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Federal File: Demon Porn (Cont.); Bauer's Successor; Nicholson Cleared

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Concerned that federally financed "pornography" is draining the U.S. Treasury while offending the average person, a trio of Texas lawmakers last week tried to block the National Endowment for the Arts from supporting "patently offensive" projects.

But the Democrat-controlled House Education and Labor Committee defeated the move, which was fashioned by Representative Steve Bartlett, a Republican, as an amendment to the five-year reauthorization for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities.

The majority argued that the move would unconstitutionally limit free expression and could, paradoxically, limit local authorities' ability to curb pornography by imposing a "watered-down" national standard over the current "community standard" now used in law.

A day earlier, Representatives Dick Armey and Tom DeLay testified before the Select Education Subcommittee in support of the measure that Representative Bartlett was to introduce.

But a host of witnesses advised against it. The chairman of the arts endowment, Francis S.M. Hodsoll, said, "Art includes the ugly as well as the beautiful." Cleanth Brooks, an emeritus professor at Yale University who delivered the government's Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities last spring, added, "You don't burn down the house to get rid of the rats."


Bruce Carnes, an aide at the National Endowment for the Humanities during part of William J. Bennett's tenure as chairman, will be nominated to replace Gary L. Bauer as deputy undersecretary for planing, budget, and evaluation, a department spokesman confirmed.

Mr. Carnes, a 41-year-old native of Xenia, Ohio, holds a doctorate in English and American literature from Indiana University and taught English at James Madison University from 1971 to 1976.

Between his stint in academe and his job at the neh, he served in the U.S. Office of Education. He has been at the department since April as an assistant to the Secretary and has worked on the reorganization of the research operation and budget and legislative issues.


The former top official at the National School Safety Center, George Nicholson, may have been difficult to work for, but he did not misspend federal funds, as some former employees had anonymously charged.

The General Accounting Office, the Congressional watchdog agency, "found no basis to question" numerous administrative expenditures by Mr. Nicholson, now the number-two man at the federally funded center, located in Sacramento, Calif., under the auspices of Pepperdine University in Malibu.

But the inquiry found "friction between [Mr. Nicholson] and certain key staff," which led to the departure of several senior aides; the work force there has dropped from 30 to 13. The center will now rely on consultants for most of its work, the gao reported.--jh

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