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Human Race

Human Race

Issue: "Four horsemen of the apocalypse," Oct. 4, 2008

UPDATE: A California judge ruled last month to give full custody of comatose Janet Rivera to her brother, Michael Dancoff. Earlier this year, a public guardian had removed Rivera's ventilator and feeding tube against the family's wishes. Dancoff says he hopes to eventually wean Rivera off the ventilator and respirator and relocate her closer to family.

SUMMONED: Faced with declining attendance, Promise Keepers is returning to its roots and bringing co-founder Bill McCartney back on board as CEO and chairman of the nearly 20-year-old ministry. McCartney, 68, had retired in 2003 to care for his ailing wife, Lyndi, but decided to come out of retirement at the urging of the Promise Keepers board.

DIED: Los Angeles newscaster George Putnam, whose flamboyant and bombastic personality was part of the inspiration for the Ted Baxter character on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, died of heart failure Sept. 12. The 94-year-old self-described conservative Democrat hosted his long-running syndicated radio show, Talk Back, until May when failing health forced him out of the broadcasting booth.

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FINED: A Maine grandmother narrowly avoided going to jail for trying to keep local children from reading It's Perfectly Normal, a controversial sex education book that features candid cartoon illustrations and discussions on sexual development and behavior. Last summer, 64-year-old JoAn Karkos checked the book out of the Lewiston Public Library but then refused to return it because she said it was obscene. Although Karkos mailed a $20.95 check to the library for the cost of the book, the library pursued legal action that culminated in August when a judge slapped Karkos with a $100 fine rather than send her to jail. The library now has five donated copies of the book on its shelves.

OPPOSED: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) agreed last month to meet privately with San Francisco Archbishop George H. Niederauer to discuss church doctrine and whether she should continue to receive communion after she appeared on Meet the Press in August and alleged that the point at which life begins is controversial within the Catholic Church. In a Sept. 5 statement, Niederauer said Pelosi's remarks were in "serious conflict" with church teaching and said it was his responsibility "to oppose erroneous, misleading and confusing positions when they are advanced." A meeting date has not yet been set.

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