Evan Miller and Kuntrell Jackson are serving life in prison for crimes they committed when they were 14. That is where the similarities end, because the two cases are very different. It is immoral to lump the two cases together.
Jackson and two friends decided to rob a video store in 1999. When the other two teens went into the store, Jackson stood outside the door. One of Jackson's accomplices shot and murdered a store clerk, and the three teens fled. Jackson did not kill anyone, nor was he in the store when the shooting took place. Despite this, he is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.
Is it cruel and unusual for Jackson to spend his entire life behind bars? That is a reasonable question, especially given the nature of his crime and his age at the time. And while I am reluctant to raise this issue because it is so often cynically exploited by hustlers and con men, it is legitimate to ask whether Jackson's race played a part in his life sentence. He is black. If Jackson was white, would he have gotten a lesser punishment?
While Jackson was a lookout during a robbery, the crime committed by Evan Miller is completely different. Miller and a 16-year-old friend used a baseball bat to brutally beat 52-year-old Cole Cannon during a robbery. To hide the evidence of the beating and robbery, they set his trailer on fire and left him to die - ignoring him as pleaded for help and mercy. It was a cold-blooded act. Miller committed an incredibly brutal and shockingly cruel murder.
The Supreme Court is now considering both cases, and questioning whether is is "cruel and unusual" to send teens to prison for life without the possibility of parole. The cases should not be lumped together because the crimes are radically different. Serving as a lookout for a robbery gone bad is not in the same galaxy as brutally beating a man and leaving him to die in a fire you set, much less the same ballpark.
In Genesis 9:6, God commands that whoever sheds man's blood is to be executed, because man is made in the image of God. Nonetheless, I can understand why society would spare Miller's life on compassionate grounds. After all, he was subjected to terrible abuse at the hands of his so-called "father" and his so-called "mother" was a drug addict. He tried to kill himself several times to escape the abuse.
But while compassion and mercy may be appropriate in sparing Miller the death penalty, society also has rights that should be protected. Specifically, innocent people should have the right to live without fear that a depraved murderer is on the loose after being freed by the justice system. Setting Miller free could be a death sentence for an innocent person, and that is not just bad policy - it is evil.
It is intellectually dishonest and borders on racist to lump the cases of Jackson and Miller together, and the Supreme Court should decide whether each man's punishment is "cruel and unusual" based on the facts of each case, not based on a general principle. The Supreme Court needs to consider the rights of society and the commandment of God to defend the weak and helpless. (Psalm 82:2-4.)
The solution should be fairly obvious. Sending a 14-year-old to prison for life because he served as a lookout during a robbery is cruel and unusual. Jackson's punishment should be struck down. What Miller did to Cannon was cruel and unusual, but protecting society from Miller is not cruel or unusual.
What are Doug Wilson's views on slavery? Fast forward to 3:10 for the answer to this question.
In this video, Doug Wilson says "good riddance" to slavery. He criticized the "debt slavery" many find themselves in today. The video was posted on June 24, 2011 - more than nine months before Mike Leonard's smear piece in the Herald-Times. Furthermore, Wilson says in the very pamphlet that Leonard used as the basis for his hit piece that "none need lament the passing of slavery."
Wilson was coming to Bloomington - Leonard's back yard - to speak at Indiana University. Leonard could have contacted Wilson for clarification on his views, regarding something Wilson wrote 16 years ago. That is standard journalistic practice. The fact that Leonard did not contact Wilson for his front page story proves Leonard has absolutely no interest in the truth. Leonard's only interest was in smearing Wilson.
This is a serious ethical breach and the Herald-Times needs to apologize.
Why did Anders Breivik set up a bomb to murder people last summer? Why did he massacre teenagers on an island youth camp? When an atrocity like this happens people naturally search for answers. What could possibly motivate someone to slaughter 14 and 15 year old kids? How could he think that this is a righteous act?
I have the answer everyone is seeking. He did it because he is evil. It really is that simple.
We're starting to see a familiar scapegoat for the actions of this evil man. He played video games, especially first person shooters. This is silly. Millions upon millions worldwide play video games, and the video game industry brings in more revenue than Hollywood. And yet the vast majority of players are not violent criminals.
Here is an important statistic: As the video game industry boomed in the 1990's, the crime rate dropped and there have been some who suggested that video games may have contributed to that drop, keeping teens indoors and out of trouble. Of course, there is no way to prove this, just as there is no way to prove video games cause crime. There are a lot of factors in the crime rate that simply cannot be explained by one thing.
Could it be that Breivik was encouraged because he knew that he would not get anything close to a real punishment in Norway's corrupt "justice" system? If he is deemed sane, he will face 21 years in prison. That's right. Not only will he not face the death penalty as commanded by God, he will spend a pathetic 21 years in prison and theoretically have decades of life left as a free man. His victims will still be dead, though.
Let's be brutally honest here. Lawlessness breeds lawlessness. When you cannot get justice from those entrusted by God to bear the sword in defense of the innocent, where will you turn? One likely outcome is rebellion against that authority through vigilantism. Breivik could well be assassinated when he is released from prison. This is sin, too, but Norway's corrupt "justice" system is as much to blame as Breivik's eventual assassin.
There was a great observation on the NBA Today podcast a couple weeks ago: "If you say something that's negative, then you're a hater, and as I've said many times people that use the term hater are people that are, it's just childish. And they're unable to, they're unable to stomach criticism." (sic)
While the context of this quote is opinions expressed by sports analysts, it has implications for our political discourse as well. If you oppose taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, it is because you "hate women." If you disagree with government recognizing same-sex marriage, it is because you "hate homosexuals." If you are troubled by violations of civil liberties by law enforcement, you "hate police." This goes on and on, forever.
