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Monday, August 30, 2010

Approve the satellite voting sites

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

Last week, the Monroe County election board failed to approve satellite voting sites for the 2010 election, leading to political sniping and drawing both legislative and Congressional candidates into the debate.

The Republican county clerk joined the Democratic member in supporting the sites, but the vote has to be unanimous, so the Republican appointee's nay vote killed the proposal for now.

Politically, this was a foolish vote. Republicans don't gain anything from it, and it opens a line of attack by Democrats in a year when Republicans have been on offense. There's no reason to punt the ball on first down when you are on a drive toward the end zone. Republicans can at least point toward the fact that Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita has endorsed the sites and the Republican county clerk voted "yes" last week.

Taking a stand that damages yourself politically is honorable when you are right on the issue, or if you are taking a stand for an important point. That's not the case here. Every election, we hear concern about voters not participating in the electoral process, so why not use a proven method to expand voter participation? Republicans should be about expanding the pool of people who are voting.

It is true that for someone motivated to vote, there's plenty of opportunity to do so. I usually vote early at the clerk's office, and even without the satellite locations there is plenty of opportunity to vote. But many do not take advantage of this and the satellite sites have been a proven success. As the Herald-Times pointed out yesterday, arguments that some precincts had pathetic turnout are weak. I realize I'm beating the ashes of a cremated horse here, but the the satellite voting sites were extremely successful in increasing participation in 2008.

There is simply no good reason not to continue offering voters the opportunity to participate in our election process through the satellite voting sites. The election board should approve the sites at their meeting tonight.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Sobriety checkpoints should be illegal

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

Tonight, the Indiana State Police will be conducting a "sobriety checkpoint" somewhere in Monroe County. According to an e-mail from the Indiana State Police, "vehicles that come through the checkpoint will be stopped. The driver will be asked to produce their driver’s license and registration for the vehicle." Sober drivers who have not committed a violation can expect to be delayed for two or three minutes.

Is it just me, or does this sound very totalitarian?

This is simply wrong, folks. The police should not be stopping every driver who happens to be traveling a certain stretch of road and demanding that they show their papers. Law abiding citizens should not be stopped by law enforcement simply for driving down a perfectly legal road at the "wrong" time.

I cannot see how this is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment, the text of which follows.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

How exactly is it reasonable to require that everyone produce his papers, rather than stopping only those who are driving in a way that creates reasonable suspicion?

It would be nice to see the Indiana ACLU file a lawsuit against this infringement on liberty, but that should not be necessary. Instead, the state legislature should pass a law making these checkpoints illegal. Such a law should pass 100-0 and 50-0, and voters should punish anyone who votes against it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The First Amendment and Leftist politics

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

Shortly after "Dr. Laura" Schlessinger went on a rant on her radio show and used the word "nigger" eleven times, she announced she was ending her radio program and that she hopes to regain her First Amendment rights. Sarah Palin chimed in on Twitter, complaining that Schlessinger's rights had been violated.

Of course, no violation of First Amendment rights took place. The First Amendment is a limitation on government, not a guarantee of free speech. Even if Schlessinger had been forced off the air due to an advertiser boycott, there would be no damage to the Constitution. If the FCC forced her off the air, that would be a different story.

What is amusing is that People for the American Way sent an alert to their e-mail list on August 23 urging the list to take action and send Sarah Palin a copy of the First Amendment. PFAW gloats that 12,000 people signed their petition over the previous weekend. PFAW's goal "is to send tens of thousands… or hundreds of thousands… or with the help of Facebook and web users like you, maybe even a million copies of the First Amendment to Sarah Palin."

How silly. Does a couple statements on Twitter by a woman who holds no elective office and is not running for anything require the mobilization of PFAW's e-mail list?

No, but Sarah Palin is hated by Leftist activists and is a convenient fundraising and motivational tool. As Rush Limbaugh likes to say about Leftists, "they will tell you who they are afraid of." Ironically, the campaigns against Palin by groups like PFAW give her more notoriety than she would have otherwise, and serve as motivation for Palin's supporters.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Do we need shameless liars like Baron Hill in Congress?

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

When Andrew Breitbart posted a video clip taking remarks by Shirley Sherrod out of context, Leftists complained bitterly. Will Leftists complain about Baron Hill's distortion of a speech by Todd Young?

