Hey, they've finally discovered what makes kids in the U.S. go bad: song lyrics. Or so say the sponsors of a Senate bill, the Media Marketing Accountability Act. Music critic William Friar reveals in a recent Vindicator column that the bill would make it a crime to advertise OutKast, say, or Blink-182 on TV when an innocent under-18 might watch.
You see, it's not the '96 Welfare "Reform" Act which messes up our young people, even though it guarantees that one in four children will continue to be born into poverty in the world's richest nation. No, it's those evil song lyrics.
And, of course, it's not our failure to provide national health care for children that harms them, although we're the only industrial nation of such cheapskates left in the world. No, it's them there songs, buddy. Nasty words. Ruin their mental health and whatnot.
And it's not our laughable sex education. ("Sex begins at marriage. That's it. Next class.") Although we've managed to generate (pun) the highest teen-age pregnancy rate of all Western advanced nations; 10 times that of the Netherlands, e.g., where they don't believe young people should be kept in ignorance. Suggestive songs make babies, we're to believe.
And of course, it's not because we've cut back murderously on prenatal care (WIC), day care, Head Start -- all the proven programs for children that we can give tax cuts to the greedheads. No, it's ... well, you know.
Ban songs. Ban words. That's it. And all will be well with the kiddies. Uh huh.
Ohio should join mutual emergency aid compact
All states face a common enemy -- the constant threat of disaster. The disaster may come quickly in the form of an earthquake or tornado, or it may build slowly like a spreading wildfire or surging Ohio River flood. The task facing the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and our close partners in each Ohio county is to be prepared.
Last week, state Rep. Ken Carano of Austintown, along with 13 of his colleagues in the Ohio House, took a step to do that by introducing legislation to have Ohio join more than 30 other states and sign the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.
When this bill is passed, our state will have another tool to use the next time disaster strikes. Signing the compact allows signatory states to assist each other with personnel, equipment and expertise during an emergency. Signatory states are not obligated to provide assistance, and if Ohio does provide assistance we are guaranteed reimbursement for all eligible assistance provided.
Joining EMAC, as Rep. Carano and his colleagues recognize, will fill a gap for Ohio. Most states are capable of managing emergencies within their own borders, although sometimes emergency events in Ohio are of such scale or scope that they qualify for a presidential declaration of emergency. That unleashes the considerable resources of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
However, not all disasters are eligible for federal disaster assistance. During such events, and if Ohio joins the compact, we could call upon other states that have pledged mutual assistance. And of course, Ohio would stand ready to reciprocate when disaster strikes nearby.
State membership in the compact is endorsed by FEMA, the Midwestern, Governors' Conference, the National Governors' Association, the National Guard Bureau among other state government associations.
I hope the Ohio General Assembly agrees with the foresight shown by Rep. Carano to add the Buckeye State's name to the list of states willing to lend each other a hand.
X The writer is executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.