City Desk

The Needle: Labor Day Edition

Oh, You're Still Here: Labor Day weekend would be a great time to get out of town—power's back on at the Delaware and Maryland beaches after Hurricane Irene, there's no work Monday, and the weather's getting humid again after a week of paradise. But travel is expected to fall by 2.3 percent this weekend, thanks mostly to the lousy economy, which is showing signs of getting worse again instead of better. Fortunately, there's major track work planned on Metro's Blue and Orange lines, which will make getting around the area just delightful! -2

Asbestos? What Asbestos?: Like all governments these days, the D.C. government is cutting back and tightening budgets. But that still doesn't excuse two employees of the Department of the Environment, who allegedly took $20,000 in two bribes from an FBI informant who they thought was working for a developer doing asbestos removal on a construction project. No word on whether the asbestos actually was removed, but D.C. officials will probably want to have someone double-check to be sure. -2

Gym, Laundry, No Tan: The risk that Snooki, The Situation, or any other Jersey Shore bozos will be making the District their new residence just dropped dramatically. D.C. officials rolled out 74 pages of regulations for tanning salons, including how they have to handle any pet fish on the premises—which should be enough to deter any tanners as dedicated as they are. The bad news, of course, is that giving the libertarian Tea Partiers in Congress any additional reason to poke around D.C. government isn't wise. +1

And Now, The Real Games Begin: The Washington Redskins are once again contenders for the not-so-coveted title of preseason champions. They won the final tune-up game of 2011 last night, beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 29-24 at FedEx Field last night. Though $6 commemorative cups plastered with former quarterback Donovan McNabb's likeness were for sale at the stadium (as was Ben's Chili Bowl), the actual quarterback this year will be either John Beck or Rex Grossman, which isn't exactly inspiring. Up next: The New York Giants, on Sept. 11. And an attempt to improve on last year's 6-10 record. +1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 53 Today's score: -2 Friday bonus: +2 Labor Day bonus: +2 Today's Needle rating: 55

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