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Top Stories With Washington Post Columnist Robert McCartney

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Testimony Begins On Gray Administration's Hiring Practices

Hearings on the hiring practices in the Gray administration started this week in the D.C. Three officials said Gerri Mason Hall, Gray's former chief of staff,, was determined to get a job for former mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown. The officials' statements tend to support Brown's allegations that he was promised a job in 2010 in return for attacking then incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty.

McCartney said Brown's own credibility suffered as details emerged about why he was fired, including poor performance and erratic behavior.

On the question of nepotism, "it was clear...the mayor's office ignored concerns that were raised about actual or apparent nepotism and that they were concerned about getting maximum pay for political supporters rather than trying to save taxpayers' money," McCartney said.

Hall, who will testify about Brown's hiring, is also a part of the council's probe on nepotism. Hall's son, Nicholas, was hired as a writer/editor in the Department of Parks and Recreation.

"To the extent that there was any good news," he said, "all but one of the offspring of Gray officials or supporters has already been pushed out."

There will be another hearing on April 7 and possibly a third on April 11. Still to testify are Brown himself, Hall and Lorraine Green, chair of the campaign and transition.

Virginia Governor Vetoes, Amends A Number Of Bills

McCartney says McDonnell may be getting ready for running for national office by visibly enforcing conservative principles: The governor has vetoed four bills this year, when he didn't veto any his first year in office. McDonnell has made amendments to several other bills, including the recent [autism insurance legislation]http://wamu.org/news/11/03/30/virginiagovernorsignsautisminsurancebillproposes_changes.php).

NPR

An Outsider In Buenos Aires Goes Incognito, For Love Of Tango

Carolina de Robertis' new novel God of Tango centers on a 17-year-old widow, recently arrived from Italy with little besides a violin. It's Argentina, 1913 — and a magical new music fills the barrios.
NPR

A Little Chiltomate Raises The Underappreciated Turkey Thigh

Elizabeth Wiley, chef-owner of two top Dayton, Ohio, restaurants, goes off-menu to cook beer-braised turkey thighs in her home kitchen.
NPR

A Re-Opened Embassy In Havana Could Be A Boon For U.S. Businesses

When the U.S. re-opens its embassy in Havana, it will increase its staff. That should mean more help for American businesses hoping to gain a foothold on the Communist island.
NPR

Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

André Borschberg, flying Solar Impulse 2, set a new record of 120 hours in the cockpit on a journey from Japan to Hawaii.

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