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Gray Gored?: Maybe all that time listening to Sulaimon Brown babble in front of the D.C. Council wasn’t wasted, after all. Federal prosecutors say the former chief money man for Vince Gray‘s victorious 2010 mayoral campaign, Thomas Gore, gave money orders for $535 to Brown’s campaign using fake names and cash from Gray’s own campaign account—and that he destroyed a notebook with records of the payments once Brown took his allegations that the Gray campaign helped him stay in the race public. The mayor, meanwhile, was off in Las Vegas today with most of the council, trying to attract businesses to the District; no word on how the news did or didn’t affect their ability to get meetings with retailers. -5

Burning Bus: Traffic in the D.C. area can get snarled for absolutely no reason. So if there was a silver lining to this morning’s particular backup in the 3rd Street Tunnel under Capitol Hill, at least there was a good story behind it: A school bus being towed out of the tunnel caught fire and blazed on its way out. No one was hurt, but drivers had to leave their cars in the tunnel for a while while authorities dealt with the situation. -3

Shanahan Shellacked: Quite a few Washington Redskins fans might be jealous of the team’s new wide receiver, Pierre Garçon, today. Not because he’s a pro football player, and we’re not, but because he apparently knocked the snot out of head coach Mike Shanahan, who hasn’t exactly turned the team’s fortunes around since arriving, in practice. Shanahan missed a press conference scheduled for later in the day, but is otherwise expected to recover. Hopefully the team will, too. -1

Strasburg, Superstar: Some of the Washington Nationals’ best hitters have been injured lately, as the team apparently has some sort of hex on it when it comes to staying healthy this year, even as they sit near the top of the National League East standings. But no reason to panic: Pitcher Stephen Strasburg hit a home run yesterday to help the home team vanquish the Baltimore Orioles and their “Star Spangled Banner”-interrupting fans. Even better: Strasburg’s homer came right after Jesús Flores had already hit one in his own at-bat. At this rate, the team will have to make the eight-pound Strasburger even bigger. +1

Friday’s Needle rating: 56 Today’s score: -8 Today’s Needle rating: 48