A Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) court rebuked California minister Jane Adams Spahr, 68, after finding her guilty of violating her ordination vows and persistently disobeying church law by performing same-sex marriage ceremonies while they were legal in the state. But the Aug. 27 verdict also included praise for Spahr's ministry and called on the denomination to reexamine its "own fear and ignorance that continues to reject the inclusiveness of the gospel of Jesus Christ." Spahr says she will appeal.
Sportswriter Mike Wise is sidelined for a month after The Washington Post suspended him for intentionally posting a fabricated statement on Twitter. The veteran columnist had tweeted that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was getting a five-game suspension-a "scoop" that other media outlets quickly picked up and reported. Wise says the tweet was aimed at showcasing "the absurdity of bad journalism" but now he admits it was a "horrendous mistake."
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, 74, has handed the U.S. House another ethics brouhaha after The Dallas Morning News revealed that between 2005 and 2009 she awarded $25,000 in scholarships to two grandchildren, two great-nephews, and two children of a top aide. The nine-term Dallas Democrat said she did not know about the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's rules against awarding the college aid to relatives, who were also ineligible because they did not live or study in a caucus member's district. Johnson has since reimbursed the foundation.
For the second year in a row, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., tops the list of the nation's wealthiest lawmakers, according to The Hill's annual review of financial disclosure forms. Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, were worth an estimated $188.6 million at the end of 2009. The list features 27 Democrats, 23 Republicans, 30 House members, and 20 senators.
Retired baseball pitcher Roger Clemens, 48, pleaded not guilty Aug. 30 to charges of lying to Congress about whether he used performance-enhancing drugs during his career. Federal prosecutors say they have a "voluminous" case against the Red Sox legend and seven-time Cy Young Award winner. His trial is set for April 5.
Mexican authorities captured accused drug kingpin Edgar Valdez Villarreal on Aug. 30 following a year-long intelligence operation. Nicknamed "La Barbie," the American-born Valdez, 37, is believed to have trafficked tons of cocaine into the United States and had a $2 million bounty on his head. Following trial in Mexico, Valdez may face extradition to the United States.
Former President Jimmy Carter successfully negotiated with North Korean authorities to secure the release of captive American Aijalon Mahli Gomes, who had taught English in South Korea. Officials arrested Gomes, 31, in January and sentenced him to eight years of hard labor on charges of illegally entering the country. Gomes returned home to Boston on Aug. 27