Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. -- The First Amendment
The above is a crystal clear limitation on what Congress may not do. The literal, word for word text of the first Amendment clearly states that "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech." There is no exception for corporations, non-citizens, or any specific group of people. The First Amendment simply and clearly states that Congress shall make no law abridging free speech rights. So why is it that the Supreme Court's decision banning government's century old restrictions of corporate speech so controversial?
Leftists have been howling loudly that this decision represents "judicial activism" and alleging that conservatives who support the decision are hypocrites. That's just laughable. Judicial activism is understood by most people as "legislating from the bench," where a court "finds" some sort of concept that is not in the text of the Constitution or the law and then implements their own personal agenda. What the SCOTUS did last week was adhere to the literal, word-for-word text of the First Amendment and throw out bad decisions that ignored the very clear words of the Constitution.
Speech requires spending, so spending is speech. You have to spend money to print anything, or to buy air time on TV and radio. Even with web sites, you have to pay for hosting and internet access. Saying that limiting spending does not limit speech is like saying rationing gasoline does not limit the ability to drive. Money is speech.
What makes this relevant for voters in southeastern Indiana is that Baron Hill voted for "campaign finance reform" in the House. Baron Hill voted for a law that violates the clear words of the First Amendment spelling out what Congress may not do. Why did he do this? Baron Hill voted to violate the Constitution for the same reason he attempted to suppress free speech and academic freedom last September: for personal political gain. For career politicians like Baron Hill, the liberty of the American people is a distant second to their political ambitions.
Baron Hill knows tight restrictions on campaign spending benefits incumbents like him. Incumbents enjoy plenty of free media and have a huge amount of resources available to promote themselves and their agenda. In order to compete with the advantages of incumbency, challengers need to be able to raise and spend money to counter the advantages of incumbency. Baron Hill wants to limit competition and make it more difficult to unseat him.
Baron Hill was already fired once by the voters. In November, he will be fired again.
|Wednesday, January 27, 2010|
Just over a year ago, George W. Bush finished his second term as President. Bush barely won in 2000 and survived a close race to be re-elected in 2004, but the last three years of his presidency were difficult. The Republicans lost control of Congress in 2006 and the economy crashed in 2008, and Bush's popularity was low when he left office. One year after he left office, how would I view Bush's time in office?
I'll start with this. I've made no secret of my frustration with Bush over the years, especially with his abandonment of conservative principles. Bush created a brand new federal entitlement with the Medicare prescription drug program and significantly increased the role of the federal government in primary and secondary education, a move that turns the founding principle of state sovereignty upside down. Bush convinced Congress to authorize a pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, a move I supported at the time but have since realized was a mistake. Bush was far too aggressive in seeking greater federal law enforcement powers. I opposed the so-called "Patriot Act" from the beginning.
Bush's greatest failure as President, however, was campaign finance "reform." George W. Bush signed a law that regulates the content of political speech, showing great disregard for the Constitution, the rule of law, the free exchange of ideas, a transparent government and individual liberty. I nearly voted Libertarian in 2004 because Bush betrayed basic American values by putting his signature on this abomination. I ultimately voted for Bush because of his pro-life stand and his moral clarity in the War on Terror (more on that later) but if I had it to do over again I would have not voted for Bush. I did vote for Bob Barr in 2008.
Bush's presidency was not all bad. Bush pushed much-needed tax cuts through Congress which brought some boom years before the bottom fell out in 2008. The deficit would have remained balanced had Bush controlled federal spending, because revenue actually went up after the tax cuts were implemented. Bush understood one very important thing: the money Americans earn belongs first and foremost to them, not the government.
While Bush was weak on limited government issues, he was a solid social conservative. He championed efforts to protect marriage as an institution of one man and one woman. My primary issue is opposing abortion, so I appreciate that Bush was also pro-life. He signed a ban on partial-birth abortion that was blocked by President Clinton's veto pen, and openly spoke of the need to create a culture of life. Bush was strong on defending life at all stages, blocking federal funding for embryonic stem cell "research" that requires the destruction of human beings.
George W. Bush also had a moral clarity in the War on Terror. He called the terrorists "evildoers" and understood that we're fighting a war that presents a clear contrast between good and evil. Bush didn't spend enough time on Afghanistan and I belatedly realized that a preemptive invasion of Iraq was an unfortunate error. That said, I reject claims that Bush "lied" to get us into Iraq. Faulty intelligence is not the same as intentional falsehoods.
