ABC7 WEATHER: Overcast and rainy with highs in the low 80s. http://wj.la/72e8x6
'GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON': Among the reports - Ariel Castro is expected to face up to a life sentence plus 1,000 years when he's sentenced today in Cleveland for holding three women captive for about a decade; A White House official says the top Democrats and Republicans on the House and Senate intelligence panels will attend a meeting Thursday with the president to discuss the National Security Agency's surveillance programs; Suspected groping in Franconia area; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m M-F.
O'MALLEY'S POTUS WAR CHEST: But Hillary lurks, per the Baltimore Sun, "Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has raised nearly $500,000 in a federal campaign account he created last year and has made his first effort at spreading the cash around in early presidential primary states, a pair of campaign finance reports released Wednesday show.
"O'Malley, who has said he is considering whether to run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, collected the vast majority of the contributions from Maryland donors. But the reports also show early signs of the national fundraising apparatus the term-limited Democrat is expected to build. The money, an infinitesimal sum compared to what O'Malley will have to raise if he pursues the campaign in earnest, flowed despite uncertainty about whether heavy-hitter potential Democratic candidates such as former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton or Vice President Joe Biden will enter the race." http://bsun.md/1cgj9oW
VIRGINIA HEALTH CARE: Of exchanges, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, "Virginia is poised to approve 15 health plans to compete in a new insurance benefit exchange the federal government will begin operating in the state on Jan. 1. But the final rates that eligible Virginians will pay for insurance in the new electronic marketplace will remain unknown until the federal government decides which plans will compete on the exchange and what they can charge." http://bit.ly/18Opbt5
BIG DEAL? NOT: Cars, shmars, per the Washington Post, "Reaching driving age doesn't hold the magical allure it once did for teenagers, with fewer than half of them applying for a driver's license when they reach legal age, according to a report issued Thursday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
"Only 44 percent get a license within a year, and just over half of teenagers are licensed by the time they reach 18, an age at which two-thirds of teenagers were licensed 20 years ago. The decline is attributed to a variety of factors. Some teens don't bother because they have no access to a car; being licensed no longer holds the social status it once did for many young people; there are other ways to get where they want to go; and the cost of gas and auto insurance are too high." http://wapo.st/14khj4m
AH, SNOOPING: Bi-partisan challenges, per the New York Times, "Senators of both parties on Wednesday sharply challenged the National Security Agency's collection of records of all domestic phone calls, even as the latest leaked N.S.A. document provided new details on the way the agency monitors Web browsing around the world.
"At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, the chairman, Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, accused Obama administration officials of overstating the success of the domestic call log program. He said he had been shown a classified list of "terrorist events" detected through surveillance, and it did not show that "dozens or even several terrorist plots" had been thwarted by the domestic program." http://nyti.ms/14CUbHn
MEANWHILE: Goolatte vs. Holder, per The Hill, "House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) slammed Attorney General Eric Holder after an investigation by Goodlatte's committee reported discrepancies between Holder's congressional testimony and decision to approve a search warrant for emails from Fox News Correspondent James Rosen.
"I find the lack of leadership at the Department of Justice extremely alarming," Goodlatte said in a statement on Wednesday. "The deceptive and misleading testimony of Attorney General Holder is unfortunately just the most recent example in a long list of scandals that have plagued the Department." http://bit.ly/12HeJEl
LEGAL WEED: When statistics leave you scratching your head, per the Denver Post, "Nearly one-third of the crimes committed in Denver occur within 1,000 feet of a medical marijuana dispensary, according to new statistics provided by the city Wednesday. Overall, crime near dispensaries rose slightly in the first half of this year. But the statistics provided no evidence that dispensaries themselves are driving crime in their surrounding neighborhoods or that crimes at medical-marijuana stores are increasing." http://bit.ly/1aXG3OL
POLITICO PLAY: "President Barack Obama privately told Democratic senators Wednesday he is now personally involved in resolving a heated dispute over how Obamacare treats Capitol Hill aides and lawmakers, according to senators in the meeting. The president's commitment was delivered at the beginning of Obama's remarks to Senate Democrats during a closed-door session." http://politi.co/16FK47r
GROPING: Just the facts, per ABC7WJLA, "Fairfax County police are investigating two incidents Tuesday in which a man allegedly inappropriately touched a woman in the Franconia/Springfield area. Police are investigating whether the two cases, which happened about three hours apart, are related." http://wj.la/14je9xM
GONE FISHING: No calls, please, per City Paper, "It's been 21 days since the D.C. Council passed the Large Retailer Accountability Act, but Mayor Vince Gray still hasn't received the bill. Until he gets it, the countdown of how long he has to veto it remains stuck at 10 business days. How hard is it to transfer a bill between two people who work in the same building?
