Obama Inauguration Goes into the Toilet

AP’s Frederic Frommer gets to the seat of the problem: “Bathroom Break: Will inauguration have enough?

To Conrad Harrell of port-a-potty toilet supplier Don’s Johns, Tuesday’s inauguration of Barack Obama will be historic, but not in the way you might think. “This is the largest temporary restroom event in the history of the United States,” he said.

I’m wondering if there will be T-shirts commemorating this?

Don’s Johns is providing many of the 5,000 port-a-potties for the inauguration, but other suppliers are at work as well, such as Mr. John, Johnny Blue and Johnny on the Spot. In all, there will be 5,000 port-a-potties from about 10 vendors for Barack Obama’s inauguration as president. On Thursday, they stood ready on the National Mall, port-a-potty-to-port-a-potty, some green, some blue, others gray.

The big question: will they be able to handle the call — er, nature’s call — of the up to 2 million people? “We think we’ve reached an appropriate number and can accommodate the crowds,” said Kevin Griffis, a spokesman for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, a privately funded organization that is picking up the cost. But Bill Line, a spokesman for the National Park Service, said there really was no way to say for certain. “Ultimately, does anybody know how many people will show up?” he asked.

Inquiring minds and all that.

Photo courtesy Flickr user Metal Chris under Creative Commons license.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. mike says:

    Stay classy San Diego errr Washington

  2. I know it’s a bit partisan, but quite frankly I have felt that those who were supporting Obama were full of sh*t. So at 400 per john (note the irony of my blog name), I think there may be a problem.

  3. Bithead says:

    And the emergency healthcare concerns, too, guys.
    I mean, I’m looking out my window at 5 degrees right now. DC will be a bit warmer, but not much.

    Ya know, they said it wold be a cold day in hell when Obama took the oath of office. And they were right, given that DC is as close to hell as no matter.

  4. teqjack says:

    A bit late, I think last year was the “International Year of Sanitation” wasn’t it?

    Which I learned by downloading “kennys.world” Australian TV show from UseNet a while back – entertaining and sometimes informative show, by the way.

  5. Triumph says:

    Given the fact that Obama’s followers are Woodstock, hippie types, this won’t be a problem since they don’t use bathrooms anyways.

    They will just piss on the ground with all of their other “back to nature” pals.

  6. Eneils Bailey says:

    “This is the largest temporary restroom event in the history of the United States,” he said.

    No truer words were ever spoken.

    This rivals the Gettysburg address for sheer poignancy.

  7. Eneils Bailey says:

    Obama is a fake, a flake, an imagination created in the minds of people that think the government can create a better world for you and I, based on “hope and change.”

    Too bad, Obama’s “hope and change” is based on an ever-expanding and controlling government.

    The only way to “hope and change” is an ever-expanding electorate that believes wealth and prosperity is an endeavor of individual behavior.

    If you believe that government is the entity for wealth and well-being, maybe you should leave Washington and visit, as you say, the hinterlands, which merely provide tax money for your existence.

  8. Brett says:

    If you believe that government is the entity for wealth and well-being, maybe you should leave Washington and visit, as you say, the hinterlands, which merely provide tax money for your existence.

    Actually, the hinterlands, on average, get much more back in federal tax money than they pay out – money that, on average, comes from democratic states.

    In any case, I’m concerned. Only 5,000 Johns for possibly 2 million people? That could lead to some epic long lines.

  9. Eneils Bailey says:

    Actually, the hinterlands, on average, get much more back in federal tax money than they pay out – money that, on average, comes from democratic states.

    Verify some numbers and I will apologize: otherwise, I will stand as stated.

  10. Eneils Bailey says:

    The big question: will they be able to handle the call — er, nature’s call — of the up to 2 million people? “We think we’ve reached an appropriate number and can accommodate the crowds,” said Kevin Griffis,

    Don’t get overly-excited here, but I think the average US citizen has long considered the sewer system in Washington to have insufficient capabilities to process the crap generated by DC and environs on a normal day.

  11. Brett says:

    Verify some numbers and I will apologize: otherwise, I will stand as stated.

    Ask and ye shall receive.

    This is from 2005, so it’s slightly old, but the actual report was released in October 2007:

    Top Ten Hinterland States (i.e., non-coast states) in terms of the ratio of federal dollars received versus federal taxes paid, and numbered by their rank as compared to all the states in the Union, with an additional description of whether they went Democratic in the Presidential Election of 2008 or Republican:

    1. New Mexico – $2.03 (Democratic)
    5. West Virginia – $1.76 (Republican)
    6. North Dakota – $1.68 (Republican)
    8. South Dakota – $1.53 (Republican)
    9. Kentucky – $1.51 (Republican)
    11.Montana – $1.47 (Republican)
    14. Arkansas – $1.41 (Republican)
    15. Oklahoma- $1.36 (Republican)
    17. Missouri – $1.32 (Democratic)
    19. Tennessee – $1.27 (Republican)

    Top Ten Coast States in terms of the above criteria:

    2. Mississippi – $2.02 (Republican)
    3. Alaska – $1.84 (Republican)
    4. Louisiana – $1.78 (Republican)
    7. Alabama – $1.66 – (Republican)
    10. Virginia – $1.51 – (Democratic)
    12. Hawaii – $1.44 (Democratic)
    13. Maine – $1.41 – (Democratic)
    16. South Carolina – $1.35 (Republican)
    18. Maryland – $1.30 (Democratic)
    26. Vermont – $1.08 (Democratic)

    Moreover, out of the 17 states that received less than $1 in federal outlays for every $1 they sent to Washington, 16 were Democratic in 2008 (the exception was Texas, which received $0.94 for every $1 in federal taxes paid).

    Now, a lot of that has to do with the fact that people have higher incomes in many of the blue states, particularly the Northeastern states. Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that “red states” suck in more money than they consume, on average, and many of the states whose populations indirectly subsidize that are “blue” states.

    You are right on one thing, though – the District of Columbia is a moocher, collecting $5.55 in taxes for every $1 given out. Of course, seeing as it is the site of the Pentagon, White House, etc – that’s not really surprising. But it isn’t the hinterlands who are on net subsidizing it.

    *Before anyone jumps on my case, I recognize that this overlooks the fact that the blue states and red states aren’t as clear cut as this describes – many of them have a mix of democratic and republican representatives and populations.