Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Balls and Mayhem

The Washington Post ran two inaugural updates this morning.

According to the Post, the Presidential Inaugural Committee has announced that it will hold ten official inaugural balls in five locations. These are the only balls where the first and second families are certain to make an appearance the night of January 20th. Six of the balls will be held at the Washington Convention Center, with the remaining four at the National Building Museum, Union Station, the Washington Hilton and the D.C Armory. Attendance at the balls is sorted geographically, with ticket holders from various parts of the country attending together. The five sites are guaranteed to be tightly guarded by Secret Service, with long lines expected and traffic severely curtailed in the surrounding streets. Ten balls is more than either of George W Bush’s inaugurations, while falling short of the record of fourteen, set by Bill Clinton in 1997.

Additionally, the Post reports that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff met with DC mayor Adrian Fenty and the governors of Maryland and Virginia to discuss the incipient road and rail fiasco as millions of people arriving for the inauguration test the limits of the Washington Metropolitan Area’s transportation infrastructure. It seems that the gravity of the situation may suddenly becoming real to elected officials and their representatives. Obamapalooza has reported extensively on the likelihood that tens of thousands of people trying to get into DC for inauguration festivities will be stranded on over-crowded train platforms and in gridlocked traffic backed up for miles. Robert Crouch, homeland security advisor to Virginia governor Tim Kaine told the Post, “[traffic] is part of where the major focus will turn, so that people don’t spend hours, if not days on the interstate.”

Days, people. Days.

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