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Getting Blown Away: This year has already brought the D.C. region blizzards, near-record heat waves, and an earthquake. So it probably shouldn’t come as any surprise that Virginia officials are now warning that Hurricane Earl could wind up rolling through the area. For now, southern Virginia looks to be at more risk than the District, which has already proven it isn’t ready; the run-of-the-mill thunderstorms earlier this month flooded Metro stations and paralyzed Pepco so badly that Montgomery County was practically thrown back into the Dark Ages. The bad news: The last time a tropical depression hit the city, Hurricane Isabel reportedly did $125 million worth of damage in 2003. The good news: Repairing $125 million worth of damage might help lower the unemployment rate! -5
Bag Taxation Without Representation: Tyranny comes in all forms, as anyone attending the Glenn Beck-inspired Tea Party gathering on the Mall this weekend could explain. There’s the big kind, of course, which leads to unspeakable things like universal healthcare and attempts to turn around the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression, all funded by lower tax rates than during the Reagan administration. But there’s also the small kind, and that’s what seems to have provoked some Tea Partiers to lead their own mini-revolution in Foggy Bottom on Saturday. Confronted by the District’s 5-cent tax on disposable bags, two protesters argued vehemently with a GW Deli employee over the fee—and eventually one of them threw a sandwich at the worker. Which, presumably, meant the tax no longer applied, because the protester no longer had anything to carry out of the store in a bag. -3
Subway Spam: Metro debuted its new “peak-of-the-peak” morning surcharges today, and to celebrate the increased revenue, the transit agency decided to… spam riders who have signed up for its e-alerts. “Metro is working to correct the problem,” the agency reported on Twitter. These days, that could double as Metro’s overall motto. (Runner-up motto: “We’ll try not to run you over with our buses, but we can’t make any promises.”) -2
Early, If Not Often: Polls open for early voting in the Sept. 14 D.C. primary. Both Adrian Fenty and Vincent Gray turn out supporters outside of One Judiciary Square to chant, cheer and generally try to build some excitement about the race. But around 4 p.m., fewer than 1,000 people had bothered to cast a ballot. Did the Washington Post‘s poll released Sunday, which put Gray way ahead, depress interest in the election? Or was there just not that much to begin with? Either way, if you want to vote, you’ve got two weeks to do it. +3
Friday’s Needle rating: 46 Today’s score: -7 Today’s Needle rating: 39