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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 7:50 AM

Note for today: I hate being sick.

0 Comments

Monday, September 22, 2014

An observation from George Will

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:00 AM

Here is an interesting observation from George Will:

Regarding voting, more often means worse. If money is necessary to lure certain voters to the polls, those voters will lower the quality of the turnout: They will be those people who are especially uninterested in, and hence especially uninformed about, public affairs. Why is it intelligent public policy to encourage their participation?

Source: Washington Post.

1 Comments

Due process and sexual assault, revisited

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

From National Public Radio, a report on sexual assault and due process:

  • Dozens of students who've been punished for sexual assault are suing their schools, saying that they didn't get a fair hearing and that their rights to due process were violated.

NPR reports that a student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst claims he was notified that an investigation was being conducted into alleged sexual misconduct and he "had just hours to move out of his dorm." It comes down to a he said vs she said controversy about whether a one night stand was consensual or not.

The accused (one of many suing) claims the university "withheld information he needed for his defense" and refused to allow him to be represented by an attorney, according to NPR. Robert Shibley (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) says academic disciplinary panels assume the accused is guilty, requiring proof of consent as opposed to proof of assault.

The basic problem, as I have said before, is that universities should not be dealing with sexual assault allegations at all. Someone who has committed a violent crime should be behind bars, not just expelled from the university. But expelling students who have committed no crime based on a system that is weighted to get more convictions is not justice, and denying due process rights does not in any way guarantee justice.

Thanks to the Obama Administration's threats, universities are worried about losing their funding and are steamrolling due process in order to prove they take sexual assault "seriously." But if we truly want to show we take rape on campus seriously, we should implement serious reforms while preserving the due process rights that protect all of us from abuse.

The reform should be simple: If a student reports a sexual assault to any university official or employee, that assault must be reported to law enforcement and police must take action - at the very least questioning the suspect and (if the evidence is strong enough) arresting him.

Years ago, some states implemented reform of domestic violence cases that required an arrest even if the victim refused to cooperate when police arrived. Similar reforms would help here. If sexual assault victims are shown that law enforcement takes it seriously, perhaps they would be more willing to cooperate - and the accused would have the due process protections that university disciplinary systems are not providing.

1 Comments

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Vote for Jeff Ellington

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 11:30 AM

0 Comments

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 11:05 AM

Random note:

I turned off predictive typing in iOS 8. It is annoying.

0 Comments

Friday, September 19, 2014

Three links for today

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:30 PM

Here is an actual headline from the Indiana Daily Student a few years ago: Stoner arrested for alleged possession of marijuana. Yes, his name is Stoner. You can't make this stuff up.

From the Matt Walsh Blog: Sorry, but it's your fault if you're offended all the time.

Congressman Todd Young explains why he voted against granting President Obama the authority to train and arm Syrian rebels.

0 Comments

If inflammatory language is used, it should have a purpose

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

I got some legitimate criticism over the weekend in response to my editorial about due process in college sexual assault investigations for using the term "Obama regime" instead of referring to the "Obama administration."

We all hate to admit it when we are wrong, but I was wrong and my critic is right. I am not convincing anyone by using the inflammatory word "regime" and my argument about due process would be stronger without it. Using that inflammatory word does not help me convince anyone of why my position is right, and the discussion in the comments can get derailed into something unrelated to the issue.

And, really, I knew better than to use the word "regime." By using the word "regime," I did not strengthen my argument. I only provided a distraction from it.

I have been writing editorials, blog posts and letters to the editor (not to mention commenting on blogs, forums and newspaper comment sections) for nearly twenty years now. This is a continuing lesson for me as well as a lesson for everyone else who writes opinion pieces: Do not be inflammatory for the sake of being inflammatory. You undermine your argument, harden the opposition and make civil discussion more difficult.

Sometimes, the language a writer uses on hot button issues is going to be inflammatory by the very nature of the issue itself. Other times, an inflammatory word might be necessary to drive home a point, because a softer word will not make the point as well as the more inflammatory word.

But I can and should do better in my choice of language.

0 Comments

Thursday, September 18, 2014

New tool to combat texting & driving

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:30 PM

Very interesting.

