Dispatches > Human Race

Human Race

Issue: "Tilting at turbines," July 17, 2010

Died

Robert C. Byrd, the longest serving member of the U.S. Senate, died June 28 at age 92. A Democrat, Byrd represented West Virginia for 51 years in the Senate and used his position to funnel billions of dollars into his poverty-stricken state.

Ousted

Once the darling of Australian politics, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stepped down June 24 rather than face a humiliating defeat to surprise Labor Party challenger Julia Gillard, the nation's first female prime minister.

Diagnosed

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Doctors diagnosed artist and author Joni Eareckson Tada, 60, with breast cancer. A quadriplegic who founded Joni and Friends International Disability Center, Tada will undergo surgery and treatment: "Yes, [cancer is] alarming, but . . . God is going to use this to stretch our faith, brighten our hope, and strengthen our witness to others."

Demoted

Ergun Caner will no longer serve as dean of Liberty University's seminary, but will continue on its faculty after an investigating committee found that Caner, a converted Muslim, "made factual statements that are self-contradictory" about his background, according to a statement from Liberty.

Exiting

Top White House budget official Peter Orszag, 41, will step down this month. The director of the Office of Management and Budget oversaw the multi­billion-dollar stimulus bill and healthcare overhaul, and is the first member of the Obama cabinet to resign. Once considered Washington's most eligible bachelor, Orszag (a divorced father of two) fathered a child with former girlfriend and heiress Claire Milonas, who was pregnant when he struck up a relationship with fiancée and ABC Good Morning America's Bianna Golodryga.

Hired

Former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, 51, who served 43 months in jail on fraud and corruption convictions, moved to a halfway house and began working at Tov Pizza, a kosher restaurant in Baltimore, Md., where he is to complete his sentence in six months.

Remembered

Ten years have passed since the international custody battle over Elian Gonzalez, the 5-year-old survivor of a capsized Cuban refugee raft, ended abruptly when federal agents stormed Gonzalez's relatives' home in Miami, seized the boy at gunpoint, and returned him to Cuba on June 28, 2000. Fidel Castro has used Gonzalez as a symbol of triumph, parading him occasionally across Cuban TV and publications-most recently dressed in a Young Communist uniform and waving a Cuban flag while attending a party meeting.

Died

Edith Shain, the woman who claimed to be the nurse photographed in a lip-locking embrace with a Navy sailor celebrating the end of World War II, died June 20 at age 91. Photo­journalist Alfred Eisenstaedt captured the famous 1945 photograph, which appeared in Life magazine.

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