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

Obama Announces Plans To Send 10,000 troops Home By Dec. 31

“President Obama announced plans to send home 10,000 troops from Afghanistan and another 23,000 by end the September 2012 in a primetime TV and radio address Wednesday night.

In the 10-minute speech, Obama said he was fulfilling a promise he made at a speech at West Point in 2009 when he ordered a surge of 30,000 troops — that the troops would begin coming home starting in July 2011.”

Read More: What Do Afghans Want? White House Official Says ‘They Want A Smaller Footprint But Don’t Want Us To Leave’
Read More: Afghan court begins overturning election results

Obama Administration Allies Criticize White House’s Legal Process In Libya Decision

“Critics across the ideological spectrum have criticized President Obama for overruling a determination by Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that continued action in Libya is unlawful. But some of the White House’s natural allies in the liberal legal community — including those close to the administration — are troubled by a separate, and in some ways more fundamental, part of this story.

In addition to overruling the OLC — the Justice Department office tasked with establishing the bounds of lawful conduct for the executive branch — the Obama administration also circumvented the basic process administrations typically follow in assuring its policies are legal.”

Read More: McConnell: GOP Outspoken On Libya Because There’s A Democrat In The White House
Read More: Boehner Says Obama Lacks House Support For Libya

Democrats Explicitly Call Out GOP For Sabotaging The Economic Recovery

“They’ve made it explicit. Democrats are accusing Republicans of trying to sabotage the recovery — or at least stall it — by blocking all short-term measures to boost the economy, even ones they previously supported.

In a Capitol press conference Wednesday, the Senate’s top Democrats argued that Republicans don’t want to pass measures like a temporary payroll tax holiday for employers because they’ll improve President Obama’s re-election chances.

“Our Republican colleagues in the House and Senate are driven by putting one man out of work: President Obama,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL).”

Read More: Rep. Gohmert: Boehner and McConnell Are Bad Negotiators

GOP 2012 Presidential Candidates
Sarah Palin Reportedly Quits Bus Tour Halfway Through
Bachmann To Embark On Announcement Tour Next Week In Key States
Club For Growth: Jon Huntsman Is Pretty Lame
Jon Huntsman Plays Off ‘Remarkable’ Comments By Making Them About Him
Cain Energy Plan: Put Oil And Coal CEOs In Charge Of EPA Regulations
Rick Perry To Headline Fundraising Dinner For A Group That Promotes Ex-Gay Therapy
VIDEO: Santorum Struggles To Explain Why He Called For Clinton To Resign, Yet Gives Vitter A Free Pass
Gingrich Calls For Audit Of Fed While Also Urging Repeal Of Legislation That Audits The Fed
Texas Gov. Perry plans trip to New Hampshire

NLRB Pushes New Rules to Facilitate Unionization

“2011 has been a busy year for labor unions across America. After historic budget battles in Wisconsin and Ohio, governors in more states like Florida and New Jersey have been clamping down on collective bargaining rights and targeting state worker benefits in attempts to cut spending and balance budgets.

Last week, the National Labor Relations Board made headlines when it filed a controversial complaint against Boeing aircraft for moving a plant from Washington to South Carolina. According to the complaint Boeing was violating labor laws by allegedly moving the plant so that the company would not have to deal with frequent strikes in their Seattle location.

On Tuesday the NLRB also released newly proposed rules regulating the formation of unions.”

Al Gore: President Obama Has Failed To Lead On Climate Change

“Al Gore is calling out President Obama for his lack of leadership on the environment, saying the White House has failed to “make the case for bold action on climate change.”

The ex-Veep’s criticism is part of a lengthy Rolling Stone essay out Wednesday that recounts how the climate change movement faltered after coming so close to achieving its legislative goals in 2009. “

Lawmakers Re-Introduce The Equal Rights Amendment In Response To Wal-Mart Ruling

“This week, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to 1.5 million women by throwing out their charges of comprehensive gender discrimination by retail behemoth Walmart in a 5-4 decision. In response to the ruling, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) re-introduced the Equal Rights Amendment, a bill that affirms the equal application of the U.S. Constitution to both women and men by declaring “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” Although the ERA applies to government action and not discrimination by Walmart, ratifying the ERA would serve an important reminder that gender discrimination has no place in American society.”

Meet The ‘Friendly Fracosaurus’: Natural Gas Industry Produces Propaganda For Children

“Taking a lesson from coal, the natural gas industry, under increasing scrutiny for its boom of unregulated fracking across the United States, is now bringing its own propaganda to children. Talisman Energy, a Canadian driller with extensive operations in Pennsylvania, has developed the coloring book “Talisman Terry’s Energy Adventure,” starring the “friendly fracosaurus,” a smiling dinosaur wearing drilling garb named Talisman Terry. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains that the coloring book is part of the company’s outreach strategy to Pennsylvania locals.”

Read More: Air Quality Concerns Threaten Natural Gas’s Image

Florida Pushes Rule Allowing Medicaid Providers To Opt-Out Of Family Planning Services On Moral Or Religious Grounds

“The 2010 Republican wave is bearing a multi-pronged attack on women’s reproductive rights. Pushing nearly 1,000 anti-choice bills through legislatures, Republican lawmakers across the country are finding significant success in demonizing Planned Parenthood. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) recently beat out four GOP governors and House Republicans to make Indiana the first state to defund the health and family planning organization to the detriment of thousands. However, because providing family planning services is a mandated requirement for health providers, Indiana is running afoul of federal law and stands to lose $4 billion in Medicaid funding.

Seemingly undeterred by such consequences, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and the GOP-led legislature are now attacking family planning through Medicaid. Earlier this month, Scott signed into law “a landmark Medicaid overhaul” that jeopardizes quality health care for thousands of Floridians. Now, the Florida Independent reports that the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is moving forward with a new rule allowing Medicaid providers to opt out of providing family planning services — which includes birth control — on “moral or religious grounds.””

Read More: Florida poll: Tea party movement could cost Republicans in 2012

Change Made To Airport Screenings For Children

“Airport security workers will now be told to make repeated attempts to screen young children without resorting to invasive pat-downs, the head of the TSA said. The agency is working to put that change in place around the country, and it should reduce, but not eliminate, pat-downs for children, an agency spokesman said.”

Okinawa airbase row takes new twist as US and Japan delay relocation

“Disarray surrounds plan to move Futenma base away from heavily populated area and take 8,000 marines and their families to Guam “

Artist Ai Weiwei released on bail by Chinese police

“Ai tells the Guardian that he is in good health and back with his family after more than two months in detention”

Satire: Almost No One Noticing Officials Doing Corrupt Thing

“WASHINGTON—Though officials apparently assumed they would get away with a deeply corrupt inside deal Tuesday, this morning’s edition of The Onion confirmed that one news organization—and only one news organization—had been onto them all along[…] Government officials who were taken into custody told reporters they would plead guilty to all charges, saying it would be impossible to find any holes in The Onion’s coverage of the illicit plot”

Editor’s Note: This is part of the ongoing coverage of the travesty involving The Onion’s Pulitzer Prize-deserving journalism.

Good News: Why We Tip

“If you ask people why they tip, they’ll say it’s obvious. They tip for good service, of course. It’s a reward for a job well done. But a leading theory on tipping suggests that’s not really why we do it.”

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