Activating SharePoint Publishing Infrastructure Results in 'Access Denied'
I was getting a 'Access Denied' error when trying to activate the SharePoint Publishing Infrastructure feature. I found two solutions. The first involved changing the Application Pool that Central Admin ran under. The second, found here, simply involves running an STSADM command from the command line. In a production system, I'd say that the stsadm way to go (it's also faster).