City Desk

The Needle: Tornados! And Terrorists! Edition

Today's Needle Rating: 46

Tornados and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!: Welcome to Kansas-on-Potomac. Both last night and today, weather officials issued tornado watches, advising that thunderstorms (which come naturally with the unseasonably warm temperatures in the area) could bring on twisters. Fortunately, no such things materialized. Though in a year that's already seen blizzards, record heat, and an earthquake, it would hardly have been a surprise if one did sweep through. +2

Terrorists and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!: With the tornado watch canceled by mid-afternoon, Washingtonians could devote their full psychic energy to being scared by terrorists. Authorities say Farooque Ahmed was plotting to blow up Metro stations around the area, preferably during the evening rush hour for maximum casualties. The fear factor on this story fell dramatically, though, if you read the indictment—which makes clear that Ahmed was ensnared in a federal sting as soon as he started looking around for undisclosed (but probably scary) materials. Remember: Only Metro can kill you on Metro. -4

Metro, Its Own Worst Enemy: And as if to remind us all that the real danger in riding Metro comes from within, news broke today that a team of workers on the Blue and Yellow line tracks were nearly run over by a train last month while doing maintenance work. Yet another reason to ride your bike to work; that way, some bozo talking on his cell phone can run you down instead of the subway. -2

Obama-dy Central: Given that the midterm elections are now just a few days away, it's probably a bad sign for the White House that President Obama's visit to Chinatown for an appearance on tonight's Daily Show is being treated like it's a bigger deal for Obama than it is for Jon Stewart. Change isn't easy. The whole thing will only increase public attention on Stewart's rally, with Stephen Colbert, on Saturday on the Mall. (Which you may have noticed we've mentioned a few times.) Unfortunately, you won't be able to bike there; organizers didn't set up a bike valet station, and the Mall has almost no place to lock anything up. Which means... take Metro. And keep fear alive. +2

Yesterday's Needle rating: 48 Today's score: -2 Today's Needle rating: 46

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