0 Comments

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Reject Planned Parenthood's request for corporate welfare

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

----Original Message Follows----
From: Scott Tibbs [mailto:tibbs1973@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, September 12, 2014 11:50 AM
To: syoder@co.monroe.in.us; rlangley@co.monroe.in.us; mhawk@co.monroe.in.us; rdietz@co.monroe.in.us; gmckim@co.monroe.in.us; ljones@co.monroe.in.us; cmunson@co.monroe.in.us
Subject: Planned Parenthood's request for corporate welfare

Councilors,

I am writing you to once again encourage you to reject Planned Parenthood's request for a handout from the Community Service Grant Program. I urge you to respect the consciences of your constituents and to respect the other organizations that do not have the backing of an extremely wealthy national organization by denying this cynical request for a political endorsement from the Monroe County Council.

The 2014 grant application states that "Support for operational expenses will be considered, but not given highest priority." This is the second time this year that Planned Parenthood is seeking "bridge" funding for its operating budget instead of a grant to help with a one-time project.

It has become PP's habit to seek support for operational funding, so the obvious question is this: What is the purpose of the Community Service Grant Program? Is it to help with a one-time project, limited in scope, with a specific goal? Or is the CSGP to subsidize the operating budgets of community groups?

As representatives of this community, you should be distributing money based on need, not abortion politics. Quite simply, Planned Parenthood does not need the money they are asking you to give them. According to the national Planned Parenthood's annual report, the national office and all state affiliates took in $1,210,400,000 in revenue, while spending $1,152,200,000. That is a surplus of 58,200,000. The national office alone had a surplus of $11,700,000.

See the attached screenshots for more.

In addition to the lack of need, many of your constituents object to funding Planned Parenthood on a moral level, because Planned Parenthood performs abortions at its South College facility. Even though the money given to PP does not go to "abortion services" we object to being forced to give any money to an organization that performs such a morally heinous act. It is simply wrong for you to force us to contribute to an organization we find morally abhorrent. I urge you to be pro-choice in rejecting this request.

Finally, I am very disappointed in the lack of transparency on the Community Service Grant Program website. The website for the John Hopkins Social Services Fund is much more helpful, and includes each application for funding and the date where the final vote will be taken by the city council. As of the time I am sending this e-mail, none of that information is on the county's CSGP website. That should not be the case, and indicates the county council is not interested in transparency.

Thank you for your time.

Scott Tibbs
Resident of County Council district IV

0 Comments

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Peanut butter pie with Oreo crust

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

This is always a hit. Click the picture for the recipe.

0 Comments

Monday, September 15, 2014

More thoughts on campus rape and due process

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Here are a few additional thoughts on due process in campus sexual assault investigations.

The fact that the Obama regime has ordered universities to abandon the "beyond a reasonable doubt" (BARD) standard in favor of a "preponderance of the evidence" (POTE) standard is irrelevant, and Indiana University is not breaking the law by refusing to obey. The highest legal authority in the land is the Constitution, not federal law or administrative rules dreamed up by federal government bureaucrats.

As a state institution, Indiana University is morally and legally obligated to follow the Constitution instead of arbitrary federal regulations imposed by the Obama regime. And that's what this is - an administrative regulation, not federal law. Congress has not passed a law mandating the POTE standard. Even if they did, Indiana University would be morally and legally obligated to disobey that law because it is unconstitutional. The Constitution requires due process and the BARD standard is a critical component of due process.

University disciplinary hearings are the wrong place for rape allegations to be tried, anyway. The worst a university can do to someone found guilty of rape is to expel him, but has no authority to punish him beyond that. A rapist, who can be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, should be behind bars. Having this handled by an academic disciplinary panel instead of the criminal justice system still leaves him free to victimize more people.

Some have said the POTE standard is necessary for victims to get "justice." Was it "justice" for the Central Park Five to spend years in prison for a crime they did not commit? Was it "justice" for the many people exonerated by the Innocence Project to spend years in prison for crimes they did not commit?

A critical thing to remember here is that all of those people spent time behind bars for crimes they did not commit under a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard, with significantly more due process protections than you will find in a university disciplinary hearing, where the accused often does not even have the right to an attorney, examine witnesses, etc.

