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Monday, September 30, 2013

Terry Jones, the War on Terror and the First Amendment

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

Have we surrendered to Muslim terrorists we vowed to fight after they murdered 3,000 people on September 11, 2001? Would we rather capitulate than kill the Muslim terrorists who declared war on us again by attacking our consulate in Benghazi and murdered our ambassador - the same kind of attack and insult that led King David to go to war with the Ammonites in chapter 10 of II Samuel?

We need to understand what the September 11 attacks were, both in 2001 and 2012. They were not simply terrorist attacks, or even acts of war. They were war crimes. Intentionally targeting civilians for murder - as was done in both 2001 and 2012 - is universally recognized a violation of the laws of war. The 9/11 terrorists need to be prosecuted and executed not simply as terrorists or "unlawful enemy combatants," but as war criminals.

Whether or not you agree with Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who planned to burn 3,000 Korans to protest the Muslim terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center and attacked the Pentagon (and who knows what they were planning to do with the fourth plane) he has the natural right, protected by the First Amendment, to make a political and religious point by burning the Korans. It is chilling to see government so aggressively try to prevent him from exercising his free speech rights, especially out of fear for what our enemies might think about it.

Jones made a tactical error in transporting the kerosene and the Korans in the way he did. He knew that the authorities were looking for an excuse to arrest him and prevent him from engaging in a protest clearly protected by the First Amendment. It is a chilling act of censorship against the content of speech, and every American should be worried by this. What speech will be criminalized next?

It is true that Muslim terrorists rioted after Jones burned Korans in the past. It is also true that Penn State "University" fans rioted when Joe Paterno was fired after it became clear that the "university" covered up the brutal and systematic rape of little boys by an assistant football coach. Should sexual predators be allowed to get away with their crimes because fans might react violently to holding criminals accountable?

We should never allow ourselves to be intimidated into giving up our freedoms by thugs, terrorists and war criminals, any more than we should refuse to punish sexual predators because of deranged football fans. The campaign against Jones and the effort to restrict his free speech rights makes one thing very clear - the terrorists are winning.

Previous editorials:

   ♣ "International burn a Koran day"

   ♣ Why does Pat Buchanan hate America?

   ♣ Silly Florida pastor provides valuable public service

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Planned Parenthood indoctrination starts early

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

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

A quick thought on immigration

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

But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. -- Leviticus 19:34

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Random thoughts of the day

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

Some random thoughts over at Hoosier Access:

We have seen a number of stories about how difficult it is to live on food stamps, but the very name of the program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) indicates that food stamps are meant to be a supplement, not the only source of food. This is underscored by the work requirements that are tied to benefits but have unfortunately been weakened in the last few years.

Read the rest at Hoosier Access.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

A few thoughts on recent comments by Rachel Maddow

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

Rachel Maddow opened her show on September 16 by saying this:

Today's mass shooting at the Navy yard facility in southeast Washington D.C. makes today the deadliest day in our nation's capital in more than 30 years.

I am pretty sure that there was a higher death toll on September 11. Did she forget that one?

Maddow also complained about gun laws that are (in her opinion) not restrictive enough, because sex offenders and felons can carry guns. It's important to note that there have been cases where being cited for public urination has put someone on the sex offender registry. Obviously, government has an interest in not allowing violent sex offenders to carry guns, but a blanket ban is not the answer.

Of course, there is also the question of why violent sex offenders are not in prison.

As far as allowing convicted felons to carry guns, not all felonies are from violent crimes. Non-violent felonies like fraud, check deception and identity theft do not necessarily make someone too dangerous to carry a firearm. Equating all felons to murderers and rapists is either ignorant or willfully dishonest - and it is almost certainly the latter. Maddow is smart enough to know what she's saying is simply not in line with reality.

Maddow is better than such simplistic thinking.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Affirmative action for homosexuals?

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

Note: I submitted this to the San Francisco Chronicle as a letter to the editor.

