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Monday, December 31, 2012

Let's chill out on assault weapons

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

Since the horrific mass murder of young children in Newtown, Connecticut, there has been a lot of talk about the "need" for an assault weapons ban to replace the 1994 ban that expired in 2004. With this in mind, we need to chill out and examine the statistics, both for cause of death generally and murder specifically.

Note: These crime numbers do not match. The Census Bureau, CDC and FBI all have slightly different numbers. Nonetheless, they are close and they are from reliable sources.

First, let's look at all causes of death in 2009:

  • Heart disease: 599,413
  • Cancer: 567,628
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 137,353
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,842
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 118,021
  • Alzheimer's disease: 79,003
  • Diabetes: 68,705
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,692
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,935
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 36,909

Murder is way down the list. According to the FBI, there were 15,241 murders in 2009, down dramatically from the high numbers in the early 1990's. From 1991 to 1994 the number of murders looked like this:

  • 1991 - 24,703
  • 1992 - 23,760
  • 1993 - 24,526
  • 1994 - 23,326

Now let's take a look at the "Murder Victims--Circumstances and Weapons Used or Cause of Death" spreadsheet compiled by the Census Bureau. Of the 9,203 murders by firearms in 2009 handguns were used in 6,503 of those murders while rifles were used in 352 murders. Even if we assume that all of the "unspecified" weapons are rifles (which would be silly) that still accounts for 2,276 murders by rifles in a nation of well over 300 million people.

As Reason.com points out, rifles of any kind were used in only 3 percent of all murders and Connecticut already has a ban on so-called "assault weapons." That is an invented term, by the way. True military weapons - fully automatic weapons - have been severely restricted for generations.

No, we do not have a compelling national crisis that requires swift action by Congress to again restrict "scary looking guns" like was done in 1994. It is always a bad idea to make laws based on isolated incidents that do not reflect the vast majority of gun owners. We do not need to further restrict the rights of law-abiding Americans to own guns in a responsible manner. Republicans should not cave on this - though some probably will.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Time to leave Syria, Bashir Assad.

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 11:30 AM (#)

Bashir Assad was clearly spooked by the Arab Spring and what happened to Moammar Gaddafi, but he's only made the people under his boot hate him even more by waging war against his own people, slaughtering many civilians including women and children.

His fall is inevitable now, and he better hope he can escape the country before the rebels get their hands on him. His death won't be painless or quick if that happens.

If he's smart, he'll negotiate a hasty exit before his government falls. Better to be tried before a human rights tribunal than tortured to death by the rebels.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

A more pressing need than banning soda

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 9:20 AM (#)

In an article in today's paper about a woman who murdered a man by pushing him in front of a subway train in New York City, an interesting fact:

There are no barriers separating the trains from the people on the city’s subway platforms

Seems like that would be an easy problem to fix. It is obviously a more pressing need than making sure people don't drink too much soda. How about it, Mayor Doomberg?


Friday, December 28, 2012

107-2 basketball win illustrates need for "mercy rule"

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

If the 107-2 win by the Bloomington South girls' basketball team that made national headlines illustrates anything, it is that the ISHAA needs a "mercy rule" once the score gets out of control. The actions of the coach, though, are much harder to judge.

In the weeks following the South/Arlington game, the difficulties Arlington had were explored, especially how the school had been losing students after being put under new management. The game against South was not an anomaly for this school, which has been blown out by ridiculous margins earlier in the year.

It's easy to judge the coach after the fact, but the fact that the game was scheduled at all put him in a difficult position. The talent difference between the two teams meant that this game was never going to be close. I mean no disrespect to Arlington by saying this, but there is a reason certain schools do not play each other.

Once South started running up the score - probably not intentionally, but by playing normally - it was a difficult decision. If you intentionally put the brakes on, would you be seen as "mocking" an inferior team? Is it even ethical to allow another team to score points or to take intentionally bad shots or turn the ball over?

So the answer is to change the rules for games like this one. One way to do this is to speed up the game: Once the margin reaches a certain point, the clock keeps running even during time outs and dead balls. Another possibility is to declare the leading team automatically wins when the score passes a certain margin - perhaps fifty points.

