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Posted at 5:42 AM ET, 12/ 9/2010

Lori's A.M. Buzz: White House lights up

By Lori Aratani
Washington Post editors

Good morning.

Getting warmer? Was it my imagination or did it feel slightly warm Wednesday afternoon? The good news about today: Those blustery winds are fading away. The Capital Weather Gang says temperatures will still be in the low-to-mid-30's -- but it may feel warmer without the wind chill factor. Now that's something to like, eh? They had been predicting a chance of snow on Sunday -- but now it looks like that possibility is growing increasingly unlikely. For those of you cheered by the sight of the season's first flakes, you may have to put the excitement on hold.

Coming up:

Gray's administration takes shape. D.C Mayor-elect Vincent Gray is expected to announce more staff appointments today. On Wednesday, Gray made two key appointments to his administration. and announced that Allen Y. Lew -- a member of the Fenty Administration who oversaw D.C.'s massive school modernization program -- would serve as city administrator. The city administrator is responsible for overseeing day-to-day operations of city agencies. Gerri Mason Hall, a former Amtrak executive, will serve as Gray's chief of staff. Check back with us later for news about the people who will run government in the Gray Administration.

Lights on. Tonight is the National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony near the White House. It's the 87th annual ceremony. President Obama will give opening remarks at the gathering, which kicks off at 5 p.m. It's a festive occasion, but the tree lighting ceremony also can be a bit of a nightmare for folks trying to get around the area. Dr. Gridlock has some tips for negotiating road closures, etc.

Scheduled Metro delays tonight. A reminder that there will be delays on Metro's Red, Blue and Orange lines this evening as the transit agency conducts repairs and installs new equipment.

Today's headlines:

Gay marriage in Maryland? Maryland could be the sixth jurisdiction in the U.S. to legalize gay marriage -- an action that could happen as early as next year. As a result of November's elections, membership on a key committee in state's General Assembly has shifted and now a majority of committee members are are now in favor of legalizing gay marriage. Despite Maryland's reputation as a liberal state, lawmakers have been slower that some of their counterparts to embrace same-sex marriage -- in part because of strong opposition from Catholic and black churches.

Bomb plot in Baltimore. A Baltimore construction worker was charged Wednesday with plotting to blow up a military recruiting station in Maryland -- the second D.C.-area case in which federal authorities have used undercover operatives to monitor extremists, secretly befriend those suspected of plotting terror attacks and, in some cases, even provide the means to carry them out. In October, federal agents posing as Islamic radicals met with a Northern Virginia man later accused of plotting to bomb Washington area Metro stations.

A bet on gambling? A D.C. Council member has proposed that the District legalize online gambling as a way to raise revenue at a time of record budget deficits. Council member Michael Brown (D-At Large) says the city needs to be creative to find ways to boost revenues. In the memo he submitted to the council, Brown said an analysis by the city's chief financial officer said that online gambling could produce $13 million by the end of 2014. But the proposal may still be a longshot.

In short. D.C.'s interim chancellor of schools Kaya Henderson has ousted the private company that was brought in three years ago to manage Dunbar High School. (Post); experts are saying the D.C.-area housing market won't improve in 2011. (Washington Examiner); A D.C. man is being accused of impersonating a U.S. Congressman. (Washington Examiner)

Other items:

After all, you can't take it with you. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and AOL founder Steve Case are the latest billionaires who have pledged to give away the majority of their fortunes as part of "The Giving Pledge," an effort organized by software mogul Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to persuade the world's rich to boost their giving. (

That's it for now. Thanks for reading and have a great day. Check back with Post Local for more headlines throughout the day or you can get news via Twitter by following @PostLocal. You can also become a "fan" of Post Local on Facebook.

By Lori Aratani  | December 9, 2010; 5:42 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Loris AM Buzz, Maryland, Traffic and Transportation, Virginia, Weather  | Tags:  loris am buzz  
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