Experts Weigh In: The House is setting up a fight with the White House over school vouchers for low-income D.C. students, which the Obama administration is opposing on the theory that Congress really shouldn’t be deciding who goes to which schools in the District. And like all issues, the future of D.C. education policy can be easily reduced to snappy soundbites from political operatives who have no stake in and know nothing about the situation! Just ask Georgia state Sen. Judson Hill, a Republican who bills himself as “the conservative leader who delivers,” and muses to Politico: “Parents should have the say in their children’s education before teachers or a union. Restricting parents control and supporting unions first only reinforces the fact that the president is not on the side of children.” Pithy! Thanks for contributing your generic talking points to our local issues, Sen. Hill; it only, uh, “reinforces the fact” that D.C. should be run by Washingtonians. -1

Only Voters Pay Fines: When they’re not writing legislation affecting a city they like to pretend they never even set foot in, members of Congress apparently like to spend their time parking illegally and running red lights. An investigation by Roll Call finds at least $15,000 in unpaid tickets pending against cars owned or driven by lawmakers (though some, like would-be New York Mayor Anthony Weiner, paid their tab when the paper called them). City law allows members of Congress to park without paying meters wherever they like as long as they’re on official business—which seems like a decent provision to revisit in our time of budgetary crises. -2

There’s Something About a Tweet That’s Magic: Traveling between D.C. and points north by rail often means delays of uncertain causes and lengths. But now, thanks to the power of social networking, it will mean delays of uncertain causes and lengths with 140 character rationalizations—Amtrak has launched what it’s calling a “pilot program” to tweet out status updates for major problems, using the catchy Twitter handle @AmtrakNEC (for Northeast Corridor). If all goes well, maybe next they’ll start sending LinkedIn requests to Acela passengers. +1

Cars to Pedestrians, Cyclists—Drop Dead: Getting around the District without the protective cushioning of at least a ton of steel, plastic, glass, and a combustion engine is increasingly dangerous. Last year, the number of people hit by cars increased 25 percent over the year before; by now, three times a day, someone meets the business end of a vehicle. (Follow @StruckDC for a grisly tally.) Officials just kicked off a new campaign aimed at pedestrian and bike safety, which will include ticketing… pedestrians and cyclists. The good news: Once they’re on the ground, they’re very easy to hit with a ticket. -2

Yesterday’s Needle rating: 63 Today’s score: -4 Today’s Needle rating: 59