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When he’s not putting his foot in his mouth, Vice President Joe Biden is out and about talking up all the good stuff his administration is doing. This week he went on a little bit of a business vacation, as he was scheduled to take in the sights of several national parks. He’s been in charge of where all that stimulus cash has been going, so he obviously needed to see the results first hand—yes, we’re a little jealous.
Over at the Grand Canyon, he checked out Hopi Point on the west end of the South Rim. This spot boasts a slew of trails, paths, and structures that have gotten a little boost from Uncle Sam, and it seems like everything is going well so far. In total the Grand Canyon is getting around $18 million in federal cash. Unfortunately, Biden didn’t seem to have any time to check out the new bike rental options at the rim of canyon—that would have been our pick.
There’s nothing that Hollywood loves more than an excuse to party, so it makes sense that every celeb short of Fred Thompson is packing their patriotism and heading to Obamarama 2009. DC will have more celebs-per-square-foot than Betty Ford after the holidays, and we’ve got the inside track on where you can find them:
The Hay Adams: The man himself will be staying at the historic Hay Adams hotel in the days leading up to the swearing in. Though your chances of getting a close-up look are slim, it’s probably the closest you’ll get to the Barackstar during the festivities. (Or during the next four years.)
The Presidential Inaugural Committee has announced plans to sell 5,000 seated tickets along DC's parade route. Tickets, which are limited to four per person, go on sale via Ticketmaster at 1 pm EST today. (Thanks for all the notice!) Get your clicker fingers ready, as these are likely to sell out in a matter of seconds.
Although tickets are not required for viewing the parade, they'll save you from having to spend long hours in the frigid weather fighting for a spot. Standing room will be available on a first-come, first-served basis along a 1.7-mile stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue. The Secret Service won't allow people to begin lining up along the route until after 7 am on January 20. For entry points, click here. For a map of the parade route, click here. Keep in mind that you will only be able to cross Pennsylvania Avenue at certain points and at certain times. Be sure to map your route if your seats are on the opposite side of the street to be sure you cross at the right place and time.
Keep Reading for Tips on How to Survive the Inaugural Parade
Every bridge crossing the Potomac and 3.5 square miles of downtown DC will be closed to traffic from January 19 until the morning of January 21, the Secret Service has announced. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says the closures are part of "the most security, as far as I'm aware, that any inauguration has had."
Thanks to the bridge closures, Virginia has decided to close the inside-the-Beltway sections of Interstates 66 and 395. Maryland hasn't yet announced similar measures, though the state's transportation department compared the odds of finding a parking spot on January 20 to those of hitting the Mega Millions.
For those trying to get to the parade route, there will be just 13 walk-up security checkpoints, which seems like not many given that more than 1 million people will likely be in town for the event. In its typically humorless fashion, the Secret Service has this advice on its inaugural security website:
It is expected that lines may be long.
· US Secret Service Inaugural Plan [Official Site]
· Inauguration to Close Bridges, Streets in DC [AP, via HuffPo]
· Sail To The Chief: Inauguration Transportation Options [Jaunted]
· DC Bikers To Get Special Inauguration Parking [Jaunted]
Inaugural weekends are usually set to a mix of John Philip Sousa marches and patriotic easy listening schmaltz. While we aren't above a little flag-waving (or karaoke renditions of Neil Diamond's "America"), we're psyched that the Obama bash holds much more interesting options for music lovers of all stripes. Here are our top picks:
January 16: Jay-Z kicks things off with an inaugural party at DC mega-club Love. Warning: It's in a rough neighborhood far outside the city. Parking is pricey and lines are long--and specific ticket information has yet to be released.
The Washington Area Bicyclist Association wants to make attending the inauguration easy for people who'd rather ride their bikes than the metro. So the organization is setting up "bike valets" near the Mall so you can pedal to the festivities and stash your ride worry-free.
Volunteers will staff parking areas and hand out claim tickets so folks don't have to track down unsupervised bike racks and hope their transportation doesn't get stolen during the festivities. Political operatives should already be familiar with urban biking: They had the chance to try it out during the conventions this summer.
While WABA's official website says exact locations are still TBD--and the group asks bikers to RSVP so they can plan for crowds--a report on Fox News says McPherson Square and the Jefferson Memorial will have bike valets on January 20.
· WABA Inaugural Bike Valet [Official Site]
· Bicycle Group to Offer Valet Service on Inauguration [Fox News]
· Inauguration Travel coverage [Jaunted]
Ironic, isn't it, that rental prices for inauguration 2009 are being governed by the free-market principles championed by the Bush Administration? Nevertheless, we managed to ferret out some decent deals that don't involve $25,000 deposits or a chauffeur, a chef and a masseuse. Here are six of the best:
Washington is getting so swept up in this inauguration mania that restaurants throughout the District are offering all kinds of special menus with cheeky political-minded offerings inspired by... Joe Biden?
