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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Social issues and the Republican Party

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

"Don't talk about social issues! Talking about social issues hurts Republicans. All that does is stir people up. We have to focus on the budget, and also on jobs and the economy."

We hear this nonsense every election, and while I disagree with the Republicans who are terrified of these discussions regarding whether they are helpful are harmful politically, that is not the point of this post. The point of this post is that I simply do not care about the politics of social issues or whether debating social issues damages the Republican Party.

While there are a number of topics that could be considered "social issues" (including gun rights) one of the specific social issues that some Republicans (and especially the Republican establishment) want to suppress every election year is abortion rights. They just do not want to talk about it. But my interest in opposing abortion is not political - it is theological.

I have been involved in the pro-life movement for the last 16 years, back to when I was in college. I have picketed Planned Parenthood, lobbied city and county government not to fund Planned Parenthood, supported anti-abortion candidates, marched in the Fourth of July parade, volunteered at the county fair and helped organize the annual Rally for Life. This is not because I am a Republican. This is because I am a Christian.

I am commanded to "rescue those being led away to death" in Proverbs 24:11-12 and the Bible says that murdering babies is a terribly wicked thing. In Jeremiah 32:35, God says that the murder of babies by burning them to death is so evil that it never even entered into His mind. Leviticus 20 provides a sobering warning to our nation about allowing the slaughter of the little ones made in God's image. Can anyone imagine Jesus Christ approving of the barbaric act of abortion?

Let's assume for a minute that debating the social issues hurts Republicans. (Which, again, I do not agree with.) What is more important for a Christian - obeying God or winning elections? What good is it to win elections if you cannot implement policy to fight the most important issues of our day? Popularity itself isn't something to be pursued, as Jesus warned in Luke 6:26.

Frankly, I am rapidly losing interest in debating whether or not we should debate social issues. I am simply going to do what is right, the political consequences be damned. I will not stand before my Father and say that I put the Republican party ahead of my loyalty to Him. The Republican Party will pass away, but God's word and His truth are eternal.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thoughts on John Gregg's choice for his running mate

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

So John Gregg has picked Vi Simpson as his running mate. On his web site, Gregg claims to be a "pro-life Democrat." Why, then, would Gregg pick someone who is so strongly in favor of abortion rights (and someone who has spoken at abortion-rights rallies) as his running mate? A liberal Democrat from Bloomington, Mr. Gregg? Really? What are you thinking? This certainly undermines Gregg's claim to be "pro-life."

This only helps Mike Pence, and this is looking like a very good year for Republicans.

This also helps Reid Dallas, who does not have to unseat an incumbent state senator.

It will be interesting to see who the Democrats pick to take Simpson's spot on the ballot. Peggy Welch is likely to lose her seat to Peggy Mayfield in the newly-redrawn District 60, but the Democratic Party's base in Bloomington has been unhappy with Welch for years for her votes against abortion and homosexual marriage. The base could revolt if Welch is moved up to the state senate race instead of reliable liberal Matt Pierce. Losing the incumbent in the heavily Democratic District 61 will not matter, and the Democrats will hold that seat regardless.

But for lieutenant governor, Welch would have been a better fit with the views Gregg claims to hold and would play better with conservative Hoosier voters. It is telling that Gregg picked Simpson instead of Welch. This sends a signal to Indiana voters that Gregg is out of the mainstream.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

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

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." -- John 15:13

Sunday, May 27, 2012

GOP attacks on Romney's record

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

In his editorial on May 24, Eugene Robinson whines that when Democrats attack Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital, "they’re accused of being Bolsheviks who want to destroy capitalism" and points out that Republicans did it first. The implication - that Republicans got away with it.

Except they didn't. Rush Limbaugh and others were very critical of Republicans who attacked Romney's economic record.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Wanetta Gibson is a rapist

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 6:30 PM (#)

This woman is evil. Pure, unmitigated evil. From the Associated Press:

In an initial meeting with him, she said she had lied; there had been no kidnap and no rape and she offered to help him clear his record, court records state.

But she refused to repeat the story to prosecutors because she feared she would have to return a $1.5 million payment from a civil suit brought by her mother against Long Beach schools.

Wanetta Gibson should serve the same prison sentence for rape her victim did, plus a maximum sentence for fraud and theft for the $1.5 million. Furthermore, all of her and her mother's material possessions along with every penny they have should be confiscated and sold to start paying back the school. Their attorney should be disbarred, and the prosecutor should go to prison.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The front page - focusing on local vs. national news

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

A letter to the editor on May 18 criticized the Herald-Times because a national news story the author thought important was "buried" deep in the paper. Anyone who has followed this blog or my comments on HeraldTimesOnline.com knows I have been very critical of the H-T over the years, but I do not think this is a fair criticism.

Several years ago, the H-T decided to change its focus to concentrate first and foremost on local news, and to feature local news on the front page. (For some historical perspective on this issue, see comments from the H-T editor on this subject from November 29, 2003 and July 10, 2004.)

I disagreed at the time and was critical of the policy, but after several years of this policy I think it works. For the most part, the days of people getting the majority of their news from the local newspaper are over, and that trend was already in the process of being established when the H-T made its decision to highlight local news on the front page and move nation/world news to a later section.