You can bet that there will be many more fraudulent convictions under the Obama regime's illegal "preponderance of the evidence" standard for university sexual assault investigations. It is hardly "justice" to destroy someone's academic career with a weighted system designed by activists to get convictions rather than seek the truth.

Neither I nor anyone else is saying rapists should not be punished. In my opinion, the Supreme Court was wrong to disallow the death penalty for rape. (Especially the rape of a child.) The concern here is that Obama's POTE standard ignores due process for the purpose of gaming the system to get more convictions. Putting a finger on the scale to get the desired result is not "justice." It is a political agenda, and one that has no place in a public institution like IU.

2 Comments

Sunday, September 14, 2014

An extremely effective alarm

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 9:00 AM

The alert a cell phone makes when the battery is low is an extremely effective alarm clock. Not because the beep is all that loud (in fact it is barely audible) but because it terrifies Nano and causes him to have a panic attack. Then he needs to be held RIGHT NOW! IT'S SCARY!! DON'T YOU KNOW HOW SCARY IT IS??

0 Comments

Friday, September 12, 2014

Corporations, personhood, free speech and SCOTUS

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

When Mitt Romney said "corporations are people" he was roundly mocked, but he was right. More specifically, corporations are a collection of people, banded together for a common interest. That interest may be to make a profit from selling things, or it may be to advance a public policy agenda. Move to Amend is itself a corporation, and is actually engaged in the very thing it is lobbying to prohibit.

As Jim Bopp pointed out on Monday night at the IU Law School, the issue we should be concerned about in Citizens United is not corporate personhood, but restrictions on speech. The First Amendment's protections for speech are very general, not limited to individuals or corporations or political parties. Even if we accept that "corporations are not people" government is still prohibited from restricting speech.

And yes, money is speech. David Cobb tried to be "cute" by childishly waving a dollar bill around and asking if the crowd can hear him, but the fact of the matter is that money is as essential to speech as gasoline is to driving an automobile. Money is the fuel upon which free speech depends. Without money, campaigns and interest groups cannot buy advertisements, print direct-mail pieces, develop and host websites, pay for door-to-door materials, pay for candidates to travel around and speak, or do anything else to get their message to voters.

Toward the end of the debate, Bopp and Cobb were asked how to improve Washington. Bopp made a good point that I wish had been expanded: Government is too big. Because government has its fingers into so much of our society and economy, a number of interest groups have a vested interest in influencing public policy.

We have gotten to the point where the federal government is restricting how individual people can purchase cold medicine. If the size and role of government shrinks, that will reduce the amount of money in politics by taking away the need for moneyed interests to be politically involved.

Bopp pointed out how dangerously far-reaching Move to Amend's proposal is, especially the goal that "no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure." Technically, this could be used to prohibit newspaper editorials, even if those editorials do not explicitly endorse or oppose a candidate for elective office. After all, criticizing or praising a candidate in an editorial (or on a radio show, or on cable television, or on a blog) could influence the election. Newspapers are corporations, and are the target of this language.

I admired that Bopp was willing to speak this past Monday, despite knowing he was going into hostile territory. The crowd (consisting of as many local residents as students) loudly cheered Cobb and heckled Bopp on a number of occasions. I cannot imagine any minds were changed, and the "home field advantage" enjoyed by Move to Amend certainly did not help Bopp make his position. That said, despite the heckling, the crowd was mostly respectful of opposing views and allowed Bopp to speak.

Finally, the idea that individual voices are being drowned out by corporate money is far less true today than it was when "campaign finance reform" was being discussed in the 1990's. It is also less true than it was when McCain-Feingold was passed and signed into law by President Bush during his first term. That is because of the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and (especially) because of social media.

If I post something on Facebook or Twitter, I can instantly reach the news feeds for 375 or 419 people, respectively. Others have far more "friends" and followers than I do, and their posts and Tweets are much more likely to go viral. Then there are blogs and websites with high readerships. The idea that the voices of average people are being "drowned out" is an idea that is more than two decades out of date. We certainly do not need the kind of draconian restrictions on free speech that Move to Amend's proposal would allow.

2 Comments

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:30 PM

A serious question:

At what point is the screen of a smartphone so big that it becomes impractical as a phone?

0 Comments

Never forget September 11

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

0 Comments