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Posted at 5:48 AM ET, 09/28/2010

Lori's A.M. Buzz: Happy gloomy morning

By Washington Post editors

Good morning. What have we got today? A little rain, a little sun and a new local genius.

A mix. Umbrella weather again today -- at least in the morning. But the Capital Weather Gang says we may get a sunshine break in the afternoon. It'll be a little hotter with temperatures expected to be in the 80's. Tuesday evening should be clear with temperatures dropping into the 50's. On Wednesday, it looks like mixed skies in the morning and a 30 percent chance of showers in the evening. So we'll see.

Coming up:

Metro work Metro officials will offer more details today about upcoming work that will be done on the Blue and Orange Lines over Columbus Day weekend. Dr. Gridlock breaks it down for you. In short: Plan for delays and note that there will be no Blue/Orange Line service at Metro Center over that weekend. Be sure to check Dr. Gridlock for more Metro and commute updates.

Paying for White Flint. The Montgomery County Council is expected to hear more today about plans to finance new transit-oriented development around White Flint Mall. Earlier this year, the council approved a plan to remake 430 acres in the area -- a project that could take 20 years. (WAMU)

Hands on the wheel. State transportation officials in Maryland will hold a press conference today to talk about the new "hands-free" driving law that goes into effect on Oct. 1. Starting Friday, drivers in Maryland will have to use hands-free devices when talking on a cellphone. If you're caught, you could get a $40 ticket.

Today's headlines:

A merger. Getting away might just have gotten a little easier for those who work in downtown D.C. The possible merger between Southwest Airlines and AirTran could mean cheaper fares and more flight options out of Reagan National Airport -- and could make Southwest the Washington-area's dominant air carrier. Thoughts?

YouTube and the First Amendment. Wiretapping charges have been dropped against a Maryland man who taped a traffic stop -- and posted the video on YouTube and ignited a spirited debate about the First Amendment after he was charged with violating the state's wiretapping law. Anthony Graber, however, still faces charges related to traffic violations.

Job growth in Maryland? Republican Robert Erhlich is raising questions about how honest Democrat Martin O'Malley is being about job growth in the state. Ehrlich's campaign staff has released a series of emails they say shows that a member of O'Malley's staff removed "negative" report on job growth from a state website and replaced it with one that offered a more "positive" spin. The charges come as both campaigns have unleashed a barrage of ads questioning one another's credibility.

Grim budget news for D.C. Natwar M. Gandhi, the District's chief financial officer, has delivered some gloomy economic news. Sales and income tax revenues in D.C. have declined dramatically, leaving the city with another projected budget gap of $175 million for fiscal 2011. The news will be an immediate challenge for the man likely to be D.C.'s new mayor, D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, who would take office in January.

Pay up. And speaking of taxes and revenue, a reminder that D.C.'s tax amnesty program ends on Thursday. Officials say you can pay now -- or end up paying more later. (NBC 4)

Other items:

Genius takes many forms. Among the winners of the 2010 MacArthur Genius Grants: David Simon, the award-winning creator of the HBO series "The Wire." (And a former police reporter at The Baltimore Sun. Maybe there's hope for the rest of us.) Each year the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation gives out millions of no-strings-attached dollars in grants to individuals so they can do what they do best: write, innovate, research, help others. Among this year's other winners: Nicholas Benson, a stone carver from Maine who is working on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial and Annette Gordon Reed, a Harvard historian and author of "The Hemmingses of Monticello: An American Family."

Lawsuit over bedbugs. A Howard County couple has filed a $500,000 lawsuit against the owners of the apartment complex in which they live because of a bedbug infestation. The couple, Orville and Rebecca Brown, say the infestation was so bad, they had to move out of their apartment, throw out most of their furniture and all of their 3-year-old daughter's toys, according to a suit filed Friday in Howard County Circuit Court. (The Baltimore Sun)

Woodward on Obama. Today in The Post is publishing the second of three articles adapted from Bob Woodward's newest book, "Obama's Wars," an intimate look inside President Obama's military strategy. Woodward interviewed more than 100 people involved in all facets of the Afghan war and the country's national security apparatus during the first 18 months of the Obama Administration.

That's it for now. Thanks much for reading and have a great day. Be sure to check back throughout the day for more news and headlines. Have a comment or a critique? Post below or send me an email at aratanil@washpost.com

By Washington Post editors  | September 28, 2010; 5:48 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Loris AM Buzz, Maryland, Traffic and Transportation, Virginia, Weather  | Tags:  loris am buzz  
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