If I have a criticism of the Herald-Times' layout, it is that nation/world stories are often inside the sports section, rather than having nation/world news on the front of a section and having sports take a position inside the paper. While I recognize that a lot of people go directly to the sports section, nation/world news is more important in the impact that news has and should take a more prominent position.

The local focus, though, is the right decision for a paper covering a city of this size. You can get national and world news from dozens of news Web sites and 24/7 cable news channels, but the local news coverage the H-T offers you really cannot get anywhere else - or at least not in the volume the H-T provides.

Now, the quality of that local news is another debate entirely...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The NBA needs to send a message to the Heat

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

Dexter Pittman of the Miami Heat needs to be thrown out of the NBA. He is a thug and a criminal. The NBA doesn't need him and his kind.

This is the kind of crap that the LA Fakers (especially Andrew "Felony Assault" Bynum) pull all the time. The NBA needs to send a message.

Facing reality on "party unity"

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

Here is a reminder of an important reality:

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Social Services Funding Committee hears proposals

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

The Bloomington city council's social services funding committee met last week for a couple hours to hear proposals from the various social service agencies seeking a grant from the Hopkins fund. As is always the case, the proposals for funding came to more than the city had budgeted for grants, so the city will have to deny some of the requests and not fully fund others. This, of course, is why Planned Parenthood should not be funded.

I found it interesting that there we a number of requests to cover salaries. The guidelines for funding state that the funding request should be for a one-time investment, rather than an ongoing expense. According to the document posted on the city's website (download the PDF) "this restriction discourages agencies from relying on these funds from year to year and from using these funds to cover on-going (or operational) costs, particularly those relating to personnel."

This is another reason PP's request should be denied, because this is an ongoing program rather than a true one-time investment. This is not the purchase of an autoclave or a medical examining program (both of which have been purchased for PP by the city in the past) but a request for "help" for a sexual education program that will continue well into the future. Of course, PP does not need "help" for this program, as I have pointed out many times in the past. Planned Parenthood does not need the money. They are seeking a political endorsement, nothing more.

The focus of this program is Indiana University students, though the program is not limited to them. Councilor Andy Ruff asked if there would be a way to determine whether the students who are getting services from this program have a financial need for the program. The woman presenting for Planned Parenthood dodged the question, simply repeating an earlier statement that the program will focus on freshmen at IU.

Obviously, residents of Bloomington should not be paying for students to attend this program when they can easily pay for it themselves, and it is interesting that Planned Parenthood's representative dodged the question. It is easy to give a direct answer to that question, even if that answer is "I don't know and I will have to get back to you on that." Why did PP not answer Ruff's question directly? Sidestepping the question is a disservice to the taxpayers of Bloomington, and shows disrespect for those taxpayers and the city council.

I asked PP's representative after the meeting if this would be limited to college students or whether it would reach younger ages. I was not surprised to find out that it reached into local high schools, but it should be a concern that PP is also reaching into middle schools down to the sixth grade. They will be going into the schools. I sent an e-mail to the MCCSC School Board to ask questions about what PP would actually be doing when they go into the schools.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Sex, love and the freshman 15
Date: Sat, 19 May 2012 06:34:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: Scott Tibbs <tibbs1973@yahoo.com>
To: wksmith@mccsc.edu, swanzer@mccsc.edu, mstreet@mccsc.edu, jmuehlin@mccsc.edu, kklein@mccsc.edu, lskelton@mccsc.edu, djbutler@mccsc.edu

Dear School Board members,

Planned Parenthood is requesting a grant from city government for a sex education program that targets Indiana University students. PP's representative told me last Tuesday after her presentation to the social services funding committee that the program will also seek to educate younger students, down to the sixth grade, and that they would be going into the schools to provide this education. I have a few questions about this.

  • Does Planned Parenthood already have times scheduled for this program?
  • Will parents be informed about this, and will parents' permission be required for their children to participate?
  • How detailed will this program be? Specifically, what will be taught to these students?
  • Will Planned Parenthood also be offering STD testing to local middle and high school students?

Thank you for your time.
Scott Tibbs

See previous articles here:

♣  Don't subsidize abortionists -- June 1, 1999

♣  Don't give tax money to abortionists -- May 5, 2002

♣  There is no reason to force taxpayers to subsidize abortionists -- June 18, 2002

♣  City Council gives money to Planned Parenthood -- June 30, 2002

♣  No corporate welfare for the merchants of death -- May 28, 2003

♣  Don't give tax money to Planned Parenthood -- April 30, 2004

♣  Don't give tax money to Planned Parenthood -- May 8, 2004

♣  Sturbaum should recuse himself -- May 23, 2004

♣  Planned Parenthood's grant request represents cynical politics -- June 8, 2004

