Adhering to tradition, more than one Inside the Beltway reader has already submitted New Year's resolutions for our commander-in-chief to adhere to in 2009.
President Bush, obviously, is already counting down the days until he is kicking back in Texas, so the new batch of resolutions should be directed to the attention of President-elect Barack Obama.
In other words, put on your thinking caps and tell Inside the Beltway what you would like Mr. Obama to resolve to accomplish in the no doubt daunting first year of his administration. Please include your names and hometowns when emailing resolutions to Inside the Beltway columnist John McCaslin in care of the e-mail address listed at the bottom of the column.
LAND OF LARCENY
"Imagine the surge of pride Illinois drivers will experience when making cross-country trips displaying this remarkable symbol of our beloved state!" writes Inside the Beltway reader Stan Welli of Aurora, Ill.
Mr. Welli forwarded a mock vehicle license plate bearing photographs of former Illinois Republican Gov. George Ryan (convicted of corruption in 2006, he is currently serving a six-plus-year prison term) and current Democratic Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich (who was arrested earlier this month and awaits a court appearance on corruption charges).
As for the license plate's slogan beneath each gubernatorial portrait: rather than "Land of Lincoln," it reads, "Where Our Governors Make Our License Plates."
Virtually every class of accommodation within reasonable proximity to President-elect Barack Obama's Inaugural ceremonies is being let by money-hungry Americans hoping to cash in on the much-anticipated arrival in the nation's capital of the country's 44th president.
Shell out enough bucks, for example, and the inauguration-goer can rent an entire town house in Foggy Bottom for a mere $15,000. If it's a room you're after, the starting bid is only $6,000 for a four-night stay in a king-size bed at the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown (the peddler, obviously, was smart enough to book the room many moons ago). Rest assured, there's lodgings in the offing for every budget and pocketbook.
"Obama Inauguration Trailer Park Reservation," reads an ad we discovered Sunday. "This is a reservation for a spot at Cherry Hill RV Park for your van or RV on the day before and the day of the Barack Obama inauguration. Cherry Hill RV park and campground is the closest campground to Washington, D.C." Hitch price at the College Park site in the Maryland suburb: $150.
PARK YOUR BIKE
Given organizers of the 56th Presidential Inaugural are striving to make inauguration week the most "open" of any in American history, the U.S. Secret Service is being tested like never before.
In cooperation with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, the federal agency that is responsible for protecting the president and vice president has now been tasked with developing the overall security plan for next month's many inaugural ceremonies — designated a National Special Security Event.
Among myriad security measures we know about: Attendees will be subject to thorough security screenings before entering the inaugural parade route, the White House reviewing stand and the inaugural balls. (The agency is already warning that lines may be long.)
Those items, among the obvious weapons and ammunition, prohibited from the inaugural parade route and the White House reviewing stand: bicycles, backpacks, packages, large bags, aerosols, coolers, thermal or glass containers, laser pointers, animals other than guide dogs, and supports for signs and placards. (Signs and placards should be made of cardboard, poster board or cloth and have dimensions no greater than 3 feet in width, 20 feet in length and one-quarter inch in thickness.)
Private pilots should be forewarned that a combined air-security plan will be implemented to provide airspace security over the entire Washington metropolitan area during inaugural week, while boaters should know that there will be an enhanced security presence on the waterways through and around Washington.