Time for a little A&R:
Action: Days after a London-based newspaper claimed that Osama bin Laden is still alive, the FBI's chief of counterterrorism says he believes bin Laden is dead.
Reaction: You'd think that after 10 months of searching for him, we'd have a definitive answer on this. I remember a tough-talking President Bush saying that he wanted bin Laden "dead or alive." What gives?
(Note to Republicans: I'm talking about our inability to determine bin Laden's whereabouts only from Sept. 11 to now, so, please, don't blame Bill Clinton.)
Action: The Toledo Catholic Diocese agrees to open its files on priests accused of sexual misconduct as long as prosecutors ask for specific cases.
Reaction: Why do I get the feeling that prosecutors are less than enthused about pursuing cases? As much as we'd like to look the other way, we can't. This is something that must be addressed. Crimes against children occurred, and they've been covered up for way too long.
Action: Toledo will receive $6 million in state funds to help clean up polluted land in the proposed Marina District.
Reaction: Does that mean the Marina District still has a pulse? Could have fooled me.
Action: In a plea bargain, John Walker Lindh -- the so-called "American Taliban" -- is sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Reaction: By changing his plea to guilty and, thus, avoiding a trial, Lindh saved this country from a lot of anguish. The rhetoric would have gotten very ugly. This was a rarity for plea bargains: The punishment fit the crime.
Action: A popular chain restaurant, known for its steaks and long waits to get a table, converts its smoking section to nonsmoking. It now limits smoking to the bar area.
Reaction: By virtually doubling the capacity of the nonsmoking section, we didn't have to wait to be seated. Still, business was as brisk as ever. The place was packed. Makes me wonder how many nonsmokers in the old days opted for "first available" and were whisked off to the smoking section.
Action: Shortly after a federal appeals court ruled that the "under God" part of the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, Fox News Channel puts the phone number of the judge who wrote the opinion up on the screen.
Reaction: Funny, I've never seen FNC put a judge's phone number on the screen for any other controversial decision. It must have agreed with those. "We report, you decide"? Yea, right.
Action: In Fifth Third Field's inaugural season, the Mud Hens break their single-season attendance record that had stood since 1953.
Reaction: Amazingly, there are still 22 home games remaining. For that, Toledo's naysayer community should be required to eat a double helping of crow. All of their dire predictions -- from a parking shortage to the ballpark becoming a ghost town before the end of the season -- are laughable now.
TWIN PACK: Let's wrap it up with two slant-free questions. All participants will receive 500 points. (Note: Click on the link below and check out reader response to last week's questions.)
1) Will the homeland security program Operation TIPS result in Americans spying on each other, as civil rights advocates suggest?
2) Now that he has pleaded innocent to an assault charge, how will the Inglewood, Calif., police officer who was videotaped punching a handcuffed teenager fare in the legal system?