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

New Hampshire GOP Lawmakers Propose ‘Warning: You Are About To Enter Massachusetts’ Border Signs

Focused as ever on the issues that matter, Republican lawmakers in New Hampshire are eagerly pushing a plan to post road signs on the state’s border that would alert travelers to the dangers of entering neighboring liberal Massachusetts.

Protesters plan to deliver 200,000 signatures to Lowe’s over ‘All-American Muslim’

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A group of interfaith clergy plans to deliver a petition Tuesday to Lowe’s Cos. headquarters in Mooresville, N.C., asking the home-improvement retailer to apologize for pulling ads from a TV show about Muslim Americans. The coalition, which includes activist and faith-based groups Faithful America,, CREDO, Sum of Us and Groundswell, are angered by Lowe’s Dec. 5 decision to stop advertising on the TLC show “All-American Muslim.”

Once again, Speaker Boehner seems a prisoner of his caucus

WASHINGTON — Once again, Republican conservatives in the House of Representatives look like they’re insisting upon a rigid stand that’s shackling Speaker John Boehner’s efforts to compromise and pass a payroll tax-cut extension. And once again, the question being asked all over Capitol Hill is: Is Boehner a pragmatic leader adept at keeping renegade Republicans unified — or is he being led by a band of staunch ideologues who are driving the party deep into a political ditch?

Sen. DeMint’s deficit-cutting plan targets poor

WASHINGTON — A plan by Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina to slash the federal budget deficit would hit the poorest Americans especially hard, directing 70 percent of its $4.2 trillion in spending cuts at safety-net programs intended to help tens of millions of low-income people.

Seattle Officials Ban Single-Use Plastic Bags

The Seattle City Council voted Monday to ban single-use plastic bags from groceries and other retail stores, joining a growing trend among cities that embrace green values.

The ordinance, which was approved unanimously following months of discussion and debate, takes effect in July 2012. It includes a provision to charge a nickel fee for the use of paper bags, to encourage people to bring their own bags when they go shopping.

Secret GOP meetings spelled Koch’s end as majority leader

Leaving a meeting at the Minneapolis Club last Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch thought she was bound for a social event in St. Paul.

Instead, sources say, Deputy Senate Majority Leader Geoff Michel hustled her into a nearby meeting room. There, he and three other GOP senators confronted her about an alleged affair with a male Senate staffer who reported to Koch. After a meeting that lasted for hours that night and resumed on Thursday morning, the Republican from Buffalo resigned her leadership post and announced she would not seek re-election.

How Will A New Leader Handle North Korea’s Nukes?

Perhaps Kim Jong Il’s most enduring legacy was to turn North Korea into a nuclear weapons state. The country successfully tested a nuclear bomb underground in 2006, and a second test followed in 2009.

With Kim’s death, which was announced Monday, his presumed successor is his son Kim Jong Un. But little is known about him or his thinking on the country’s nuclear program.

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