- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 6, 2012

Because Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday this time, President Obama will hold a small, private swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 20 and stage a big public redo the next day.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced Thursday that official activities will last three days: a day of service on Saturday, the private ceremony on Sunday, and the public swearing-in, parade and balls on Monday.

The committee said that the small ceremony is traditional when Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday.

It will be the second time Mr. Obama has had two swearing-in ceremonies. In 2009, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. botched the oath, so he and Mr. Obama held a do-over in the White House.


Last super PAC donors for Romney revealed

The super PAC supporting Mitt Romney raised $22 million in the final three weeks of the campaign, including $10 million from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife — bringing their total to $30 million — $2 million from Oracle Corp. CEO Lawrence Ellison and $1 million from Houston Texans Chairman Robert McNair.

The PAC supporting the Republican nominee also received large, last-minute checks from corporations, including $1 million from the Renco Group Inc., an investment firm that has drawn fire for mills that pollute in South America and that previously gave another $1 million, and $250,000 from Penske Corp., an automotive company.


State senator out on bail after airport gun incident

CHICAGO — A veteran Illinois state senator charged with trying to board a flight with a gun and ammunition in a carry-on bag was released on bail Thursday.

A Cook County judge set bond at $25,000 for state Sen. Donne Trotter, who recently announced he was running for Jesse L. Jackson Jr.’s seat in Congress. Mr. Trotter’s defense attorney argued for reasonable bail, citing Mr. Trotter’s decades of public service and 26-year marriage.

“He’s lived a life dedicated to serving the people of Illinois,” defense attorney Joshua Herman said.

Mr. Trotter was released from custody a short time later. The Chicago Democrat refused to answer reporters’ questions before walking away from the courthouse.

Mr. Trotter was going through security at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Wednesday when Transportation Security Administration officers found during routine X-ray screening an unloaded handgun in an outside zippered pocket of his garment bag. Also found was a magazine clip with six bullets.

The 62-year-old father of four was charged with a Class 4 felony, which carries a sentence of one to three years in prison.

After being stopped at O’Hare, Mr. Trotter told officers that he uses the .25-caliber Beretta handgun for his job with a security company.

“He did not realize it was still in his bag,” assistant state’s attorney Lorraine Scaduto said.


Outgoing legislative speaker quits race for governor

LINCOLN — Nebraska’s outgoing speaker of the Legislature, Mike Flood, is bowing out of the governor’s race less than a month after he declared he was running.

Mr. Flood said Thursday in a statement posted online that he is withdrawing from the 2014 race to care for his family because his wife this week received a breast cancer diagnosis.

Mr. Flood is a respected Republican lawmaker who helped broker compromises on difficult issues while leading the Legislature, but term limits are forcing him to leave office.

Gov. Dave Heineman cannot run in 2014 because of term limits. Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, a fellow Republican, is running for the governor’s job.


Jeb Bush says Clinton is like a brother

PHILADELPHIA — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says he is happy to follow Bill Clinton as chairman of the National Constitution Center because Mr. Clinton is like his “brother from another mother.”

Mr. Bush said Mr. Clinton has developed an exceptionally close friendship with his father, former President George H.W. Bush.

Both former presidents have served as chairmen of the Constitution Center, which opened in 2003 on Independence Mall.

They are also joint recipients of the institution’s annual Liberty Medal, honored for their humanitarian work in 2006.

Jeb Bush, a Republican, served as governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007 and is sometimes mentioned as a potential presidential candidate.

He was not talking about that issue Thursday and politely dodged a question about the 2016 election.

Mr. Bush said he wants to help educate students about the nation’s history so they can think critically about its future.


Feds pledge to improve protection of sacred sites

Protection of sites held sacred by American Indians and Alaska Natives will be bolstered under a memorandum of understanding signed Thursday by four federal agencies and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

The memo signed by the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Energy and Interior also calls for improving tribal access to sites that are on federal land.

“We have a special, shared responsibility to respect and foster American Indian and Alaska Native cultural and religious heritage, and today’s agreement recognizes that important role,” Interior Secretary Kenneth L. Salazar said in a statement.

The agencies plan to work during the next five years to raise awareness about sacred sites. That includes developing a website, a training program for federal employees and guidance for managing sacred sites.

The agreement was reached just weeks after thieves made off with rock carvings from a sacred site in California’s Sierra Nevada. The site on the Volcanic Tableland north of Bishop was what land managers called one of the most significant rock art sites in the region. The local Paiute tribe uses the site for ceremonies.

Tribal leaders have said they are appalled at what happened to the petroglyphs, and the Bureau of Land Management is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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