♣  City Council gives $$ to Planned Parenthood -- June 19, 2004

♣  No corporate welfare for the merchants of death, part VII -- May 10, 2005

♣  City Council gives $1500 to Planned Parenthood -- June 16, 2005

♣  No corporate welfare for the merchants of death, Part VIII -- June 19, 2006

♣  City Council funds Planned Parenthood -- June 22, 2006

♣  Planned Parenthood’s latest request for corporate welfare -- May 1, 2007

♣  Planned Parenthood’s request for corporate welfare -- June 18, 2007

♣  Time to end the city's subsidies to Planned Parenthood -- May 5, 2008

♣  Billion-dollar corporation gets corporate welfare from Bloomington City Council -- June 20, 2008

♣  Monroe County Council funds Planned Parenthood -- December 9, 2009

♣  No corporate welfare for the merchants of death -- April 26, 2010

♣  Follow-up on corporate welfare for Planned Parenthood -- May 5, 2010

♣  Bloomington Democrats subsidize sexual abuse -- June 22, 2010

♣  No corporate welfare for the merchants of death -- September 27, 2010

♣  Monroe County Council funds felonies with tax dollars -- October 20, 2010

♣  No corporate welfare for the merchants of death -- May 10, 2011

♣  No corporate welfare for the merchants of death -- June 15, 2011

♣  Planned Parenthood gets corporate welfare again -- June 17, 2011

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More from the nanny state ninnies

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:25 PM (#)

The nanny state ninnies are at it again. A ban on novelty lighters? Really? This is ridiculous. I have a better idea: Keep your nose out of everyone else's business!

Say "no" to corporate welfare for Planned Parenthood

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 7:50 AM (#)

Published in the Herald-Times, May 21, 2012. (Comments)

To the editor:

If the Bloomington City Council is going to have a social services funding program, then those funds should go to organizations that actually need it, not a national corporation with more than enough money to cover the "needs" of the local branch.

Planned Parenthood and all affiliates nationwide had a combined excess of revenue over expenditures of $18.5 million according to PP's most recent fiscal report, and Planned Parenthood of Indiana reported they took in over $900,000 more than they spent. Do they really need a handout from local government? The answer is no.

It is ridiculous that local charities are rejected year after year so Planned Parenthood can get a political endorsement from city government. Make no mistake about it – that is exactly what PP wants, because it is more than obvious that they do not need the money.

Furthermore, giving Planned Parenthood a grant to help prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases is like giving Phillip Morris a grant to help prevent lung cancer. You simply cannot separate the ST from STD, and it is the culture of sexual license advocated by the likes of PP that had encouraged the spread of STDs in the first place.

Monday, May 21, 2012

VAWA and shameless political demagoguery

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

There is an elephant in the room regarding the Violence Against Women Act, one that neither political party seems interested in acknowledging it as they both seek to pass their versions of the bill: Why is the federal government inserting itself into what should be a matter handled by local law enforcement? Why is the U.S. Congress passing legislation that would be better handled by the fifty state legislatures?

It is understandable why Republicans would not want to question the basic premise of the law, with all of the accusations that Republicans are waging a "war on women" and concerns about how that will impact the 2012 election. But with the increased influence of the Tea Party movement and all of the talk about how the Tenth Amendment's limitations on federal power are being ignored, it is striking that no one is asking where in the Constitution the federal government is given the authority to police domestic violence.

Beyond the basic problems with the law, there are serious concerns about the Democrats' version of VAWA. Democrats want to include special protections for homosexual and transgendered people, and the Christian Science Monitor reports that Democrats argue that "local law enforcement could use the lack of specificity to discriminate against gay or transgender people" without the special protection. But the 14th Amendment already makes it illegal for states to deny equal protection under the law, so additional federal legislation is not needed.

Another very serious problem is that the Democrats' VAWA allows American citizens to be tried under the justice systems of various Indian tribes. This is a clearly unconstitutional attack on individual liberty and due process rights. American citizens accused of crimes on American soil (whether it is a reservation or not) have the right to due process in the American criminal justice system. It is incredibly hypocritical for Democrats to support a separate court system, especially after they wailed for years about the military tribunals for suspected foreign terrorists.

Without the backdrop of a Presidential election, it might be possible to debate the benefits and drawbacks of VAWA in a sane and rational manner. (Phyllis Schlafly has a couple very good columns on VAWA from July 12, 2011 and February 7, 2012.) But against the backdrop of the "war on women" demagoguery and Presidential politics, it is virtually assured that some version of VAWA will be re-authorized. That is an unfortunate reality of our political system.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Regulating pizza?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 8:00 AM (#)

The Congressman is correct in the substance of his proposal - pizza should not be classified as a vegetable. But the federal government has absolutely no business regulating school lunches.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Actually, Joe Donnelly DID vote for Pelosi.

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

On May 7, Joe Donnelly said this about Nancy Pelosi's upcoming trip to Indiana for a fundraiser: "I did not vote for her for Speaker."

Actually, that's not true. Donnelly voted for Pelosi in 2007, and Donnelly also voted for Pelosi in 2009.

So what is he basing this claim on? After he barely won re-election to his seat in Congress with a plurality, Donnelly voted against Pelosi's bid for a third term. Donnelly was clearly shaken by his near-defeat, and needed to distance himself from the far-left leadership of Pelosi and Barack Obama. Voting for Pelosi was never a problem when Donnelly thought he was safe, but when a majority of voters chose someone else (with a Libertarian getting just enough to be a spoiler) he knew he had to change course.

