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Week In Review A Look Back At The Top Stories From The Last Week

SUNDAY, OCT. 5, 1997


Love gay children, reject their sex lives

U.S. Catholic bishops released a pastoral letter to the parents of gay children Tuesday, urging them to accept and love their offspring because homosexual orientation is not freely chosen and therefore “cannot be considered sinful.”

The letter, written by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops’ committee on marriage and family, makes a distinction between homosexual orientation and homosexual activity.

“The difficulty is that people sometimes in a subject that is so sensitive do not understand church teaching,” said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the bishops’ conference. “The church is not rejecting homosexuality, it is rejecting homosexual activity.”

Strings attached

Here’s $32 million, the Clinton-Gore campaign and the Democratic National Committee told state party officers. Now here’s how we want you to spend it.

That, according to the New York Times, is how Democratic Party officials got around legal spending limits the Clinton campaign had agreed to in return for accepting millions of dollars in public financing.

The money the DNC transferred to state parties came with specific instructions on how to spend it, and within days of receiving the transfers, the state parties dutifully sent checks to the consulting team hired by the Clinton-Gore campaign and the DNC.

The money was used to pay for “issue ads,” which are supposed to support the party’s agenda rather than specific candidates, such as Clinton.

“It was a charade to say those were ads of the state parties,” said Dick Morris, the former presidential campaign adviser who orchestrated the president’s media campaign. “I never spoke to anyone from any state.”

On call

Attorney General Janet Reno announced Friday that Justice Department lawyers will spend another 60 days to see whether Vice President Al Gore committed a crime when he dialed from his office for campaign contributions.

“I have been unable to determine whether there is sufficient specific and credible evidence to suggest a violation of federal criminal law,” Reno said in opening a second stage in the investigation. Ultimately, it could lead to appointment of an independent counsel.

Trickle down, trickle on

New Census Bureau data on household incomes gave the Clinton White House an opportunity to change the subject from the campaign-finance scandals Monday. Never mind that the administration analysis differed significantly from that of Census officials.

Clinton proclaimed the data showed that the typical family has seen its income increase for the third year in a row. “After years and years of stagnant family incomes, today’s report proves that America’s middle class, no longer forgotten, is rising fast,” the president said - proof, he added, that his economic plan is working. “Rising incomes are also lifting families out of poverty,” Clinton added.

Actually the the bureau’s report showed that while middle-class incomes rose modestly in 1996 - the median household income stood rose $410 from 1995 - the poverty rate barely budged, with 13.7 percent of Americans living below the poverty line. That was only one-tenth of a percentage point lower than in 1995. About 36.5 million people - including 1 of every 5 children - were living below the official poverty level of $16,036 for a family of four.


No trial for Harris

A Boundary County judge dismissed a murder charge against Kevin Harris, who had been accused of killing Deputy U.S. Marshal William Degan during the 1992 standoff on Ruby Ridge.

Magistrate Quentin Harden, who reviewed the case for two days, said an old Idaho law forbids trying Harris a second time for the killing. Harris was acquitted in federal court of killing Degan in 1993.

Fourth bomber convicted

Former Army sniper Brian Ratigan was convicted Tuesday of bombing a family planning clinic and robbing a bank in the Spokane Valley on July 12, 1996.

Ratigan’s friends, Charles H. Barbee, Robert S. Berry and Verne Jay Merrell, were convicted in July and face mandatory life imprisonment for April 1 and July 12 bombings and bank robberies.

Ratigan faces at least 50 years in federal prison

“Case closed,” said federal prosecutor Tom Rice.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman from wire reports

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