Last week: Diana Nyad. Cuba. 110 miles. Young-at-heart, no matter the age of a body. This story was so much more than just the endurance of an inspiring figure, and overcoming fear, past failure and ignoring those would have said it could never be done … by someone 64 years old. Swimming from Cuba has an international flavor wrapped in geo-political dynamics and history. Never give up, says Nyad. So say those struggling for democracy.
Looking ahead: Beyond the atrocity of chemical weapons used in Syria and the international debate as to an appropriate response, another exposure has received less attention, but the need for an international response is growing. After 30 months, the cleanup efforts at the Fukushima nuclear power plant have reportedly fallen far short of intended goals. More concerning, it appears the cleanup has been so badly bungled the disaster is spreading and getting worse. Now, the Japanese government has taken the process away from the plant operator. International neighbors are worried and should be.
Last week: The arrest of the mayors of two cities in Miami-Dade County on corruption charges is a sobering reminder of the importance of ethics and integrity in public service at every level from the White House to the state house to city hall. While these latest events involve our neighbors to the south, every time an incident of public corruption surfaces — no matter where it happens — it undermines the people’s faith in their government.
Looking ahead: The Broward County Commission returns from summer recess to resume regular meetings. In the coming weeks, commissioners will work on finalizing the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1. The next budget workshop will be held Aug. 20, and members of the public can share their comments about the budget with commissioners at public hearings on Sept. 10 and 24. For more information about the budget meeting schedule, visit http://www.broward.org/Commission/Pages/Schedule.aspx or call (954) 357-7007.
Last week: Education can change the world. Last year, Taliban boarded a school bus in Pakistan and attempted to execute Malala Yousafzai, age 15, for the crime of demanding education. Last week, the United Nations re-introduced Malala to the world and her passion regarding the revolutionary idea of free and compulsory education for girls worldwide. Her speech was truly captivating. CNN’s recent documentary “Girl Rising” also highlighted the struggle for equality and education for young girls worldwide. Both Malala’s speech and “Girl Rising” should be played in schools and homes worldwide to help fight against the infectious disease of intolerance and inequality.
Looking ahead: The aftermath of the Zimmerman trial continues. Pictures are being spread worldwide of “rioting” and protests, some images meant to further inflame passions on both sides. Jurors are being interviewed fueling differing opinions. Renewed efforts to repeal “stand your ground” laws are now spreading across the United States. New calls to change old laws of “self-defense” are being heard. Now, the civil justice system will take over different aspects. Along the way, many are monitoring for the next example of perceived or real inequality in our criminal justice system, or to counter to calls for changes.
Last week: I caught a story in an international magazine using post-storm images of Fort Lauderdale beaches to discuss global concerns over rising sea levels and the potential impacts. Also, images of present day Manhattan superimposed over an outline of Manhattan in 1609 before land reclamation projects match up with the scope of Hurricane Sandy flood water intrusion. Whether caused by global warming tied to man-made problems, development strategies or natural cyclical changes, there is no denying greater economic damage from storms, salt water intrusion, and eroding beaches. Local impacts are a global issue, and we must drive the discussion of strategies.
Looking ahead: As we await the outcome of the Zimmerman trial, many are talking about what does justice in modern day America mean. Is it a public trial with the ability to watch and examine the evidence presented to the jury? Is justice based our knowledge of facts not presented to the jury? Is it our suspicions of what happened as compared to a result? Is it a particular outcome? Does it depend on if the “defendant” or the “decedent” was your son? Thankfully, we have the right to ask these questions and watch the evidence presented ourselves.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun