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Saturday, October 25, 2014

I really hate spiders

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

While I know that spiders are valuable to the ecosystem, my arachnophobia still forces me to say "the only good spider is a dead spider." I cannot imagine coming across one of these monster spiders. Smashing it wouldn't be good enough. I would want to obliterate it with a Daisy Cutter to make sure it is really dead.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Cord cutters and subscription services

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

HBO's announcement that they would be offering a stand-alone subscription service demonstrates how so-called "cord cutters" (people without a traditional subscription to a cable or satellite service) are shaping the entertainment medium. Will this change how cable and satellite TV companies do business? If they do not, will they be left behind?

Some cable subscribers have complained for years that they have to buy the entire cable package for only a few channels they actually watch. If the cable company that serves your area (and there is often only one) does not carry a channel you really want, you either have to do without or look into satellite. Both customers and pundits have argued for a la carte services - allowing consumers to pick and choose which channels we want - for years.

I have heard the arguments against this many times - big channels subsidize small channels, which could not survive unless they were bundled into a package deal. But why should consumers be told that in order to get the channels they want, they have to pay for channels they do not? Why not expand the market to people who do not subscribe to cable or satellite at all, but would do so if they could just pay for what they want?

Twenty or thirty years ago, this was a fruitless discussion, but the advent of ubiquitous broadband internet is changing the market. People can watch their TV shows on Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus or Netflix. A subscription to all three is less than $30 a month, compared to $50 - $100 for a common cable TV package. All three have smartphone and tablet apps that allow subscribers to watch anywhere, whenever they want. Many of the networks' websites have their popular shows up the next day.

Millennials and younger are more likely to be "cord cutters," and that population will likely expand as tech-savvy generations establish their own households and subscription services expand. Will cable and satellite TV providers be forced to offer a la carte service to keep from losing too many customers? We will see.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The county council's shameful handout to Planned Parenthood

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

If Planned Parenthood genuinely "needs" the $4,500 they got from Monroe County government last week, why can't they ask the national PP office to give them a little bit of the $11,700,000 budget surplus it reported in its most recent fiscal report? That way, the local abortion "clinic" can get the money it "needs" while the Monroe County Council can distribute that $4,500 to one of the organizations denied funding - a total of $75,000 in funds that were denied.

But see, this is not and has never been about funding a need. This is PP seeking a political endorsement from county government. Planned Parenthood already gets funded by the Bloomington City Council every June, but fleecing city taxpayers every summer is not enough. They need to fleece county taxpayers too, while truly local organizations that could actually use funding are left out in the cold. The idea that PP's request was more worthy than any of the organizations that were denied is laughable - unless your goal is to make a pro-abortion political statement.

This is shameful.

Even worse, both the city and county social services funds are designed to help charitable organizations get funding for a one-time expense such as a refrigeration unit or a delivery truck. But Planned Parenthood is not acting under that pretense any more. PP wants (and gets) money to subsidize its operating budget, and they got that money from both the city and county councils this year. They will be back to fleece the taxpayers at both the city and county levels again next year, and will continue to come back until our elected leaders say "no."

As usual, I spoke at the meeting opposing the grant. My speech started off poorly - I knew what I was going to say and I had notes but I stumbled over my words. I said I was in the fourth city council district, but I meant to say I was in the fourth county council district. (You can listen to my remarks on YouTube.)

Fortunately, corporate welfare for the local abortion "clinic" did not pass unanimously, as the two Republicans on the county council voted against it. That is a better outcome than we have gotten from the city council the last two years.

I like the fact that the council votes individually on each grant application, rather than taking one vote on the whole package. This way, if there is disagreement on specific grants, councilors can vote "no" on one grant while supporting most of the others. This also prevents dishonest hacks like 2007 city council candidate Jillian Kinzie from falsely characterizing a councilor's opposition to one grant as opposition to all grants.