I believe George W. Bush is a good man and despite the sharp criticisms I have directed at him, I admire him personally. He is a Christian and genuinely wanted to do what is best for America. (His cowardly decision to sign the campaign finance "reform" he once opposed is the sole exception to that.) While I disagree with "No Child Left Behind" and the so-called "Patriot Act", I believe Bush genuinely was doing what he thought was best. His motives on Iraq were honorable, if misguided. Ultimately, though, Bush moved us in a direction of more government, less individual liberty and more power for Washington at the expense of the states. If I had it to do over again, I would not have voted for him.
Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will He not repay each person according to what he has done? -- Proverbs 24:11-12 (NIV)
Over 200 people gathered at the Monroe County Courthouse on a rainy January afternoon to sadly remember the 1973 Supreme Court decision that threw out state laws against the killing of unborn children and to protest the continuing slaughter of unborn children in Bloomington and around the nation. The rally was organized by Christian Citizens for Life, an alliance of Monroe County churches committed to oppose abortion and advocate for a life-affirming culture.
In his opening remarks, CCFL publicity officer David Talcott reminded the crowd why we are here: that 50 million children have been killed by abortion since 1973, a procedure carried out under the protection of federal law. Talcott pointed to another grim statistic: the large number of abortions per capita in Monroe County. There were 676 abortions in 2005, and 1309 live births. It was even worse in 2004, with 775 abortions and 1273 live births.
What this means is that we have an incredible tragedy going on right under our noses while many people look the other way. Even worse, our city and county governments have given the tax money they have confiscated by force from our pockets to an abortion clinic that kills babies made in the image of God each Thursday just a few blocks south of where we held the rally. The march through downtown was designed to pass in front of Planned Parenthood to remind us of the atrocities committed and the precious lives ended in that damnable building.
It's difficult to wrap your brain around the sheer number of lives lost to abortion. But those of us who recognize that abortion is murder need to ask ourselves, in the face of what can only be described as genocide, are we doing enough? What can we do to fight against our depraved culture's view of human life as disposable?
Much has been made over the last couple weeks about allegedly "racist" statements by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and ex-President Bill Clinton, concerning Barack Obama's run for the Presidency. Rush Limbaugh has been practically pounding the table about this issue, especially Clinton's comment that a few years ago that Obama would have been delivering coffee to him and Ted Kennedy. Conservative critics have argued that Clinton's statement reflects an attitude that restricts blacks to a servile role.
Clinton's statement is easy enough to address. One of the most common criticisms of Obama during 2007 and 2008 by both Republicans and his Democratic rivals was that Obama lacked the experience to be President. Clinton could easily have been arguing that Obama had not "paid his dues" and did not have the résumé needed to be on the same level with Clinton and Kennedy. I do not think it is fair to assign a racial motivation to Clinton's comments when it is more likely that Clinton's statement was based on experience rather than skin pigmentation.
Harry Reid's statement is much more disturbing. Reid said that Obama was more likely to win because he is "light skinned" and does not speak with a "Negro dialect." Was this a statement of racism on Reid's part, or was it a reflection of Reid's belief that American society still has enough racism that Obama would have difficulty winning if he spoke with a "Negro dialect" or was darker-skinned? It was certainly a stupid thing to say, but was it necessarily racist? That I honestly don't know. Either way, he deserves criticism. Even if his statement was not racially-motivated, his condescending dismissal of the American people is unacceptable.
I think conservatives are pursuing a dangerous strategy here by pouncing on statements made in private conversations. There's not a person alive who has not said something in private that he/she would not want to see on the front page of the newspaper. This controversy has most likely motivated Democrats to dig up statements made in private by conservatives (especially on matters of race), and exploit them for political gain. There is one or more (anonymous, naturally) malcontents in the local Republican Party who loves to tattle on local forums about what conservatives say at the Friday Lunch Bunch, in addition to spreading malicious personal gossip. We will have no reason to argue that private conversations should be private when there is in-kind retaliation for the attacks on Clinton and Reid.
