City Desk

The Needle: D.C. Nationalism Edition

Feds to City—Drop Dead: Add to the potential problems of a federal government shutdown a few downsides that are closer to home, even for federal employees who are forced to stay out of work—like, say, uncollected garbage. Turns out the District, because its annual spending bill hasn't passed Congress yet, would also have to close if lawmakers and the White House can't reach a deal. That's because every dollar of the $5 billion or so in revenue raised from fees and local income, sales, and property taxes has to be sent to the U.S. Treasury so Congress can appropriate it back to the city. (If a deal is reached to avert a shutdown, chances are it'll ban local revenue from being spent to provide abortions.) So as President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wrangle over budget-cutting targets that increasingly seem completely arbitrary (now they want to hit $40 billion), remember you'll be able to thank them when your recycling is overflowing next week. -5

Tahitian Women Redux: You can't keep Paul Gauguin down for long. "Two Tahitian Women," assaulted Friday by a woman who allegedly told investigators she objected to its topless subjects (and that Gauguin was "evil"), went back on display at the National Gallery today. The painting, worth $80 million, is on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and was behind a Plexiglass shield when the incident occurred. Also, the Los Angeles Times chided Washington City Paper today for allowing "water-cooler tomfoolery" to leach onto the Internet. We certainly hope someone has a plan to keep, oh, everything else on the Internet away from the delicate eyes of Times staffers. +2

What Washingtonians Want: Looking for love near Dupont Circle? Emphasize how much you know about Romania, brides, journalists, and refugees. A new study of online dating profiles reveals those words are used by a higher percentage of profiles near there than anywhere else in the country. Ethnomusicology shows up often near the Hill; beardless pops up by the convention center. We have no idea what any of it means, but we're fascinated. +1

Gone Too Far: It was only a matter of time before the current rage for pork and the zombie-like, undying cupcake trend finally united. And now comes word that Bourbon Steak is producing something called a "pork cupcake," a veritable Frankenstein's monster of cheddar, scallion, and smoked pulled pork that won't be on the menu, but thanks to an UrbanDaddy shoutout, is sure to sell like hotcakes. Or cupcakes. We have only one question to the chef behind this thing: Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency? -1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 64 Today's score: -3 Today's Needle rating: 61

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