July 23 Morning Newscast

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July 23, 2012 Morning Edition News

An analysis of political advertising on Birmingham television stations shows just how much influence so-called Super PACS have on the airwaves in Alabama’s largest city. The Anniston Star collected and analyzed more than a thousand pages of documents from the five Birmingham broadcast TV stations. It found that while Presidential candidate Mitt Romney spent just over $70,000 in the Birmingham market during the primary, his Super PAC ally spent nearly four times that amount. Former candidate Newt Gingrich outspent his Super PAC 3 to 1, and Rick Santorum’s campaign didn’t spend a dime in Birmingham in the period analyzed, but his Super PAC spent $71,000. No candidates for statewide office seemed to have Super PACS spending money for them, but the Anniston Star reports one Alabama candidate has a super PAC spending against him. The Campaign for Primary Accountability spent $54,390 on ads aimed at defeating Congressman Spencer Bachus. That’s more than his two primary opponents combined.

In Other News:

An Episcopal bishop in Alabama says he won’t allow priests in his diocese to bless same-sex unions for the time being. Bishop Kee Sloan voted in favor of creating a new blessing for same-sex couples in July during a national convention of the Episcopal Church. Those who support the blessing ceremonies for same-sex couples tell The Birmingham News they’re puzzled that Sloan voted in favor of the ceremonies nationally but won’t allow them locally. Sloan said the issue is too divisive for the church in Alabama. He said the ceremonies may eventually be permitted in his diocese, but he doesn’t have a timetable in mind.

Scientists say the population of lionfish in the Gulf of Mexico is exploding and they’re worried about how it will affect the ecosystem. The lionfish is named for the mane of elaborate fins around their bodies. They have big mouths and can consume fish nearly as big as they are. Lionfish are native to the Pacific Ocean, but not the Gulf or Atlantic. Scientists believe captive lionfish may have escaped from aquariums in south Florida during Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

The city of Gadsden’s budget for next year might include a slight increase in revenue for the first time in several years. The Gadsden Times reports that so far this year revenues are running 3.6 percent over last year. Mayor Sherman Guyton tells the Times he’d like to be able to balance the city’s budget without having to dip into reserves. Last year the city had to use one million dollars in reserves to balance the budget.