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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Arizona Republicans: get rid of McCain!

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

Before John McCain can ask Arizona voters to send him back to Washington for another 6 years, he will need to fend off a credible conservative challenge in the Republican Party primary. He brought in Sarah Palin, who is popular with the conservative base and Tea Party activists, to stump for him. Arizona Republicans should dump him.

John McCain is weak on abortion, supports amnesty for illegal aliens, has opposed tax cuts, and was the leader of an anti-American attack on free speech in the U.S. Senate. Because of McCain's record, I voted against the Republican nominee for President for the first time in my life. (I supported Bill Clinton in 1992, but did not vote in that election.) I voted for Libertarian candidate Bob Barr. For more, see articles here, here, here, and here.

When Barack Obama was elected, some "conservative" intellectuals were claiming that "the era of Reagan is over." As the American people increasingly oppose Barack Obama's agenda and the Republican Party finally found the backbone to oppose and obstruct Obama's agenda, it is true that an era is over. The era of McCain is over.

If McCain is thrown out by Arizona Republicans, it would be an important victory for the conservative movement. It would be a shot across the bow to the Republican Party, letting the GOP establishment know we will not support someone simply because that candidate has an "R" next to his or her name. Instead, we want someone who will stand firm for limited government and individual liberty, two principles that McCain has actively opposed.

While I am disappointed that Palin is supporting McCain instead of his more conservative opponent, I can see why she is doing it and I do not hold that against her. No one would know who Palin is had McCain not picked her in 2008, and it is proper to be loyal to him. It would also make Palin look like a hypocrite to oppose McCain now.

Other Republicans, such as Mitt Romney, do not get a pass for supporting McCain. After a slugfest of a primary campaign in 2008, Romney owes McCain no loyalty now. Romney is attempting to position himself for 2012 as a solid conservative, but he is doing himself no favors with the conservative base by endorsing exactly the kind of RINO who led the GOP to historic losses in 2006 and 2008.

McCain needs to go. He has openly opposed conservative principles, attacked the Constitution, and seems to enjoy giving the finger to the conservative movement. Like I said before, a McCain loss would be a huge development politically. Derailing Leftist RINO Dede Scozzafava in New York's 23rd District last year was one thing, but that can be brushed aside due to some special circumstances. A McCain loss could not be brushed aside. Removing the GOP's 2008 nominee for President would send a message that is badly needed.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Outside fire runs a concern for City of Bloomington and Bloomington Township fire departments.

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

Note: I am taking a journalism class this semester. This is my third article for that class.

After a sprinkler was vandalized in Eigenmann Hall, residents of the dormitory were forced into evacuate the building and wait outside in negative-degree temperatures after 11 p.m. while the matter was investigated, according to a Jan. 21, 2009 article in the Indiana Daily Student. Some students lost possessions due to flooding caused by the vandalism.

This is one of many instances of false fire alarms at Indiana University, which places a burden on the city of Bloomington's Fire Department.

In 2008, the City of Bloomington's Fire Department made 532 fire runs to the IU campus, according Todd Easton, deputy chief of administration. Of those, 321 of those fire runs were for false alarms. The city fire department made 581 runs to the IU campus in 2009. Of those, 318 were false alarms.

Both the City of Bloomington's fire department and the Bloomington Township Fire Department provide fire protection for areas that do not pay property taxes to them. Critics say that both Bloomington Township and the City of Bloomington are not getting enough compensation for the fire protection they provide.

In an e-mail, Bloomington City Council member Steve Volan said fire runs to IU account for an average of about 20 to 25 percent of all fire runs. He argued that the amount IU pays to the city is not adequate.

"The amount IU has paid to the Fire Department in lieu of taxes -- a little more than $2.5M -- represents barely a third of the total expense the BFD has incurred in serving IU," Volan said

As a state entity, IU does not pay property taxes to the city, but the university contracts with the city for fire protection. From July of 2007 through June of 2008, IU contracted to pay $617,957 for fire protection, according to city attorney Michael Rouker. From July of 2008 through June of 2009, that number increased to $655,333.

This phenomenon is not unique to the city. It is also present in township government.

The Bloomington Township Fire Department provides fire protection to neighboring townships that do not pay property taxes directly to Bloomington Township. In 2008, 24 percent of fire runs by the fire department were to Benton Township and 19 percent of fire runs were to Washington Township, according to the annual report posted on the fire department's Web site.

