City Desk

The Needle: Life In The Fast Lane Edition

Drive Your Cares Away: Suburban living may not be for everyone, but it's supposed to come with a definite advantage over an urban homestead—cheaper rent and/or mortgage payments. Turns out that's not really the case. Transportation costs eat up most of the savings from living farther from downtown, a new study reports. Homes may be more expensive in the District or near Metro, but the fact that you don't have to spend $1 gazillion each year on gas offsets it. Unless, of course, your job is in some suburban office park. +2

Not Workin' 9 to 5: Showing up at a job every day in exchange for a paycheck is for suckers. The real American dream is getting paid for work you don't even do! Which is, according to Metro Transit Police, what Empress Jacobs and Keesha Richardson were doing, with help from Alfred Atanga. Jacobs and Richardson allegedly received $25,000 in pay for hours they hadn't actually worked in a call center. That's a lot of "peak of the peak" fares' worth of Metro money. -1

Not Workin' At All: The D.C. area has been insulated somewhat from the horrific national economy, thanks to what many in the Tea Party describe as "government waste," but which Washingtonians describe as "employment." That may be coming to an end; thanks to federal layoffs, the unemployment rate in the region ticked up to 6.2 percent in June, the first time in 14 months that the area lost more jobs than it gained. Good thing they got that debt ceiling plan passed! -3

QB Quandary: Back in the good old days, the Washington Redskins had quarterback controversies involving legends. Billy Kilmer battled Sonny Jurgensen. Joe Theismann showed up to challenge both of them. Fast forward to this week, where training camp involves a duel between Rex Grossman and John Beck to run the team's offense, and suddenly last year's 6-10 record is looking pretty good, in retrospect. -2

Yesterday's Needle rating: 52 Today's score: -4 Today's score: 48

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