But the county social services funding process needs to be more open. With the city, the process is predictable. The dates are all set months in advance and the vote always takes place in June. The applications are all posted to the city website, so voters can download and read them. County government could take lessons from the city. None of the applications were on the county website, and the date of the final vote was not posted either. It was on the council's agenda, but unless you check every month's agenda (or call and ask, as I did) you will not know.

I suspect this is because the county council wants to blunt public opposition. They demonstrated this a couple years ago, when they voted on the Planned Parenthood funding two days after Christmas and the day after a blizzard snarled Bloomington. What are they afraid of? Are they really this upset that the people who pay for their salary and health care benefits will disagree with them using county tax money to make a pro-abortion political statement?

Voters need to demand that the process be open, with all of the relevant details on the social service funding committee website, like it is with city government. Nothing less than full and complete transparency should be accepted.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Democrats scrape the bottom of the barrel

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:30 PM

Democratic turnout flyer: "If you want to prevent another Ferguson…"

Utterly disgusting.


Opposing corporate welfare for Planned Parenthood

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM


Monday, October 20, 2014

Using laptops in class, and common courtesy

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

I am pretty sure that whoever wrote this staff editorial for the Indiana Daily Student was being sarcastic with the claim that banning laptops in classrooms could have "potentially catastrophic consequences," but the issue of allowing students to use laptops in class is not as clear-cut as the IDS editorial would suggest.

First, there is evidence that laptops not only hinder learning for the students who are using them, but also interfere with the students around the laptop user. This makes sense - browsing Facebook on a computer screen is going to be more visible to surrounding students than doodling in a notebook or working on a crossword puzzle.

I do not think it is necessarily appropriate to ban laptops all together, but students should be expected to be adults. Expecting students to not check Facebook for fifty minutes is not too much to ask. I took a class for fun a few years ago, and the professor's laptop policy was simple: Students were allowed to use laptops but were expected to use them for class work. If they were caught on Facebook, they would be told to close their laptop. If the privilege was consistently abused, all laptops would be banned.

I am sure that for some students, laptops can be useful. But that usefulness must be combined with respect for fellow students, as well as respect for the professor's authority. A little common courtesy goes a long way.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Some perspective on Ebola

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

It has been said that we are not equipped to deal with Ebola here in these United States.

Yes, the outbreak is out of control is West Africa. It will probably get worse.

There are a lot of reasons why the outbreak is so bad in West Africa.

  • West Africa does not have experience dealing with Ebola or how to combat it.
  • Cultural burial practices have helped spread the disease
  • The governments of the countries affected are corrupt
  • In some cases aid sent to the "hot zone" is not getting in
  • The people in the "hot zone" do not trust their governments (and rightly so)
  • In some cases, the people do not trust aid workers either, accusing them of actually bringing Ebola the "hot zone." Aid workers are being attacked by a distrustful population.

But there have been multiple outbreaks in East Africa that have been controlled, and eventually eliminated.

If they can control and eliminate outbreaks in East Africa, what makes you think it would not be controllable in these United States of America?


Friday, October 17, 2014

Malala Yousafzai wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 12:30 PM

When Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize for her work advocating for the education of women and girls, it was a great moment. It also serves to remind us of what our enemies are.

Miss Yousafzai almost never saw this day. It was two years ago that Muslim terrorists stormed the bus she was riding and shot her in the head at point blank range. Why did they do this? They wanted to silence her and they were angry about her blog advocating for educating women and girls.

Now think about this for a minute. These Muslim terrorists are such a bunch of spineless, pathetic wimps that they were literally terrified of a fifteen year old girl and they needed to violently silence her with a bullet to the head. The threat they needed to eliminate this day was not a Pakistani army unit or the American forces across the border in Afghanistan, but a scary, threatening and intimidating fifteen year old girl.

Oh. Wait. Malala Yousafzai was not going to shoot back. That explains it.

