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

Pelosi: Medicare, Social Security Benefit Cuts Are Line In The Sand On Debt Limit Bill

“After a contentious White House meeting with President Obama and other Congressional leaders, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) returned to the Capitol and drew an important red line: Members of her caucus won’t vote for a grand bargain to raise the debt limit and reduce future deficits if the final deal includes cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits — and that means it probably won’t pass.

“You [asked], ‘could the changes compromise the vote?'” Pelosi said at a Thursday afternoon briefing near the House chamber. “I said yes.””

Read More: Rep. Paul Broun: Let’s LOWER The Debt Ceiling!
Read More: Dems Go After Hatch For Saying Poor Need To Do More To Shrink The Debt
Read More: GOP Senators Worried About Constitutional Nuclear Option On Debt Ceiling
Read More: Poll: Majority Don’t Want Entitlement Cuts To Reduce Deficit
Read More: AARP Not Happy With Latest Debt Ceiling Talk
Read More: White House: No Change In Obama’s Position On Social Security
Read More: Under Growing Criticism, Republicans Show Signs Of Anti-Tax Fatigue
Read More: Club For Growth Warns GOP: Balanced Budget Or Bust
Read More: GOP Congressman: House Republicans Have Privately Discussed Impeaching Obama Over Debt Ceiling
Read More: DeMint Is ‘Willing’ To Cause ‘Serious Disruptions’ To U.S. Economy Over Debt Ceiling
Read More: Rep. Ellison Questions Putting Social Security Into Debt Ceiling Deal: It Isn’t Adding To Deficit, It ‘Loans Us Money’

Patrick Leahy To Hold Hearing On DOMA Repeal

“Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is planning to hold a hearing on repealing the Defense of Marriage Act “in the coming weeks.”

According to a press release from the Senate Judiciary Committee, “in the coming weeks, the Committee will hold the first congressional hearing on proposals to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.””

GOP 2012 Presidential Candidates
Bad Romance? Tim Pawlenty Talks About His Favorite Lady Gaga Songs (VIDEO)
Iowa Group Asks Republican Candidates To Agree That Homosexuality Is A Choice, Pornography Should Be Banned
BREAKING: Bachmann pledges to ban pornography
Bachmann’s Parable For The Poor: Have Faith In God And You Won’t Need Welfare

States Run Amok
Despite Budget Crisis, Nikki Haley Spends Millions On New Anti-Immigrant Police Force For South Carolina
Jindal Signs Anti-Choice Bill, Likens Women Who Receive Abortions To Criminals
Missouri’s GOP Senate President Considered Suing GOP Auditor To Get Lower Price Estimation On Voter ID Measure
Minnesota shutdown from MPR: State Fair Food, Bond Rating Downgraded and more

Atlanta Could Have Averted Its Cheating Scandal If It Had Listened To Its Local Teachers Union

“Yesterday, Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA) released a comprehensive report on a massive cheating scandal that took place in Atlanta’s Public Schools system (APS). The report uncovered the participation of nearly 180 APS employees in altering test scores and facilitating cheating.

While uncovering this widespread cheating, the report also noted that these abuses were facilitated by a “culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation” that faced APS teachers and administrators, who were pressured to raise test scores and feared for their jobs if they protested these policies or even reported cheating. One excerpt from the report found that a principal forced a teacher under a table during a meeting because her students’ test scores were deemed unsatisfactory.”

Gun Control Advocates Chide Obama For Inaction

“Six months after the shooting rampage that killed six and injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, gun control advocates are frustrated that there hasn’t been a single congressional hearing or policy change by the White House.”

Texas Executes Mexican After Court Declines Action

“Humberto Leal Garcia’s lawyers said police violated an international treaty by not telling Leal he could contact the Mexican consulate after his arrest. The Obama administration had asked the court to delay the execution.”

Arne Duncan: How Dream Act Can Cut Deficit

“During Obama’s Twitter Town Hall meeting Wednesday, several questions focused on U.S. schools’ needs and budgets. Host Michel Martin and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discuss No Child Left Behind, the plan aimed to improve failing public schools; as well as the Dream Act, which would create a path to citizenship for some undocumented youth”

Read More: Two years after Obama’s college initiative, major obstacles remain

House GOP proposes deep cuts to highway, transit funding

“WASHINGTON — A six-year transportation funding bill that Republicans in the House of Representatives outlined Thursday would sharply cut highway and transit funding and seek to curb Amtrak and high-speed rail projects that the Obama administration supports.

House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., said the bill would keep the federal Highway Trust Fund from running out of money, but critics said it would shortchange the nation’s transportation needs and hurt economic recovery efforts.”

Greek students see their dreams recede

“IRAKLIO, Greece (Reuters) – Sitting in a funky cafe in Crete’s capital, three students were pondering their future, and it was not altogether good news for their economically struggling country. Maybe they would leave”

Iran escalates use of capital punishment

“Two people a day executed by Islamic regime in first half of 2011”

Read More: Mullen accuses Iran of arming anti-U.S. forces in Iraq

Pakistani generals ‘helped sell nuclear secrets’

” North Korea paid senior figures $3.5m, letter claims”

Good News: ‘Weeds’: In Defense Of Botany’s Cockroach

“In an alley just around the corner from NPR’s studios in Washington, D.C., you’ll find an impressive array of plant life. Plantain, chickweed, spurge, thistles and even nightshade thrive among the empty cigarette packs, trash and broken glass.

That’s right — they’re weeds, and they’re everywhere.

And while many might think of them as pests, British nature writer Richard Mabey prefers to think of them as “vegetable guerrillas” and “forest outlaws.” Mabey’s new book, Weeds: In Defense of Nature’s Most Unloved Plants, is a spirited defense of weeds.”

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