Republicans are also giving Democrats a mountain of ammunition by latching onto political correctness, especially by attacking Clinton's innocent remark. What Republicans need to be doing is dismissing and fighting against political correctness, not latching on to PC when it is politically convenient. Democrats are exponentially more adept at playing the "race card" than Republicans. I've been called a "racist" more times than I can count by Democrats who seek to use it to smear me personally so as to avoid a legitimate discussion of issues such as the Community Reinvestment Act. We should not be doing anything to make that easier to do.
|Thursday, January 21, 2010|
As everyone knows, this is an election year. Voters will be choosing members of the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, the Indiana State Legislature and the district seats for the Monroe County Council. That just scratches the surface of all of the votes we will cast in November and in the May primary elections. With all of these choices, we need to be well-informed, and this is where the news media comes in. Locally, that is the Bloomington Herald-Times and the Indiana Daily Student, and to a lesser extent sites like the Bloomington Alternative.
The main source for local news will continue to be the Herald-Times, which does not exactly have a good track record. After all, H-T columnist Mike Leonard admitted to fabricating a Congressional vote that never took place. (Baron Hill, in violation of his "clean campaign" pledge, never denounced this fabrication.) This is just one of many serious lapses of journalistic ethics at 1900 South Walnut, including a libelous personal hit piece on an IU student trustee. The Herald-Times has an ethical obligation to provide factual, truthful and complete information on issues that will affect the results of the May primary and the November general election.
The last couple months have not been good for the Herald-Times, and indicates it still has a way to go. On December 14, the H-T reported that there were two candidates seeking to replace Evan Bayh in the general election, ignoring Marlin Stutzman, Don Bates Jr. and Richard Behney. This despite the fact that Bates had spoken in Bloomington just two months prior and the H-T had mentioned all three candidates just ten days earlier. There was no excuse for the Herald-Times to make this glaring of an error, especially when all they had to do was use their own web site's search engine to check for the names of all the candidates opposing Evan Bayh in May and November.
The H-T made another glaring error earlier this month with a feature story claiming that there were 12 Democrats and 7 Republicans on the City Council, County Council and County Commissioners on January 1, 2005, and 13 Democrats and 6 Republicans on January 1, 2006. The figures for 1/1/2006 were wrong: they were the same as 1/1/2005. There was no election in 2005, so nothing would have changed. The 7 Republicans in office both years were Jason Banach, David Sabbagh, Joyce Poling, Herb Kilmer, Sue West, Trent Jones and Marty Hawk.
Honestly, how do you make this mistake? It should have raised a red flag that the numbers for January 1, 2005 and January 1, 2006 were different, since there was no election in 2005. January 1 of the off year and January 1 of the mid-term election should always be the same, except in the rare occasion where someone switches parties in the middle of the term. That is not just a factual error. That is a lack of basic civic literacy.
The Herald-Times needs to get its act together for the 2010 election, and cover the news in a factual, truthful and balanced manner so that readers can truly be informed about the issues and candidates going into the primary and general election. Unfortunately, based on past performance, there is very little chance that this will happen.
|Wednesday, January 20, 2010|
On January 8, I blogged about Wikipedia, an open-source online encyclopedia where anyone can set up an account and post updates to entries about almost any subject one can think of. Because of the nature of the site, there is an inherent weakness to the veracity of information posted there. This is why it is foolish for journalists to rely on Wikipedia for information and also why college professors refuse to allow students to cite Wikipedia in research papers.
The point of that post was that Wikipedia is an interactive content provider, like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and innumerable discussion forums, blogs and blog comment sections scattered throughout cyberspace. As an interactive content provider, Wikipedia itself does not make mistakes. There is false information posted to Wikipedia, intentionally and unintentionally, but that false information is posted by Wikipedia's users.
For some strange reason, militant atheist Michael Newton has become obsessed with my post about Wikipedia, shamelessly lying on HeraldTimesOnline.com and claiming that I said there is no false information on Wikipedia. The point of this follow-up post is to settle the issue, once and for all, with absolute truth.