Benton Township gave $46,400 to Bloomington Township for fire protection in 2008. Washington Township gave $53,300 to Bloomington Township for fire protection in 2008. The budget for the fire department's fire fund for 2008 was $1.276 million, according to township trustee Linda Sievers.

"I think we are very good neighbors and I would like to see the contract amounts increase," Sievers said. "I feel like they could contribute more."

She will be looking into this issue as she and the fire chief work on the strategic plan. Washington and Benton townships "have a residual benefit because we are a very good fire department and they benefit form that," she said.

A candidate for Bloomington Township Board also expressed concern.

"That looks a little shy," Dave Shuee said about the payments from neighboring townships. "It sounds like the problem is not necessarily with the runs being done but the proportion of payment."

Shuee wonders how the numbers of the contracts are derived.

"It sounds like there's been a flaw in the biding process," Shuee said. "Whether the board was diligent or negligent is certainly a good question but how can you tell without having seen the process?"

Volan asked a question via e-mail regarding the city's subsidy to IU.

"IU has sovereignty enough to have a police force; how much would it cost them to have their own FD?"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Be a parent!

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

From the Associated Press:

Young boys who receive their first video game system don't progress as quickly in school as boys who don't own such devices, a new study found.

The average reading and writing scores of the young gamers don't go down, but they don't improve either, said Robert Weis of Denison University in Ohio, co-author of the study.

"For children without games, scores go up over time," Weis said. "For boys with games, scores remain relatively stable. You don’t see the typical development in reading and writing."

These kinds of stories drive me up a wall.

As is so often the case, the blame is placed on an inanimate object (in this case, a video game system) so we can have a scapegoat instead of dealing with the real problem. Is it the video game system that causes grades to stagnate, or is it because parents are not disciplining their children and teaching them to manage time effectively? Are people truly so stupid that they do not know the answer?

Here is the reality: most children do not want to do their schoolwork. If they can find something entertaining to do, they would prefer to do that instead. This is where parents need to step in and limit the amount of time children are permitted to spend on their chosen leisure activity, forcing them to study and do homework instead. The problem is not playing video games, watching television, surfing the Internet, playing outside with friends or playing a favorite board game. The problem is a lack of discipline.

A video game console will never, in and of itself, stifle academic progress. It simply is not possible. While I agree that children spend too much time in front of electronic gadgets instead of using their imagination, the problem is that electronic entertainment is not properly limited. The television, the video game and the computer become babysitters instead of occupying the proper place. If you want your child to excel academically to the best of his or her ability (recognizing that natural talent differs from person to person) then you need to be a parent.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sexually degrading insults aimed at the Tea Party Patriots

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

We're approaching one year since the beginnings of the Tea Party movement, a name chosen to remind people of colonists who dumped tea into the Boston harbor to protest a British tax on tea. Leftists love to call Tea Party activists "teabaggers."

For those who don't know what it means (and forgive me for the graphic description) "Teabagging" is the act of a man putting his scrotum into someone else's face or mouth. "Teabagging" is a common way for players in online video games to taunt players who were "killed" in the game. Anderson Cooper of CNN certainly knew exactly what he was saying when he said during last year's protests that "It’s hard to talk when you're tea-bagging."

So why are Leftists determined to use a sexually degrading and homophobic insult to describe Tea Party activists? It lowers the level of discourse and is unworthy of inclusion in civil discourse. It is one thing for a broadcast "journalist" like Cooper to use the insult in an off-the-cuff manner on live television, but print media should filter it out. Bob Zaltsberg should have known better when he printed columns by Deke Hager and Kevin Haggerty and an "instant message" response calling the protesters "teabaggers."

Let there be no doubt that this is intended to insult based on sexual orientation. It is meant to degrade male Tea Party activists by implying they are engaged in homosexual activity. It is both ironic and hypocritical that the very same people who screech endlessly about equal treatment for and acceptance of homosexuals would use homosexuality as an insult. Would these Leftists dare insult Tea Party activists by suggesting they are partially black? Why are homosexual-rights activists not denouncing these homophobic insults?

