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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Reformation Day!

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 10:11 AM (#)


Friday, October 30, 2015

Just say "no" to the broadband boondoggle

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

City-run broadband Internet is a bad idea that has not worked in the past and will not work in Bloomington. Both the city council and the next mayor should go to Reason.com and read their lengthy and well-researched article about city-run broadband and think very carefully before committing a huge sum of tax money to this project.

This is something that might have made sense fifteen years ago, when broadband Internet was less common. Today in Bloomington, we have AT&T, Smithville Telephone and Comcast cable internet all competing for subscribers among the business community and the wider population. Indiana University has a reliable and fast broadband network as well.

As Reason.com points out, the "success story" in Chattanooga took an infusion of $111 million from the federal government to get it done. Do the proponents of a broadband network in our city have a plan to get the federal government to "invest" in it so local taxpayers do not have to bear the entire burden themselves?

This plan is a corporate welfare scheme that should be abandoned before it is started. If there is a legitimate business need for a citywide fiber-optic network, then that need will and should be filled by the business community. It should not be the role of city government to tax everyone for the financial benefit of only a few. Indiana University students, especially, should not be forced to pay for a large investment for the private sector that will not benefit those students when they are gone in four years. Make no mistake: Students do pay property taxes through their rent.

This is not economic development - it is crony capitalism and corporate wefare. This is a project that would be better left as an unfulfilled campaign promise.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Indiana does not need a hate crime law

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

Note: I sent this to my local state legislators.

On September 21, 2011, white supremacist terrorist Lawrence Russell Brewer was put to death by the state of Texas for his role in the horrific torture-slaying of James Byrd. Another of the men who helped murder Byrd is awaiting execution while the third murderer is serving a life sentence. Texas does not have a hate crime law, and did not need one to bring justice in this case. Indiana does not need one either.

I encourage you to reject a proposal to make some citizens "more equal" than others, which is unconstitutional under a plain reading of the text of the Fourteenth Amendment. And we need to be clear here: Hate crime laws create a legal system under which some victims of crime are more valuable than others. When we punish identical crimes differently based on the motivation of the criminal and the victim's minority status instead of punishing the act and the intent, we are setting up a two-tiered legal system that places a preferred class of citizens over everyone else.

This is simply wrong. If we want to discourage hate crimes, we should harshly punish all violent criminals. Someone who commits murder should be executed by the civil magistrate regardless of what his motivation for committing the murder may have been. The victim is every bit as dead in a "normal" crime as he is in a bias crime. The property damage done by an arsonist is just as real and just as expensive to fix whether the arsonist is a white supremacist or if he just enjoys destroying other people's things.

The renewed interest in hate crime laws in Bloomington and Monroe County has been spurred by the despicable, depraved, perverted and cowardly actions of an enthusiastic Bernie Sanders supporter by the name of Triceten Bickford. But would Bickford's actions have been any less severe if his motivation has been anything other than virulent anti-Muslim hatred? He violently attacked a woman in front of her young child. He should spend a very long time behind bars to protect our community, and he also needs treatment for a severe alcohol problem as seen by his .195 blood alcohol content at the time of his arrest.

We do not need new laws. The laws we have on the books right now are more than sufficient. What we need to do is enforce those laws and harshly punish all violent criminals to the fullest extent of the law, after they have been convicted by a jury of their peers in a fair trial that follows all due process protections mandated by the Constitution.


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The old man is getting older...

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

I am 42 years old today.

I have reached the age where the students I see walking around the Indiana University campus are young enough to be my children.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Donald Trump is wrong on immigration and September 11

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

Not only is Donald Trump repeating Democratic Party talking points in his attack on George W. Bush over the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, he shows that he is a fundamentally unserious candidate who does not understand the legislative process and is therefore unfit to be President of these United States.

First of all, Trump is wrong on the facts. Several of the terrorists got here before George W. Bush was President, so if there is blame to be placed for letting them into the country that blame should also fall on President Bill Clinton. Taking Bush to task for 9/11 while not mentioning Clinton at all is not surprising, given Trump's long and well-documented affiliation with the Clintons as well as his thousands of dollars of donations to Hillary Clinton's campaigns.