It's silly, it's childish, and it's a cop-out. Instead of honestly addressing the arguments presented, people who cry "hate" make an ad hominem argument to force their opponent to defend himself personally. If you can make a discussion personal, you do not have to deal with the logical arguments presented.
Disagreement is not the same as hate. Those who reduce disagreement to "hate" demonstrate their lack of ability to form a coherent logical response to an argument they dislike. They also water down the meaning of the word "hate" to the point that it is meaningless and ineffective. If all disagreement is hate, then what do we call real hatred - which is a sin that Jesus Christ said is no different than murder?
Republicans think they have found a new issue that they can use to attack Obama. In his first book, Obama admitted eating dog.
Really? Is this our big line of attack in 2012? This is the issue we're pushing instead of Obama's reckless and destructive deficit spending, his overbearing and unaffordable health care "reform" law, his opposition to a much-needed oil pipeline in a time of skyrocketing gas prices, his "green energy" debacle, his abandonment of the Defense of Marriage Act, his pro-abortion extremism and an economy that remains terrible?
Now, don't get me wrong. I am a dog owner and I adore my pets. I could not imagine eating meat from a dog. But that is a product of the culture in which I grew up, not because there is anything intrinsically wrong with it. For those trying to make a big issue out of it, please answer the following question: What makes a dog more intrinsically special than the animals I have personally eaten: Bison, cows, elk, pigs, rabbits, deer, goats, snails, or chickens? It is a different culture, that is all.
I wish Christians would think Biblically before they jump on board with silly political gotcha games like this, because there is a Scriptural principle at stake here. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Timothy 4:1-4 that those commanding to abstain from meats are preaching a doctrine of devils and speaking in lies and hypocrisy. The Apostle Paul and goes on to explain that "every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving." When we claim there is something morally deficient with Obama's diet when he was in Indonesia, we are in rebellion against God.
My other problem with it is the subtle cultural bigotry present in this silly campaign. They eat dog in another culture, so they must be backward or they are barbarians. Too bad they are not as good as us, right? But there are other cultures that would be horrified at the lavish treatment our dogs get in America.
Folks, Barack Obama might be the worst President in American history. We need to get rid of him this November. This campaign is too serious and the real issues we face are too important to be spending our time attacking Obama over such inane non-issues. We need to treat the 2012 election with the seriousness it deserves.
Barack Obama is making tax "fairness" a centerpiece of his campaign and he is trying to exploit Mitt Romney's personal wealth to drive up resentment for the rich. But Obama's whining about the "Buffett Rule" ignores some very important facts. Let's take a trip to Literalville, courtesy of this helpful chart from the National Taxpayers Union:
The top 1% paid 36.73% of federal income taxes in 2009
The top 5% paid 58.66% of federal income taxes in 2009
The top 10% paid 70.47% of federal income taxes in 2009
The top 25% paid 87.30% of federal income taxes in 2009
This is a phony issue, folks. If you listen to Obama, you would think that we do not have a graduated income tax, and that we instead have a regressive income tax. This is pure class envy based on a few limited cases. Obama even admitted this will do virtually nothing to close his extravagant budget deficits. Obama says it is about "fairness."
This is not to say that there are not reforms to be made to the tax system. One of the big problems with the tax code is that it is so big and complicated that it is a cesspool of special-interest favoritism, and it provides a never-ending temptation for Congress to fiddle with it to various political ends. A flat tax would eliminate all of that.
But while I would prefer a completely flat tax, that is not realistic right now. Supporters of the flat tax need to be laying the philosophical groundwork now in hopes of reaching the goal in the future. It should be possible, though, to get bipartisan agreement for making the tax rates a little flatter (and lower) in exchange for eliminating deductions and simplifying the tax code to remove some of the special-interest favoritism.
Romney should engage Obama on this issue, especially on the meaningless "Buffett Rule" gimmick.
A new poll, done by McLaughlin & Associates, shows an exciting new turn for the Indiana Senate race between moderate incumbent Dick Lugar and conservative challenger, Indiana State Treasurer Richard Mourdock. Mourdock is now beating Lugar among the lot of primary voters.
Reports show that in response to this lead, Dick Lugar is now soliciting votes from Democrats from across the state. The Mourdock campaign is now highlighting these reports from Roll Call, as well as Legislative Insight (a publication covering Indiana’s political and governmental landscape) (see here and here).
May 8 is going to be very interesting. I think Lugar is done.
From the Herald-Times, describing the reaction to the city's decision to cut down 66 trees at Miller-Showers Park on Earth Day 2002:
One surprised person cried at the sight of the removed trees. Another observer called the city's parks and recreation staff to inform them each tree killed had its own personality. Yet another person spent her day Tuesday angrily questioning city officials about their process for public input on tree removal.
Others complained about the trees being removed on Earth Day. This happened accidentally because a city contractor moved up its schedule for tree removal by a day, after the contractor had originally planned the work for Tuesday.
When the Herald-Times published a shamefully dishonest hit piece on Pastor Doug Wilson, Mike Leonard transcribed an attack from the Southern Poverty Law Center, taking quotes from Wilson's book out of context. Let's examine some other quotes from Wilson's book:
"One cannot defend the abuse some slaves had to endure. None can excuse the immorality some masters and overseers indulged in with some slave women."
"We have no interest in defending the racism (in both the North and the South) which was often seen as the basic justification for the system, and we do in fact condemn it most heartily."
"All forms of race hatred or racial vainglory are forms of rebellion against God."
