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Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My: Okay, they’re not pandas. But the debut Monday of the National Zoo’s lion cubs should still set off alarms for possible cute overload. All seven of the cubs, born over the summer, will be “previewed” for Friends of the National Zoo members tomorrow, then—depending on weather—released outside early next week. As federal workers, of course, the lions won’t get a pay raise next year. +4

Trust Us!: Metro has always been at war with Oceania. That is, essentially, the message of a video the transit agency posted to justify their planned random searches of passengers’ bags: There’s no reason for alarm! Everything will work smoothly! The soothing words of reassurance about the searches—which are likely to be utterly useless from a security standpoint, but quite effective at inconveniencing riders and raising constitutional questions—might be more comforting if they didn’t involve the mysterious phrase “ionization technology” and the banal one “Transportation Security Administration.” -3

Maternity Lane: People do some strange things in their cars on the way to work in the morning—shave, read the paper, drink coffee. And in the case of one woman who pulled over to the side of I-270 near Montrose Road in Montgomery County, deliver a baby. 911 operators talked her and a man in the car through the process during rush hour. With traffic as bad as it is in the D.C. area, the only really surprising thing about this story is that it doesn’t happen more often. +3

Sexy Rexy: Last year, the Redskins were 4-12 by the end of the season. This year, they won’t be 4-12, but only because they’ve already won five games; good thing, too, because in most other respects, the team looks like it’s trying hard to top the 2009 debacle. Today’s ludicrous news? Coach Mike Shanahan is benching quarterback Donovan McNabb so he can take a look at what Rex Grossman has to offer. We’re starting to think this is all part of an elaborate cinéma vérité remake of The Bad News Bears.-2

Yesterday’s Needle rating: 49 Today’s score: +2 Friday bonus: +2 Today’s Needle rating: 53