DAYBREAK DAILY: 'Don't Tread on Me' license plates hot in Virginia

ABC7 WEATHER: Sunny with highs in the mid 40s.

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – Maryland set for Military Bowl in Annapolis; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

DON’T TREAD: On me (or my car), per the Virginian-Pilot, “Keith Freeman didn’t mention politics when he recently asked an employee at a Department of Motor Vehicles office in Norfolk about the “Don’t Tread on Me” license plates he could see on the other side of the counter. When he was told they were stocked because of their popularity, that reinforced what the Hampton Roads Tea Party chairman already was thinking.

“I’m seeing them everywhere now,” said Freeman, who lives in Virginia Beach and has the license plates on his pickup. Demand for the specialty plate canonizing the limited-government group’s rallying cry has made the tag one of the most coveted in the state, despite being available for just 20 months. As of Nov. 30, nearly 21,800 Virginia-registered automobiles sported the plates, which resemble the rattlesnake-emblazoned historic Gadsden Flag, ranking it ninth in overall popularity among more than 200 state-sanctioned specialty plates, according to state figures.”

PAUL BLAIR: Obit, per the Baltimore Sun, “Paul Blair, a key member of four Orioles World Series teams and considered the best defensive outfielder in franchise history, died Thursday evening in Pikesville while participating in a celebrity bowling tournament, according to Gloria Blair, his wife of 42 years. He was 69. Gloria Blair said her husband played 18 holes of golf with friends Thursday morning, and when he came home was asked to take part in a celebrity bowling tournament at AMF Pikesville Lanes.

"Paul was honestly too tired, but he never says no," she said. "During a practice round, he threw two or three balls, then sat down and told a friend, 'I feel funny' and kind of collapsed. He lost consciousness and they called 911 and the ambulance took him to [Sinai Hospital], but the doctors there told me they never got a pulse. I was told he died around 6:45 p.m."

ANACOSTIA PARK: Of a vision, per the Washington Post, “When the city built the new 11th Street Bridge across the Anacostia River, it left three concrete piers standing beside the stretch of road that now carries local traffic between the Navy Yard and historic Anacostia. Two were turned into lookout points for bicyclists or pedestrians who want to pause for a moment over the water, accessible from the bridge via narrow gray walkways.

“Now, Scott Kratz has other plans for the towering concrete columns. He wants to turn all three into the foundations of the city’s first elevated park. Kratz believes that the repurposed bit of leftover infrastructure could become an icon, a destination in its own right — like New York’s High Line — should his vision be realized.”

TRAIL MIX: The Hawaii POTUS version, per the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “President Obama and the first family took a walk on the popular Manoa Falls Trail Thursday morning. Following the hike, the family split up with the president opting for another afternoon round of golf. The president spent about 6 hours at the tough Ko'olau Golf Club. The president golfed with Hawaii friends Bobby Titcomb and Mike Ramos, aide and frequent golf partner Marvin Nicholson, White House chef Sam Kass and Chicago friend Dr. Eric Whitaker.

“The Obama family arrived at the Manoa Falls trail head at the back of Manoa Valley just after 11 a.m. The president, his wife Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia, spent about an hour on the trail. Reporters traveling with the president said it began to rain shortly after the first family arrived. Security kept many hikers from entering the trail as the family started their hike.”

DEADLY BLAST: Just the facts, per the Los Angeles Times, “A heavy blast rocked central Beirut on Friday, killing at least five people and injuring more than 70 others, according to the Lebanese Health Ministry. A former government minister was among the dead, his political faction said. Plumes of black smoke billowed into the air, and television footage showed scenes of blazing wreckage and scattered debris.

“The dead former minister was identified as Mohamad Chatah, according to his Future Movement. Troops and rescuers converged on the scene, which was close to downtown hotels as well as government buildings, including the parliament. Security sources said a political figure was believed to have been the target, and said the explosion was apparently caused by a car bomb.”

OKINAWA: And a base, per the New York Times, “A long-simmering dispute between the United States and Japan over the fate of a Marine base on Okinawa seemed to have been resolved on Friday when the governor of Okinawa gave his approval to move the base to a remote area.

