City Desk

The Needle: Electric Boogaloo Edition

Power to the People: Wednesday night's snowstorm took out electricity to so many Pepco customers that the utility's outage maps weren't even working most of the day today. Turns out there may be a good reason why: Pepco didn't request extra help keeping power on until hours after most other area companies had done so. Service should be back by 11 p.m. tonight, but if you're reading this, chances are you already have power anyway. (At least this time they didn't blame the trees.) -4

Metrobus-ted: Just how bad was the commute Wednesday night? Bad enough that most Metrobuses on the road during the snowstorm couldn't manage to go more than 6 miles an hour, which is pretty slow. Some roads wound up blocked by stuck buses; others were just congested and icy, leaving buses caught in traffic the same as cars. In Silver Spring, the 70 bus moved only a few feet in the hour The Washington Post analyzed. Next time: Buy skis. -3

Have a Lucky Day: Sure, it was manipulative and one-sided in its portrayal of public school teachers' unions and the politics of education reform—but there's no question the lottery scene in Waiting for "Superman" made for great drama. The same drama is now playing out in real life, though mostly via websites, not in auditoriums with film crews around: DCPS opened the lottery for the 2011-12 school year today for out-of-boundary schools or for pre-school or pre-kindergarten spots. (Charter school lotteries are held at different times throughout the year; don't forget to apply for a spot in the Washington City Paper School—guaranteed not to make adequate yearly progress, or your money back!) +2

House the Rich: What recession? Sales of homes that cost $1 million or more were up about a third last year over 2009; one rowhome in Dupont Circle recently sold for $1.699 million, paid in cash. (We hope the buyer used lots and lots of $2 bills.) Affordable housing is still hard to come by in the District and elsewhere in the region, though—but if the millionaires are moving, at least the rest of us can live in their discarded cardboard boxes. +1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 53 Today's score: -4 Friday bonus: +2 Today's Needle rating: 51

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