Leftists have been known to infiltrate Tea Party rallies with intentionally inflammatory (and sometimes outright racist) signs meant to make the Tea Party movement look bad. One Bloomington Leftist bragged about doing just that last year. While some of the inflammatory signs at various protests were carried by legitimate Tea Party activists, many of the worst signs you see scattered about the Internet are scams. Because Tea Party rallies and protests are loosely-organized events where the leadership has little control over the content of the message, it is especially vulnerable to this kind of monkeywrenching. I fully expect more of the same in a couple weeks.

If Leftists think the Tea Party activists are stupid or that they are simply wrong, they could engage on the field of ideas and honestly debate the merits of Obama's public policies. By using sexually degrading insults and monkeywrenching opposition rallies, they say much more about themselves than about their opponents. What they really know is there is a lot of anger at the unprecedented deficit spending by Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress elected two years before he took office. That's why Leftists are trying to personally discredit the Tea Party instead of engaging in a legitimate discussion of issues.

It is not working. Obama's poll numbers are plummeting and the Republicans are on a clear path to reclaiming the House of Representatives in November. Leftists can only blame themselves and their arrogance for that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Baron Hill: Aggressively Pro-Abortion

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

In Duncan Currie's article at National Review Online, he describes Baron Hill as "avowedly pro-life." This is simply not true. It is nowhere close to true.

Baron Hill was pro-life when he was a state legislator, but then he ran for U.S. Senate. He knew that the Democratic Party establishment would not support him if he continued to hold his pro-life views, so he sold his soul, and traded the lives of the unborn for political gain. To this day, Baron Hill proudly campaigns as a supporter of abortion rights.

Baron Hill voted to force pro-life medical professionals to participate in abortion when he opposed HR 4691 in September 2002. This bill, passed by the House, bars the federal government, or any state or local government that receives federal assistance, from discriminating against a health care provider for refusing to participate in abortion. Hill's vote was not only not pro-life, it was aggressively pro-abortion.

How could anyone who is "pro-life" support radical pro-abortion extremist Barack Obama, who defended infanticide on the floor of the Illinois state legislature? Baron Hill did just that. When I challenged Baron Hill on the radio to defend his endorsement of Obama, he said that he would never endorse or not endorse based on "one issue." That's right - defending infanticide is just "one issue" to Baron Hill.

National Review is generally an excellent news source. But on this issue, the author simply got his facts wrong, and NRO needs to retract this egregious factual error.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Governing against the will of the people

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

They finally did it. Barack Obama and the Democrats have finally passed health care "reform" after decades of trying. In doing so, they are telling the American people that what we believe does not matter and they will do what they want.

For over a year now, polls have consistently shown that the American people do not want a massive government takeover of health care. There have been Tea Party protests, people showed up in droves at town hall meetings, and Capitol Hill phone lines and e-mail boxes have been filled with people opposing this bill. The Democrats don't care what you think. Democrats have made it clear that they will ram this down your throat whether you want it or not, and they are willing to lose their seats in November to get this passed.

This opens the door for government to regulate every aspect of your life. After all, if the government is paying for your health care, the government has a reason to control what you can eat, how much exercise you get and whether your overall lifestyle meets their whims. If you don't think this is true, consider how many of the arguments against things like smoking and trans fats are based on how much they cost the government. If the government does not like your diet and lifestyle, they will move to force you to change it. That may not happen right away or even in the next decade, but rest assured it will happen.

Democrats have been squealing that this will reduce the deficit. That is just silly. We took a huge step to making access to health care a national entitlement. You simply cannot create that kind of an entitlement without costs starting to spiral far beyond what was predicted. It has been well established that the cost of Medicare is many times greater than what was estimated when it was passed in the 1960's. We are going to face a crushing tax burden to pay for this disaster.

The Republicans will probably take the House in November, and they may take the Senate as well. Do not expect this can be repealed or even repaired, other than minor tinkering at the edges. This is the law of the land and will continue to be so. This also creates another third rail, as inevitable cost overruns will make it necessary to reform this "reform" and cut the cost of it, but will there be statesmen with the courage to make the hard choices and make the cuts in the face of accusations that we are taking away people's health care?