This is political gamesmanship at its worst, and indicates a character flaw. For Donnelly, loyalty to his leadership is a distant second to his own political career. If Donnelly is willing to toss Pelosi aside, can Hoosiers really trust him to defend the conservative values he claims to hold if we promote him to the U.S. Senate? Of course not. Donnelly is a typical Washington politician, interested in his own career above anything else.

We do not need someone like Donnelly in the U.S. Senate. We cannot trust that he will not embrace Obama and Harry Reid if he is elected this November. Hoosiers should retire Donnelly by denying him the promotion he desperately wants.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thoughts on the Lugar/Mourdock race

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

When Republican voters in Indiana retired Richard Lugar by choosing Richard Mourdock to be the party's nominee for U.S. Senate, the wailing began almost immediately. The next day, the Herald-Times whined that the Indiana Republican Party had been taken over by "extremists" who threw out the moderate Lugar. This leads to two obvious questions.

Are 60% of Indiana Republican primary voters extremists? After all, Mourdock would not be the nominee without a wide support base among Republican voters. Unseating an incumbent is always a difficult task. Mourdock not only won, he won by a huge margin that no one expected. For that matter, are 60% of all Hoosiers extremists? After all, Mourdock won 60% of the vote statewide in the 2010 general election, building on his already impressive margin from 2006. It strains credibility to argue that a majority of both primary and general election voters are "extremists." That is silly by definition.

Lugar defeated himself. His voted on gun control (the Brady law and the assault weapons ban) had stuck in the craw of Second Amendment supporters for two decades, and his votes for Bill Clinton's nominees to the Supreme Court did not help either. Lugar dug himself in farther by voting for both of Obama's nominees to SCOTUS. The residency issue hurt Lugar politically as well, as voters were not happy with his arrogant response to legitimate concerns about the fact that he has lived in Virginia for three decades.

It did not help that Lugar had been throwing mud for months, including taking one of the dirtiest race-baiting cheap shots I have ever seen by falsely accusing Mourdock of wearing a Confederate flag necktie.

I would not get too excited about the Democrats' chances to take this seat. Some have compared this race to Christine O'Donnell's win in Delaware in 2010. Mourdock not O'Donnell, who had never won a general election. Mourdock is a proven 60% statewide general election winner, and Indiana is a solid red state while Delaware is a solid blue state.

Mourdock's opponent is not exactly threatening either. Joe Donnelly scampered out of his U.S. House district rather than face a rematch with Jackie Walorski. Donnelly barely won his district in 2010 when a majority of voters chose to replace him with someone else. Fortunately for Donnelly, those votes were split between two candidates. Donnelly reached into his bag of dirty tricks and had the Indiana Democratic Party endorse his Libertarian opponent, splitting the conservative majority and allowing him to win with a plurality.

The November election will not only see Republicans hold this Senate seat, but we will hold it with a much stronger conservative who will be willing to stand against Obama much more often that our soon-to-be-retired incumbent.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Barack Obama flip flops on same-sex marriage

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

When Barack Obama was running for the Illinois state senate in 1996, he took a position in favor of same-sex marriage and promised to fight efforts to block those marriages. When Obama ran for U.S. Senate in 2004, his views were more conservative, stating his opposition to same-sex marriage. That continues in 2008, when a high turnout of black voters in California helped pass Proposition 8 to place a ban same-sex marriage into California's state constitution. Blacks overwhelmingly supported the ban.

Now, Obama has flipped again, saying he favors allowing same-sex couples to marry. If you believe that the "evolution" of Obama's views is based on a legitimate change of position instead of cynical political gamesmanship, I have a bridge to sell you.

For his part, Mitt Romney re-emphasized his opposition to same-sex marriage, though using the weakest language possible. During an interview, Romney said:

"My view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that's my own preference. I know other people have differing views. This is a very tender and sensitive topic, as are many social issues. But I have the same view I've had since running for office."

Really, Governor Romney? Could you come up with a weaker explanation for your position that makes you look like you have even less faith in your own stated convictions. I'm going to vote for Romney, but this kind of thing drives me crazy. Take a real position!

This is not an issue of personal preference. This is an issue of fundamental principles and moral/religious standards. The two sides could not possibly be more clear:

One side believes marriage is a covenant union established by God that can only be between a man and a woman. It is therefore a rebellion against God's sexual order and His standards for sexual morality to recognize same-sex marriage.

The other side believes that marriage is a committed relationship between two people who love each other and it is fundamentally immoral to discriminate against same-sex couples.

Casting this as an issue of personal preference cheapens the arguments on both sides and makes Romney look like a wimp and a coward. He needs to pick a side, make your argument and take a stand based on sound argumentation and principle.

Proponents of same-sex marriage argue that it harms no one to allow people to marry whoever they choose, but that is not quite true. Does anyone think employers (including parachurch organizations) will be allowed to discriminate against same sex married couples in providing health insurance and other benefits to married couples? What about housing, especially private landlords Will Christian landlords be forced to rent to a same-sex couple? How much will providing equal access cost taxpayers for homosexual public employees?

