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Saturday, November 22, 2014

A big loss for city government

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 7:16 AM

Political differences aside, Regina Moore has done an admirable job as Bloomington City Clerk, especially in putting old documents on the city's website. The fact that she is not running again is a significant loss for city government. The next city clerk has a LOT to live up to.


"There’s Nothing Natural about Doctor-Aided Death"

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

From the Alliance Defending Freedom: "There’s Nothing Natural about Doctor-Aided Death"


Friday, November 21, 2014

I am a nerd!

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:00 AM

I was born on October 28, 1973.

Today marks 15,000 days on Planet Earth for me.


Stop whining about student voters!

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

After this past election, some Republicans in Monroe County started whining about the student vote and how students should not be voting in local elections. This counterproductive whining is a waste of time and it needs to stop. Complaining about the student vote is like complaining about the weather - agree or not, that battle was decided forty years ago and the result is not going to change.

I understand the objection. Students know little about local government and local issues, and their votes are uninformed. I certainly knew very little about local government when I was an undergrad at Indiana University in the 1990's, yet I was voting in local elections anyway. But why not take the opportunity to educate those students about local government and how the decisions made by local government affect students? One local activist proposed explaining to students that the food and beverage tax is a tax on pizza and beer, for example.

There are exceptions, of course. The two IU students who ran for Bloomington Township Board this past year were interested in learning as much as they could about township government and what the issues are that the board considers.

Furthermore, there are plenty of people who are long-term residents of Bloomington and Monroe County who know very little about local government yet turn out and pull the lever for their party. I have to admit that I knew absolutely nothing about the MCCSC school board candidates until shortly before the election, and had to research before I voted. But how many people did not do that research and voted in school board races anyway? Why single out students?

If Republicans want to win local elections, we are going to have to find Republicans who are not registered to vote and get them registered and to the polls. We also cannot continue to cede the student vote to the Democrats. Back in the 1990's, Republicans did not cede the student vote. We registered voters and passed out literature at least a couple times a week in the line for dining halls and went door-to-door in student neighborhoods. We may not win a majority of students, but we can certainly reduce the margin of loss and put our candidates within striking distance.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Los Angeles vs. San Diego

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:30 PM

Here is an excellent article by Radley Balko:

As Ferguson waits, some lessons from the Rodney King riots.


Just approve Obama's nominees, Republicans

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

As the Republican party takes over the Senate in the wake of the 2014 landslide, Republicans will be tempted to monkeywrench the Obama Administration by holding up the President's nominees for positions within his administration. The GOP needs to resist that temptation and allow Obama to nominate who he chooses, within reason. (Obviously Judicial Branch appointments are another matter entirely.)

The reason Republicans should allow Obama to have who he wants is that whoever Obama nominates is only going to be following Obama's orders. Whoever is the attorney general secretary of state and so forth turns out to be, that person for all intents and purposes is Obama. If we have a problem with the administration's policies, it is with the President himself, not the cabinet secretaries. We can change those policies by winning the next election.

The only time a nominee should be rejected is in the case of an obvious severe character flaw, incompetence or corruption. That is why the nominees should be examined and questioned. Those cases are going to be relatively rare, because the administration is going to be vetting its own nominees. (This is especially true in the age of the Internet, when problems with a nominee can spread like wildfire in hours.) No administration wants to be embarrassed by a nominee with an undiscovered scandal in his or her background.

There will be plenty of opportunities to oppose Obama and block his agenda in the next two years, but Obama's choices to fill his administration should not be used as such an opportunity. Being mature adults about this and working with the President can also be an opportunity to make things easier for the next Republican President, or at least provide a contrast when Democrats are blocking his choices to fill his administration.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

When "personhood" laws go off the rails

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

I have been active in the anti-abortion movement for nearly twenty years and I support the idea of protecting the unborn from the moment of fertilization. However, as the New York Times pointed out recently, "personhood" laws meant to protect unborn life can go dangerously off the rails and become a tyrannical nanny state. This must be opposed.

