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Trouble in Ward 9: At first, news that federal agents had arrested Jack Johnson at his home this morning was a little confusing; soft rock is annoying, but weren’t there worse offenders, like David Gray, Dave Matthews, or that idiot who said that crazy shit to Playboy? Upon further review, though, it seemed the Jack Johnson getting busted was the one who’s (for now) county executive in Prince George’s County, not the dude with a guitar. Which made more sense; this Johnson had been under investigation for years on suspicion of pay-for-play with county contracts and other alleged financial misdeeds. Maybe Johnson can record a song to fund his legal defense. -3
No Fees, Please, We’re American: Apparently the federal budget will have to be balanced without the help of $7.50 contributions from museum-goers. Smithsonian officials say the fee proposed by a commission on the national debt wouldn’t actually work, and they’re opposed to establishing it—in part because it might deter visitors. Which would, in turn, raise even less money. On the other hand, it would probably make the line to buy freeze-dried ice cream shorter. +2
We’re Rich!: More evidence for those inclined to see socialism on the march arrived today, in the form of Newsweek‘s ranking of the ten richest counties in the U.S.—seven of which are in the D.C. area. Only the New York suburbs of Somerset County and Morris County, N.J., and Nassau County, N.Y., kept our region from a clean sweep. Of course, the District itself is nowhere near the richest jurisdiction in the country, so we’re inclined to see this list not as evidence of creeping socialism but as evidence that we need a commuter tax. +2
Gaaaaas!: Generally speaking, any signs of life in the District’s construction industry are probably a good thing, with unemployment as high as it is. Except when construction crews hit gas lines while digging, as they did today near Mt. Vernon Square, forcing evacuations of nearby buildings. On the other hand, it was a gorgeous day—we wouldn’t mind, entirely, if City Paper‘s office had to be evacuated. -1
Yesterday’s Needle rating: 44 Today’s score: 0 Friday bonus: +2 Today’s Needle rating: 46