City Desk

The Needle: No Brakes Edition

Today's Needle Rating: 39

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Brakes: Metro escalators, it turns out, have a bizarre safety feature–when there are too many people on them, they speed up and dump everyone on the floor. What they're supposed to do is stop, but the brakes on the escalators at L'Enfant Plaza station failed to do their jobs during a pile-up after Saturday's Rally to Restore Sanity, officials testified at a hearing today. Which is good; we wouldn't want the buses and subways to be the only parts of the local public transit system that pose hazards. -3

It's a Zoo Over There: Cleveland Park isn't known for being the most raucous neighborhood in the city. But even for the Ward 3 bastion of tranquility, the reaction to a recent Halloween-themed bash at the National Zoo may be going too far. Zoo officials have had to write an apology letter for disturbing their neighbors last week, prompted by furious complaints on a message board. Memo to Cleveland Park: You are still in a city. Sometimes life here is noisy. Chill. -2

Weapons of Mall Destruction: Going sightseeing in Arizona must be a more dangerous enterprise than it is here. That would, at least, explain why authorities say James M. Patock, 66, of Marana, Ariz., had two rifles and a handgun in his truck when he parked by the Mall yesterday. The vehicle attracted police attention near the Air and Space Museum; no truth to rumors Patock was planning to rob the place of all the freeze-dried ice cream. -2

Myopic Little Twits: D.C. is sometimes accused of being superficial. That will surely change with news that Twitter—home of the 140-character message—is opening an office here! Facebook and Google already have large contingents to lobby our federal masters; for any social media platform, getting to the point where you need representation in the District is probably a good sign that you're not destined to become Friendster. +1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 45 Today's score: -6 Today's Needle rating: 39

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