I'm intrigued by a game I heard on the radio this weekend where contestants try to determine which of three news stories is true.
All three options seem equally absurd, but there were clues for those who keep up on world events (important and unimportant) in the form of names and places.
I would, however, like to see how easy it is to tell truth from fiction when the stories are told in overview-fashion. Here are a few examples to test your knowledge. True or false:
A) A proposed new law will allow federal investigators to compel testimony and obtain records without first getting grand jury approval. The questioning could take place without an attorney and a written record of the session would not be required.
B) A 20-year-old who wanted to be with her boyfriend in California was sentenced to two years in a federal penitentiary for planting threatening notes aboard a Hawaii-bound cruise ship so it would return to port.
C) A man holding a "No War for Oil" sign is facing state and federal charges after he refused to move to a protest zone more than half a mile away from the area reserved for Bush supporters at the Columbia, S.C. airport.
D) Angered that a former U.S. ambassador went public with the information that Iraq did NOT try to buy "yellowcake" uranium ore from Africa, White House officials disclosed that the man's wife is a secret agent for the CIA.
E) At the request of the U.S. Defense Department, an airline company turned over to a private contractor the names, addresses, social security numbers and itineraries of up to 5 million customers. The data was used to prepare a report titled "Homeland Security: Airline Passenger Risk Assessment."
F) A retired steelworker was handcuffed and hauled away from a Bush appearance in Neville Island, Pa. when he insisted on standing up front with the president's supporters instead of behind a chain link fence with other protesters.
Sadly, they're all true.
A) President George Bush is asking Congress to expand government powers under the 2001 USA Patriot Act to include the use of "administrative subpoenas" investigators could essentially issue themselves without oversight. Supporters say it would only be used to combat terrorism.
B) Instead of a lesser charge, federal officials charged the young woman with violating a section of the USA Patriot Act prohibiting threats against mass transit systems.
C) Eleven members of Congress have asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to drop the charges against Brett Bursey.
D) CIA Director George Tennent has asked the Justice Department to determine which "senior administration officials" told at least six reporters that the wife of Joseph C. Wilson IV is a spy. Conservative columnist Robert Novak published the information and the CIA is trying to determine what danger there may be for Valerie Plame and her contacts over the years.
F) Commenting on a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on his (and others') behalf, Bill Neel said he thought the whole country was supposed to be a free-speech zone.
True patriots should keep in mind that, while our soldiers are over in Iraq fighting for justice and freedom, we have a responsibility to ensure this country is still the "home of the free" when they return.
Diane Wagner covers county government for the Daily Herald. She can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or firstname.lastname@example.org.