Morning News and Stuff

Perhaps sensing they were losing the public perception battle, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Monday agreed to extend the payroll tax cut for another 10 months without getting offsetting reductions elsewhere in the budget. The action is a victory for President Obama, who opposed the GOP’s attempts to force pay cuts for federal workers and require them to contribute more to their pensions.—-

After a string of victories over the weekend, Rick Santorum’s profile among Republicans nationwide is rising. A New York Times/CBS News poll released this morning found 30 percent of Republican primary voters say they support Santorum, compared with 27 percent for Romney — a statistical dead heat. Recent polls by Gallup, Pew and Public Policy Polling produced similar results.

Jill Stein is seeking the Green Party’s nomination for presidential candidate. A former physician, 61, she is a Harvard Medical School graduate and serves on the board of Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility. The New York Times today asks Stein five questions about her positions on issues, while regularly giving people like Newt Gingrich thousands of inches to espouse his views. (Maybe Stein should propose a moon base and start using racially inflammatory language.)

It looks like U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) are going to defy their party leaders and support the new federal rule that requires most insurers to offer free birth control to women. It shouldn’t be surprising: Snowe and Collins — along with their GOP brethren Lincoln Chafee, Gordon Smith, John Warner and Arlen Specter — proposed a bill in 2001 that would’ve mandated the same thing. Wow, they must really hate Catholics. Right, Mitt?

If you hear a rhythmic beating in the distance, it could be the sound of war drums. A U.S. aircraft carrier has been sent to the Strait of Hormuz, near the coast of Iran, for the second time in two weeks. Iranian officials recently threatened to close the channel, through which 20 percent of the world's oil exports pass, in a dispute about oil trade embargoes.

No one is immune to crime. While vacationing in the West Indies, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and his wife were robbed by a masked, machete-wielding man. No one was injured in the incident at the Breyers’ vacation home, but the intruder left with about $1,000. (Maybe there are a lot of Danny Trejo fans down there?)

In a bizarre accident near Tampa, Fla., a pastor’s daughter was accidentally shot in the head while attending church Sunday. As a church member was showing a 9mm handgun to two young men in a closet, it discharged and a bullet traveled through a wall, striking 20-year-old Hannah Kelley. She remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Locally, phase two of construction at The Banks riverfront district is about to begin. It will include a new pedestrian bridge from Pete Rose Way, security cameras, emergency call stations and other public safety projects.

A judge will allow a 20-year-old Northern Kentucky man to keep driving until he stands trial for killing a couple after allegedly running a red light. Judge Martin Sheehan ruled Monday that Richard Michael Beers could keep his license despite facing two charges of reckless homicide. Since getting his learner’s permit, Beers has been pulled over 13 times, cited for speeding three times, as well as for not having his license with him, running a stop sign, improper passing, careless driving and reckless driving. But he’s suburban and white, so — you know.

Ex-Clermont County Commissioner Archie Wilson pleaded not guilty this morning to charges of soliciting a prostitute and trafficking a controlled substance. Wilson, formerly a darling of area Tea Party groups, was busted in a police sting in Kenton County.

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