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Editorials from around Ohio

September 8, 2014

Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Sept. 5

When U.S. journalists or any other Americans are executed by terrorists in a crude and barbaric attempt to intimidate and terrorize, that act must not stand. As President Barack Obama said Wednesday after journalist Steven Sotloff was beheaded by the misnamed ISIS, or Islamic State -- State of Barbarity might be more apt -- “those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget, and that our reach is long and that justice will be served.”

Yes, our reach is long. But to make it most effective, the United States needs a clearer strategy to degrade and, as far as possible, to destroy ISIS in Syria and Iraq, recognizing that the history of the last 13 years has been that military action alone tends to metastasize terrorism even while eliminating many of its leaders.

Obama has yet to spell out that strategy in a compelling and understandable way. He needs to do so. ...

ISIS is only one of a number of despotic, ultra-religious terrorist groups spawned by al-Qaida that are threatening Americans. It only is as strong as its supporters and financiers and its growing feedstock of young, hardened jihadi-mercenary-butchers whose killing ways have been honed in such earlier conflicts as Afghanistan, Chechnya, Bosnia, Somalia and Yemen -- but, worryingly, now also being recruited in Britain, the United States, Canada and other Western countries.

To counter ISIS, the United States needs a long-term plan for how to engage not just allies in this effort but also the broader Islamic world and those looking the other way or actively supplying various factions in these conflicts, whether Turkey or Russia or Iran.

Online: http://bit.ly/1qzQ5zo

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The Lima News, Sept. 3

In four words, state watercraft officer Travis Martin summed up the value of life jackets following Sunday’s drowning of a 22-year-old man on Indian Lake.

“It floats. You don’t,” said Martin.

Some people may have thought Martin’s words were too harsh following such a tragedy, but it was a message that needed to be delivered. Consider that last year, 397 people drowned nationwide following recreational-boating accidents. In 84 percent of the drownings, those who died were not wearing a life jacket, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The events leading up to the Indian Lake were that of a disaster waiting to happen.

Nine people were on a boat after midnight Sunday, only a few with life jackets. Disaster arrived when the boat began to sink just north of the Lakeview boat ramp.

Eight people were lucky to survive, being pulled from the water by local fire department rescuers.

Online: http://bit.ly/1u6HpBQ

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The Blade, Sept. 8

Republican lawmakers in the Statehouse continue to make election-year hay from a bill that would repeal the Common Core education standards in Ohio. The measure’s sponsors at least have shown enough respect for Ohio students to remove a provision that would have allowed the teaching of creationism — that is, religion in the guise of science — in the state’s public schools.

But the bill before the state House remains bad business. It needs to die in the General Assembly — or, if it gets that far, to be vetoed by Gov. John Kasich.

To repeat: Common Core’s national standards are not a curriculum. They do not, and under state law cannot, dictate to any Ohio school what it must teach. They simply define what students in every grade should be expected to achieve in math and English. They stress reading, writing, and critical thinking.

The standards do not amount to a federal takeover of education, because they are not a federal mandate. Washington gives states money to maintain the standards and to develop tests pegged to them. That’s all.

Instead, the standards were drafted by state governors and schools superintendents of both parties, informed by teachers’ suggestions, endorsed by private employers across the country, and adopted voluntarily and legally by 45 states (a handful of states have since eliminated them).

The standards remain an effective vehicle for educational reform. Abandoning them now would waste four years of effort — and millions of dollars — expended to bring them to Ohio classrooms starting this school year. That’s an oddly profligate stance for self-described fiscally conservative lawmakers to take.

Online: http://bit.ly/WFewzt

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The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune, Sept. 4

September is Safe Driving Awareness Month in Ohio, as designated by Senate Bill 294. But instead of reinforcing that mission by citing evidence of a growing problem, we can take the opposite tack.

On average, between 2009 and 2013, some 900 automobile crashes resulted in 1,046 deaths annually. But that last year was different; for the first time in modern motoring history, according to the State Highway Patrol, fewer than 1,000 people perished in accidents on Ohio’s roads.

In 2013, 918 fatal accidents claimed the lives of 990 people.

“By devoting their full attention to the road, motorists can reduce their risk of getting into a crash,” Lt. Matthew B. Meredith, Fremont Post commander, said. “We need all motorists to practice safe driving habits to make the roadways safe all across Ohio.”

Remember, the fatal crash you avoid may be your own.

Online: http://bit.ly/1q6Hq8G

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