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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Christmas in September?

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

Christmas display at Kroger - taken September 26.


It's not even October yet, people!


Monday, September 29, 2014

25% does not equal 0.11%

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

According to the Indiana Daily Student, "There were 22 sexual assaults reported on the (IU) campus in 2013." Assuming an enrollment of about 40,000 students, and assuming half of those students are women, that comes out to 0.11% of women on campus assaulted. So here's the question. The feminist line is 1 of 4 women in college are assaulted. Something does not add up, because 0.11% does not equal 25%.

On a related note, here is an article from Time.com arguing the "yes means yes" standard will "create a disturbing precedent for government regulation of consensual sex."


Want to drive to your destination? "Papers, please."

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

Last Friday night, local police set up a "sobriety checkpoint" to check for drunk drivers. When drivers pass through the checkpoint, "officers will ask for the licenses and the vehicle registrations," according to the Herald-Times.

I ask a couple serious questions here: Can you imagine how this nation's founding fathers would have reacted to an agent of the state asking for their "papers" when they were simply traveling from one place to another? Would the men who wrote and ratified the Fourth Amendment be comfortable with being stopped and questioned despite no grounds to suspect a crime is being or has been committed?

Defenders of checkpoints make utilitarian arguments about stopping drunk driving, and that is certainly a legitimate goal. Much progress has been made - drunk driving fatalities have fallen sharply since 1982. But being stopped while traveling on a public street and asked to "show your papers" is antithetical to the notion of a free society.

But we need to get down to brass tacks here. According to the Herald-Times, police officers manning the checkpoints "work on an overtime basis and are paid by federal and state grant funds." In other words, local government's incentive here is not just to stop drunk driving, but to allow more overtime pay without straining the budgets of local government. Overtime pay for each individual officer can be quite high.

As is the case with any government program, the most important thing to do is follow the money.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

"The rape epidemic is a fiction."

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

Over at National Review, Kevin D. Williamson argues that "The rape epidemic is a fiction." From the article:

This is a matter of concern because a comparison between the NIJ's estimates of college-campus rape and the estimates of rape in the general population compiled by the DoJ's National Crime Victimization Survey implies that the rate of rape among college students is more than ten times that of the general population.

It is not impossible that this is the case, but there is significant cause for skepticism. For example, in the general population college-age women have significantly lower rates of sexual assault than do girls twelve to seventeen, while a fifth of all rape victims are younger than twelve. Most of the familiar demographic trends in violent crime are reflected in the rape statistics:

Poor women are sexually assaulted at twice the rate of women in households earning $50,000 a year or more; African American women are victimized at higher rates than are white women, while Native American women are assaulted at twice the rate of white women; divorced and never-married women are assaulted at seven times the rate of married women; women in urban communities are assaulted at higher rates than those in the suburbs, and those in rural areas are assaulted at dramatically higher rates.

And more:

Under the Bureau of Justice Statistics' apples-to-apples year-over-year comparison, sexual assault has declined 64 percent since the Clinton years. That is excellent news, indeed, but it does not feed the rape-epidemic narrative, and so it must be set aside.

Source: National Review.


Friday, September 26, 2014

The importance of the 2014 elections

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

The elections this year are called "off year" elections, not taking as much attention as the Presidential election every four years but important all the same. Here is why you should care and why you should vote.

The biggest items on the ballot, of course, are the federal legislative elections and state legislative elections. This year will determine who controls the U.S. Senate in January, but state legislative races are also important. It is the states, after all, where many of the most important reforms and policy changes have taken place over the last four years.

But where most people pay the least attention is one of the most important reasons to get out and vote in November. (Or October, if you vote early.) It is local elections that affect voters most directly, and local elections are where each individual vote matters most. Back in 2007, one city council race was decided by only six votes.

The local elections on the ballot are important. One of the most important is Assessor. Anyone who remembers the assessment mess in 2002, where incumbent Judy Sharp assessed a gas station at $350 million, knows how that office can affect not only individual property owners but also local government finance. Local taxing units faced a loss of over $6 million due to Sharp's bad assessment. Smaller errors in property assessment can impact property owners and how much we pay in property taxes, so it is important this is done correctly.

The Prosecutor's Office is important as well. The Prosecutor is the one who is the final line of defense in protecting the community from criminals, but also in making the right decisions in what to prosecute. Radley Balko has documented prosecutorial misconduct all over the country in his various writings, and his exhaustive research shows how a bad prosecutor can do a lot of damage.