In the comments for Leonard's article, I said he "should not have been permitted to write this article. He has a long history of very loud opinions on social issues and hostility to conservative Christians. "
Wilson confirmed on Twitter at 12:20 AM on April 7 that Leonard didn't bother contacting him for this front-page story. This is because Leonard had absolutely no interest in the truth. His only interest was in smearing a conservative Christian.
As expected, the speech by Doug Wilson on Friday the 13th generated some heated opposition in a lecture hall on the ground floor of Ballentine Hall. Leftists showed how much they "respect diversity" by screaming obscenities at various points during the speech, including a "Mic Check" commonly used by the "Occupy" movement to tell Wilson to "get off our campus" immediately after a laughable claim that they respect free speech. You can see the video of that disruption on Facebook or YouTube.
An audience member was arrested by Indiana University police after refusing to stop disrupting the speech and refusing to leave. As the person was being arrested, hysterical Leftists screeched into the room that he was "being queer bashed" by the police. (See reports by the Herald-Times and the Indiana Daily Student.) This is laughable. No one was victimized for being homosexual. A disruptive individual was arrested for being disruptive.
After the "Mic Check" and as a woman was screaming obscenities at him, Wilson said that the "diversity" movement has two primary principles: "an absolute commitment to free speech" and "shut up." This was a perfect description of the shameful behavior by Leftists last Friday.
I am thankful that the IUPD was keeping order and ensuring that Wilson was able to exercise his free speech rights. Had the IUPD not been there, Leftists would have almost certainly prevented the speech from going forward though mob rule, and given the emotional climate the event may have degenerated into violence.
There was no need to try to shout Wilson down. If his theological commitments are indefensible and easily refuted, there was plenty of opportunity for discussion through a question and answer session after the speech. Wilson's message is contradicted on a daily basis on the IU campus, between academic coursework, various "diversity" offices and student groups. Why was a message of Biblical sexual morality so threatening, given the Left's overwhelming advantage?
In fact, the question and answer session was expanded to 10:30. IU had asked ClearNote Campus Fellowship to be out of the building at 9:30 and Leftists threw a tantrum when CNCF attempted to abide by the agreement. Under pressure from Leftists, the administration allowed CNCF to stay for another hour, so more discussion could take place. Wilson readily agreed to stay and answer more questions.
One of the questions was about bisexuality, to which Wilson had a logically coherent answer. Wilson opened his speech arguing against the postmodern position that any sexual activity is morally right so long as no one is hurt. Given this foundation, what would prevent someone from having two partners if that person is sexually attracted to both sexes? If we are going to say that there are no moral boundaries to consensual sex (the position of postmodernism) then there is no justification for prohibiting polygamy. (Wilson did say that not all bisexuals want more than one partner. He was making a philosophical point.)
To address a point raised in HeraldTimesOnline.com comments regarding Wilson's theological commitments (and mine, interestingly enough) - neither Wilson nor I believe every word of the Bible is to be interpreted literally, just as we do not believe that every word of the weather forecast should be interpreted literally. After all, the weather forecast uses terms like "sunrise" and "sunset" which are not literally true. The sun does not rise or set, as we all know. Those terms describe what we see from our position on Earth as the planet rotates.
In fact, Jesus rebuked His disciples for taking Him literally when He spoke of the leaven of the scribes and Pharisees. When Jesus spoke in parables, He was not saying these things literally happened, but He was using a story to teach a lesson about genuine faith and how we are to worship God. Finally, there are areas of the Bible where people of good faith disagree, such as whether infant baptism is an acceptable baptism.
During Q&A, one Leftist screeched that "This is a public university! There is no religion!" Really? Does that mean religion is not allowed, in public speeches or in private? Should the Religious Studies department be closed? You see, this is where the alleged "commitment to diversity" is proven to be a fraud. There is no such thing as "diversity" when there is an active attempt to use mob rule to silence viewpoints one does not like.
A week before Wilson's speech, Mike "The Liar" Leonard wrote a shamefully dishonest article smearing Wilson as a racist, purposefully ignoring Wilson's emphatic rebuke of racism in his writings - including the very book that Leonard the Liar took out of context in his hit piece. In his April 13 speech, Wilson repeated his emphatic rebuke of racism when he was accused of being a racist in the question and answer session.
Wilson laid out a convincing case for "creation sexuality" in his first lecture, but it was in his second lecture where he really drove home the point, in a way that I had never considered: That the entire Bible was the story of how God arranged for His Son to come to earth and marry a prostitute. (The book of Hosea is a direct allegory to Wilson's argument.) The prostitute is the Christian Church, which is described throughout the New Testament as the Bride of Christ. Christians (collectively and individually) are mired in our own wickedness when God showed mercy on us and decided to redeem us out of the bondage we could not escape.
This is a message sorely needed on the Indiana University campus, the home of notorious child rapist Alfred Kinsey. ClearNote Campus Fellowship should be applauded for bringing Wilson to campus to preach a message that we all sorely needed to hear, no matter how much Leftists used anger, hatred and lawless behavior to silence the gospel.
Nineteen years ago today, federal agents used military force (including tanks) against American citizens on American soil when they stormed the compound of the Branch Davidian cult. During the raid, a fire started, resulting in a spectacular explosion when the flames reached the cult's weapons cache. When it was all over, 76 people had been killed. The dead included 21 children and 2 pregnant women.
The stage was set for the massacre in February, when a paramilitary ATF unit raided the compound, climbing onto the roof and entering through the windows. Faced with this force, the Branch Davidians fought back and drove the federal agents away from the compound. Many questions have been raised in the years since about this raid, which to this day is a shining example of foolish excessive force by law enforcement. The Branch Davidians were a doomsday cult expecting armed conflict with the government, so what did the ATF think was going to happen when agents wielding assault weapons and wearing body armor entered through the windows?