Let's say Americans has elected Trump in 2000. Even if Trump would have started pushing his 2015 immigration plan the moment he was sworn in, a major plan like that takes time to get passed - and that is assuming the Democrats were not able to completely block the plan in the U.S. Senate where Republicans only had a tiny sliver of a majority. Even if it had been passed, laws do not take effect immediately and then they have to be implemented. Trump's immigration plan would not have stopped the 9/11 terrorists from entering or staying in the country.

There have been arguments about immigration and September 11, and serious people (a group that does not include Trump) have been debating it for fourteen years. Trump's haphazard and sloppy way of inserting himself into the debate does nothing to actually address what could have been done differently. Trump, as usual, makes it all about his own ego with no actual grip on facts or how public policy works.


Monday, October 26, 2015

End the culture war against Christians in Bloomington

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

Thank you to everyone who is attending this event, and thank you for showing that there are many in this community that value human life and seek to protect innocent human life in the womb. Thank you for showing that there are many here that oppose the Bloomington City Council's wasteful and politically-motivated votes to give corporate welfare to Planned Parenthood.

My name is Scott Tibbs and I am a write-in candidate for Bloomington City Council, at-large. If you live anywhere inside city limits, you can vote for me. I will not be on your ballot, so you will need to write in "Scott Tibbs" in the at-large portion of your ballot. But because I am an official candidate, those votes will count.

I stand before you today in response to horrific and shocking revelations about Planned Parenthood, and I am calling on the Bloomington City Council to stop funding an organization that corrupts our youth sexually, murders babies made in the image of God and sells their victims' body parts for money.

Planned Parenthood corrupts our youth sexually by promoting sadomasochistic sex practices to teenagers, enabling sexual abuse and exploitation by giving birth control to teens under the age of consent, encouraging promiscuity and all manner of deviant sexual practices - all encouraged by your government at all levels. This must stop.

That Planned Parenthood murders babies made in the image of God is self-evident to anyone who has ever seen pictures of aborted babies. You can see the photographic evidence for yourself at CBRinfo.org/abortion-photos. While Planned Parenthood and their apologists try to deny the selling of body parts, let's be real here. When you give something to someone and they give you money in exchange, you are selling that thing. No amount of spin about "donations" or "covering costs" will obscure this plain and simple truth.

City government's repeated endorsements of Planned Parenthood must end. If the city council wants to give money to Planned Parenthood, they should do so from their own pockets. It is wrong to use the power of the state to forcibly confiscate our wealth to give it to an abortion mill. If the city council wants to make a public statement, they should do it as private citizens instead of forcing it on all of us by officially speaking as a legislative body.

If you want to oppose this, then write in "Scott Tibbs" for Bloomington City Council, at-large.


Sunday, October 25, 2015

Candidates on demand - Scott Tibbs for Bloomington City Council

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


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Vote Libertarian in District 1!

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

I live in District 1 and I am voting for Dave Nakarado.

Dave has stood up for the under-served portions of the west side, including unincorporated areas that are completely surrounded by the city and do not get city services. This is very dangerous when those areas are not plowed in the winter.

You can see a map on Facebook.


Friday, October 23, 2015

The City Council's shameful endorsement of Planned Parenthood

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

Note: I delivered this speech at the Bloomington City Council meeting on October 21, 2015.

My name is Scott Tibbs and I am a write-in candidate for Bloomington City Council, at-large.

For the last thirteen years, I have been making the point that Planned Parenthood's requests for a handout from this City Council do not have anything to do with need or providing reproductive health care but that those requests are instead a request for a political endorsement from city government. Tonight, by passing this resolution supporting Bloomington's local abortion mill, you will prove that I have been right all along.

First, councilor Dorothy Granger is a clinic escort for Planned Parenthood. Because of her connection to PP, Councilor Granger needs to recuse herself from this vote. She should have recused herself from previous votes to fund Planned Parenthood. While there is no legal conflict of interest here, it nonetheless creates an appearance of impropriety for a Planned Parenthood clinic escort to sponsor and vote for a resolution supporting Planned Parenthood or to give the money entrusted to her by the voters to that organization.