This serves a dual purpose: It makes the margin of loss less humiliating and it is simply more efficient. This game was over well before the time ran out, and served only as a waste of time for the players, fans and coaches.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Boycott companies with offensive ads

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 7:00 AM (#)

I hate banner ads that automatically play sound. Note to iShares and any other company that does this nonsense: If your ad does this I will NEVER buy from you. I will also encourage others to boycott or abandon you.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Politicizing a tragedy vs. finding solutions

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

And they built the high places of Baal, which are in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire unto Molech; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my mind, that they should do this abomination, to cause Judah to sin. -- Jeremiah 32:35

I said on Facebook and Tumblr last week that I do not think it is fair to demonize people who are advocating gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting as "politicizing" the tragedy. I disagree with more gun control and I find it counterproductive. However, I do not think that all of those who are advocating for gun control are doing so with bad motives. Many of them simply want to prevent this from happening again and are offering a solution. Those of us who disagree with that solution should not personally attack them.

I would draw a thick black line between those offering public policy solutions and those who exploit tragedy to score points against their political enemies. Lets' not forget how Leftists rushed to blame Sarah Palin after a madman trued to murder Gabby Giffords. Let's also not forget the Leftist political hacks who rushed to falsely blame a Tea Party activist for a mass shooting at a showing of The Dark Knight Rises this past summer, murdering his reputation and exposing him to harassment and a flood of death threats. This type of behavior is despicable and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

But when tragedy strikes, it is natural for people to look for ways to prevent it from happening again or at least make it less likely or mitigate the damage of a future tragedy. We saw it after both Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, wondering what policies could be implemented to make storms like these less destructive. There is no reason that discussion should not take place in the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. It should take place in a way that is respectful to the victims, but it should not be silenced altogether.

This brings me to what should be an obvious inconsistency in our reaction to 20 children being murdered by a madman - the fact that many of us do not bat an eye at the wholesale slaughter of innocent babies in their mother's wombs every single day. On average, we murder over 3,200 babies every day in America. This is not meant to minimize the very real pain or the evil that took place on December 14, but in terms of magnitude of killing we are straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

When we murder 1.2 million babies a year, and when we have murdered over 50 million since laws against abortion were thrown out by the wicked Roe v. Wade decision, are we really surprised that we have so little respect for human life in our culture? When our children grow up thinking that murdering your own child is "reproductive choice" are we surprised they do not cherish life? Our consciences have been so seared by the bloodshed we allow to take place daily that we need to loudly and vigorously damn the evil men who would coldly gun down school children just so we can feel like we are human beings and not monsters.

If we want a culture that respects life, the answer is not disarming our population or getting rid of movies and video games where the "killing" is special effects or pixels on a computer screen where no one is actually hurt. No, we need to face our wickedness as a nation that has murdered several times more people than the Nazis did in the Holocaust - and we need to repent of this terrible evil.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

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

Today, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. While many church services focus on the glorious birth of Christ with heavenly host singing, it is also important to recognize how much of a sacrifice it was for Jesus to come to earth to be our Redeemer. We often think of the crucifixion as Christ's main sacrifice, but his entire life was a sacrifice for us.

Isaiah 53:2-3

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Many paintings of Jesus depict Him as a glorious, good looking man. But the prophesy of Him in Isaiah indicates that He was just the opposite. Born in a manger rather than a palace, Jesus humbled Himself to be with the lowly rather than the rich and powerful. Born as a baby, Jesus humbled Himself by being completely dependent on his mother and father for everything aspect of His life: food, shelter and clothing. Think that the Creator of the universe was completely helpless.

Luke 2:8-14

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe. He is all-powerful and all-knowing. Yet he entered this world with no power whatsoever, in the body of a newborn baby. Jesus was completely dependent on Mary and Joseph for food, shelter and basic care. Like all newborns, Jesus could not walk or even crawl. Imagine, the Creator of the universe being carried around because He has no mobility! Jesus was willing to lower Himself not only to take on a frail human body, but to have the most vulnerable and frail body of all: a newborn child. How many of us, if we were omnipotent, would be willing to make that sacrifice for the people we created?

Most importantly, why did He do this? Jesus came to earth, endured the humiliation of helplessness, endured the humiliation of being of low social status, and endured the suffering of the cross for our sins. All of us have sinned against God, and no one has the ability to repay that debt and make ourselves right with Him. So God Himself comes to earth and suffers, and is eventually executed for the sins we committed against Him. What a merciful and loving God our Father is, to sacrifice Himself to free us from the bondage of sin and death.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Reality on gun control

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

Connecticut has an "assault weapons" ban similar to the federal ban that expired in 2004. It didn't prevent this atrocity.

The "assault weapons" ban, if written like the one in 1994, will outlaw scary looking guns, but the "assault weapons" will still be legal if they are modified.

They are not "weapons of war." True military hardware has been banned for generations. It has been illegal to own fully automatic weapons since, I think, 1934.