Well, at least one eatery is. Nage Restaurant, which has one branch on the Delaware shore and another in the Marriott hotel on Embassy Road in DC, is getting hyped for their native son and VP-elect with "Biden Brunches" the first three Sundays in January.
The menu will be full of First State classics--yes, they exist--like Southern Delaware style chicken in a blanket and Northern Delaware scrapple. There will even be a Biden impersonator on hand, just for the ambiance. No doubt he'll be arriving by train.
Alright then, it's settled: Bars, clubs and restaurants in DC will be able to serve booze until 4 am, not 5 am, January 17-21, and can stay open 24 hours a day as long as they pay a relatively small "registration fee" for each night they plan to party.
In a District council meeting Tuesday, legislators agreed to roll back boozing by an hour and add the fees for places staying open late, but they also had choice words for senators who try to interfere in DC's business. Said councilman David Catania:
We have members of the United States Senate who have nothing better to do than lecture us. ... You wouldn't think that with a war, nuclear proliferation, an economic meltdown, they'd think, "Oh, we can do something about bars staying open from 3 to 5!"
Four of DC's council members still think all the extra drinking is a bad idea--as do some District residents--but we're sure inauguration watering holes are already scraping together the $100-a-night sin tax.
· DC Tells Congress to Butt Out [WaPo]
· Should DC Bars Stay Open Late For Obama's Inauguration? [Jaunted]
· TenPenh Has A Dream [Jaunted]
We're assuming most Jaunted readers haven't been invited to the black-tie inaugural balls, but that doesn't mean you can't party in style on Obama's big day. (Until 5 am!) So over the next month, we'll be taking a look at the best inauguration-inspired eats and drinks.
You'll have to hustle to get a table at TenPenh restaurant for January 20, as it's right on the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route. But if you do decide to camp out there ahead of time, stay warm with TenPenh's new Obama-inspired cocktail, the Dream. The drink is a blend of bourbon, apple cider, honey, caramel and cinnamon. Sounds warming, but at $9 each, TenPenh must not realize the Republicans are on their way out.
The Dream is on the menu starting January 1 and will also be featured at TenPenh's high-end sister restaurants, DC Coast, Ceiba and Acadiana.
[Photo: angela n.]
Inauguration Travel / Inauguration 2009 / Barack Obama / Joe Biden / History / Bathrooms / → All Tags
We're still not buying the prediction that 4 million Obamaniacs will show up in DC to drink themselves stupid this January. But even if the crowd isn't that record-setting, you're still gonna be facing some serious bathroom lines. So Jennifer Lynn has written up "Where To Pee in DC: The Insider's Guide on Where to Go," a digital booklet you can print out at home that's on sale via eBay for just $2.50.
She gave the Washington Post a few tidbits from her incredibly niche guide to DC:
Among potentially less-crowded Mall locations, for example, she suggests the east wing of the National Gallery of Art, the combined National Museum of African Art, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art, and the US Botanic Garden. "There are some less well-known spots," she said in an interview.
Lynn says her insider's view of downtown bathrooms comes from years of working in the Reagan Building--one of the best places to "go" on Inauguration Day, she claims.
Democrats: Their guy hasn't even been inaugurated yet and they're already dumping on Reagan.
Yesterday we got a few yuks out of the fact that Republican Fred Thompson plans to rent his one-bedroom pad to some Obama fanboy for $30,000. But the inherent joke there is nothing compared to this rental featured on the Best of Craigslist:
Me: Heartless, greedy right-wing oppressive type looking to make a buck.
You: Obama's election was Christmas/your first kiss/May Day all wrapped into one. You dutifully wore his button--which you have yet to remove--contributed money to his campaign from your non-profit job and chanted "yes we can" as if it were the 11th commandment. A strange void now exists in your life and--like an old hippie looking to recapture the spirit of Woodstock--you are undertaking a pilgrimage to Washington for one last gulp of the Kool-Aid.
Along with my bedroom you will have access to the house's many amenities including cable television (not that you watch much TV) for viewing Keith Olberman's latest unhinged rants and CNN in high-def. Wireless internet means that the Huffington Post and DailyKos are only a click away on your MacBook. American flags and other patriotic paraphernalia in the room can be removed upon request.
How much will all this goodness cost you?
Rather than state a price I am requesting that you bid on this fabulous opportunity to ensure profit maximization on my part so that I can better weather the Bush Recession.
Serious offers only!