City Desk

The Needle: Doors Closing Edition

Government Shutdown Will Close D.C. Government, Too

Shut 'Em Down: Life as a colony of the United States sure is grand! The federal government hurdled toward a shutdown today, taking the District along with it as a hostage. Reports trickled out late in the day that city officials planned to resume trash collection after only three days, not a week, but as Mayor Vince Gray put it in a plaintive tweet: "We are the only state/city gov in the entire US unable to use our own tax revenues to serve our own citizens during the federal shutdown." Of course, if the shutdown were to be averted, chances are the deal to keep the government open would also block the District from spending its own money on abortions, or on a needle exchange program. Hey, Canada: Will you adopt us? Our flag's already got the right color scheme-6

Bikesharing is Bikecaring: Most days, social networking coupon sites offer things like discounts at restaurants. This morning, D.C.-based LivingSocial was touting a 50 percent discount on Capital Bikeshare memberships. By late afternoon, more than 4,500 people had signed up for the deal—which may overwhelm the system if they all try to take out bikes at the same time. Officials aren't worried about having too much of a good thing, though. And in related news, Bikeshare will stay open even if the government closes—so furloughed feds can pedal to happy hour. +2

Mice, Like Justice, Are Blind: It turns out there is something in D.C. that's completely immune to the law: Mice. The D.C. Superior Court building has been beset by rodents despite an expensive renovation, and employees are starting to complain about it. "Please be assured that we are aware of the rodent problem in the building and we have been working with court administration to deal with the problem," officials assured workers. No word on whether hitting mice with judges' gavels has any effect. -1

More Than an Expensive Ticket: Two of the best soccer teams in the world, Barcelona and Manchester United, will play at FedEx Field this summer. (We happen to think Barcelona is better.) Buying a ticket may require the type of salaries typically paid to European soccer players, though: The cheapest seats in the stadium will sell for $40 plus fees, and the most expensive will run $175. On the plus side, it will only cost actual Catalans €120, and Mancunians will get in for £107. Sounds much more affordable that way! -1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 63 Today's score: -6 Friday bonus: +2 Today's Needle rating: 59

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