Finally, the number of people killed by rifles is low in comparison to the number of people killed by other means, including handguns. This is a solution looking for a problem.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

There are no tax cuts on the table. None.

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

There is a lot of talk about "tax cuts" and the fiscal cliff. There are no tax cuts on the table. Not one person will see his taxes go down. The discussion is about extending the current tax rates. The question is who will see a tax increase and who will see their tax rate stay the same.

See previous editorials from September 2010 and December 2010.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Compromise or capitulation on gun laws?

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

So there is talk that we may see "compromise" on gun laws. Any further restriction on the right to own guns is not a compromise. It is a capitulation. We would be moving in the direction that the gun-grabbers want while we get absolutely nothing in return. How is that a compromise? Hint: It isn't a compromise! We need to rethink this entire notion of "compromise" if this is what we mean by it.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Stop whining about the 2012 election!

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

Last week, a Republican candidate who lost in November sent out a rather bitter e-mail to supporters complaining about the "liberal media" which he says contributed to his defeat. This is not meant to pick on this candidate (which is why I did not name him) but to illustrate a problem Republicans have and need to fix quickly: The "sore loser" mentality.

Look, 2012 was a disappointing year, and the biggest reason for that disappointment is the re-election of Barack Obama. There were other disappointments as well, including the fact that we actually lost seats in both houses of Congress in a year where we thought we would gain control of the U.S. Senate. There is good news in Indiana, where a new Republican governor enjoys supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature, but that is tempered by the loss of the Republican superintendent of public instruction.

The last eight years have not been kind to Republicans in Monroe County. In 2004, we had 5 of 7 seats on the county council, 2 of 3 county commissioners and 6 of 8 administrative offices. (The Auditor, Treasurer, Surveyor, Prosecutor, Recorder, and Clerk were Republicans while the Assessor and Sheriff were Democrats.) Democrats now control all of the administrative offices we had in 2004, except for Recorder.

All of this news can be discouraging. As a conservative, I obviously disagree with the choices of the voters in these races, from Obama on down. But the 2012 election is what it is and we are not helping ourselves when we whine about it or play the role of sore loser, whether it be in numerous letters to the editor or Rush Limbaugh complaining about how "we are outnumbered." We lose credibility by making ourselves look like children. It needs to stop.

It is especially important for defeated candidates to be gracious in defeat, especially if those candidates hope to have a future in politics. Picking a post-election fight with the news media (especially when the news media already hates you) does not help the cause, it does not help your future electability, it does not educate voters on the merits of your philosophy, and it does not help other Republicans get elected to other offices.

It is understandable that conservatives would be grouchy about the 2012 election results for a couple weeks, but it has gone on far too long. We should not be complaining deep into December about the election results, and that is especially true for our defeated candidates. We really need to stop this nonsense about how Hillary Clinton is unbeatable in 2016.

Now is the time to stop whining, put our big boy pants on and go about the work of educating people about the merits of our philosophy and preparing to win as much as we can in 2014 and 2016. I do not believe that we lost the country in only two years after the big red tide of 2010. America is not over and we need to be positive about what we offer the country and our ability to win elections and provide conservative solutions.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Mass shootings and the reckless "news" media

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

One of the lessons of the atrocity committed by a madman in Newtown, Connecticut should be how the news media handles stories like this one. Within hours of the shooting, the news media had identified the shooter and his Facebook profile was plastered across cyberspace as well as cable television.

There was only one problem - the media identified the wrong person.

The media's victim in this case was then harassed by angry cyber-vigilantes, some of whom threw death threats in his direction. (Never mind the stupidity of threatening to kill him when it was confirmed the shooter was dead.)

In the rush to be first with the scoop, an innocent man's life has been thrown into turmoil and his reputation savaged by irresponsible media that were more interested in profit than truth. The media's reputation has also been damaged.

This is not new. Political hacks at ABC "News" recklessly identified a Tea Party activist as the shooter in Aurora, Colorado, leading to him being harassed and threatened with death.

The lesson is simple: Make sure you have all of the facts before you identify the shooter in a case like this. Being right is more important than being first.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Movie pet peeves

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

There are a few things that do not work in movies - or if they do work, they are overused. Here are a few of my pet peeves when it comes to movies.

I hate "shaky cam." I hate it. If I wanted to watch shaky cam I would watch bad home movies, where I expect to see the view jump all over the place. I expect better from a Hollywood-produced movie. If I am going to pay $10 to see your movie, plus soda and snacks, I want to be able to tell what is going on. The shaky cam hurt Cloverfield badly.

