City Desk

The Needle: Ostrich Edition

Politics & Sold: Yes, Borders may be on its way to the brand graveyard. But if the health of the publishing industry can be measured by the fate of bookstores, the news isn't all bad; a buyer was announced today for Politics & Prose, the upper Northwest institution with its own C-SPAN camera. Former Washington Post reporter Bradley Graham and longtime Clinton (both Bill and Hillary) adviser Lissa Muscatine will purchase the store. They beat out, among others, a group headed by former New Republic editor Franklin Foer and Atlantic writer Jeffrey Goldberg. +2

Sugar Lobby: Mysterious enough that Georgetown Cupcake can draw endless lines of fans to its M Street corner, no matter the weather. Now the calorie bombs are being used to influence public policy. Sunday's New York Times wrote up AT&T's lobbying blitz last year on Federal Communications Commission regulations, capped by the delivery of 1,500 cupcakes to the FCC's offices at The Portals in Southwest. (The company later also sent some cupcakes to the non-profit that first disclosed the tactic.) The bad news: Really, more publicity for cupcakes? The good news: Maybe this means Darrell Issa will finally investigate the true scourge of D.C.—trendy sugary snacks! -1

Gas Guzzling: Taxi rates just went up $1—and no, this time, you can't blame the meters. With gas prices soaring, Mayor Vince Gray issued an executive order allowing a $1 fuel surcharge on trips within the District. It's set to expire July 25, but since a gallon of gas may well cost five bucks by then, it's likely to be extended. Our advice: Learn the bus routes. -1

Ostrich Jam: Traffic on the Beltway? Not surprising. Traffic on the Beltway due to an escaped flightless fowl? That's a different story. An ostrich got loose from a truck taking it to a petting zoo and ran around on I-495 near the Connecticut Avenue exit on the outer loop, until handlers coaxed it back in. (Which, to be honest, is usually what we feel like doing when driving on the Beltway.) +1

Friday's Needle rating: 65 Today's score: +1 Today's Needle rating: 66

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