City Desk

The Needle: Challenged Edition

Who Pays Taxes in D.C.: Mike DeBonis has tons of fun facts from 2009: "Upon filing their yearly returns, 57,359 owed additional tax totaling $246 million. And 236,857 filers were entitled to refunds totaling almost $771 million." So much tax activity, so few voting rights! -3

Sometimes Chicken Shit Is A Big Deal: In Arlington, at least, where slow food advocates are trying to overturn a decades-old law against raising one's own chickens. According to WAMU, "George Mason University biology professor David Luther says the main public health risk from chickens is water pollution: 'Like all organisms, we defecate a fair bit, and it all has to go somewhere. Generally for anything except humans, it doesn't go through water treatment plants. If the quantity is high, it can be a real problem for the local watershed.'" We believe in sustainable eggs, but chickens can be pretty foul. +1

Some People Mistake Discovery for Challenger: In all the excitement about this morning's space shuttle flight (on the back of a jet) around D.C., it's not such a surprise that a significant number of D.C. residents believed they were seeing the Challenger. We suppose it's heartening that decades after the shuttle exploded in the air, the Challenger hasn't been forgotten, even if it's being misremembered. +2

Take A Load Off, Levon: Not strictly D.C. news, but we're pretty bummed to hear that The Band's Levon Helm is in the "final stages" of his fight with cancer. Excuse us while we spend the rest of the evening drinking Canadian whiskey and listening to "I Shall Be Released" on repeat. -4

Friday's Needle rating: 46 Today's score: -4 Today's Needle rating: 42

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