Morning Brief: Inauguration Frenzy Hits Washington

Some visitors coming to Washington for President-elect Barrack Obama's inauguration are getting caught up in a frenzy in which thousands of people have come out of the woodwork to make a quick buck by offering their houses for rent.

But the arrangements -- with deals being brokered largely between amateurs, often online and with little personal contact -- are fraught with peril on both sides, including fights over money and property damage in addition to issues regarding insurance, liability and fraud, experts said.

In fast food news, staff writer Michael Rosenwald recently spent some time with Debra DeMuth, McDonald's global nutrition director.

She was mounting a defense of fries to five mothers of young children at a Baltimore McDonald's. That is because the company believes it has a positive case to make about the health value of its food.

The company has recruited mothers to go behind the scenes of the company's operations, meet senior executives and then communicate what they see via the Web, along with appearing in video of their travels.

Swinging over to Southern Maryland, staff writers Jenna Johnson and Megan Greenwell report that the region is going for a makeover. The area once known for growing tobacco is trying to remake itself as a mini-Napa in the heart of Southern Maryland.

In Fairfax business news, Sunrise Senior Living on Wednesday took new defensive steps to protect itself from investors grabbing a significant stake in the company as its stock price continued its historic fall.

And finally, the head of The Washington Post Co.'s biggest revenue-generating business is resigning after 17 years.

Jonathan Grayer, 43, chairman and chief executive of Kaplan, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Post Co., will be succeeded at the end of the year by Andrew S. Rosen, chief executive of Kaplan's higher education business.

By Alejandro Lazo  |  November 20, 2008; 9:05 AM ET  | Category:  Economy Watch , Morning Brief , Sunrise Senior Living , Washington Post
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