Tag: inauguration

Inauguration Offers Opportunity for a Fresh Start

As thousands of Americans gathered to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama, his speech invoked the challenges our nation faces to realize the dreams of the founding fathers. It is essential that our policies make it easier to do so – from STEM education to a pro-growth agenda that reduces the burdens on manufacturers.

“We the people” was the President’s refrain and manufacturers all across the U.S. are hopeful that his second term will offer an opportunity to lead our economic recovery.

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Inauguration ’09: The Bridge and Tunnel People

From today’s front page, Washington Post, “Virginians See Bridge Closings As Dose of Northern Hospitality“:

“First was the hysteria of announcing over 4 million people might be flooding the Mall. Later, they amend that number by half. Then they announce there will be no parking, few toilets and that everyone will be standing and waiting for hours. Then they tell people not to bring children and, finally, they close all the bridges,” fumed Virginian Holly Kenney. “Do they think we’re dense? Clearly, the public is no longer welcome.”

But to some business and political leaders in the region, the plan represents more than a snub. They are concerned that the unprecedented closings and restrictions will turn away visitors, hurt businesses and employees, and tip the balance too far toward security over access.

The plan unveiled by the Secret Service and area transportation officials Wednesday closes all Virginia bridges across the Potomac and interstates 395 and 66 inside the Beltway to personal vehicles. It also cordons off a large section of downtown Washington to help manage the unprecedented crowds expected. Maryland, in contrast, has no planned road closures.

Guess asking too much to expect the re-opening of Pennsylvania Avenue between 15th and 17th.

If crowds are the big threat, seems like the easier approach would be to have a massive, systemwide failure of public transit. Sort of like today’s Metro snafus on the Red Line — “an emergency situation,” i.e., mechanical failure, that lead to such comments from the announcements as, “Customers on the platforms, this train is crowded.” Customers? Metro should follow the example of the coffee chains around here and refer to the masses as “guests.” We used to be called “passengers,” but apparently that’s too theoretical.

If people complain at the delays, well, Metro can just claim it’s the fault of the cheap federal and local governments. More from the Post, “Metro Facing Layoffs, Cutbacks“:

Metro faces a 13 percent shortfall in its $1.3 billion operating budget for next year, and officials have suggested cutting almost 900 positions and enacting the largest-ever cuts in train, bus and paratransit service, even as transit ridership in the region and across the country is soaring.

Agency officials said the budget difficulties reflect the grim economic reality facing local and state governments, which provide a substantial portion of Metro’s funds. Transit agencies across the country also are facing service cuts.

Add it to the economic stimulus.

Forced humor aside, Metro plans to beef up for the inaugural events, “Bus Service to Grow For Jan. 20 Crowds“:

Metro is running 23 special bus corridors on Inauguration Day to carry 300,000 people in and out of downtown Washington who might not be able to get onto jammed Metro trains or live too far to walk to inaugural events, officials said yesterday.

We’ll take that under advisement.

Finally, the Post is doing a bang-up job of covering the inauguration, packaging coverage at Inauguration Central.

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Getting Ready for the Inaugural; the NAM is also Preparing

The photo is of the work going on in front of the White House, construction of the bleachers on Pennsylvania Avenue a full five weeks before the presidential inauguration. Wet and chilly morning here in D.C., so stay warm, fellows.

This is the most obvious sign of the coming inaugural events we’ve seen, unless the Metro’s broken escalators count. (Are they really broken? Maybe they’re just practicing strategic downgrading of infrastructure. From today’s Washington Post: “For the presidential inaugural, Metro is planning to stop all down escalators as a safety precaution to prevent people from piling up on crowded station platforms. They have not decided whether up escalators will be operating.” Here’s a suggestion: Wise up!)

The National Association of Manufacturers is certainly gearing up for the commemorations, celebrations, ceremonies and cavalcades that will accompany the January 20th swearing in of President Obama. Our theme: “Manufacturing – Strength of the Past. Power of the Present. Hope for the Future.”

Our big event is the Gala Celebration, Sunday, January 18th, at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, right across Pennsylvania Avenue from NAM-HQ.

We have an NAM website devoted to the inaugural events, and tickets are indeed available to the gala, www.nam.org/inauguraltickets

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Thoughts on the Inaugural Upon Encountering Kaput Escalators

There must be some sort of grand behavior modification/revenue enhancement experiment going on here in Washington, D.C. in preparation for next month’s inaugural events. See, the theory is if you can drive enough local residents out of the city by the third week of January, more people from elsewhere can travel here and spend money much more liberally.

How else to explain the growing multitude of out-of-service escalators in the Metro? Arriving at the Van Ness/UDC Metro earlier than normal Wednesday morning, all the main escalators up-and-down were kaput. This morning at Cleveland Park, no functioning down escalators to the station proper. It’s been getting worse for weeks, now.

Normally you just shrug your shoulders and chalk the deescalation up to urban decrepitude and incompetence and the failure of the federal government to provide the billions of dollars the system needs, a new Manhattan Project of infrastructure investment (except it would be D.C., not Manhattan).

But we spot other indications of efforts to shape the behavior of the autochthonous public…

  • Washington Post, “Inaugural Nudge: Leave the Little Guys at Home“: “Officials are banning all strollers and backpacks and make a point of saying on their Web site that ‘there are no childcare facilities provided to attendees.’ If that hint isn’t enough, they suggest that ‘extra consideration’ be taken by those planning to bring children, noting that “a vast majority of attendees will be in standing room sections and should be prepared to be on their feet for several hours.”
  • Washington Post, “Inauguration-Bound? Just Walk, Metro Says.”: “Here’s the latest from Metro on attending the inauguration festivities for President-elect Barack Obama: If you live or are staying within two miles of the Capitol, walk. “
  • Washington Post, “Metro Officials Expect 10,000 Charter Buses“: “Metro officials said they are expecting 10,000 charter buses, carrying an estimated 500,000 people, to arrive in the Washington area for President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20. But the transit agency will only be able to handle parking for about one-third of the charter buses. The remaining buses will have to be routed to parking lots throughout the region, and those passengers will have to be ferried downtown by shuttle bus or will have to walk.”

Who’s reading these accounts? Folks in Philadelphia, Peoria, Petaluma? (continue reading…)

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