It is estimated that up to half of all pregnancies end in a natural spontaneous miscarriage. (Also, one hundred percent of babies born healthy will die eventually.) It is a tragic loss for families who suffer the loss of a pregnancy, and it is especially difficult when a baby unexpectedly dies in the womb and is stillborn. The last thing that a grieving mother needs when facing a miscarriage despite her best intentions and efforts is to be prosecuted (persecuted?) by an overzealous government.

Even worse is when prosecutors persecute women for medical decisions made in good faith. A doctor may think in some cases, for example, that the best option for the baby is to be delivered by a C-Section. The mother may disagree, and it is entirely possible the doctor could be wrong. It is evil and tyrannical for the state to force an invasive surgery on a mother who chooses vaginal delivery, or to seek to punish her after the fact for a private medical decision with no malicious intention.

I want to see unborn life protected, but there is a huge gulf between prohibiting the willful, intentional termination of an unborn baby's life and an oppressive, tyrannical Nanny State forcing its will on mothers or putting all pregnant women under suspicion simply because of a natural biological process. Abortion opponents must be emphatic and uncompromising in opposing such abuses by the government.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Burial vs. Cremation in the Christian faith

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

When there is not a clear commandment from Scripture, we Christians should not judge each other for our choices and we certainly should not divide over those choices. One such area is the debate over cremation and whether or not it is proper for Christians to incinerate the bodies of dead loved ones. I see this debate pop up from time to time, and while it is an interesting discussion it should not go beyond being a discussion.

Being faithful to Scripture means submitting to the text, but it also means not adding to the text. We should not place our traditions and/or personal convictions on the same level as Almighty God's direct revelation to us, provided in the Bible. Adding to Scripture is the height of arrogance and borders on blasphemy.

Some would argue that Christians confess our faith and our hope in the resurrection of the dead by burying rather than cremating our dead. But as I asked on Twitter a couple weeks ago, is our omnipotent God so weak that He cannot reform a cremated body? Remember that God formed Adam from the dust of the ground and formed Eve from Adam's rib. Even the biological process of childbirth is a miracle, as the baby goes from a single cell to a fully formed baby.

In the case of cremation and burial, there is not an explicit commandment from Scripture on the matter. Christians have traditionally buried rather than cremated their dead, but tradition should never be given the same weight as Scripture. That is a personal preference, or a cultural preference, not an obligation before God. If someone can show me from Scripture where burial is commanded and/or cremation is forbidden, I will change my position. Until then we should respect the choices of our brothers and sisters in how they deal with the bodies of dead loved ones, and not judge them because our personal opinion is different from theirs.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Following up on "marriage equality" vs. religious liberty

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Critics of my guest editorial on religious liberty have taken the principle of freedom of association and expanded it far beyond the real issue we are facing regarding "marriage equality."

The issue is not whether Christian business owners should refuse service to all homosexuals, or whether businesses in general should be able to refuse service to specific groups of people. Selling gasoline or potato chips to a homosexual (or anyone engaged in any sin) presents no moral quandary for a Christian. The issue is whether the civil magistrate should force Christians to endorse homosexual behavior.

Should a Christian business owner be forced to participate in homosexual weddings by providing photography, flowers or a wedding cake? Should Christian business owners should be forced to provide space for homosexual activity by renting a room in a bed and breakfast to a same-sex couple? Should our society expect anyone to endorse behavior their faith deems unacceptable, and be punished by the state if they do not?

In a response to me, another guest columnist asked regarding a bed and breakfast if "different-sex couples registering for rooms required to provide a copy of their marriage license in order to rent a room." The answer - of course. A Christian bed and breakfast owner should be allowed to refuse to rent a room to an unmarried heterosexual couple.

The common refrain is that a church should be allowed to refuse service, but a private business in the public domain should not. But the obvious question is this: Why should Christians who own a for-profit business have fewer rights under our Constitution than Christians in a ministerial position? More importantly, once the precedent is established, does anyone really think the exception for ministries will last very long?

