ABC7 WEATHER: Partly sunny with highs in the upper 50s. http://wj.la/72e8x6
‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Deadly assault in Northwest; House again to tackle Obamacare; Forestville apartment fire; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.
TERRY TIME: Flying blind, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe will divest his interest in GreenTech Automotive and Franklin Pellets as part of a move to place his family’s assets into a blind trust for the duration of his term as governor. The divestiture news came to light following a statement Thursday by lawyer Thomas Richardson of the Tax, Trusts and Estates practice group of Arnold & Porter LLP, which will preside over the conversion of McAuliffe’s assets to a blind trust.
“. . . Putting assets into a blind trust is not a new concept to Virginia governors. Sen. Mark R. Warner, D-Va., who made a fortune in the telecom industry before becoming governor of Virginia, also placed his assets in a blind trust during his gubernatorial term. McAuliffe’s most recent tax summaries indicate he had adjusted gross income of $9.4 million in 2012. During his career, McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, made millions from politically connected investments in numerous enterprises, including real estate and telecommunications.” http://bit.ly/1fG3DC1
SPLASH: Coming soon, apparently, per the Baltimore Sun, “After months of hints and half-denials, Michael Phelps has re-entered the drug testing pool for international competition, the strongest signal yet that he's planning a return to swimming. Phelps, already widely regarded as the greatest competitive swimmer in history, has not announced that he's ending his retirement or that he plans to swim at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“And his longtime coach Bob Bowman said Thursday that “there are no definite plans to return to competition at this time.” But United States Anti-Doping Agency records posted Thursday indicate that Phelps would be eligible to compete again in 2014. “Michael is just keeping his options open,” Bowman said in a text message. “He has gotten back into some training, and I suggested that it might be a good idea to rejoin the testing pool. That way, he can compete should he ever get to a point where he was ready or interested to do so.” http://bsun.md/1hJsSru
NO FAIR: Of a challenge, per the Virginian-Pilot, “Virginia’s recent ruling that legally married same-sex Virginia couples can’t file joint state tax returns has drawn rebuke from the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, which separately is challenging the state’s ban on gay marriage.
“The state Tax Department requiring those taxpayers to file as individuals because Virginia doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage “reaffirms the Commonwealth’s ongoing hostility towards gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Virginians,” said Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the state ACLU branch. Virginia’s tax policy typically conforms to that of the Internal Revenue Service but in this instance is at odds with the federal standard allowing married gay couples to file joint returns after the U.S. Supreme Court last summer struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act.” http://bit.ly/1aWtart
SEEING RED: Or not, per the Washington Post, “Metro General Manager Richard Sarles apologized to Red Line riders Thursday for a second straight day of major delays on the system’s busiest rail line, saying customers have a right to be angry and deserve better treatment.
“. . . The Red Line problems also drew the attention of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), who tweeted that riders should share their “disappointment” with Sarles and D.C. Council member Muriel Bowser, one of the city’s representatives on Metro’s board.” http://wapo.st/18y6gAE
PROOF IN IRAN: Talking nukes, per the Los Angeles Times, “Iran's new government has slowed expansion of its nuclear program almost to a halt since August, according to the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, in what experts view as a strong signal of Tehran's desire to resolve a decade-long diplomatic standoff.
“A report released Thursday by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency provides the first independent evidence that President Hassan Rouhani, who was elected in June after promising to end the crisis, has essentially stopped new work at Iran's nuclear facilities, including enrichment of uranium and construction of the heavy-water reactor at Arak.” http://lat.ms/1e7jCJ5
OBAMACARE: Let’s make a deal, per the New York Times, “President Obama, trying to quell a growing furor over the rollout of his health care law, bowed to bipartisan pressure on Thursday and announced a policy reversal that would allow insurance companies to temporarily keep people on health plans that were to be canceled under the new law because they did not meet minimum standards.
