Morning News and Stuff

Now that the Jan. 31 filing deadline with the Federal Election Commission has come and gone, media outlets have had time to pour over the paperwork and discover how large a role “super PACs” are playing in this year’s presidential race. The short answer: Pretty large.

The New York Times reports about 60 corporations and wealthy individuals gave checks of $100,000 or more to a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney in the months leading up to the Iowa caucuses, underwriting a $17 million blitz of advertising in the early primary states.—-

Meanwhile, American Crossroads — the GOP group backed by former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove — raised $51 million last year. Most of its $11 million in contributions over the past three months came from roughly a dozen wealthy donors.

In other news, the nation’s unemployment rate dropped for the fifth consecutive month to 8.3 percent, its lowest level in three years, the Labor Department reported this morning. Data reveals 12.8 million people were unemployed in January, down from 13.1 million a month earlier.

The group of computer hackers known as Anonymous intercepted a confidential telephone call between FBI and Scotland Yard, and revealed its contents to the public. The call involved efforts to track Anonymous and similar groups, along with dates of planned arrests.

An opinion column in The Washington Post alleges U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will attack Iran in April, May or June. Panetta and the Obama administration declined comment.

An Islamist-led opposition party has won a sweeping majority in elections to Kuwait’s parliament. Overall, the party will get 34 of the 50 seats in the legislative body.

Locally, the historic Roebling Suspension Bridge will get some early spring-cleaning done today. Crews will work on the span to remove graffiti, and traffic will be reduced to one lane. Completed in 1866, the structure was the largest suspension bridge in the world at the time. It was designed by John A. Roebling, who later built the iconic Brooklyn Bridge.

Buckeye Chuck and Punxsutawney Phil are about to get in a fight, and the fur will fly. Chuck is the Ohio counterpart to Phil, the famous Pennsylvania groundhog used in a superstitious rite to determine how long winter will last. Chuck failed to see his shadow at dawn on Thursday, meaning an early end to winter. Phil, however, did see his shadow, meaning six more weeks of cold weather (such as it is.)

Anyone looking for a spring or summer job should check out Kings Island’s website. The amusement park near Mason will hire more than 4,000 seasonal workers this year. The park opens April 28.


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