As I read Bruce Jenkins's ridiculous screed from September 17, I kept thinking "you cannot be serious." Jenkins accuses NBA front offices of discriminating against Jason Collins because he is homosexual.

Let's be real here. Collins is simply not very good by NBA standards, and has never been all that good. In the last three NBA seasons, he has averaged the following:

  • Points per game: 2.0, 1.3 and 1.1
  • Rebounds per game: 2.1, 1.6 and 1.6
  • Blocks per game: 0.2, 0.1 and 0.3
  • Fouls per game: 2.0, 1.1 and 2.0

Collins is also 34 years old, an age where many NBA players are winding down.

Jenkins asserts that Collins should be hired simply because he is homosexual. This is absurd. Are we going to have affirmative action for homosexuals now? Are we going to give special treatment based on someone's sex life, regardless of actual qualifications? What sexual preferences are we going to prefer? Should men who commit adultery with multiple women also be granted a contract based on their sexual orientation?

Jenkins is not advocating equal rights, he is advocating special rights, further illustrating that the militant homosexual rights movement is about forcing acceptance of homosexuality, not promoting tolerance.

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Shameful hyper-partisanship by Greene County Republicans

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

Last Friday's Herald-Times carried a frustrating reminder of the way the "good ole boy network" still works in local government. Tim Carpenter, a maintenance supervisor Greene County government, was fired from his job and replaced with a Republican after he had supported a Democrat in the 2012 election.

The smoking gun is an email commissioner Ed Michael sent to commissioner Nathan Abrams on February 11:

The email refers to Chuck Crouch, a Republican who applied for Carpenter’s job but who in the end was not hired.

"I do like Chuck and would like to see him with a job but I'm afraid in the long run we'll wish we had left well enough alone," Michael wrote. "On the other hand, if we don't we'll take heat from the party as well as from Chuck. I'm not particularly a fan of Tim's but I do hate to replace someone who is doing a decent job because of politics."

Carpenter was fired in May, but reinstated because of an Open Door Law violation. He was fired a second time at the county commissioners' public meeting in June.

This is shameful and despicable, and represents a need for serious reform at the state level. First, termination of merit employees for political reasons should be illegal. As long as the political views of an employee of local government does not interfere with his ability to do his job, his employment should not be terminated.

There are practical, legal and philosophical reasons for this.

On the practical side, it is a disservice to the taxpayers to lose qualified employees for reasons of partisan politics. Even if the terminated employee is replaced by someone who is qualified, the taxpayers lose the institutional knowledge and experience of the terminated employee. When the new employee is not qualified (as is often the case) government's ability to serve the taxpayers diminishes. Depending on the office, this can be harmful in a number of ways. Partisan terminations also lower the morale of government employees and increase their anxiety, reducing productivity.

On the philosophical and legal side, it is simply wrong for government to discriminate in this manner. The First Amendment makes it very clear that government may not punish political speech, and blatantly political terminations of merit employees are both illegal and a violation of basic American values. Government clearly has less rights than the private sector in this regard, especially in an at-will state like Indiana.

Even so, this nonsense continues all across Indiana and it is time for it to stop. The Indiana legislature should move to make this kind of employment discrimination illegal, complete with financial penalties for local government when they are caught doing this (perhaps a reduction in the property tax levy or a reduction in grants from state government) and mandatory restitution for wrongfully terminated employees.

Let's also be clear that while this was done by Republicans in Greene County, Democrats are not innocent either. Both political parties are guilty of wrongful termination of local government employees for political reasons, and both Republicans and Democrats have done this for years. That said, I hope the Republican Commissioners in Greene County are all fired from their jobs by the voters in the next election, whether in the general or primary election.

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Movie Review: "The Call" (with spoilers)

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

The primary problem with "The Call" is that the people writing the script did not know what kind of movie they wanted to make. Did they want to make an innovative thriller with the protagonist redeeming herself from a tragic mistake, or did they want to make a stock action movie? They tried to do both, and the film suffered for it.