The Red Baron is running advertisements suggesting that Young will try to end Social Security because he described it as a "Ponzi scheme." But let's examine what Young said less than a 90 seconds later in the same speech:

We're gonna have to make some hard decisions about taxes, about cutting other areas of government, about returning powers to lower (I hesitate to use "lower") other levels of government (switching power from the federal level to the state level) to try and reduce the amount of expenditures at the federal level of government so that we still have money for these programs like Social Security.

If you haven't figured it out yet, Baron Hill is lying again.

Baron Hill is running scared. He knows that voters are unhappy with the Obama Administration's agenda, which has had Hill's full support for the last two years. He knows that Republicans are poised to make gains in Congress and that his seat is one of the most vulnerable. He also knows that, even though Obama was the first Democrat to win Indiana since 1964, John McCain won Indiana's Ninth Congressional District.

Hill's dishonest scare tactics aside, everyone already knows that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, "a Ponzi scheme is an investment fraud that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors." How does this not describe Social Security?

Social Security is a Ponzi scheme by definition. It requires more people at the bottom paying taxes so that the people at the top can continue to get benefits. As long as there are more younger people paying into Social Security than older people at the top collecting benefits, the system will be solvent. However, we have known for decades that as the American population ages, there will come a point where Social Security is no longer solvent and will be paying out more in benefits than it collects in taxes.

This is one of the reasons that our current budgetary situation is unsustainable. Deficits have exploded since Nancy Pelosi, Baron Hill and the rest of the Democrats took control of Congress in the 2006 election. Young is absolutely correct that we are going to have to reduce spending and devolve federal power in order to maintain the federal government's financial stability.

Baron Hill is not interested in doing what is best for America. He is only interested in hanging on to the political power he gets from being a Congressman. If Hill was truly concerned about the future of this nation, he would recognize that the federal budget is unsustainable and engage Young in a debate about what budgetary choices need to be made so as not to bankrupt the country. Instead, Hill is showing himself to be just another professional politician who is more concerned with his personal ambitions that doing what is right. Shame on Baron Hill.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Is Barack Obama a Christian?

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

WashingtonPost.com blogger Chris Cillizza says that "nearly half of the Pew sample (48 percent) last March correctly identified (President Barack) Obama as a Christian." But is that a correct identification?

Does Obama "rescue those being led away to death" as commanded in Proverbs 24:11-12? No. Barack Obama is the most radical pro-abortion President this nation has ever seen, going so far as to vote against legislation before the Illinois state legislature that would make it illegal to kill a baby that survives an abortion and is born. In other words, Obama voted against making infanticide illegal.

How do we know if someone is a Christian? The Bible says that by their fruits we shall know them. (Matthew 7:20) I see little fruit that would indicate that Obama is a Christian. I certainly cannot see how someone who truly believes Jesus' message of love and mercy could support abortion, which has taken 50 million lives since 1973.

Obama claims to be a Christian. I could claim to be an NBA player, but that does not make it true. Similarly, many who claim the name of Jesus Christ are not Christians. Obama would be wise to read Matthew 7:22-23 and pray over it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Peter Anthony Cantu to burn in Hell for all eternity

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

We see so much bad news these days that I was thrilled to see some good news. Peter Anthony Cantu, a gang leader who orchestrated the horrifically brutal gang rape and torture-slayings of Elizabeth Pena and Jennifer Ertman, was put to death by the state of Texas. While I am angry that it took so long for Cantu to finally reach his eternal destination in Hell, I am nonetheless thankful that there is one state in the nation that takes justice seriously.

One of the other perpetrators, Jose Medellin, was put to death two years ago.

This is what Peter Cantu did to merit the death penalty.

For the next hour or so, these beautiful, innocent young girls were subjected to the most brutal gang rapes that most of the investigating officers had ever encountered. The confessions of the gang members that were used at trial indicated that there was never less than 2 men on each of the girls at any one time and that the girls were repeatedly raped orally, anally and vaginally for the entire hour. One of the gang members later said during the brag session that by the time he got to one of the girls, "she was loose and sloppy." One of the boys boasted of having ‘virgin blood’ on him.

It gets worse.

When the rapes finally ended, the horror was not over. The gang members took Jenny and Elizabeth from the clearing into a wooded area, leaving the juvenile behind, saying he was "too little to watch". Jenny was strangled with the belt of Sean O’Brien, with two murderers pulling, one on each side, until the belt broke. Part of the belt was left at the murder scene, the rest was found in O’Brien’s home. After the belt broke, the killers used her own shoelaces to finish their job. Medellin later complained that "the bitch wouldn’t die" and that it would have been "easier with a gun". Elizabeth was also strangled with her shoelaces, after crying and begging the gang members not to kill them; bargaining, offering to give them her phone number so they could get together again.

