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On The Whole, We’d Rather They Be In Philadelphia: For a variety of reasons, the crowd at Washington Nationals games is often dominated by fans of the visiting teams. (One reason: The area’s transient population means every team has a lot of fans here. Another reason: The Nats haven’t been very good in their brief existence.) But the front office wants to change that, at least when it comes to Philadelphians. For a May series against the Phillies, the team is selling advance tickets early, but they can only be purchased with credit cards with D.C., Virginia, or Maryland addresses. Will it work, and keep the park Phanatic-free? Probably not. But at least the Nats aren’t marketing directly to Phillies fans anymore! +3
Panopticon: As we noted yesterday, chef Geoff Tracy is upset about speed cameras on Foxhall Road NW, but he ought to be glad he doesn’t live in Montgomery County. There, officials are considering putting cameras on all school buses, in order to catch drivers who ignore the stop signs on the buses. Which sounds irritating, but not as irritating as drivers who ignore the stop signs on the buses. +1
To Sleep, Perchance To Dream (Of Statehood): The hunger strike for D.C. voting rights ended without actually achieving statehood, so activists have now moved onto refusing something besides food: Sleep. A sleep strike, though, turns out to be even more dangerous than a hunger strike, and one of the strikers called off his vigil several days in. The other, though, Ricky Lehner, is still awake. The city’s colonial status has kept many Washingtonians up at night, but this is something else altogether. +1
The Interest Rates Are Too Damn High: Municipal governments and European nations have been watching their credit ratings slide lower and lower recently, as budget crises and debt loads become too much for bondholders to bear. But the District is trying to get its rating upgraded, not lowered. Mayor Vince Gray headed to New York today to meet with ratings agencies and talk up the $1 billion reserve balance the city has on the books, in hopes that the credit rating will improve, lowering the interest rate D.C. must pay on its bonds. With any luck, none of the ratings agency folks have been reading up on the Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation. +2
Yesterday’s Needle rating: 36 Today’s score: +7 Friday bonus: +2 Today’s Needle rating: 45