A year ago, Rush Limbaugh had for words about Obama: "I hope he fails." Obama has succeeded, and now the country will fail. We're entering a very dangerous time that will impact our economic prosperity, our liberty and our political system for decades. We don't know what it will look like in 20 years, but we will be much worse off than we are today.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A week in the nation's capital

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

We spent a week in the nation's capital last week. It was an incredible trip, and it was my first chance to visit Washington DC. It was well worth the wait.

On Sunday, we visited the National Air and Space museum annex near Washington Dulles International Airport. Probably the most sobering sight was the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. It was surreal to see the plane that dropped a single bomb that incinerated so many. While I believe the Hiroshima bombing was justified and ultimately saved more lives than it took, it was still a great tragedy.

Monday, we visited another sobering place: the Holocaust memorial. It is amazing how inhumane and barbaric people can be. While we look down on the Nazis with good reason, is the USA itself morally superior? We have plenty of blood on our hands, and our treatment of American Indians can be viewed only as genocide. The Holocaust memorial was a reminder of how easily hatred can take over and lead to terrible atrocities, and of the need for good people to stand against hate - whether it be against Jews, against Blacks or against Hispanics.

Visiting Arlington National Cemetery was sobering as well. It is a grim reminder of the cost many have paid for freedom. The Eternal Flame that burns in memorial to John F. Kennedy was moving. The tour guides reminded us of the underhanded manner in which the cemetery was created, after Yankee soldiers looted Robert E. Lee's mansion and a Yankee general decided to confiscate Lee's property for buying slain soldiers. Lee holds the unique place of being the only person who fought against the United States who has been honored by the federal government.

The Smithsonian museums are a great treasure of knowledge and history, and are a must-see for anyone visiting Washington DC. The air and space museum was especially interesting, with displays of the V-1 and V-2 rockets, the Tomahawk cruise missile and intermediate-range nuclear missiles. We saw the war memorials as well. The Vietnam Veterans memorial is elegant and simple, another must-see.

I was very impressed with the Metro subway system. It was clean, well-maintained and well-organized. There are plenty of stations and maps available of the downtown DC area for people to get where they want to go. The routes are easy to understand and well-marked. I certainly would not want to use the Metro for daily travel, though. There are benefits to living in a small city that is drivable.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wiping out STD's

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

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

A March 10 letter to the editor encourages students to "protect themselves and their partner's health by being responsible when engaging in sexual activity." The author then goes on to advertise STD screenings at Planned Parenthood, the nation's most prolific baby-killing organization that brings in over $1 billion in annual revenue.

Of course, there is an easy way to deal with the problem of sexually transmitted diseases. If sexual activity is confined to a lifelong, monogamous, heterosexual marriage STD's would vanish within a generation. But then Planned Parenthood would be out of business. We can't have that, can we?

The dirty little secret is that if you do not have sex until you are married and you choose a spouse who has done the same, you have no need to worry about getting a sexually transmitted disease. There will be no need to be tested by a government-funded organization like Planned Parenthood because you will not have been exposed to any diseases.

God designed sex for both enjoyment and procreation, but only within a specific context. Outside of marriage, sex becomes a perversion of God's gift and a violation of His commandments. This has been devastating for the family, for society and for individuals, and has created a public health nightmare.

It should not be a surprise that children born out of wedlock are statistically much more likely to live in poverty than children born to married parents. A stable marriage is and will always be a much more effective means of preventing children from living in poverty than any government welfare program.

Fortunately, there is a means of escape from sin, through the power of the Holy Spirit and the shed blood of Jesus Christ. In Mark 2:17, the Lord said, "they that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." If we confess our sins, he will forgive us and cleanse us of that sin. (1 John 1:9) Seek out a Bible-believing church, and you will be on your way to justification.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Local control, not federal mandates

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


The nation's governors and state school chiefs will propose standards Wednesday for what students should learn in English and math, from kindergarten through high school, a crucial step in President Obama's campaign to raise academic standards across the country.

The blueprint aims to replace a hodgepodge of state benchmarks with common standards.

I suppose we can "thank" President George W. Bush for this. After all, it was the Bush Administration that partnered with Ted Kennedy to significantly increase the role of the federal government in primary and secondary education. The "No Child Left Behind" act was a betrayal of conservative principles.

I reject the implicit assumption in these standards that the people of each state are not qualified to set standards for the schools in their states through their elected state legislatures. We have a "hodgepodge" of standards because each state, through their elected representatives, each have different priorities for what they believe is important.

