City Desk

The Needle: Mayor Arrested Edition

D.C. Don't Stand for Democracy City: The good news from Friday night's budget dealing between the White House and Congress was that D.C. libraries, rec centers, and other services—like trash collection—didn't have to close. The bad news was that, once again, Congress has decided to play D.C. Council, with President Obama's blessing. City officials still aren't even sure exactly what the budget agreement does to local laws (besides banning local funding for abortions and reinstating a voucher program, it might also ban needle exchange funding), but they know they don't like it. D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton should definitely vote against the deal when it comes up on the House floor later this week. Wait, what? Oh. Never mind. -5 But late in the day, Mayor Vince Gray and several councilmembers were in the process of getting arrested by Capitol Police for blocking Constitution Avenue to protest the deal—which means years of talk may finally be yielding to action. +2

Trees, Our Mortal Enemies: And now, a very sneezy episode of Meaningless Rankings by National Organizations. The weather finally warmed up today—which meant it was time for the city's trees to unleash their deadly barrage of pollen on unsuspecting residents. D.C. is, officially, only the 25th worst place to live during spring allergy season, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. But last year, the District was 46th—which means things have gotten worse in a hurry. Remind us never, ever to set foot in Knoxville, Tenn., which came in first. -2

Suspect Stung: A word of advice on what to do if someone tries to enlist you in a plot they say they're hatching to bomb Metro stations—don't. The man the FBI says happily agreed to join them in a phony bomb conspiracy, Farooque Ahmed, was sentenced today to 23 years in prison. We take the Metro often enough that we're glad to see authorities are taking threats to its security seriously. But we've also read the Constitution often enough to wish authorities would concentrate on people who might have been dangerous even if they hadn't been recruited by the FBI. -1

Dog Whistle Politics: You might need Carl Jung's theory of synchronicity to explain the coincidental timing in the next two pieces of news. First, Sekou Biddle adviser/Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown father Marshall Brown tells the Post that white D.C. voters "believe more in their dogs than they do in people." Then comes word that a new pet shop called Green Paws D.C. will open in Bloomingdale. Maybe Brown, who was dumped from Biddle's campaign late in the day, can go work there? +1

Friday's Needle rating: 59 Today's score: -5 Today's Needle rating: 54

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