The solution should be simple: Take your business elsewhere. There are plenty of business owners who will rent a room to a homosexual couple (or an unmarried heterosexual couple) or who will sell a wedding cake to anyone. No one's rights are being violated by respecting freedom of conscience. But it is not and has never been about tolerance. It is and has always been about mandatory acceptance of homosexuality, now enforced by the state.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Feeding the homeless

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:30 PM

After I sent an email to the Fort Lauderdale Mayor's Office expressing my displeasure at the new regulations on distributing food to the homeless, I got this in response. I am posting this in the interest of equal time.

From: Jack Seiler [mailto:Jack.Seiler@Fortlauderdale.Gov]
Sent: Friday, November 14, 2014 7:56 PM
To: Scott Tibbs [mailto:tibbs1973@yahoo.com] Subject: RE: Feeding The Homeless


I appreciate the opportunity to clarify much of the misinformation that has been prevalent in the media recently regarding the homeless.

Contrary to reports, the City of Fort Lauderdale is not banning groups from feeding the homeless. We have established an outdoor food distribution ordinance to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our community. The ordinance does not prohibit feeding the homeless; it regulates the activity in order to ensure it is carried out in an appropriate, organized, clean and healthy manner.

While the ordinance regulates outdoor food distribution, it permits indoor food distribution to take place at houses of worship throughout the City. By allowing houses of worship to conduct this activity, the City is actually increasing the number of locations where the homeless can properly receive this service.

At two recent outdoor food distributions, citations were rightly issued for non-compliance with the process enacted to ensure public health and safety. Contrary to what was reported in the media, no one was taken into custody. Had these activities taken place indoors, at a house of worship, they would have been in full compliance with the ordinance.

Experts agree, however, that homeless individuals need more than just food. The homeless need shelter, clothing, and comprehensive medical and social services in order to help them get back on their feet.

To set the record straight, few cities have done more for the homeless than Fort Lauderdale. We are taking a comprehensive approach by working with numerous agencies, non-profit, charitable and faith-based organizations that, like us, are dedicated to effectively addressing this complex and important issue. Our overarching goal is to provide a long-term comprehensive solution for the homeless population. While aiming for that goal, we are concurrently working to protect public safety and maintain quality of life for our neighbors, businesses and visitors.

Our efforts include:

  • Fort Lauderdale was the first City in South Florida to establish a dedicated Homeless Assistance Unit as part of its Police Department. This Unit makes approximately 8,000 referrals a year working with the homeless to provide them with access to housing, critical medical care and social services. The award-winning initiative stands as a model that has been replicated by local, state, and national police departments and law enforcement agencies across the country.
  • Fort Lauderdale is home to the only full service comprehensive Homeless Assistance Center in Broward County. The Center has been operating here since 1999. Recently, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission unanimously passed an ordinance allowing the Homeless Assistance Center to expand its size and scope of operations to accommodate more beds and serve more homeless.
  • The City maintains an active partnership with Mission United, an organization dedicated to providing housing and social services to homeless Veterans.
  • In addition to Mission United, the City maintains partnerships, provides resources and support to Broward County, the Broward Partnership for the Homeless, Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale, Salvation Army of Broward County, United Way of Broward County, Hope South Florida, and the Task Force for Ending Homelessness. These partnerships represent an outstanding example of how homelessness needs to be addressed – by bringing together a variety of agencies and organizations to collaborate, share resources, and leverage strengths in a unified effort to comprehensively impact homelessness through the coordination and delivery of essential programs and services.
  • Fort Lauderdale is the only city in South Florida and one of 235 communities in the United States taking part in the 100,000 Homes Campaign, a national effort to move disabled, chronically homeless people from the street to a place of their own. Using the motto "Housing First," the campaign reverses the traditional approach that required the homeless to go through addiction counseling and job training before earning a roof over their heads.
  • Through the Housing First program, Fort Lauderdale is providing the most vulnerable homeless individuals with housing, medical, and social services. The program is funded by a $441,000 federal grant that the City of Fort Lauderdale secured from HUD. It is currently providing permanent supportive housing for 22 chronically homeless people.
  • The City is proud to report that our initiative was recently re-funded by HUD. During the current year, we will have an additional $455,000 to continue to operate and expand this effort to serve even more chronic and vulnerable homeless in our City.

