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

GOP gets provision to curb ban on energy-sucking light bulbs

WASHINGTON — The Department of Energy won’t be able to enforce rules that ban energy-wasting light bulbs when new standards take effect in January, thanks to a requirement slipped into the federal spending bill.

House Republicans added the provision in response to the concerns of people who mistakenly thought that the 100-watt incandescent light bulb would be banned when new standards go into effect on Jan. 1.

FAMU Drum Major Death Ruled A Homicide

The state medical examiner has ruled that the death of a Florida A&M University drum major last month was a homicide after concluding that the student was severely beaten in a hazing incident and died within an hour.

Rick Perry’s ‘Early Retirement’ Allows Him To Boost His Income By 60 Percenta>

Texas’s longest-serving Governor, Rick Perry (R), is retiring at the end of his term in 2015, promising to walk away from his $150,000 annual salary. But by “officially” retiring early, the Texas Tribune reports that the 61-year-old has been taking home not only that salary, but also “lucrative pension benefits” that, altogether, ad up to a 60 percent boost in compensation:

Congress Cuts Winter Heating Aid For The Poor While Boosting The Defense Budget

Poverty in America is only getting worse, with data showing rising income inequality and the startling fact that half of all Americans are now either in poverty or considered low-income. Were it not for the government programs that comprise the social safety net, those numbers would be even worse. More than a quarter would live in poverty without the safety net, according to one study, and Social Security alone kept 14 million out of poverty last year. Despite that, Congress — and particularly Republicans in Congress — have made cuts to various programs meant to aid the poorest Americans.

Congress reached a deal Thursday to avert a shutdown that would have begun at midnight tonight, and in doing so, Republicans found another low-income program to target, cutting funding for subsidies that help the poor stay warm during the winter by nearly 25 percent. At the same time, however, the Pentagon’s budget is getting a 1 percent boost, as the Associated Press noted

Former Bush Attorneys General Slam Gingrich’s ‘Ridiculous,’ ‘Irresponsible,’ ‘Outrageous,’ and ‘Dangerous’ Courts Plan

One of the backbones of GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign is an authoritarian plan to openly defy the Supreme Court, to wage a campaign of intimidation against judges who disagree with him, or even to eliminate courts entirely as punishment for handing down decisions he disagrees with.

In interviews with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly yesterday, both of George W. Bush’s last two attorneys general disagreed strongly with Gingrich’s proposal. Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, himself a former federal judge, called the plan “ridiculous,” “irresponsible,” “outrageous,” and “dangerous”:

The Return Of Debtor’s Prisons: Thousands Of Americans Jailed For Not Paying Their Bills

Federal imprisonment for unpaid debt has been illegal in the U.S. since 1833. It’s a practice people associate more with the age of Dickens than modern-day America. But as more Americans struggle to pay their bills in the wake of the recession, collection agencies are using harsher methods to get their money, ushering in the return of debtor’s prisons.

NPR reports that it’s becoming increasingly common for people to serve jail time as a result of their debt. Because of “sloppy, incomplete or even false documentation,” many borrowers facing jail time don’t even know they’re being sued by creditors:

New Virginia Adoption Rules Permit Anti-Gay, Gender, Disability And Other Forms Of Discrimination

A Virginia agency just approved new adoption rules which authorize state-licensed adoption agencies to engage in a breathtakingly broad range of discrimination:

Virginia’s Board of Social Services on Wednesday approved final regulations on adoption that, starting in the spring, will effectively allow state-licensed private agencies to deny the adoption of a child by same-sex couples.

The regulations also will allow the adoption agencies to deny services to prospective parents on the basis of age, gender, disability, religion, political belief and family status.

The regulations, however, will prohibit discrimination based on race, color or national origin.

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