It comes down to one very simple question. Does anyone really think there will be two tiers of marriage, one for same-sex couples and one for everyone else? Or is it more likely that all marriages be treated the same under the law? Of course, we all know the answer to this question. This has serious and frightening implications for religious liberty, and self-proclaimed "christian" Barack Obama has turned his back on those very grave concerns.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No corporate welfare for the merchants of death, Part XIII

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

This is an open letter to the Bloomington City Council

Dear Councilors,

In its most recent annual report, Planned Parenthood reported that the combined revenue of the national office and all affiliates was $1.0482 billion, while the expenses for the organization came to $1.0297 billion. This is an excess or revenue over expenses of $18.5 million. In addition, Planned Parenthood of Indiana reported $15,135,052 in revenue in its most recent annual report, while PPIN spent $14,232,019 - an excess of revenue over expenses of over $900,000.

Yet, once again, our local Planned Parenthood branch is coming to you for a handout of money confiscated from the taxpayers. They want you to give them $4,975 for a sex education program in partnership with Indiana University. With the exception of 2009, Planned Parenthood has come to the city council for a handout every single year since 1999 and the council has willingly handed over the taxpayers' money. It is more than clear that Planned Parenthood does not need this money, as the organization has plenty of money floating around to fund their sex education program.

So since PP does not need the money they are requesting, why are they coming to you for the 13th time? The answer is obvious, and PP is asking for money for the same reason they always ask for money. This is political. Planned Parenthood wants a political endorsement from city government. This request for help is fraudulent, and it is long past time for this charade to end.

Indiana University has plenty of resources to complete this program without the involvement of Planned Parenthood. IU is the state's flagship public university and also operates a network of hospitals around the state - including IU Health Bloomington. Indiana University's involvement makes a grant for city funding even more unnecessary and meaningless.

I cannot help but notice the irony in Planned Parenthood asking for corporate welfare for a program to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, when it is the promiscuity promoted by the likes of Planned Parenthood that has led to the problems we face with STD's in the first place. While you are at it, you might as well give $5,000 to Phillip Morris to help prevent lung cancer.

Councilors, it is really very simple. If you are going to have a social services funding program, then you should distribute the money to organizations that actually need it. The money you have to distribute is limited and there are always organizations that do not get the funding they request. Why, then, do you irresponsibly waste thousands upon thousands of taxpayer dollars every single year on an organization that does not need a handout and is only seeking a political endorsement from city government?

Last fall, Planned Parenthood was not even invited to present their proposal for the county council's social services funding program. You should follow the county's lead and tell Planned Parenthood that they will not get even one more penny of the money we have entrusted to you as taxpayers. It is time to finally show respect to the people of Bloomington by not handing corporate welfare to an organization that has so little respect for the other social service agencies and for the people of Bloomington that they seek a handout they do not need year after year.

It is time to end this farce.

Scott Tibbs

Monday, May 14, 2012

Video games - too expensive to survive?

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

I have read several interesting articles on the price of video games, especially relating to how the casual game market has harmed the more traditional market. (See here, here and here.)

I predicted games for the next wave of consoles would be sold via digital distribution, but the next consoles are going to have to deal with casual games in a way that has not been necessary before - games for mobile phones, tablets and (of course) social networking sites. Zynga is the big dog here so far.

Both casual games and console games have their advantages. Causal games can be played for a few minutes at a time and put down, and are much less expensive. Hardcore gamers prefer console games and are willing to pay for them. Console games offer a longer, more involved experience that can be well worth the money, especially for some role-playing games. Even the DragonQuest games on the Nintendo DS can easily take 30 or 40 hours to complete - longer if the player wants to find every single special item and weapon.

The way I see it, there are two distinct markets, though there is some crossover between the two. First, you have your traditional "red ocean" market represented by the 16 to 30 year old single males. The much newer "blue ocean" is made up of people who are nontraditional gamers who aren't interested in playing a 40 hour epic or a complicated first person shooter or sports game, but are willing to sit down for a couple minutes with Cut the Rope or Words with Friends. There is some overlap, of course, and that overlap may be increasing.

With the power of tablets like the iPad, game console makers could be in serious trouble if there is ever a serious effort to make a traditional controller for it. The biggest disadvantage they have now is that the touch screen is just not user-friendly for arcade-style action games and first person shooters, but adding a controller could help. Tablets and mobile phones (along with the iPod Touch) also have a lot more capabilities than your traditional game consoles, from e-mail to web surfing, social networking, calendars and even office suites.

Console game makers will have to step it up. It simply is not acceptable to have the single-player campaign of a popular game take four hours to complete when it's selling for $60. Game makers are also going to have to stop putting out mediocre or bad games to cash in on a movie license, especially when there are so many more options today. The glut of bad games helped kill the Atari 2600 in the 1980's, and it hurts the console market today.

One of the reasons it hurts is because of the casual games. The App Store for IOS actually carries a lot of games, including role-playing games for much less than their console counterparts. The first three Final Fantasy games are already on IOS, and the popular X-Men arcade game from 1992 (one version of which allowed 6 players to crowd around the machine to play) is available as a $0.99 download. If gamers are burned too many times by terrible games that cost $60, even hardcore gamers may look elsewhere - and casual games are waiting.

