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

Katia looming, lawmakers fight for ‘hurricane hunter’ funds

WASHINGTON — With the cleanup from Hurricane Irene ongoing and Katia looming in the Atlantic Ocean, some lawmakers and top federal scientists are making the case to maintain healthy research budgets that sharpen the accuracy of hurricane forecasts.

After Irene Batters Her District, GOP Rep. Hayworth Pledges To Hold Disaster Funds Hostage For Budget Cuts

Last week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) shockingly demanded that Congress should not approve emergency aid to states battered by Hurricane Irene unless it makes offsetting budget cuts elsewhere first. Several other congressional Republicans have made the same demand since then.

Now, Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY) has joined this chorus of disaster aid hostage takers. Hayworth, who represents a portion of New York that the hurricane hit, said Congress has to have budget cuts before it allocates more disaster aid because the “challenges we face with the national budget have not changed,” and likened it to a family skipping a vacation

For Protesters, Keystone Pipeline Is Line In Tar Sand

Dozens of environmental activists showed up in front of the White House Thursday to get arrested in a peaceful protest against a proposed oil pipeline that would cut across the American Midwest.

Organizers said that over the past 10 days, about 800 people have been handcuffed and bused off to a police station in this ongoing action.

What Should Be In Obama’s Jobs Plan? Six Ideas That Could Make The List

When President Obama unveils his jobs plan to Congress next week, he’ll have to balance his desire for spending on programs that might stimulate the economy against the nation’s current appetite for cost cutting. We examine the pros, cons and politics of six proposals that might make Obama’s list

Argentina’s big step towards true sexual equality

The 15 July last year was a historic day for equality in Latin America. Argentina was the first country in the region to legalise same-sex marriage. People took to the streets in celebration after a long vigil in front of congress. The law, sponsored by the government of the president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, was the result of a long and arduous campaign by LGBTQ organisations and allies against conservative sectors led by the Catholic church.

Although it has not drawn as many international headlines, 18 August 2011 was yet another historic day for equality. The Argentinian congress began the debates for a proposed gender identity law. If passed, this law would allow transgender people to correct their names and gender on all legal documents, including birth certificates, IDs and passports through a quick procedure.

Did CIA Rendition Flights Rely on Bogus State Dept. Letter?

As the Washington Post and others have reported today, an obscure court case in New York state has led to the disclosure of new details on CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, in which the U.S. captured dozens of alleged terrorists and sent them to secret prisons overseas.

After Aggressive Lobbying From Health Insurance Industry, Premium Rate Regulation Bill Is Dropped In California

In California, Democrats in the legislature proposed a bill to add greater oversight over the health insurance industry. The rate regulation bill, proposed by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), would have allowed the Insurance Commissioner to review rate hikes proposed by insurers, and block hikes if they are without justification.

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