The medical examiner testified that Elizabeth’s two front teeth were knocked out of her brutalized mouth before she died and that two of Jennifer’s ribs were broken after she had died. Testimony showed that the girls’ bodies were kicked and their necks were stomped on after the strangulations in order to "make sure that they were really dead."

Peter Cantu is a monster, and he richly deserved the death penalty. The state of Texas was infinitely more kind and humane to Cantu than he was to Jennifer and Elizabeth. While those girls were tortured to death, Cantu was put to death with very little pain in a sterile environment. The gentle manner in which he died stands in stark contrast to the brutality he inflicted on two teenage girls for his own perverted amusement.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

McCain, not Palin, was the failed candidate in 2008

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

A headline at MSNBC.com proclaims Sarah Palin went "from failed candidate to political star" after the 2008 Presidential election. The opening paragraph underlines that point:

Sarah Palin has converted a failed run for the vice presidency into a job, more or less, as a driving force for American ultraconservatism and its manifestation in the nationwide tea party movement.

One would think that the 2008 election was a referendum on Palin, or that she was the one leading the ticket. It is as if Senator John McCain was not even relevant to the election results.

Of course, that's not the case.

John McCain was the Republican nominee for President. The 2008 election was a choice between McCain and Barack Obama. A number of people were fed up with President Bush and Democrats were energized at the prospect of electing Obama. McCain served to demoralize the Republican base, which was not at all enthusiastic about a candidate with a weak record on abortion and a horrible record on free speech. Furthermore, McCain opposed tax cuts, supports for amnesty for illegal aliens and supports embryonic stem cell research.

Republicans did what the "moderates" in the party wanted and we nominated a candidate who based his campaign on his willingness to cross the isle. We were rewarded with an embarrassing loss where the Democratic candidate got a majority (as opposed to a plurality) of the popular vote for the first time since Jimmy Carter did so in 1976.

MSNBC can spin the 2008 election as much as they want, but the truth is obvious.

Previous articles:

Sarah Palin, social conservatives and the Republican Party -- November 10, 2008

GOP moderates: You had your chance, and you lost! -- October 6, 2009

McCain's loss was conservatism's gain -- November 20, 2009

Arizona Republicans: get rid of McCain! -- March 30, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dr. Laura's "n****r, n****r, n****r" rant

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

Last week, "Dr. Laura" Schlessinger took a call from a black woman (Jade) who is concerned because her husband's friends make racist comments and use racial slurs. The point I expected Schlessinger to make is that Jade married a fool. A man would not tolerate this type of behavior. Jade almost certainly knew her husband's character, and who he keeps as friends, well before she married him. If Jade were wise, a condition of dating him (much less marrying him) would be for him to force his friends to choose between racist language and his friendship.

Schlessinger complains that Jade is being hypersensitive, and that black comedians say "n****r" all the time. While her second point is true, the context of the word matters. When used by blacks, it is not intended to be a racial slur. That is entirely different from using "n****r" to demean and dehumanize blacks. When used in this way, the "n****r" isn't a man or a woman, but an object of derision.

Schlessinger should have known better than to start spouting "n****r n****r n****r" on the air, especially using it eleven times. Again, what matters is context. "N****r" is a racially charged word that many people find extremely offensive, and her use of it was inartful at best.

The reason it was wrong is because Jade's husband was acting like a little boy and not standing up for his wife. In the face of outright racism and an immature "husband" who refuses to put a stop to it, Jade's anger was more than justified. Schlessinger's insensitivity and politicization of an offensive term was completely inappropriate.

Schlessinger "apologized" on the air and on her blog, where she said: "I didn’t intend to hurt people, but I did. And that makes it the wrong thing to have done."

This is what drives me crazy about modern society. No, Mrs. Schlessinger. It isn't wrong because you hurt someone's feelings. It was either wrong or it was not - and in this context, it was wrong. Some things are wrong even if you do not hurt another person's feelings. Sometimes, you need to hurt someone's feelings. A parent who disciplines a child for punching a sibling intentionally hurts the child's feelings, but that is necessary and proper.

Now, we have to be careful about a cultural prohibition on the use of the word "nigger." Up until this point, I have "bleeped" it in this post because of the context. But it is important to note distinctions between legitimate discussions of a word and its proper use, as opposed to using the word as a means to deride and dehumanize someone. We shouldn't get so deep into political correctness that we feminize our discourse.