January 8, 2010: 4:22 pm
After Newton posted this, I corrected him, saying that "I made it very clear in my post that there is false information posted to Wikipedia, intentionally and unintentionally. I even cited specific examples of false information posted there." Three days after the first falsehood was exposed, Newton repeated the lie:
January 11, 2010: 6:18 am
I repeated the same refutation as before, saying "I made it very clear in my post that there is false information posted to Wikipedia, intentionally and unintentionally. I even cited specific examples of false information posted there." That Newton would repeat the same lie three days after it had been discredited demonstrates how much of a shameless liar he is. But he still was not done:
|Next thing we know, you'll be climbing aboard the amFibbian's bandwagon, claiming that "Wikipedia does not make mistakes."|
January 16, 2010: 4:04 am
That's right. A full week after his attempt to smear me was exposed as a complete fabrication, a full week after anyone who is literate could see that his statements about me are clearly and plainly false, he shamelessly lied about my post again. But Michael Newton still was not done. He followed this up with:
|Meanwhile, back at "inerrant" Wikipedia, let's try an experiment. For one of the site's countless errors (which Fibbs deems nonexistent), visit Wiki's entry on organized crime's Atlantic City conference of 1929. Search or scroll down for the name of New England mobster Danny Walsh and click on the hyperlink. Where does it take you? To the bio of a man born 50 years after the meeting in question.
"No mistakes," Fibbs? That's simply one of countless erroneous links found on Wiki.
January 16, 2010: 4:22 pm
This is truly amazing. I am literally stunned that Michael Newton would lie so shamelessly, especially given that anyone who reads my post can clearly see that I did not say that there were no errors on Wikipedia. Not one single time. Never. And Michael Newton knows it. In 13 years of participating in verious political discussions on the Internet, I've never encountered a more shameless liar.
Once again, I made it very clear in my January 8 post that there is false information posted to Wikipedia, both intentionally and unintentionally. I even cited specific examples of false information posted there, including the claim that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and the claim that Rush Limbaugh died a couple weeks ago when he was in a Hawaii hospital with severe chest pains.
What I said was that Wikipedia itself does not make mistakes. Wikipedia's users post false information, by mistake or intentionally. Michael Newton, of course, knows this. He also knows the difference between user-generated content on the internet and a published book. Wikipedia certainly is not the Encyclopedia Britannica.
For some reason, Michael Newton has become obsessed with endlessly repeating this lie. He has been repeating the same lies over and over again despite the fact that his lies have been completely and thoroughly discredited numerous times. It has been well-documented that I never said that there is no false information posted to Wikipedia. It has been well-documented that I cited specific examples of false information posted on Wikipedia. Nonetheless, Michael Newton continues to claim that I said there are no errors on Wikipedia. He is a shameless liar.
|Tuesday, January 19, 2010|
A critical vote takes place today in Massachusetts, where Republican candidate Scott Brown has surprised everyone by coming close in the polls and actually has a chance of winning the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Ted Kennedy. Republicans are excited about this race and it has drawn national attention. A number of my friends have signed on as supporters of Brown on Facebook, which is what prompted me to take a look at his web site. I was disappointed (though not at all surprised) by what I found on the page stating his position on various issues.
|While this decision should ultimately be made by the woman in consultation with her doctor, I believe we need to reduce the number of abortions in America. I believe government has the responsibility to regulate in this area and I support parental consent and notification requirements and I oppose partial birth abortion. I also believe there are people of good will on both sides of the issue and we ought to work together to support and promote adoption as an alternative to abortion.|
Brown tries to say all the right things, but he winds up sounding like a long line of "pro-choice" politicians who attempt to placate abortion opponents by saying that they want abortion to be "safe, legal and rare."
I am glad I do not live in Massachusetts, because this would be a tough choice for me to make today. One the one hand, it is critical that we stop Barack Obama's socialist health care "reform" plan. The prospect of denying the Democrats the 60th vote they need to overcome a filibuster on health care "reform" is what has conservatives excited nationwide. On the other hand, when you strip away all the rhetoric about reducing the number of abortions and popular measures like parental consent, Scott Brown thinks it should be legal to murder unborn babies.
It is true that Brown, if elected, will cast the critical vote to stop ObamaCare. It is also true that there is no real chance of electing a true conservative in Massachusetts, where voter registration numbers heavily favor Democrats and where Ted Kennedy won that seat with a minimum of 60% of the vote in every election since 1970 (often breaking 70%) with the exception of 1994. John Kerry won his elections with less overwhelming numbers, but still won in a landslide each time with the exception of a fairly close race in 1996. Because of the political realities of this race, I would probably hold my nose and vote for Brown. I would not lift a finger to support him, though.
