wednesday raised the propsect of a legislative subpoena. But the report is still not being made available to the public.

Brenda Hodge, communications director for the Louisiana state Senate, told TPM that the subpoena was not issued because lawmakers were able to “reach an agreement with the [the Division of Administration] a to receive a copy of the report.””

Methodology Question Swirl Around McKinsey’s Employer Survey Faulting Health Law

“Earlier this week, McKinsey published an employer survey which found that 30 percent of businesses could drop coverage as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Republicans quickly seized on the story to further their argument that American’s won’t be able to keep the coverage they have, even though McKinsey refused to release the methodology behind their report.

Now, Greg Sargent reports that “the White House, as well as top Democrats on key House and Senate committees, have privately contacted McKinsey to ask for details on the study’s methodology. According to an Obama administration official and a source on the House Ways and Means Committee, the company refused.” Anonymous sources are also telling Brian Beutler that “the survey was not conducted using McKinsey’s typical, meticulous methodology“.”

Read More: Controversial McKinsey Health Care Study Creates Major Dissent At Firm

GOP 2012 Presidential Candidates
Newt Staffers: ‘We Didn’t Sign Up To Be Hucksters For Products’
Alaska Releases Palin Emails
Gingrich Defiant: ‘Fundamental Difference’ With The ‘Traditional Consulting Community’ (VIDEO)
Tim Pawlenty Believes In The Tax Fairy: Tax Cuts ‘Always Produce An Increase In Revenue’
Herman Cain Breaks With NRA On The Second Amendment
Palin’s Alaska emails show her obsession with image

Dems Target Florida Rep Over Illegal Campaign Donations From His Former Car Dealership

“The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will start running radio ads against Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) on Monday that highlight the allegations his former car dealership violated campaign finance regulations by reimbursing employees for donations to his campaign.”

John Birch Society Celebrates Koch Family For Their Role In Founding The Hate Group

“Billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch have been dominant financiers for conservative front groups and nonprofits for nearly three decades. Their money has flowed to organizations dedicated to lobbying for corporate and upper income tax cuts, as well as to groups responsible for mobilizing Tea Party rallies against President Obama. But the Koch family’s association with fringe right-wing groups began a generation earlier with Fred Koch, the patriarch of the clan.

Fred not only founded the company now known as Koch Industries, he also was a founding member of the John Birch Society. As a founding board member, Fred helped engineer a hysterical wave of attacks on labor, intellectuals, public education, liberal clergy members, and other pillars of society he viewed as a threat. Birchers decried everyone from former President Eisenhower to water utility administrators as pawns in a global communist conspiracy. In the last two years, as the Koch name has become synonymous with right-wing plutocracy in the United States, the Koch family has played down its relation to the Birchers.

However, the New American, the official mouthpiece of the John Birch Society, published a piece this morning celebrating Fred and the Koch family’s pivotal role in developing the group.”

Mercatus Institute Study Refutes Libertarian Conception of Freedom

“The Mercatus Center, a libertarian think tank, produced a study today purporting to show that New York and California are the least-free places in the United States while New Hampshire and South Dakota are the freest.” (Editor’s Note: Includes Map

Comic Morgan Apologizes For Anti-Gay Tirade

“The 30 Rock star stunned many at a June 3 stand-up comedy appearance in Nashville by saying he would “pull out a knife and stab” his son if the son came out as gay. The routine also included many other remarks criticized for virulent homophobia.”

Fire Crews Gain Ground As Winds Drop In Arizona

“Fire officials said the blaze that has burned dozens of homes and scorched hundreds of square miles of land was 5 percent contained as of Friday afternoon. But they feared the blaze will grow if forecasts for stronger winds on Saturday hold true.”

Volcan-Oh No!

“Amazing Photos From Chile’s Volcanic Eruption”

Better Late Than Never? Gov’t Finally Penalizes Major Banks for Mortgage Mod Failures

“The Obama administration’s mortgage modification program is more than two years old. From the beginning, it’s been apparent that the participating banks and mortgage servicers were breaking the program’s rules. The administration has long argued it has little power to do anything about it. But now, after millions of homeowners have been rejected, the government has decided it’s finally time to crack down.

On Thursday, the Treasury Department announced it would be withholding government subsidies to the country’s three largest mortgage servicers, which are also among the U.S.’s largest banks: Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JPMorgan Chase. The banks won’t be getting more money until they show “substantial improvement.”

“It’s important that the Treasury is acknowledging servicer noncompliance,” said Alys Cohen of the National Consumer Law Center, “but that’s been a problem for two years.” The action, while “better than nothing,” underscored the fact that many homeowners had been hurt during that time, she said.”

Gates Rebukes NATO Members On Libya Mission

“Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who leaves office at the end of the month, sharply criticized NATO Friday. He noted that all members of the alliance voted for the Libya mission, but less than half have participated. Just 11 weeks into the mission, the “mightiest military alliance in history” is beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the U.S. once more to make up the difference. The U.S. is “in the midst of a deep economic crisis of our own,” he said. “If you told American taxpayers, as I just did, that they’re bearing 75 percent of the financial burden of the alliance, this going to raise eyebrows.””

Iraq government says Congress delegation “not welcome”

“(Reuters) – Iraq said on Friday a visiting Congress delegation was “not welcome” in the country, citing reports its leader called on Baghdad to pay compensation to Washington for years of war since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Iraqi officials said Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher told reporters during a visit on Friday that Baghdad should repay billions of dollars Washington had spent on the Iraq war.”

Syria referred to UN security council over suspected nuclear programme

“IAEA vote rules against Syria for failure to co-operate with inquiry into suspected nuclear project at Dair Alzour site”

Good News: Gut Bacteria Know Secrets About Your Future

“You have a hundred trillion of these guys in you right now. Before you were born, you had hardly any. Back then, you were floating in amniotic fluid, protected, sanitized. Bacteria kept their distance. Until you slipped down that birth canal, you were pretty much spic-and-span.

Then came your birthday, and all of a sudden, you were invaded.”

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.