I do not believe the hardcore gaming market is going anywhere, but there are so many entertainment options - and not just video games - that the game industry cannot continue the current manner of business. It took several years for the current generation of home consoles to become affordable, and if the next PlayStation and XBox consoles launch at $600 (which is where the PS3 launched) they could be in huge trouble. Whether they like it or not, the traditional game market is going to have to adapt and run a better operation to stop the bleeding of customers.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Richard Lugar, the sore loser

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 8:30 AM (#)

Richard Lugar did not take his loss well, and here is some entertaining snark about his reaction to losing to Richard Mourdock this past Tuesday.

(Hat tip: Hoosier Pundit.)

I lost a lot of respect for Lugar in this campaign, from his desperate race-baiting to his shameful lies about Mourdock's property tax records. Lugar's campaign had been throwing mud since last fall, and it was obvious that Lugar was getting increasingly desperate as the primary got closer.

I'm glad he's gone.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Movie Review: The Avengers

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

The Avengers is the culmination of several Marvel films to bring these characters together in one big fight. Several Marvel movies have been building toward this since 2008: Thor, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Captain America. The movie was not perfect, but it did not disappoint. I will not spoil the movie here. Any information in this review is already in the trailers.

Here is one problem: Where is War Machine? James Rhodes was given the War Machine armor in Iron Man 2, which ties directly into The Avengers. So why did he not show up to fight the alien invasion in the movie's climax? Considering Iron Man and Pepper Potts are already in the movie and Rhodes' military career, it is logical that Rhodes would show up to help his friend and fight the alien army laying waste to New York City.

It is not explained how Bruce Banner manages to get control of The Hulk. In footage and in one scene, he is an out of control rage monster, and then is under control for the big fight against the aliens. How did this happen? Under what circumstances does he have control, and under what circumstances can he not control the monster? This is not a glaring error, but a little more explanation would be nice. Perhaps the special features on the DVD can explain it.

The Avengers does have a structural problem, in that Hawkeye and Black Widow - two normal humans with some sci-fi weapons on the level of James Bond - really do not belong on the team next to incredibly powerful characters like Iron Man, Thor and The Hulk. When your teammates can bench press 100 tons and shrug off conventional weapons with ease, what is the point of including human beings, even the best fighters in the world? Even Captain America, while significantly less powerful than the three big guns, has been enhanced to superhuman levels.

This problem is handled well, with the two humans appearing to be valuable members of the team instead of characters who were added to fill roster spots. They are believable when fighting next to the others.

The final after-credits scene reveals the big bad for the next movie, which should be awesome.

Final grade: A

Thursday, May 10, 2012

2012 Monroe County primary results

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

Primary Election Night 2012 was a sweet night, with Richard Mourdock defeating Richard Lugar and sending him into a long-overdue retirement. It was especially nice to see Scott Wells be defeated in his effort to return to the Monroe County Council. At the end of the night, two incumbents were re-nominated while Sophia Travis knocked Warren Henegar out of the race for county council. Henegar's term ends December 31.

County Council results, Democrats:

  1. Julie Thomas - 3,617
  2. Sophia Travis - 3,241
  3. Geoffrey McKim - 2,474
  4. Warren Henegar - 2,068
  5. Scott Wells - 2,053
  6. Jeff Carson - 1,493

County Council results, Republicans:

  1. Brian Ellison, 4,981
  2. Skip Daley, 4,549
  3. Jennifer Mickel 4,417
  4. Chris D. Kilander 3,425

The numbers are pretty striking when you compare the votes Republicans got in their primary to the votes the Democrats got in their primary. I hope this carries over into the general election, because we need to have more Republican representation on the council. If we can win one seat, the Democrats will have only a 4-3 majority, and two seats (which will probably not happen) will bring a Republican majority for the first time since 2004.

It was especially sweet that I won my contested races while Wells lost his, and I took his loss as an opportunity to gloat - irritating a number of Leftists. One particular joker on HeraldTimesOnline scribbled that "As it is his 2000+ votes were about three times the total of your votes in both races."

But that is not an apples-to-apples comparison. Wells was on the ballot for all of Monroe County, while I was only on the ballot in one of four districts for delegate. A real comparison would be how I did in my primary versus how Wells did in his, in the precincts where we were both on the ballot. That comparison, between my race for delegate to state convention and Wells' race for county council, is in the table below.

Scott TibbsScott Wells
Bloomington 115
Bloomington 21925
Bloomington 61048
Bloomington 134331
Bloomington 142215
Bloomington 159728
Bloomington 176229
Bloomington 1905
Bloomington 2046
Bloomington 2335
Bloomington 2498
Perry 12133
Perry 24112
Perry 33025
Perry 46128
Perry 56837
Perry 61637
Perry 105529
Perry 277719
Perry 29267

It is extremely gratifying that I have been endorsed by Republican primary voters while Wells has been rejected by Democratic primary voters - for the second time. After all, Wells was fired from his job on the Monroe County Council in 2004 after finishing fourth in the primary. Hopefully, this loss will end his political career.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Washington Post's strange Orwellian editorial

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

The Washington Post bemoaned a decision in Maryland that police cannot take DNA samples from people when they are arrested, using some strange logic in the process. I addressed the issue of DNA testing back in 2009 when the Indiana Legislature was considering it. It is important to remember that arrested is not the same as convicted, and we should be wary of the police setting up a database with DNA samples from people arrested but not convicted.

