Rain On The Parade: The more information that comes out about the federal government shutdown, the more ludicrous it seems that a country whose elected officials take great pains to describe—belligerently, at times—as the greatest in the history of the world may just close up shop for lack of money this weekend. Among the casualties: the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade, which would be canceled because it runs down Constitution Avenue, which is National Park Service territory. Also, about 800,000 federal workers, many of them here in the D.C. area, would be furloughed. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking about replacing the eagle on the national seal with a banana? -3

You Put Your Weed in There: Assuming the government doesn’t shut down, D.C.’s new medical marijuana laws will begin to take effect next week—meaning applications for pot dispensaries will be available. No actual medicinal marijuana, of course, won’t be available for some time; the rules will be published next week, but no licenses to grow and distribute the pot will be out for a while. At this rate, things have been moving slow enough it’s starting to seem like the people in charge of implementing the laws have been sampling the medicine. +2

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: When it is operating, of course, having the federal government around is good for business in D.C. Or at least such is the conclusion of new data out today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which showed the unemployment rate in the D.C. region in February—5.9 percent—was the lowest for any region in the country. That’s well below the national average of 9.5 percent in February. More proof the Obama administration is taking the country socialist! +2

Next Stop, Departures: Chances people will ride Metro’s new Silver Line out to Dulles International Airport (once it opens) are dramatically higher if the station is near the terminal, but putting it there would be significantly more expensive. Which is why it was a pleasant surprise today that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority overruled its own staff and voted to put the stop underground, close to the terminal. Of course, Virginia officials are already saying the $300 million in additional costs should be paid by the airport, not the state. But they’ve got, oh, probably another decade to worry about it before the Silver Line actually opens. +1

Yesterday’s Needle rating: 61 Today’s score: +2 Today’s Needle rating: 63