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Friday, February 26, 2010

Murder victims, by sex and race

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Jessica Valenti cites three anecdotal violent crimes as evidence that women are being oppressed in the United States. These stories may outrage readers, but the statistical data on murder simply does not support the argument Valenti is trying to make.

If Valenti wishes to use murder as evidence of sexist oppression, men are far more oppressed than women. After all, the FBI reports that 78 percent of murder victims in 2008 were male.

If there is an argument to be made from murder statistics about discrimination, black males are far more oppressed that women. 5,752 of the 14,180 homicide victims in 2008 were black males, far higher than the percentage of black males in the population.

Furthermore, it is well established that prison rape is an epidemic, but the FBI statistics ignore male rape victims by defining rape as "the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will." Even worse, the cultural perception of prison rape is that the victims "deserve" what they get.

Equal rights for women is a worthy topic for discussion, but dishonestly using anecdotal evidence and ignoring statistics is unworthy of the Post editorial page.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Proven irresponsible?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

I've made no secret of my frustration with the big-government policies of the Republican Party under George W. Bush. Congressional candidate Todd Young has taken to pointing out this irresponsibility, telling the Herald-Times that the "Republican Congress was the most fiscally irresponsible Congress in American history - until this present Congress." While it's good to see a Republican not be shackled by partisanship and willing to criticize his own party for bad policy, it is important to add the perspective that was missing in Young's remarks about the Republican Congress.

According to White House figures, the budget deficit's history for the last few years is in a table to the right. The deficit is in millions of dollars.

Clearly, the deficit exploded during Bush's first term. However, things were improving significantly before the Democrats won control of Congress in the 2006 elections, taking power in January of 2007. The 2006 and 2007 budgets were passed in 2005 and 2006, respectively. Mike Sodrel was elected in 2004, so he was part of the Congress that was charting a course toward fiscal responsibility.

The 2008 budget was the first budget that was passed by the Democratic Congress, with the support of Barack Obama. The 2009 budget was passed in 2008, and the deficit ballooned significantly with the bailout of the banks (TARP) and the failed "economic stimulus" package. Obama supported the former and was the architect of the latter. It should be clear that Obama owns the deficit.

We should not dismiss the fiscal irresponsibility that Republicans displayed in Bush's first term, but it would be a mistake to equate the fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush Administration with the wild-eyed spending spree that Barack Obama has rammed through the Congress. Republicans may have had a glass of deficit wine, but the Democrats are blasted drunk and the country is passing out as a result. Whining about President Bush and blaming everything on him will not erase the rampant fiscal irresponsibility of Barack Obama.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Party Unity" cannot exist with a "big tent"

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

At the Monroe County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner last Saturday, it was obvious local Republicans were energized. Barack Obama has fallen out of favor with the American people and it looks like 2010 will be a big Republican year. Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts gave us hope that we could defeat Evan Bayh, and with Bayh's departure from the race the odds are actually in favor of the Republicans. We cannot sit back on our laurels and do nothing, because no election is won without a great deal of hard work and campaigning. We cannot expect the American people to just reflexively vote Republican.

I did see a disturbing trend that could indicate future problems for the party, both nationally and locally. The keynote speaker said we need to support the Republican candidates because the worst Republican is better than the best Democrat, while another speaker called for us all to be unified. This sounds nice on paper, but the reality much more complicated. We are sowing the seeds for an eventual rejection by the American people.

This attitude of hyper partisanship and "party unity" is exactly what caused us to lose big in 2006 and 2008. Republicans had pushed one big-government policy after another. Republicans passed a significant expansion of the federal government's role in our public school system. That Ted Kennedy had a huge role in this should have been the first sign it was a bad idea. The Republicans also passed a brand new federal entitlement program with the Medicare prescription drug benefit. Conservatives were told to shut up, because the Democrats would be worse.

Worst of all, Republicans passed an unconscionable, inexcusable and brazenly unconstitutional campaign finance "reform" plan that went to the extreme of regulating the content of political speech. Then Republicans nominated the architect of that anti-American legislation to be their candidate for President, running on a laughable platform of "country first" after spending years trying to destroy the very freedoms this country was founded to protect.

Republicans like to talk a lot about being a "big tent" party, and we are. We have Republicans who favor gun control, favor keeping abortion legal and favor homosexual marriage. We have Republicans who support tax increases, more spending and bigger government. Most Republicans do not believe in those things, but we have many in our party who are not conservatives. This is exactly why party unity is a fraud.

