City Desk

The Needle: Don’t Come Back Edition

Banned in D.C.: Yes, we used the same Bad Brains song title as a headline on a previous Needle item about the National Portrait Gallery. But now it's even more appropriate, as the Metropolitan Police Department told two protesters arrested at the museum on Saturday that they were forbidden to set foot in any Smithsonian Institution properties ever again—for life. Admittedly, we've never passed the bar exam, but such an order certainly doesn't seem like it could possibly hold up in court. But why would the cops let that stop them? -2

Fight the Power: About the only thing you might ask for from your power company is that they regularly keep your home or business supplied with power. That is not, however, Pepco's way. As a Washington Post report detailed yesterday, the utility provides its customers with 70 percent more outages than they'd get if they lived in another utility's service area; trees, which Pepco usually blames for the problems, don't actually seem to bear as much fault as the utility's own equipment failures. Pepco executives apparently read the Post report and decided to double down: Today, they announced they'd be raising rates. -3

Wild Blue Yonder: Usually, the sound of a helicopter flying overhead at night is a bad sign—either a medical evacuation, or the police are looking for someone, or it's one of those pesky unmarked black helicopters that mean it's time to put the tin foil hat on again to protect your brain. The helicopter, and accompanying Civil Air Patrol plane, that will be flying around the region tonight, though, are only part of a NORAD training exercise to test the area's defenses. Still, the tin foil hat might not be a terrible idea. +1

Jersey Turnpike Roadkill: It's December, which means it's time for football teams to prepare for the playoffs. Or, in the case of the Redskins, to begin planning winter vacation destinations. The Skins were drubbed by the Giants yesterday, 31-7, in a game that featured six turnovers and a blocked punt. Fortunately, at 5-7, the team has already won more games than last year; unfortunately, if they keep playing the way they did yesterday, they're in danger of having earlier wins stripped away retroactively just on principle. -2

Friday's Needle rating: 53 Today's score: -6 Today's Needle rating: 47

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