Author Archive

Jeb Bush on global warming–conservative thought or lack of thought?

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About two weeks ago, former Gov. Jeb Bush joined the ranks of those who argue about established science. Commenting on man’s impact on climate change, he had this to say: “I don’t think the science is clear of what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It’s convoluted. For the people to say the science is decided on this is really arrogant, to be honest with you. It’s this intellectual arrogance that now you can’t have a conversation ...

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Three Italian brothers who went to war

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Today, I’m posting a piece I wrote for Veterans’ Day in 2006. Because the piece touched a lot of people, I thought it worth publishing it again. Here it is.

They were three Italian brothers. With World War II in play, they were expected to serve their country, but the country they would serve was not the country whose language they learned at birth. Sons of Italian immigrants who settled in Ohio, they were Americans.

The brothers came from humble stock. At ...

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Liberal gun laws and unnecessary deaths

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The level of emotion and absence of common sense concerning gun rights reached new heights a few weeks back at the Ohio Statehouse. On May 6, when asked what limits should be imposed on the right to carry a concealed weapon, Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, answered, “I’d defend my home with an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) any day of the week if I could, but I’m not allowed.” Rep. John Becker, R-Cincinnati, said that guns are a God-given right. He ...

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Sen. Ted Cruz panders on religious freedom

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The 2016 presidential campaign is in its infancy, and already I’m fatigued by the crazy talk I hear. Case in point: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who spoke the week before last at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition summit in Iowa about the First Amendment and religious freedom. Here’s what Cruz had to say: “Today’s Democratic Party has decided there is no room for Christians in today’s Democratic Party. … There is a liberal fascism that is going after Christian believers.” ...

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Religious freedom or intolerance? I got it wrong

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A month ago, I criticized Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act for permitting discrimination against gays. I saw the law as promoting intolerance. After much thought, I think my take on the issue was wrong.

My analysis of the law and how it affects basic concepts like justice and fairness were influenced by my own bias. When I see people proclaiming to be acting on religious principles, I recoil. Almost immediately, I find fault with what they say. (Repeated disclosure: ...

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Death row and wrongful convictions

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For most of us, Death Row is something far away, but not so last week. I got to see something extraordinary. Six men presented their stories at the Ohio Statehouse about how they had been wrongfully incarcerated and had spent time on Ohio’s Death Row. Ricky Jackson, Kwanme Ajamu, Wiley Bridgeman, Joe D’Ambrosio, Derrick Jamison and Dale Johnston spent a combined 173 years behind bars before their convictions were overturned.

These gentlemen were at the Statehouse as part of a lobbying ...

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No gets us nowhere

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I’m starting to take stock of how often we hear the word “no” from legislators. Besides being used too frequently, “no” is seldom followed by an effort to find a better alternative. No gets us nowhere.

Congress has said no to raising the minimum wage. Congress is saying no to keeping Medicaid reimbursements at $70 per office visit, opting to let the rate fall back to $40, surely a disincentive to treating the 59 million people enrolled in Medicaid. ...

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Human trafficking: overseas and in Ohio

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Two weeks ago, the Associated Press carried a story about human trafficking in the fishing industry. Hundreds of men from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, were transported to and confined at the remote Indonesian Island of Benjina and forced to work as slaves. AP journalists interviewed 40 current and former slaves who reported being forced to work 20 to 22 hours a day, not having adequate food or clean drinking water, and being beaten and tortured.

Just last Friday, the AP ...

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Religious freedom or intolerance? Which is it, Hoosiers?

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Unless you live in a cave, by now you know that Indiana passed a law last week that allows businesses to discriminate against gays. The sound bites from the news are that bakeries won’t be obligated to sell wedding cakes, and florists won’t have to sell flowers to gay couples getting married.

Former NBA great Charles Barkley, Angie’s List, the NCAA and others have criticized the law for promoting discrimination, but Indiana Gov. Mike Pence stated Sunday there was much “misinformation ...

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Fraternity racist chants–what about contrition?

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The story a few weeks back about the bigotry displayed by two members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma gave rise to different viewpoints about how the situation should have been handled. Here are two that stand out.  Both miss the mark.

One reader of the Columbus Dispatch thought the fraternity members’ words should be protected by the First Amendment. As the argument goes, if we allow the Ku Klux Klan to protest on public venues, ...

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