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


DNC Chair: Sorry Russ, Dems Are All-In On Anonymous Campaign Funds

“MINNEAPOLIS — Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) laid out a passionate case for Democrats to stay away from so-called Super PACs in his keynote address at the Netroots Nation conference Thursday night. On Friday afternoon, Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz made it clear members of her party will not be heeding his advice.

“Progressives shouldn’t be unilaterally disarming,” she told TPM.

Wasserman Schultz said she “certainly understand[s]” and “congratulate[s]” Feingold on his record of campaign finance reform while a member of the Senate, but she said that his vision for a Democratic Party that steers clear of the unlimited anonymous funds allowed under the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision is unrealistic at best and downright dangerous to Democrats at worst.”

Report: Paul Ryan May Personally Benefit From Preserving Billions In Taxpayer Oil Subsidies

“Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the architect of the GOP budget plan, has put forth a plan that calls for ending a number of tax subsidies. However, he has hedged multiple times when asked about oil subsidies. When given the opportunity to end billions in taxpayer giveaways to big oil companies, Ryan voted to preserve the generous subsidies.

The Daily Beast’s Daniel Stone is reporting that Ryan’s protection of billions in wasteful oil subsidies may relate to his own personal fortune. Newly released personal finance disclosures reveal that Ryan and his wife “own stakes in four family companies that lease land in Texas and Oklahoma to the very energy companies that benefit from the tax subsidies in Ryan’s budget plan.” Stone reports that those companies are among his most valuable assets.”

Texas Sen. Chris Harris Tells Spanish Speaker He ‘Should Be Speaking English’ During Committee Hearing

“In the midst of a committee testimony earlier this week surrounding an immigration bill, Texas State Sen. Chris Harris (R) interrupted a Spanish speaking man to tell him he should be speaking in English.

Antolin Aguirre of the Austin Immigrant Rights coalition was testifying against Senate Bill 9 – a measure similar to Arizona’s controversial SB 1070, seen by many as racist and anti-immigrant – when Harris interrupted him.

Antolin Aguirre has been a naturalized citizen since 2001, but as Spanish is his first language, he chose to speak through an interpreter to make sure his opinion was communicated as clearly as possible.”

House GOP Slashes Food Safety Funding Because ‘The Private Sector Self-Polices’

“Last year, a bi-partisan majority in Congress approved a new food safety law, the first significant upgrade of the nation’s food safety system since 1938. The bill was so non-controversial that it was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate. But House Republicans have been threatening to defund the new law through the appropriations process.

Following through on that threat, House Republicans approved a bill yesterday that would cut $87 million from the Food and Drug Administration, as well as $35 million from the USDA’s food safety and inspection service. Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) explained that the House GOP is okay cutting food safety funding because the food industry “self-polices”.”

Boehner’s Pledge To See That The Law Is Followed ‘Whether Or Not He Agrees With It’ Doesn’t Apply To Health Care

“House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has been putting pressure on the White House to explain the legal basis for participating in the UN-backed NATO campaign in Libya. This week Boehner wrote a letter to President Obama warning that he will be in violation of the War Powers Resolution which requires a president to explain to Congress his or her legal reasoning for taking the country to war.

However, Boehner hasn’t always been a big supporter of the President coming to Congress for war authorization. Today during his press briefing, White House spokesperson Jay Carney pointed out that in 1999, Boehner called the War Powers Resolution “constitutionally suspect,” and warned Congress to “resist the temptation to take any action that would do further damage to the institution of the presidency.”

The AP reports that Boehner’s spokesman, Brendan Buck, dismissed Carney’s reference to a “decade-old statement,” and added that, “As speaker, it is Boehner’s responsibility to see that the law is followed, whether or not he agrees with it,” Buck said.

But Boehner hasn’t always been a fan of seeing that the law is followed either, whether or not he agrees with it. In fact, the Speaker has made it very clear that he does not support the Affordable Car Act the President signed into law last year. And 7 months after the ACA became the law of the land, Boehner promised to make sure it isn’t followed.”

Blind Eye In The Sky: Weather Satellites Lose Funding

“Federal budget cuts are threatening to leave the U.S. without some critical weather satellites. That would mean less accurate warnings about events like blizzards and tornadoes.”

What Exactly Is the War Powers Act and Is Obama Really Violating It?

“President Obama is facing a swell of bipartisan criticism for continuing military engagement in Libya without congressional approval. Even supporters of the Libya intervention have complained that the administration is flouting the law.”

Pakistan “concerned” by NATO incursion near border

“ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan said Friday NATO aircraft attacked one of its military posts in the northwest near the Afghan border and it had expressed its serious concern to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad.”

Report reveals huge scale of corruption among Chinese government officials

“Investigation by People’s Bank of China finds more than $120bn has been smuggled out of country since mid-1990s “


Good News: Study: Honeybees Might Have Feelings, Too

“We all know that some animals seem to display emotions. If you’ve ever had a dog, for example, you can tell when they’re feeling down and scientists have found that mammals and birds can exhibit pessimism.

But a new study from the journal Current Biology is extending that to invertebrates: It found that honeybees seem to become pessimists when they’ve been stressed.”

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