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The Sky is Falling!: Mark down today’s date, Nov. 18, 2010, as one to remember. For it turns out that the latest absurd problem in the Metro system—the chunks of concrete falling from the ceiling onto a platform at the Farragut North stop on the Red Line—was not the transit agency’s fault! District Department of Transportation workers jackhammering the street above were the culprits. However, the fact that Metro’s entire online infrastructure died this morning? Yeah, that’s on them. -3

Farewell, Wilbon: Raise your hand if Mike Wilbon‘s column was the first thing (or pretty damn close to it) you read in the Washington Post the morning after, oh, every major sporting event in the last several decades. That run is now over; Wilbon is leaving the paper for ESPN and ABC Sports, where the streets, compared to the ones that run through Newspaperville, are paved with gold. -2

The Beltway Will Kill You: File this under “Yet Another Reason Never to Venture Outside the District Line”—a new study indicates that more than half of drivers on the Beltway are talking on their phone, and that 47 percent more of them are texting while driving than last year. The study, the scientific validity of which we’re not necessarily inclined to think is particularly high, was sponsored by the American Automobile Association. Which probably means the findings will soon be marshaled as an argument against red light cameras and bike lanes. -3

Virginia is for People Who Are Waiting for their Tax Refunds: Live in Virginia? Think you might be owed money by the federal government? As long as you’re not expecting a check in connection with the brainwave-stealing beams the sinister black helicopters are directing at your head, you might be right. The IRS says it’s got $2.3 million sitting around in tax refunds due Virginia residents who, for various postal reasons, didn’t get their checks delivered. A little-known Virginia law, however, requires the recipients to use the money to purchase a concealed weapon. +2

Yesterday’s Needle rating: 49 Today’s score: -6 Today’s Needle rating: 43