The Post is alarmed that this practice could hurt efforts to fight crime, but that is dismissed easily enough. There is nothing preventing police from seeking a court order to take DNA from someone, so the samples can still be collected, analyzed and used as evidence. It is also less expensive to only test those who actually need to be tested. In a nation founded for the purpose of protecting individual liberty from abuses by the state, protecting due process and limiting the government's ability to collect sensitive data should not be regarded as a problem.

The Post's logic becomes truly bizarre when the editorial board argued that the DNA testing is fine because jails are allowed to strip search prisoners. Really? Is the Washington Post really arguing that because government overreaches in one area, then other overreaches are fine? By that logic, why not require every person in the country (or in the state of Maryland, in this case) to submit a DNA sample so it can be used to investigate crime?

People are right to be concerned about crime, especially violent crime. But people also need to be wary of their government, especially regarding abuse of power. Government has far more capacity to do harm than criminals, even organized crime. Let's not become paranoid and foolishly throw away our liberty to protect us from the Boogeyman.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Election Night 2012

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 9:22 PM (#)

Waiting on precinct committeeman results.

Right now my one of my opponents is leading me by 1 vote in absentee ballots. Totals are 7 to 6 to 2.

We'll see how it goes with today's votes in the precinct.

Delegate race right now are 413 to 287 to 216 with 3 people going for 2 spots on the ballot. I have 287.

I may get to go to the convention, but we'll see. It's still very early.

Excuse me, what is the problem here?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:45 PM (#)

Michael Barone writes at Townhall: "Harvard and Warren say her claim to minority status had nothing to do with her being hired... The important thing is the Warren story illustrates the rottenness of our system of racial quotas and preferences."

OK, I agree that any sort of racial preference is immoral. But if Warren was not given special treatment for her race, how does that prove anything? Find a better argument.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Endorsements for the 2012 primary

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

Tomorrow is the primary election, as Hoosiers go to the polls to select candidates for office for the two parties. I am a Republican, and I already voted a few weeks ago. I have a couple endorsements below.

President: The reality is that Mitt Romney is for all intents and purposes the Republican nominee, and I will vote for him in November. But Romney is not the best candidate the Republicans had this year. I sent a message to the Republican establishment by voting for Rick Santorum. We need a strong conservative who will take the fight to Obama, and Romney needs to stick with the conservative principles he articulated in the primary.

US Senator: "It's time." Richard Lugar has betrayed conservative principles too many times, and the fact that he won't commit to supporting the Republican ticket if he loses demonstrates his childishness. Republicans have an opportunity ot replace Lugar with a truly conservative alternative, Richard Mourdock. Whoever wins will likely roll to victory in November in a ticket with Mike Pence leading the way and facing an opponent who won with a plurality in 2010 after the majority of voters in his district voted to replace him.

It will be interesting to see the turnout numbers later this week. Democrats have several contested races for local government, while Republicans have only the county council race with four candidates running for three spots on the ballot. The county council race on the Democratic side should be interesting, with two former at-large council members trying to unseat the three incumbents. The Presidential race is all but over, but the US Senate race may motivate Republicans to turn out - and may motivate some Democrats to jump over and vote for Lugar.

The most amusing comment on local elections was a comment by an anonymous troll on Herald-Times Online regarding my race for precinct committeeman: "That should bring some real fear in your county if he got elected." This individual is generally hysterical, paranoid and continually angry, but to suggest people should have cause to "fear" if I got elected to a position with no real authority is laughable.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Obama's Favorite Republican- Dick Lugar

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

"It's Time."

Vote for Richard Mourdock on May 8.

Friday, May 4, 2012

More shameful race-baiting in the Zimmerman/Martin case

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

In his April 26 column, Indiana Daily Student columnist Aidan Crane calls our attention to the alleged undercurrent of "racism" at Indiana University. The evidence for this "racism" is a comment on a public bulletin board that George Zimmerman was acting in self-defense when he shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Crane wrote in response:

I’m not particularly interested in debating the facts of the shooting.

I believe that the murder of an unarmed minor by a gun-wielding, self-appointed neighborhood watchman speaks for itself.


I understand Crane is an opinion columnist and not reporter, so I do not expect him to be objective or unbiased. Obviously, opinion columns are opinion. Even so, facts should still matter to a journalist, even when writing an editorial. This is especially true when that columnist writes for a newspaper that is consistently considered one of the best college newspapers in the country. Simply closing your mind to facts that might not fit your world view reflects badly on Crane both as a journalist and as a student.

The fact of the matter is that we don't know what happened the night Martin died. Zimmerman claims that Martin knocked him down with a punch and was slamming his head into the sidewalk, so he shot Martin in self-defense. It has been well-documented that Zimmerman's head was bloody and that he was treated by paramedics at the scene, so his injuries back up his story... but only two people really know what happened on February 26. Now that charges have been filed, a jury will examine the evidence and make a judgment on what happened. Zimmerman may have legitimately acted in self-defense, or he may be a murderer.

