City Desk

The Needle: Hoax Not So Wise Edition

Hard-Earned Wisdom: Yesterday afternoon, Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise appeared to have a huge scoop on Twitter—Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger would be suspended for five games for an alleged assault. Before you could say "April Fool's in August," the Internet was abuzz with the news. Which was precisely Wise's point; the whole thing was a hoax, designed to prove how quickly bogus information spreads online because no one checks it. Unfortunately for Wise, the Post had the last laugh—he told listeners on his radio show today that he was suspended for 30 days for the stunt. Or at least, we think he did; we read about it on Twitter, so who knows if it's true? -2

Checkpoint Charlie: It certainly seemed like a dumb idea at the time—Metropolitan Police Department officers set up blockades around the Trinidad neighborhood in Northeast, stopping everyone who tried to drive into the area in an attempt to quash a string of violence. A federal court agreed, and now even the District has come around to realize that maybe the Constitution trumps the need for good p.r. around fighting crime. City officials settled with three people who sued over the checkpoints, deciding not to challenge the court ruling and agreeing to pay $3,500 each to the three for the unlawful stops. MPD will now have to find another venue to practice their bad-World-War-II movie German accents as they ask, "Your papers, please?" +4

Get Off My Corner, You Crazy Kids: Sonic warfare comes to Chinatown, as someone—it's unclear exactly who—has installed a noise machine at 7th and H Streets NW that emits high-pitched beeps that only teenagers can hear. The idea, apparently, is to prevent future fights like the 70-person brawl on the Metro a few weeks ago. But not only is this a questionable strategy legally, it doesn't seem to work; teenagers hanging out by the corner say they "kind of like it," and meanwhile, adults are apparently irritated by the beeps. Kids today! -3

Chilimatic: In town to play the 9:30 Club with Damian Marley (and appear onstage, briefly, with Lauryn Hill at the Rock the Bells show Sunday), Nas stopped by U Street for the now-obligatory-for-all-visitors-to-D.C. trip to Ben's Chili Bowl, where he posed with Virginia Ali. Because he's neither Barack Obama nor Bill Cosby, presumably the hip hop artist had to pay for his half-smoke. +1

Lions!: Four new lions join the National Zoo overnight, as 5-year-old mom Shera delivers the first set of cubs zookeepers expect in the next month or so. The zoo's only male lion, Luke, was the father of these cubs, as well as the litter Shera's sister Nababiep is carrying. Hoping to recapture the public frenzy that greeted the birth of baby panda Tai Shan five years ago, zoo officials are rumored to be considering painting the lions black and white and feeding them bamboo. +3

Yesterday's Needle rating: 39 Today's score: +3 Today's Needle rating: 42
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