We start off with 911 operator Jordan (Halle Berry) taking a call from a teenage girl reporting a home invasion. When the call is disconnected, Jordan calls her back, alerting the criminal, who is a serial killer. The killer finds her and the girl later turns up murdered - leading to a major personal crisis for Jordan.

This sets up the rest of the movie very well. Later, another teenage girl is kidnapped and Jordan takes over for an inexperienced operator. We watch as Jordan advises the girl on how to get attention and help the police find her. The hunt is on, and when the perpetrator is identified things really start to heat up.

Had the movie continued this tone, it would have been fine. Through her quick thinking and problem-solving, Jordan helps the girl stay alive and the police find her. Jordan redeems herself and the girl (Casey) is rescued safely by the police. The killer is either arrested or killed.

The problem is that is not how the movie ended. Instead, it went off the rails when Jordan goes off on her own to rescue Casey. She finds a trap door and enters the killer's den of horrors. They escape, subdue the killer and prepare to call 911... before deciding to murder him instead.

Really?

Suspension of disbelief is not too difficult before the absurd ending scene. But the writers expect us to believe an untrained 911 operator is able to easily find a trap door a trained SWAT team missed, and that she decided to rescue the girl herself and attack the killer without calling for police backup. It is as if the ending for a completely different movie was pasted onto the end of this one. They swapped out a 911 operator for a female version of Paul Kersey.

By engaging in vigilante justice, Jordan and Casey deny the other victims' families' closure by seeing the murderer brought to justice. Jordan and Casey waste a great deal of taxpayer money as the police search for someone who they will never find. Jordan and Casey deny the killer's wife and son the right to know what happened to him, and his innocent family did not know anything about his double life.

Having Jordan act as a lone wolf "hero" is absurd, and the ending is a dramatic shift in the tone of the movie. Had the ending been more logical and more in line with the real world, this would have been a much better movie.

Final Grade: D+

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Refuting the hysteria over the AR-15

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

Here are a couple spectacular quotes regarding the hysteria over the AR-15.

For all the hype, an AR-15 is really just a glorified .223 rifle. It is not a "machine gun;" it is not "automatic"; it does not "spray bullets"; it is not a "weapon of war." Indeed, it is not functionally any different from a host of other, similar, guns that are not black. It is much, much less powerful than are almost all hunting rifles.

And:

"A savvy criminal wishing to do maximum damage in an enclosed space will not turn to an AR-15, but to a much more lethal (and intimidating) shotgun."

Read the rest at National Review.

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

How's that hope & change workin' out for ya?

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

From my latest editorial at Hoosier Access:

ObamaCare is the cornerstone of Obama's domestic policy agenda. Obama has said repeatedly he will not allow the Republicans in Congress to cut funding for ObamaCare and would veto legislation to keep the government running if it does not fund his health care "reform." In other words, Obama is willing to shut down the government in 2013 in order to defend the signature "accomplishment" of his first term.

Read more at Hoosier Access.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

More thoughts on Obama's march to war with Syria

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

The tangled web of arguments and counter-arguments about Barack Obama's effort war against Syria continues to get more bizarre. And yes, Obama is proposing a war. Having a little bit of war is like being a little bit pregnant - neither is possible. If another country sent their navy to launch cruise missiles at military bases inside the United States, we would justifiably consider it an act of war.

The historical context is interesting. The Washington Post recounted the story of a man who was "a volunteer soldier and just 14 years old when he was injured in an Iraqi chemical attack." That former child soldier is lucky he was not part of Iran's minefield-clearing unit, because he wouldn't be alive to tell his story. Iran would send waves of children into minefields to clear the way for Iran's army to go behind them - sending the children to be obliterated so adult soldiers could follow. You will understand if I scoff at the Iranian regime's concern for human rights.