I downloaded my candidate form and I am anxiously awaiting Wednesday, when the filing begins for the 2010 election. I'm not running for office this year, but I will be running for delegate to state convention. I have won twice and lost three times in delegate races, winning in 2002 and 2006 and losing in 2000, 2004 and 2008. I might have won in 2004 had I ran in my district instead of trying my hand at the one delegate spot selected county-wide in a three-way contest against Kathy Ellington and John Shean. I finished with 15% of the vote.
This is by far the toughest of the three districts to win because we have a lot of big names here. It's not unrealistic that I could slide in by claiming one of the last two or three spots, though. Todd Rokita will be forced out of office by term limits, so we will be picking our candidate to be the next secretary of state. With the excitement of the "tea parties" and the enthusiasm to oppose Barack Obama, the convention should be very exciting this year. I hope that I win.
|W||Steven R. Hogan||906|
|W||John M. Arnold||720|
|L||Suzann M. Owen||502|
|L||Scott C. Tibbs||490|
|L||Joshua Patrick Kelley||367|
|L||Christopher D. Noel||307|
|L||Nets Hawk Katz||177|
|L||Patrick K. Mcaleer||166|
Last weekend, I joined about 100 other people in a "tea party" protest of Baron Hill's fundraiser with Barack Obama's chief of staff. There is palpable frustration with Obama's policies, and nationally more people are identifying as conservatives in opinion polls. After a truly pathetic showing in 2008 led by a pathetic candidate at the top of the ticket, Republicans are looking to have a very good year in 2010. The national tide might even allow the beleaguered Republican Party in Monroe County to put up a good showing in local elections.
It's no secret that conservatives are frustrated with the Republican Party. We're frustrated that the President Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress passed a law regulating the content of political speech, significantly increased the federal government's role in primary and secondary education, created a brand new federal entitlement program and attempted to grant amnesty to illegal aliens. We're beginning to get encouraged by the Republican Party's opposition to Obama's socialist agenda, but the frustration remains. Is it time for a third party?
The problem with a third party is that the best you can realistically hope for is for the third party to get enough votes to be a spoiler. By splitting conservative votes between the GOP and a third party, you allow the Democrats to win elections with a plurality when they would otherwise lose. Do we really want to give the Democrats permanent majority status? Like it or not, the American political system is set up as a two party system. While the Republicans replaced the Whigs in the 1800's, the odds of that happening again are low.
I've voted for third party candidates in the past. For example, I voted for Bob Barr for President in 2008 and I voted for Jim Billingsley for state representative in 2002. But those were very specific situations where the Republican nominee was unacceptable because of anti-conservative positions and I could not in good conscience violate my conservative principles and support the Republican candidate. The problem with organizing conservative activists in a third party is that we will ensure the defeat of the good Republicans who are actually out there fighting for conservative principles, individual liberty and limited government.
What the "tea party patriots" need to do is take over the Republican Party. This means recruiting and supporting true conservatives in Republican primaries and then working to make sure those conservatives win. This means replacing existing Republicans in name only (RINO) with conservatives by challenging them in the primary, as conservatives did 12 years ago when we defeated Jerry Bales. Now is not the time to split the conservative votes between the Republican Party and a third party. Now is the time to use the momentum of the tea parties to bring the GOP back to the conservative roots that George W. Bush abandoned.
|Thursday, January 14, 2010|
About 100 people showed up at the Indiana Memorial Union on Saturday night to protest as Baron Hill held a fundraiser featuring White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. The Bloomington "Tea Party Patriots" organized the protest, which drew people not only from Bloomington, but elsewhere in the "Bloody Ninth." People had put together a number of creative signs, including one with Baron Hill's face sandwiched between Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi that had Obama kissing Hill on the cheek.
I was the one wearing the Barack Obama mask with the "Pinocchio" nose. It was quite a popular getup, and I must have had 20 people take my picture. I can't say I'm creative enough to come up with that myself. A friend had the idea and made the mask for me before I arrived.
I take the turnout as a bad sign for Baron Hill. Normally, an event like this would go unnoticed, especially this early in an election year when filing has not even opened. A few College Republicans might show up if any were back in Bloomington, but you would not have so many people showing up to let Hill know how unhappy they are with his party's policies. That this many people showed up indicates a level of frustration with the ruling party that could be a sign that Hill will lose his seat again. (Voters fired him in 2004, and he won his seat back in 2006.)
