Dispatches > Human Race
Ray Nagin
Associated Press/Photo by Gerald Herbert
Ray Nagin

Human Race



A federal court indicted former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, 56, on charges that he accepted bribes for personal gain during the devastated city’s grueling recovery from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The indictment accuses the Democratic mayor—who gained a national reputation for slamming federal officials, including President George W. Bush, for doing too little in Katrina’s aftermath—of helping himself to more than $200,000 in bribes and payoffs in exchange for promoting the interests of contractors working to rebuild the city. 


Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas broke a seven-year silence on Jan. 14 during oral arguments at the nation’s highest court. As the other eight justices, all of whom graduated from Yale or Harvard, discussed whether a defendant had adequate representation with his Yale-graduate lawyer, Thomas, also a Yale grad, reportedly said the defendant must not have received competent counsel. 


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A federal judge in El Paso sentenced Christopher Tappin to 33 months in prison after he pleaded guilty last November to selling weapons parts to Iran. Tappin, 66, faced up to 35 years behind bars after being extradited to the United States from England, but reached a deal with prosecutors to serve an abbreviated sentence in the U.K. Tappin must turn himself in to authorities by March 8.


An Egyptian court ordered a retrial for former President Hosni Mubarak, who was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the deaths of hundreds of protestors in 2011. The judge, who issued the ruling without explanation, also overturned convictions for several Mubarak allies, including his two sons. 


Pauline Friedman Phillips, known to millions by her pen name Abigail Van Buren, or “Dear Abby,” died Jan. 16 at 94. Phillips began in 1956 what today remains the world’s most syndicated advice column. She embraced the sexual revolution, including support for abortion, while at the same time dispensing domestic wisdom until turning the column over to her daughter Jeanne Phillips in 2000.


The gentlemanly Stan “Stan the Man” Musial, who pitched then fielded 22 seasons for the St. Louis Cardinals, died Jan. 19 at age 92. The Hall of Famer played in 24 All Star games—a record—won three National League MVP awards, and was arguably the greatest and most popular Cardinal in baseball history. 

Fellow Hall of Famer Earl Weaver, the legendary and combative manager of the Baltimore Orioles, died the same day. He was 82. Weaver screamed at one umpire, “I’m going to check the rule-book on that,” and the ump replied, “Here, use mine.” Weaver retorted, “That’s no good—I can’t read Braille.”


Eugene Patterson, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and civil-rights advocate, died on Jan. 12 at age 89. A World War II veteran, Patterson was an editor at the Atlanta Constitution, Washington Post, St. Petersburg Times, and Congressional Quarterly during a 40-year journalism career. He was most famous for his editorial writing, including “A Flower for the Graves,” a poignant commentary following the 1963 Birmingham, Ala., church bombing that killed four African-American girls.


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