Noontime News is a snapshot of our RSS feeds from the noon (Eastern time) hour.
“Today, the House is debating the Republican’s 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, which, as we’ve been documenting, slashes funding for food assistance, preventing hundreds of thousands of people from accessing aid. In addition to lopping more than $800 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the GOP’s bill would cut $38 million from the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSIP), as well as $63 million from the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAB).”
“The Chamber of Commerce, as ThinkProgress has extensively documented, went to great lengths to elect Republicans in 2010, funding attack ads against several Democrats. The Chamber has also launched a series of broadsides against the Obama administration agenda, working with Republicans to undermine everything from the Affordable Care Act to the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.
This week, though, Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue may have ignited a civil war within the GOP. Many Tea Party freshman within the House Republican caucus have said that they will not vote to raise the debt ceiling, which would force the U.S. to default on its debt obligations. In fact, many said that raising the debt ceiling would be a “betrayal” of the platform that they ran on.
But Donohue sent a message those freshman during a speech before the Rotary Club of Atlanta: Fail to raise the debt ceiling and “we’ll get rid of you.” Today, Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) appeared on Fox News, where he tore into Donohue for threatening House Republicans.”
“A bitter, behind-the-scenes fight over the GOP’s Medicare phase-out plan has bubbled out into the open, and now Democrats are openly charging Republicans with censoring their communications with constituents.”
“Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) wouldn’t let ATF agents testifying before his House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday on the controversial Project Gunrunner say how weak U.S. gun laws were making it difficult for them to catch criminals smuggling assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) asked one of the agents if weak gun laws made their prosecutions difficult.
“One of you in your testimonies called these laws to prosecute ‘toothless.’ Could explain to me — why are existing straw purchase laws ‘toothless’?” Maloney asked.
Issa butted in to say that their ATF agent’s opinions on U.S. gun laws would not be “considered valid testimony.”
“I want to caution the witnesses that the scope of this, your testimony here is limited, and that it’s not about proposed legislation and the like and under House rules would not fall within the scope of this,” Issa said. “So, anecdotally you can have opinions but ultimately it would not be considered valid testimony.”
GOP 2012 Presidential Candidates
CHART OF THE DAY: Tim Pawlenty’s Tax Cuts Are Bush’s On Steroids — Lots Of Steroids
Barney Frank: ‘The ‘Only Consistent Principle Of Mitt Romney’ Is Political Ambition (VIDEO)
Al Gore Praises Mitt Romney On Climate Change
Report: Michele Bachmann Harbors ‘Unrivaled Extremism’
“The New York Assembly passed the state’s marriage equality bill Wednesday by a vote of 80-63, paving the way for it to be taken up in the state Senate later this week.
The Assembly was widely expected to pass the bill, but the state Senate has been a much more difficult proposition for the coalition of gay rights groups and lawmakers who have been trying to get the bill passed. There are currently 31 state Senators who say they’ll support the bill — including two Republicans — and it needs 32 to pass.”
“Two leading Republicans say they do not support President Obama’s plan to broaden, deepen, and extend a payroll tax cut to stimulate the economy in the short-term.
In a briefing with reporters in the Capitol Tuesday, the House and Senate GOP conference chairs said they’re through with short-term stimulus measures, even if they take the form of tax cuts.”
“Authorities said they’ve questioned two “persons of interest” as the massive wildfire and two others threaten separate corners of New Mexico. The blaze has forced nearly 10,000 people to evacuate in several small mountain communities and two larger towns on the forest’s edge. It has burned 32 homes and four rental cabins.”
Read More: TPM Photoblog: Arizona Burns
“A Tea Party group in Tampa will offer a summer camp to indoctrinate children into a strange mix of Ayn Rand and Jesus Christ:
The organization, which falls under the tea party umbrella, hopes to introduce kids ages 8 to 12 to principles that include “America is good,” “I believe in God,” and “I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.” […]
Children will win hard, wrapped candies to use as currency for a store, symbolizing the gold standard. On the second day, the “banker” will issue paper money instead. Over time, students will realize their paper money buys less and less, while the candies retain their value. […]”
“Last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) that would immunize the tobacco industry against many FDA regulations preventing them from making tobacco more addictive and marketing it to children. According to a joint statement by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.”
“Several constitutional amendments refer to rights that belong to “the people.” The Second Amendment refers to “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms.” The Fourth Amendment provides that “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” According to a sharply divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, this choice of words means that undocumented immigrants have no Second Amendment rights and may also not be able to invoke the Fourth Amendment’s shield against illegal searches and arrests:
[T]he Court’s language does provide some guidance as to the meaning of the term “the people” as it is used in the Second Amendment. The Court held the Second Amendment “surely elevates above all other interests the right of law-abiding, responsible citizens to use arms in defense of hearth and home.” Furthermore, the Court noted that “in all six other provisions of the Constitution that mention ‘the people,’ the term unambiguously refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset.” […] Illegal aliens are not “law-abiding citizens” or “members of the political community,” and aliens who enter or remain in this country illegally and without authorization are not Americans as that word is commonly understood.”
“After dropping another 1.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, housing prices have now experienced a 33-percent decline since the housing crisis began in 2006, according to the latest Case-Shiller data. “This housing crash has been larger and faster than the one during the Great Depression,” writes senior economist Paul Dales. The sharp plunge in prices did slow towards the end of the quarter, but is predicted to continue with 4.5 million households either three payments late or in foreclosure proceedings. “
“Federal authorities have launched a nationwide crack down on scam artists who prey on immigrants hoping to become U.S. citizens. Con artists promise to help illegal immigrants stay in the country legally but in the end, leave the people penniless and in more trouble with the immigration service.”
“Senate lawmakers on Wednesday questioned the wisdom of steep U.S. military budget cuts at a time when top Defense Department officials warn the NATO alliance is weakening due to spending cuts by several European allies.”
“The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether Merrill Lynch short-changed investors and gave undue influence to the hedge fund Magnetar in the creation of a $1.5-billion mortgage-backed security deal.
The investigation, which was first reported by the Financial Times ($), appears to be the agency’s first probe of Merrill Lynch’s CDO business since the financial crisis. (Check our bank investigations cheat sheet for which other firms are being probed.) Here’s the FT:
The investigation is one of several SEC probes into banks that helped underwrite billions of dollars of collateralised debt obligations, securities comprised of mortgages or derivatives linked to them.
It also marks a broadening of the SEC’s investigation into the role of collateral managers, institutions that help select the assets included in CDOs.”
“Greek prime minister fails to form unity government as police battle rioters in Athens and shares tumble over default fears.”
“The federal Food and Drug Administration is ordering sunscreen manufacturers to change the way they label their products to prohibit the use of certain marketing terms. The rules are also designed to clear up confusion about the meaning of “sun protection factor,” or SPF, and other terms like “waterproof.””
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