Simply put, you cannot have party unity in a "big tent" party. If we are going to have a wide range of ideological perspectives in the GOP, then we have to expect there will be heated disagreements and debates about public policy. Sometimes, these debates will become bitter arguments. It is not realistic to expect people who have wide differences on public policy will not criticize each other and sometimes refuse to support candidates who have wildly different perspectives on public policy.

Look at the Libertarian Party, which has always touted itself as the "party of principle." This is admirable. Libertarians are not a "big tent" party. I cannot imagine Libertarians nominating a U.S. Senate candidate who favors strict limits on Second Amendment rights, as the Republicans did in 1998. Libertarians also rarely reach 5% of the vote. There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is the large number of philosophical libertarians in the Republican Party and also due to the nature of our system that makes it very difficult for third parties to break through.

Standing firm on principle is something Republicans would do well to emulate. Does this mean we should only support candidates who are perfectly aligned with our own views? No. If that were the case, the only person I would be able to vote for is Scott Tibbs. For example, we have a number of good candidates for the U.S. Senate. John Hostettler is my choice, a consistent philosophical libertarian who refused his Congressional pension and has consistently stood for low taxes and limited government. Hostettler can be depended on to always fight for our civil liberties.

Hostettler is not alone. Marlin Stutzman is a solid conservative who would make an excellent U.S. Senator. If John Hostettler was not in the race, I would be supporting Stutzman. I was critical of Don Bates Jr. back in October. To be fair to Bates, however, I would enthusiastically vote for him if he wins the primary. Whatever disagreements we may have on legislative strategy, Bates is a good man and a solid conservative. I have complete confidence that he would be a reliable pro-life vote if he is elected to the Senate.

But there are candidates who I cannot support. John McCain, who dedicated his Senate career to attacking American values, was one of those candidates. What we have to realize as a party is that most people do not give a rip about the Republican Party. Party insiders and candidates can appeal to party unity all they want. It is generally true that the worst Republican is better than the best Democrat, and even I have to admit that McCain would have been a better President than Barack Obama. But the American people are not interested in party labels. They want candidates who share their values, will protect their civil liberties and push for responsible fiscal policy.

If we are going to have long-term success as a party, the Republican Party must be a party of principle. Does this mean that every single Republican must be a conservative on every issue? Absolutely not. I have some views that are inconsistent with most Republicans, especially regarding decriminalizing drugs. But the basic orientation of the Republican Party must be limited government, low taxes, sound fiscal policy and a strong national defense. Most importantly, Republicans must advocate protection of the unborn. Principle is the key to political success.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monroe County Primary Ballot, 2010

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Here are the candidates who have registered with the Monroe County Clerk to be on the Monroe County ballot for the May 4, 2010 primary. This does not include federal or state offices.


Clerk of the Circuit Court
Ronald “Craig” Harvey
Jenn Marcum
Linda Robbins

County Recorder
Mike Szakaly

County Sheriff
James L. (Jim) Kennedy

County Assessor
Judith A. Sharp

County Commissioner, District 1
Charles F. Newmann
Patrick Stoffers

County Council, District 1
Vic Kelson

County Council, District 2
Cheryl Munson

County Council, District 3
Larry Barker (pending chair cert.)

County Council, District 4
Sam Allison

Bloomington Twp Trustee
Linda Sievers

Bloomington Twp Board
Dawn Allen
Barbara McKinney
Bill Sturbaum

Perry Twp Trustee
Dan Combs

Perry Twp Board
Jack E. Davis
Susie Hamilton
Barbara Sturbaum

Richland Twp Trustee
Robert (Sparky) Johnson

Richland Twp Board

Van Buren Twp Trustee
Terry Robbins
Cameron Smith

Van Buren Twp Board
Sandy Newmann
Harold J. Ooley

Bean Blossom Twp Trustee
Vera E. Figg

Bean Blossom Twp Board
Benny B. Walden

Benton Twp Trustee
Heather Cohee

Benton Twp Board
Eric Schmitz
Lynn Stevens
Diane Street

Clear Creek Twp Trustee

Clear Creek Twp Board
Lucretia S. Cregar

Indian Creek Twp Trustee
Linda Hollingsworth
Vicky Sorensen

Indian Creek Twp Board
Andy Alexander
Cora Sue Clayton
George (Doug) Davis
Timothy R. Prince I
Marietta Reinhold
Amy Swain

