City Desk

The Needle: Sepp Blatter Hates America Edition

Qatar? I Hardly Know Her: A collection of D.C. bigwigs turned up at the Newseum this morning, preparing to celebrate word that FedEx Field would host up to seven matches in the 2022 World Cup, which would, of course, be played in the United States. Everyone from D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. to Greater Washington Sports Alliance president Bob Sweeney, who acted as emcee (and at one point joked about getting a phone call from former President Bill Clinton, who didn't actually call him), to D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen was there. A few hundred people decked out in U.S. soccer gear came to watch. There was a live feed from Zürich via ESPN. And then finally, the great moment came for FIFA chief corruption officer strongman Sepp Blatter to announce that the 2022 World Cup would be held in... Qatar. ("This is bullshit!" one guy at the Newseum yelled out, and who are we at Washington City Paper to disagree?) Finally, Americans could join the rest of the world in the great passion of hating Sepp Blatter; joining the rest of the world in the great passion of international soccer, alas, may have to wait. Good news, though: There are plenty of flights from Dulles to Doha. -3

Unleaded, Please: The District recently spent $93 million to replace service lines to about 15,000 homes whose water was contaminated by lead. It turns out that may not have fixed much. D.C. Water officials now say anyone whose home got the, uh, upgraded service lines should test their water to be sure it's safe if they have small children, pregnant women, or anyone with a compromised immune system living there. Could be worse, though; just think how expensive the repair job would have been if it actually worked! -4

Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Grammy Swing: Finally, go-go may mean something to people outside the D.C. area besides "Da Butt"—the legendary Chuck Brown was nominated for a Grammy for a duet with Jill Scott, "Love." The relatively geriatric tastes of Grammy voters being what they are, Brown's probably better off being nominated now, when he's 74, than he would have been earlier in his career. +2

Bike Parking Police: The District has some wonderfully progressive laws mandating that buildings included dedicated parking spaces for bicycles; the idea is to support alternative means of transportation and get people out of their cars. Up to now, though, the laws have been entirely unenforceable. That could change, as the D.C. Council is considering legislation to allow fines against building owners who don't comply. Which makes for a win-win, as either more bike racks appear, or the empty city coffers get replenished—so more money can be spent painting bike lanes around town. +2

Yesterday's Needle rating: 53 Today's score: -3 Today's Needle rating: 50

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