Noontime News is a snapshot of the news from the past 24 hours.  (More)

Hubble Wishes Happy Holidays With Awe-Inspiring Nebula Image (Photo)

No, this image is not one of the Mayan apocalypse. NASA has a tradition of releasing spectacular Hubble images in time for the winter holidays, such as a 2011 photo of a space “snow angel,” and 2012 was no different.

Republicans Crush Boehner’s Plan B

Plan B was supposed to have been John Boehner’s masterstroke — and the only legislative tactic protecting him from an embarrassing defeat in fiscal cliff negotiations with President Obama.

Loughner’s Judge Makes Conservative Plea For Gun Control

Larry Alan Burns, the federal district judge in San Diego who just last month sentenced Tuscon shooter Jared Lee Loughner to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in federal prison, is no darling of the gun control movement.

Booker Advisor: ‘The Mayor Intends To Be A Candidate’ For Senate

A senior adviser to Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) confirmed to TPM Thursday that Booker intends to run for Senate in 2014, even if that means challenging longtime Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in the primary.

Kerry defends diplomacy over military at Senate hearing on Benghazi report

John Kerry, Obama’s presumed choice as next secretary of state, has warned against the emergence of a security mentality that would seal US diplomats off from outside contact following the killing of the US ambassador to Libya.

Newt Gingrich urges Republicans to rethink opposition to gay marriage

It’s what passes for vision in today’s Republican party: recognizing a new political reality and not closing your eyes in denial. Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio showed they have it when they called for a more inclusive party following Mitt Romney‘s defeat. Romney showed he doesn’t have it when he blamed that defeat on “gifts” the president handed out to his base.

Midwest snowstorm leaves four dead and causes travel disruption

Four people died as the first major snowstorm of the season hit the US Midwest early on Thursday, threatening to disrupt some of the nation’s busiest airports ahead of the holiday weekend.

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