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

S&P Downgrades U.S. AAA Bond Rating To AA+, Outlook Negative

“As threatened, the ratings agency Standard & Poors has downgraded the country’s AAA bond rating, despite acknowledging, according to multiple reports, that their initial calculations included a $2 trillion error projecting U.S.’s debt-to-GDP ratio over time.

[…] the key is that the use of the debt limit as a legislative bargaining chip, combined with gridlock in Congress, led S&P to publicly conclude that the country will have a hard time restoring gravity to its debt trajectory.”

Read More: U.S. Adds 117K Jobs In July, Unemployment Ticks Down To 9.1
Read More: GOP Tries To Shift Blame For S&P Downgrade Of U.S. Creditworthiness
Read More: With Economy Stalling, Republicans To Spend August Recess Promoting Ridiculous Constitutional Amendment
Read More: Why S&P’s Downgrade Of The U.S. Credit Rating May Not Be As Bad As It Sounds
Read More: Volatile Market Week Brings Promise Of Cheaper Gas
Read More: ‘Whiplash’: Tense Markets Show Volatility
Read More: The Latest on Our Sputtering Economy, by the Numbers

Wis. GOPer: If You Don’t Like What We Did, Wait For 2012 Instead Of Recalling Me

“One of the targeted Republican state Senators in this Tuesday’s Wisconsin recalls, Alberta Darling, is headed into the home stretch with an interesting message: That the recall should not even be happening, and voters who don’t like the policies that have been enacted under Gov. Scott Walker should wait for the 2012 legislative races”

Read More: Walker On The Recalls: ‘If Given The Facts They’re Going To Make Good Decisions’
Read More: Scott Walker Cuts State Health Services, Then Rejects Health Reform’s Public Health Grants

Watchdogs Want Bright Light On ‘Super Committee’s’ Activities

“Two dozen public interest, consumer, and government watchdog organizations want to shine a bright light on the activities of the newly established super committee tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction this fall.

Specifically, the groups want members of the joint Congressional committee to put a halt to all political fundraising while they conduct their work and provide details of any and all meetings and contacts with with lobbyists and outside parties.”

Read More: Dems Take On Panetta For Pushing Medicare, Social Security Cuts Over Defense Cuts
Read More: CBO Long Range Projection for Social Security

Sixteen Countries File Briefs Challenging Alabama Immigration Law

“Sixteen countries filed briefs against Alabama’s harsh immigration law, which is already facing lawsuits from the Department of Justice; the Episcopal, Methodist, and Roman Catholic Churches; the ACLU; the National Immigration Law Center; and a coalition of Alabamians.”

EXPOSED: The Corporations Funding The Annual Meeting Of The Powerful Right-Wing Front Group ALEC

“This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is holding its annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana. ALEC is a powerful corporate front group that allows big corporations to help write legislation that it then delivers to state legislators across the country. The organization is so influential that as many as a third of all state legislators nationwide, mostly Republicans, are members of its legislative outreach network. Much of the nation’s most dangerous right wing legislation, like laws decimating collective bargaining and promoting climate denial, have come from ALEC.

Now, a source who attended ALEC’s annual meeting has passed on a list of its corporate financiers. The documents detail different levels of funding, ranging from “Presidential” to “Trustee” level sponsors.”

Read More: Wisconsin Dem State Rep. Kicked Out Of ALEC Conference
Read More: VIDEO: Security Guards At American Legislative Exchange Council Conference Physically Attack ThinkProgress Reporters
Read More: Rick Perry Pushes ALEC-Backed Education Policies To Turn Texas Universities Into Businesses

GOP 2012 Presidential Candidates
Rick Perry’s Lousy Grades On Par With Past Nominees
CAIR: Thanks For Defending Muslims, Chris Christie!
Bachmann Slams Obama Birthday Party: I’ll Cancel My Barbecue If Stocks Crash
Santorum Denounces ‘Super-Right’ Of ‘Sexual Liberty,’ And The ‘Pursuit Of Pleasure’
Donald Trump Opposes Offshore Wind Farm, Says It Will Ruin View From His Golf Course

House Ethics Orders Schmidt to Pay Back $500K In Improper Legal Fees

“The House Ethics Committee has cleared Rep. Greg Meeks (D-NY) of charges that he took out an inappropriate loan he received from a businessman but is still investigating whether he disclosed it properly.

Likewise, the panel exonerated Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) of any wrongdoing in accepting $500,000 in legal services from the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund, a Turkish-American interest group, even though they found them to be improper gifts under House rules and are demanding she repay the attorneys. The committee also decided against pursuing an investigation into Rep. Luis Guiterrez’ July 26 arrest during a immigration protest in front of the White House. Guiterrez paid a $100 fine for failing to obey a lawful order of a policeman.”

GOP Chairman Mica Forces Furlough Of Thousands Of Workers, Then Plays Victim: ‘I’ve Had A Brutal Week’

“House Transportation Committee John Mica (R-FL) has been at the forefront of the FAA debacle, advancing the GOP’s anti-union demands (on behalf of his biggest donors) and then adding cuts in subsidies to rural airports to the FAA bill that he admitted were only meant to tweak Democratic senators. But while he’s been more than willing to hold thousands of jobs hostage, Mica evidently can’t handle a little criticism about his role in the matter, as he whined to the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank about having a “brutal week.” “People don’t have to be so personal,” he added.

It’s “this sort of gotcha,” he said, “that’s changed the dynamics of people working more effectively together.””

Cantor Opposes Extending Unemployment Benefits: We Need To Stop ‘Pumping Up’ Jobless Americans

“The unemployment rate inched downwards to 9.1 percent today, with private sector jobs increasing by 154,000. While a slight improvement, these better-than-expected figures provide little comfort to the 14 million Americans who are unemployed. 44.4 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for six months or more.

In response to today’s jobs report, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) declared that “unemployment is far too high” and that Congress “must push pro-growth policies to get back on track.” Noting Cantor’s apparent concern as “spot on,”, CNBC host Jim Kramer told Cantor that obviously, “you’re for extending unemployment benefits given the chaotic situation.” Cantor’s response? Nope, because “for too long in Washington now we’ve been worried about pumping up the stimulus moneys and pumping up unemployment benefits”.”

Five New Orleans Cops Convicted For Their Role in Post-Katrina Shootings

“Nearly six years after Hurricane Katrina tore through Louisiana, a federal jury today convicted five current or former New Orleans police officers in connection with the Danziger Bridge shootings, which occurred in the tumultuous aftermath of the storm. The shootings left two citizens dead and four others injured.”

Chile hit by violent anti-government protests

“Police and demonstrators clash in Santiago as students lead unrest against policies of President Sebastián Pinera”

Japan PM Naoto Kan brings his nuclear-free vision to Hiroshima

“HIROSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) – Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Saturday took his campaign against nuclear energy in Japan to Hiroshima which 66 years ago became the world’s first victim of an atomic bomb.”

Good News: Army will cut length of combat tours to 9 months

“The U.S. Army announced Friday that it will reduce the amount of time soldiers are deployed in combat zones to nine months, the shortest combat rotation since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began nearly 10 years ago. “

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