In an editorial on the Huffington Post last week, the following paragraph deserves to be highlighted:

As a senator in the fall of 2002, (Secretary of State John Kerry) falsely claimed that "Iraq has chemical and biological weapons ... and [their weapons programs] are larger and more advanced than they were before the Gulf War." House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, who is leading the pro-war effort in that chamber, insists that Syria's use of chemical weapons is "undeniable." On NBC's "Meet the Press" in November 2002, however, she falsely claimed that Iraq "certainly" had chemical weapons and that there was "no question about that."

The case that chemical weapons were used against civilians (including children) is strong, but was it done by Bashir Assad's regime? Could it have been a false flag attack by al-Qaeda to draw the U.S. into the war against Assad? We know al-Qaeda has no problem massacring civilians. We know the rebels have also engaged in brutality of their own, including beheading the Assad regime's fighters in front of children. The rebels have also murdered children and persecuted Christians - something that will get worse if they win the war.

Are these the people we really should be helping here?

In a comment on my letter to the editor last week, a user said:

The jury is in, conservatives support the slaughter of innocent children and would not lift a finger to help them.

What absolute nonsense. First of all, there is a rift within the Republican Party, between hawks like John McCain and Lindsey Graham against more war-averse Republicans like Rand Paul. There are conservatives - and Leftists - on both sides of the argument. Second, opposition to going to war does not equate to doing nothing. Other options include humanitarian aid for civilians harmed by both sides, sanctions and diplomacy.

We need to stay out of this mess and punching this tar baby will only make things worse as well as getting us stuck in another quagmire. Helping a man-child President save face is not a good reason to go to war.

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

No, you don't have a divine right to elective office!

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

My latest post at Hoosier Access:

Dan Thomasson wrote a rather hysterical editorial regarding the recent recall election in Colorado, sounding the alarm that - horror of horrors! - elected officials were removed from office by voters who did not like the legislation those elected officials supported.

Read more at Hoosier Access.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Zacchaeus, the rich young ruler, and Christians in America

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

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. -- Matthew 6:24

Luke 18:18-25 and Luke 19:1-9 provide a fascinating contrast between a "righteous" man and a wicked man as they deal with Jesus, as well as a lesson for us in how we submit our finances to God.

First, the rich young ruler (RYR) asks Jesus what he must do to be saved. Jesus says he must keep God's commandments, and the man (no doubt with a very haughty attitude) bragged that he had kept all of those commandments. (Never mind that Jesus opened up the commandments in the Sermon on the Mount to be much more expansive than not directly breaking them.) Jesus, knowing his heart, challenged him to sell his possessions and give to the poor - at which point the man leaves in sorrow.

It is likely that the RYR wasn't seriously asking a question - he was taking an opportunity to puff himself up. Jesus saw through this and knew that the RYR loved his wealth more than he loved God.

In the next chapter, Zacchaeus is called out by Jesus as He wants to go to the tax collector's house. Historical context is important here: Tax collectors were universally hated by the Jews because they were collecting money from their countrymen for the oppressive Roman Empire so that the Romans could fund their occupation. If you look back historically at how the colonists felt about British taxation and you get a small taste of how the Jews felt about Rome. But it was more intense because the Romans were an outside conquering force and they were pagans opposed to the one true God that the Jews worshiped.

The tax collectors were notorious for being corrupt and enriching themselves at the expense of their countrymen as they served the hated Romans. Zacchaeus was even worse, because not only was he a tax collector, he was a chief tax collector. It is easy to see why the Jews following Jesus were angry that He would dine with such a notorious sinner.

For us, this provides a helpful lesson. The RYR was outwardly righteous, but in his heart he was an idolater. He may have been a son of Abraham in a genetic sense, but he was not saved. How many people in church pews today fit the description of the RYR? This is why the Apostle Paul urges us to examine ourselves in II Corinthians 13:5. Do we worship God or money? This question is especially important for American Christians, because we are so rich.

