Dispatches > Human Race

Human Race

Issue: "Tick, tick, tick ...," May 7, 2011


An appeals court ruled April 6 that the University of North Carolina--Wilmington unconstitutionally denied a professor a promotion because he writes a syndicated column from a conservative political perspective. Although a lower court had ruled that Mike Adams' writings were not protected by the First Amendment because they could be considered part of his professional duties, the appeals court said, "No individual loses his ability to speak as a private citizen by virtue of public employment." The case now returns to court to determine whether the university discriminated against Adams.


Now-retired Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who last August struck down California's voter-approved marriage amendment, has announced he is gay but insists his sexuality was not relevant to his landmark decision. Proposition 8 supporters disagree, saying Walker, who is in a homosexual relationship, should have recused himself from the case since he could benefit from a ruling in favor of gay marriage.


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Many adoptive families will be getting a surprise this year from Uncle Sam: really big refund checks. David and Thelma Ward, who have adopted five children over the past few years, earned a $54,000 refund because the federal adoption tax credit is refundable for the first time this year. In past years, the one-time tax credit of up to $13,170 per child traditionally only offset any owed taxes, with any remaining credits rolling over to the next tax year. But now that the credit is refundable, families like the Wards will get their accumulated credits in one lump sum.


Real estate mogul Donald Trump, 64, said in a recent interview with the Christian Broadcast Network that he is a Christian: "I believe in God. . . . I think the Bible is certainly, it is THE book." Trump, who is eying a potential GOP presidential run and would need to court evangelical voters, also said he goes to church "as much as I can. Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there's a major occasion. And during the Sundays. I'm a Sunday church person. I'll go when I can."


A federal jury convicted former outfielder Barry Bonds, 46, of obstruction of justice on April 12 but failed to reach a verdict on whether he lied under oath about using steroids during his career. Bonds, who hit the most home runs in Major League Baseball history, was the 11th individual to be convicted or plead guilty in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) steroids ring case.


U.S. Ambassador to Malta Douglas Kmiec, a prominent conservative Catholic supporter of President Obama's 2008 candidacy, resigned his position after a report by the Office of the Inspector General criticized him for focusing too much time and resources on religious writing instead of diplomacy. Kmiec said the report showed "hostility to expressions of faith" and that OIG inspectors disagreed with Obama's interfaith policies. Kmiec's support for the pro-abortion Obama campaign in 2008 greatly surprised many of his fellow pro-life activists.


David Noebel in October will retire as president of Summit Ministries. The new head will be Jeff Myers, who is currently chairman of Summit and the president of Passing the Baton International.


Walter Breuning, the world's oldest man, died April 14 at the age of 114. Breuning believed the secret to his longevity was eating only two meals a day, working as long as he could, helping others, and always embracing change.


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