City Desk

The Needle: God Hates Phelps Edition

Verizon iPhone in the Future?

Ah, Free Speech: If you were wondering who the angry, crazy looking folks screaming outside the Supreme Court building this morning were, wonder no more—they were members of a radical sect of misguided fundamentalists the Westboro Baptist Church, who descended on the District from their Topeka, Kansas, lair to give moral support as their lawyers argued before the court that the Constitution protects their right to yell insane, offensive things at, uh, funerals. (Classy!) At City Desk, we're pretty much First Amendment absolutists, so we agree Fred Phelps and his band have the right to blame America's moral decline for the death of soldiers if they want to indulge in such nonsense. But we also agree that Washingtonians have the right—or maybe the duty—to stop by First Street NE and tell 'em to piss off if they're still out there. -4

Baseball Cards Gone AWOL: Stories of clueless parents tossing priceless collections of baseball cards in the trash when they clean out their basements or attics have nearly reached urban legend status. But that may be exactly what's happened in the District; the Metropolitan Police Department says it's looking for help finding the owner of a collection of 500+ cards left by the tennis courts near Hains Point this summer. The cops are being cagey about exactly what's in the collection, so only the real owner will be able to identify what's there. A tip that few members of the current Washington Nationals team are included: police say there's "potential value" in the cards. +2

When Facebook Attacks: Online sleuths thought they'd found Scott Alan Fike, the cop responsible for killing a dog at Adams Morgan Day last month. So they started bombarding the guy's Facebook page, calling him "dog killer" and generally, uh, hounding him about the incident. The only problem? It was the wrong Scott Alan Fike. The guy with the same name, who lives in Odenton, says he's been replying to let his correspondents know they're barking up the wrong virtual tree. (Okay, okay, we promise, no more dog puns.) But why let the facts get in the way of the smug satisfaction of knowing you've served the cause of justice with a righteous Facebook message? -2

No, Really, Can You Hear Me Now?: The future is now! Or rather, later this year. Which is when Verizon Wireless says it'll be bringing its high-tech "next generation" 4G phone service to the D.C. area. Naturally, the service will be based on the LTE standard, which is incompatible with and different from the WiMax standard that's already being built out in the region. (Because why shouldn't your cell phone wind up being, essentially, a smarter Betamax player with a touch screen?) Just for the Google search traffic, we'll add some phrases that you care more about when it comes to Verizon than anything else in this item: Verizon iPhone, iPhone, Verizon, Verizon Wireless Apple iPhone. +3

Yesterday's Needle rating: 53 Today's score: -1 Today's Needle rating: 52

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