Zacchaeus, like the woman who washed Jesus feet in Luke 7:36-50, knew he was a sinner. This "dignified" man set aside his own pride to climb a tree and repented of his worship of money when Jesus called him out. The RYR had a hard heart because he felt he was righteous, but Zacchaeus knew he was a reprobate and needed to be forgiven. How many of us would be willing to give up our wealth for the good of His kingdom? How many of us even give ten percent of our earnings to a local church? These are questions we should consider in our hearts.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Libertarians, primaries, winning elections and real change

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

My latest post at Hoosier Access:

I understand that many Libertarians (and Greens, for that matter) feel that the two major parties cannot be reformed from the inside. But look at what Ron Paul has been able to accomplish over the last ten years. Paul would never have had the platform to wage competitive campaigns in 2008 and 2012 had he not had a seat in Congress - a seat he never would have won if he tried to capture it as a Libertarian.

Read more at Hoosier Access.

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Just say "no" to war with Syria

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

Printed in the Herald-Times, September 11, 2013. (Comments)

To the Editor:

When he was running for President in 2007, President Barack Obama said this: "The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

Now, President Obama claims to have the authority to attack Syria - a nation that has not attacked us - without Congressional authorization. The hypocrisy is stunning.

The civil war in Syria is a terrible humanitarian tragedy. No one denies that Bashir Assad is an evil tyrant who has unleashed immense suffering on his own people. In a perfect world, he would be executed for his crimes against humanity.

But we should not be the world's police force, and intervening in Syria could make things worse by widening the war. If Assad falls, what happens to his chemical weapons? What if al-Qaeda gets their hands on those weapons?

The reality is that we do not have a national security interest in Syria. I am not a pacifist, but I recognize that war is a terrible thing. We should only go to war to defend our national security, and then it should always be the last resort.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Government gets it right while churches get it wrong...

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

An excellent post at BaylyBlog...

Thinking of the church as "spiritual," we avoid investigating prior crimes and physical harm committed by souls transferring into our churches. After all, crimes and physical sins are the civil magistrate's domain. The church is just "spiritual," so we cover our ears and close our eyes.

Read more at BaylyBlog.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Acts chapter 3 verses 1-8

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

This is an awesome passage of Scripture. The sermon that follows is even better...

Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms.

And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.

And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Throw the jackal in jail

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

The thug who knocked Nicole Kidman to the ground He ought to be in jail. The police officer is wrong - it wasn't an "accident" at all. It was recklessness. He's a jackal and a vulture.

He should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Kidman should sue the living daylights out of him and his employer. The best thing that could happen here is both he and his employer are bankrupt, homeless and living under a bridge.

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Sexting, social media, and common sense

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

I posted this last weekend on the Facebook page: "Never post anything on Facebook you would be horrified to see on the front page of the newspaper or as the lead story on the nightly news." It actually goes a lot deeper than that advice, though it is good advice. (And I certainly cannot claim credit for it.) A better version would be something like this: Never take a picture or post anything to any social media website that you would be horrified to see on the front page of the newspaper or as the lead story on the nightly news.

Three news stories over the last couple weeks have prompted this post.

  1. A blog post about "selfies" on social media that lit up Facebook.

  2. A Fox News article on the prevalence of sexting among young people.

  3. A CNN article urging the criminalization of so-called "revenge porn."

The most obvious connection is between the second and third articles: sending nude or semi-nude photos to other people and the woman who is being harassed after her lowlife ex-boyfriend posted a nude photo of her to the Internet along with her contact information. The obvious lesson is this: Once you send someone an inappropriate picture of yourself, you completely lose control of that photo. The person who has the photo can post it to the Internet or forward it around without your knowledge or consent.

As I said on Twitter, the primary lesson should be "do not allow others to take nude photos of you. Ever." Pictures like that can destroy your employment prospects, harm your friendships, ruin your reputation and even subject you to stalking, death threats and perhaps even violence if posted to the wrong place.

The GivenBreath.com article is a nice corollary to that, even if the pictures are PG-13 instead of R or X rated. One of the criticisms of that article was that the author should have extended "a little more grace" in response to the statement that "there are no second chances with pics like that." It is a silly and ignorant criticism. One can extend grace to the teenage girls who post those pictures while not subjecting yourself or your sons to pictures you deem harmful.

