P ssst. Hey, tickets to see the Fairy Godmother turn herself into Cinderella are only $150. And don't count on the media to tell you how Gov. Grandma is pulling the transformation off, because emails from Rich Harris, Rell's press secretary, explicitly tell press lapdogs that the info is "*** For Planning Purposes Only -- Not for Broadcast or Publication ***".
Count me as a fan of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who canceled his inaugural shindig. Of course, this was only after the Sunshine State press criticized the $500,000 a plate price tag. But still, he recognized excess.
George Orwell warned us all about the excess leeway people in power will take with language. So, when reading the $150 ticket, be sure to notice that M. Jodi Rell "requests the pleasure of your company."
This, of course, is only if you can afford the price tag. And remember, make your checks out to the "State of Connecticut." Going to have to look into that one.
Me, I'm always wary of someone who builds a party house like the $1 billion Connecticut Convention Center, but then can't afford to use it. The catering bills at Rowland's beige box #6 must be pretty pricey, or maybe the Gov. seeks to distance herself from her convict predecessor.
But, the Connecticut Expo Center is so, I don't know, Democratic. Gov. Rell will fete her landslide in the same spot where Ned Lamont shocked the state by garnering enough votes in the May convention to primary Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman.
Maybe it's bipartisanship. I hear rumblings that Rell has already mastered at least one Rowland trick: ignore the House Republicans. When she starts making sorority girl jokes, run (especially because she never stayed in college long enough to pledge).
Don't forget to wear your tux or $2,000 designer gown. And if you're in the military, and lucky enough to be stateside, please, wear a uniform. Rell needs to show she both supports the war effort and relies on the state monopoly on violence to maintain power (as ifMichael Rosswasn't proof enough). Here's Harris' top secret memo explaining the parade (for an unknown number of spectators, probably not throngs):
The parade will end with the rendering of military honors – an A-10 flyover and 19-gun salute – to the Governor and other constitutional officers. Still photographers will have general access to the area but are advised to stay clear of the three howitzers emplaced in Minuteman Park across from the main entrance to the LOB.
The only video access will be two pool positions: one established at the corner of Capitol Avenue and the LOB driveway and a second (a jib-mounted camera) adjacent to the position where the Governor and constitutional officers will stand during the military honors. This second position will also provide video of the Governor and other members of the official party entering the LOB after the military honors are completed.
Exactly how much does the fly-by cost? I imagine that money might be better spent teaching soldiers to read. How many pounds of carbon will the A-10 emit into the stratosphere? Thank whatever that it isn't strafing us with depleted uranium shells, I suppose.
Uniformed National Guardsmen swarmed around the Legislative Office Building Tuesday afternoon in preparation for Rell's Wednesday afternoon swearing in ceremony, making it safe from terrorists, one figures.
I scoped the area because I hoped to snap some photos of Rell during the inaug. I want file shots so when I report on her governance, I can have fresh images for the loyal viewing audience. Unfortunately, according to Mr. Harris, I won't have much access:
Pool still and video positions and positions on risers at the rear of the atrium were assigned during a logistics meeting December 19 at the LOB.
WTNH-TV (video) and The Associated Press (stills) will supply pool material from a position at stage right. WVIT-TV (video) and The Hartford Courant (stills) will supply pool material from a straight-on position with an approximate 35-foot throw. A diagram showing positions on two bi-level risers with an approximate 65-foot throw is attached. Mult boxes will be provided for each riser. Print and radio reporters will also be able to view the ceremony from a second-floor balcony with a straight-on position that is slightly obstructed by a narrow (approximately 18-inch) column supporting a piece of art. A mult box will also be located in this position.
Please note: Media will be restricted to these locations. Reporters and photographers will not be permitted to roam during the ceremony (emphasis by Harris).
In media land, roaming is reporting. The rules stay in effect for the ball in the evening. The media will be penned in at the Expo Center and allowed to talk to, well, themselves. Rell spokesman Chris Cooper promised to bring guests by periodically. How's that for veal calves of the First Amendment?
It gets better. Harris' press release shows pets the watchdogs: "WFSB-TV anchor Dennis House will be Master of Ceremonies at the Inaugural Ball." Nice puppies, nice puppies.
So pony up $150, czarina, four years of fun starts now.