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

PIMCO Founder To Deficit-Obsessed Congress: Get Back To Reality

One of the most influential investors in the world of finance has a message for lawmakers – particularly conservative lawmakers – on Capitol Hill: rejoin the real world.

In a prospectus for clients, Bill Gross, a co-founder of investment management giant PIMCO, says members’ of Congress incessant focus on deficit – and in particular, the manner in which they obsess about deficits – is foolhardy, and a recipe for disaster. What the country needs, Gross said, is real stimulus now, and a measured return toward fiscal balance in the years ahead.

Read More:
Ex-IMF Chief Economist: Debt Ceiling Default Would Be “A Calamity”
With Economy Faltering, Dems Seize On GOP About-Face On Payroll Tax Cuts For Businesses
Growing Chorus Of Republicans Demand Social Security Cuts In Deficit Deal

In Congress, A Bipartisan Push For Afghan Drawdown

Growing numbers of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are balking both at the length of the war in Afghanistan and its cost.

Read More:
Senate, House head toward split over Libya campaign
Senate Approves Leon Panetta As Pentagon Chief
U.S. Prods Europe On NATO Spending

Pro-Gay Marriage NY Lawmaker: ‘I’m A Republican – I Was Born That Way’

Though no deal has been reached yet in the fight over the New York marriage equality bill, there’s one Republican state Senator who’s dropped his poker face.

James Alesi told a crowd in Albany Tuesday that he’s supporting the bill, adding: “I’m a Republican – I was born that way.”

Barred From Unionizing, Walmart Workers Form New Group To Fight For Better Conditions

For more than 20 years, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the nation’s main union for retail workers, has been trying to help organize Walmart employees. Repeatedly prevented from forming unions, employees are now trying the non-union organizing route, with UFCW’s help.[…]

Unlike a union, OUR Walmart will not be able to directly negotiate on behalf of its workers, but “members could benefit from federal labor laws that protect workers from retaliation for engaging in collective discussion and action.” Unsurprisingly, Walmart is fighting this new non-union group tooth and nail. Over the years, Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, has spent countless millions shutting down organization efforts.

Flooding Forces 11,000 N.D. Residents To Leave Minot

Thousands of Minot residents face a Wednesday deadline to evacuate their homes for a second time this spring as the rising Souris River moves closer to swamping the North Dakota city with what’s predicted to be its worst flood in four decades.

Officials have ordered about 11,000 people, or a quarter of the city’s residents, to evacuate by 6 p.m. But they cautioned even that deadline may be too generous, and said they are prepared to sound warning sirens if water spills over Minot’s protective levees any earlier.

Utah’s Jon Huntsman joins crowded GOP presidential field

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman announced his candidacy for the presidency Tuesday, casting himself as an atypical politician and pledging to take the “high road” in his campaign for the 2012 Republican nomination.

Read More: Gingrich campaign finance team quits

SETI Looking for Space Aliens – And Funding

The SETI Institute, the group in Mountain View, Calif., that had built an array of radio telescopes to search for extraterrestrial life, has set up a fundraising drive to revive its project.

The group ran out of money for operating expenses in April and had to put the array in hibernation.

Satire: Angela Merkel Opens Up To The Only Newspaper She Trusts

German chancellor Angela Merkel once again gave an exclusive interview to The Onion Tuesday, stating that the publication’s undying commitment to journalistic excellence makes it the only newspaper she trusts. “What I like about your organization—no, what I admire and respect about it—is that while The Onion is unerringly fair, it also never lets me off the hook and always holds me accountable for my actions,” said Merkel, who then launched, unprompted, into an extended tirade against the Pulitzer Board, referring to its members as “hack journalists” and “scum-sucking sycophants” to whom she would never give the time of day. […] Merkel spent the next few hours speaking off the record about financial reform, explaining that she was desperate for the kind of clear-eyed, expert advice she could only receive from Onion reporters.

Good News: India, Pakistan aim to nudge peace process

Top diplomats from India and Pakistan meet on Thursday to nudge forward their peace process, an important safety valve which the United States hopes will help stabilize the region as it prepares to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

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