Bush Declares Emergency in DC for Inauguration

They only do this preemptively in the case of hurricanes. What the heck is going on here? I mean their first estimates for how many people would be there was an absurd 5 million. Now its down to 1.5 to 2 million which still sounds like an over estimation.

I don’t know, it feels like the Bush administration is just buying into the inauguration hype. But I guess its better safe than sorry:

President Bush has declared an emergency in the District of Columbia for the inauguration of his successor — an unprecedented move that will allow federal funds and disaster resources to flow more freely to local agencies, according to a FEMA spokesman.

The declaration was requested by D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, who warns that inauguration crowds could overwhelm area hospitals and emergency responders.

Terry Monrad, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said similar declarations have only ever been pre-approved for natural disasters like hurricanes.

When reviewing Fenty’s request for extra federal aid, the agency looked at “if D.C. [on its own] would have the capabilities and resources to meet critical emergency protective requirements,” said FEMA spokeswoman Alexandra Kirin, and judged that it would not.

One thing that’s scary about all this is the fact that they effectively estimate it would only take 1.5 million visitors to cripple DC’s hospitals:

Fenty’s request “estimated 1.5 million to 2 million people in town for the inauguration, and the associated stresses on the city’s capacity, particularly the medical community,” said White House spokesman Scott Stanzel.

That doesn’t sound good to me.

UPDATE: Ok, considering the fact that there are 15,ooo vacant hotel rooms in the DC area, I think its safe to say that Bush is simply buying into the indiotic hype surrounding assention of our new savior.