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Wilson Building Whirlwind: The summer is usually a little slow for political news. Today wasn’t. First, D.C. officials announced that the city was suing Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr. for allegedly using earmarks to buy himself an Audi. Thomas says he’s done nothing wrong, but the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office were already investigating him before D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan referred the matter to them. No sooner was the Thomas story done for the day then Sulaimon Brown took the witness stand at the Wilson Building, wearing sunglasses he refused to take off and getting into snippy arguments with members of the D.C. Council. The best exchange came late in the day, when Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry was arguing with Brown. Brown told Barry, “You know, you were locked up by the same FBI I’ve been talking to,” prompting Barry to reply, “You out of your goddamn mind.” Aren’t we all! -6
End of the Line: When Metrobuses are delayed, it’s usually because of traffic, not because they smashed into each other. But this afternoon, near Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and W Street SE, that’s precisely what happened. At least six people were injured, apparently none seriously. And yes, traffic, for anyone on a bus passing through the same area, was backed up. -3
Tommymandered?: Walk out on the street right now, stop the first five people you see, and ask them what ward they live in if they’re D.C. residents. It’s unlikely they’d all get it right, which makes the uproar over D.C. Council redistricting seem like a typical low stakes, high emotions local politics fight. This time, though, the most emotive people seem to have won. A final redistricting map will keep Hill East residents who had wanted to stay in Ward 6 there and represented by Tommy Wells, instead of moving them to Yvette Alexander‘s Ward 7 territory. Look for another fight over almost identical issues in ten years. +1
Thou Shall Not Steal: The best time to commit burglary is, obviously enough, when no one’s going to be in whatever building you’re planning to steal from. Or, if you’re breaking into a church, when they’re all busy praying. That was the strategy police say Stephen Ernest Wing Jr. and Andrew Phillip Conteh used yesterday morning, when they snuck in a back door of the Christ is Lord Ministry in Woodbridge, Va., flashed guns at the parishioners counting money collected during the service, and ran off. They were identified not long afterward and arrested—which the Old Testament could probably have predicted. -1
Friday’s Needle rating: 63 Today’s score: -9 Today’s Needle rating: 54