As you can imagine, I have been in a worse-than-normal mood today thanks to the fact that it's George W. Bush's Second Inauguration today. I received an email that said that we shouldn't buy anything today to protest the inauguration, like it will collapse the economy or something. I agree with the concept, but unfortunately, the retail sector deals with small perturbations in volume all the time, and unless we stop buying goods altogether, the retail sector knows we'll come crawling back tomorrow for that box of tampons and 6 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Despite the efforts of protesters in Washington, D.C. and around the country (chronicled nicely here), President Bush has attempted to silence and hide dissenters by limiting access around the parade routes and banning certain types of signs due to security concerns. Once again, the President manages to create some association between people who don't support his administration and security and terror threats. Despite the President's concerns for security, the protests today were mostly peaceful, a stark contrast to President Bush's warmongering first term.
One of the largest pieces of irony about the whole inauguration is the negative impact the costs of providing police and other services have on the city of Washington, D.C. For previous inaugurations, the city was compensated for overtime costs for police and security personnel, but with the Bush administration and their record spending for the event things are obviously different. From the Washington Post:
"D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday criticized the Bush administration's refusal to reimburse the District for costs related to tomorrow's inauguration, calling it "an unfunded mandate" that promises to gobble up cash needed to prepare the nation's capital for a potential terror attack.
Speaking at the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Williams (D) called on that organization, as well as other groups that represent local government, to protest the decision to force the city to use $11.9 million in homeland security funds to pay for police and other services on Inauguration Day. Traditionally, the federal government covers those costs."
If you're interested in reading more, click here. Basically, the Bush Administration is telling the city of D.C. to use money set aside to prevent and respond to terror attacks to pay for security so the President can have a huge party. That's what I call Homeland Security. A number of people this week have tried to point out that part of the $40 million is going to pay for increased security, but in all actuality, the $40 million is being blown on confetti, coke, whores, and ice sculptures of Dick Cheney's wiener. No wonder people all over the country and in Washington, D.C. are protesting.
I would be interested in hearing how Republicans can justify this whole scenario. You throw the most expensive inauguration of all time, spend more on parades, champagne and concerts featuring some of the worst performers of all time than we offered to people in Southeast Asia who are dying of preventable diseases and starvation and don't have access to clean water, and you're leaving one of the cities that is a primary terrorist target with the bill for providing security. You might understand how this makes Republicans seem like selfish, greedy, dickheads. Thanks again, Tex!