Schlessinger, meanwhile, should apologize - for real this time.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

There is no need for obscenities in the newspaper

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

Regarding Yahya Chaudhry's August 12 column, why does the IDS feel it necessary to publish the "F word" in the newspaper? There was no reason to publish the full obscenity other than shock value. It could have easily been censored. Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon. The IDS published articles on March 25 (twice), April 1, April 19, April 25, April 30 and May 3 containing the obscenity - and that is just in 2010.

It is not "hip" or "edgy" or "cool" to publish obscenities in the newspaper. It is juvenile.

Many (though not all) writers for the IDS are people who hope to make a career in journalism. If a potential future employer is considering hiring you as a reporter, how do you think it will affect your chances to get the job if the HR manager finds you have used obscenities in your articles for the college newspaper? Do you think it will make it more or less likely that you will be hired?

Publishing obscenities in the campus newspaper reflects badly on the columnist, the editors, and the university as a whole. This isn't some silly fraternity publication or scavenger hunt. This is an opinion column in one of the most prestigious college newspapers in the country. Please think more carefully about what you publish before you publish it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Literalism and the text of Scripture

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

We live in a depraved culture that hates absolute truth and distinctions. As such, we have tossed aside the concept of facts, and embraced both moral relativism and factual relativism. As my pastor pointed out a few months ago, the world's only absolute is that "there is no truth--only stories, perspectives, and narratives; only my truth and your truth." In an environment where nothing is real, a legitimate discussion of anything is impossible. Rather than making us more tolerant of each other, it has divided us. Common ground is impossible because even facts are open to "interpretation."

This is why it is so critical for Christians in modern society to be literalists, clinging only to the literal, word-for-word text of Scripture. Obviously, not everything in Scripture should be interpreted literally. Jesus rebuked His disciples when they took Him literally after He spoke about the "leaven of the Pharisees." (Matthew 16:6-12)

Consider the text of Genesis 9:20-27. In times past, this text has been perverted by wicked and ungodly men to justify white supremacist ideology, specifically enslavement of blacks by whites. Sadly, this was used by "christians" in the United States to justify the continuation of slavery. But there is a major problem with this perversion of Scripture.

There is absolutely nothing in the literal, word-for-word text of those verses that in any way indicates that blacks should be slaves to whites. Using Genesis 9:20-27 to support white supremacist ideology is completely unsupported anywhere in Scripture. White Europeans (and their American decedents) were never part of God's chosen people; we are "grafted in" to the new covenant when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8) Furthermore, given the historic context, Jesus Christ was almost certainly dark-skinned.

There are a great many commentaries on Scripture that are very valuable in helping the Christian understand God's Word. Each Sunday in millions of Bible-believing churches, the sermons are commentaries on Scripture, not simply a reading of the text. But commentaries, sermons, books, podcasts or anything else must be submissive to the literal, word-for-word text of Scripture itself, not to whatever fad is popular at the moment. The best commentary on Scripture is always Scripture itself.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lugar votes for Kagan, and I will vote against him in 2012

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

When President Obama nominated Elena Kagan to serve on the Supreme Court, I called Senator Richard Lugar's office and said that I would support a primary challenge in 2012 if Lugar voted for Kagan. Lugar did vote for Kagan, and as I said on Twitter I will vote against Lugar in 2012. I wrote Lugar after his vote to confirm Kagan expressing my opposition to his vote. Lugar's office responded via e-mail. His response, in part, reads:

The Founders were at pains to emphasize the difference between the "political branches" - the Executive and the Legislature - and the Judiciary. Their concern about the potential dangers of passionate, interest-driven political divisions, which Madison famously called the "mischiefs of faction," influenced their design of our entire governmental structure.

Here's the problem with Lugar's argument: Elena Kagan was not chosen for her qualifications as a judge. Kagan was chosen for two political reasons. First, she was chosen for her genitalia. Obama wanted to be politically correct and choose another woman for the court. Second, she was chosen for her far-Left political ideology that will lead her to place her political preferences above the literal, word-for-word text of whatever law she is interpreting.

Kagan is also so incredibly dishonest that she ducked and dodged a question about a memo she wrote, demonstrating so little integrity that she refused to admit to writing a memo that even she admitted was clearly in her handwriting. It was only after she was cornered and had nowhere else to go that she finally admitted to writing the memo.

