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And Then There Were 12: For months, Harry Thomas Jr. claimed he was innocent of all the allegations against him, even after he agreed to repay the District $300,000 that the attorney general said he stole. And then all of a sudden, he admitted he did it all. In a guilty plea in federal court today, Thomas said he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars he’d helped direct to organizations that were supposed to be working on behalf of needy kids. He resigned his Ward 5 D.C. Council seat last night, and he’ll be sentenced to prison on May 3. It’s a cliché to say, “This is a sad day for D.C.,” but phrases like that become clichés for a reason—because they’re true. -5

No Parking, President Dining: Early this morning, Dupont Circle residents found temporary “no parking” signs had gone up all around the neighborhood, without the usual advance notice required for posting. Some cars had been towed. What, exactly, was going on? Just a lunch excursion for the most powerful man in the country, that’s all. President Barack Obama zipped north to eat lunch with some supporters at Scion, the second such meal he’s had lately. Last time, he was in Virginia. Maybe he’s been reading Washington City Paper? -1

A Diaper On Every Pol: Out on the hustings, the men (and they’re all men, now that Michele Bachmann has quit) who want to replace Obama like to talk about the career paths they’d bring to the White House should they win. One guy’s a corporate raider, one guy’s a K Street lobbyist without the title. A lesser-known rival, though, would arrive at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW having served as lawyer to the madame to the inside-the-Beltway stars. Montgomery Blair Sibley, attorney to the late Deborah Jean Palfrey, announced today he’s seeking the presidency. No line so far on InTrade on Sibley’s chances. -1

More Money, Fewer Problems: It’s been years since federal workers got a pay raise, as every national politician in town has rushed to demonstrate their frugality by slashing salaries of public servants. (Public servants except Harry Thomas Jr., of course.) The White House has, apparently, decided that’s gone on long enough. Civilian federal employees would get a .5 percent raise in fiscal year 2013 under President Barack Obama’s proposed budget. Considering that stats out today showed that 12,000 public sector jobs vanished in the last month, chances are the country can afford it. And here in D.C., a raise for federal workers might help everyone. But since it’s got to get through Congress first, we don’t advise anyone start spending immediately. +2

Yesterday’s Needle rating: 43 Today’s score: -5 Friday bonus: +2 Today’s Needle rating: 40