- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 17, 2007

GOP blasts security slot for congressman

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who stripped embattled Rep. William J. Jefferson of his seat on a powerful tax committee last year, is expected to appoint him to the Homeland Security panel, infuriating some Republicans who charge he may be a security risk.

Mr. Jefferson, Louisiana Democrat, was ousted from the Ways and Means Committee amid a federal bribery probe yet still won re-election to a ninth term.

Mrs. Pelosi is giving him a seat on the panel after Mr. Jefferson was outspoken in his criticism of the homeland security agencies that responded to Hurricane Katrina.

That was not good enough for the top Republican on the committee, Rep. Peter T. King of New York.

“It sends a terrible message,” Mr. King said. “They couldn’t trust him to write tax policy, so why should he be given access to our nation’s top secrets or making policy for national defense?”

Mr. Jefferson’s chief of staff, Eugene Green, called Mr. King’s criticism “ridiculous and just politics.”

City investigates mayor’s ex-mistress

SAN FRANCISCO — The city attorney is investigating whether Mayor Gavin Newsom’s former mistress should have received thousands of dollars in sick pay after leaving her job as a City Hall secretary.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said privacy rules prevented him from disclosing why Ruby Rippey-Tourk received more than $10,000 retroactively covering three months of leave she took last year for substance-abuse treatment.

Mr. Herrera said his office was reviewing her file “to assure that paid leave is administered fairly for all city employees.”

Mrs. Rippey-Tourk’s husband, Alex Tourk, 39, resigned as Mr. Newsom’s campaign manager Jan. 31 after learning his wife had an affair with the mayor. Mr. Newsom acknowledged the relationship the next day.

>Bush has moles taken off temple

President Bush had two moles removed from his left temple yesterday. His doctors expect tests on the skin growths to show that they are noncancerous.

The five-minute procedure was performed by Dr. Steve Krivda, a dermatologist from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in the White House office of Mr. Bush’s official physician, Richard Tubb. The president will have a one-inch scab on his temple, spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

Test results will be available by the middle of next week.

Court denies medic’s war objector claim

A federal appeals court refused yesterday to overturn the detention of a U.S. Army medic who declared his opposition to war on the eve of his deployment to Iraq.

Agustin Aguayo, who enlisted in 2002 during the run-up to the Iraq war, asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to release him from a military prison. He had sought an honorable discharge as a “conscientious objector.”

The soldier, who has been held in a U.S. prison in Germany since going absent without leave, said he enlisted as a way to earn money for his education.

He faces up to seven years in prison on charges of desertion and missing movement and is scheduled to stand trial next month, said his attorney, Peter Goldberger.

Liberal politician to run Air America

NEW YORK — A federal bankruptcy judge yesterday approved the sale of the liberal talk radio network Air America Radio for $4.25 million to Stephen L. Green, founder of a New York real estate firm.

Mr. Green and brother Mark Green — the longtime liberal New York City politician and frequent guest on Air America — plan to continue running the network.

In announcing his plans to buy the network in late January, Stephen L. Green said that he intended to make it “a successful business that returns a profit,” stabilizing its finances, building up its programming lineup and forming partnerships with other distribution platforms beyond radio. He doesn’t own any other media outlets.

Air America was started in 2004 and has lost money ever since. Its most prominent personality was the comedian and author Al Franken, who left the network Wednesday to seek the nomination to a U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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