There is Power in a Union: For months, workers have been protesting outside the Madison Hotel on 15th Street NW, clamoring about a labor dispute in which the hotel laid off workers and refused to recognize a contract with UNITE HERE Local 25. And, incidentally, making things rather noisy for executives at The Washington Post, whose offices are just across the street from the hotel. D.C. Councilmember Jack Evans has, apparently, helped persuade the union and the hotel to come to an agreement—evidently because many of his constituents nearby complained about the noise. Word is the contract may not be quite done, but the picketing still seems to have done exactly what it was supposed to do—get people to notice. +2

Tags Optional: That D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry is having trouble with something DMV-related isn’t exactly a surprise; Barry’s Jaguar was stolen last year, and he had traffic infractions years ago, and so word that he’s driving now the Jaguar around without proper registration isn’t entirely shocking. The good news, though, is that Barry’s six-month stint without registering the car should provide a handy excuse to anyone else who’s a little tardy taking care of car matters. Just tell the DMV you’re only following the example of our elected officials, and surely you, too, can avoid any consequences. (Warning: You may still find yourself on the front page of the Metro section.) -1

Morning in Maryland: Were the nation’s 40th president still alive, Ronald Reagan would have turned 100 on Feb. 6. Instead of birthday celebrations, various Reagan-loving freedom fighters around the country are trying, instead, to name everything that isn’t nailed down after him. (Here in D.C., of course, our airport has already been given over to the cause, and Congress has been known to eye 16th Street NW for the same purpose.) As befits the Old Line State, Maryland has decided someone needs to draw a line; the state rejected a proposal to name Feb. 6 Ronald Reagan Day. Also failing to make the cut: “Young Heroes Day” and “Korean American Day.” Maybe a young, Korean Ronald Reagan would have stood a better shot. +1

New Year, Same Nats: When the Washington Senators played here (before abandoning us for Minnesota, and then Texas), the rallying cry around Griffith Stadium and RFK Stadium was, “First in war, first in peace, last in the American League East.” With the U.S. now involved in not one, not two, but three wars, we may not be “first in peace” again for a while—but the 2011 Washington Nationals appear ready to do all they can to live up to the old motto. The Nats lost to the Atlanta Braves 2-0 in Opening Day action presided over by Mayor Vince Gray (a former baseball standout himself). Oh well, there’s always next year. -1

Yesterday’s Needle rating: 59 Today’s score: +1 Today’s Needle rating: 60