The Sheriff is an important office, not only because he manages the deputies but also because he manages the county jail. That is a huge amount of money to manage, and the jail itself is important for obvious reasons. We saw in 1997 how much damage a sheriff can do when he is mismanaging his office, especially if that mismanagement is intentional. Electing the wrong person to this office can have lasting consequences for years.

The county council manages the county budget, and determines how, where and how much money is spent. We elect four councilors this year and the other three are up again in 2016. The council can be an important check on administrative offices through the power of the purse strings.

The Clerk's Office manages a number of things, such as marriage licenses and civil court filings. Incumbent Democrat Linda Robbins has made a mess out of the last two elections, with unacceptable delays in counting the votes as well as an inexcusable mess in 2011. It is important that she be removed from office by the voters

We can often look at elections for President or even Governor and think our vote does not matter. In local elections, our votes matter a great deal and the final total can be very close. Fourteen years ago, less then one hundred votes in the at-large election would have changed the makeup of the county council. Eighteen years ago, the third and final seat on the county council in the at-large election was decided by a razor-thin margin. Even if you do not think your vote matters in state or federal elections, that vote matters locally. It is unfortunate that so few people use that power.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Needless fearmongering about violent crime

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

See previous LTTE on this topic here and here and here and here and here.

Bloomington Herald-Times, September 25, 2014 (Comments)

To the Editor:

I wish that conservatives who rightly decry the federal government's deadly excessive force in Waco, Texas in 1993 would apply the same scrutiny to use of force by law enforcement generally, especially in relation to the increasingly literal "War on Drugs."

An August 31 letter to the editor engaged in needless fear-mongering about violent crime - which has dropped significantly since the early 1990's. This kind of fear-mongering against crime and drugs has led to erosion of civil liberties and ever-increasing use of force by government agents.

SWAT teams, which were originally for riots, hostage situations and barricaded suspects, are now used between 50,000 and 80,000 times per year. (See http://wapo.st/1w0xqxd for more.) The vast majority of these paramilitary raids are for simple search warrants, where SWAT is not needed.

SWAT often creates a needlessly violent situation that could be resolved with a traditional search. For examples, see the horrific burning of an 18 month old baby earlier this year by a flash-bang grenade, the police officer killed by Corey Maye when Maye thought he was the victim of a home invasion, and the 92 year old woman who was gunned down in her own home by SWAT in Atlanta.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The ultimate disinfectant

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

As a reminder, Sunshine is the ultimate disinfectant.


Adrian Peterson, spanking, child abuse and liberty

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

With all of the sound and fury surrounding Adrian Peterson, it is important to make a clear distinction between true child abuse and the necessary discipline every child needs (and every parent is obligated to provide) in order for that child to mature into a responsible, productive, respectable adult citizen.

Leaving a welt on a little boy's scrotum by hitting him with a switch is not discipline. It is child abuse. It is absurd to equate Peterson "whupping" his son with a spanking that causes pain but does not cause physical injury. People who equate Peterson's criminal assault with a reasonable spanking are discrediting themselves, because most people instinctively know the difference between a beating and a spanking. It is fundamentally dishonest to equate the two.

In fact, physical discipline is part of responsible parenting. A father who forces his toddler to hold his hand when crossing the street or a parking lot is engaged in physical discipline, but that discipline is necessary to protect that child from injury or death. Parents who do this are not being authoritarian killjoys - we are loving and protecting our children. We would not dream of treating an adult in this manner, even though some of the students who blindly walk out in front of vehicles on the Indiana University campus could use some literal hand-holding.

The state has an interest in protecting children from legitimate abuse, but we should be extremely distrustful of the state any time it seeks to steal parental authority for itself. God did not give the authority over child rearing to the civil magistrate. He gave that authority to parents. The positions of father and mother are offices with authority, and absent evidence of criminal child abuse we should give parents wide latitude in their disciplinary choices.

I would be negligent to dismiss the credibility factor of the state in the discipline of children. When the civil magistrate freely gives birth control to teenage girls as young as 13 (or subcontracts that shameful activity to Planned Parenthood via a tax subsidy) the civil magistrate has lost credibility as a reliable agent to determine what is best for children. Any entity that helps sexual predators cover up their crimes (pregnancy in a 13 year old girl is prima facie evidence of felony sexual abuse) is in no way to be fully trusted with a child's welfare.