The Blair Witch Project (which I have never seen and do not intend to see) has ruined far too many movies for the better part of 13 years now by introducing this gimmick.

One example of shaky cam was Chronicle. That movie could have easily been done without shaky cam. It was not as bad as it could have been (I have seen worse shaky cam effects) but it was obnoxious nonetheless. The shaky cam effect is unfortunate, as I liked the story - though I predicted the ending about 30 seconds into the film. I've seen the same movie dozens of times with different character names copy-pasted into the script.

Another bit of advice - make your characters behave as a normal person would behave in the situation you are creating. For example, I could suspend disbelief and accept the premise that there are super-intelligent primates in Rise of The Planet of the Apes, but the human characters are so dense, stupid and borderline evil that the movie suffered for it. No normal person would behave as these characters did in that situation.

A corollary to this is that your protagonists need to be likeable. If your protagonists are not likeable, the audience does not care if they fail or if they are killed - and the audience may even be hoping the annoying character dies to get them off the screen. This is bad and lazy writing. We should never root for the bad guys.

Finally, do not preach. Movies like Avatar, The Happening, Unthinkable and The Day After Tomorrow all had promise, but became more annoying than entertaining when they were used for propaganda. Political satire has its place, but a bait-and-switch where a science fiction movie or a thriller is promised and a political message is rammed home for two hours is not the way to endear yourself to the people who paid money to see your movie.

Basically, it comes down to taking the time to craft a good story instead of relying on gimmicks or special effects. (Some gimmicks are obnoxious on their own, as the shaky cam mentioned above or the overuse of slow motion.) These things have their place, but are not a substitute for a strong story.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Square-Enix RPG names

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

Here's a question for RPG fans: Why isn't Chrono Trigger part of the Final Fantasy series? It is, from a gameplay perspective, pretty much identical to the Final Fantasy series. It could have easily been Final Fantasy VII. It also had one major innovation that later gamed have lacked - a "New Game Plus" feature, which is something every RPG should have.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Deny funding to Planned Parenthood

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

County Government's social services funding committee met on December 13 to hear presentations from community groups seeking a portion of the money the county council would be distributing to social service agencies. As is usually the case, more money has been requested than is available to spend, so the money needs to be spent wisely. This means no money should be given to Planned Parenthood.

Perhaps the most unusual request was submitted by the Bloomington Fire Department. The BFD is requesting about $20,000 to purchase batteries for equipment. The batteries are a decade old and are not holding a charge for the length of time needed, so the fire department is looking to replace them. This leads to one very obvious question.

Why is this not being funded by city government?

This is strange. Surely, the need for this equipment was known this past summer, when the city budget was being considered. Why did the Bloomington City Council and Mayor Mark Kruzan not prioritize the purchase of equipment needed for one of the two most important functions of city government - police and fire protection? Are the citizens of Bloomington to believe that the city council and the mayor could not find $20,000 to purchase needed equipment? Why is the fire department forced to go to the county council and grovel for money to pay for equipment?

These are very serious questions that need to be answered.

The main reason I was there was because Planned Parenthood is applying again. PP was not invited to present in 2011 and was not given funding by the city's social services fund this past summer, which is good news. PP is undeterred by these rejections and is requesting another $5128 for "preventive health services" including cancer and STD screenings as well as birth control.

Without even getting into the moral issues surrounding Planned Parenthood (the biggest one being the fact that they murder hundreds of babies every year on South College Avenue) it makes absolutely no financial sense to fund PP because they do not need the money. According to their own fiscal report, Planned Parenthood of Indiana took in over $900,000 more than they spent in their 2011 fiscal year. PPIN does not need $5,000 from county government, especially when many other organizations genuinely need the money.

So why are they asking for another handout? I have answered this question before, and the answer is always the same: They are seeking a political endorsement from county government. The fact that there are other organizations that do not have the backing of a state and national organization and legitimately operate on a shoestring budget does not concern Planned Parenthood. They want to be vindicated by having the county council take a public vote on funding them, and they want to "stick it" to pro-life taxpayers who object to funding an abortion clinic.

This is simply shameful. This is a show of extreme disrespect to the county council, to the taxpayers and to the other social service organizations. In a sane world, PP would not even have been invited to make a presentation to the social services funding committee. Their application should have been automatically rejected and they should have been told not to bother applying in the future.

