ABC7 WEATHER: Rainy with highs in the upper 30s. http://wj.la/72e8x6
SCHOOL CLOSINGS: The list -- http://wj.la/1brtRa4
‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Comprehensive coverage of the icy weather and roads; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.
O’MALLEYCARE: Or something like that, per the Baltimore Sun, “Critics of Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration expressed dismay Sunday at the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Maryland, charging that he deliberately underplayed the state's problems in setting up its health care insurance exchange.
“Republican gubernatorial candidates and General Assembly leaders said there needs to be a serious inquiry into problems outlined by The Baltimore Sun, including a conflict between the prime contractor building the exchange's website and a key subcontractor. GOP leaders, as well as some Democrats, said the contractors' problems in no way relieve O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown — the administration's point man in implementing federal health reforms in Maryland — of responsibility for the botched launch. The website was created to allow the estimated 800,000 uninsured Marylanders shop for health insurance under reforms known as Obamacare. But like the federal site, it ran into problems as soon as it opened.” http://bsun.md/1d4lGzx
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY: Wahoo wah, per the (Charlottesville) Daily Progress, “Implementing the University of Virginia's five-year strategic plan could cost more than a half-billion dollars, much of the money going to faculty, according to school estimates.
“UVa's administration has avoided publicly discussing the plan's cost, calling it a fluid and unpredictable figure. But a 44-page analysis obtained in an open records request put the estimate at $564 million, almost a fourth of that amount covering faculty pay raises and net salaries for more than 400 new professors, mostly to cover an anticipated wave of retirements. Faculty startup packages - or research seed money - would total almost $200 million.” http://bit.ly/IWFTye
TARNISHED LINE: Only slivers of silver, per the Washington Post, “The announcement last week of yet another delay in the completion of the first phase of the Silver Line rail extension has raised concerns over whether the agency building it is pushing aggressively enough to get the project finished.
“Officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority had hoped to turn over responsibility for the first phase of the rail line to Metro this month — a milestone that would bring the Silver Line one step closer to carrying passengers. But that changed after a series of tests in November identified issues with the software that controls a critical safety system. This is the second time in six months that the airports authority has announced a project delay.” http://wapo.st/IWGRuh
TECH COMPANIES UNITE: For a common cause, per the New York Times, “Eight prominent technology companies, bruised by revelations of government spying on their customers’ data and scrambling to repair the damage to their reputations, are mounting a public campaign to urge President Obama and Congress to set new limits on government surveillance.
“On Monday the companies, led by Google and Microsoft, presented a plan to regulate online spying and urged the United States to lead a worldwide effort to restrict it. They accompanied it with an open letter, in the form of full-page ads in national newspapers, including The New York Times, and a website detailing their concerns.” http://nyti.ms/18vB0G8
MEANWHILE: On the flip side, per the Boston Globe, “The nation’s largest wireless companies are regularly sharing with state and local law enforcement authorities thousands of records of cellphone calls and customer locations gleaned from cellphone towers, part of a dramatic expansion of domestic surveillance to investigate crimes, according to new industry statistics provided to Congress.
“Last year alone law enforcement agencies nationwide accessed individual cell phone records well over a million times, according to data to be released Monday by Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, that he obtained from the eight largest wireless providers.” http://bo.st/IAy9Ch
SHE TRIED: To no avail, per The Hill, “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is headed back to the drawing board with her controversial proposal to take sexual assault cases outside the chain of command. Gillibrand had been assured a vote on her plan during work on the Defense authorization bill.
“But a dispute over amendments is prompting Congress to ready an alternative procedure to pass the legislation — one that isn’t likely allow the Senate to consider any major changes to the bill. It’s a frustrating development for Gillibrand and her supporters, after a vote on her measure looked imminent before Thanksgiving.” http://bit.ly/1bRlEPa
POLITICO PLAY: “Virginia Republicans suffered a drubbing last month, losing all three statewide races (though a recount is impending in one). A year earlier, it was pretty much the same story as Mitt Romney got swamped and the party unexpectedly lost ground in the Senate.
“But to hear GOP leaders in this once reliably red state tell it, this is no time to panic. No hint of discouragement is betrayed. Just as many party activists insisted after Romney’s loss, key figures here said that their shortcomings are cosmetic — that the problem is largely about campaign mechanics and how the conservative message is being delivered, not the message itself.” http://politi.co/1jCU9ud
SHUTDOWN RESIDUALS: Gift that keeps on giving, per the Frederick News-Post, “The government shutdown stalled hiring and business advances, Maryland Labor Secretary Leonard Howie said.
“The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation reported Frederick County’s jobless rate in September was 5.3 percent and 5.7 percent in October. That compares with August at 5.6 percent. That is still well below the national unemployment rate of 7 percent in November. National rates are reported ahead of state and local statistics by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.” http://bit.ly/1e0lZR9
MANDELA: This week’s schedule, per DCist, “(Last week) we lost a great one: Nelson Mandela. While the world mourns the death of the former South African President and human rights leader and activist, Mayor Vince Gray and South African Ambassador Ebrahim Rasool gathered at the South African Embassy. . .to announce a week of mourning in D.C. to pay tribute to Mandela.
“. . .(Through) Thursday, Rasool announced that the embassy will host candlelight vigils every night at 7. Gray announced there'll be a condolence book open to the public in the Wilson Building's foyer beginning Monday. It'll later be delivered to the South African people. . . The mourning of Mandela will culminate Wednesday at the Washington National Cathedral, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m.” http://bit.ly/IzufcF
MEANWHILE: Good read -- and art, per City Paper, “It was spring 1985, and TransAfrica had been staging regular demonstrations at the South African Embassy for six months, igniting the Free South Africa movement. But the protests were forced more than a football field's length down Massachusetts Avenue NW by regulations governing actions at embassies. Some disgruntled D.C. punks wanted to push the issue, to be more disruptive to the embassy’s business as usual.
“Searching for a sufficiently in-their-face approach, Chris Bald suggested that Beefeater play “Apartheid No” at maximum volume on the back of a truck right in front of the embassy. When organizers realized this was logistically unfeasible, they decided to do what punks do best: Make some serious noise! Several dozen D.C. punks proceeded to do just this, regularly making an anti-apartheid din with drums and other items over the summer of 1985—Revolution Summer—and off and on until 1990.” http://bit.ly/18tJMEy
SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Redskins lose 45-10 against Kansas City; Caps beat Rangers 4-1.
OPINION: per the Post's Jason Reid, “It doesn’t matter whether Mike Shanahan was the source of an ESPN report Sunday that he strongly considered quitting last season because of owner Daniel Snyder’s relationship with quarterback Robert Griffin III. What is significant is that many within the Redskins organization believe the report has irreparably damaged Shanahan’s relationship with Snyder and the team likely will have a new coach next season, if not sooner.” http://wapo.st/1krI3Ss
TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Billy Joel, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, Martina Arroyo, and Shirley MacLaine -- five artists who have been playing music, dancing or singing since they were children were honored with this year's Kennedy Center Honors in Washington on Sunday.” http://wj.la/18veH03
NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) are D.C. Councilman Jim Graham, who will be asked about the city’s building height limitation, marijuana decriminalization and Metro’s request for a rate hike, as well as former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich, who will be asked about his new book: “America: Hope for Change.”