John McCaslin


That was President Bush's motorcade getting in formation to depart the White House for a Sunday night dinner with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at her Watergate apartment, just after President-elect Barack Obama's motorcade pulled up across the street to the Blair House for his dinner with Oprah Winfrey.

For one of the motorcades (we'll let you guess which one), adoring throngs, held to the sidewalks by the Secret Service, cheered and took pictures.


Needless to say, guests will be carefully protecting their heavy-card-stock, gold-raised-seal invitations to the Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama.

Indeed, the official Presidential Inaugural Committee invites could fetch hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dollars in the not-too-distant future.

Hours before the swearing-in ceremony on Capitol Hill, several dozen of the soon-to-be-"used" invitations were posted on the Internet auction site eBay, with bidding reaching more than $300 and counting.


Scores of celebrities have arrived by private jet for the much-hyped inauguration of Barack Obama. And no better time for Al Gore to emerge from his hibernation to draw attention to the environmental footprint that the star-studded visitors will be leaving behind.

(Actually, Mr. Gore is busy staying warm during this unusually frigid week of global warming.)

In the meantime, the Institute for Liberty (IFL) has taken data from federal agencies, environmentalist organizations and news agencies to extrapolate the estimated environmental impact for the 2009 Inauguration. It concludes that the 600 private jets expected to fly visitors to and from the capital city will produce 25,320,000 pounds of CO2, with personal vehicles accounting for 262,483,200 pounds of the odorless gas.

Indeed, during the Inaugural Parade, horses alone will produce more than 400 pounds of carbon dioxide, with the total carbon footprint for the day likely exceeding 575 million pounds of CO2.

In comparison, it would take the average U.S. household 57,598 years to produce a carbon footprint equal to that of the new President's housewarming party.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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