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Campus Notebook: A Thematic First

President-elect Obama’s inauguration will have the theme “A New Birth of Freedom,” evoking the words of the president who began the Civil War.

[IMGCAP(1)]Taken from Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, the quote celebrates the former president’s 200th birthday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said in a press release.

The words “express Lincoln’s hope that the sacrifice of those who died to preserve the nation shall lead to ‘a new birth of freedom’ for our nation,” according to the release.

“It is especially fitting to celebrate the words of Lincoln as we prepare to inaugurate the first African-American president of the United States,” Feinstein said.

As chairwoman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, Feinstein is also a member (and, this year, chairwoman) of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

Every four years, the bipartisan committee plans the event — a time- consuming job that includes drafting programs, printing tickets, planning the ceremony and organizing an inaugural luncheon. The theme changes each time and is reflected in the official program; in 2005, it was “A Vision for America.”

Step One for Change. President-elect Obama will have one extra resource when enacting the change that he promised: a Government Accountability Office Web site on the state of federal agencies.

The Web site, set to launch sometime today, will feature an agency-by-agency breakdown of the challenges for the next presidency, profiles of 13 urgent issues and 50 cost-saving opportunities.

The site is part of the watchdog agency’s efforts to help the transition from President Bush to Obama. With hundreds of experts in various fields, the GAO is tasked with providing analysis, expertise and oversight to the government.

Shadows Prevail. Washington, D.C., Shadow Sen. Paul Strauss slid to victory in Tuesday’s election, winning a third term despite a recent drunken-driving arrest.

Strauss was arrested Oct. 1 in Northwest D.C. He will appear in D.C. Superior Court today.

Strauss won 80 percent of the vote, while his Republican opponent, Nelson Rimensnyder, only won 8 percent. Shadow Rep. Mike Panetta (D) also easily won with 85 percent of the vote.

As shadow Members, Strauss and Panetta are are unpaid and unrecognized by Congress. Their seats are officially part of the D.C. government, and most of their time is spent lobbying Congress for voting representation.

Strauss and Panetta were expected to win. But in recent months, the D.C. Republican Party attacked Strauss for the DUI and for an auditor’s report that criticized Strauss’ tenure as chairman of the D.C. Board of Real Property Assessments and Appeals.

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