Morality

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  Detroit Mayor Faces Felony ChargesMarch 24, 2008 12:37 Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and an ex-aide were charged Monday with perjury and obstruction of justice after prosecutors said sexually explicit text messages between the two contradicted their sworn court testimony.

Kilpatrick defiantly declared his innocence just an hour after the charges were announced.

"This has been a very flawed process from the beginning," said Kilpatrick at a press conference Monday. "I look forward to complete exoneration."

Kilpatrick, who is married, has been snarled in a well-publicized sex scandal since January after The Detroit Free Press reported he exchanged romantic text messages with his then-chief of staff, Christine Beatty.

The paper reported in January that in an analysis of nearly 14,000 text messages on Beatty's city-issued pager, it found some from 2002 and 2003 that indicated the two were having a romantic affair.

The newspaper report contradicted testimony Kilpatrick gave last August in a court case brought by police officers against the mayor and the city of Detroit alleging the mayor retaliated against the officers for their role in investigating his office. Critics alleged that Kilpatrick committed perjury in the case and called for his resignation.

In testimony during that case, Kilpatrick and Beatty both denied having a romantic relationship. Beatty resigned as Kilpatrick's chief of staff on January 28.
  Mixing Medicine With Religion May Limit Our PotentialMarch 24, 2008 07:20 FORTY YEARS ago, a successful bone-marrow transplant between two siblings marked the first time groups of inherited immune system disorders in babies no longer automatically led to a new life being cut short. Bone marrow transplants, or stem cell transplants, involve abnormal stem cells from a person's bone marrow being destroyed and replaced with healthy stem cells from that person or from a donor. The procedure, once revolutionary, is now used daily worldwide and saves countless lives. Yet in medical terms it is relatively new, with advances made year-on-year as new research yields new success in the fight against diseases such as leukaemia.

Since the early 1960s, when two Canadian scientists, Ernest McCulloch and James Till, first began looking at the stem cells, medical research has never doubted their potential to make a hugely positive contribution to the treatment of human diseases including cancer, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries and many others. Certainties don't exist in clinical research, as the long fight to discover cures and new therapies for HIV and Aids has shown. But it is a certainty that if stem-cell research simply halts, or backs off from new approaches, then nothing of value will be discovered.

Writing in this newspaper, and speaking later today from the pulpit of a Roman Catholic church in Edinburgh, Cardinal Keith O'Brien states that claim after claim has been made for research that involves the use of stem cells taken from human embryos, and that after a decade of promised cures and treatments, not one new treatment or therapy has arrived. Like any prominent church leader, the cardinal is entitled to his opinion, an opinion that in the case of Roman Catholics in Scotland is expected to be followed without question as part of the church's wider teaching.

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In the case of Catholic MPs, the archbishop expects to see them vote against the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which allows, on the archbishop's interpretation of the science, "the creation of hybrid human-animal embryos" a procedure which involves a "monstrous attack on human rights, human dignity and human life".

The cardinal's moral outrage includes a comparison with the experiments of Dr Frankenstein and the lack of scientific restraint that led to the creation of the atom bomb by Dr Robert Oppenheimer. An extension of abortion laws, legalised raiding of a dead person's tissue, legalised creation of babies whose sole purpose is to provide spare parts, will all follow if the new bill is passed, he claims.

The moral and theological pressure being put on Catholics by leading clergy such as Cardinal O'Brien is high-octane and forceful, and its deliberately emotional content is no accident.

The right of Cardinal O'Brien to preach to the Catholic faithful is entirely justified. But there is no justification for Cardinal O'Brien to try to impose his church's views, politically and morally, on those outside the Catholic faith.
  Paterson Admits To Multiple AffairsMarch 18, 2008 16:51 Gov. David A. Paterson today admitted to adultery with multiple women while serving in the Senate, including a state employee, who presently works in the governor's office.

With his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson standing beside him, the new governor told reporters his infidelity ended "several years ago" and never involved women he supervised or who were on a payroll he was responsible for. He also said he never tried to secure promotions for them or special treatment beyond helping one woman work from home during an illness.

The Manhattan hotel rooms Paterson used during the liaisons were not paid for with tax dollars or "intentionally" with campaign funds.
  Ny'S New Governor To Be Sworn InMarch 17, 2008 10:09 David Paterson is due to be sworn in as New York's 55th governor later in the day, replacing Eliot Spitzer.
Mr Spitzer sensationally resigned last week after evidence emerged that he was the client of a prostitution ring.