You are endorsing Planned Parenthood despite a series of grisly and horrific videos that expose Planned Parenthood selling the body parts of aborted babies, and sifting through the mutilated corpses of those babies to find usable organs. Worse yet, you are endorsing Planned Parenthood despite the fact that an inspection by the Indiana State Department of Health revealed numerous serious and disturbing violations at the so-called "clinic" here in Bloomington. Would these disturbing practices still be going on had Planned Parenthood not been caught and reprimanded by the state?

If the nine Democrats on the City Council want to endorse Planned Parenthood, that would be wholly appropriate - if you did it as private citizens or as candidates for office. But speaking as a legislative body and speaking for the entire city is simply wrong, especially after the body parts selling scandal that erupted over the summer and outraged many all across the nation and in our community. I encourage you to table this resolution.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

The city council's Planned Parenthood resolution

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

The October 21 city council meeting went just as most of us expected it would - a closed minded Democratic majority unanimously voting to endorse Bloomington's abortion mill. Nonetheless, it was good to see so many people show up to speak against this resolution even though the outcome was always a foregone conclusion.

When I got to the meeting, I could not get into council chambers because the pink shirt wearing Planned Parenthood activists had already filled the room. I haven't seen that many people at a city council meeting in a very long time and I do not recall ever seeing rows of folding chairs set up outside the chamber.

A few comments on the meeting itself:

It took a little while to get through "reports from council" and "reports from the public" segments of the agenda, and then the Democrats and Planned Parenthood monopolized the meeting for about 30 minutes with a presentation in support of the ordinance. It was clearly designed to tilt the field in favor of the resolution, an overkill gesture for an ordinance that was always going to pass 9 to 0.

Dawn Johnsen spoke in support of Planned Parenthood, but there was no mention of the fact that her husband John Hamilton is running as the Democratic candidate for Mayor. Hamilton did not speak at the meeting, though he can be seen in the background wearing his pink "Stand with Planned Parenthood" shirt as folks at the lectern are speaking to the council. Johnsen compared the campaign against PP to McCarthyism.

Two different speakers called on Dorothy Granger to recuse herself from the vote. Granger is a Planned Parenthood clinic escort and sponsored the resolution. She also voted to give thousands of dollars to the abortion mill where she is a clinic escort. Granger will be elected to a second term representing District II because she is not opposed.

Isabel Piedmont, the unopposed Democratic nominee in District V, said in her comments "Please do not force your religious beliefs on me." Piedmont apparently missed the part where there is no serious movement by city government to restrict abortion or ostracize Planned Parenthood in any way. This was a resolution in support of PP, after the council (with just two exceptions) has voted every year since 1999 to give thousands of dollars to the Planned Parenthood "clinic" on South College Avenue. The only ones forcing their views on others are the Democrats who dominate the city council, by forcing all citizens of Bloomington to donate to Planned Parenthood.

You can watch the meeting streaming on CATS at http://catstv.net/m.php?q=2718. You can also get a DVD of the meeting or a flash drive with a digital file of the meeting at CATS at the Monroe County Public Library for $10.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The city council should not wage a culture war

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

In one of my answers to the League of Women Voters Keys to The Candidates questions, I said that "the city council needs to stop waging a culture war" with their repeated votes to force the citizens of Bloomington to donate to Planned Parenthood. I have made the point many times over the years that these donations are a political statement rather than a legitimate use of social service funding. On Wednesday, the city council will prove me right.

The city council's resolution in support of Planned Parenthood represents a tone-deaf escalation of their culture war. Hundreds of people have attended the protests against Planned Parenthood and the county council's vote to give corporate welfare to PP was the largest show of opposition such a vote has ever had, especially given that there was only two days notice with the county council deceptively trying to sneak the vote under the radar.

But the Democrats simply do not care. They are determined to use city government as a tool to wage a culture war and ram a pro-abortion political agenda down the citizens throats. The fact that this comes after the national Planned Parenthood was caught selling the body parts of aborted babies is disturbing enough.

