News & Politics

Guest List: Today’s Newsmakers

The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight

• Gulet Mohamed. The Alexandria teenager finally returned to Virginia—and to his family—today after being placed on a no-fly list because of his travels in Yemen and Somalia. But that’s only the beginning. It seems probable that Mohamed will sue the US government, alleging that he was tortured during his imprisonment in Kuwait. His case is likely to reignite discussions about Islam and radicalism around Washington; Baltimore saw a December terror arrest in an FBI sting, and Northern Virginia has seen a rash of alleged terror plots, including that of the "Northern Virginia Five" a group of Alexandria men who are serving prison terms after being convicted of a plot in Pakistan.

• Virginia delegates Kathy Byron and Christopher Stolle. The Republicans lined up on opposite sides of a bill that would repeal Virginia’s requirement that girls receive vaccines against the human papilloma virus, with Byron arguing for a greater role for parental decision making and Stolle saying that lowering vaccination rates could lead to more cervical cancer cases. The bill is unlikely to advance in the Virginia Senate, but Byron and Stolle are voicing an important public-health debate.

• Dick Knapp. Opponents of Knapp’s plan to build a Walmart on DC’s Georgia Avenue picketed the developer’s Woodley Park house last night. A vigorous debate over Walmart’s plan to open as many as four stores in the District by 2012 was inevitable, but now it’s turned personal. We’d be curious to hear Knapp make the case for the Georgia Avenue store—and to hear how he plans to cope with future protests.

• Representative Anne Healey and Senator Paul Pinsky. The Maryland Democratic lawmakers chair the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review. That dry-sounding job is about to get a lot more interesting—Healey and Pinsky have scheduled hearings on the state’s death-penalty regulations for February 16, the first step toward a possible repeal of Maryland’s death-penalty law. The state has five inmates awaiting execution.

• Patricia Kluge. Her Charlottesville mansion, nearing foreclosure, has been busted down in price from $100 million to $24 million, which we guess is a steal if you’re in need of a helipad, stables, and a wine grotto. Turns out in this real-estate market, even the woman whose 1990 divorce made her the best-cared-for ex-wife in American marital history, with $1.6 million a week in alimony, can end up with too much house.

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