Polk Twp Trustee

Polk Twp Board

Salt Creek Twp Trustee
Rosemary Hawkins-Welch
David Joe Lane
Jerry Reed

Salt Creek Twp Board
Donald F. (Donn) Hall

Washington Twp Trustee

Washington Twp Board

Ellettsville Town Council, Ward 4
Ed Bitner

Ellettsville Town Council, Ward 5
Joseph Kerr
State Convention Delegates, District 1
Donn Scott Abler
Anthony T. Armstrong
Byron C. Bangert
Robert E. Brown
David Hart
Ruth E. Hickman
Brian Kanowsky
Iris Kiesling
Kathleen E. Paul
Randy Paul
Donna Purdom
Paul Purdom
Fred Schultz
Mike Szakaly

State Convention Delegates, District 2
Cassie L. Bennett
Daniel K. Blackwell
Dellsie Boddie
Lucretia S. Cregar
Trent Deckard
Steve Hanson
Craig Harvey
Cheryl Munson
Charles F. Newmann
Sandy Newmann
Sarita Overton
Dee S. Owens
Linda K. Robbins
Terry Robbins
Cathy Smith
Larry Smith

State Convention Delegates, District 3
Ed Bitner
Richard W. Denning
Arthur Hayes
Sherry Hayes
Dr. John Kardynalczyk
Geoff McKim
Pam Warren

State Convention Delegates, District 4
Rick Birch Dietz
Janet S. Ellis
Wadell Hamer, Jr
Chaim Julian
Vic Kelson
Jenn Marcum
Kyle Marcum
Mallory L. Minier
Regina Moore
Barbara Purdom Phipps
Edward L. Robertson
Troy Thomas
Mary Werden
Abby Wickens

Precinct Committeemen
Julie Thomas, BL1
Rick Birch Dietz, BL2
Chaim Julian, BL3
Barbara Purdom Phipps, BL4
Troy Thomas, BL4
Charlotte Zietlow, BL5
Jerry R. Burton, BL8
Martin Spechler, BL10
Jillian Kinzie, BL13
Hans Huffman, P1
Trent Deckard, P5
Jack Baker, P6
Edward L. Robertson, P7
Janet S. Ellis, P8
Craig Harvey, P10
David Hart, P12
Regina Moore, P15
Jack E. Davis, P16
Iris Kiesling, P18
Frances C. Moore, P20
Dan Combs, P24
Sandy Newmann, VB5
Ed Bitner, R1
Jackie Yenna, R2
JoAnn M. Vernon, R3
Arthur Hayes, R8
Vera E. Figg, BB1
Charles F. (Fred) Risinger, BEN1
Eric Schmitz, BEN2
Steve Hanson, CC1
Mark Hazelbaker, CC1
Lucretia S. Cregar, CC2
Linda Hollingsworth, IC
Clark Soresen, IC
Evelyn Crowe, WASH


Clerk of the Circuit Court
Jacob Franklin
Candi Haley

County Recorder
Jim Fielder

County Sheriff
Steve Hinds

County Assessor

County Commissioner, District 1
Michael Hill

County Council, District 1

County Council, District 2
Ryan J. Langley

County Council, District 3
Martha “Marty” Hawk

County Council, District 4
Benedict E. Hesen III
Jeffrey C. Shemmer

Bloomington Twp Trustee
John Bradly Freeman

Bloomington Twp Board
David Shuee

Perry Twp Trustee

Perry Twp Board

Richland Twp Trustee
William H. Evans
Jay “Marty” Stephens

Richland Twp Board
L. Eileen Goss
Richard Landgrebe
Ranee “Brown” Love
Jay M. Thrasher
Mike J. Richardson

Van Buren Twp Trustee
Rita M. Barrow
Ronnie G. Pursell

Van Buren Twp Board
Ryan N. Fipps
Robert W. Hudson
Toby Liff
Kenny Parrish
Mary Rice
John Wilson

Bean Blossom Twp Trustee

Bean Blossom Twp Board
Vicki L. McGlocklin

Benton Twp Trustee

Benton Twp Board
Michael R. Collins

Clear Creek Twp Trustee
Thelma Kelley Jeffries

Clear Creek Twp Board
Tommy J. Bartlett
Tony A. Jeffries
Randy May
John A. Thrasher

Indian Creek Twp Trustee
Sandra (Sandi) L. Cooper
Georgia Nichols

Indian Creek Twp Board
Fontaine “Bud” Rodman
James H. Edney

Polk Twp Trustee
Christopher Spiek

Polk Twp Board
David L. Hollars

Salt Creek Twp Trustee
Charles Hawkins

Salt Creek Twp Board

Washington Twp Trustee
Barbara Ooley

Washington Twp Board
Nina K. Musgrave-Walls
Jay D. Sears

Ellettsville Town Council, Ward 4
Matthew Smith
Daniel (Dan) R. Swafford
Marco Matavuli