We live in a wicked day where we say that evil is good and good is evil. We have for the most part escaped a scenario where parents are persecuted by the state for obeying Scripture and spanking their children. (Though there are cases of this, and many parents are afraid of the state stealing their children for the application of needed discipline.) But the march toward statism and an ever-expanding government never stops. We should never trust a government pulling our heart strings with real child abuse, because you can be assured this is a bait and switch.

No pun intended.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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

Note for today: I hate being sick.


Monday, September 22, 2014

An observation from George Will

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

Here is an interesting observation from George Will:

Regarding voting, more often means worse. If money is necessary to lure certain voters to the polls, those voters will lower the quality of the turnout: They will be those people who are especially uninterested in, and hence especially uninformed about, public affairs. Why is it intelligent public policy to encourage their participation?

Source: Washington Post.


Due process and sexual assault, revisited

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

From National Public Radio, a report on sexual assault and due process:

  • Dozens of students who've been punished for sexual assault are suing their schools, saying that they didn't get a fair hearing and that their rights to due process were violated.

NPR reports that a student at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst claims he was notified that an investigation was being conducted into alleged sexual misconduct and he "had just hours to move out of his dorm." It comes down to a he said vs she said controversy about whether a one night stand was consensual or not.

The accused (one of many suing) claims the university "withheld information he needed for his defense" and refused to allow him to be represented by an attorney, according to NPR. Robert Shibley (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) says academic disciplinary panels assume the accused is guilty, requiring proof of consent as opposed to proof of assault.

The basic problem, as I have said before, is that universities should not be dealing with sexual assault allegations at all. Someone who has committed a violent crime should be behind bars, not just expelled from the university. But expelling students who have committed no crime based on a system that is weighted to get more convictions is not justice, and denying due process rights does not in any way guarantee justice.

Thanks to the Obama Administration's threats, universities are worried about losing their funding and are steamrolling due process in order to prove they take sexual assault "seriously." But if we truly want to show we take rape on campus seriously, we should implement serious reforms while preserving the due process rights that protect all of us from abuse.

The reform should be simple: If a student reports a sexual assault to any university official or employee, that assault must be reported to law enforcement and police must take action - at the very least questioning the suspect and (if the evidence is strong enough) arresting him.

Years ago, some states implemented reform of domestic violence cases that required an arrest even if the victim refused to cooperate when police arrived. Similar reforms would help here. If sexual assault victims are shown that law enforcement takes it seriously, perhaps they would be more willing to cooperate - and the accused would have the due process protections that university disciplinary systems are not providing.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Vote for Jeff Ellington

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


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 11:05 AM (#)

Random note:

I turned off predictive typing in iOS 8. It is annoying.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Three links for today

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

Here is an actual headline from the Indiana Daily Student a few years ago: Stoner arrested for alleged possession of marijuana. Yes, his name is Stoner. You can't make this stuff up.

From the Matt Walsh Blog: Sorry, but it's your fault if you're offended all the time.

Congressman Todd Young explains why he voted against granting President Obama the authority to train and arm Syrian rebels.


If inflammatory language is used, it should have a purpose

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

I got some legitimate criticism over the weekend in response to my editorial about due process in college sexual assault investigations for using the term "Obama regime" instead of referring to the "Obama administration."

We all hate to admit it when we are wrong, but I was wrong and my critic is right. I am not convincing anyone by using the inflammatory word "regime" and my argument about due process would be stronger without it. Using that inflammatory word does not help me convince anyone of why my position is right, and the discussion in the comments can get derailed into something unrelated to the issue.

And, really, I knew better than to use the word "regime." By using the word "regime," I did not strengthen my argument. I only provided a distraction from it.

I have been writing editorials, blog posts and letters to the editor (not to mention commenting on blogs, forums and newspaper comment sections) for nearly twenty years now. This is a continuing lesson for me as well as a lesson for everyone else who writes opinion pieces: Do not be inflammatory for the sake of being inflammatory. You undermine your argument, harden the opposition and make civil discussion more difficult.

Sometimes, the language a writer uses on hot button issues is going to be inflammatory by the very nature of the issue itself. Other times, an inflammatory word might be necessary to drive home a point, because a softer word will not make the point as well as the more inflammatory word.

