- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 20, 2000

Apron stings

President-elect George W. Bush has yet to hang his hat in the Oval Office and already he's facing his first dilemma.
You see, unlike past presidents, Mr. Bush can't boast as is tradition on Inauguration Day that his wife, Laura, will be the greatest first lady ever.
Although she doubtless will be a close second to mom Barbara.

Dewey all over

"We didn't know which way it was going to go, and now it's become a hot item," says Kevin Kramer, president of Signatures Series, which jumped the gun and produced 10,000 glossy postcards of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, 43rd president and vice president of the United States.

"We wanted to be the first guy on the block," concedes Mr. Kramer, whose company, Silberne Sales, is based in Washington. "Five weeks after Election Day, nobody could anticipate who was going to win."

Mr. Kramer says he sold all 10,000 postcards to his regular outlets, gift shops to drugstores, all showing the happy faces of Mr. Gore and Mr. Lieberman superimposed over the White House and U.S. flag.

On the flip side, it's inscribed: "Albert (Al) Arnold Gore Jr., 43rd president of the United States Joseph (Joe) I. Lieberman, Vice President of the United States."

Lots of rubles

An embarrassed State Department is still searching for a missing laptop computer containing top-secret files on foreign nuclear capabilities. Now, a reward has now been posted on "B-NET," the State Department's in-house television network:
"A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the recovery of a black Dell laptop computer with a five-digit serial number ending in the letter 'Q' located on a sticker in the back near the ports. Call Diplomatic Security at 202-647-7277."

Consider the perks

Thousands of men and women from coast to coast, some more eager than others, will soon be receiving calls from President-elect George W. Bush to pack their bags for Washington.
The question remains whether becoming a presidential appointee, if only for four years, is worth the move.
"The actual job aside," says the Brookings Institution, "Washington offers rare pleasures and satisfactions to those who join a president's senior team: invitations to receptions at the White House, perhaps even a seat at a state dinner, serenaded by the president's own Marine Corps Band."
Still not biting?
"There are soirees, embassy parties and black-tie affairs, galas at Smithsonian museums and the old Pension Building, fireworks and festivals on the Mall and family nights at the National Zoo. Then there are the more quiet pleasures, such as walking by the cherry blossoms in the early spring."
Then again, says Brookings, Bush appointees may well experience a variant of the transformation that seasoned Democratic whip, Sen. Ham Lewis of Illinois, described for Harry Truman, then a freshman senator from Missouri:
"For the first six months, you'll wonder how you got here. After that, you'll wonder how the rest of us got here."

Right coast again

President-elect George W. Bush's victory may be a "wake-up call" for some Washington restaurants who bank on the notoriety of their clientele.
"The day after the inauguration of George W. Bush as the 43rd president, operators of celebrity restaurants will hear a wake-up call, possibly a death knell," predicts David Pursglove, a Washington-based hospitality, food and drink consultant.
"For the past six or eight years, film and television celebrities have filled Washington, drawn by their buddies Bill and Hillary and Tipper and, yes, even Al. No Hollywood celebs will flock to Dubya and Dick."

Songs and hymns

We were inundated with correspondence after passing along media watchdog Reed Irvine's criticism of Al Gore for citing "our great hymn, 'America, America,' " in his farewell address to the nation last week.
"The song, not a hymn, is 'America the Beautiful' by Katherine Lee Bates," noted Mr. Irvine, chairman of Accuracy in Media.
"Reed Irvine may not think that 'America the Beautiful' is a hymn, but the author of it certainly did," writes the Rev. Randolph M. Bragg, rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Arlington.
"According to the Episcopal Hymnal 1982 Companion, in 1918 Miss Bates, recalling the circumstances of its composition atop Pike's Peak in 1892, wrote 'the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind.'
"She also wrote that 'after the lapse of a few years, during which the hymn had run the gauntlet of criticism, I changed the wording of the opening quatrain of the third stanza.'
"By the way, it's Hymn No. 719 in the current Episcopal Hymnal, and at Saint Andrew's we sing it at our Fourth of July service."

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