But the fact that the city council continues to fund Planned Parenthood and make shameless political endorsements of our local abortion "clinic" after the Indiana State Department of Health found multiple serious violations at Bloomington's PP "clinic" makes this resolution even worse. This is a blind political agenda.

This shows more than ever why we need a dissenting voice on the Bloomington City Council, especially with the monolithic and tone-deaf support for Planned Parenthood. It is time to stop abusing the Hopkins social services fund by giving money to an organization that does not need it and denying money to deserving organizations by turning it into a political cudgel instead of a legitimate means of helping the needy in our city.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

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

A government that ignores the rule of law is far more dangerous to our liberty than any terrorist or foreign aggressor.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Students need to vote in city elections!

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

Next year, students will be excited to vote for in the Presidential election. Many will go to the polls for the first time. But your vote matters much less next year than it does this year. If you are excited about voting, this is the year you should be most motivated to vote, because city government affects you most directly. You have a stronger vote in city elections than any other.

According to the 2010 census, Bloomington has about 80,000 people. The top vote-getter for city council at-large in 2011 got only 3805 votes. Every single vote matters! This is said so often in elections that it has become a cliche' but it is more true in city elections than in any other election. When only 4,000 votes can make someone the top vote-getter citywide, you should be excited to be one of those voters.

Furthermore, city government impacts your life more directly than any other level of government. We depend on the fire department to protect our lives and property, so it is critical that the fire department has the resources it needs. We see the police department out in our community every day. We drive on city streets, so the planning of infrastructure matters. We have an amazing network of sidewalks, especially the closer you get to downtown.

Students are here for four years, so there is a lack of interest in city government, but students should vote in city elections because city government matters to students. Most students live off-campus, and the city regulates your landlord. The Housing and Neighborhood Development department deals with landlord-tenant disputes and any regulations or taxes that make it more expensive for your landlord to operate are passed to you in your rent.

I ask that you write in "Scott Tibbs" for city council, at-large. You can learn more about my campaign at www.VoteForTibbs.org. But no matter how you vote, please turn out and vote. Who represents us on the city council and who serves as our next Mayor should not be decided by a pathetic 5% of the total population.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Philippians 4:8

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

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.


Friday, October 16, 2015

More thoughts on Bloomington's imperialistic ambitions

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

Adjusted for inflation, county government has spent over ten million dollars renovating the Monroe County courthouse, first in the 1980's and followed by a major renovation that was completed in 2012. That more than proves that county government can be trusted with preserving historic county buildings. Why, then, do some in city government feel the "need" to rule over county government instead of working with county government?

Yes, the county buildings are within the city's jurisdiction. But this is not like a home or a business in a historic district. (Though those bring their own issues regarding private property rights.) What we have here is a unit of government usurping another unit of government's rightful authority. Preserving historic county government buildings should be done by county government, not by city government mandate.

Yes, there were some who wanted to demolish the county courthouse before it was renovated in the 1980's. (The cost of that renovation, it should be noted, is $5.27 million in today's dollars.) But history and politics are not stagnant. It is not the 1970's or the 1980's and there is no one in county government who wants to tear down the courthouse. It is insulting to today's leadership and today's voters to distrust county government because of what some wanted to do over three decades ago. And remember - those people lost that political battle.

City government should cooperate with the county to help preserve county government. The city and the county can and should collaborate to preserve our history. But city government's desire to rule over county government is simply wrong and should be stopped cold.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

E-mail forwarding, open records and local government

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

Note: I originally wrote this for Hoosier Access in 2013.

When a public e-mail is forwarded, what is and is not subject to public records requests? The Herald-Times carried a story on Sunday about county government elected officials sending their official e-mails to a private email account, raising concerns about transparency.

(The story is behind a pay wall and requires a subscription.)

There is discussion on what is considered public and not, and one county council member indicated that he considers anything to do with official business to be public record and is open to sharing it.

This should actually be rather simple, with no real gray area. Matters relating to official duties should be handled exclusively from the official e-mail account, and everything on an official account (including jokes, forwards and so forth) is subject to public record requests unless it is specifically protected for some reason. (Secure information should not be stored on e-mail anyway.) Matters unrelated to official duties on a private account should not be subject to public records requests.