But I can and should do better in my choice of language.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

New tool to combat texting & driving

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

Very interesting.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Reject Planned Parenthood's request for corporate welfare

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

----Original Message Follows----
From: Scott Tibbs [mailto:tibbs1973@yahoo.com]
Sent: Friday, September 12, 2014 11:50 AM
To: syoder@co.monroe.in.us; rlangley@co.monroe.in.us; mhawk@co.monroe.in.us; rdietz@co.monroe.in.us; gmckim@co.monroe.in.us; ljones@co.monroe.in.us; cmunson@co.monroe.in.us
Subject: Planned Parenthood's request for corporate welfare


I am writing you to once again encourage you to reject Planned Parenthood's request for a handout from the Community Service Grant Program. I urge you to respect the consciences of your constituents and to respect the other organizations that do not have the backing of an extremely wealthy national organization by denying this cynical request for a political endorsement from the Monroe County Council.

The 2014 grant application states that "Support for operational expenses will be considered, but not given highest priority." This is the second time this year that Planned Parenthood is seeking "bridge" funding for its operating budget instead of a grant to help with a one-time project.

It has become PP's habit to seek support for operational funding, so the obvious question is this: What is the purpose of the Community Service Grant Program? Is it to help with a one-time project, limited in scope, with a specific goal? Or is the CSGP to subsidize the operating budgets of community groups?

As representatives of this community, you should be distributing money based on need, not abortion politics. Quite simply, Planned Parenthood does not need the money they are asking you to give them. According to the national Planned Parenthood's annual report, the national office and all state affiliates took in $1,210,400,000 in revenue, while spending $1,152,200,000. That is a surplus of 58,200,000. The national office alone had a surplus of $11,700,000.

See the attached screenshots for more.

In addition to the lack of need, many of your constituents object to funding Planned Parenthood on a moral level, because Planned Parenthood performs abortions at its South College facility. Even though the money given to PP does not go to "abortion services" we object to being forced to give any money to an organization that performs such a morally heinous act. It is simply wrong for you to force us to contribute to an organization we find morally abhorrent. I urge you to be pro-choice in rejecting this request.

Finally, I am very disappointed in the lack of transparency on the Community Service Grant Program website. The website for the John Hopkins Social Services Fund is much more helpful, and includes each application for funding and the date where the final vote will be taken by the city council. As of the time I am sending this e-mail, none of that information is on the county's CSGP website. That should not be the case, and indicates the county council is not interested in transparency.

Thank you for your time.

Scott Tibbs
Resident of County Council district IV


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Peanut butter pie with Oreo crust

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

This is always a hit. Click the picture for the recipe.


Monday, September 15, 2014

More thoughts on campus rape and due process

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

Here are a few additional thoughts on due process in campus sexual assault investigations.

The fact that the Obama regime has ordered universities to abandon the "beyond a reasonable doubt" (BARD) standard in favor of a "preponderance of the evidence" (POTE) standard is irrelevant, and Indiana University is not breaking the law by refusing to obey. The highest legal authority in the land is the Constitution, not federal law or administrative rules dreamed up by federal government bureaucrats.

As a state institution, Indiana University is morally and legally obligated to follow the Constitution instead of arbitrary federal regulations imposed by the Obama regime. And that's what this is - an administrative regulation, not federal law. Congress has not passed a law mandating the POTE standard. Even if they did, Indiana University would be morally and legally obligated to disobey that law because it is unconstitutional. The Constitution requires due process and the BARD standard is a critical component of due process.

University disciplinary hearings are the wrong place for rape allegations to be tried, anyway. The worst a university can do to someone found guilty of rape is to expel him, but has no authority to punish him beyond that. A rapist, who can be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, should be behind bars. Having this handled by an academic disciplinary panel instead of the criminal justice system still leaves him free to victimize more people.

Some have said the POTE standard is necessary for victims to get "justice." Was it "justice" for the Central Park Five to spend years in prison for a crime they did not commit? Was it "justice" for the many people exonerated by the Innocence Project to spend years in prison for crimes they did not commit?

A critical thing to remember here is that all of those people spent time behind bars for crimes they did not commit under a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard, with significantly more due process protections than you will find in a university disciplinary hearing, where the accused often does not even have the right to an attorney, examine witnesses, etc.

