City Desk

The Needle: Montel Williams Edition

Medical Montel: Between infomercials for blenders, financial counseling, and security companies, Montel Williams may soon be busy here in the District. The talk show host is part of a group that's applying for one of the medical marijuana licenses up for grabs; he's the public face of a dispensary in Sacramento, Calif., already. (Williams has MS and has been actively supporting laws allowing medical use of pot for a while.) That California outfit is fairly popular—one online reviewer recently called it the Neiman Marcus of Marijuana. No word on whether that means Williams' group will try to set up shop in Mazza Gallerie. +2

No Parking, Seriously: Should your car be stolen in the District, the police may not find it, but the Department of Public Works will. Just ask Brandon Bray, whose car was stolen, then left for six weeks in a tow-away zone in front of a school, where it accumulated $300 in parking tickets, some of which were there so long that they melted to the windshield. He now has the car back, and won't have to pay the fines. Guess that "tow-away" thing doesn't mean much, though. -1

Knock First: Metropolitan Police Department officers were very eager to get inside a home a few years ago, after someone stopped for a traffic violation told them her son, who dropped a gun as he ran from the stop, lived at that address. The only problem? He didn't. Police spent 45 minutes with a battering ram, drill, and crow bar breaking into the home, doing more than $10,000 in damage to the door and the interior walls—then refused to pay for it, because they had a warrant. Never mind that the information that led to the warrant was erroneous. Eventually, the homeowner sued, and five months after they first complained, got paid back for the repairs they did. Still, let that be a lesson: Don't live in a house the cops might want to bust into. -2

Ni Hao Saxa: Vice President Joe Biden was at the Verizon Center to see the Georgetown Hoyas beat the Duke Blue Devils a couple of years ago, along with President Barack Obama and thousands of others. But only now is the true depth of Biden's devotion to the team becoming clear—his first stop, upon arriving in Beijing yesterday, was at a gym to watch the Hoyas (on a preseason tour of China) play the Shanxi Brave Dragons. The visiting college team won, 98-81. Look for the Brave Dragons to drop out of the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll as a result. +1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 63 Today's score: 0 Today's Needle rating: 63

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