To add to the discontent with President Obama, remember that John McCain won the 9th District in 2008. What makes that significant is that McCain was a pitiful candidate who became the first Republican to lose Indiana since 1964, despite the fact that Republican Governor Mitch Daniels was re-elected with 58% of the vote. This means a large number of Daniels voters crossed over to vote for Obama. 2010 will be much less favorable for Democrats statewide than 2008 was, and Baron Hill will be closely tied to Obama's policies.
There was a Hummer limousine in the parking lot at 6th and Dunn, close to the IMU. I was curious who that limo belonged to. If anyone knows, feel free to post in the comments or send me a tip via e-mail.
There is more coverage of the protest (including pictures) at HoosierPundit and Fuzzy Conservative.
|Wednesday, January 13, 2010|
Yesterday, I reposted an article I wrote in 2007 on the front page, making the point that Jesus was not a vegetarian. Allow me to follow up on that statement.
There are people who are vegetarians (or who consume much less meat than the average American) for reasons of personal health. There are others who avoid eating much meat because they are concerned about the conditions of animals raised in "factory farms." All of this is fine and I have no problem with these positions. I disagree with the position that a meat-free diet is the healthiest diet, but I can respect that opinion and those who hold that position.
What I do not respect is the blasphemous heresy that a vegetarian diet is required to be a good Christian. This is in direct conflict with Scripture, which teaches that Jesus Christ ate meat. But it is not the fact that this heresy is in conflict with Scripture itself that makes it so blasphemous. What is really offensive is that the so-called "Christians" who advocate this position are claiming to be more righteous than Jesus Christ.
Given the historical fact that Jesus Christ ate meat, the theology that a vegetarian diet is closer to God's will makes the vegetarian more righteous than our Redeemer who gave his life on the cross as a perfect sacrifice to take away our sins. Obviously, under this blasphemous heresy Jesus was not the perfect Lamb of God. Instead He had flaws that more enlightened modern hippies have overcome by "choosing life for all beings."
If you want to be a vegetarian for your own personal health, fine. If you want to be a vegetarian because you worship the earth "goddess" Gaia, that is also fine. But you should not pretend to be a "Christian" while you spew the blasphemous heresy that you are more righteous than Jesus Christ and that you are more enlightened than our Father in Heaven. Just admit that your faith is in a false pagan "god" and not the one true God of the Bible.
Late last month, IU professor Don Belton was found murdered in his home, stabbed to death by an Iraq war veteran. Something happened between Belton and Michael Griffin, and an argument over it turned physical and led to Belton's death. We'll probably never know for sure what really happened on Christmas Day.
Source: December 31, 2009 Herald-Times.
According to the probable cause affidavit for the case, Griffin told investigators Belton had sexually assaulted him twice on Christmas Day. Griffin told police he went to Belton’s home early Sunday to talk about the incident, according to Detective Marty Deckard’s sworn statement.
Militant homosexuals have complained loudly about the reporting of this allegation and have set up a web site pressing for justice for Belton. Mark Price wrote a letter to the editor in which he shamelessly argued: "many of the comments in this and other papers can only focus upon being gay as some sort of reason for the man’s murder."
Absolutely unbelievable. The allegation was that Professor Belton had committed sexual assault and that the person who killed the professor alleged that he was sexually assaulted by the professor. By intentionally confusing homosexuality with sexual assault, Mark Price demonstrates himself to be as "homophobic" as Fred Phelps and the Campbellsburg protesters. The hypocrisy is so thick you can cut it with a knife.
I'm always reluctant to take the word of a murderer, so I view the allegations of sexual assault with skepticism. When someone commits a murder, it immediately goes to his credibility and undermines the believability of statements he makes unless those statements are supported by other factual evidence. But the possibility that the professor committed sexual assault should not be swept under the rug for the sake of political correctness. It is a legitimate part of the investigation and should be considered in what specific charge to file.
Even if the allegations are true (again, I am always reluctant to take the word of a murderer) the murder of Professor Belton was still a crime and should be harshly punished. Griffin should never see the outside of a prison. If Griffin was sexually assaulted as he claims, then he should have gone to the police, pressed charges against Belton and allowed the legal system to move forward. Vigilantism or personal vengeance should not take the place of the rule of law.
From a Christian perspective, God has given the "sword" to the governing authorities He has placed over us, and we are not to usurp the authority of the elected government by seeking personal vengeance. (See Romans 13:1-4.)
