Longtime Washington City Paper readers may remember a feature called the Needle: every month, your friendly neighborhood alt-weekly would recap news and events in and around D.C., weigh how they affected quality of life in the region with pseudo-scientific numerical accuracy, and provide a score on a scale from 1 to 100. Starting today, we’re bringing it back. Every weekday afternoon, right here on City Desk, City Paper will wrap up the important news of the day and assess how it affects life in the District, Maryland and Virginia, for better or for worse. We’re starting with a baseline score of 50—dead smack in the middle. The items below will add to or subtract from that score. Let’s get to it!

D.C. Offers Tax Amnesty for Deadbeats: Owe money to the District? As long as you pay it back by Sept. 30, you won’t go to jail for skipping out. City officials believe there’s $170 million in unpaid back taxes floating around out there. Sadly, they only expect the amnesty to bring in $20 million of it. Still, every cent counts, right? +2

Massive Thunderstorms Return: Sunday was so fun—let’s try it again! Another round of slow-moving thunderstorms settled in this afternoon, dumping up to an inch of rain in places and, no doubt, leaving more people without power. Which means more hassles for the poor kid at Pepco whose job it is to deal with people yelling about their electrical service, 140 characters at a time (including, today, Howard Kurtz, who actually got results). -4

Albert Haynesworth Fails Conditioning Test: Maybe the Redskins’ defensive lineman deserves credit for showing up at work; after all, they’ve only paid him $21 million in bonuses this year, and it’s hard to get motivated for such a pittance. But after doing well in the first part of a mandatory conditioning test before training camp, Fat Albert had to go to the bathroom. When he was done, he couldn’t finish the test. If he had season tickets, the team might sue him. -1

William Shatner Reveals Snipers May Have Had Help: In a strange interview set to air tonight on A&E, Confessions of the D.C. Sniper With William Shatner: An Aftermath SpecialCaptain Kirk gets Lee Boyd Malvo to say there were supposed to be three or four people acting as snipers in the 2002 terror spree. “In this way we could do a lot more damage along the entire Eastern Seaboard,” Malvo tells Shatner. Fortunately, the alleged co-conspirators backed out. Unfortunately, Lee Boyd Malvo is still getting coverage eight years later. -2

Free Chili Dogs: Hard Times Café celebrates National Chili Dog Day in the only appropriate manner—by giving the tasty things away if you purchase anything at one of their restaurants. Run, do not walk, if you want to get one between the time you read this and the time they close up and/or run out of hot dogs. +1

Today’s score: -4 Today’s Needle rating: 46