- Associated Press - Monday, March 21, 2016

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

The Akron Beacon Journal, March 18

The Ohio Supreme Court exposed the death penalty for what it has become - a troubled mechanism unable to deliver what it promises. The state currently has put on hold executions until next year. It has yet to find a way to obtain the drugs necessary for lethal injections.

The justices took up the case of Romell Broom, convicted three decades ago for the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl. The state botched his execution in September 2009. Those conducting the lethal injection tried repeatedly to insert the IV, but they failed - jabbing, poking and pricking, causing bruising and tissue damage.

After two hours of starts and stops, the state canceled the execution. It wants to try again. Broom argues that would violate the constitutional right against double jeopardy. On Wednesday, a 4-3 majority sided with the state. The justices argued that the punishment doesn’t begin until the lethal drugs flow into the body. The execution team did not get that far. So the state won a second chance…

All of this isn’t about somehow proving generous to a killer. Romell Broom deserves harsh punishment, and life in prison without parole fits the description. Rather, the point is whether Ohio conducts the death penalty according to high standards, or what is expected in maintaining a far distance from the brutality of the crime.




The (Ashtabula) Star-Beacon, March 19

For many investigative journalists and documentary filmmakers, days like Thursday are the reason they do the hard work and put in the time and effort.

Years of public pressure - much of it since 2013 resulting from the highly damning and critically praised documentary “Blackfish” - finally came to a head with SeaWorld announcing Thursday that it will no longer breed killer whales in captivity and will stop making them perform tricks.

SeaWorld’s 29 killer whales will remain in captivity, and their ages range from 1 to 51, so the end of orca whales at SeaWorld is still along way off, but it is understandable that reintroducing those animals to the wild now would be difficult to impossible. SeaWorld says it has never been done successfully…

While protests have gone on for decades, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s film brought home to many the tragedy of the situation and the horrible, tiny living conditions for the majestic animals - not to mention the dangers for the trainers who worked with the orcas. While Cowperthwaite is not a journalist and her film had a clear point of view, it is a reminder of the power of the media and what can happen when people push beyond the “official” story in search of a deeper understanding.




The (Canton) Repository, March 18

States like Ohio have been on the front lines in the fight against heroin and opiate addiction.

That must change.

The Fed Up! Coalition, a collaborative formed in 2012 to urge lawmakers to take action on this epidemic, is among the critics of the federal government’s response, which it calls “slow and tragically ineffective.” The numbers support that claim: Opioid abuse, including from heroin, killed a record 28,674 people, including 2,482 Ohioans, in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Long-awaited prescribing guidelines by the CDC, as well as movement on important bills sponsored by Ohio Sens. Rob Portman, a Republican, and Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, offer new hope to the millions of people held captive by one of the worst drug problems to sweep across the United States in decades…

The new guidelines urge doctors to prescribe medications like aspirin and ibuprofen first or resort to other alternatives. Opioids should only be given in small doses and for short periods of time, preferably only three days. As The New York Times notes, the CDC has lagged many states, including Ohio, in setting guidelines for doctors…

This indiscriminate and devastating epidemic demands a federal solution. Lawmakers from both chambers should act quickly and decisively on these bills.




The (Lorain) Morning Journal, March 20

It seems like only yesterday - and in diplomatic terms it was - that the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress were assuring us the nuclear deal with Iran was something to celebrate, as one might laud the winning of a Nobel Peace Prize.

More sober thinkers, fearing Tehran would never comply with the agreement, envisioned Iran gaining access to $100 billion in frozen assets and using it to underwrite terrorism. When Iran’s radical leaders believe they get their marching orders directly from Allah, there is no way they would violate those instructions, which include the eradication of Israel and the defeat of the “Great Satan,” which would be America.

Last week, as part of a military exercise, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard launched several medium- and short-range missiles capable of reaching Israel…

In another exercise in denial, an Obama administration spokesman claimed to be unaware of any missile launch. He should turn on his TV because the networks have carried video that purports to show them. The spokesman would only say, “It’s important that Iran live up to its obligations under the (nuclear) deal.” That’s not about to strike fear into the Mullahs…




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