“The decision to allow the policies to remain in effect for a year without penalties represented the Obama administration’s hurriedly developed effort to address one of the major complaints about the beleaguered health care law. It seemed for the moment to calm rising anger and fear of a political backlash among congressional Democrats who had been threatening to support various legislative solutions opposed by the White House because of their potential to undermine the law.” http://nyti.ms/1aVCWKq
MEANWHILE: Some folks are never satisfied, per The Hill, “Critics are jumping on President Obama for unilaterally delaying requirements for insurance plans under ObamaCare. . . The action marks the second time this year that the administration has used executive power to put off controversial provisions of the healthcare law. Conservative groups and lawmakers pounced on the latest delay, with some contending the president is overstepping his authority.
“. . . Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the president's announcement was a political reaction meant to deflect blame (but) Obama’s action drew praise from consumer and labor groups, who called it the right move, considering Republican efforts to repeal or defund the law.” http://bit.ly/1aHiOFL
POLITICO PLAY: “When Denis McDonough stepped onto House Democrats’ turf on Thursday, he was armed only with a PowerPoint presentation on fixing Obamacare’s website and talking points about the president’s proposal allowing people to keep their health care plans.
“The White House chief of staff might have been better off revealing a U.S. map with the president’s plan for saving congressional Democrats’ seats — or just apologizing for letting so many Democrats walk out in public and repeat wildly inaccurate White House claims about the health of the enrollment website and Americans’ ability to keep their insurance plans if they liked them.” http://politi.co/17uV1ZG
D.C. DEBATE: Sans the mayor, per City Paper, “Wednesday night's D.C. Bar Association-sponsored mayoral debate went about like you'd expect. Councilmembers Vincent Orange, Jack Evans, Muriel Bowser, and Tommy Wells bickered over their D.C. Council votes, while Reta Lewis and Andy Shallal tried to beat each other to snatch the mantle of "outsider candidate."
“The absence of Mayor Vince Gray, who has not said whether he will seek a second term, didn't stop the six candidates from criticizing the incumbent for various slights, from ignoring wards 7 and 8 (Bowser's critique) to the off-the-books activities of his 2010 campaign (Wells').” http://bit.ly/1asZf7C
WE REALLY NEED THE MONEY: Seriously, per Gazette.Net, “Montgomery County legislators know a daunting task lies ahead, as they hope to convince their colleagues around the state that the affluent county needs up to $20 million in state money to ease its problems with crowded schools.
“But they think they can make a persuasive case based on numbers showing the county’s growth. Sen. Nancy King (D-Dist. 39) of Montgomery Village, vice chairwoman of the county’s Senate delegation, said it won’t be easy, but they need to be smart about how they make the case.” http://bit.ly/1aHGIks
ANSWERS WANTED: Sooner rather than later, per the Frederick News-Post, “Maryland planning officials were pressured this week to answer a list of questions posed by Commissioners President Blaine Young. The Frederick County commissioner sent his Nov. 6 inquiry to David Cotton, an official with the Maryland Department of Planning, to gather information relating to the controversial Monrovia Town Center.” http://bit.ly/1eTNewe
BIG DIG: Or something like that, per the Loudoun Times-Mirror, “Over the next several weeks, the Loudoun County School Board will be finalizing projects under the fiscal 2015 to 2020 Capital Improvement Program. The largest project over the six- year period is the design and construction of the Loudoun Advanced Technology Academy. Other projects also include a total of six new schools set to be constructed: two elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools.” http://bit.ly/18xFRTB
TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “A pair of employees at a Virginia day care center encouraged kids to hit each other, stepped on their toes, sprayed them with water hoses and forced them to eat spicy food, a Social Services report says. Both of those employees have since been fired. http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/11/minnieland-academy-workers-fired-after-pattern-of-mental-and-physical-abuse-96865.html
NEWSTALK: Among today’s topics (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) -- Can President Obama get his term back on track? We'll ask political strategists Bob Rusbuldt and Andrew Friedman.