Excerpts of recent editorials of statewide and national interest from Ohio newspapers:
The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, Oct. 27
Recent guilty pleas from five defendants in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court plus a new state law will likely close so-called Internet cafes in Ohio.
That is a very satisfactory outcome.
The court case resulted from bipartisan work by Democratic Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty and Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine....
Ohio's Internet cafes, which once totaled 700 to 800, claimed they weren't gambling enterprises. They also claimed that Ohio's four voter-authorized casinos, including Horseshoe Casino Cleveland, feared them as gambling competitors.
That's a "heads we win, tails you lose" argument if ever there was one.
The cafes insisted they did no harm and offered innocent entertainment. McGinty told The Plain Dealer earlier this month, though, that maximum jackpots at most cafes were $700 — and seldom won....
Voters have specifically authorized every legal form of gambling in Ohio, except for parimutuel betting (which legislators authorized). Voters never authorized Internet cafes.
Every legal form of gambling must earmark some revenue for public purposes — charities; government services; or (the Ohio Lottery) schools. Cafes had no such burden, though some greater Cleveland localities charged cafes licensing fees.
Any legal form of gambling in Ohio includes heavy oversight. Practically no oversight burdened Internet cafes. That's why they sprung up....
The (Findlay) Courier, Oct. 24
Schools are hypersensitive about most things involving guns, and rightfully so....
Fourteen years after Columbine, no one needs to be reminded how commonplace school shootings have become.
But when it comes to guns and gun rights, there seems to be little middle ground. Anyone or any group opposing guns is often considered un-American.
The Second Amendment has more support than ever. Gun and ammunition sales are leveling off, but still strong.
But the issue before the Arlington school board seems more about keeping students safe than censorship or about denying anyone's right to lawfully own a firearm.
A challenge has been raised against a new school policy that prohibits students from bringing gun catalogs to school. (Guns, of course, are already banned.)
The addition to the student handbook came in response to an incident in which a student brought a catalog to school that offered weapons for sale. At the time, the student wasn't disciplined, but the parents were notified.
Possessing a weapons catalog at school can lead to Saturday school punishment or out-of-school suspension. It's in the same category as skipping school, possessing pornography or school vandalism....
The school board appears sensitive to both sides, and said it will consider reworking the policy to put gun catalogs in the same category as those involving alcohol and tobacco catalogs. It may also make possession of gun catalogs a less-serious violation....
The school board may have overreacted to an isolated incident, but, in the case of weapons and schools, it's better to err on the side of safety....
Warren Tribune Chronicle, Oct. 28
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine was right to delay enforcing a law that will be detrimental to some military veterans and charities they support. DeWine had hoped the General Assembly would allow veterans' groups and fraternal organizations to have an exemption from the statute.
Apparently, however, no one took DeWine seriously when he said that eventually, he would have to enforce the law. He is Ohio's chief law enforcement officer, after all.
At issue are state laws banning most gambling, except for that done under government auspices at casinos, racetracks and through the state lottery. Electronic raffle machines fall squarely under the prohibition.
But at least 670 of the machines are in use throughout the state. Many are operated by veterans' and fraternal organizations.
Most of the proceeds appear to go to worthy causes. Some veterans' organizations may need money from the machines merely to stay afloat. And during the past two years, the veterans' groups have donated $5.4 million in raffle machine proceeds to various charities.
Still, the machines are illegal. So, earlier this year, DeWine's office sent out letters informing organizations with the machines that they had to be removed by Aug. 1....
Legislators should consider allowing the electronic raffle machines, with tight limits intended to benefit only legitimate veterans' and fraternal organizations. But if leading lawmakers do not signal immediately that the matter is being taken up, DeWine should proceed with enforcement.
The (Toledo) Blade, Oct. 28
America's rocky relations with Pakistan were the focus of a meeting at the White House last week between Pakistan's newly elected prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and President Obama.
Pakistan has nuclear weapons and technology, which it sometimes exports, and a perpetually volatile internal situation. It endures separatist-oriented activity in some regions.
Mr. Sharif's government has made a successful post-election transition from a civilian administration. More commonly, Pakistan has changed governments through military coups d'etat.
The United States values Pakistan's close relationship with China as a channel to that country. But Pakistan's handling of nuclear technology hampers U.S. pursuit of nonproliferation to states such as Iran and North Korea. Pakistan has not signed the global nonproliferation treaty.
The withdrawal of U.S. forces and equipment from Afghanistan, scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014, would occur most efficiently through Pakistan. The Pakistanis see the process, in part, as a money-maker and a pressure point....
The most painful aspect of U.S.-Pakistan relations is America's use of drones to kill Taliban and other purported enemies on Pakistani territory....
The United States released another $1.5 billion in aid to Pakistan before Mr. Sharif's visit. Pakistan will remain a difficult if needed partner as long as America seeks influence in the region.
Current U.S. policy is necessary and correct. But it will require review in 2015, after the Afghanistan exit is completed.