Footnotes of an America United

TONY SNOW, IN FOR BRIT HUME: And there were these footnotes to the story of America united. Former Defense Secretary William Cohen says last month's terrorist attacks should serve as a wake-up call for what he calls a "soft, lazy and self-indulgent nation." He gave a speech in San Antonio Thursday, and according to local newspaper accounts, Cohen thinks it's time to reprioritize our values.

He says it takes adversity to introduce a person to himself, and he thinks the same thing can be said of a country. So now he concludes -- quote -- "something has to change." Cohen likes President Bush's handling of the situation and says he's proud to see the surge of patriotism in America.

"The New York Post" is reporting that Bill Clinton will use his upcoming book to answer criticism about his failure to take out Usama bin Laden. The ex-president reportedly told a friend that he understands the complaints, and intends to be somewhat self-critical about his experiences with bin Laden.

Meanwhile, a Philadelphia man reportedly is suing a major airline carrier for scaring him to death, sort of. The Birmingham, Alabama news reports that Scott Bender claims U.S. Airways was negligent for failing to wake him after he fell asleep on a flight that landed in Birmingham earlier this year. Bender says the crew failed to check the cabin before closing the hatch, and when he awoke from his long nap, he found himself in a deserted, darkened jet. Bender thought the craft had crashed and that he was dead.

Well, some advertising executives may wish they were dead after creating this ad for United Airlines. It contains brief descriptions of business trips taken after September 11 by six people. The ad copy ends with the proclamation, "business as usual." Yesterday a cliche, today a principle.

"The New York Times" reports that the names in the ads are not those of real business travelers. Five of the six work for the Fallon Worldwide Advertising Agency in Minneapolis, which produced the ad. The sixth name was a brother of a Fallon Worldwide employee. A Fallon spokeswoman explains the firm uses employee names often because legal clearances are simpler and faster. She added that some of the trips described in the ad were real, some were hypothetical, and some were -- quote -- "based on real business scenarios we've all done. Our approach was intended to be more humanist and inspirational."