Before we even get to the April 19 massacre itself, we should be very concerned about the increasing use of paramilitary force by law enforcement. We have seen far too many tragedies, including the death of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones during a SWAT raid in Detroit and the killing of 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta. Stanley-Jones was sleeping on a couch when she was killed and Johnston was shot to death by police when she opened fire to defend herself against what she believed to be criminals engaged in a home invasion. Corey Maye spent a decade in prison for shooting a police officer during a SWAT raid on his home, thinking he was also defending himself against criminals.
But as bad as the SWAT raids are, it pales in comparison to the massacre at Waco 19 years ago today. We actually had the federal government using tanks on American citizens to break a standoff. It may be that there was no peaceful way to resolve the standoff. (Which we should not forget was created due to the paramilitary raid in February of that year.) It is commonly accepted that the Branch Davidians started the fire themselves in a depraved mass suicide. But that simply does not excuse the use of military force against American citizens.
As is the case with any event like this, there are wacko conspiracy theories floating about - but one does not need to be a conspiracy theorist to be horrified at what happened 19 years ago today. One does not need to be a conspiracy theorist or an anti-government extremist to recognize that Waco serves as an example of how the federal government can be very dangerous to our civil liberties and why federal power must be checked by the states.
With the Tea Party movement having brought libertarian philosophy to the national stage and concerns about excessive force used against the "Occupy" movement, the 2012 Presidential race would be an excellent time to have a national conversation about civil liberties and the use of force. There is not a lot the President can do about the actions of local police, but one thing the President can do is pledge that no more military equipment will be given to law enforcement. But will either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama be willing to make this an issue? Sadly, I doubt it.
On April 4, I said on Twitter that I would support Mitt Romney when Rick Santorum drops out of the race or when Romney mathematically locked up the nomination. Well, my chosen candidate dropped out of the race for the Republican nomination for President last week. I am now supporting Mitt Romney for President.
Let me be honest here. While I endorsed Romney in 2008 because I believed he was the best candidate in the field at the time, I do not believe that Romney is the best choice of the candidates who ran for President this time. Rick Santorum, Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, or Newt Gingrich would have been better.
But the reality is that Romney is for all intents and purposes the Republican nominee for President. And while Romney may not have been the best choice, he will be a dramatic improvement over Barack Obama. I will not hesitate to openly support and vote for Romney in the November general election.
That said, the nomination process is still ongoing and I have no problem with Republicans supporting other Republican candidates while this process winds down. As Republicans, we should not harangue other Republicans for standing by their principles and supporting their candidate of choice. Whether that is Ron Paul (who has the most consistent limited government record of all the candidates) or Newt Gingrich (who led the Republican Party to a huge wave election in 1994 and engineered multiple key reforms and the first balanced budget in 30 years) we should respect their decision to stand by their convictions.
I think this process has made Romney into a better candidate and it is much better for Romney to deal with the criticisms from the right in the primary than in the general election where it could more effectively demoralize the base. There was not one single thing that was brought up in the primary that would not have been used by Obama in September or October, and it is better to deal with those issues in the winter and spring than after Labor Day.
In the 2008 general election, I voted for the Libertarian candidate for President because I could not in good conscience support John McCain. While there are certainly concerns about Romney's conservatism, he is no McCain. In fact, the reason I supported Romney over McCain in the 2008 primary is because Romney is a much stronger conservative.
Romney is a pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-gun, limited government conservative who is campaigning on a platform of lower taxes and limited government. After a successful career in the private sector, Romney understands that the tax and regulatory burdens put in place by the federal government are harmful to our economy. Romney understands that he needs the conservative base and that the Tea Party movement will hold him accountable. I do not think we need to worry about the same kind of problems we had with George W. Bush expanding government.
And let's make no mistake: Barack Obama is the issue in 2012. His reckless and irresponsible spending is driving this nation into unsustainable debt that is unprecedented in the history of this nation. The fact that Obama immediately gave us budget deficits of over a trillion dollars should alarm all Americans. That's not the national debt, folks. That is the amount added to the debt in one single year. Under a Romney administration, that will stop.
I respectfully submit that, with the nomination all but certain, we focus our efforts on electing Mitt Romney as our next President. The Romney campaign has some work to do in healing the damage it caused to party unity by using scorched earth tactics in the primaries, but that can be helped along by supporters of other candidates letting bygones be bygones and uniting around our nominee to achieve the most important goal of the last 100 years - defeating Barack Obama.
A man who was arrested in Martinsville for distributing Ku Klux Klan literature last summer (the charges were dropped on free speech grounds) staged a one-person "rally" on the Monroe County courthouse square on April 7. He was met with two hundred people who showed up to counter-protest him.
This could have been a powerful statement of solidarity against the sinful racism of the KKK. But it degenerated into a farce when Leftist radicals could not control their emotions and managed to humiliate themselves. What is sad is that the extremists do not even realize how badly they lost in the arena of ideas with their shameful behavior. Instead of a peaceful protest to show how much in the minority this one dude is, Leftist terrorists snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
Some Leftists whine that this was not a free speech issue because both Buhls and his opponents spoke and were heard. They are wrong. This absolutely is a free speech issue. Violent extremists surrounded Buhls, destroyed his sign, stole his property, physically assaulted him, threatened him with weapons, and followed him down the street after his protest was over. You can see pictures of the near-riot on this Flickr photo stream. It is genuinely disturbing.