Perhaps Don Belton sexually assaulted Michael Griffin. Perhaps no sexual assault took place and Griffin is lying. What the prosecutor's office should not do is sweep allegations of sexual assault under the rug for the sake of preserving political correctness and because militant homosexuals are loudly complaining about "gay panic" and suggesting the murder could have been a "hate crime." All relevant facts and reliable information should be included in the investigation of Professor Belton's murder and the prosecution of the murderer.
This case is a test for Chris Gaal, who is up for re-election in November. If he allows his professional decisions on the case to be influenced by political correctness, he will prove he is unfit to be prosecutor and the voters of Monroe County should terminate his employment (ideally in a landslide) in November.
When Rush Limbaugh went into the hospital with serious chest pains last week, some joker updated the Wikipedia entry on Limbaugh to say that he had died. Within a couple hours, the false information had been caught and fixed, but Radar Online reported that Wikipedia "pronounced him dead" shortly after the news of his hospitalization broke. World Net Daily made a similar statement last July, announcing in a headline that "Wikipedia says Obama born in Kenya" and that "online encyclopedia can't make up its mind on president's birthplace" when the entry was corrected shortly thereafter.
A lot of people do not understand how Wikipedia works, so allow me to explain. Wikipedia is an open source encyclopedia that anyone can edit. Anyone can set up an account free of charge and then start posting updates to various entries on the site. Wikipedia is not CNN.com or MSNBC.com or the New York Times, all of which have paid staff that actually represent the site or newspaper, and filters to make sure the information presented is accurate. Wikipedia should not be confused with the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Anyone who has a Wikipedia account could update the entry on President Barack Obama, claiming that he was a concentration camp guard in World War II, and then use Wikipedia as a "source" to back up that claim. Of course, we know this is simply not possible, because President Obama was not even born until more than 15 years after the end of the World War II.
World Net Daily should have known better last summer, when they citied the Wikipedia edits to push the conspiracy theories about Obama's birth certificate back to the front page. After all, WND was one of the earliest conservative e-zines and the editors should be familiar with how sites like Wikipedia work. Stating that Wikipedia "can't make up its mind" when users are posting conflicting information was at best ignorant and at worst dishonest. The latter is much more likely than the former.
Now, in fairness to Wikipedia, the users and administrators do a pretty good job of making sure the claims made on the site are well vetted and sourced with footnotes. For casual research on a topic, Wikipedia is a good source to use and I it quite frequently to look something up. But because of the nature of the site, I would never use it as a source for an article I am writing, and I would certainly never use it in an academic setting. Most college professors would not accept Wikipedia as a source for a paper, and any student who uses it would likely see his grade suffer as a result.
The point, though, is that Wikipedia itself does not make mistakes. Wikipedia's users make mistakes and sometimes intentionally post false information. Wikipedia is like any other site where people can register an account and post as they please, including Facebook, MySpace and various discussion forums scattered throughout cyberspace. The information provided is only as good as the footnotes, the credibility of the users posting the edits and the research skills of those users.
Bloomington Herald-Times, January 5, 2010
|Thursday, January 7, 2010|
To the editor:
America's founding fathers knew that we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. They sought to ensure our ability to preserve and protect those liberties through secession from England.
Because the founders knew that our rights come from God, they wrote the Constitution not to grant rights, but to prevent government from infringing on the rights given to us by God. That is why the Bill of Rights is a list of things government may not do to us.
Later, the 14th Amendment required states to provide equal protection under the law to all persons, a requirement that has been ignored since 1973 as we have slaughtered 50 million unborn children.
On January 24 at 2:00 p.m. at the Monroe County Courthouse, the 2010 Rally for Life will protest the injustice of denying unborn children the basic human right to not be murdered. Please come to the Rally for Life to show support for human rights, liberty and the principle that we have no right to destroy human life created in the image of God.
Last year, the Herald-Times failed to cover the Rally for Life. I encourage the H-T to cover the rally this year.
|Wednesday, January 6, 2010|
The Bloomington Herald-Times stirred up a hornet's nest a month ago when they published a database of handgun permits statewide. The National Rifle Association sent an e-mail alert objecting to the decision, and urging members to keep the pressure on when the H-T refused to back down and take down the database.
