- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

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

The (Ashtabula) Star-Beacon, Dec. 1

Flag burning is disrespectful to all who have served America proudly and shows an utter lack of perspective that takes for granted how blessed United States citizens are in comparison to the rest of the world.

Flag burning is due absolute legal protection and is a right to which every American is entitled…

The national conversation on flag burning heated up Tuesday after President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that anyone who burns an American flag should face “consequences,” such as jail or a loss of citizenship…

We have previously expressed concerns that Trump, based on comments made during the campaign, would seek to curtail the First Amendment as much as possible…

The Supreme Court ruled in 1989 … that flag-burning is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. It should also be noted, the Constitution forbids the government from removing the citizenship of a natural-born American.

Freedom of speech is only truly free if its protection extends to speech most would object to… Those who choose to protest in a way most Americans find unpalatable will face consequences, be it socially or economically. Yet legally, they are, and should remain, free of punishment.

… If we truly embrace all the flag stands for, we must recognize the right to disrespect that flag … is also part of what makes America a bastion of freedom across the globe…

Online:

https://bit.ly/2h6igor

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The (Toledo) Blade, Dec. 5

As often happens in tragic circumstances, stories of heroism and compassion inevitably surface, and that was the case following the horrific attack on the Ohio State University campus Nov. 28.

The best news was that there were no deaths, other than that of Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an OSU student and Somalia native who drove his car into pedestrians outside of Watts Hall, then stepped from his car and began slashing others with a butcher knife.

Although 11 people were injured, there likely would have been fatalities had it not been for the quick response from Officer Alan Horujko, who shot and killed Artan after he refused to put down his knife…

… Among the first offering best wishes was the University of Michigan athletic department, which tweeted out “Stay safe, Buckeyes.” When OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith tweeted his thanks, UM responded: “This is much bigger than a rivalry. #BuckeyeStrong.” A number of Michigan football players offered tweets of support.

The attack came as students were returning to class after Thanksgiving break and just two days after second-ranked Ohio State beat third-ranked Michigan 30-27 in one of college football’s fiercest rivalries…

Those stories all revolve around a game, but when real life intervened, the UM administration and athletes showed class and compassion.

Online:

https://bit.ly/2gHmeH2

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The Columbus Dispatch, Dec. 5

…The death of Fidel Castro offers a historic opportunity to reset one of the most blighted international relationships of modern times. Unfortunately, instead of capitalizing on the moment, President-elect Donald Trump opted to stick with the stale status quo, threatening to undo the recent thawing of relations and reimposing the same harsh sanctions on Cuba that have failed for half a century…

The Soviet Union, and the vital economic support it provided to Cuba vanished more than two decades ago. Now with Fidel Castro gone, there is no need to perpetuate hostility. Trump should cool his own rhetoric and consider the opportunity that Castro’s death presents…

While Congress has remained intransigently committed to the Cuban embargo, since 2009, President Barack Obama has initiated a series of executive actions that have improved relations between the two countries. Trade and travel restrictions have been relaxed… Cuba was removed from the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist nations. The two countries agreed to normalize diplomatic contacts by opening embassies with each other…

Trump and Congress could now capitalize on this pivotal movement by lifting the embargo…

…Engaging Cuba with trade and travel, exposing Cubans to American prosperity and American liberty, would be powerful forces for change. The bankrupt socialist slogans of a dead dictator won’t be able to stand against them.

Online:

https://bit.ly/2gYdZ7z

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The Marietta Times, Dec. 1

Ten years after a public smoking ban was approved in Ohio, it can be hard to remember what it was like to go into a bar or restaurant and have the air filled with cigarette smoke.

We think that’s a good thing.

A decade ago, our state took the initiative to pass a measure unpopular with many for the good of public health and we’re grateful they did.

It seems that most, though not all, business owners and customers have now adjusted to the change and many agree that it’s for the best.

We can all feel more comfortable going in to get a bite to eat and not breathing smoky air and we can certainly feel better about bringing our children to those places.

We do think there is a still a bit of work to do.

Some local establishments are still not following the rules, even 10 years in, according to data from the Ohio Department of Health. We hope they start to do so and if not, that employees or members of the public report violations. The law only works if it can be properly enforced…

Overall, we think this massive cultural change has been a positive move in Ohio and we hope for even fewer violations in the years to come.

Online:

https://bit.ly/2h6xj1j


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