You can bet that there will be many more fraudulent convictions under the Obama regime's illegal "preponderance of the evidence" standard for university sexual assault investigations. It is hardly "justice" to destroy someone's academic career with a weighted system designed by activists to get convictions rather than seek the truth.

Neither I nor anyone else is saying rapists should not be punished. In my opinion, the Supreme Court was wrong to disallow the death penalty for rape. (Especially the rape of a child.) The concern here is that Obama's POTE standard ignores due process for the purpose of gaming the system to get more convictions. Putting a finger on the scale to get the desired result is not "justice." It is a political agenda, and one that has no place in a public institution like IU.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

An extremely effective alarm

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 9:00 AM (#)

The alert a cell phone makes when the battery is low is an extremely effective alarm clock. Not because the beep is all that loud (in fact it is barely audible) but because it terrifies Nano and causes him to have a panic attack. Then he needs to be held RIGHT NOW! IT'S SCARY!! DON'T YOU KNOW HOW SCARY IT IS??


Friday, September 12, 2014

Corporations, personhood, free speech and SCOTUS

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

When Mitt Romney said "corporations are people" he was roundly mocked, but he was right. More specifically, corporations are a collection of people, banded together for a common interest. That interest may be to make a profit from selling things, or it may be to advance a public policy agenda. Move to Amend is itself a corporation, and is actually engaged in the very thing it is lobbying to prohibit.

As Jim Bopp pointed out on Monday night at the IU Law School, the issue we should be concerned about in Citizens United is not corporate personhood, but restrictions on speech. The First Amendment's protections for speech are very general, not limited to individuals or corporations or political parties. Even if we accept that "corporations are not people" government is still prohibited from restricting speech.

And yes, money is speech. David Cobb tried to be "cute" by childishly waving a dollar bill around and asking if the crowd can hear him, but the fact of the matter is that money is as essential to speech as gasoline is to driving an automobile. Money is the fuel upon which free speech depends. Without money, campaigns and interest groups cannot buy advertisements, print direct-mail pieces, develop and host websites, pay for door-to-door materials, pay for candidates to travel around and speak, or do anything else to get their message to voters.

Toward the end of the debate, Bopp and Cobb were asked how to improve Washington. Bopp made a good point that I wish had been expanded: Government is too big. Because government has its fingers into so much of our society and economy, a number of interest groups have a vested interest in influencing public policy.

We have gotten to the point where the federal government is restricting how individual people can purchase cold medicine. If the size and role of government shrinks, that will reduce the amount of money in politics by taking away the need for moneyed interests to be politically involved.

Bopp pointed out how dangerously far-reaching Move to Amend's proposal is, especially the goal that "no person gains, as a result of their money, substantially more access or ability to influence in any way the election of any candidate for public office or any ballot measure." Technically, this could be used to prohibit newspaper editorials, even if those editorials do not explicitly endorse or oppose a candidate for elective office. After all, criticizing or praising a candidate in an editorial (or on a radio show, or on cable television, or on a blog) could influence the election. Newspapers are corporations, and are the target of this language.

I admired that Bopp was willing to speak this past Monday, despite knowing he was going into hostile territory. The crowd (consisting of as many local residents as students) loudly cheered Cobb and heckled Bopp on a number of occasions. I cannot imagine any minds were changed, and the "home field advantage" enjoyed by Move to Amend certainly did not help Bopp make his position. That said, despite the heckling, the crowd was mostly respectful of opposing views and allowed Bopp to speak.

Finally, the idea that individual voices are being drowned out by corporate money is far less true today than it was when "campaign finance reform" was being discussed in the 1990's. It is also less true than it was when McCain-Feingold was passed and signed into law by President Bush during his first term. That is because of the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and (especially) because of social media.

If I post something on Facebook or Twitter, I can instantly reach the news feeds for 375 or 419 people, respectively. Others have far more "friends" and followers than I do, and their posts and Tweets are much more likely to go viral. Then there are blogs and websites with high readerships. The idea that the voices of average people are being "drowned out" is an idea that is more than two decades out of date. We certainly do not need the kind of draconian restrictions on free speech that Move to Amend's proposal would allow.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

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

A serious question:

At what point is the screen of a smartphone so big that it becomes impractical as a phone?


Never forget September 11

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


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Should crime victims be punished?

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

It's a strange case: A victim of statutory rape is now being punished by the government because he was the victim of a crime. It's a little more complicated than that, but this does raise serious concerns.

