Human Race

Human Race

Issue: "The Purge," Sept. 12, 2009

DIED: Conservative columnist and pundit Robert Novak, whose work as a dogged shoe-leather journalist was hailed within conservative circles as "a beacon of truth and light," died Aug. 18 from brain cancer at the age of 78. Nicknamed the "Prince of Darkness" for his pessimistic view of culture's shift away from core values, the Jewish-born Novak converted in 1998 to Catholicism and became a devout follower of Christ. He sparked the Valerie Plame scandal after blowing the CIA operative's cover in a July 2003 column.

COMEBACK: With mentor Tony Dungy by his side, quarterback Michael Vick, who served 18 months in jail for running a dog-fighting operation, was reinstated into the NFL and granted a two-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 13. Dungy, who began ministering to inmates after retiring in January as the Indianapolis Colts coach, said he agreed to help Vick after the 29-year-old confided "that he needed to get back closer to the Lord."

LOST: A Vermont woman whose 6-month-old preborn twins died after another car plowed into her van wants a state law changed to legally recognize the babies as children and therefore fatalities of the crash. Although 36 states have fetal homicide laws, Vermont upholds a 1989 state Supreme Court decision that ruled a viable, preborn baby is not considered a person for purposes of criminal statute. But for Patricia Blair, who had already named her twins, "It just makes no sense to me how anyone can say 'they're not babies.'"

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FOUND: Eighteen years after Navy pilot Scott Speicher's FA-18 Hornet was shot down over the Iraq dessert on the first night of the 1991 Gulf War, his remains were finally laid to rest Aug. 14 in his Jacksonville, Fla., hometown. In late July, a tip from an Iraqi Bedouin led Marines to the location of Speicher's remains. The discovery ended years of speculation about the whereabouts of Speicher, 33, who was thought at one time to be a prisoner of war.

UNRETIRED: Quarterback Brett Favre, 39, announced Aug. 18 that he is emerging from retirement to team up with his former NFL rival, the Minnesota Vikings. Favre, who signed a reported two-year, $25 million contract, will face his former Green Bay Packers Oct. 5.

DIED: Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who forged the Asian nation into a democracy and received the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize for using the "Sunshine Policy" to ease decades of tension with North Korea, died Aug. 18 at the age of 83.

SAT NAV: Singer-songwriter Bob Dylan says he has had offers to voice in-car navigation systems for two auto manufacturers. Once described as having a "sandpaper" voice, the 68-year-old legend said GPS might pose a challenge: "I probably shouldn't do it because whichever way I go I always end up at one place, Lonely Avenue."


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