- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 18, 2009


Administration won’t challenge gun ruling

The Obama administration says it will not appeal a federal court ruling that prohibits carrying loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.

Instead, the Interior Department says it will conduct a full environmental review of an earlier policy that allowed concealed, loaded guns in parks and refuges.

A federal judge struck down the gun policy last month. The judge said the policy, issued in the waning days of the Bush administration, was severely flawed and that officials failed to evaluate the possible environmental impacts of the rule change. The judge set an April 20 deadline for the Interior Department to indicate its likely response to the ruling.


King family draws fees from project

The family of Martin Luther King has charged the foundation that is building a monument to the civil rights leader on the National Mall about $800,000 for the use of his words and image - an arrangement one leading scholar says the civil rights leader would have found offensive.

The memorial - including a 28-foot sculpture depicting King emerging from a chunk of granite - is being paid for almost entirely with private money in a fundraising campaign led by the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation. It will be turned over to the National Park Service once it is complete.

The foundation has been paying the King family for the use of his words and image in its fundraising materials. The family has not charged for the use of King’s likeness in the monument itself.

“I don’t think the Jefferson family, the Lincoln family … I don’t think any other group of family ancestors has been paid a licensing fee for a memorial in Washington,” said Cambridge University historian David Garrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of King.

King would have been “absolutely scandalized by the profiteering behavior of his children,” Mr. Garrow said.

According to financial documents reviewed by the Associated Press, the foundation paid $761,160 in 2007 to Intellectual Properties Management Inc., an entity run by King’s family. Documents also show a “management” fee of $71,700 was paid to the family estate in 2003.


Panel signals delay for anti-lead law

Motorcycle shops should soon be able to sell youth ATVs and motorbikes again, at least temporarily.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said Friday that it plans to delay enforcement of a new anti-lead law that has kept all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes designed for children off showroom floors - not because of concerns over safety, but because some bike parts contain lead.

The agency’s two commissioners cast votes expressing their support for the enforcement delay. Staffers will now need to hammer out the formal details, which could go into effect in the next couple of weeks and would remain until May 2011.

Key support for the delay came from Commissioner Thomas H. Moore.

In a statement, Mr. Moore cited his concern that parents of children wanting the youth motorbikes might instead opt to buy bigger, adult ATVs for their youngsters to ride - machines that aren’t built for children and can cause them serious harm.

“The commission simply cannot ignore the safety trade-offs that could arise by not providing this relief,” Mr. Moore said.


Obama supports auto industry adviser

The White House is standing behind its auto industry adviser whose company is accused of paying more than $1 million to win a lucrative deal with the New York state pension fund.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters aboard Air Force One on Friday that the White House was aware of the allegations but backs Steven Rattner. Mr. Gibbs said Mr. Rattner is not likely to face criminal or civil charges, and that Mr. Rattner informed them of the pending investigation.

Mr. Rattner was an executive at the Quadrangle Group, a private equity firm, until he left this year to lead President Obama’s efforts to fix the auto industry. The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times reported that Mr. Rattner met with two now-indicted men to try to win state pension fund business.


Committee sets vote on health nominee

A Senate committee has scheduled a vote for Tuesday on President Obama’s nominee for health and human services secretary, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.

The Senate Finance Committee will vote on sending Mrs. Sebelius’ nomination to the full Senate. She’s expected to win confirmation despite concerns raised by pro-life activists in recent days over campaign money she received from a Kansas doctor who performs abortions.

Lawmakers want Mrs. Sebelius in place quickly as they get to work on legislation overhauling the nation’s costly health care system.

Mrs. Sebelius is Mr. Obama’s second choice for health secretary after former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle withdrew in a tax controversy.

From combined dispatches and staff reports

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