Ellettsville Town Council, Ward 5
Dianna S. Bastin

State Convention Delegates, District 1
Andrew D. Greene
Steven R. Hogan

State Convention Delegates, District 2
Randy May

State Convention Delegates, District 3
Mary Rice
John Wilson

State Convention Delegates, District 4
Dan Aiken
Lori Aiken
Steven Douglas
Jim Fielder
John Bradly Freeman
L. Eileen Goss
Martha “Marty” Hawk

State Convention Delegates, District 5
John M. Arnold
Joshua P. Kelley
Carl Lamb
Nathan Smith
Samuel Spaiser
Scott C. Tibbs
Allen Gilmore Woodhouse

State Convention Delegates, District 6
Barbara Clark
Kate Frank
Marjorie Gouwens (Hudgins)
Patrick Hastings
Doug Horn
Nicholas Andrew Perrino
Jeffrey Shemmer
Danny Shields
David Shuee
Jay M. Stephens
Christine Talley-Haseman

Friday, February 19, 2010

The "middle of the road" fallacy

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

"The extremes of both parties have to be willing to accept compromises." Congress should make changes "so that sensible people can get the job done." Those were two of the statements that Evan Bayh made when he announced he will not run for another term in 2010. It is all bunk.

I could blog about the political ramifications of Bayh dropping out and the timing of his announcement, but that has been beaten to death. I'm not going to say anything that has not already been said hundreds of times all over the blogosphere. What is worth addressing, though, is the content-free populist rhetoric Bayh used to justify his decision not to defend his endangered seat.

Arguably the most intensely partisan battle over public policy has been on health care. What, exactly, does Bayh view as a "compromise" that Republicans should accept? As usual, populist rhetoric about "getting things done" is long on generalities and short on specifics.

For conservatives who believe that one of the problems (if not the problem) with health care is too much government, "compromising" with Democrats on the issue serves as a victory for Democrats. We may not increase government's role as much as Democrats would like, but we still increase the government's role in health care. Conservatives get absolutely nothing out of such a "compromise" solution, while Democrats get a step closer to what they want.

Despite all the flowery talk about reaching across the aisle and working with the other party in the interest of the American people, there are people who have strong ideological leanings about the role of government and the priorities government should have. A solution that expands government less than what statists want is not a compromise - it is a surrender by conservatives. Similarly, a solution that cuts government less than what conservatives want is also not a compromise. It is a surrender by statists.

Evan Bayh's attempt to set himself above the fray and damn both sides is the worst of cynical political gamesmanship. If Evan Bayh was serious about advocating for the American people, he would be proposing specific solutions that he believes would be beneficial and would not whine about those who oppose that solution on philosophical grounds. The thing is, Evan Bayh is not serious at all. He is a born politician, the son of a politician, trying to set himself up to run for office again in the future when the political climate is more favorable.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Abortion, racism and civil rights

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Abortions in
Monroe County
"What happens to the mind of a person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience? What kind of person and what kind of a society will we have twenty years hence if life can be taken so casually? It is that question, the question of our attitude, our value system and our mind set with regard to the nature and worth of life itself that is the central question confronting mankind. Failure to answer that question affirmatively may leave us with a hell right here on earth" – Jesse Jackson

When Bloomington celebrated Martin Luther King Day, we honored a man who gave his life to defending the oppressed against the injustice of racial discrimination. Dr. King dedicated his life to opposing injustice, and his courage changed the course of history and inspired many to carry on his torch. In the 1970's, Jesse Jackson understood that defending the oppressed meant defending the life of the unborn, before he sold his soul for political expediency.

How ironic is it, then, that Jesse Jackson gave the keynote speech for the King Day celebrations in Bloomington, having long since abandoned standing up for the oppressed, and the 50 million unborn babies who have been slaughtered under the protection of federal law since 1973? While we pat ourselves on the back for being an evolved and enlightened city that embraces racial diversity and opposes racial intolerance, we ignore the fact that we have an abortion mill operating just a few blocks from the county courthouse.

According to Planned Parenthood of Indiana, 28.9% of abortions in Indiana in 2005 were performed on black women. It is worth noting that in 2008, blacks represented 9.1% of Indiana's population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This means that the black population of Indiana is being decimated by the abortion industry.

The hypocrisy is obvious. How can we pretend to be enlightened on racial issues when black children are being aborted at such a high rate? How can we claim to stand against oppression when an average of more than 14 murders are taking place every week on South College Avenue, and the people committing the murders are protected by law and funded by our tax dollars through handouts from city and county government?