We live in a world where our lives are lived in public, to a greater extent than ever before. All of the social media websites, blogs, forums and newspaper website comments allow the average person to put himself in the spotlight in a way that would never have been possible twenty years ago. As a society, we are still figuring out how to deal with that. This means that as parents, we need to use wisdom and discernment with how our children behave online and we need to be very informed about what they are doing in cyberspace.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Cute picture of the day

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

Tera the Beagle is just chilling out in the chair.

This picture was taken shortly before she became very impatient and started howling at me. Nano & Tera get fed at 7:30 and I was five minutes late getting their dinner.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Never forget September 11.

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

Was September 11 a warning from God? -- September 15, 2011

Reflections on 9/11 "truth" -- September 12, 2007

Four years ago today... -- September 11, 2005

Note on the 2005 article: I no longer believe the war in Iraq was a good idea.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hysteria over texting and driving

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

Don't text and drive. This is a pretty simple, common sense rule, and in a perfect world should not need to be spelled out by law. The Indiana legislature did spell it out a few years ago, by passing the law quoted below:

IC 9-21-8-59
Use of telecommunications device while operating a moving motor vehicle
    
Sec. 59. (a) A person may not use a telecommunications device to:
        (1) type a text message or an electronic mail message;
        (2) transmit a text message or an electronic mail message; or
        (3) read a text message or an electronic mail message;
while operating a moving motor vehicle unless the device is used in conjunction with hands free or voice operated technology, or unless the device is used to call 911 to report a bona fide emergency.
    (b) A police officer may not confiscate a telecommunications device for the purpose of determining compliance with this section or confiscate a telecommunications device and retain it as evidence pending trial for a violation of this section.

The problem with the law is that it is too specific. It would have made more sense to generally prohibit electronic distractions or to enhance the penalties for causing an accident because you are distracted. The law prohibits sending or reading text messages or electronic mail, but people use their smartphones for a lot more than that. The law does not prohibit using Facebook or Twitter, nor does it prohibit playing Final Fantasy V Angry Birds.

It is also silly that the "telecommunications device" cannot be confiscated.

But in New Jersey, legitimate concern over texting and driving has become outright hysteria, with a lawsuit against a teenager for sending a text message to a driver. She was not even in an automobile at the time, much less driving one.

This is literally insane.

I can see a passenger being prosecuted for distracting the driver and causing an accident, such as in the case where a man in Indianapolis punched his girlfriend repeatedly while she was driving. But the teenager who sent the text was not the car. Someone sending a text cannot force the other person to respond while driving. Even if the person sending a text message knows the person he/she is texting is driving at the time, the driver's behavior is not the other person's responsibility. It is the driver's responsibility to keep his eyes on the road.

I have texted people when I knew they were driving. I expect the person getting my text will wait until he/she is in a safe place before reading or responding. If he/she does not follow that common sense rule, that is not my responsibility. While I understand the pain and loss suffered by the family of the people killed because of the teenage driver's irresponsible and recklessly dangerous behavior, this lawsuit had the potential to set a dangerous precedent for even more oppressive nanny-state regulations of our daily lives.

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Monday, September 9, 2013

The foolish march to war in Syria

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

As Barack Obama continues to press his case for a foolish military strike against Syria, it is amusing to see some really bad arguments being used to advance the case. The most glaring is Obama's laughable denial that he set a "red line" regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria, when he clearly said this thirteen months ago:

We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

Does Obama really believe we are this stupid? Obama foolishly shot his mouth off last summer about what "he" would do if chemical weapons were used, despite the fact that the Constitution clearly gives the power to declare war to Congress, not the President. As much as he might like to believe otherwise, Obama is not a king and should not behave like one. It was a statement he had no business making.

Now that Syria has defied Obama, he feels personally insulted and wants to "punish" them for their actions. But the wounded pride of a man-child President is not enough reason to drag the country into war, especially when we clearly do not have a national security interest in "punishing" Bashir Assad for killing about 1,400 people with chemical weapons after he slaughtered tens of thousands with conventional weapons.