The difference between these Leftists and Osama bin Laden is only one of degree - same basic mentality. Both Osama bin Laden and the Leftist extremists who behaved so shamefully on April 7 use violence and threats of violence to frighten people into doing what they want.
I shudder to think what would have happened had the police not been there to intervene. But not nearly enough was done. Censorship by mob rule is still censorship, especially when accompanied by violence and threats of violence. The police should have stepped in to put some space between Buhls and his opponents, because no one should expect to be put in danger for his free speech. Government must not permit this shameful and anti-American behavior.
Speaking against Buhls is completely appropriate, but there is simply no excuse for this. A loud but peaceful protest would have been infinitely more effective to show how much in the minority his views are. It was 200 to 1, for crying out loud!
Buhls got exactly what he wanted. Had no counter-protesters shown up at all, he would have been completely ignored and no one would have even known he was there. Had this been a peaceful protest, he would have been embarrassed. But the "Occupy Bloomington" idiots simply could not leave well enough alone. They could not control their emotions and threw a childish temper tantrum. They had to surround him, destroy his sign, steal his property and physically intimidate him. Now the KKK can claim a public relations victory, as a peaceful KKK member was accosted by an angry mob.
None of this, of course, can excuse Buhls' wickedness. Man was made in the image of Almighty God and hatred against someone because of his skin pigmentation is therefore a direct insult against our Father in Heaven. Since the KKK specifically claims the name of Jesus Christ, it is important to note that Jesus was almost certainly dark-skinned.
This incident was a black eye for our community. The Bloomington City Council, the Monroe County Council, the Monroe County Commissioners and the Mayor of Bloomington should in no uncertain terms denounce this shameful behavior and make it very clear that this is not welcome in a "save and civil" community where all views will be respected and no one has to fear for his safety because he espouses unpopular ideas.
On March 29, I posted the following statement in the comments for a letter to the editor urging people to open their windows instead of using their air conditioner: "Frankly, that is none of your business. You live your life and I will live mine." (The typo in my original post has been corrected here.)
In the days following, when I wrote in opposition to the murder of children, Leftists have been quoting my March 29 comment to illustrate what they think is an inconsistent worldview. This is an important point, so it deserves deeper examination. Following is a comment and my response:
It might be that you don't like your own words being used to point out that you use hypocrisy to try to make your points. If you want to force your point of view on others then you shouldn’t object when someone wants to force their point of view on you.
If this is the case, then virtually every person on the planet is a hypocrite. After all, we all have areas where we think government should prohibit, restrict or regulate behavior and other areas where we think that government should not have authority. For example, imagine someone believes abortion should be legal while handguns should be banned. Imagine someone else holds the exact opposite position on both issues. Are those people both hypocrites?
If that is the standard - that believing government should have authority in some areas but not others - is the definition of "hypocrisy" then the only people who are not hypocrites are true anarchists (who believe there should be no government at all) and universal authoritarians who believe government should literally control every single aspect of your life. Any position in between those extremes is hypocrisy.
Real hypocrisy, of course, is very different. Hypocrisy is when words and actions do not match - for example, a thief who rails against stealing. A thief is not a hypocrite for railing against running red lights.
If you truly have been reborn and found god then you should let god judge everyone and don’t attempt to take his place.
This is a common statement in today's postmodern society, but even the most committed postmoderns do not believe it. For example, if someone walks up to someone who thinks he is a pure postmodern and punches him in the face - or steals $500 from his wallet - that "postmodern" will immediately judge the assaulter or the thief.
Furthermore, unless you are a true anarchist, you believe in government legislating morality - because all laws legislate morality. We have speed limits because we have made a moral judgment that traveling above a certain speed on certain roads is an unacceptable risk to others - and is therefore immoral. I could list an infinite number of examples for this. Every person on the planet (except legitimate anarchists) believes that government should legislate morality - and even anarchism is a moral choice that people should be free to do whatever they want with no restrictions even of those actions harm others.
So what is the solution? Where should we draw the line and have government intervene. I subscribe to the following libertarian standard: Government should act to prohibit people from harming other people. Therefore, things such as stealing, assault and fraud should be illegal. And yes, this does include the murder of children. You can do as you please unless you harm someone else. Do you want to run your air conditioner? Fine, that is your choice. But you may not steal money from me to pay your electric bill.
Earlier this year, Leftists were furious with the Komen Foundation for deciding not to fund Planned Parenthood. The nation's leading abortion provider launched a blistering attack on Komen, and PP's supporters began withdrawing support for the breast cancer charity.
Komen quickly reversed course, announcing that they would continue to fund Planned Parenthood. If you're a PP supporter, mission accomplished, right? You got what you wanted, you got your funding, and now it is time to move on and continue your "valuable work" for women.
If that's what you think, you would be wrong.
No, the fact that Planned Parenthood got their money (in addition to the free flow of taxpayer dollars from every level of government) isn't good enough. Komen must be punished for this blasphemy.
The Channel 13 in Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Star report that registrations are down 30% for the upcoming Komen walk in Indianapolis, and that fundraising has dropped by 18% compared to last year. The reason? Komen's decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood - a decision that, again, was quickly reversed.
This is what we are dealing with, folks. Planned Parenthood and its supporters are so vindictive and hateful that they are still punishing Komen for a decision reversed two months ago - meaning they are ultimately punishing women with cancer. This is disgusting, despicable and shameful. It's not enough that Planned Parenthood bullied Komen into giving them more money. No, an example must be set so that no one dares stand against Planned Parenthood.
What about the women who are helped by Komen's work? They do not matter to Planned Parenthood and its supporters. They can be tossed aside in order make an example out of and punish Komen.
This is the face of the modern abortion industry. Planned Parenthood has revealed again what they really are.