If it were up to me, both the city and county social services funds would be abolished and the people of Bloomington and Monroe County would decide for ourselves which charities we will support, instead of having that choice made for us by city government. But if there is going to be a social services fund, it should be spent in a responsible way. Giving money to an organization that is only seeking a political endorsement is irresponsible, as well as disrespectful to both the taxpayers and to the organizations that were denied funding.


Sunday, December 16, 2012

A top tax rate of 91 percent? Really?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 11:30 PM (#)

A letter to the editor in today's paper praises the 91% tax bracket under FDR.

Isn't it true that there were enough exemptions that very few rich people actually ever paid 91% of their income?

And seriously - do you really think that confiscating ninety-one percent of someone's income over a certain amount is a good idea and will promote more economic growth?

Why would anyone ever want to be in the top tax bracket?


Friday, December 14, 2012

Today's horrific school shooting

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:30 PM (#)

I am not surprised by today's barbaric school shooting. We are all just as wicked as this man and in need of a Savior to redeem us from our sins.

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And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. - Genesis 6:5-6


Deer task force reveals our depravity

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

The saddest thing about the controversy regarding how to control deer within city limits is that we have so much outrage over killing animals while we have little to no outrage about murdering babies every week on South College Avenue. The depravity of our city was on full display when city council member Chris Sturbaum was quoted by the Herald-Times regarding his position on controlling the population:

Council member Chris Sturbaum, who said he carries spiders outside not to kill them, said he would probably not support culling deer within city limits.

Yes, Councilor Sturbaum is so compassionate that he will not kill a spider in his own home, and proudly thumps his chest in public about his righteousness. And yet he has no problem supporting a business that was murdering babies the very next morning, just a few blocks from where he was praising himself for being compassionate. He has no problem using his power as a city councilor to force the people of Bloomington to do the same.

People are very passionate about the subject of killing deer, which is understandable. But it is utterly perverse that people turn out to the council meetings in droves and write letters to the editor opposing this "inhumane" solution while they either yawn at or actively support the murders of human children that happen every single day in this city. We make a big show of opposing violence, while we sacrifice hundreds to Molech. It is sick.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Understanding Matthew 7:1 in context

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

Matthew 7:1 is both the most well-known and the most misunderstood verse in the Bible, because when you read all of Matthew 7 there is clearly no prohibition on judgment. I, fact, exactly the opposite is true - Jesus commands us to judge in that chapter!

When Jesus tells us not to judge, he is telling us not to judge as hypocrites. After all, we cannot see clearly to remove a speck in someone's eye when we have a tree in our own eye. But Jesus does not command us not to remove the other person's speck - He commands us to remove the tree stuck in our own eye so we can see clearly to remove the speck in our brother's eye.

In fact, as you read through Matthew 7, there are clear commandments to judge that follow the warning against hypocrisy.

Verse 6 tells us not to cast pearls before swine or to give what is holy to the dogs. (It is important to note that Jesus called a Gentile woman a dog in Matthew 15:26-28.) But how are we to know who are the swine and the dogs? The only way to know that is to judge. Jesus follows up by warning against false prophets who seek to turn people away from the Gospel. How are we to know who these false prophets are? We know them by their fruits - meaning that we judge their fruit!

There are many other places in Scripture where we are commanded to judge, including the Apostle Paul's rebuke of the church at Corinth for allowing a man to commit adultery with his father's wife. Paul commands them to remove the man committing incest from the church. I could go on and on with many more examples that further shatter the illusion we have created around Matthew 7:1.

The reason we intentionally misunderstand Matthew 7:1 is that we have rejected the authority of the church and that we want to continue in our sin without being held accountable. But we do not even truly believe the nonsense we repeat about judging - after all, if someone wrongs us we want our pound of flesh. No one would suggest that murderers and rapists be allowed to get away with their crimes because of a perverted misinterpretation of Matthew 7:1.

It is not enough to cherry-pick Scripture for things that we can pervert to justify and cover our own wickedness. We need to love His word, His church and His people, and strive to obey him out of that love.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Running away from God's account of creation

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

I have a great deal of respect for Senator Marco Rubio and I think he has a great future in politics. I admire his strong conservative stand on fiscal and social issues and his work to advance the conservative position on those issues. However, I was nonetheless discouraged to see him immediately rush to "clarify" his position on the age of the Earth so that he does not look like some inbred hillbilly from the backwoods of Kentucky.

Of course, there is nothing to be ashamed of about here. See previous posts from earlier this year, where I linked to a plethora of information from Mr. Sepetjian's blog:

The contrast is pretty stark when you consider how the media treats young-earth creationists as opposed to Christians generally. Young-earth creationists are mocked, ridiculed and treated like uneducated know-nothings. Republican politicians trip over themselves to assure the media that they believe in the theology of evolution.