Monroe County government has allowed county councilors and county commissioners to forward their e-mail to a private account for many years, but that should have never been the case because of the transparency issues involved. The policy should be immediately reversed.

While I understand it is convenient to have everything in one place, it is not that difficult to manage a separate work account and a personal account. I have and use several e-mail accounts for specific things, and it takes very little effort to check all of them. Furthermore, elected officials should be expected to make minor sacrifices for the sake of serving the public.

This should be addressed at the state level as well, with a revision of the open records law. The legislature should make it illegal to have official government e-mails forwarded to a private e-mail account, because the potential for abuse is too high to allow this to continue.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

City government should not charge voters for parking

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

Voting is a precious right, and we need to encourage the people of Bloomington to vote. This is especially important in city elections, where turnout is pathetically low. The #1 vote getter in the at-large city council race in 2011 got fewer than 4000 votes, which is a sad number in a city of 70,000 people. The parking meters discourage early voting by making it an annoyance to park downtown to vote, and the meters discourage voting on Election Day for any precincts that are in the downtown area.

This is why I am calling on the city to suspend parking fees for people who are voting early and on Election Day. City government should work with county government to develop a system where everyone who goes to vote should be exempt from paying to park downtown - even something as simple as a little slip of paper confirming that someone has come downtown to vote.

This is more important this year than in other years, because so few people vote in city elections. The closer government is to the people, the more every individual vote matters. City government may not get the headlines the national and state governments do, but it is city government that most people interact with on a daily basis. We drive on city streets, depend on city fire protection, are protected by city police and are governed by city planning codes. City elections should have a higher turnout than the presidential election, not drastically lower.

This may not be an illegal poll tax, but it does place an unnecessary barrier in front of people who simply want to participate in democracy. No one should ever have to pay a tax or a fee to cast a ballot. This is especially important for those who may be struggling financially and have to count every dollar. Let's not freeze these people out of the voting process. We should enthusiastically welcome all eligible voters, and remove this barrier to voting.


Monday, October 12, 2015

City government's imperialistic historic preservation efforts

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

I join the consensus that historic preservation is important, but city government's imperialistic attitude toward historic preservation is condescending to both county government and county voters in addition to showing arrogance.

County government has made a significant effort at historical preservation, especially of the county courthouse. It is important to note that county government dedicated $2.3 million to an "extensive renovation" of the courthouse (see Wikipedia) in 1984, which is $5.27 million in today's dollars according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, the courthouse dome was replaced and the building renovated again a few years ago at a cost of $5 million. Clearly, we can trust that county government is sufficiently committed to historic preservation.

But that does not seem to be good enough for some in city government, because they have imperialistic aims to control what is rightly under the authority of county government. It is unfortunate that there is such a lack of trust in and respect for the efforts to preserve the historic county courthouse, to the extent that the city wants to rule over county government. The city should remember that the same voters who vote in city elections also vote in county elections, so they are disrespecting their own voters as well.

It is a good idea for city and county government to collaborate on historic preservation, and the city should offer assistance to the county to see what city government can do to help with historic preservation. Collaboration and cooperation is good, but usurpation of another unit of government's rightful authority is not. The city council and the mayor should reject this imperialistic power grab.


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Remember Kelo

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

Donald Trump is an enemy of America. He is a clear and present danger to our liberty, our property, and our way of life. He must be defeated.


Becoming the Idiocracy

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

It's infuriating to see ignorant "conservatives" praise Vladimir Putin just because he has embarrassed Obama a time or two.

Putin wants to bring the Soviet Union back. Putin openly and publicly admires an Evil Empire that brutally slaughtered tens of millions of people.

Once a KGB thug, always a KGB thug.

THIS is the brutal genocidal "hero" to many ignorant "conservatives" who just want to be entertained and cannot think or reason.

We are literally becoming the Idiocracy. Use Gatorade to water our plants!