Obama wants a "limited" military strike to punish Assad, but as Kathleen Parker pointed out in her September 6 editorial, "waging a little bit of war is like being a little bit pregnant. History and human experience tell us that neither is possible." She underlines how illogical this argument is by making a further point: If another country fires some cruise missiles at military targets within the continental United States, would we consider it a "limited" strike or would we consider ourselves at war with that country?

I have little use for former KGB apparatchik Vladimir Putin, but he actually made a good point in his remarks about the situation in Syria and a potential U.S. military strike against Assad:

The use of force against a sovereign nation is only possible as self-defense -- and Syria hasn't attacked the United States -- and on approval of the U.N. Security Council. Those who do otherwise place themselves outside the law.

I do not buy the argument that the United Nations should have veto power over the use of U.S. military power, but Obama clearly believes that such strikes should be pre-approved by the "international community" - unless, of course, it is politically inconvenient for Obama. Even Great Britain, arguably our closest ally, has decided not to get involved in the Syrian civil war yet Obama is determined to march forward.

And as our President pushes the nation toward a foolish war without the support of the "international community," his defenders are casting the opponents of a war with Syria as "isolationists." This argument is an unserious as it is dishonest. A true isolationist wants to pull ourselves out of the world and exist within our own borders. In the global economy, this is not possible. There is a world of difference between an isolationist and a non-interventionist. Not wanting to be the world's police force does not make one an isolationist, and both Obama and his defenders know it.

The invasion of Iraq - which I believe was a mistake - was more justified than Obama's proposed military adventure in Syria on virtually every level: A clear national security interest, support from the "international community" and a broad coalition of allied nations willing to fight on our side. Now the man who was elected President with opposition to the Iraq war as a central theme of his campaign has become exactly was he was supposedly elected to oppose.

How's that hope & change workin' out for ya?

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

A question for the President

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

"I would argue that when I see 400 children subjected to gas... the moral thing to do is not to stand by and do nothing." -- President Barack Obama

What about the babies killed at Planned Parenthood, Mr. President?

"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." -- Barack Obama, 2007

Now you argue that you do have that authority. What changed, Mr. President?

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Friday, September 6, 2013

A shockingly racist "tribute" to Martin Luther King

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

Last week was the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream" speech, arguably the most important moment in the struggle for equal rights for blacks in the face of segregation and denial of rights - especially the right to vote. As a way to "celebrate" the anniversary of this speech, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals posted a shockingly racist picture to their Google Plus page:

Surely the folks at PETA know that racists have a long history of comparing blacks (especially black men) to primates. Black men were dehumanized as animalistic, rabidly sexual creatures who were a threat to innocent white women. This led to the murder of many black men since Reconstruction, including the horrific murder of Emmett Till - who was 14 years old when he was tortured to death by a gang of racists. This is what they did to him:

That is why it is so despicable for PETA to equate "animal rights" to the struggle for civil rights, especially using an image of primates with a quote from Dr. King superimposed over it.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Millennials, their parents and learning to be self sufficient

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

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. -- Proverbs 22:6

There was an excellent exchange between Rush Limbaugh and a caller last week regarding how Millennials view the world and how they are viewed. (Generally, Millennials were born between 1980 and 2000.) That exchange reminded me of an excellent quote at Reforming Fatherhood earlier this year.

As parents, our job is to train our children for life. As we care for our infants and toddlers, we should keep in mind what we want them to be when they are older, especially when they are teenagers and when they depart our homes. We want our children to be responsible, respectable adults. Believe it or not, that starts early.

There have been a number of times when my son has been fussy because he wants to come to me. Once he could crawl, my reaction was "Don't just sit there and fuss. Do something about it." He would crawl over to me (now he walks over to me) and then he would be happy. I then praise him for being such a good boy.