In a letter to the editor on April 7, Greg Travis complained about losing his unemployment insurance benefits. In his letter, he wrote about the reason:
I had not attended a mandatory training class in Bloomington and that, until I did, I would receive no more benefits.
I explained this would be difficult as I was out of state searching for employment.
Coming from almost anyone else, this would not have been significant. Coming from Mr. Travis, this is a major political issue for the 2012 election. This is because Mr. Travis' wife, Sophia Travis, is running for an at-large seat on the Monroe County Council. In the comments, someone asked the following question:
If you find a job out of state does that mean your wife won't be running for office?
This is actually a really good question. If Mr. Travis gets a job out of state, will he move to another state? If so, I would assume his spouse (County Council candidate Sophia Travis) would move along with him.
I can hear the wailing now, because I have heard it so many times before. That question and that assumption is "sexist" and that a wife is her own person. But a legitimate concern about a candidate cannot be swept under the rug so easily, because this has absolutely nothing to do with the sex of either of them. The exact same question would be just as relevant if Mr. Travis was running for office and Mrs. Travis admitted in a letter to the editor that she was searching for employment in another state.
This is 100% relevant to her candidacy and both voters and especially the Republican candidates for County Council need to call her on it. Sophia Travis is running for countywide elective office knowing that there's a very good chance that she will not serve out her term. Why should voters select her in the primary or in the general if she will swiftly move out of the county and be ineligible to serve? She is not acting in good faith and needs to come clean with the voters.
But that is not the only important aspect of this story. In addition to being the spouse of a candidate for County Council, Mr. Travis also serves on the Monroe County Economic Development Commission. What does this say about his confidence in the local economy? Shouldn't members of the EDC be invested in and committed to the local economy, rather than actively seeking to bail out on Monroe County?
Overall, this was a very strange letter to the editor. Why would you admit to seeking employment in another state when your spouse is running for countywide elective office? This isn't a post on a social networking site that someone dug up, or a comment under a pseudonym in the HeraldTimesOnline comment section. This was a letter to the editor! Why would anyone write a letter like that given the position of influence he holds and the position of authority his wife is seeking in the 2012 election?
It is no surprise that the Herald-Times has completely failed in covering this story. Here you have a major issue regarding whether a County Council Candidate is acting in good faith and an Economic Development Commission member admitting a lack of confidence in the local economy. I suspect the H-T has known about this situation for some time and has sat on it. Now that it has been published in the "newspaper" in the form of a letter to the editor, it should be covered.
The Indiana Daily Student asserts in its April 5 editorial that "the merits of Zimmerman’s claim are hardly worth debating." Of course it is worth debating, because it is critical that we have all of the facts. A full and impartial investigation is needed, not a racially-charged lynch mob complete with vigilante groups offering rewards for the capture of an American citizen who has not even been charged with a crime.
Frankly it is shocking that a "newspaper" would toss aside a search for truth, especially in a criminal justice case. The fact that the IDS is a college "newspaper" is not an excuse.
The IDS editorial board asserts that "Trayvon Martin was murdered in cold blood." You simply do not know that until all the facts come out and the investigation is complete.
There has been a ridiculous rush to judgment in this case, and I admit to my own shame that I was participating in that rush to judgment against Zimmerman just two weeks ago.
But the reality is we do not know for sure what happened that night. Zimmerman claims Martin punched him and knocked him down, and that Martin then allegedly began slamming Zimmerman's head into the concrete. If this is true, Zimmerman's life was in danger and the use of a firearm may have been necessary to end the attack There is evidence that Zimmerman was injured and was treated by paramedics at the scene.
This is not a small child we are talking about. Martin was a 6'2" athlete, certainly capable of handling himself. It is far from inconceivable that an athletic seventeen year old standing six feet and two inches tall could be a threat to someone without a weapon - especially if he did what he is alleged to have done.
But again, we do not know what happened. We do know that an overzealous Zimmerman ignored a 911 dispatcher and followed Martin. What happened after that? That is where the facts are cloudy. If Zimmerman is guilty of murder, then he should be executed - but only after a fair trial.
When I saw the "news article" about Doug Wilson's scheduled speech to ClearNote Campus Fellowship on April 13, I knew the article would be a poor excuse for "journalism" because of the author: Mike Leonard, also known as Leonard the Liar. I said this in the comments, before I even read the article:
Mike Leonard should not have been permitted to write this article. He has a long history of very loud opinions on social issues and hostility to conservative Christians. Bad call by the Herald-Times.
I was right. The article was a political hatchet job. Leonard the Liar regurgitated claims made against Wilson by the Southern Poverty Law Center accusing him of being a racist who supports enslavement of black people because of things he said in his book. But let's examine some of the other things Wilson said in that very same book:
"One cannot defend the abuse some slaves had to endure. None can excuse the immorality some masters and overseers indulged in with some slave women."
"We have no interest in defending the racism (in both the North and the South) which was often seen as the basic justification for the system, and we do in fact condemn it most heartily."
"All forms of race hatred or racial vainglory are forms of rebellion against God."
"The slave trade was an abomination. The Bible condemns it, and all who believe the Bible are bound to do the same."
"The cruel mistreatment given to some slaves is inexcusable and truly despicable. All such evil was wicked and indefensible."
Wilson's position is that slavery needed to end, but that it should have ended peacefully and that it did not require the incredible destruction and death brought about by the War Between the States. Wilson's philosophy extends to anti-abortion violence, in that while murdering unborn children is a great and terrible evil, there is no justification for terrorism and murder to oppose abortion.