Another "Republican" turncoat, Lindsey Graham, argued that he voted for Kagan because elections have consequences. Yes, Mr. Graham, elections do have consequences. One of the consequences of electing Republicans to the U.S. Senate is that they should oppose politically-motivated nominations that will move the Supreme Court to the Left for another generation. This is exactly why the Constitution gives the Senate the authority to approve or reject the President's nominees. If the Founders intended for the President to be able to appoint whoever he pleased by fiat, they would not have given the Senate the authority to approve the nominees.

I voted against Lugar in 2006 and I will do so again in 2012. The race immediately before Hoosier conservatives is Brad Ellsworth vs. Dan Coats. In addition to his inexcusable votes for the assault weapons ban and the Brady Law, Coats also voted to confirm Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court. If Coats is to convince Hoosier conservatives that he will actually be a vote to stop Barack Obama's agenda, then he should openly oppose Elena Kagan.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Revisit the "War on Drugs"

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

Bloomington Herald-Times, August 5, 2010

To the Editor:

In 2001, police raided the home where Cory Maye was staying with his infant daughter. Maye (who had no prior criminal record) fired and killed a police officer, and is now sitting on death row - a punishment that hangs on whether or not Maye knew he was shooting at a police officer. Reason.com reports that police "discovered nothing in the apartment to indicate drug dealing."

In 2006, Atlanta police conducted a "no knock" raid on the home of Kathryn Johnston. The 92 year old woman opened fire as her door was forced open because she feared she was being robbed. She was shot to death. When police realized the mistake, they planted drugs in her home to cover it up.

In 2008, a sheriff's department SWAT team invaded the home of the mayor of Berwyn Heights, Maryland, holding him at gunpoint, interrogating him for hours and shooting his two dogs. The mayor had committed no crime other than having marijuana delivered to his house - by mistake.

We must re-evaluate the "War on Drugs," especially the use of paramilitary raids that create unnecessarily confrontational situations and put lives in jeopardy. SWAT teams are vastly overused and must be curtailed.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Dominique Ntawukulilyayo needs to die

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

And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies? -- Ezekiel 13:19

In 1994, 800,000 people were slaughtered in Rwanda over just 100 days. Now, the BBC reports that one of the monsters involved has been tried and convicted. The punishment is a sickening abomination and God hates it.

The United Nations tribunal for Rwanda has sentenced a Rwandan former official to 25 years in jail for his role in the 1994 genocide.

Dominique Ntawukulilyayo, 68, was accused of transporting soldiers to an area of the southern Gisagara district where Tutsis had taken refuge.

Thousands of people who had been promised protection were killed.

Twenty five years? For helping orchestrate the slaughter of thousands of people who were promised protection from rampaging militias? Why even bother?

It would be better to do nothing at all than send this monster to prison for a pathetic 25 years. This is nothing more than a slap in the face to the people who were slaughtered by this maniac and his allies. The tribunal has told the survivors that their lives are meaningless and the crimes committed against them and the 800,000 who died are not worth punishing with appropriate and proportional sanctions.

What does this say to tyrants, mass murderers, war criminals and terrorists around the world? I'll tell you what it says: the world community doesn't have the integrity or courage to punish you the way you deserve to be punished. If you are caught and tried for your crimes, you will get little more than a slap on the wrist. This will serve to encourage further crimes against humanity. The United Nations has innocent blood on its hands.

Dominique Ntawukulilyayo needs to die. Ideally, he should be hacked to death with a machete.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Seek justice, not convictions (Part III)

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

A $10,000,000 settlement to a man who spent a decade in prison after being wrongfully convicted of a murder he didn't commit is another sad example of why we need to reform our criminal justice system. From CNN:

(Tim) Masters was 15 when Fort Collins police began investigating him in the 1987 murder of Hettrick, whose mutilated body was found in a field near the home Masters shared with his father.

Twelve years later, he was convicted, largely on circumstantial evidence and the testimony of an expert witness who said he fit the profile of a sexual predator. Masters was cleared by DNA evidence and released from prison in 2008. The crime remains unsolved.

It's been almost two years since the Colorado Supreme Court censured Judges Jolene Blair and Terry Gilmore, then-prosecutors in Masters' 1999 trial, for their handling of the case. No Fort Collins police officers have been disciplined, and a 2008 inquiry into Broderick's actions found no criminal wrongdoing.

A new investigation by Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, appointed as special prosecutor in the 2008 inquiry, has now yielded an eight-count felony perjury indictment against Broderick.