Mr Paterson will make history as New York's first African-American governor and as the first legally blind person to hold such a post permanently.

His first main test will be negotiating the state's $124bn (£61bn) budget that is due in two weeks' time.

Mr Spitzer is scheduled to resign formally at noon local time (1600 GMT). Mr Paterson, currently New York's lieutenant governnor, will then take office before a joint legislative session in the chamber in New York's state capital, Albany.

 
  Nrcc Says Ex-Treasurer Diverted Up To $1 MillionMarch 14, 2008 08:34 The former treasurer for the National Republican Congressional Committee diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars -- and possibly as much as $1 million -- of the organization's funds into his personal accounts, GOP officials said yesterday, describing an alleged scheme that could become one of the largest political frauds in recent history.

For at least four years, Christopher J. Ward, who is under investigation by the FBI, allegedly used wire transfers to funnel money out of NRCC coffers and into other political committee accounts he controlled as treasurer, NRCC leaders and lawyers said in their first public statement since they turned the matter over to the FBI six weeks ago.

"The evidence we have today indicated we have been deceived and betrayed for a number of years by a highly respected and trusted individual," said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), the NRCC chairman.

The committee also announced that it has submitted to banks five years' worth of audits and financial documents allegedly faked by Ward, some of which were used to secure multimillion-dollar loans. It is a violation of federal laws to obtain loans through false statements; the crime is punishable by up to $1 million in fines and 30 years in prison.

Before yesterday, the committee, which raised $49 million in 2007, had not acknowledged that any money was missing. It announced on Feb. 1 that it had discovered "irregularities" that might involve fraud, dismissed Ward and called in federal investigators.
  Homophobic Republican Official May Have Gay SonMarch 14, 2008 08:07 The Republican state legislator behind what has become one of the most notorious homophobic tirades in history may have a gay son.

During the tirade, which was posted on the video sharing Web site YouTube on March 7, Rep. Sally Kern of Oklahoma City said “the homosexual agenda” poses a bigger threat to the U.S. than terrorism.

Since being posted on YouTube and the Web site of the Washington, D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, the clip has been viewed by more than 700,000.

On Wednesday, March 12, the gay online news service Queerty reported that one of Kern’s two grown sons, Jesse, is gay. The report was based on comments posted on Web sites by readers who alleged that Jesse Kerns had been disciplined for cruising toilets while a student at Oklahoma Baptist University.

As of Thursday, March 13, the report had not confirmed, and Sally Kern’s husband, a Baptist preacher, issued a statement denying it.

Media outlets also were poking holes in Kern’s assertion that death threats were contained in some of the thousands of e-mails she received after her remarks were posted on the Web. A law enforcement official who’d been called in to investigate said Tuesday, March 12that the e-mails in question didn’t contain what could be characterized as death threats.

Sally Kern reportedly was unaware her remarks were being recorded when she made them to a group of fellow Republicans.

“I’m not gay-bashing. But according to God’s word that is not the right kind of lifestyle,” Kern said. She also told her listeners that “the very fact that I am talking like this to you here today puts me in jeopardy.”

“Studies show no society that has totally embraced homosexuality has lasted more than a few decades,” Kern said in the recorded comments. “It is not a lifestyle that is good for this nation.”
  The Associated Press: Ny Gov. Eliot Spitzer ResignsMarch 12, 2008 09:40 Gov. Eliot Spitzer has decided to resign, completing a stunning fall from power after he was nationally disgraced by links to a high-priced prostitution ring, a top state official said Wednesday.

Spitzer was scheduled to announce his resignation midday, according to a second top Spitzer staffer. The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made.

Spitzer and his wife, Silda, left their apartment around 11 a.m. and got into a black SUV to take them to his office. Cameras aboard news helicopters tracked the movement of Spitzer's three-vehicle motorcade from his apartment on the Upper East Side to his office in midtown Manhattan.

Spitzer would be replaced by Lt. Gov. David Paterson, who will become New York's first black governor.

The scandal erupted Monday when allegations surfaced that Spitzer, a 48-year-old married man with three teenage daughters, spent thousands of dollars on a call girl named Kristen at a swanky Washington hotel on the night before Valentine's Day.

"I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my — or any — sense of right and wrong," the governor said at a news conference with his wife at his side. "I apologize to the public, whom I promised better."