Can someone please show me where in the Constitution the federal government is given the authority to set standards for schools in every city and town in a nation of 300 million that stretches across the continent? You will not be able to do that, because it does not exist. Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment is clear that the federal government has no authority to set a national education policy, including national standards.

We as a nation need to get away from this poisonous idea that the federal government holds the answer to our nation's problems. The federal government needs to stick to the powers specifically delegated to it by the Constitution. Allow the states to be laboratories of democracy in setting their own policies. This was one of our nation's founding principles, and it will work much more efficiently than a large federal monolith setting policy from one city on the East Coast.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Leonard the Liar hits another low

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:00 AM (#)

In the fall of 2006, Herald-Times columnist Mike Leonard admitted that he fabricated a Congressional vote that never took place in order to take a partisan shot at incumbent Congressman Mike Sodrel. On February 28, Mike Leonard lied about funding for Ivy Tech, attempting to lead readers to believe that Ivy Tech's operating budget is funded by property taxes. On March 7, Leonard hit another low.

In a column about a dispute between Union Board and Young Americans for Liberty at IU, Leonard asserted that YAL was denied funding for a speaker not because of bias, but because YAL did not follow the proper procedure and allow UB to help with planning the event.

Of course, Leonard contradicted himself by saying that UB "got the 'cuckoo-cuckoo' whistle" from faculty and rejected the request because the proposed speaker did not have "sufficient academic credibility." So which is it, Mike? Was it bias against the speaker himself or was it because YAL did not follow procedure? You cannot have it both ways.

The issue of following proper procedure is a legitimate point, if we take a leap of faith and assume Leonard is being truthful. But Leonard just can't leave well enough alone. He could not simply make the point about procedure. He felt the need to smear the group and defame the students involved in the group.

Leonard spewed that YAL represent "the same people who opposed civil rights in the 1960s." Keep in mind that we are talking about college students who were born in the late 1980s, twenty years after the civil rights movement was at its peak. Unless YAL members have discovered the secret of time travel, it is simply not possible that they could have opposed something 20 years before they were born.

This is a typical smear tactic from Leftists like Leonard, who lack the emotional stability to engage a discussion on the merits of the issue and must instead hurl personal attacks at their political opponents. Instead of refuting the allegation of bias with an argument about procedure, Leonard was compelled to smear these young people and paint them as racist and homophobic.

Keep in mind that Leonard did not provide one single fact, one shred of evidence or the slightest hint of proof for his despicable mudslinging. Leonard did not even attempt to show where any member of YAL's leadership has said or written anything against the civil rights movement, "programs for racial and ethnic minorities" or "fair treatment" of homosexuals. He simply applied the Left's stereotype of "racist, sexist and homophobic" to discredit rather than engage.

In other words, he made it up. This is well below what should be expected of a newspaper in a university community, especially a university that boasts a well-respected school of journalism.

This is going to be a long year. Leonard is lashing out, and he is doing so without regard for facts and ethics. H-T editor Bob Zaltsberg should publish an apology for Leonard's vile smear. I will not hold my breath for the H-T to show a shred of decency, however.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Gun rights vs. private property rights

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

I believe the Constitution means what it says in the Second Amendment, which states "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The framers intended the Bill of Rights to be a list of "negative" rights, meaning it is a list of things the government may not do to infringe on the rights that they assumed free men automatically have. It is not meant to be a list of what private citizens and businesses may or may not do.

While I am an avid supporter of Second Amendment rights, and I have been critical of the National Rifle Association for a lack of commitment to the Second Amendment, I am opposed to House Bill 1065. This bill passed by a huge margin in both chambers of the Indiana state legislature, passing by 74-20 in the House and 41-9 in the Senate. HB 1065 would make it illegal for employers to prohibit employees from taking a gun to work and leaving it in a locked vehicle out of plain sight. Some employers, such as schools, are exempt from this law.

Once again, state government is restricting private property rights for political gain. This is, after all, an election year. One of the bill's authors, Trent Van Haaften, is the presumptive Democratic nominee for Congress in the Eighth District and will be facing a difficult challenge in November from the eventual Republican nominee. Therefore, Van Haaften is attempting to shore up support with the gun owners who will be critical to winning the seat.

