ABC7 WEATHER: Mostly cloudy with highs in the mid 30s. http://wj.la/72e8x6
'GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON': Among the reports - Alexandria police to give an update in the investigation of the Ruthanne Lodato homicide case; Series of serious car accidents in Maryland; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.
HERE THEY COME: Maryland's political gubernatorial TV ads, per the Baltimore Sun, "For Maryland TV viewers, the blitz is about to start. Democratic gubernatorial rivals Douglas F. Gansler and Anthony G. Brown announced Wednesday that they have bought time on local stations and will launch television ad campaigns over the next two days. It is the beginning of what is certain to become a drumbeat of 60-second spots that will continue through primary day June 24, at a cost running into millions of dollars in both the Baltimore and Washington media markets.
"A third Democrat in the race for governor, Del. Heather R. Mizeur of Montgomery County, is using public financing and is operating on a much tighter budget. Both the Brown and Gansler campaigns will start out on the positive side, running ads introducing themselves to Democratic voters who might not be familiar with their life stories and political careers.
". . .Gansler will go first, going on the air Thursday in both Baltimore and Washington with a self-narrated spot that recounts highlights of his career in public office, as attorney general the last eight years and as the Montgomery County state's attorney before that. . . Brown's ad will begin running Friday, said campaign manager Justin Schall. He declined to tip his hand on where the ads would be running. In his ad, Brown takes a more personal biographical approach, highlighting his family story and a "lifetime of service to our nation and our state." http://bsun.md/1qa4YXW
BOYD MARCUS: GOP wants him to squirm, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Republicans on the House Privileges and Election Committee on Wednesday pulled Boyd Marcus, a longtime GOP strategist who backed Gov. Terry McAuliffe for governor, from a list of gubernatorial appointments headed to the full House of Delegates for approval, imperiling his nomination. McAuliffe nominated Marcus to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, a position that requires General Assembly confirmation. Marcus' name was the only one that Del. Jackson H. Miller, R-Manassas, pulled out of the list.
"When Del. Robert H. Brink, D-Arlington, pressed Miller for an explanation of his amendment, Miller at first refused. "Without some kind of rationale for it, it seems like this is just political payback," Brink said. Miller then said he sought to strip Marcus' name "due to the fact that there is some cloudiness around this issue after we found that he was a consultant for the governor." http://bit.ly/1hNLS5w
MURIEL BOWSER: Adrian Fenty? Who's he?, per the Washington Post, "During the course of her mayoral campaign, Muriel Bowser has approached her long association with former mayor Adrian M. Fenty with great care, playing up their shared penchant for action and efficiency, while distancing herself from Fenty's abrasive personal style. Bowser, however, was ready to attend an event hosted by one of Fenty's most controversial allies a businessman and fraternity brother implicated in a contracting scheme that a D.C. Council investigation concluded was a "classic case of waste and abuse" before the event was cancelled Tuesday.
"Sinclair Skinner was set to host a fundraiser for Bowser Saturday night at his Crestwood home, according to an invitation obtained by The Washington Post. The invitation refers to the event as a "private reception" with tickets costing $50, though attendees are invited to donate more: "Contributions limit is $2,000. Corporations, PACs, Partnerships, LLCs and LLPs may make contributions." Skinner has long been a controversial character in city politics, dating to his days owning a Georgia Avenue NW dry cleaners and serving on the advisory neighborhood commission in the area, when he became a thorn in the side of D.C. Council member Jim Graham and a frequent purveyor of racially charged rhetoric." http://wapo.st/1jUaZo0
MARK WARNER BALKS: Of military budget cuts, per the Virginian-Pilot, "The ink had barely dried on President Barack Obama's proposed 2015 defense budget Tuesday when resistance to cuts in benefits for military members and their families began to surface. The same day the budget was presented, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) filed legislation to block the Pentagon's plan to cut more than two-thirds of the $1.4 billion subsidy it provides to military commissaries.
