Editorial roundup

The (Findlay) Courier, Nov. 21

Even with a grain of salt, a recent report from the Center for Public Integrity casts a shadow on Ohio.

The report, issued earlier this month, looked at 13 categories of laws and practices common to each state. It concluded that state governments, as a whole, are “plagued by conflicts of interests and cozy relationships between lawmakers and lobbyists, while open-records and ethics laws are often toothless and laced with exemptions.”

Some states do better than others when it comes to playing by the rules.

Ohio managed to come out near the top, at sixth, but a closer look suggests the state is doing more wrong than right on the integrity scale.

The state received an overall grade of D-plus, and, perhaps most troubling to government watchdogs, got an F for overall access to public information.

That reinforces something that many have known for years, that providing ready access to public records and complying with public meetings laws are low priorities for too many government offices…

Ohioans deserve more than lip service from politicians who talk transparency when they campaign, but do little to improve it once elected. Lawmakers must stop making more public records off limits and creating loopholes that allow officials to conduct public business in the dark…




The Lima News, Nov. 21

If you are old enough to remember when the Republican Party bragged of having a “big tent,” with room for many people with diverse views, you are getting plenty old indeed.

There used to be several brands of conservatism. There were fiscal conservatives and social conservatives and conservatives who focused primarily on national security. Though there still are, at least nominally, many don’t want it to be so.

Imagine someone who is generally conservative in his views who just happens also to support abortion rights. Could he find a home in today’s Republican Party? Good luck…

To listen to much that passes for discourse today, one would believe that what it means to be a conservative can be boiled down to a few simple statements: Cut taxes. Shrink the federal government. Oppose Obama and anything he stands for.

Oh, and never, ever deign to work with the opposition party.

Down that road lies a whole lot of nothing.

When Ronald Reagan was president, he beefed up our nation’s military, boosting troops and weapons and programs and research and development. During his two terms, military spending increased by a stunning 43 percent.

Would today’s so-called conservatives brand him a spendthrift liberal?

A thriving political movement needs to stand for something. It needs a broad vision and leaders who are able to articulate a series of goals and how best to attain them. Simply wanting to cut, to reduce, to oppose, to repeal – that isn’t a governing philosophy. It’s a never-ending fit of pique.




Cleveland.com, Nov. 20

In 2010, President Barack Obama ended the military’s so-called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, allowing gays in the armed services to serve their country openly.

The next year, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued directives on how to care for transgender patients in VA hospitals.

In July, the Pentagon announced that its long-standing ban on transgender personnel serving in the military would be rescinded in 2016. About 15,000 transgender personnel are believed to be on active duty.

And this month, the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center opened a dedicated transgender clinic that represents an increased focus and promotion of such services within the VA hospital system.

Dr. Megan McNamara, who heads the transgender clinic at the VA hospital in Cleveland, told Plain Dealer reporter Brian Albrecht that 20 transgender veterans have enrolled. The clinic will operate for a half day once a month, providing such treatments as hormone therapy in a setting that is safe and secure.

The VA, and its Cleveland hospital in particular, should be applauded for providing enlightened care to transgender veterans.

The LGBT personnel who serve in our armed services deserve to be treated with dignity and understanding, and that includes taking care of their special health care concerns once they are honorably discharged from the military.