Leonard wrote an article for the front page of the "newspaper" smearing Wilson's reputation. It is common practice that when serious accusations are made against the subject of an article, the "reporter" will contact that person to get his side of the story. I asked Wilson on April 6 if anyone from the Herald-Times (specifically Mike Leonard) had contacted him about the story. Four hours later, I had my answer. No one from the H-T had contacted Wilson for this story.
This is simply not acceptable. There is not one single professor at any reputable journalism school in the nation that would approve of what Leonard did here. Any reporter worth his salt knows that you always seek comment from the other side of an issue like this, especially when serious accusations are made.
Back in 2006, another Herald-Times reporter was disciplined, publicly reprimanded and reassigned after writing an article and not properly checking with the sources, and local Democrats threw a temper tantrum about it. Should the same thing not happen to Mike Leonard for this serious breach of journalistic ethics?
If you think the controversy over Wilson's visit to campus has anything to do with Wilson's view on race relations or slavery, you have been deceived. Leftists (including Leonard) are furious about Wilson's theological positions on sexuality and sexual morality, so they are throwing everything possible against the wall hoping it will stick. Leonard put together his dishonest and unethical hit piece for the sole purpose of discrediting Wilson before his lecture.
The Herald-Times has a long record of sloppy reporting but the problem with Leonard's articles goes well beyond simply being sloppy, lazy or incompetent. Mike Leonard is a political hack who simply does not care about the truth and writes his articles to promote a Leftist agenda. Agenda-driven writing is fine for an opinion columnist, but not for someone writing straight "news" articles, especially articles that are appearing on the front page. Leonard's bias is too strong and he cannot be trusted to write articles that are not slanted.
A willingness to openly lie to advance a political agenda, though, should never be acceptable for any newspaper. Had Leonard pulled the crap he pulls at any other newspaper, his employment would have been terminated years ago. However, the Herald-Times is not a newspaper. It is a partisan political newsletter that serves to advance a Leftist political ideology. That is why Mike Leonard is still employed - he is doing exactly what the H-T wants him to do.
The Herald-Times reports on a group of 200 people who showed up so counter protest one solitary man demonstrating for Confederate heritage:
counter-protesters repeatedly grabbed and eventually shredded Buhls' sign, and when someone snatched Buhl’s fedora, police gave chase
Buhls ended up in a police car — voluntarily — his only possible escape from the mob that followed him to the corner of Kirkwood and Lincoln Street.
Leftist terrorists strike again.
Instead of a peaceful protest to show how much in the minority this one dude is, Leftist terrorists snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, discrediting themselves by demonstrating their propensity to silence unpopular views with violence.
The difference between these Leftists and Osama bin Laden is only one of degree - it is the same basic mentality.
Behold the man upon a cross, my sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life; I know that it is finished.
It is common for Christians today to claim that it was the Jewish leaders or the Romans who crucified Jesus Christ, and to deny the role of the people in His crucifixion. It is understandable that Christians would want to make this distinction, so as not to appear anti-Semitic. But by denying the Jewish people's role in the death of Christ, we deny our own culpability. That is actually the primary reason we deny Scripture's teaching here.
Scripture makes it clear that it was the Jewish people, not just the leaders, who were calling for Jesus to be crucified instead of the murderer Barabbas. (See Matthew 27:22-23 and Mark 15:11-14.) The Apostles condemned the Jewish people in the book of Acts, making it clear that they crucified Jesus. (See Acts 2:36 and Acts 4:10)
Why is this important? First, we cannot deny Scripture because it is inconvenient. Second, Christians are no better than the mobs who were calling for Jesus to be tortured to death a few days after they were loudly and enthusiastically praising Him. Let's not forget that these were the chosen people of God. I have no doubt that the vast majority of the people in church pews each Sunday would have been calling for Jesus to die and for Barabbas to be freed had we been there. Can we as Christians honestly look at our own hearts and deny this?
Who crucified Jesus Christ? In short, Scott Tibbs crucified Jesus Christ. I am guilty of driving the nails into His hands and feet and I am guilty of mocking Him as He died. But despite the fact that I was an enemy of God, He died for me anyway. (Romans 5:8) It is a truth that is impossible for me to understand, but I cling to it by faith.
It is routine practice for college professors to tell their students not to cite Wikipedia in their assignments for class. There's a good reason for this: Wikipedia is an open-source encyclopedia that anyone can edit. That's why it's prone to misinformation - such as when Rush Limbaugh was pronounced dead a couple years ago and when Barack Obama was listed as a Muslim. There is not a filter to pre-scan edits for accuracy.
(That said, Wikipedia does not make mistakes in the same way that the HeraldTimesOnline.com comments section does not make mistakes. The users of both websites make mistakes. It is a critical difference - Wikipedia is not the Encyclopedia Britannica.)
Now, in fairness to Wikipedia, there is an active community of users that fact-check each other to make sure information is as accurate as possible. For casually looking things up, it's perfectly fine and I use it often. However, it's not appropriate for a lot of cases - such as academic coursework, as I mentioned above.
And like or not, no matter how good Wikipedia is and how much it has been improved, there is the issue of public perception. Many people are simply going to dismiss Wikipedia, so people who wish to write a convincing opinion piece for public consumption (such as a letter to the editor) won't use it.
The best way to use Wikipedia for those cases where it isn't appropriate (such as academic coursework, journalism and opinion writing) is to look at the sources listed at the bottom of the article and then cite those sources directly. After all, Wikipedia's guidelines require that claims of fact made on Wikipedia have a citation from a reliable source. Then there's no issue of credibility or public perception.
Do we really need traffic "calming" devices on West Third Street? A better question would be this: Do we need more traffic "calming" devices on West Third Street in addition to the bumpouts that are already there and have already successfully slowed traffic according to city engineering department's own study?