If I went over and picked him up every time he was fussy (when I know he wants his daddy) he would not learn to solve the problem himself by going over to daddy. He also learned the command to "come here" as he was already doing what he wanted to do anyway. The other important thing he is learning is that daddy won't just pick him up because he is whining - he has to come to daddy himself.

Of course, I have a lot more work to do over the next eighteen years. I have not even scratched the surface on all of the training that needs to be done to prepare my son for being a responsible, respectable, self-reliant young man. My point here is that there are many opportunities to train your children from an early age. Do not "protect" them from failure or disappointment. Always keep your eye on what you want your son or daughter to be like as an adult.

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Two random thoughts

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:20 PM (#)

  1. America's credibility is not on the line if we do not punish Syria for crossing the "red line" of using chemical weapons. Barack Obama's credibility is on the line. We should not go to war because Obama foolishly shot his mouth off last summer without thinking it through.

  2. Ariel Castro is suffering in horrible burning agony in Hell right now, where he will continue to suffer in horrible burning agony for all eternity.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

1, 2, 3, 4, we don't need another war

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

The following is an open letter to Barack Obama, with a carbon copy sent to Todd Young, Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats. I attended my first anti-war rally on September 2. (As a participant, anyway.) For all the talk of hypocrisy by Obama and John Kerry, it is good to see the activists are consistent. See pictures of the rally here and here.

From: Scott Tibbs [mailto:tibbs1973@yahoo.com]
Sent: Monday, September 02, 2013 9:45 PM
To: President@WhiteHouse.gov
Subject: No attack on Syria - no new wars

President Obama,

I am writing to express my strong opposition to using military force against Syria. This is an unwise and unnecessary action that should be avoided as it will only make the situation worse.

First of all, absent an imminent threat to our national security, you do not have the authority to act militarily against Syria without authorization from Congress. If you act without Congressional approval, you should immediately be impeached and removed from office for violating the Constitution and abusing your power as President. This is a very serious matter and you have a responsibility to treat the rule of law with the utmost respect.

Attacking Syria will likely result in retaliation, probably against our ally Israel. Are you willing to take responsibility for widening the conflict and making things worse? Will you take responsibility for any civilian casualties, both as a direct result of our attack and for the deaths that will occur when Bashir Assad retaliates even more aggressively against the rebels? I honestly wonder if you have even considered these options.

It is true that our credibility is on the line here - but that is because you drew a rash and foolish "red line" last summer. Saying that chemical weapons are a "red line" should have been preceded by an authorization to use force from Congress, because you lack the authority to back up your words. Our soldiers and their families should not be expected to sacrifice because you will look weak. The fact that you shot your mouth off without considering the consequences of your words is not a good enough reason for us to go to war.

We simply do not have a national security interest in Syria. Not yet, anyway. If Assad falls, we will certainly have a serious national security concern. What happens if al-Qaeda, one of the groups fighting Assad, gets their hands on his chemical weapons? They will not hesitate to use those weapons against us. The prospect of a cloud of mustard gas in Times Square should make us think very seriously about what we do here. It is both stupid and immoral to get involved without a plan to secure Assad's weapons of mass destruction.

Mr. President, I am not a pacifist. I believe that war can be necessary. But war is a terrible thing, and the use of military force should only be used to defend our national security, and then should always be the last resort.

There is no question that Bashir Assad is an evil man - Syria might as well have Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy or Ted Bundy as their president. But we should not be the world's police force. We should not be sticking our noses into conflicts that do not involve us and bombing our way to being even more hated. This war would be a mistake.

Sincerely, Scott Tibbs

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Monday, September 2, 2013

This is a legitimate question...

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

This is good too...

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

We need to stay out of Syria!

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

"So what, we're about to become Al-Qaeda's air force now? This is a very, very serious matter that has broad implications internationally. And to try to minimize it by saying we're just going to have a 'targeted strike' — that's an act of war. It's not something to be trifled with." -- Dennis Kucinich.

We need to stay out of Syria -- June 26, 2012

We need to stay out of Syria -- May 3, 2013

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