As part of our comprehensive strategy, the City has passed new ordinances that aim to reduce the public safety hazards and inappropriate nuisance activities that are negatively impacting our community. As a City, we have a responsibility to ensure that all of our public spaces are accessible and can be safely enjoyed by everyone – families, children, residents and visitors.

Our quality of life in Fort Lauderdale and our economic viability are directly linked to our stewardship of public spaces. The City continues to provide leadership in the implementation of innovative ideas to protect our quality of life while ensuring continued funding for programs and initiatives that address humanitarian needs.

The City, our neighbors, and our businesses have a long and distinguished history of compassion toward those in need.

If you would like to make a contribution to local non-profit agencies that help fund homeless assistance, substance abuse, and community support services in Fort Lauderdale, please visit: www.fortlauderdale.gov/give

Again, thank you for your interest in this important humanitarian issue.

John P. "Jack" Seiler
City of Fort Lauderdale


Saturday, November 15, 2014

100% pure evil

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Cases like this are why I enthusiastically support the death penalty.

Some people are truly evil and need to die.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Republicans do not have a mandate from the 2014 election

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Twenty years ago, when the Republican Party won the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years, they had a positive mandate from the voters to pursue a legislative agenda. The 2014 mid-term elections might be a stinging rebuke to President Obama, but they are not a mandate for a Republican agenda.

The reason Republicans had a mandate after their 1994 victory was that they campaigned on a national agenda, the Contract with America. The Republican Party set forth a specific set of proposals and promised a vote on each of them. Republican candidates for Congress signed the Contract and promised to help implement it. There was no such national agenda for the 2014 mid-term elections from the Republican Party.

This is why Senator Ted Cruz was wrong when he said now is the time for tax reform and regulatory reform. He is right from a policy standpoint, but there is no mandate from the voters to do that. There is no mandate from the voters because Republicans did not run on a policy agenda. There is a clear mandate to stop Obama's agenda, but not a mandate to advance any specific Republican agenda.

What Republicans need to realize is they did not win the 2014 mid-term election. Democrats lost the election. There is a big difference between the two, and this is the consequences of not setting a national legislative agenda for voters to affirmatively vote for. Republicans need to be careful not to overreach and create a backlash that will hurt the party's chances of capturing the White House in 2016.

Whether not setting a national agenda was a good political strategery or not, the election is over and the strategery was chosen and implemented. If Republicans are to have a national legislative agenda, it will be after the 2016 elections, where the party platform and the nominee's agenda will be debated. If Republicans win that election, they will have a mandate. Right now, there is no mandate other than "stop Obama."


Thursday, November 13, 2014

This is true, and that is terribly sad.

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Idiotic censorship in Arizona

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

I criticize the Left quite often on this blog, but there are some really loopy things done by the Right as well. Case in point is a biology textbook that was redacted because it mentioned that abortion exists. It did not take a position favorable to abortion. If anything, it takes an anti-abortion position. But allowing high school students to learn about medical science was apparently a bridge too far. (See the scanned image on Facebook or Twitter or PhotoBucket.)

This is absurd. This is the kind of thing that makes Christians generally and abortion opponents specifically look bad. The redacted page does not tell teenagers where to get an abortion or where to get birth control. In fact, the page opens by explaining abstinence "is the only totally effective method of birth control," and the book points out that the "morning after pill" can prevent implantation of the embryo.

I am a father of two, and I am an uncle and great uncle many times over. I understand the desire to protect teens, both from making dangerous and immoral choices and from being abused and exploited. I certainly do not want the government school system giving condoms or birth control to teens without parental consent. I certainly do not want the government school system sending perverted "sex surveys" to children without parental consent. (See here and here and here and here and here for more about that controversy from 2005.)

None of that is at issue here. What we have here is a biology textbook recognizing that birth control and chemical abortion are things that exist, and then explains how those things work biologically. Censorship of that information, by literally ripping a page out of a textbook, is a hysterical overreaction that only serves to make the page-rippers look like complete ninnies. This kind of nonsense needs to stop.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

March for Life should not be forced to pay for abortion pills

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM

Full Size Image.

3 reasons March for Life should not be forced to pay for abortion pills (Besides the Obvious)