The fact that the city engineering department says speed is not an issue makes the question more relevant. Why do we "need" speed bumps? The answer is simple: The push for this is political, not based on what is actually required for the area. While all decisions by elected officials are inherintly political, all efforts should be made to ensure that decisions about infrastructure have as little political influence as possible.
The traffic "calming" in the area is more than enough to slow traffic. I walked up and down that section of the street last Saturday to see for myself how narrow the street is and how difficult it would be to drive through there above the posted speed limit. I also took several pictures, which you can see on Twitter:
Let's be honest here. This is not about traffic calming, any more than the ridiculous traffic impediments on Tenth Street are about traffic calming. This is about making West Third unpleasant enough to drive on that those who do not live in extremely close proximity simply will not do so. This is about diverting traffic, not calming it.
This is a mindset that the City Council should reject. Prospect Hill residents do not own that street. It is a public street owned by the taxpayers, not their private driveway. City Hall should not be in the business of playing favorites because some residents complain louder than others.
On Sunday night, NBC News "reporter" Kerry Sanders said there is continuing pressure "to charge the white man who killed a black teenager."
Sanders is a liar who should immediately be fired from his job as a "reporter" by NBC.
George Zimmerman is not white. Zimmerman is Hispanic. By falsely claiming that Zimmerman is white, Sanders is not "reporting" the "news" to NBC's viewers. He is engaging in pure race-baiting propaganda.
Why is this important? It is important because race hustlers are doing their best to exploit the death of Trayvon Martin to incite racial tensions, deliberately playing down or outright whitewashing (pun intended) Zimmerman's Hispanic heritage.
There is plenty of debate about this case and what led to the shooting, especially regarding the 6'2" teenager allegedly punching Zimmerman in the face and slamming his head against the sidewalk. Was lethal force justified in response, or did Zimmerman use excessive force? Is Zimmerman responsible for instigating the confrontation by following Martin? There has been an unfortunate rush to judgment in this case - and I have personally participated in that rush to judgment, much to my shame.
We need to wait for all of the facts to come out and ensure that true justice is truly done here. That justice might be a harsh punishment for Zimmerman... or it might be no punishment at all. It does not help anyone to have the case inflamed by race hustlers, including a lynch mob that has put a bounty on Zimmerman's head and a so-called "reporter" for a so-called "news" network that is deliberately spreading false propaganda.
Under the Constitution, Congress has the authority "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes." You'll notice that commercial activities by individuals is not on that list, so there is no specific constitutional authority for the federal government to mandate that a private citizen engage in commerce. Furthermore, the Tenth Amendment sends powers not specifically delegated to the federal government back to the states. It should be fairly obvious that ObamaCare's individual mandate is unconstitutional.
Yes, but the government mandates that we have automobile insurance, so is that not the same thing? No, it is not. First, auto insurance mandates are state mandates, not federal mandates. The states are given wide latitude under the Constitution to govern themselves in a way the federal government cannot. Second, the auto insurance mandate is not a universal mandate. If you do not own an automobile you do not have to purchase auto insurance. Third, auto insurance that is required is generally liability insurance, to cover the cost to other drivers in the case of an accident.
Democrats such as Rachel Maddow love to bring up the fact that some Republicans used to support the individual mandate. This is a common political tactic that produces heat but very little light. The fact that some Republicans used to support the mandate (even a federal mandate) does not address whether or not the mandate is good policy. It is an ad hominem logical fallacy meant to discredit one's political opponent as a hypocrite instead of honestly examining the policy and legal foundations for the arguments against the mandate.
It is understandable why some misguided Republicans and conservatives (which are not the same, though there is overlap) would have supported the mandate in the past. After all, a common belief among conservatives is that individual responsibility is critical, and requiring people to purchase a policy eliminates "free riders" that use emergency rooms and then do not pay. But the problem is that this is a dramatic expansion of federal power and sets a dangerous precedent for future expansions of federal power - not to mention the fact that it is plainly unconstitutional.
The problem with ObamaCare (as I said a couple years ago) is that it does not address one of the fundamental problems with our health care system - the health insurance industry itself. Insuring against catastrophic illness or injury is one thing, and is a way to spread risk across a large number of people for an affordable price to each individual. But health insurance has morphed more and more into health care, and that distorts the health care market.
When people are paying directly for their health care (especially routine doctor visits and such) they have an incentive to seek the best service for the best price - much like shopping for groceries or clothing. When health insurance routinely covers even routine medical care, that incentive is removed. It is a bad idea to have the consumer insulated from the cost of the product or service he is purchasing. I am convinced that this is one of the reasons health care costs have risen so sharply - much the same as student loans have distorted the market for college education.
What we need is not a top-down system where the federal government controls the health care system. We need reforms that will bring more market forces into the health care market.
There is a disturbing article in today's Herald-Times about rape statistics in the state of Indiana. It was a fine article, with several good quotes and ideas. But Jonathan Plucker just could not leave well enough alone:
Plucker was more blunt. “Instead of people using up so much oxygen going after the Girl Scouts, why not tackle this issue, which is really important to women everywhere and really important to society as a whole?” he asked.
This is just plain dishonest.
We're talking about a letter written to colleagues by one state legislator about why he wouldn't support a resolution supporting the Girl Scouts.
One state legislator.
There is no organized campaign to go after the Girl Scouts. There is not a group of people trying to take them down. We're talking about a letter and an editorial by one state legislator.
It is shamefully dishonest to pretend this was bigger than it is.
It is shameful to exploit this issue to score political points, especially in such a dishonest manner.