Dispatches > Human Race
Craig James
Associated Press/Photo by Pat Sullivan
Craig James

Human Race


Issue: "Blurred Vision," April 5, 2014


Marshal Mohammed Fahim, 57, Afghanistan’s first vice president, died of a heart attack on March 9, less than a month ahead of the country’s presidential elections. Fahim, a former warlord, was a powerful figure in Afghanistan dating back to its war with the Soviet Union and the Afghan civil war of the mid-1990s. He was a strong opponent of the Taliban and a strong ally of President Hamid Karzai, who is leaving office after the April 5 election and declared three days of national mourning for Fahim.


The Texas Workforce Commission on March 6 issued a charge of discrimination against Fox Sports Southwest over its firing of analyst Craig James last year for his views on same-sex marriage. The agency decision signals the beginning of an investigation into the matter. In September, the network ousted James one week into his contract, citing comments he made in support of the traditional definition of marriage during his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 2012.


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NFL running back Rashard Mendenhall announced his retirement at age 26 after only six seasons in the league. Mendenhall, a 2008 first-round pick out of the University of Illinois, rushed for 4,236 yards and scored 39 touchdowns in his career, despite battling injuries the last two seasons. He spent five years with the Pittsburgh Steelers, winning two AFC championships and one Super Bowl title, before playing for the Arizona Cardinals in 2013. Mendenhall said he’s satisfied with his NFL experience and plans to start writing books.


Washington, D.C., businessman Jeffrey Thompson, 58, on March 10 pleaded guilty to funneling more than $3.3 million in illegal campaign donations to 28 local and national candidates. The revelation could have a ripple effect for politicians who received the funds, especially D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who allegedly conspired with Thompson to conceal the illegal activity. Gray, who is up for reelection April 1, called the allegations “absolute lies.” Thompson also allegedly gave more than $600,000 in secret donations to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. 


Authorities in Louisiana released Glenn Ford, 64, the state’s longest-serving death row inmate, on March 11 after new evidence revealed he was innocent. An all-white jury in 1984 convicted Ford, who is black, and sentenced him to death for the 1983 murder of a Shreveport jeweler for whom Ford occasionally worked. Ford consistently maintained his innocence, but his court-appointed lawyer, who had never tried a murder case, was unable to convince the jury he was not involved. Prosecutors did not identify the new information that led to Ford’s exoneration.


A New Jersey high-school student who sued her parents for financial support returned home on March 12. Rachel Canning, 18, alleged in a legal filing that her parents forced her to move out, so she wanted them to pay her final semester of private high-school tuition, current living expenses, college tuition, and legal fees of her friends’ parents. Canning’s parents say she left home because she refused to follow the rules. Canning’s return home came days after a judge denied two of her demands—with sharp words of criticism for the way she treated her parents.


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