But when you think about it, Christianity itself does not make any sense at all from the same atheist perspective that mocks young-earth creationists. If you are a Christian, you believe that the Son of God came to earth to take on human flesh, born of a virgin's womb.

You also believe that God lived a humble life as a carpenter for decades and was then tortured to death. You believe that the Son of God then rose from the dead and reigns in Heaven. By the way, God the Father and God the Son are the same God, but two of three Persons. You accept all of this by faith.

So the mainstream media and liberal Democrats have no trouble supporting politicians (like Barack Obama) who claim to believe everything in the paragraph above, but scoff at the idea that very same God could have created the universe in a half-dozen days. How is this consistent?

What is really happening here is that Leftists are trying to make faith in Jesus Christ itself a shameful thing. America still clings to the shredded remnants of our Christian heritage enough that doing that directly would not be politically feasible, so they attack in very specific areas. The way we see this manifest itself now is through demanding politicians believe in "science." The next qualification for public office will be to demand our elected officials renounce "superstition" completely - and that will happen sooner than you think.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

War on Drugs: Obama should respect the Tenth Amendment

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

The title of this post seems absurd on its face, because the idea that a President who has supported the dramatic expansion of the federal government would respect the authority of the states to govern their own affairs is laughable. Nonetheless, Barack Obama said in 2008 that he would not interfere with states that legalized marijuana for medical use. That turned out to be a lie, as the raids continued.

It should not be a surprise, then, that the Obama administration is looking for ways to thwart the states that decriminalized marijuana through referendums in the 2012 election - even though the vast majority of the supporters of these initiatives are also Obama supporters. Obama's abandonment of his own voters is pretty striking.

It is true that decriminalizing marijuana itself is quite a step farther than simply allowing it to be used for medical conditions under the supervision of doctors. But the Tenth Amendment still applies, and the people of Colorado and Washington are more capable of governing their own affairs and meeting the specific needs in their states than a one-size-fits-all solution from one city on the east coast.

But Obama should back off and let the states govern themselves on whether they want to pursue marijuana users, for both political and practical reasons.

Politically, this would make his own supporters happy, but would also be a tip of the hat to the Tea Party conservatives who have spent the last four years trying to restore some respect for the Tenth Amendment. The Tea Party will not support Obama in any case (and they shouldn't) but there's no reason not to reach across the aisle and do something that makes both the left and libertarian right happy.

Practically, the War on Drugs has failed. Just like Prohibition of alcohol, the drug war has enabled organized crime - especially the hyper-violent drug cartels in Mexico that have the population living in fear with their gruesome and brazen mass murders. If you take away the black market, you will take away much of the profit the cartels enjoy.

The voters recognized this, and they see no need in continuing to spend large amounts of money fighting a war we can never win. Using marijuana may be an incredibly foolish and stupid thing to do, but do we really need to be putting nonviolent marijuana users in prison, destroying their lives, filling up our prisons and driving up state budget deficits?

The answer is no.


Monday, December 10, 2012

1 Kings 14:10 and red letter Bibles

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 6:00 AM (#)

Much of what we find in Scripture is scandalous to us today, so what we do is either not deal with it at all or we try to "clean it up" or explain it away. Such things ought not to happen among believers in Jesus Christ.

One example is 1 Kings 14:10, which contains a phrase that is used several times in the King James version - that God will destroy every one that "pisseth against the wall." Other translations "clean up" the language of the verse, so as not to use the "vulgar" language the KJV uses. Those translations describe God's impending judgment against the "males" of the house. But why? Are we more polite than God?

(On a side note, I am not a KJV-only person. I have no quarrel with any other translation that faithfully translates the original text.)

Here's the issue: If we believe the Bible is the inerrant and inspired Word of God, then we cannot simply "clean up" or ignore those parts that make us blush in "polite" society. Of course, given how course and obscene our culture has become - especially with the near-universal availability of hardcore pornography on the Internet, including really strange and downright nasty things - the idea that "pisseth against the wall" makes us blush is downright silly.

Our desire to trim scripture goes well beyond a phrase in 1 Kings. A friend of mine told me once he does not like red letter Bibles, because it elevates the words of Jesus above the rest of Scripture to the point that it allows us to ignore the rest of the Bible. "Well, Jesus did not say this or that," pagans and liberal Christians say, so it must be OK.

There are two huge problems with this. First, all Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and should be revered. Second, Jesus traveled and preached for three years. The Gospels do not cover every word He said, so it is silly to assume that we know what He did not say.