First, let's get the facts straight. The H-T didn't publish any identifying information on private citizens. What the database shows is how many permits are on a given street. For example, the database would show that 5 permits are on ABC Street in AnyTown, Indiana - but not who holds those permits. The H-T does not list any names or addresses, although that information is currently public record (more on that later) and the newspaper would be well within their legal rights to publish it. It would be relatively simple (though time consuming) for a motivated blogger to publish not only the street names, but names and addresses of permit holders on the internet.
Some of the complaints about the database were unreasonable. One letter to the editor referred to it as a "socialist-communist database" that will allow the President "to confiscate legal guns from law-abiding citizens in the future." I am pretty sure that if the federal government wanted to illegally use a database to confiscate handguns, they would go to the Indiana State Police and get the names and addresses of gun owners, not just the HeraldTimesOnline.com list of how many permits are on a given street.
The Herald-Times didn't do itself any favors with a backhanded slap at gun owners in a staff editorial just before the controversy erupted. A portion of that editorial is quoted below:
Source: December 1, 2009 Herald-Times editorial.
Permits spiked in the months around the election of Barack Obama as president, prompting gun dealers to refer to "the Obama factor." This shows a troubling distrust - paranoia? - about the new administration. Our research doesn't say whether it's just political or political and racial, but we have our suspicions.|
Suggesting the spike in permits is because the permit holders are paranoid racists is not a good way to convince people that this is simply a way to provide information that subscribers would find interesting, instead of an agenda driven attempt to score political points. The Herald-Times already has a poor reputation, and this does not help.
The gun permit information kept by the State Police might not be public information for very much longer.
State representatives Peggy Welch and Mike Murphy, along with state senator Greg Walker, have introduced legislation to prevent the release of the information to the public.
I support this legislation. There is no reason for the names and addresses of every gun permit holder in Indiana to be public record, available to anyone in the nation for a small fee. Private citizens, provided they are not doing anything wrong, should not expect to have their personal information be available to anyone. While public access to property ownership records, incorporation records, arrest records and voter registration records all serve a public benefit, there is no public benefit to have handgun permits be public record.
If there is a benefit to the gun permit database, it will be that this hole in privacy will be filled. Since the 2010 legislative session is a short session, there will be less time to get this done, but the legislature should make this a priority. If they do not, voters should make them pay for it in November.
"I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you're not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration." -- Hillary Rodham Clinton
In a December 29 letter to the editor, Norma Tavis demands that conservative critics of President Barack Obama "get with the program." She challenges conservatives to "be an American and support the elected president. If not, perhaps another country would be more suitable to you."
The hypocrisy is both incredible and shamelessly brazen. Would Tavis have said the same thing about Leftists who harshly attacked President George W. Bush for 8 years? Would Tavis have scolded Leftists who accused Bush of lying to get us into war, attacked his tax policies, and longed for Al Gore as President? No, because when Bush was President, we heard Leftists claim endlessly that "dissent is patriotic." Democrats held onto that position as recently as 14 months ago. Then Obama was elected and now hypocrites like Tavis demand we all fall into line behind our exalted leader. How times change when it is politically convenient.
To be fair, there were plenty of Republicans (including one of my heroes, Rush Limbaugh) who equated dissent with the Bush Administration's policies - especially opposition to the war in Iraq - with a lack of patriotism or even providing aid and comfort to the enemy. Those Republicans were as wrong then as Democrats are now when they wrap themselves in the flag and pretend that partisanship is the same as patriotism. When you demonize dissent as unpatriotic, you lay the foundation for the other side to turn the tables on you when they are in power.
I do not believe in "my country, right or wrong" and I certainly do not believe in "my government, right or wrong." If any elected official at any level of government proposes policies that I believe are ineffective, counterproductive or destructive to my nation, state or city then I will oppose those policies and criticize that elected official.
I attacked President Bush on many occasions throughout his Presidency. Less than a month after Evan Bayh was voting for the so-called "Patriot Act" and Baron Hill did not even vote on arguably the most significant anti-terrorism law in American history, I wrote a letter to the editor opposing the "Patriot Act." Less than two years later, I joined with the Bloomington Bill of Rights defense Committee to lobby the City Council to pass a resolution against the "Patriot Act."
Dissent was not unpatriotic when George W. Bush was President and it is most certainly not unpatriotic now that Barack Obama is President. By intentionally confusing partisanship with patriotism, Leftists sully the American flag and demean true patriotism. They should be ashamed of themselves.