Here's the deal. When he was 14 years old, Nick Olivas had sex with a 20 year old woman. Because the age of consent in his state is 15, the woman committed statutory rape. Olivas never knew the woman got pregnant until his daughter was 6 years old, and he was blasted with $15,000 in back support.

The back support is just plain wrong, and would be wrong even if Olivas had been an adult when his child was conceived. He never knew about the child and could not have been expected to pay his obligations for a child he never knew existed. It would be reasonable in that case to expect him to contribute to the child's welfare from that point forward, but not for the six years the child's very existence was hidden from him.

But it is his age when the child was conceived that makes this troubling, and makes the back support all the more unjustified. Technically, Olivas could not even legally consent to sex with the mother of his child. Under the laws of the state of Arizona, he is a rape victim. I cannot imagine this ruling would have been issued if the child was the product of a union between a 14 year old girl and a 20 year old man.

The problem here is that there is an innocent child in the mix who is not responsible for the circumstances of her conception, and who was denied the right to know her father. The state does have an interest in protecting the welfare of children. But does that make this ruling just?

No. This is an overreach by government, and the $15,000 in back support and medical bills is simply obscene. This is not justice. This is greed. It should not be allowed to stand.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Thoughts on Ray Rice, the NFL and hypocrisy

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 5:35 PM (#)

Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely, and the Baltimore Raisins voided his contract, after the video surfaced of him actually punching his girlfriend in the face.

Yet, early this year, we knew what happened in that elevator. The new video provided absolutely no new information. So what is different now?

The National Football League looks like a bunch of hypocrites, because that is exactly what they are. They've been exposed as a league that does not take domestic violence seriously, moved to action only when it became politically impossible to keep the weaker punishment.

That said, in terms of criminal prosecution, Ray Rice should not be denied the same rights that any other first-time offender has simply because his case has become a political and cultural firestorm.


I lost my chair

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

Tera the Beagle says: "This is my comfy chair. Go sit somewhere else."


Monday, September 8, 2014

Going to the other extreme is not a solution

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

I have been a critic of police militarization and the government policies that have encouraged, increased and accelerated the use of force by law enforcement. I often wish that conservatives who were rightly critical of the federal government's deadly excessive force in dealing with the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas in 1993 would be as critical of all levels of government using violent force in the "War on Crime" and the "War on Drugs."

But in our worry about excessive force, we should not make a logical and policy error in the other direction. We do not want to discredit ourselves and turn off people who can be convinced by going too far in the other direction. An example of this is J.D. Tuccille, who argues at Reason.com that modern police forces "have become little more than a new set of predators from which the public needs protection."

Really? Come on, now, Really?

Does Tuccille actually believe that the nation's police officers - including members of our families, churches and communities - are really "a new set of predators" we must worry about? That is just silly. Yes, there are bad cops, because cops are human beings who are prone to the same temptations as everyone else. Those cops should be fired, and if they commit crimes they should be prosecuted and punished to the fullest extent of the law.

But when people like Tuccille make absurd over-generalizations that everyone outside of her small choir know are not true, they do great harm to the efforts to reform modern policing. People who raise legitimate concerns over police militarization and dangerously overzealous SWAT policies are not helped by statements like that.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Sexual assault, due process and civil liberties

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

Indiana University's efforts to do more to protect the victims of sexual assault and ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice are praiseworthy. But in this effort, IU must be careful to not victimize innocent people.

The Obama regime has been pushing universities to embrace a clearly illegal "preponderance of the evidence" standard in university disciplinary procedures regarding sexual assault. The traditional standard abandoned by the Obama regime is that guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. See this statement from Cornell University's law school on the importance of the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard.

  • The due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments "[protect] the accused against conviction except upon proof beyond a reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime with which he is charged." "The reasonable doubt standard plays a vital role in the American scheme of criminal procedure. It is a prime instrument for reducing the risk of convictions resting on factual error."

Source: http://www.law.cornell.edu/anncon/html/amdt14efrag7_user.html

Sexual assault is terrible, but the fact of the matter is that false reports do happen. The two most obvious examples are Tawana Brawley and Crystal Gail Mangum, but we saw this locally when a 19-year-old IU student fabricated a kidnapping and "rape" in March of 2007. According to the March 30, 2007 Herald-Times, she recanted her story and admitted that she "engaged in consensual sex with a man at a local motel."

