An "unprecedented" level of security will help ensure that the 55th U.S. inauguration ceremony and activities later this month proceed without disruption, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge said here today.Then, we learn the Federal Government told the District to pound sand.
"Multiple layers of security," including some 6,000 law enforcement personnel from dozens of federal and state agencies, will be on site to ensure the Jan. 20 events come off without a hitch, Ridge told reporters.
Some of this added security will be visible to those attending the inaugural celebration and local residents, and some won't, Ridge said.
D.C. officials said yesterday that the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse the District for most of the costs associated with next week's inauguration, breaking with precedent and forcing the city to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects.And then we see that Not One Damn Dime has hit the mainstream.
Federal officials have told the District that it should cover the expenses by using some of the $240 million in federal homeland security grants it has received in the past three years -- money awarded to the city because it is among the places at highest risk of a terrorist attack.
But that grant money is earmarked for other security needs, Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said in a Dec. 27 letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Joshua B. Bolten and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Williams's office released the letter yesterday.
Williams estimated that the city's costs for the inauguration will total $17.3 million, most of it related to security. City officials said they can use an unspent $5.4 million from an annual federal fund that reimburses the District for costs incurred because of its status as the capital. But that leaves $11.9 million not covered, they said.
"We want to make this the best possible event, but not at the expense of D.C. taxpayers and other homeland security priorities," said Gregory M. McCarthy, the mayor's deputy chief of staff. "This is the first time there hasn't been a direct appropriation for the inauguration."
David Livingstone says the idea behind the economic boycott he's organizing is simple: If people don't show up at work or buy things, companies lose money. As he sees it, that's money the Bush administration can't tax, and can't use to run the war in Iraq protect polluters or chip away at the Constitution.And finally, we learn that a billionaire from Texas has had the gall to suggest the President send some of that oh so hard earned money which funds all the inaugeral festivities to victims along the Indian Ocean coast.
So the Detroit Democrat and a handful of other anti-Bush groups across the country are urging others of like mind to withhold their cash and labor on Inauguration Day — from all businesses. They don't think they'll inflict a huge economic pain, but they do want to make a point.
"I view the inauguration of Bush as a black Thursday for this country," Livingstone says. "We've tried marching in the streets to stop the war, we tried writing letters, we tried initiatives on the Web, but Bush doesn't listen. It seems to us the only thing Bush and the Republicans will listen to is money."
A Dallas billionaire has a tip for President George W. Bush: cancel his inaugural balls and donate the 40 million dollars saved to tsunami victims.You know, Mark Cuban has a point. Better than President Bush and Jill Willis, I might add.
Mark Cuban is the irreverent, outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team. He will not say how much he has given to the disaster victims, but the December 31 proposal on his website has generated controversy -- and support -- on the Internet.
"My point was that this was a great opportunity for the president to stand up and say that we are committed to aid, but we need to take a first step towards austerity so we can reduce the deficit," Cuban said Friday via e-mail.
"A great way to demonstrate that first step would be to have the inauguration, but cancel the parties and request the uncommitted donations be donated to the relief effort," he said.
The Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is raising the 30 million to 40 million dollars needed to cover costs from private donors, does not plan to cancel any of the nine inaugural balls or the three "candle light dinners" that donors of 250,000 and 100,000 dollars get with the president and first lady.
"This unique celebration of American principles will not detract from the relief that president Bush has proposed and the American people are providing for the victims of this disaster," said Jill Willis, spokeswoman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.
"The inauguration is an American tradition that we should continue to honor and celebrate."