Hillary Clinton and gun control

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 3:00 AM (#)

An important note:

  • Among other things, Clinton wants to renew the assault-weapons ban, which we had for 10 years before it lapsed in 2004. The ban never made any sense, and a push to revive it is nostalgia for a meaningless gesture. To review: A so-called assault weapon is a semi-automatic rifle tricked out with frightening-looking cosmetic features. It is functionally indistinguishable from any other semi-automatic rifle.
Source: National Review.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Judges 4:17-23

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

Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle.

And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No.

Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples.

So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel.


Friday, October 9, 2015

Since when is correct word use a theological issue?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 10:00 AM (#)

Sometimes it amazes me what gets Leftists angry, and causes them to literally damn a conservative. Apparently, using the correct definitions of words is one of those things. Last week, a letter to the editor was published arguing that spending on military equipment is "theft" from the poor. I responded that is not the case, unless taxes from the poor are funding those things. We know that's not the case because of the huge percentage of federal revenue that comes form the top ten percent of wage earners.

A few of the responses:

  • How Christian of you Scott.
  • It's hard to imagine how Tibbs's views could be more different from those of Jesus the Nazarene.
  • It's hard to imagine how Saul-Paul's views could be more different from those of Jesus the Nazarene
  • His bible is missing Matthew 25. It's a common problem.

I assume that last comment is in reference to Matthew 25:31-46.

Since I am a hardcore literalist (which is increasingly burdensome in a society that does not believe objective truth even exists, and everyone has their own "truth") let's examine what I actually said.

  • No, it is not theft, unless the poor an hungry were the ones taxes to build the guns, rockets and warships. And that's not the case.

Note I did not say a single thing about policy or what policy should be. Note I did not say that we should not help the poor. Note I did not say that there should be no government programs to help the poor. I simply corrected an incorrect version of the word theft. It is not theft when you refrain from taking the wealth of one person to redistribute it. If I say I will not take money from Joe-Bob to give it to Bubba, I am not stealing from Bubba. Words mean things.

It says a lot about our society that someone cannot even point out a word is being used improperly without being personally attacked. This also shows why "bipartisanship" is a fraud and a sham.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Same-sex "marriage"

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

It is absurd that same-sex "marriage" is a "constitutional right" under the 14th Amendment when the federal judiciary and the judicial branches of all fifty states unanimously agreed it was not a constitutional right for well over a century.

Original intent matters. Does anyone really think that the 14th Amendment was written to force states to recognize same-sex "marriage?"


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Republican hypocrites for Donald Trump

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

Does character matter to Republicans any more? Back in 1992, it did. Republicans made a big deal out of Bill Clinton's adultery, saying it made him unfit to be President. In 1998, Republicans refocused on Clinton's adultery and how it exposed his character and fitness for office, this time with a White House intern young enough to be his daughter. Was it all a sham? Was it all just a political game? Were they ever sincere? The rise of Donald Trump and his popularity with the Republican base certainly raises those questions.

Trump's philandering ways are well known. He has been married three times, each time to progressively younger women. As his wives get too old, he casts them aside for a newer model. Trump treats his wives like most Americans treat their cell phones or automobiles.

What is both amazing and infuriating about this is that to this day Republicans are ripping into Hillary Clinton for defending her adulterous husband and scheming to destroy women who came forward with accusations of adultery, sexual harassment and even rape. But see, it's different because Bill and Hillary Clinton are Democrats. Don't you understand? It's OK if you're a Republican! And it's even more "OK" if you're a Republican who "speaks his mind" and has "courage." Many Republicans are perfectly fine with being two-faced, if the adulterer is someone who stands up to Political Correctness.

This is a joke. Republicans who support Trump are a national embarrassment - and not only to the Republican Party. It is actually much worse than political hypocrisy. The many Christian conservatives support Donald Trump despite his well-documented character flaws bring shame upon the cross of Jesus Christ and His church. Unbelievers look at Christians who blasted Clinton in the 1990's and now support Trump, and they scoff and mock. It is shameful.

I can understand low-information voters supporting Trump. I understand the appeal of someone who is as brash as Trump has been. But for Christians - especially Christians who have spent a quarter century blasting Bill Clinton - to support Donald Trump is utterly repulsive.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

O.J. Simpson gets away with murder -- ten years later

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

It has been twenty years since O.J. Simpson got away with murder.