If we are serious about standing for the oppressed, the first and primary goal should be driving the abortuary on South College Avenue out of business, and holding our elected representatives accountable when they give our tax dollars to a "clinic" where children are murdered each week.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The H-T is responsible for what the H-T publishes.

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

In an article about Marty Hawk's announcement that she is running for re-election this year, the Herald-Times reported that "Hawk, who first began serving on the council in 1988, serves in District 3."

This is a classic example of something that is factually correct, and yet not true.

Hawk did serve on the county council starting in 1988, but she was not re-elected in 1992. She did not run again until 1998, when she was elected in District 3. She was re-elected in 2002 and 2006. The statement that Hawk "began serving on the council in 1988" would lead any reasonable person to believe she has served continuously since 1988. That is not true. She has served (admirably, by the way) 16 years, not 22 years.

This error should never have been published, especially since it is so easily fact-checked. The statement, while factually correct, was sloppily written and would have been much better had the reporter wrote "Hawk served from 1988 to 1993 and from 1999 to present," or something to that effect.

Predictably, Leftists attacked me when I pointed this out in the comments, whining that Hawk's 2006 campaign site contains the statement that "since 1988 Marty has served on the Monroe County Council." Of course, Hawk's site also states that she had served for 13 years, making it obvious that she did not serve continually from 1988 to 2006.

Ultimately, the H-T is responsible for what the H-T publishes.

If I told a reporter it is 100 degrees outside today and the H-T published that in tomorrow's paper, the H-T is at fault for printing the factual error. It is my error too, of course, but that does not absolve the Herald-Times of the responsibility to engage in basic fact-checking. You know - the basic job of a journalist. If the "reporters" at 1900 South Walnut were actually doing their job, this misleading statement would never have been published no matter what Hawk said.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

ACC serves as advocate, resource for students

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Note: I am taking a journalism class this semester. This is my first article for that class. Any articles I publish on ConservaTibbs will not be timely, as I will not post them until after I turn them in and get my grade.

Created as a result of a protest by the Student Coalition in 1997, the Asian Culture Center serves as a means to educate the community about Asian and Asian-American culture as well as advocating for Asians and Asian-Americans on campus. So said Melanie Castillo-Cullather, director of the ACC, in a meeting with J200 students on Thursday, January 28.

When about 400 students protested at the Sample Gates in January of 1997, one item on their list of demands was for an Asian Culture Center. Castillo-Cullather said that the center was still getting established when white supremacist Benjamin "August" Smith murdered IU student Won-Joon Yoon in a drive-by shooting in front of the United Methodist Church on Third Street, according to the July 6, 1999 Herald-Times. Castillo-Cullather said that the murder made it clear that the center had to engage in the community.

Approximately 40 percent of her time is spent doing community outreach, Castillo-Cullather said. The ACC serves as a way to help people understand Asian and Asian-American culture and deal with cultural conflicts. Castillo-Cullather explained that after an Asian immigrant couple left their child in their automobile at Kroger, the ACC provided a translator and helped foster communication between the police and the family and help the family understand that is not allowed in the United States.

Part of the center's educational efforts is to help people understand that difference and deal with the cultural bias that people of Asian descent are often assumed to be from Asia even if they were born in the United States, Castillo-Cullather said. The two groups are "markedly different" in many ways and the ACC helps people understand the difference between the two groups, she said.

"It is very important to be able to distinguish between the experiences of an Asian-American and an Asian international student," she said.

The ACC also provides educational programs throughout the year.

"We try to come up with programs that will enlighten and bring a sense of awareness about people of Asian descent," Castillo-Cullather said.

These programs include the ACC Film Series, which "brings films showcasing Asian themes, subjects, and issues," according to the ACC web site at www.indiana.edu/~acc. Other programs include "Asian Cultures Around Campus" and a monthly discussion called "Monday Table Topics," according to the ACC Web site.

The ACC is attempting to convince Indiana University to treat Asian and Asian-American students as other minorities for purposes such as outreach and scholarships, Castillo-Cullather said. Because there are more Asian and Asian-American students at Indiana University than their percentage of the population, they are not considered an underrepresented minority group, Castillo-Cullather said.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A dangerously foolish view

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

A February 9 letter to the editor makes the following statement:

Imagine how the past might have changed our present circumstances if we had “bombed” Afghans with loaves of bread after 9/11

The author said several good things in her letter about the need to forgive those who have sinned against us and how central forgiveness is to Christian doctrine. She used that to lead into her main point, which was about Afghanistan.

Needless to say, her statement is foolishness, showing she is completely ignorant of history.