Simply put, state government has absolutely no business telling employers whether or not their private property will be a gun-free zone. If an employer, from a retail store to a factory or an accounting firm, wishes to prohibit employees from bringing firearms to work, they should have the right to do so. It is the business that owns or leases the property, not state government. Hoosier employers do not need interference from 150 state legislators in Indianapolis on how to run their business. What they need is to be left alone.

Van Haaften simply does not get it. Apparently he has missed the tea parties and the town hall meetings for the last year, where people told government to stop the excessive taxation and regulation of our lives and our businesses. Supporters of HB 1065 argue that this enhances individual rights, but you cannot expand rights for one person by restricting the rights of another. Voters in the Eighth District should see through Van Haaften's smokescreen and recognize this legislation for what it is: more unnecessary legislation restricting private property rights.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Leonard the Liar strikes again

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

Herald-Times columnist Mike Leonard has done it again. As you may recall, Leonard committed a serious breach of journalistic ethics in 2006 by fabricating a Congressional vote that never took place and attacking Mike Sodrel based on that fabrication. Now, he is lying about Governor Mitch Daniels.

On February 28, Leonard wrote:

Daniels has stayed consistent in his drive to write property tax caps into the state constitution. Even though the caps already are state law.

We’ve seen the wisdom of that philosophy already. Public education is getting slammed, higher education is taking hard hits — especially at Ivy Tech.

There is a major problem with Leonard's argument. Ivy Tech is not funded by property taxes. Leonard is attempting to lead H-T readers into believing that Ivy Tech's operating budget is funded by property taxes, and their operating budget has suffered as property taxes have gone down since the reforms implemented a few years ago.

That is not true. It is a lie. That means Mike Leonard is a liar.

Leonard's article was little more than a hyper partisan hit piece on the Governor, a fact underscored by the laughable claim a property tax freeze is "going to destroy public education in Indiana, which also is a Daniels goal."

Leftists know Leonard stepped in it again, so they are pulling out all the stops in a desperate attempt to distract attention away from Leonard's egregious lie. Leonard has been the Democratic Party's mouthpiece in Monroe County for years, and they do not want to lose the free space he gives them to promote their political agenda.

They shouldn't be worried. If Leonard was not fired after fabricating a Congressional vote that never took place - a serious breach of journalistic ethics that would get him fired at any newspaper where the editor has even the tiniest shred of integrity - he will not be fired or reassigned for his latest lie.

The red herrings will not work. Leonard has been writing about politics for years, and he knows that Ivy Tech's operating budget is not funded by property taxes. Leftists can flail their arms and stomp their feet as much as they want, but the fact of the matter is that Mike Leonard lied about the source of Ivy Tech's funding. No amount of spin will change that fact, and no amount of red herrings will make it go away. This is not about Republicans and Democrats and this is most certainly not about Leonard's critics. This is about truth.

Mike Leonard is an opinion columnist. I may not agree with him, but I do not have a problem with him writing editorials. Sometimes, his articles are a worthwhile and informative read. But while opinion and analysis are expected from a columnist, Leonard should be held to the same standards as any other reporter regarding factual and truthful information. He should not be permitted to shamelessly lie about well-established facts.

The Herald-Times needs to issue a retraction and an apology for Leonard's egregious lie, and he should be put on notice that these severe breaches of journalistic ethics will not be tolerated and will result in his employment being terminated if it happens again.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism opens with lecture on French anti-Semitism

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

Note: I am taking a journalism class this semester. This is my second 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.

Anti-Semitism in France is not a new phenomenon, according to author Robert Wistrich, despite concern over an increased number of incidents targeting Jews in France in the last year. The current wave of anti-Semitism in France is an extension of persecution of Jews that has been a staple of French politics for centuries, he said.

Wistrich spoke in the Frangipani Room of the Indiana Memorial Union on Jan. 14, 2010 to open Indiana University's Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism. The Frangipani Room was filled to capacity and staff had to set up several additional rows of chairs to accommodate the crowd.

Bennett Bertenthal, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said that IU's center was the second such center in the United States. The other center is at Yale. IU's institute will focus on high-level scholarly research on the intellectual and ideological roots of contemporary anti-Semitism, Bertenthal said. Anti-Semitism offers a lens to study racism throughout the world, he said.