It is a terrible tragedy that Simpson was never put to death for what he did.

Here is a blog post I wrote in 2005 on the ten year anniversary of this tragedy.


Monday, October 5, 2015

RFRA as the standard for religious liberty

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

Where should the government defer to religious liberty, and when should it not? I got a couple interesting questions on Twitter that merit an answer. (See here and here.) The purpose of my previous post was not to establish where religion should "trump the law" but to establish the principle that if we value religious liberty (and we do not make the state into a god) there are certain areas where government should defer to people's religious beliefs. Now, where are those specific lines drawn?

I think the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (originally signed into federal law by President Clinton and then passed by a number of state legislatures) is a good standard. Basically, it boils down to this: If government passes a law (even one that applies generally to everyone) that violates someone's religious beliefs, the courts should apply "strict scrutiny" to that law to ensure that the law furthers a compelling state interest and is the least burdensome way to accomplish that compelling state interest.

Obviously, that standard does not and cannot foresee every single possible scenario. I could spend the next ten years writing two posts per day and not cover every single possible application of RFRA and whether certain laws meet both the "compelling state interest" standard and the "least burdensome" standard. Some laws (like speed limits) are obvious and easy. Many more are much more difficult and sometimes may even have to be decided on a case-by-case basis. My point is that "strict scrutiny" should be the standard. But RFRA should be the foundational standard for protecting religious freedom.

Unfortunately, RFRA should never have been needed in the first place. The First Amendment should have been the only RFRA we needed, until a poorly-reasoned Supreme Court decision inspired Congress to pass and Clinton to sign the federal law. The solution should not have been to pass a new law to direct the courts' interpretation of the First Amendment. The solution should have been to impeach judges and justices that did not submit to the strict scrutiny required by the First Amendment.


Sunday, October 4, 2015

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

Being a hardcore literalist is increasingly burdensome in a society that does not believe objective truth even exists, and where everyone has their own "truth."


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Mentally ill inmates

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 9:30 AM (#)

This is horrific:

Mentally ill inmates are being warehoused for weeks, months and, in rare cases, years in jails around the nation, waiting to go to state mental hospitals where experts determine whether they are well enough to stand trial and treat those who aren't. Advocates say the delays are leaving vulnerable defendants to languish, sometimes with tragic results.

In recent years, a defendant with mental illness was raped repeatedly at the Los Angeles jail as he waited eight months for treatment, according to a lawsuit. Three former guards at the Santa Clara County jail in California have been charged with murder for allegedly beating to death a mentally ill inmate who was waiting for a treatment bed. A third inmate in Washington state committed suicide during a wait for treatment.

Source: The Washington Post.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Apple's ad-blocking and obnoxious ads

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

The decision by Apple to allow ad-blocking in the new iOS has stirred a lot of debate and controversy, and it is going to be interesting as it plays out - especially since smartphones account for a huge and increasing percentage of web traffic.

Folks who design banner ads could have avoided this by being less intrusive. When the page becomes unusable because a video plays complete with booming sound, it is very frustrating. That is even worse when you have multiple tabs open and have no idea where the annoying sound is coming from. The Herald-Times, for example, is especially obnoxious with ads. I have clicked on an ad by accident a number of times as the banner ad at the top of the page explodes to fill the entire screen. This is one thing on a free website, but you cannot read the H-T website at all without having a paid subscription of nine dollars per month.

But for websites that rely on ad revenue to keep going, this is problematic. Newspapers get money from both their advertisers and subscribers, but "free" websites rely almost entirely on ads. Increasing ad-blocking may wind up making more sites go to a subscription service instead of a "free" model - if they can stay in business at all. But the fact that this is a popular and desired feature should say something to the advertisers. I am not sure why huge popovers are popular with advertisers. I cannot imagine people actually buy things when they are forcibly redirected to an advertiser's site.

It seems like there should be a good middle ground here. Ultimately, there probably will be as people who program the ads will find ways to defeat Apple's software.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Life Chain!

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 6:40 AM (#)

The 2015 Life Chain is this Sunday. See the event on Facebook.