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The New York Times has an interesting story today on the Caribou Cafe, which is just across the street from the West Wing and Eisenhower Executive Office Building where most White House staffers worked. The gist is that they are meeting lobbyists at the cafe rather than having them come through the White House gates, where they would then have to be listed:
WASHINGTON — There are no Secret Service agents posted next to the barista and no presidential seal on the ceiling, but the Caribou Coffee across the street from the White House has become a favorite meeting spot to conduct Obama administration business.
I confess that I met many people myself at the Caribou during my years in the West Wing. But not lobbyists, and not because I didn’t want them listed on White House logs. Mostly because despite the amenities of the White House, the actual Mess (as opposed to a takeout window) was open only for breakfast and lunch and “The People’s Mess” (our affectionate name for the lesser cafe in the EEOB) closed as early as 3 p.m. despite a captive coffee-thirsty population of hundreds. That means for loads staffers working late hours, Caribou was one of the few places for enjoying a good coffee at a clean table with good air conditioning.
Manifestly the lesson here is that when you criminalize coffee with lobbyists, coffee drinking becomes criminal.