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Thank You, Mr. President: The budget proposed for 2012 by President Obama spared many District programs from the spending ax. The Department of Homeland Security (for its upcoming move to the St. Elizabeths campus in Ward 8), HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and a fund for local nonprofit arts organizations were bolstered. And the budget continues to fund the  city’s public and charter schools and maintains the federal government’s commitment to Metro (which has a $150 million price tag to pay for system upgrades). But Republicans are pushing for more cuts, particularly an $80 million slice to Metro’s aforementioned $150 million funding stream. Local Dems, meanwhile, are rallying to keep the system’s funding safe from the budget knife. +1

Free State of Marriage: D.C.’s neighbor is poised to become the sixth state to recognize gay marriage. Two more Maryland senators came out in support of the legislation yesterday. The upcoming vote will no doubt be a very, very close one. But if the marriage equality bill can clear the House, it should pass the more liberal Senate without much trouble. +2

Predatory Invaders: If you’re a rodent, watch out! A LeDroit Park resident spotted a hawk chowing down on a rat carcass over the weekend. TBD reports that this is some sort of trend or phenomenon or whatnot (apparently, reports of hawk sightings have also cropped up on Mount Pleasant’s online message board). Sure, hawks in the city are a bit unusual, but the Washington Humane Society says the hawk attacks might cut down on some of city’s free-roaming rats. And that’s good for everyone. +1

UMC Back and Forth: There’s been lots of chatter over the fate of the United Medical Center, the only full-service hospital in D.C. that’s east of the Anacostia River (Loose Lips provided a backgrounder on the situation in last week’s dead-tree edition). With three board members appointed during Adrian Fenty‘s administration stepping down, Mayor Vince Gray did not introduce the emergency legislation that would have expanded the United Medical Center’s board of trustees. No word on what this means for the privatize-the-hospital vs. delay-privatization-of-the-hospital debate that has pitted Gray against At-Large Councilmember David Catania. But when you’re dealing with a hospital that’s too important to fail, the longer the hospital’s future is up in the air, the worse off we are as a city. -1

Yesterday’s Needle rating: 50 Today’s score: +3 Today’s Needle Rating: 53