"Gray has a theory on the hold-up. In an interview (Wednesday) on NewsChannel 8's NewsTalk, Gray said what a lot of people around town are saying privately: Chairman Phil Mendelson is holding up the bill because, with the Council in its summer recess, members are hard to track down." http://bit.ly/15vzdOq
VIRGINIA AND SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Proponents try again, per the Washington Times, "The ACLU and Lambda Legal plan to file a lawsuit in federal court on Thursday to overturn Virginia's constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage.
"Officials were tight-lipped this week on details of the pending legal battle, but their plans reflect what groups in other states are doing on behalf of Out for Freedom, a nationwide effort to promote same-sex marriage. Officials at the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia announced their intent to file the legal challenge in early July. At the time, ACLU of Virginia Executive Director Claire G. Gastanaga said a team of lawyers would be arguing that the statutes violate the federal constitutional guarantee of equal protection." http://bit.ly/18Ou0Tg
OF A DISCONNECT: This makes perfect sense, ahem, per Gazette.Net, "Despite the laundry list of problems at the Silver Spring Transit Center, a report delivered to the county Tuesday found the county uses the best public facility design and construction practices in the industry." http://bit.ly/17ViKn6
TAXI!: Cash only, for now, per WAMU, "Passengers in D.C. taxicabs who've been waiting years to be able to pay their fares with credit cards will have to wait even longer. The D.C. Taxicab Commission has extended the deadline for all cabs to accept credit card payments. A quick survey of cabbies outside Union Station found that most have still not installed new payment systems that allow riders to use credit cards. That explains in large part why the D.C. Taxicab Commission has delayed the deadline for credit card installations by one month to Sept. 30." http://bit.ly/14j4KWU
GIFTGATE: Another repayment, per the Virginian-Pilot, "A political donor's $15,000 check for catering costs at the June 2011 wedding of Gov. Bob McDonnell's daughter Cailin has been repaid as the governor moves to unload a series of gifts he and his family received. McDonnell on Wednesday acknowledged repayment of that check to Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams Sr., a major donor at the center of an ongoing gift controversy." http://bit.ly/19yoze1
MEANWHILE: This, per the Washington Post editorial board, ". . . Mr. McDonnell says such favors were not out of the ordinary. But the executive mansion's records make almost no explicit references to other luncheons held on behalf of individual Virginia companies. On the other hand, the luncheon for Mr. Williams is listed so obliquely "VA researchers lunch" that even officials in Mr. McDonnell's entourage were baffled by it.
"This reflects the governor's strategy in this affair to obfuscate and split legal hairs while dodging responsibility for his role, and that of his wife, in what has become his administration's disgrace. Until he levels with Virginians about his actions and motives, the scandal will not go away." http://wapo.st/1coZpOy
ANNEXED: And then some, per ARLnow, "The Navy Annex, once an expansive Department of Defense office complex, has been reduced to a pile of rubble. The military started tearing down the offices, first built in 1941, last fall. The demolition will make way for an expansion of Arlington National Cemetery and, eventually, a realignment of Columbia Pike. (Arlington County is still in negotiations with the military regarding the exact land swap plan necessary to accomplish both objectives.)" http://bit.ly/1bKZw9h
SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Nationals lose 11-1 against Detroit.
TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: "A number of motorbike riders are speaking out about a tactic they allege D.C. police officers are using in order to discourage off-road riding. According to a recently filed $100 million class-action lawsuit against the city, some officers are reportedly chasing down and knocking riders off their bikes with their cruisers." http://wj.la/13wQyU5
NEWSTALK: Among today's guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, who will be asked about the big-box retailer bill, the legalization of marijuana, the D.C. United stadium deal and the decision to delay the Attorney General election.