Turning the other cheek and forgiving does not, has never, and will never work with murderous tyrants. This is a lesson that the world should have learned thousands of years ago, but should really be burned into our collective minds by the disastrous policies that led to World War II.

England and France tried to achieve "peace in our time" after Nazi Germany invaded the Sudetenland. That failed, because Adolf Hitler was not interested in peace. He was interested in conquest and building an empire. Wishing to avoid conflict, the allies allowed Hitler to build his military strength and to become stronger. By the time the Nazis invaded Poland, it was too late. Hitler's Germany was far too powerful and it took an enormous effort and cost many more lives than would have been required had the Allies drew a line in the sand years earlier.

Much like Hitler, Osama bin Laden is not interested in peace. Muslim terrorists are not interested in peace. They are interested in a global jihad to build a Muslim empire, and in slaughtering anyone who gets in their way. If they accomplish this goal, one of the first people to be killed will be the author of that LTTE, who will most likely be shocked when gestures of "compassion" are met with a sword. The only thing Muslim terrorists understand is violence and death. You cannot negotiate with these people. You can only defeat them and deter them from attacking you.

"Peace" activists love to lump the Iraq and Afghan wars together. It is a terrible comparison.

The invasion of Iraq was a pre-emptive war. We were concerned about credible evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ties to terrorist groups, so we attacked Iraq before they could attack us. I supported the war, and came to realize two years ago that I was wrong.

We made a huge blunder with the preemptive invasion of a sovereign nation which had not attacked us. Saddam Hussein may have been evil, but he was not stupid or suicidal. Our nuclear deterrent would have been enough to contain Hussein and prevent him from attacking us with WMD, just like it had been for the previous 12 years. If the logic behind the Iraq war was sound, Should we invade and replace the government of every country that has WMD and could potentially use them against us, including China or North Korea?

The war in Afghanistan is nowhere near the same thing. We were attacked on our own soil on September 11 by war criminals determined to kill as many innocent people as possible. The people behind these war crimes were sheltered and protected by the government of Afghanistan, which makes the Taliban as guilty as al Qaida. Our invasion of Afghanistan was in direct retaliation for the attack on us by Muslim terrorists. We did not ask for this war, but we owe it to the victims of 9/11, and to freedom around the world, to win it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tim Tebow ad "controversy" - much ado about nothing

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, feminist groups became increasingly hysterical with a planned advertisement by Focus on the Family, which featured Pam Tebow and her son Tim. Mrs. Tebow was advised to abort her pregnancy due to health complications, but decided to proceed and her son became a Heisman trophy winner. The Feminist Majority urged their e-mail list to contact CBS and demand the ad be pulled, with hysterical claims such as:

This is an opportunity to bring people together and should not be used to tear them apart. Especially at this time, with the trial of Dr. George Tiller’s murderer fresh in everyone’s mind, airing an anti-abortion advertisement to a massive audience is both unwise and potentially dangerous.

Think about that for a minute. The FM is actually claiming that the Tebow ad could encourage anti-abortion terrorism and invokes the murder of infamous abortionist George Tiller last summer.

It turns out that the "controversial" advertisement does not even mention abortion, as Mrs. Tebow speaks very generically about hardships, how she still worries about her son and how special he is to her. The Feminist Majority managed to make themselves look like fools with their increasingly hysterical screeching about this commercial, given that it turned out to be little more than video glurge.

In the early days of his radio program, Rush Limbaugh used the term "feminazis" to describe feminists who wanted to see as many abortions take place as possible and become enraged when women were talked out of having an abortion. Many people laughed at Limbaugh and said no one is pro-abortion. But the temper tantrums from the Feminist Majority and the National Organization for Women about a commercial featuring a women who made a choice of her own free will to have her baby demonstrate that there are people who are actively pro-abortion.

Clearly, CBS has the legal right to run or refuse any advertisement that is proposed. Had CBS decided not to air the Tebow ad, I would have supported their right to do so. it is telling that feminazis were obsessed with getting the ad censored. What exactly is threatening about a woman sharing her story about how she decided not to have an abortion? What is divisive about Pam Tebow telling her story, either in a commercial or on a Web site? How does this ad fuel hatred or encourage terrorism?

Focus on the family scored big with their commercial. The hysterical reaction from FM and NOW, as well as the Leftist blogosphere and news media coverage, brought the Tebow ad much more notoriety than would have been the case had the Left not been whining about it for weeks. NOW attempted to declare victory in a message to their e-mail list this week, but they lost and lost big.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Should health care reform include tort reform?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

One of the areas where I split with the Republican Party is tort reform. Republicans have argued that health care reform needs to include tort reform in order to keep costs down. Republicans have been arguing for tort reform apart from the health care debate for years, to cut down on "frivolous" lawsuits.