I personally like red-letter Bibles and I always use one. That is a personal preference. But we must be very careful to hold all Scripture in high regard, not just the words printed with red Ink. There is a huge amount of helpful and applicable teaching in the Bible printed in black ink, and we should not ignore it simply because it is convenient for us to pretend to be hyper-spiritual and only follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

An honest question

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

For those Democrats who whine that Republicans only opposed ObamaCare because "a black man" was advancing it: Do you really think that Republicans would not have opposed an identical bill had John Edwards, Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton (also 2008 contenders) been elected instead?


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Facebook theology

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

Dear Facebook users,

Do you really think people are going to burn in Hell for all eternity if they don’t share a picture of Jesus on their wall? Because I am pretty sure that is not what Jesus meant in Matthew 10:33. Hope this helps.

Your friend, Scott


Friday, December 7, 2012

E-mail privacy and limited government

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

Republicans have been looking for a way to "reach out" to more voters. They can do that, and make the libertarian-leaning Tea Party movement happy by joining Democrats in an effort to protect our e-mail from being searched by government without a warrant, as is currently "legal" under federal law.

Of course, whether this is actually "legal" is an open question, given the text of the Fourth Amendment:

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.

It is not much of a stretch to consider electronic communications to be "papers" in the same way that letters and other documents are considered "papers" and protected by the Constitution. Just because e-mail is stored as zeroes and ones on a hard drive somewhere instead of living as ink on paper does not mean it does not meet the definition of "papers" protected by the Constitution.

But we have to deal with the legal climate as it is, rather than what it should be. Until a court challenge comes before a sensible judge who submits to the authority of the Constitution and throws out the warrantless search provision of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, we should do what we can to protect civil rights legislatively.

The 1986 law allowing searches of e-mail less than 6 months old is clearly outdated and needs to be updated, because we are living in a completely different world than we lived in 26 years ago. The internet revolution has dramatically changed life for individuals and every institution imaginable.

This is why Republicans in the House should join Democrats in restricting the power of law enforcement to snoop through our e-mail without a warrant. First, it is politically smart. The vast majority of voters would be uncomfortable knowing that the government can search through their e-mail with no judicial oversight. This would make the Tea Party movement happy as well as court moderate and even some liberal voters.

More importantly, this is simply the right thing to do. This would show Republicans submit to the letter and the spirit of the Constitution and would protect us from government intrusion into our private communications. If there is a legitimate law enforcement or security-related reason why government needs access to someone's Hotmail account, then that can be pursued. Absent a warrant, government has no business snooping there.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Obscene and brazen hypocrisy by the Herald-Times

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 7:00 PM (#)

The following statement in today's Herald-Times editorial is arguably the most obscene and brazen example of two-faced, fork-tongued hypocrisy I have EVER seen.

Certainly, bullying goes on in cyberspace, particularly where anonymity “protects” the bully from those being victimized. No courage needed — as if courage could ever be assigned to someone who bullies someone perceived to be too weak to fight back.

This from the so-called "newspaper" that aggressively protects anonymity in HTO comments, including the anonymity of candidates for countywide elective office. It is literally stunning that the editorial board could look themselves in the mirror after writing such an extreme example of credibility-obliterating hypocrisy... but then again, nothing that is spewed out of the Herald-Times should be a surprise!


America's destructive and deadly entitlement mentality

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

Last week, I tweeted a picture that is a good summary of where we are, where we are headed, and what we must reverse. The Greatest Generation fought back the Axis Powers and their ideologies of Nazism, Fascism and Militarism. The Grift Generation wants government to force other people to pay for their stuff.

The contraception mandate row that took up so much of the 2012 election is but one example of this. The Leftist position is this - if a woman's employer (or the government) does not provide contraceptives "free" of charge, they are denying her right to use contraception. The fact that a woman is perfectly free to pay for it herself does not even enter into the equation - by not providing it for her, you are oppressing her.

Sandra Fluke is the poster child for the entitlement mentality. She demands that other people pay for what she wants, and whines to Congress that she is being "oppressed" if she is not given what she wants. We see this now in debates over entitlement reform. If we do not forcibly take money from other people (or borrow trillions of dollars) and give it to the poor, we are oppressing the poor. Previous generations would consider it oppression if we actively exploited the poor, but the entitlement generation thinks we are oppressing the poor by giving them less.

In fact, this is what ObamaCare is all about in the first place: a massive new government program to ensure that someone else pays for our health care. Of course, that "someone else" will eventually be all of us together through our taxes. The men who founded this nation based on liberty from an oppressive government would be shocked and appalled by this federal overreach.