This is who Muslim terrorists are. People who are so pathetic that they are terrified of a fifteen year old girl, but people who are so barbaric that they will not hesitate to violently assassinate that teenage girl for the "crime" of having an opinion that differs from theirs. Muslim terrorists are mindless savages.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Reaping the whirlwind

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. -- 1 Corinthians 6:18

Much has been said about the "affirmative consent" law in California, whether it will be effective in preventing sexual assault and whether such a law is appropriate. What is not being talked about as much (but what needs to be addressed) is the rebellion that got us here in the first place.

The underlying problem is that sex, instead of being special, has been trampled under foot and is ordinary and commonplace. Instead of teaching young men that they are to respect and honor women, we have created a culture of sex on demand without consequences. Our culture gorges on a never-ending stream of pornography. The female body is "available" because the Sexual Revolution has made it so.

Is it any surprise, then, when men go too far? Is it a surprise when fraternities create lists of which women will be drugged with "roofies" so they are vulnerable? Sex is a fundamental human right, after all. Eliminating what used to be an ingrained cultural disapproval of fornication has largely vanished, replaced by an anything-goes mentality. The few remaining cultural restrictions on sexual behavior are being chipped away.

If we are serious about fighting rape culture, then we need to teach our young men to respect and honor women. We teach young men to show these women respect and honor by refraining from having sex with a woman until she is his wife. We teach young men to be sexually pure and that sex is a gift from God that is meant to be shared and enjoyed within the boundaries He has set for that activity.

This is not something we can do by having the state legislature pass a law, or having the state university run educational programs. This is something that must be done family by family, and church by church. This means it must come from the pulpit, from fathers and mothers, and from church youth groups and college ministries. We have spent generations creating this mess, but it can be cleaned up.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

We should not be celebrating suicide

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Matt Walsh raised some excellent points in his October 9 editorial about the impending suicide of a 29 year old woman with terminal cancer. The fact that this woman is being described as "brave" and that she is being publicly admired and praised for her decision to kill herself is deeply troubling.

It is easy to see this woman's perspective. She can die sooner on her own terms, without pain. Or she can hang on for a few more months and likely die after going through a great deal of pain and suffering. If the battle is indeed not winnable, it is easy to sympathize with her decision, regardless of whether you agree with assisted suicide or not.

However, this is not a decision that should be praised and admired. It is a tragedy, and her death should be mourned regardless of how she dies. As Walsh points out, if she is dying with "dignity," do people who fight cancer until the end not have dignity? If she is "brave," are the people who fight to prolong their lives to the bitter end not brave?

We should also be concerned at how this is corrupting the medical profession. Doctors are supposed to save lives and relieve suffering, not kill their patients. And given the amount of space devoted to discussing the exorbitant cost of end-of-life care, it is easy to see this evolving from a decision individuals make to an obligation to avoid being a burden on one's family or on the health care system. Death panels, anyone?

Life is a precious gift from God, and we are made in God's image. This is why suicide is wrong and should be discouraged. While there is life, there is hope. Who knows what blessings will come in the last days of a terminally ill person's life - both for that person and for that person's family and friends? Perhaps a terminal illness is a chance for someone to repent and be redeemed - or for someone else to be saved upon recognizing their own mortality.

Murder is wrong, and should never be celebrated. That is true whether it is self-murder or the murder of another.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The myth of "animal rights"

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Blast from the past:

The myth of "animal rights" - Part I

The myth of "animal rights" - Part II


Monday, October 13, 2014

Monroe County Commissioner: Libertarians vs. Republicans

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Despite being a Republican (or perhaps because I am a Republican) I like the Libertarian Party. Libertarians keep Republicans honest on matters of limited government, low taxes and government regulations. But while Libertarians can be valuable, they can also be counterproductive to the cause of a (small L) libertarian form of government. One such case is the race for Monroe County Commissioner.