But to become hysterical and screech that those who believe Zimmerman's account are "racist" makes the word "racist" meaningless. There is nothing "racist" going on here - people simply have different opinions about what happened that night based on the facts presented publicly. Accusing those who disagree with you of "racism" is intellectually lazy and demonstrates a fear of actually engaging the other person's argument.

Accusations of racism are meant to shut down a discussion, not encourage the exchange of ideas. Emotions are already running high regarding this case, and baseless accusations of "racism" will not help anyone.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Barack Obama's contraception mandate, revisited

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

When Barack Obama ordered all employers to provide coverage for contraception to their employees with only the narrowest of exceptions, he set of a firestorm of criticism. Obama then issued a "compromise" that would require the insurance companies to provide contraceptive coverage.

This has resulted in the Left being completely schizophrenic about the issue. On one hand, Leftists argue that parachurch organizations (hospitals, universities, etc.) should be required to "play by the same rules" as everyone else and should not be allowed to "force their beliefs" on employees. On the other hand, Leftists argue that it is insurance companies, not the parachurch organizations, that would be required to cover the cost.

This is a joke.

So instead of paying for the coverage directly, parachurch organizations must instead purchase insurance plans that cover contraception. It is a distinction without a difference. It is not a "compromise" when parachurch organizations are funneling money through a middleman for contraceptive coverage or paying for contraception directly. Furthermore, if you believe insurance companies will not find a way to pass the cost to their customers, you are willfully ignorant.

The argument that religious employers should not be allowed to "force their views" on employees by not covering contraception is laughable. Employers do not have the authority to prevent anyone from using buying or using contraception, or even know that the employee is doing so. They are not forcing anything on anyone. The Left's silly premise is basically this: "If you don't pay for what I want, you are forcing your views on me." That this argument is not immediately dismissed shows just how deep this nation's entitlement mentality goes.

Finally, health insurance benefits are not "exactly like wages" as some would argue. That argument is ridiculous on its face. For one thing, they can only be spent on health-related things, not food or clothing. The only time health care benefits resemble wages at all is with a medical savings account, which is protected from taxes and can be spent as the employee chooses. No employer is going to make any attempt to stop an employee from using that money to buy a month's supply of birth control for $9.00 at Wal-Mart - nor would they even know about it.

People know what the benefits are for a specific employer before they take a job. If the benefits are not acceptable, the employee is free to decline the offer and seek another job elsewhere. A woman who is hired by a parachurch organization should not expect to force that organization to pay for contraception against their beliefs. No rights are being denied - she can always, you know, pay for it herself.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The LA Lakers need to face a real punishment

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

When Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest threw a flagrant elbow at Oklahoma City Thunder player James Harden, it was just was just another in a long line of actions that demonstrate the Lakers are a team of thugs and criminals.

There is a history here. Lakers center Andrew Bynum should have spent time behind bars last year for his felony assault on JJ Barea as the Lakers were about to be eliminated from the playoffs by the Dallas Mavericks. It was one of the dirtiest plays I have ever seen and the intent was clearly to injure Barea. Bynum assaulted an airborne player twice before, and one of the incidents resulted in his victim suffering in a fractured rib and a collapsed lung.

The NBA needed to send a message here, and Chris Mannix argues that seven games is not enough. I would go much farther than that, because punishing Artest is not nearly enough. No, the LA Lakers team itself needs to be punished. This type of behavior is clearly condoned by the Lakers, and the NBA needs to send a very clear message that this will not be tolerated and there will be severe consequences.

The Lakers should have been made to forfeit their spot in the 2012 NBA Playoffs.

Is that extreme? Is that unprecedented? Yes and yes. But there would be no more effective way to make it very clear that this crap will not be tolerated. If a strong and athletic six-foot-seven, 260 pound man threw an elbow like that on the street, he would be arrested. If he threw an elbow like that in any line of work other than pro sports, he would be fired. This was a dangerous play that could have seriously injured someone, and the entire team needs to feel the consequences. If the team is punished in a real and meaningful way, NBA teams will know they must control their players.

Of course, there was never going to be a meaningful punishment for a player who plays in the NBA's second largest market, much less any sort of punishment for the team itself. Anyone who thinks so is deluding himself. The NBA would not dare threaten its revenue with such a move, and make no mistake about it - the NBA will always put profit over sportsmanship. Anyone who follows the NBA knows that David Stern has absolutely no integrity. He is completely and thoroughly corrupt, and should have been fired years ago.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Disqus comments

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

Returning visitors probably noticed that this blog has a new look. The other thing that's different is that I've installed Disqus for comments. Write a response, and click "post as" to get the following:

Blogger's native comment system allows people to log in and comment with a Google account or OpenID. Disqus allows those too, plus Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter, in addition to users with Disqus accounts Plus, all existing comments have been imported into Disqus. In addition, Disqus syncs comments with Blogger, so if I ever switch back the comments will still be there.