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In the Loop

Inaugural Short Circuit

By Al Kamen
Friday, January 14, 2005; Page A17

A big-time Republican donor was on a password-protected inauguration Web site the other day, trying to buy a couple of $150 tickets for the swearing-in. The first thing he saw was the nine-page "Consent" section, the boilerplate part where, in exchange for the right to give up your money, you also give up all constitutional and common-law rights to anything for all time.

The section, saying Ticketmaster, which apparently is helping out, and the inauguration folks, must be blameless no matter what, was a lawyer's dream.

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Gonzales's Curtain Call (The Washington Post, Jan 5, 2005)
Al Kamen on Vacation (The Washington Post, Dec 24, 2004)
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The form notes that "If you violate the Terms, you may be prohibited from" any special ticket-buying "now or in the future" and any transactions you've made could be canceled. Everything you do, of course, is "at your own risk."

The language, clear and explicit, is nearly poetic. "Throughout these processes," it says, neither Ticketmaster nor the inaugural team "will ever take title to the ticket. Title will pass directly from the group manager to the ticket recipient in the case of a group ticket distribution (unless the recipient, and not the group manager, is the purchaser of the ticket, in which case title will pass directly from 2005 Presidential Inauguration to the recipient, because the group manager will never have had title), directly from the ticket forwarder to the person to who the forwarder has forwarded the ticket in the case of season ticket forwarding, and directly from the seller to the purchaser in the case of a sale transaction."

Clear enough. It appears they're worried about frivolous lawsuits from fellow Republicans. Yet, most curiously, "In the event of a dispute, you, Ticketmaster and the 2005 Presidential Inauguration each agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction and venue of the state and federal courts located in Los Angeles County, California."

Hmm . . . so they want things to end up before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit? The folks who decided "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional?

Baghdad to Get George W. Bush Embassy

Employment Alert!

Once Iraq becomes a peaceful, pro-Western democracy, the U.S. Embassy will need to move from its presidential-palace digs to a new building. And our grateful Iraqi friends will want a big American presence, so the State Department is preparing to spend half a billion dollars or so for a new embassy and employee apartments.

Caution: You'll need a security clearance to work on the 290,000-square-foot embassy complex, whose estimated cost is "over $100 million."

But there's no security clearance requirement for the 1.2 million-square-foot housing complex -- also projected to cost "over $100 million." The school, commissary, community center and such, which should come in at between $50 million and $100 million, same as another contract for infrastructure work.

"Over $100 million" here, "over $100 million" there, pretty soon you get into real money.

Isn't They?

Grammar Alert! President Bush, announcing his $1.2 billion No Child Left Behind high school initiative Wednesday, said: "I want other schools who have got a student population as diverse as a Stuart High School does to know that success and excellence is possible."

Most grammarians would opt for "schools that" and "success and excellence are possible."

Was it Andover? Yale? Harvard Business School?


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