“The agreement would bolster efforts by the Pentagon to rebalance American military forces across the Asia-Pacific region and by the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to raise his country’s strategic posture and check the growing military influence of China.”

BUDGTING FOR VETS: Of a hasty restoration, per The Hill, “Several bills have been introduced in the House this week that would restore cuts made to military retirees’ benefits. Lawmakers have complained that a provision in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement, H.J. Res. 59 — which was passed into law last week — reduces the cost of living adjustment (COLA) by 1 percent for military retirees under the age of 62. The reduction was made to replace $6 billion in sequester cuts to the Department of Defense’s budget.”

POLITICO PLAY: “President Barack Obama has signed a bill that provides a broad outline for the federal budget through 2015 and eases some of sequestration’s cuts, the White House said Thursday. The Bipartisan Budget Act restores a total of $63 billion in discretionary funding to the Defense Department and some domestic agencies in 2014 and 2015, but also includes $85 billion in deficit reduction.

“When Congress returns in January, lawmakers will still need to approve a bill that authorizes spending through the end of the fiscal year, or for a shorter period of time, as has been the case in recent years. Savings in the bill come from a new airport security tax and from an increase in fees paid by companies that offer pensions that are guaranteed by the federal government.”

REDNECK RANT?: That’s what the man said, per the Frederick News-Post, “There is new evidence rebutting the notion that Frederick County’s position on stormwater cleanup is just a redneck rant, says Commissioner Paul Smith. If you need convincing, just look at the counties that agree with Frederick County’s leaders, he said.

“Seven jurisdictions including Frederick County have pooled resources to form the Clean Chesapeake Coalition, a group that takes issue with the state’s approach to Chesapeake Bay cleanup. Wicomico County recently became the eighth county to join the partnership. Smith said he is particularly pleased by this addition because the Wicomico County executive is Richard Pollitt, a middle-of-the-road Democrat who doesn’t like to stir the pot.”

REDSKINS: Or not, per the Philadelphia Inquirer, “What started as a journalistic exercise at Neshaminy High School may end in a courtroom. A law firm representing student newspaper editors has told school officials that the editors plan to resume their ban on printing the word redskin - and that any attempt to stop them would be unconstitutional.

"The students will proceed in accordance with their published policy and, if disciplined for doing so, will take action to defend their rights," said the seven-page letter sent Friday by lawyers at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz. The letter marked the latest volley in a battle unfolding across the country. Neshaminy's started in October, when the student editors banned the high school mascot name from their monthly paper. It escalated last month when principal Rob McGee overturned the ban, around the time the football team was marching toward the state playoffs.”

BICKERING: In Maryland, per the Washington Times, “Supporters of Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler’s bid for governor filed a lawsuit Thursday seeking to block his rival’s campaign from fundraising during the state’s fast-approaching legislative session. The State Board of Elections last week said Howard County Executive Kenneth S. Ulman, running mate of Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, could collect funds through the 90-day legislative session — when those who hold statewide offices and members of the state legislature would be banned from doing so.”

TALL: Versus short, per Greater Greater Washington, “Would lifting the height limit lead to better architecture? It's not that simple, say architects. There are many people and forces, both cultural and economic, shape the built environment, not just height. Proponents of relaxing the height limit say that it would improve the quality of architecture, but they usually mean that new buildings will be less boxy if there's less pressure to maximize floor area. Yes, this might encourage more setbacks, deeper walls, more varied patterns, and richer textures. It might also lead to buildings that are just taller versions of the same boxes.”

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “Air travelers were booking Delta flights Thursday morning for extremely low 'mistake fares' -- for instance, the fare was $47 to fly from NYC to LA, a trip that would typically cost about $400. Customers wondered on Twitter whether Delta would be honoring these fares, and in response, Delta released a statement confirming that it would honor any fares purchased at the incorrect price.”

NEWSTALK: Among today’s guests (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) is Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who will be asked about his bid to become the state's next governor's and the allegations he mismanaged development of Maryland's ACA web portal.

--Skip Wood