Angelou left her legacy
America lost one of its ambassadors for social justice with the death of Maya Angelou, someone the Lima region was fortunate enough to see up close on three occasions.
Angelou, 86, was a warrior for peace, equality and tolerance who walked the streets of the common person and rubbed elbows with world leaders.
Lima saw the poet and author at her best in 1997 when she spoke at its community-wide Diversity Day celebration. “People are more alike than they are different,” she reminded the large crowd at Veterans Memorial Civic Center that day. “All people want safe streets. Everybody wants to find somebody to love and to have the unmitigated gall to accept love in return.”
Life threw its best punches at Angelou, but never knocked her down….
She would eventually tell her story through one of the most widely read memoirs of the past few decades, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”
That opened doors for her, and she never let them close….
Angelou grew as the world grew. The tools of her message started with poetry and books, then went on to television and later to Twitter, Facebook and a weekly SiriusXM satellite radio show.
“I’ve seen many things, I’ve learned many things,” Angelou told The Associated Press in 2013. “I’ve certainly been exposed to many things and I’ve learned something: I owe it to you to tell you.”
That she did. And today, we are richer because of it.
The Lima News
USA Freedom Act a good move
Ever since the devastating 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, maintaining a proper balance between personal privacy and national security often has required the dexterity, tenacity and agility of a skillful high-wire artist.
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the United States too often tiptoed too far on the side of overzealous contraction of personal-privacy rights as a gut-level response to the colossal carnage in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania wrought by evil terrorists. The troubling movement toward repression surfaced most visibly in the original version of the USA Patriot Act of 2001…. The act later was revised to eliminate wholesale warrantless searches of information on virtually any and all Americans.
But as documents released by former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden revealed last year, the hijacking of our civil liberties has continued, albeit surreptitiously and sleazily by functionaries at NSA….
In an effort to rein in such excesses, the U.S. House of Representatives drafted, debated and last month passed the USA Freedom Act on a strong bipartisan 303-121 vote. The bill contains several promising and praiseworthy protections of civil liberties …
To be sure, the balancing act in preserving Americans’ constitutional freedoms in the face of clear and present dangers from global terrorist groups requires that our government have effective tools to monitor threats. It does not, however, require excessively elevated and tightened clamps that could send our most-treasured First Amendment protections tumbling toward oblivion.
The Youngstown Vindicator
President can do better
President Obama’s foreign-policy address last week at West Point must be read for its timing as well as its content.
Mr. Obama still has 2½ years until he leaves the White House. Despite the consistent recalcitrance he encounters in Congress, and whatever the outcome of this year’s congressional elections, he can use his executive authority with no more elections of his own to face.
The West Point speech showed less vigor and originality than might have been expected from a president who campaigned on “change you can believe in.” The United States remains the exceptional, necessary leader in world affairs, whether it wants to be or not.
Mr. Obama suggested that America also can work to lead the world through collective relationships with institutions such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, through cooperation with Asian and other Pacific nations, and through the United Nations and other international organizations. That has not worked awfully well in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya….
President Obama’s attempt to set out his foreign policy for the rest of his term is useful. But his speech was not something that would work on a banner — or a bumper sticker — as a rallying cry for the United States to going forward in the world. Perhaps the worst part is that Americans know Mr. Obama can do better.
The Toledo Blade
Bills will give better access
Ohioans already have a way to find out what state, county, municipal and township governments are up to. But making public records requests can be tedious, especially if one is seeking documentation from multiple government agencies.
It shouldn’t be difficult to track how tax money is being spent, not when such information can easily be transferred electronically and placed on the Internet where anyone can access it.
While many states, including Indiana, already offer financial data online, Ohio is lagging far behind most states when it comes to accessibility.
Five bills which have been introduced in the Legislature could help the state catch up.
House Bill 175 would create a state government expenditure database that would allow residents to track how Ohio spends taxpayer money, and would include state and school district employee salaries….
Meanwhile, House Bills 321, 322, 323 and 324 would establish dataohio.gov, which would increase the state’s public records transparency by encouraging state and local governments to put records online in formats that are easy to use…
But, despite numerous committee hearings, bipartisan support and backing from numerous organizations, including the Ohio Newspaper Association, the five bills could die on the vine this year.
Lawmakers must not allow that to happen and should move the proposals through the House before summer recess. That would allow the Senate to consider them when it reconvenes.
Once the bills pass, any taxpayer with access to a computer would be able to better monitor the spending habits of government and look for signs of waste or abuse.
The Findlay Courier