Friday, September 19, 2008

Not big, just low

It really is. It's just low.

From Eli over at Left I on the News I hear that the National Park Service is poised to put into place new regulations affecting the possibility of public protests during the inaugural procession in January.

It seems that back in March, the US District Court for DC ruled that the NPS's practice of exempting the corporate-funded Presidential Inaugural Committee from the ordinary permit process was unconstitutional. The effect of the exemption was to give a private organization exclusive rights to determine who could be present along the parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue - and, Judge Paul Friedman ruled, "the Inauguration is not a private event."

The NPS did not appeal the ruling. Instead, it is now issuing re-written regulations in what I see as a transparent attempt to circumvent the ruling and thus still give the PIC the ability to limit those along the route to "invited guests," guests which, it's safe to say, will not include protesters.

More information is available at this link, including how to make a public comment on the proposed regs. (Use the link toward the bottom; the ones at the top don't work.)

Admittedly, I'm not sure this is a big huge deal (although it does have the potential to become one if the use of such permits creates more or less permanent "no protest zones" in public spaces) but it's just so... so... so low, so cheap, so slimy, that at the very least it shouldn't pass without objection.

Be quick, though: The period for public comments ends September 22.

Footnote: The original suit aimed at protecting the right of protest along the route was filed by the ANSWER Coalition, that group that all right-thinking, sober, serious liberals reject for its radicalism because they know in their right-thinking, sober, serious minds that their own right-thinking, sober, serious approach to issues such as stopping the war has been shown to be much more effective than, you know, making a fuss about it or anything.

Countdown: Twelve days to the Lotus SurgeTM.

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