The most obvious problem a conservative should have with tort reform is efforts to have it implemented at the federal level. We conservatives have been arguing for more state control and less federal power for decades, and that was one of the goals of the Republican Congress elected in 1994. (They slid away from that later, obviously.)

Tort reform at the federal level is a direct strike against that principle. The federal government should not be setting the rules under which people seek damages from each other and from corporations within a state. There has to be some sort of federal involvement if a dispute crosses state lines as it often does in this economy, but disputes that happen entirely within a state should be resolved under that state's laws, not under a universal set of rules established by the federal government. I'm disappointed that so many conservatives do not see this as anti-conservative.

Furthermore, while there are frivolous lawsuits out there, it is important to realize that personal injury lawyers serve a valuable purpose in society. When someone causes harm to someone else, they should be required to compensate the injured party. It's also important to note that we often do not have all of the information about allegedly "frivolous" lawsuits. One of the most famous examples of a "frivolous" lawsuit, the McDonald's "hot coffee" lawsuit, was justified because the product itself was defective due to being dangerously hot.

Probably the most egregious example of corporate corruption and the most often-cited example of the value of trial lawyers was the infamous Ford Pinto case, where Ford Motor Company willingly engaged in mass murder. The Ford Pinto had a design flaw that would result in the rupture of the gas tank in a rear-end collision, causing the car to explode into flames if hit from behind.

A cost-benefit analysis by Ford showed that the cost of settling lawsuits was less than redesigning the automobile to eliminate this safety hazard. (For more, see Time.com, MotherJones.com, CNNMoney.com and ahrq.gov.) Ford was forced to pay a huge amount in punitive damages once this scandal was revealed. That wasn't nearly enough, unfortunately. Ford intentionally marketed a deadly product and the people behind this shameful decision should have been put to death for the crime of premeditated murder.

This is not to say that frivolous lawsuits do not exist. They do, and many have been documented. Generally, however, an attorney worth his salt will not take a truly frivolous lawsuit. Some attorneys do not charge clients a fee unless they collect a settlement, so it would be foolish to waste time and money on a baseless claim. Trial lawyers may be an easy populist target for politicians, but they serve a necessary purpose in our legal system to gain compensation for those who have been unjustly harmed through negligence or willful recklessness.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Making local government more accountable

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

Bloomington Herald-Times, February 5, 2010

To the Editor:

The H-T editorial of January 22 was well done. When city council meetings last until 2 am, it effectively means the decisions are being made in secret because so few are able to observe that late. Yes, the meetings are all archived on Channel 12, but the votes should not be taken in the dead of night.

The agenda for the 20th was too ambitious, especially given the controversial nature of the on-street parking.

One of the best things the city can do to show respect for citizens is to move "reports from council members" to the end of the meeting. There have been times where the City Council did not actually get to the agenda until an hour or more into the meeting, because councilors were blathering on about things not on the agenda such as I-69. That is simply unacceptable.

City government is far more open than county government, where the County Commissioners hide their meetings at 9:00 am so that few can attend. The 5:00 p.m. start time for County Council meetings is better. Democrats should embrace the openness that Barack Obama has spoken of, and move the meetings to a time when working people can attend.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The need for a well-informed legislature

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

From the February 3, 2010 Herald-Times:

Senators passed the bill, 29-21, which now heads to the Indiana House. The bill's lead sponsor in the Indiana House is Rep. Peggy Welch, D-Bloomington.

Welch does not know much about the bill, she said Tuesday.

"I have not had a chance to review it," said Welch, who is sponsoring the bill because she knows Hershman and has worked with him in the past.

What is Peggy Welch thinking? I can't imagine why any legislator would sponsor legislation she has not read.

I understand that one of the realities of the state legislature is that not every legislator is going to read every bill he/she votes on. (That should be your first clue that the government is doing far too much, by the way.) But why would you sponsor legislation you have not read and admittedly do not know that much about? Welch owes it to her constituents to be well-informed on legislation before she becomes the lead sponsor of the bill in her chamber. Quite simply, this was an abdication of her responsibilities as a state legislator.

Whether Senate Bill 236 is a good idea or not is not the issue. The issue is whether our elected officials are engaged in due diligence to review legislation and make sure that the legislation is good policy for Hoosiers.

Having looked over the legislation, some of it makes sense, such as the requirement that an employer who files "more than twenty-five (25) Form W-2 federal income tax withholding statements with the department in a calendar year" will be required to file electronically rather than using a paper form. Much of the legislation is written in complicated technical language that I am having a difficult time following, so I can't express an opinion one way or the other on the tax credits.

