DAYBREAK DAILY: Maryland Senate President backs minimum-wage boost

ABC7 WEATHER: Mostly sunny with highs in the mid 70s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Fire burdens P.G. Hospital transformers; Red Line woes;Arch Campbell’s movie reviews ; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

MINIMUM IN MARYLAND: But a maximum push, per the Baltimore Sun, “A powerful voice joined the growing chorus to raise the state's minimum wage Thursday as Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller said it was time for Maryland to act. "Blue-collar people are finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet," Miller said. "I think it's time to increase the minimum wage. It's just a matter of figuring out how to do it without laying people off."

“He said tying a wage increase to a cut in the corporate income tax could be a way to win votes in Annapolis. Miller's comments come as Gov. Martin O'Malley, all three Democratic candidates for governor, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore's House delegation in Annapolis all have voiced support for elevating the pay of Maryland's lowest-earning workers. But others expressed concern that raising the wage in Maryland would hurt the state's economy.”

MOON DANCE: Of sorts, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Wallops Island will be in the international spotlight Friday night as the launch of NASA’s latest moon mission is broadcast around the world. Even if you can’t go to the Eastern Shore to watch the launch of LADEE, the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, you can still see it: in person, online or on your mobile device.”

PURPLE HAZE: Just the facts, per the Washington Post, “Building a light-rail Purple Line across the Maryland suburbs would require condemning 116 homes and businesses and cutting down most trees on a popular walking and biking path between Bethesda and Silver Spring, according to a final environmental study released Thursday.

“The 16-mile line between Bethesda and New Carrollton would also bring noticeable noise to some communities because trains would have to sound warning horns or bells as they approached intersections. Some residents also would feel vibrations from passing trains, the study found.”

DEATH SENTENCES: Of a study, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “A review of Virginia’s death penalty aimed at improving fairness and accuracy calls for safeguards in the use of suspect lineups and more access by defense lawyers to information to help them prepare cases.

“The recommendations are among more than a dozen in the two-year effort sponsored by the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Assessment Project that since 2003 has studied and reported on the death penalty in 10 other states.”

NSA STUFF: Quite crafty, per the New York Times, “The National Security Agency is winning its long-running secret war on encryption, using supercomputers, technical trickery, court orders and behind-the-scenes persuasion to undermine the major tools protecting the privacy of everyday communications in the Internet age, according to newly disclosed documents.

“The agency has circumvented or cracked much of the encryption, or digital scrambling, that guards global commerce and banking systems, protects sensitive data like trade secrets and medical records, and automatically secures the e-mails, Web searches, Internet chats and phone calls of Americans and others around the world, the documents show.”

SITUATION SYRIA: The waiting game, per the Los Angeles Times, “Syrian rebel forces say they are planning a nationwide offensive in conjunction with anticipated U.S. strikes against the forces of President Bashar Assad, seeking to use U.S. military might to force a decisive shift in the country's long civil war.

“Rebel commanders disagree on the level of coordination they expect with the U.S. and its allies, and made it clear they hope the United States will do more than launch the limited strikes President Obama has proposed to deter Assad from using chemical weapons. The rebels have been disappointed by America's reluctance to get involved more deeply in the conflict.”

MEANWHILE: Doubts, per The Hill, “President Obama’s request for congressional approval of a military strike in Syria is facing failure and could need a significant game-changer to pass the House. While the authorization request might pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, substantial numbers of war-weary Republicans and Democrats oppose it in the GOP-held House.

“The administration has launched an all-out offensive to turn the tide, with President Obama making calls to lawmakers and Cabinet members offering both classified and unclassified briefings. So far, it’s failed to reverse the drift of congressional or public opinion.”

POLITICO PLAY: “For members of Congress, a vote to authorize the use of military force in Syria may be a vote to go it alone – politically. As lawmakers weigh the prospect of potential strikes to punish Syria’s regime for the alleged use of chemical weapons, both Republicans and Democrats are shadowed by a daunting political reality: not only is the public dead-set against military action, but there’s also no apparent infrastructure in place to help change the voters’ minds.”

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MARYLAND WEED: Of acting civil, per Gazette.Net, “A bill making possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil rather than criminal offense will be introduced in the coming state legislative session, after failing to advance this year. Sen. Robert A. Zirkin (D-Dist. 11) of Owings Mills said he will “absolutely” introduce a decriminalization bill in the 2014 General Assembly session.”

D.C. GOES SILENT: At least for now, per City Paper, “What happened to the District's summer of scandal? One minute a lawyer for one of the Jeff Thompson-tied straw donors was predicting a parade through the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, the next, nothing. The only thing carrying LL through the fizzling summer of scandal has been the prospect of an autumn and winter of scandal, especially the December bribery trial of politically wired Chinatown restaurateur Tony Cheng. But now even that could be delayed.”

THE FLU: Advance warning, per the Washington Times, “The days are still warm, the school year has just begun, and even Congress has yet to return. But hospitals and clinics are gearing up for the flu after epidemic levels and a shortage of vaccines early last season. Health officials said they have heightened awareness of the coming flu season and are stressing early action to avoid long lines and short supplies.”

PARKING SNAFU: Borrowed time, per ARLnow, “Drivers who use the iPark devices to pay for parking in Arlington will no longer be able to refill them. The manufacturer, ePark Systems, declared bankruptcy Tuesday, Arlington Chief Deputy Treasurer Carla de la Pava said, notifying the county of the impending bankruptcy at about 1:00 that morning. Funds that are still on the devices can still be used, but refills cannot be processed.”

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “George Zimmerman's wife, Shellie Zimmerman, has filed for divorce -- just less than two months after her husband was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin and a week after she pleaded guilty to perjury in his case. Her attorney, Kelly Sims, says she made the decision because of "disappointment."

NEWSTALK: Among today’s topics (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) -- Now that transportation dollars are starting to flow in Virginia, which projects will get funded? We'll ask Delegate and former transportation secretary Vivian Watts.

--Skip Wood

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