City Desk

The Needle: Snow Edition

Snow!: If you've had a certain 1992 single by a Canadian one-hit wonder stuck in your head all day, believe us when we say we feel your pain. (And if you haven't, click on that link to remedy that.) The first real snow of the season fell today, leaving about 1-2 inches around the region and, as expected, generally freaking people out. Of course, just over a year ago, the first of the winter's three massive snowstorms was rolling through town, and now we're settling for a bit more than a dusting. Yet another sign of America in decline? +3

Your Papers, Please: Riding Metro is bad enough these days, what with the crowds, the breakdowns, the inexplicable delays, and the occasional accidents. It's about to get worse—the transit system has announced plans for random bag searches, apparently prompted by the FBI's recent arrest of a guy they, uh, convinced to try to bomb the system, then nabbed before he got around to it. This is, to be blunt, ridiculous; it'll make boarding Metro slower and more complicated, but with only about 20 people involved in doing the searches, the new policy won't come anywhere near being thorough enough to actually deter people from bringing anything dangerous on board. (Though if it convinces riders to take care of their personal grooming at home, instead of on the subway, we might be for it.) -4

Legislative Lockdown: Work on Capitol Hill, which isn't exactly proceeding at a furious pace this year, slowed even more today, as Capitol Police declared a lockdown and rumors spread of a gunman outside the Senate side of the Capitol. The man was arrested; reports later were a bit hazy on whether he was actually armed. Fortunately, an all clear was called; unfortunately, that still doesn't mean Congress is likely to finish its work anytime soon. -2

I Fly, You Fly, We All Fly With WiFi: Airports aren't usually a good place to find discounted pricing on anything; with a captive audience, retailers don't have much incentive to be aggressive. After all, it's not like you're going to fly out of BWI instead of National just to save 50 cents on your coffee. But thanks to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which runs DCA and Dulles International, WiFi service that used to cost money will soon be free. Which means you can get on Twitter and complain about your delayed flight that much more easily! +2

Yesterday's Needle rating: 50 Today's score: -1 Today's Needle rating: 49

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