What if she had not recanted her story and an innocent man had been criminally prosecuted for a crime that never happened? What if the falsely accused man was another student subjected to university discipline for a crime that never happened?

It does no good to anyone to abandon due process in the interest of protecting victims, and as a state institution Indiana University is not permitted to use the illegal "preponderance of the evidence" standard. Indiana University has a moral and legal obligation to disobey the Obama regime's clearly illegal mandate. The mark of a true patriot is to stand against the Obama regime's efforts to take away students' rights under the Constitution.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

A quick word from Abdul-Hakim Shabazz

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


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Random thoughts of the day

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

♣ - The problem with the illegal "preponderance of the evidence" standard the Obama regime is pushing in college sexual assault investigations is that due process requires that the traditional "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard be used in investigating allegations. This is why there are a number of lawsuits against universities for violating due process rights of the accused. Let's not destroy civil liberties in fight against rape as we already have in the War on Drugs.

♣ - Speaking of the fight against rape culture, assuming that all men are sexual predators (which is implied in the statement "teach men not to rape") helps no one. When you lump all men in the category of sexual predator as some feminists have done, you only manage to shut down a needed dialogue about consent and basic respect for women.

♣ - OK, let me get this straight. Victor White shot himself in the back, while handcuffed? In the patrol car? After he had been patted down and arrested? Really? Do the Louisiana State Police actually expect anyone to believe this?

♣ - Government officials in Rotherham should read Leviticus 20 and be terrified of the wrath of Almighty God.

♣ - From the Washington Post: "Attack ads have their plus sides." I've written about this subject before, defending negative campaigning and arguing that in some cases candidates for office have an obligation to go negative. People love to complain about negativity, and candidates love to whine about it when they are attacked, but negative campaigning serves a crucial role in our electoral system. Most importantly, negative and dirty are not the same.

♣ - Do militant homosexuals want equal rights or special rights? It sure looks like the latter.

♣ - As much as I respect Thomas Sowell, he misses the point regarding police militarization. The real problem in police militarization is not armored vehicles more appropriate for a battlefield than an American city, but with the "promiscuous use of SWAT teams" against nonviolent civilians. Riots, hostage situations and barricaded suspects (which is what SWAT teams are supposed to be for) are rare, but paramilitary raids to stop some stoners from lighting up doobies are not.

♣ - I tried the Twinkies with the "blue raspberry" filling and I have to wonder what Hostess was thinking with that particular color combination. The colors combine to look like something you do not want to see on your Twinkie.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

It's not OK to be a creepy pervert

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

New from The Matt Walsh Blog:

It's not OK to be a creepy pervert who looks at stolen nude photos on the Internet.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Courting vs. Dating: The debate rages

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 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

I recently read three interesting blog posts regarding dating and the alternative many Christians are embracing, courting. (Whatever that means. Definitions of both can vary wildly.) See here and here and here for more. So what is the best answer? In my opinion, the answer is neither and both.

The first thing we have to do as Christians is to not make our personal preferences into a theological absolute. Different people have different commitments and absent a clear commandment from Scripture (such as believers not joining with unbelievers) we should not be saying that our way is the only right way to live.

Christian liberty covers a large swath of our lives and as Christians we need to be both loving and humble enough to realize that the way we do things might not be the best choice for someone else. That is where we find ourselves with courting and dating.

Different families have different relationships, histories and personalities, as well as different levels of holiness, purity and wisdom. Even within a family, what is the right choice for one teenager may not be the right choice for another teenager. Christian parents have to use discernment in deciding what is best for their particular situation, while considering applicable Biblical principles.

Both courting and dating can be supervised by parents, to guard their teenagers against sin and to avoid unnecessarily tempting situations. In both systems, parents of both sexes should be involved and examine whether the other teen is a good match or a potential anchor dragging down their son or daughter. Both systems, with appropriate parental supervision and involvement, are infinitely superior to the "hookup" culture that is so pervasive, especially on college campuses.

Above all else, parents need to teach their children and teens the foundational moral principles of Scripture so they can apply those principles themselves. Once a teenager turns 18 and either heads off to college or into the workforce, the opportunity for parents to supervise is either lost or greatly diminished. All we can do as parents is teach our children well and pray that God will reign in their hearts as they get older.

That starts at birth and never ends.