Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Nov. 6
Last Tuesday’s rebuke of Issue 3 across Ohio put the issue of a marijuana monopoly in its place. But the burning question of whether weed should be legalized, at least in some form, was never answered.
That likely means more ballot issues. But to have a full debate on this important topic, the Ohio legislature needs to act and, for a start, hold hearings on medical marijuana and whether it should be legalized in Ohio …
The legislature must now provide what Issue 3 didn’t: a comprehensive examination of all the factors that should be considered before legalizing marijuana, including all the health concerns — good and bad — from any legalization measure, and extending to the added exposure to children, and the effect on the crime …
It may be that the answer lies not with the state but with the federal government, which could take steps to provide medical marijuana in uniform fashion across the country through prescriptions written by doctors.
The Ohio legislature must hold hearings and conduct a robust debate to lessen the future likelihood that those with a special interest in promoting weed may make another less-than-palatable appeal directly to the voters.
The Columbus Dispatch, Nov. 9
Changes to federal welfare rules made in the 1990s under President Bill Clinton were an important step to discourage generational dependence and to get people back to work. But “one size fits all” government programs are not the best policy in all cases.
A new plan from the administration of Gov. John Kasich seeks flexibility within the federal work requirements to receive cash welfare assistance, while keeping the overall welfare-to-work framework in place. With very limited exceptions, adults receiving cash assistance (available for up to 36 months) currently must work at least 30 hours per week or participate in training or another activity designed to lead to employment. If a state fails to meet these requirements, it risks losing federal funding for welfare …
The new rules also would remove the 16-hour monthly cap for “good cause” exemptions, though an 80-hour annual limit would remain in place. These exemptions include a parent who needs to care for a sick child or other emergencies. Having to take time off to deal with an urgent family matter can easily derail a poor person’s drive to get ahead …
If this plan works, Ohio could become a leader among states in showing that government can be nimble in addressing problems of poverty and unemployment. Every day, there are jobs going unfilled because Ohioans lack the skills employers need, and Ohioans are hamstrung in their efforts to become self-sufficient by rules that are too rigid.
These are common-sense tweaks that could produce good results.
The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register, Nov. 6
Alarmism over climate change serves no one. While many scientists agree the earth is warming, how much and how fast that will continue to occur is uncertain. So is the cause of the phenomenon.
None of that has stopped the anti-fossil fuels crowd — including some in the news media — from coming up with alarmist reports meant to scare Americans into taking drastic action now to curb use of coal, natural gas and oil.
A recent Associated Press report noted many in Virginia disagree with us in West Virginia about climate change. The situation in Hampton Roads was cited. The AP stated “studies suggest (the ocean level there) could increase another 2 to 5 feet by the end of the century.”
But the government’s own data says something very different. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts sea level at Hampton Roads will increase by 1 to 2 feet during the next 100 years.
And a large part of the problem isn’t the rising sea level – but the sinking land at Hampton Roads. The area sits on a geologic formation that is subsiding at the rate of 7 inches per century.
By all means, let’s talk about climate change. But let’s start with the truth.
The (Toledo) Blade, Nov. 9
The Cassini spacecraft recently dipped into an icy, liquid geyser of a faraway world circling Saturn. The spacecraft, launched from Earth in 1997, has orbited the ringed planet since 2004 and made fly-bys of its moons. Cassini’s primary mission is to gather information about how the solar system was formed.
Once the craft approached Enceladus, a powder-white moon with turquoise stripes across a frozen surface, excitement at NASA mounted. Hundreds of geysers on Enceladus’ southern pole shoot waterlike liquid miles into the air. Cassini earlier detected salt crystals and organic molecules in the vapor above the moon’s surface.
Then NASA ordered the spacecraft to take a deep dive 30 miles above Enceladus’ surface into a plume, to see whether it could confirm the presence of molecular hydrogen and possibly complex organic molecules. Indications of molecular hydrogen would point to the possibility of hot vents on Enceladus’ ocean floor.
Ocean vents on Earth were the source of the energy and nutrients required for life to begin. Where there’s hydrothermal activity, scientists believe the possibility of life increases dramatically.
Months from now, when Cassini’s data are fully interpreted, NASA will determine whether the moon should be a priority for follow-up missions. Thanks to this probe, humans have a chance to learn whether any of the building blocks for life exist in Earth’s neighborhood.