Wistrich opened his speech with a story about Jacques Attali, who became irate when asked a question about anti-Semitism in France. Attali denied there is anti-Semitism in France and claimed it was Israeli propaganda, Wistrich said, noting that there are many in the French Jewish intelligence who hold similar opinions.

This is not a new phenomenon.

Anti-Semitism has a long history in France, Wistrich said. France was the first European country to emancipate its Jews, but that did not eliminate anti-Semitism, he said. The nationalist movement in the 1880's that called for an exclusive nationalism of "France for the French" was the most significant moment in the history of modern French anti-Semitism prior to World War I, Wistrich said.

The classic form of French anti-Semitism was an ultrapatriotic, xenophobic rejection of the "other" with the Jew as the quintessential "other," Wistrich told the assembled crowd in the Frangipani Room.

After the speech, Alvin Rosenfeld, director of the institute, said that we are living in a time of resurgent anti-Semitism that requires a serious study of the issue. His interest in founding the institute was based on his awareness of these issues, he said.

Anti-Semitism is a national problem, a fact demonstrated by hate crime statistics.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation's report on hate crimes reports that of "1,606 hate crime offenses motivated by religious bias" in 2008, "65.7 percent were anti-Jewish." This was the largest category of anti-religious hate crimes by a wide margin, according to the FBI report.

There are local efforts to combat anti-Semitism and hate incidents generally, and city government's Human Rights Commission compiles an annual report of hate incidents based on qualities such as sexual orientation, race, religion and gender.

The 2009 Hate Incidents Report on the city of Bloomington's Web site included a report from a business in August of 2008 that "someone had painted a Star of David with a pitchfork on the building owned by the business."

When contacted by e-mail about the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and how the institute would affect the Bloomington Human Rights Commission's work, BHRC director and assistant city attorney Barbara McKinney said via e-mail that "the BHRC has no connection to the center at this point. We work with a fair number of groups in the community on shared concerns, and would of course be open to working with them if that seems appropriate in the future, but at this point, we have no relationship with them. I am not terribly familiar with the center, its programs and goals, etc."

Robert Wistrich, who was invited to speak at the institute's opening lecture because of his extensive work on the subject, is the author of several books on the Holocaust and anti-Semitism. Some of the books listed on Amazon.com are Who's Who in Nazi Germany (1984), Hitler's Apocalypse: Jews and the Nazi Legacy (1986), Hitler and the Holocaust (2001) and A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (2010).

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The filibuster and the supermajority

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

It's no secret that Democrats in the U.S. Senate are thinking about getting rid of the Senate rule that requires a 60-vote supermajority to stop debate in the Senate. It was only five years ago that leading Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama, attacked Republicans for considering changing the rules to allow a simple majority. Back in 2005, Democrats bitterly complained it represented the arrogance of power.

My, how times have changed. This isn't a complete surprise. The Democrats have been unable to pass health care "reform" despite controlling 60 votes in the Senate. When Scott Brown was elected in January, they lost the supermajority in the Senate and now have to get at least one Republican vote to stop debate and move forward.

Personally, I think it is good that the Senate is not efficient. Any time government acts to do anything, we lose part of our liberty. It may be a small sliver or it may be big, but some of our freedom is taken away. This is why it is good that there are mechanisms in place to slow things down and allow the minority party to obstruct legislation they believe to be harmful to the country. The Democrats were right to decry changing senate rules in 2005.

In addition, Republicans were dangerously short-sighted five years ago. Just as a video with Democrats supporting the filibuster demonstrates their hypocrisy, Republicans are caught in a similar trap. No political party holds power in perpetuity, and it is critical for the majority party to think ahead and consider whether actions taken now - especially changes in Senate rules - could be harmful to them when they are eventually in the minority.

One of the complaints Democrats have is that the filibuster is being "overused." One possible solution is to demand a real filibuster, where Senators are required to occupy the floor and continue speaking. Once the minority party has no one to speak, a vote is taken. On matters of deep conviction, the minority party would be able to muster enough Senators to keep the debate going and the option exists to slow down the process.

