City Desk

The Needle: Takeout Edition

Barrygate: Ward 8 D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry provided an object lesson in how not to apologize for outrageous comments today, first blaming the media for reporting, then trying to mitigate by Twitter, his statement after winning Tuesday's Democratic primary that Asian business owners "ought to go" for opening "those dirty shops." By late afternoon, Barry was admitting to the Post that he hadn't read his own tweets. He also apologized. Fortunately for Barry, but probably unfortunately for anyone who finds what he said offensive, he won't face any competition in the general election in November. -2

Gay Old Party?: The political establishment that works in professional Washington was amused enough by the very concept of D.C. Republicans already this week, when Mitt Romney easily won the District's GOP primary. Now comes news that the local Republican Party has elected two gay national committee members, apparently the first out RNC members in the nation. Compare that to the national party, which had a plank in its 2008 platform declaring undying love for "traditional" (read: straight-only) marriage. Bigger problem for local Republicans than how they line up with their fellow travelers, of course: Only 4,153 of them showed up at the polls on Tuesday. +2

Czeched Out: Streetcar service isn't set to start for a while now, but one major problem that's been looming has been solved—a lack of streetcars. District officials found a way around an objection from a Czech Republic-based car manufacturer that wanted the city to buy the cars from there, agreeing to buy them from the city of Portland, Ore.—which has a contract with Oregon Iron Works, the firm D.C. wanted to use instead. Now, about that Union Station connection... +1

Nats Win: Somehow, picking the Washington Nationals—yes, that team that won only 59 games in 2008 and 2009—has become the in thing to do among baseball pundits this year. The Nats went to Chicago today and beat the Cubs to start the season, keeping the buzz going for at least one day. Should the team remain competitive through the pennant race, of course, more fans will likely discover what only the die-hards realized the last few years: It gets awfully hot sitting around watching baseball in D.C. in late August. +1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 52 Today's score: +2 Today's Needle rating: 54

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