Welch has been great on social issues like abortion and homosexual marriage, sponsoring an amendment to the state constitution forbidding government from recognizing same-sex marriage and serving as an advocate for the unborn. She has never been strong on fiscal issues and has sponsored nanny-state legislation in the past.

The biggest problem with Welch is her party affiliation. It does not matter that she sponsors a marriage protection amendment as long as she continues to vote for Pat Bauer, who has prevented the amendment from even coming up for a vote in the Indiana House. As long as she continues to caucus with the Democrats, she negates her own votes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Abortion is murder!

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

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

Scott Roeder, who murdered abortionist George Tiller in cold blood last summer, has been convicted of first-degree murder and will spend the rest of his life in prison. This has been an opportunity for the abortion rights advocates to whine about "divisive" and "incindiary" anti-abortion rhetoric. Describing abortion as "murder" and "genocide" is what leads to people like Roeder taking the law into their own hands.

Sometimes the truth hurts. Abortion is murder. A living being created in the image of God is killed by dismemberment, over 3,200 times every day. America's abortion industry is stained with the blood of 50 million unborn children. I am not going to be bullied into silence by abortion rights advocates trying to intimidate me by lumping me in with terrorists. The pro-life movement has been very clear that the murder of Tiller was an unacceptable act of violence and has condemned it in the strongest terms. Last summer, I called for Roeder to be put to death.

We're also hearing that referring to abortion as murder is a "lie" because abortion is legal and murder is a crime. That is just stupid. If the Constitution was amended and the law was changed so that killing black people was legal, would it be murder? Of course it would. Murder was forbidden by God's law well before any government was ever established. Murder is forbidden because we may not take a life created in the image of God, except in very limited cases such as capital punishment.

Like I said last summer, if you want me to stop referring to abortion as murder, then you need to convince me that abortion is not murder. The only way to do that is to convince me that the fetus is not a human being created in the image of God. I cannot imagine looking at the photograph to the right and thinking it represents anything other than a person. Trying to intimidate me into silence will not work.

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Monday, February 1, 2010

Respecting authority

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:30 AM (#)

"Obedience to lawful authority is the foundation of manly character." -- Robert E. Lee

One day when I was in high school, we were playing football in gym class. As the captain of our team was assigning roles for the next play, I said that we did not need so many people blocking given what the other team was preparing to do on defense. The captain became upset with me. Now, was I right about the strategy, or was he right?

It does not matter who was right about the strategy. I was wrong. I was not appointed as captain of the team, my classmate was. What I should have done is respect his authority as team captain and follow orders as I was told. My role was not to decide strategy. My role was to man the offensive line and protect the quarterback for as long as I could. (Given my athletic talent, that was never very long.) My classmate was justifiably upset with me for undermining his authority as team captain. Challenging his authority in front of the team was wrong.

We Americans have a problem with authority. We do not like the law's authority over us, we do not like our teacher's authority over us, we do not like our employer's authority over us and we most certainly do not like our church's authority over us. If we think we know better, we say so. But God has established authority over us, and He expects us to obey it. The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 13:1-2, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation."

No, this does not mean we are obligated to obey the authority over us in each and every case. When the Jewish leaders brought Peter and the other apostles before the council and demanded they stop preaching the Gospel, Peter answered "We ought to obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29) Corrie ten Boom pleased God when she disobeyed the Nazis and rescued Jews who were being hunted and slaughtered. We are clearly not obligated to obey the law when the law orders us to sin, because God's law is the highest authority in the universe.

But when we despise the authority placed over us, is it because we are standing up for some higher principle, or is it because we selfishly place our interests above the proper respect we should have for authority? When we drive 75 miles per hour on the interstate instead of 70, is getting to our destination a few minutes faster standing up for a higher principle or is it a selfish desire to shorten our trip? Is this not idolatry, where we are worshipping ourselves?

But where we really hate authority is in the church, and that hatred of authority goes on both directions. Too many Christians reject the spiritual authority of pastors and elders set apart by the laying on of hands to be a shepherd for the congregation. We have too many pastors and elders who take great pains to avoid exercising authority over the flock entrusted to them by God. Is it any wonder we are increasingly living in a post-Christian society?

There are few things more hip in our culture than rebellion against authority. Take a look at any number of action movies, where a "renegade cop" despises the authority of the police chief (or other supervisor) because he knows that he needs to bend the rules to get the bad guy. We love renegades, rebels and rouges, and there is even a country song about it. But this is a sin, and we as followers of Jesus Christ need to repent of that sin.