People vote based on this. The "ObamaPhone lady" video has been watched over seven million times and re-posted all over the web. (Yes, I know the story of the ObamaPhone - that it is an extension of land line service for the poor and that the program was started under George W. Bush. Save it.) The point is not the origin of the ObamaPhone. The point is that people are voting for President based on what they think they can get from the government.

This is a mentality we have to break. There will always be people who feel entitled to get things from other people, but it has reached the point that it is destroying our country. We simply cannot afford to continue down this path. For the last four years, we have had annual budget deficits of well over $1 trillion. Prior to 2009 (the year Barack Obama took office) our annual budget deficit had not even reached $500 billion. We're lurching toward financial disaster and the collapse of our economy. We have to make hard choices and make deep cuts if we expect our nation to survive.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An evil injustuce by Judge Teresa Harper

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

A woman murders her disabled 25-year-old daughter in a slow and agonizing manner by starvation and neglect. What do you think she deserves? Life in prison? Judge Teresa Harper would not agree. Harper decided this barbaric crime merits just over two years behind bars. That's right, only two years for murder.

Let's examine the crimes of Dorothy Axsom:

In May of 2006, Casey Axsom died from starvation at a home on Weimer Road where she lived with her mother. Completely disabled by cerebral palsy and epilepsy, she was not ambulatory and could not care for herself.

She weighed just 50 pounds when she died. An expert in the care of endangered adults consulted during the investigation said the Axsom case represented the worst case of neglect he had seen in 20 years. The coroner who conducted the autopsy said Casey Axsom had experienced “severe starvation for some time.”

Police reports indicate the woman had deep, open bed sores and was emaciated when she died.

Source: Bloomington Herald-Times.

The prosecutors decided on a lesser charge, thinking that they could not get a conviction for murder. That may or may not have been a good decision. However, there is no legitimate reason to suspend ten years of Axsom's 16 year prison sentence. That is a wicked injustice and an abomination in the eyes of Almighty God.

I understand that it is difficult to care for someone who is completely dependent on you, especially if that person is an adult. If Axsom was overwhelmed, there are resources she could have used to care for her daughter. One option was making her daughter a ward of the state and letting the taxpayers care for her - an abdication of her responsibility as a "mother" to be sure, but far better than torturing this poor woman to death.

This is the other end of the spectrum of the pro-life movement - the murder of the disabled. The sad thing is this is not an isolated incident. We are going to see more and more of this evil, especially as ObamaCare is implemented.

Yes, ObamaCare. I'm reluctant to bring it up as some will see this as making this tragic crime a political issue, but we need to be honest as we are approaching the inevitable death panels in the Affordable Care Act. The very name of the legislation reveals the dark and sinister forces behind it and the murders that ObamaCare will soon mandate.

The vast majority of health acre dollars are spent in the last days of someone's life, and there is concern about that being "affordable." Soon, the right to die with "dignity" will become a duty to die so we are not burdens on our children. After all, the adults who were fed, clothed, changed and loved by their parents should never have to return that kindness and obey the commandments of Almighty God in Exodus 20:12. We live in frightening times.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Seventy years of American "progress"

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


Monday, December 3, 2012

The most important issue in every election

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

The Republican establishment did its best to make the 2012 election about "jobs and the economy" and tried hard to avoid discussing social issues. Meanwhile, the Democrats campaigned hard on social issues and painted the GOP as "extreme" with little to no response from the Republicans.

I pointed out on November 20 that abortion is not a losing issue for Republicans. I made the point in October that the real extremists on abortion are the Democrats, especially with Barack Obama leading that party. Republicans will never win a national election without the Christian conservative base. But there is a more basic and fundamental reason why the GOP must not ever compromise on protecting innocent life.

It is simply the right thing to do.

We have had fifty million legal abortions since 1973. Fifty million innocent human beings have been murdered in forty years, and the murders have been protected by a corrupt legal system.

The motivating factor for the people who are active in the pro-life movement is not winning elections or gaining political power - the goal is to stop a mass murder campaign that is unprecedented in human history. We will not give up, and we will not stop fighting, no matter how the political winds change on this issue. The lives lost are too precious and the atrocity is too severe to give up our efforts to protect those lives.

This is why I do not care what the Republican establishment wants regarding abortion. I do not care if the Republican establishment wants to push social issues to the side in a politically suicidal attempt to appeal to "moderate" voters. When thousands of babies are being murdered every single day, there is no issue that even comes close.