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A Letter from Doug Johnson

Louisvillian Doug Johnson, a peace activist living in the West Bank and teaching English at the Arab American University in Jenin, was abducted Tuesday by Palestinian gunmen. He was released later the same day. The following is a letter Johnson sent out via email on Wednesday to assure those interested that he is OK. With the help of David Horvath and Pat Geier, LEO obtained permission from Johnson to post the letter in full.

Rumor & Innuendo: Rumblings From the World of Sports

Was it me, or was something missing on NCAA Selection Sunday? Oh, yeah, the sun. And any mention of the University of Louisville Cardinals. Hmmmmm!That schedule thang. U of L played only one non-conference team that is dancing. Can you spell UK? And the Cards only beat one NCAA team — Marquette. Pitiful.

Foaming in the gloaming

Competition consumes the Capitol under the twilight of every session as lawmakers, lobbyists and stakeholders plot to muscle bills beyond the legislative bottleneck that paralyzes, then suffocates, measures great and small. It’s been a strangely quiet yet quirky session in the Senate. A string of illnesses, deaths and surgeries among senators and their parents seemed to complete the maturation of a chamber rife with strife only a few sessions ago. The institution continues its plunge into adulthood by muting the partisan feuding and substituting a more bipartisan approach.

Doc Naismith’s best bets, and some OK Tourney News

by Bill DoolittleIf the Louisville Cardinals had to skip an NCAA basketball tournament, this was probably the one to miss. 2006 looks like a very big Blue Year. All four No. 1 seeds — Duke, Villanova, Connecticut and Memphis — wear blue. And Kentucky, too.

Who would have ever thunk it?

Denny and Joe B. Hall are knocking ’em dead in the radio ratings departmentBy Matt WillingerSome say it’s sports talk of a refreshingly different sort. Others say it only proves that in Kentucky, anything to do with the basketball fortunes of the Cats and the Cards will have an audience. But everybody has to admit that the popularity of “The Joe B. & Denny Show, ” heard locally each weekday from 10 a.m. to noon on 790-AM, is a bigger upset than anything that will happen in this month’s NCAA basketball tournament.

What a Week

OK, who sneezed on this rat?In a dramatic medical breakthrough, researchers at U of L used stem cells from human nasal passages to cure rats with spinal-cord injuries, giving hope for possible cures for multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, and other nerve disorders in humans. The boogers-for-brains research holds promise not only for people with spinal-cord-related disabilities, but speaks volumes for the indomitable human spirit, which could motivate a talented, highly educated researcher to go, “Hey, let’s smear some snot on a rat and see what happens.”

It’s Welch, without a surprise

To a tenderfoot, the jovial mood in Metro Council chambers before the March 1 interview session for those hoping to fill Democrat Ron Weston’s vacant 13th district seat would’ve seemed unusual. Considering the business of the day, one might think all the smiling was, well, weird. The sun was out and it felt like spring that day, but otherwise, the Council was facing an important — if somewhat controversial — task.

Lofty challenge

Clifton Lofts were controversial, but they need love nowBy MICHAEL A. LINDENBERGER

A season late, a basket short

U of L can retire its dancin’ shoes for another yearSometimes writing assignments go awry.Imagine it’s Good Friday, April 1865. You’re an aspiring theater critic for some Washington gazette. Your assignment is to review a romantic comedy, “My American Cousin,” at Ford Theater. Curtain’s up, a shot rings out, some guy jumps from a balcony. All of a sudden the staging of romantic interludes gives way to entirely different reportage.

Maybe the NIT will start sucking a little less

In August of last year, it was announced that the four-year legal battle between the Metropolitan Intercollegiate Basketball Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association would end with Moby Dick gobbling Ahab: for about $56 million, the NCAA would become owner and operator of the National Invitation Tournament, the once-venerable college hoops tourney that has become more a national platform for extending the shame and humiliation felt by prestigious programs that turn in a crap season here or there than an actual tournament worth winning.