The Mitchell Report, which documents baseball's scandal of illegal substances, including steroids, was never going to result in a neat, tidy conclusion.

The report, listing names of dozens of players, including those of Hall of Fame caliber, is a messy affair. The truth is difficult, if not impossible, to find amid so many lies, deceptions and people looking out for their own interests. Guilt is not certain for most of the players named, and many who were unnamed may have been undetected.

So, naming players off of the word of turncoat clubhouse workers and a few inconclusive canceled checks isn't going to solve the steroid problem. But it can be a starting point to building a better, healthier future for the game.

Baseball can test more frequently and for more products using an independent body that cannot be bullied by union or management. It can toughen penalties _ and make them apply to past crimes. It can increase awareness _ not just in the dangers of taking illegal substances, but of the act itself.

Too many players, if only privately, justify steroids, and even more think amphetamines, or "greenies," are an acceptable tool. No. All these should be anathema, just as betting on the sport has been regarded for decades.

Moreover, baseball should let the world know that there will never be the need for another Mitchell Report, as baseball will never again let such a scandal degrade its integrity for so long.

Schumer food plan makes sense

Across the nation, food banks have been struggling this season to meet higher and higher levels of need. The local area has been no exception to this trend, with rising gasoline and fuel costs leaving many people struggling to put food on the table.

Sen. Charles Schumer's proposal to send unused food from government facilities to area food banks is a common-sense way to address this serious problem. Schumer, D-N.Y., proposed a bill that would require cafeterias in federal buildings such as government offices, military installations and courthouses to give unused food to nonprofit agencies. The agencies would in turn distribute the food through existing food banks.

Schumer has said he doesn't anticipate any opposition to this plan, and we hope he is right. The small level of bureaucracy that would be necessary to carry out the plan would be well worth it, considering the number of people who could be helped by the influx of food. By Schumer's estimate, thousands of tons of food would be saved from the landfill and passed along to those in need.

We hope Schumer's legislation passes and is put into effect as quickly and efficiently as possible. In the meantime, area food banks need all the help they can get. Donations of nonperishable food items are being collected all over the region, and it's not too late to help.

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