Michigan Serial Killer Migrates South?: Authorities say the vehicle used by the attacker in a recent assault in Leesburg, Va., matches the description of the vehicle police believe an attacker used near Flint, Mich., earlier this year. That’s bad news; in Michigan, authorities think the same suspect has killed five people and wounded eight others since May. Near Leesburg, three attacks may fit the pattern—all recent incidents where black victims were attacked by a white man. (All but one of the Michigan victims were black.) If you can come up with a joke on the theme of “racially motivated serial killer on the loose,” please feel free to insert it here. -7

Metro Board Meets Safety Board: Unhappy with the National Transportation Safety Board’s ruling that last summer’s Red Line crash was caused by faulty equipment and a lax culture of safety oversight, Metro officials decided to plead with the feds to see things their way. “Safety is the top priority at Metro,” Metro board chairman Peter Benjamin told the NTSB. Unfortunately, the ways Metro chooses to make that priority clear—running over pedestrians with buses, for example—don’t always translate very well to riders. The meeting is, at least, a sign that the NTSB report got through to someone at the transit agency. Stick to your guns, NTSB! +4

The Prodigal Redskin Returns: Redskins money pit defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth joined the team for his first practice of the season today, after finally passing a fitness test that had turned him, and the team, into the summer amusement for eager NFL fans. Coach Mike Shanahan says Haynesworth “looked pretty good,” though he also admitted he didn’t actually, um, see much of the $21 million man’s workout. For now, he’ll begin the season on the bench. Which, as it happens, is also where he spent about three out of every four plays last season. +4

TBD Launches: In today’s dismal media environment, it’s quite a vote of confidence in the District, the region and—we daresay—the power of the press itself that Albritton Communications chose to launch a brand new newspaper covering local affairs. Wait, what? Oh. Okay, okay, TBD is online only, and yes, its lead story this afternoon linked to The Washington Post‘s website. Still, it was good to see the site finally go live today—if only because it means their staff will have something other than pre-launch hype to Twitter. +3

Friday’s Needle rating: 38 Today’s score: 4 Today’s Needle rating: 42