In this countywide race, we have a Libertarian and a Republican trying to unseat an incumbent Democrat. The last time an incumbent Democrat was removed from that office was 2002, when Brian O'Neill was sent home by voters. Removing Pat Stoffers will be an uphill battle, and splitting the conservative/libertarian vote will only make that more difficult. This is why (small L) libertarians should be voting for the Republican, Bob LaGarde.

Libertarians argue that they take votes equally from both Republicans and Democrats. That might be true, in national and state elections. In local elections - specifically the race for Monroe County Commissioner - I very much doubt that will be the case. This is because arguably the most important issue facing the commissioners is land use policy, with the vision laid out in the comprehensive plan and implemented by various zoning laws. These laws and regulations have a huge impact on private property rights.

When asked about the comprehensive plan that has caused concern among landowners and business owners, LaGarde offered the following quote from President Taft:

"Next to the right of liberty, the right of property is the most important individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and the one which, united with that of personal liberty, has contributed more to the growth of civilization than any other institution established by the human race."

That is certainly a strong defense of private property rights. Dave Nakarado, as a Libertarian, also is a strong defender of private property rights. So with two candidates who strongly defend private property rights, the question for (small L) libertarians and conservatives is how our vote will be most effective in preserving our private property rights against a county government that always seems to be looking for ways to restrict those rights.

The best way to look at this is to look at the 2012 election. Nakarado got 11% of the vote two years ago, with the incumbent Democrat getting 51% and the Republican candidate getting the rest. Most voters are going to choose one of the two major parties, and it is a rare occasion when a third party or independent candidate has a legitimate shot at winning, especially in a three way race. Realistically, the best Nakarado can hope for is splitting the conservative vote and causing Stoffers to win with a plurality.

Nakarado is a good candidate and would be a great county commissioner. Monroe County could use someone like him in elective office, especially in a legislative capacity. But if we are going to have a realistic chance of replacing Pat Stoffers with someone who respects private property rights and believes in limiting county government's reach into our lives and wallets, we need to support and vote for the Republican candidate, Bob LaGarde.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

The diva cannot allow herself to get wet

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

So I get home the other day and let the dogs out... Or one of them anyway. The other one looks at the rain, balks and runs away. She is too much of a diva to get wet. So the diva Beagle gets picked up and physically carried outside, all the way to the far side of the back yard, so she will do what she needs to do.



Saturday, October 11, 2014

A serious question

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

When did we get to the point that rape is an appropriate tool for law enforcement?

Are we living in some kind of twisted alternate reality?


Friday, October 10, 2014

Random thoughts of the day

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

♣ - With the paranoia about police not being able to do their jobs if they do not have a way past smartphone encryption, I have to ask: How did police do their job ten years ago, before the modern smartphone market existed?

♣ - I said a year ago that if Barack Obama's justice department files charges against George Zimmerman, Obama should be impeached. If we take our liberty, our Constitutional rights and the rule of law seriously, Congress must begin impeachment proceedings in the event such charges are filed.

♣ - Here is an excellent article at Reason.com about "stranger danger." The reality is that crime statistics just do not justify this level of paranoia that produces so many false alarms. We should be careful and take reasonable precautions to protect children, but we should not be living in terror.

♣ - Mandatory minimum sentences are an outgrowth of our paranoia about crime and drugs, and have done more harm than good. It is time for them to be abolished. We should trust judges to judge.

♣ - Is there anyone so deluded as to believe Greg Orman, the "independent" U.S. Senate candidate in Kansas, will not caucus with the Democrats if he is elected? Otherwise, why would the Democratic candidate drop out?

♣ - Yes, internet trolls exist. This is not a surprise. Trolls who actually make a false police report because they are angry about "open carry" should be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law. But a few internet trolls ranting on Facebook and Twitter is hardly cause for alarm.

♣ - One can support law enforcement while also condemning excessive force, opposing overly intrusive police tactics and defending civil liberties. That is not an either/or proposition.