The Masters case is quadruple injustice. First, to Masters, who lost a decade of his life because of a criminal justice establishment more interested in "winning" than truly seeking justice. Ten million dollars is a pitifully low sum for losing a decade of his life. Second, to the family of Peggy Hettrick, who will never see her murderer brought to justice. Third, to the murderer himself, who will never be caught and punished for this demonic crime. Finally, to the taxpayers of Colorado, who were forced to watch as their criminal justice system was gang-raped.

The wrongful conviction of Tim Masters is a reminder that we must restrain government even as it seeks to protect us from criminals. We have been waging a "war on crime" for decades, and elected prosecutors around the nation point to their convictions as a reason for voters to re-elect them. But a prosecutor's job is not to prosecute. A prosecutor's job is to seek justice. Sometimes, justice is served by abandoning efforts to convict someone.

A necessary reform is strict oversight of law enforcement, to prevent tragedies like this one from taking place. Another is making all law enforcement officials vulnerable to prosecution and harsh criminal penalties for abusing their authority. One possible reform is to make prosecutors appointed, not elected, with a strict set of standard. Above all else, the American people must remember that a government that ignores the rule of law is far more dangerous to our liberty than any terrorist or foreign aggressor.

Previous articles:

  ♣  Strip away anti-justice immunity -- November 19, 2009

  ♣  Seek justice, not convictions (Part II) -- May 21, 2009

  ♣  Seek justice, not convictions -- February 13, 2009

  ♣  Justice, not convictions, must always be the goal -- November 8, 2007

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A completely unnecessary pedestrian island

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

Last year, an Indiana University student was tragically killed when he stepped into the path of an oncoming car on Fee Lane. Another student was injured when he was struck by a vehicle on Tenth Street. In response, Indiana University has installed traffic islands on Fee Lane, which was the site of the September 2009 fatality.

I have less of a problem with the Fee Lane islands than the Tenth Street island. Students can walk a block in either direction and cross at Jordan Avenue or Fee Lane. The island is completely unnecessary: Tenth is no more dangerous than it was in 1993 when I was a freshman. In fact, with the timing of the light at Fee Lane allowing pedestrians to cross the street while all vehicular traffic is stopped, that intersection is actually safer than it was in the 1990s.

The main problem is that Tenth Street is incredibly clogged during the school year, so introducing a traffic "calming" device like this one will only serve to make campus even less drivable than it already is. Most drivers have to slow down quite a bit to navigate the island, and the bump-out makes it more likely drivers will smack the side of it.

Pictures of the 10th street traffic island are on the post page. Notice that the traffic island already has a skid mark.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Alcohol, underage drinking and Big Brother

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

On July 1, a new state law went into effect that effectively requires retail outlets to check the photo ID of everyone who purchases alcohol, though Indiana University study indicates that "only 5 percent of underage drinkers obtained their alcohol from licensed retailers." This past week, people on Indianapolis' west side petitioned the Marion County Alcoholic Beverage Commission to deny Walgreens' request to sell alcohol at their stores.

The roots of our society's aversion to alcohol (which is ironic, considering how common drinking is) comes from Prohibition and the "temperance" movement that led to it. Some Christians hold the position that drinking alcohol is in and of itself sinful. In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul tells Timothy to drink wine for his digestive problems. Proverbs 31:6-7 advises us to "give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts."

In fact, Jesus Himself drank wine, as we see when his critics called him a drunkard because he ate and drank with sinners. (See Matthew 11:18-19 and Luke 7:33-34.) Jesus drank alcoholic wine at the Last Supper. (See Mark 14:23-25) The first recorded miracle shows that Jesus transformed water into wine, and the context of John 2:1-11 clearly demonstrates this was alcoholic wine, not grape juice.

What we need to do here is treat adults like adults. It is absurd to force everyone to submit a photo ID, especially given that so few underage drinkers buy directly from retailers. We certainly don't need ridiculous nanny state regulations like forcing everyone to have an ignition interlock device. We don't need to become completely hysterical over beer cans painted in the color scheme of the local university.

Treating adults like adults means recognizing that drinking alcohol is a natural part of life for millions of people, and that most adults are mature enough to handle consuming alcohol without drinking to excess or endangering others on the road by driving afterward. Treating adults like adults also means scrapping the silly legal drinking age of 21 years old, which everyone instinctively knows is nonsensical. If someone is old enough to fight, kill and die in a war, he is old enough to drink a beer in his living room. We do not need government to be our Mommy.