"Military leaders acknowledge that the $1 billion reduction, over three years, would likely raise prices at many of the 243 commissaries, where active-duty families and military retirees can buy groceries and household goods tax-free. But they say fiscal pressures driven by automatic budget cuts, known as sequestration, require them to divert the money to what they consider more pressing needs: training and readiness. Overseas commissaries - there are about 70 of them - and those in remote locations in the United States would still be subsidized. Warner said slashing the subsidy puts an unfair burden on service members." http://bit.ly/1f06R5o
UKRAINE: The latest, per the New York Times, "The European Union planned an emergency meeting in Brussels on Thursday to debate the crisis in Ukraine, reinforcing its support for the fledgling government in Kiev even as it punished the Russian-backed former president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, with measures to freeze his assets and those of his closest aides. The 28-nation body revealed the names of 18 people, including Mr. Yanukovych, targeted for asset freezes, holding them responsible for the embezzlement of state funds. It did not specify where the assets were held.
"The measures came a day after an effort by the United States to broker the first face-to-face diplomatic meeting between Russia and Ukraine failed in Paris, although Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergey V. Lavrov, announced that more discussions would be held in the days ahead. Their remarks seemed to leave open the possibility of easing one of the most serious East-West confrontations since the Cold War. But early on Thursday, Mr. Lavrov was quoted as saying that Western measures to involve international bodies such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the NATO-Russia Council were counterproductive." http://nyti.ms/1lAK3g6
MEANWHILE: Of mocking words, per the Los Angeles Times, "The State Department mocked Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in unusually pointed language, calling his claims about the Ukraine crisis the most "startling Russian fiction" since the novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote that "the formula 'two plus two equals five' is not without its attractions." Under the heading "President Putin's Fiction," the statement challenged 10 assertions Putin had made in recent days to justify Russian troop incursions into Ukraine's Crimea region.
"The biting language came on a day when Secretary of State John F. Kerry was in Paris for talks aimed at finding the Russians a face-saving way out of the crisis over Ukraine. Yet U.S. officials also want to build international pressure on Putin by exposing what they view as falsehoods that the Russian leader has used to justify his actions. The statement is another sign of how badly U.S.-Russian relations have deteriorated since the Ukraine crisis began to develop three months ago." http://lat.ms/1fIXeJy
CUT THE MIC: Simply bizarre, per Roll Call, "The committee dustup between Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa and ranking Democrat Elijah E. Cummings has Democrats and Republicans at each other's throats and demanding apologies. On Wednesday, Issa cut off Cummings' microphone after abruptly adjourning a hearing with IRS official Lois Lerner. Issa spent about 15 minutes asking Lerner questions, even though she made it clear she would be invoking her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. But before Cummings could speak, Issa adjourned the committee.
"When Cummings protested and asked for the chance to ask a procedural question, Issa gave him a moment to do so. But when the Maryland Democrat launched into statement attacking Republicans, Issa cut him off. "We're adjourned. Close it down," Issa told committee staff." http://bit.ly/1cbXNuB
POLITICO PLAY: "The Republican "Young Guns" are ready to rule, if they get the chance. Since they first got the name seven years ago, allies and enemies of Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy are now beginning to jockey to prepare for potential changes at the top of the Republican power structure in the House.
"Though publicly Speaker John Boehner has said he plans to keep the gavel in the next Congress, most players in Boehnerland think the speaker hasn't made up his mind about when he'll call it quits. The Young Gun brand has helped groom a host of lawmakers in key roles, including three who are leading contenders in statewide contests." http://politi.co/1gc4oRv
GRAY'S FRONT MAN: Of Star Wars, Rocky and the Smurfs, per City Paper, "Mayor Vince Gray isn't just running for re-election. He's Muhammed Ali, pulling the rope-a-dope on his rivals like it's the Rumble in the Jungle. If you bring up how many of Gray's friends are headed to prison, he'll come back like Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi, stronger than he was before. He's Rocky Balboa facing Apollo Creed, and he's about to switch from his right hand to his left.
"Yes, LL's on the phone with Gray campaign manager and hype man Chuck Thies. But wait, Thies already has another metaphor, this time for the hopefuls who want to throw his boss out of the mayoral suite. They're Smurfs, each more comical than the last. He wonders out loud which candidate is Dopey Smurf. "I might have to do a Tumblr on this," Thies says." http://bit.ly/1qafrmg
TIGER WOODS: And Congressional, per Gazette.Net, "Members of Congressional Country Club are voting on a proposal that could stage the AT&T National golf tournament at the Bethesda course in 2016, 2018 and 2020 and at an unspecified venue in 2015, 2017 and 2019. This year's tournament, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation and is slated for June 23-29, is the last year of Congressional's contract to host the event, which started at the Bethesda course in 2007.
