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Greens party for Obama

Environmentalists, who spent much of the past eight years shunned by - or shunning - the Bush administration, are celebrating the inauguration of Barack Obama in a big way.

Tonight, the president-elect and his running mate and their wives will be feted at the "2009 Green Inaugural Ball," with former Vice President Al Gore as the honorary chair and music provided by  will.i.am, Melissa Etheridge, Maroon 5, John Legend and Michael Franti.

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The black-tie event, cosponsored by a host of environmental groups, will be at the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American Art and Portraiture, part of the Smithsonian Institution museum complex in Washington.  It bills itself as a celebration of a "new green economy" built around development of clean and renewable energy and environmental restoration, among other things.

Naturally, the organizers are pledging to make this "the greenest inaugural ball possible," with local, organic and seasonal food, recycled paper and carbon offsets meant to neutralize the energy expended by throwing and attending this bash (or at least to salve the consciences of the partiers.)

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Don't even think about joining those green festivities, though.  The tickets sold out back in December.  For those shut out of that affair, or who couldn't celebrate enough the election of a green-talking president, there was "The GREEN Inaugural Ball" on Saturday night in Washington.  That more down-home shindig cost $500 a head, or $1000 for VIPs, and featured just one headliner music act, Wyclef Jean.

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