Overall, the filibuster is a good thing. It prevents the majority from rashly pushing through legislation, and slowing down the process allows the American people to become educated on bad legislation. If the legislation being considered is a good idea and popular with the American people, then enough members of the minority party will allow a vote to take place out of concern for their own re-election. If Democrats change the rules now, they will have little room to complain if Republicans capture the Senate in November and use the rule change to their advantage.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A blasphemous heresy and doctrine of devils

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

A letter to the editor on February 26 urges Christians to switch to a vegan diet in honor of Lent. A fake "Christian" urges Herald-Times readers to "show our respect for Jesus' message by accepting a wholesome, nonviolent diet of vegetables, fruits and grains first mandated in Genesis 1:29. "

This is a blasphemous heresy, a doctrine of devils. The Bible itself condemns this heresy, in Paul's letter to Timothy:

1 Timothy 4:1-4

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

Jesus was not a vegetarian. There is not one shred of evidence in all of Holy Scripture that indicates the Lord prefers (much less commands) a "cruelty-free" diet that involves no animal products. Claims to the contrary are lies.

The reason I am so offended by the lies and fabrications about Jesus being a vegetarian is because those people spewing those lies set themselves up as more righteous than Jesus Christ. Let there be no doubt that is exactly what these hippies are doing. If abstaining from animal products is the path to true holiness as the hippies claim, they are more righteous than Jesus Christ. This also makes Christ's sacrifice on the cross completely worthless because He was not the perfect Lamb of God.

It is well established in Scripture that Jesus ate meat and supports the responsible and humane killing of animals. He fed the 5000 with fish. (See Matthew 14:15-21) God even rebuked the Apostle Peter for refusing to eat "unclean" meat and commanded him to "rise, kill and eat." (See Acts 10:9-16.)

One thing the hippies never address in their self-righteous proclamations about a "cruelty free" diet is the fact that animals eat meat. I have two Beagle mixes. When they see a rabbit, it is hard-wired into their DNA to chase, kill and eat the rabbit. (I do not allow them to do that, and the Beagle/Bassett mix once screamed in frustration because I would not let go of the leash when she saw a rabbit she wanted to eat.) Lions are carnivores who kill and eat their prey. I could list thousands more examples.

If God's will is that we consume a "cruelty free" diet while sitting around the campfire passing the bong, then why did He create carnivores that kill and eat other animals? All of nature is filled with violence and death. Did God sin when He established creation in this way? Are the hippies so evolved that they are more righteous, more intelligent and more enlightened than the Creator who gave them life?

Look, if you want to worship the false "goddess" Gaia, or if you want to pursue a vegetarian or vegan diet for other reasons, go ahead. More power to you. But I will not stand silent while you blaspheme the only true Lord, who died on the cross for the sins of His creation. I will not stand silent while you arrogantly proclaim yourself to be more righteous than the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

I deserve to be burning in Hell right now for all of my sins against the living God, yet He came to earth, lived a life of humility and sacrificed Himself for me. After what He has done for me despite all of my sin against Him, it infuriates me to see the Savior and the only true God blasphemed by these lies and fabrications. These dirty hippies need to shut their filthy mouths, and stop lying about and blaspheming my Savior, the Son of the Living God.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Indiana Family Action PAC endorses Jim Banks

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

Note: The following is a press release from the Indiana Family Action PAC.

Indiana Family Action PAC is proud to announce our endorsement of Jim Banks for State Senate district 17. Jim’s body of work on pro-family issues is outstanding. Starting with his work with Focus on the Family to his current service on the Whitley County Council, Jim is a proven pro-family leader.

As the only pro-life candidate in the district 17 Republican primary our decision was an easy one on behalf of the unborn members of Indiana families. Jim is a statewide conservative leader whose pro-family values start at home and are sorely needed in Indianapolis.

IFA PAC Executive Director, Ryan McCann, had this to say about candidate Banks, "Working with Jim on pro-family issues, from his time at Focus on the Family to the present, proves to me that he is a pro-family leader we need in the State Senate. Jim is a man Hoosiers can count on to make Indiana a better place for Hoosier families to live, work and play."

Indiana Family Action PAC is the sister organization of Indiana Family Action and Indiana Family Institute. Indiana Family Institute is the state affiliate of Focus on the Family. Indiana Family Action PAC is committed to helping principled state leaders dedicated to pro-family values become elected public servants.