City Desk

The Needle: Amnesty Edition

No Free Parking: These days, municipal governments need to scramble to find every spare dollar they can. Which is why the District is extending its free research program as part of a parking ticket amnesty—the program, which was set to end today, has already brought in nearly $400,000 from scofflaws taking advantage of the chance to pay up with no penalty. City officials will look up in their records to see if you owe them money until Sept. 9; they expect to bring in $6.3 million by the time it's over. +3

This Is A Robbery And A Burgeoning Trend: If hysteria over teenagers in Gallery Place wasn't enough for you, just wait. Word comes today from Montgomery County that police believe as many as three dozen teens marched into a Germantown 7-Eleven, took snacks and drinks, and left without paying—which, probably because the term "flash mob" got way too much exposure a few years ago, is known as a flash mob robbery. Expect dire predictions of riots next. -2

How Do You Mend A Broken Art: When Susan Burns slashed a Paul Gaugin painting in April, it didn't take long to figure out the underlying cause; she told police she was "from the American CIA" and had a radio in her head, and she was taken for mental health screening after being arrested. Apparently whatever treatment she got wasn't enough, as Burns was arrested again late Friday for storming into the National Gallery again and smashing Henri Matisse's "The Plumed Hat" against the wall, damaging its frame. No word on whether the CIA is still involved. -2

Hail Victory: Winning a preseason game gets an NFL team about as far toward the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl trophy as signing an official flooring partner does, which is to say, not very. But we won't complain after the Washington Redskins managed to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers Friday night in their preseason debut, despite the fairly significant handicap of playing Rex Grossman as their starting QB. (Grossman may soon be benched for John Beck, who probably also counts as a detriment on paper.) Time to be optimistic, at least until next week. +1

Friday's Needle rating: 67 Today's score: 0 Today's Needle rating: 67

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