"Some members have complained that the tournament cuts too much into their playing time and use of other facilities such as swimming pools. Members have until March 31 to vote. The Tiger Woods Foundation "worked with the board and membership at Congressional Country Club to find a contract extension that works best for the club," Gregory McLaughlin, foundation president and CEO, said in a statement. "If they approve the current proposal, we are evaluating a variety of local and regional alternatives for the other years." The event moved to Aronimink Golf Club near Philadelphia in 2010 and 2011 while Congressional prepared for and hosted the 2011 U.S. Open." http://bit.ly/1qag5QK
NO RAISE FOR YOU: Says a lone voice, per the Frederick News-Post, "A state legislator who objects to the Frederick County sheriff's stance on immigration enforcement opposed a bill on Wednesday authorizing a pay increase for the agency head. The proposal, which would raise the sheriff's yearly salary from $100,000 to $125,000, cleared the Maryland Senate with 45 votes of support. The lone opposing vote came from Sen. Victor Ramirez, who said he is concerned about Sheriff Chuck Jenkins' attitude toward the immigrant community.
"There have been some questionable practices about the way the current sheriff has treated ... the immigrant community," Ramirez, D-Prince George's, said in an interview. "I'm not sure we should be rewarding that type of behavior." Jenkins has gained a reputation for being tough on illegal immigration. Under his leadership, the county has been the only jurisdiction in the state to participate in the federal 287(g) program, which authorizes correctional officers to enforce certain immigration laws." http://bit.ly/1hOrVw6
WE'LL GET BACK TO YOU: And so it goes, per the Loudoun Times-Mirror, "Loudoun County supervisors were none too pleased to receive a letter yesterday from School Board Chairman Eric Hornberger telling them the School Board will not respond to the supervisors' request for more-detailed information about the Loudoun County Public Schools adopted budget. Hornberger's letter, which supervisors derided during a Wednesday night meeting, adds extra hostility between the two governing bodies three days before they're scheduled to meet to discuss the school system's fiscal 2015 budget.
"The letter also questions whether the Board of Supervisors has the statutory authority to ask for "information about what programmatic needs and requirements could be fulfilled or not fulfilled within the funding provided to the schools under the county administrator's proposal" - verbiage lifted from a February request from Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) to the School Board. In his ire-raising reply, Hornberger said the LCPS budget is what his board believes is "needed to move [LCPS] forward." http://bit.ly/1icxCSX
RICH MAN, POOR MAN: Or something like that, per DCist, "Inequality between high-wage and low-wage workers in D.C. is at its widest level in decades, according to a new report from the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute that shows the city's economic recovery isn't benefitting everyone equally.
"For D.C. residents in the 20th percentile meaning they earn wages less than 80 percent of the population the median hourly wage fell from $13.08 in 2008 to $12.31 in 2012. For people with just a high school diploma, the median wage fell from $15.16 to $12.29 during that period, an 18.9 percent change. Data for the report came from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey." http://bit.ly/1l4YVAe
SORRY, ARLINGTON: In case you missed it, you're not part of the District, per ARLnow, ". . . In Virginia, state law makes marijuana possession a crime punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine for a first offense, and up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for subsequent offenses. There are no proposals in the Virginia General Assembly this year to change that, and police in Arlington County say they have no plans to change the way they enforce the law.
"The decriminalization of pot in the District "will have no effect on our policies or procedures," Arlington County Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck tells ARLnow.com. "We will continue to enforce all laws in the same manner we currently do." In other words, District residents who bring marijuana into Virginia shouldn't expect any leniency from police, despite the fact that an infraction that could cost less than a parking ticket in D.C. is punishable by jail time in the Commonwealth." http://bit.ly/1fK7WJW
SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Wizards beat Utah 104-91, Caps lose 6-4 against Philadelphia.
TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: "There is disgust and shock after D.C. Police say a 21-year-old man's ear was bitten off during an attack on Peabody Street in Northwest Washington. Officers say they found the attacker walking not too far away from where the incident took place with a noticeable amount of blood on his clothing. He is now behind bars." http://wj.la/1hNBt9R
NEWSTALK: Among today's guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is Sen. Dick Black (R-Loudoun and Prince William), who will talk about the impasse over Medicaid expansion that threatens to delay adjournment of the Virginia legislature.