City Desk

The Needle: Craig Goes to Congress Edition

Constituent Service: Members of the House may not get quite as much respect around D.C. as senators do—after all, there's a lot more of 'em running around. On the other hand, they're still recognizable enough that they probably shouldn't be trying to pick up chicks on Craigslist, which Rep. Chris Lee, a New York Republican, seems to have found out the hard way. Allegedly describing himself as a 39-year-old divorced lobbyist, the married 46-year-old congressman reportedly sent a shirtless photo to a woman he was trying to impress. Maybe having voting representation in Congress isn't all it's cracked up to be. -2

#TBDFight: About six months ago, TBD.com made its long-awaited debut on the local news scene (with a handful of former Washington City Paper staffers in various jobs). NewsChannel 8 was rebranded TBD TV, and Channel 7's website was subsumed by the new site. Today, executives at WJLA-TV, the station owned—like TBD—by Allbritton Communications, apparently decided there is such a thing as too much synergy, announcing a reorganization of the structure. The good news: No job losses are expected. The bad news: In the journalism business these days, the second part of that sentence is always "for now." -1

Blown Away: It's not usually particularly hard to know whether someone's drunk—there's the slurred speech, the impaired judgement, the sudden declaration that you know, actually, that Justin Bieber kid isn't so bad. Apparently, though, District cops have been using faulty Breathalyzers, leading authorities to drop dozens of drunk-driving cases for lack of reliable evidence. Stay off the roads, and keep Bieber off your iPod. -2

Cash for Teacher: Nothing like unexpected expenditures to put more strain on an already tight municipal budget. Which is why D.C. government officials, no matter what they think of former Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, were probably not particularly pleased with a ruling that 75 teachers Rhee ordered dismissed have to be reinstated and get back pay. The total involved could come to $7.5 million. Which adds up to a lot of apples. -1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 51 Today's score: -6 Today's Needle rating: 45

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