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Saturday, January 31, 2015

"You betcha I was wrong about Sarah Palin"

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

"(Sarah Palin) squandered her opportunity for greatness, and instead became a fad."

Friday, January 30, 2015

Judicial activism and the rule of law

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 12:30 PM (#)

The following passage from a recent article about the reach of the Fair Housing Act is a perfect summary of how our "judicial" system has been corrupted, turning the federal judiciary (and especially the Supreme Court) into a super-legislature instead of acting in the role intended by the men who wrote the Constitution.

Justice Stephen G. Breyer summed up the liberal argument.

"This has been the law of the United States uniformly throughout the United States for 35 years, it is important, and all the horribles that are painted don't seem to have happened, or at least we have survived them," he said. "So why should this court suddenly come in and reverse an important law which seems to have worked out in a way that is helpful to many people, [and] has not produced disaster?"

Source: The Washington Post

The fact that any of the justices is even considering public policy instead of the rule of law should be frightening to everyone on both sides of this debate. It is not, has never been and should never be the role of the courts to determine public policy. That is the role of the legislative branch and, to a lesser extent, the executive branch. Public policy should not even be considered by judges when deciding whether the implementation of a law is legal and/or constitutional.

To be fair, the court is also considering the legal arguments both sides are presenting, both regarding the original intent of Congress when it passed the law and when it renewed the law. Hopefully, those arguments will be the primary basis on which this decision is made when the court rules on "disparate impact" as a standard.

But the fact that public policy is even influencing this debate (and many others before it) is a dangerous perversion of our constitutional republic. We are moving more and more to being a judicial oligarchy, with nine people in black robes ruling the nation with little to no true oversight. If we value the Constitution, we need to put a stop to this and put the judicial branch back into its proper role.

Supreme Court justices are not legislators and they should not pretend to be. If a law violates the clear text of the Constitution or laws that supersede it, that law should be overthrown. If the enforcement of a law does not match the text of the law, then that enforcement action should be ruled illegal. The personal public policy preferences of a judge should never enter into the equation. If justices want to shape public policy instead of applying the law and the Constitution, they should resign from their seats and run for office.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Not yielding to emergency vehicles is arrogant and heartless

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

Note: Since I moved the blog between a couple different hosting options, not all of the archives are on ConservaTibbs.com. Therefore, I will occasionally re-post things I wrote before 2010. This letter to the editor is from a little over ten years ago.

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, January 7, 2005

To the editor:

I was visiting family over the weekend in Fort Wayne. While I was stopped at a red light, I heard a siren. The siren belonged to an ambulance, which approached the intersection as my light turned green.

Naturally, I did not move. After all, pulling out in front of an ambulance is not only dangerous, it is illegal. Most importantly, I would not slow down an emergency vehicle, because seconds can mean the difference between life and death. I heard the person waiting behind me honk his horn because I did not proceed through the green light. Apparently, getting to wherever he was going was more important than the life-saving mission the ambulance was on. This combination of arrogance and heartlessness saddens me.

I am not sure what this individual hoped to accomplish. Even if I had been arrogant and heartless enough to pull out in front of the ambulance, there was not enough room for him to get out.

To those drivers who think their time is too important to yield to an emergency vehicle, I challenge you to answer the following questions.

What if the ambulance you delayed was carrying a loved one? What if the delay you caused resulted in the death of that loved one? Could you live with yourself knowing that you killed someone you love? What if the few seconds you delay a fire engine is just enough to prevent them from saving your home as it burns? What if you are seriously hurt because you are hit by the fire engine to which you refused to yield the right of way?

Is it really worth it?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mike Pence is not Vladimir Putin. Stop freaking out.

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

From the freakout in some quarters regarding the Pence Administration's plan for a "state news agency," you would think the conservative Republican governor was setting up a Ministry of Information and Press like they had in the former Soviet Union. That's not the case. This is not state-run media. In fact, it is boringly normal.

What Pence is proposing is putting all of the state's press releases from multiple agencies into one easy to read and easy to navigate website, and providing additional content. It is not fundamentally different from what any number of elected officials have done for nearly twenty years now, from the White House blog and the President's weekly radio address (a tradition started by Franklin Roosevelt) to the State Department's Tumblr page.

Many elected officials do this. U.S. Senators such as Elizabeth Warren archive their press releases and editorials online. Literally hundreds of elected officials have press secretaries to release statements and talk to the media. They have official websites, blogs and social media accounts. So what exactly is the big deal here?

The answer is simple: This is not a big deal. Elected officials have always looked for ways to reach the people directly with their message and their policy agenda. If anything, the people complaining about the proposal should be praising it as a step toward greater transparency by government. We live in an age where many people get their news online, and this is just one more information source - much like Governor Pence's profiles on Facebook and Twitter.

If Pence's critics have a legitimate criticism, let's hear it. This story is much ado about nothing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Men failing to be men

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

College men should be humiliated by this story. If men would be men and protect women from predators there would be no need for women to do it themselves.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Indianapolis Star's online subscription service

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

The Indianapolis Star needs to move into the 21st century with its web content.The service is stuck in a late 1990's mentality that is not friendly to paying customers and is far too clunky.

A couple weeks ago, I subscribed to the Star's website, and immediately regretted that decision. My understanding (from talking to a customer service representative before I subscribed) was that all of the Star's content was on its website. This is simply not true. At least some of what is in the print edition never shows up on the website, though it is in the e-paper. The thing is, though, that I do not like the e-paper. It is not nearly as user-friendly as the website. It is clunky and it is slow. It is not possible to open multiple articles in multiple tabs.

From a technical standpoint, the website is far better.

The Star has a soft paywall, much like the Washington Post and other newspapers - you can read so many articles per month before you have to pay for the content. My understanding was that I could read unlimited articles and see content that you cannot see without a subscription on the website itself. That is not true. Either the representative did not understand my question or she was mistaken.

I do not mind the soft paywall, and I would not mind if some content was visible only to subscribers. I have no problem whatsoever with a hard paywall. Newspapers do need to make money, after all. Our local Herald-Times puts the vast majority of the content behind a paywall. What I do mind is not getting all of the content on the website, and being forced to use a technically inferior product to get that content. In the year 2015, it is inexcusable that all of the content in the print edition is not posted on the website, especially for paying subscribers.

I am not going to cancel my subscription, but I am certainly not going to renew it. I barely use the e-paper and it is frustrating not knowing what I am missing if I only use the website. If I did not pay for access, that would not bother me. Because I am a paying customer, it is very annoying. The Star needs to dump this e-paper nonsense and focus on putting all of their content on their website. A list of "what was published today" (like is on the Herald-Times, Washington Post, New York Times and many other newspaper sites) would also be a dramatic improvement.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Nanny state ninnies in the GOP

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

Why are Republican legislators proposing a ban on cell phone use while driving? Reckless driving is already against the law. This nanny state stuff should not be coming from the GOP.

We got rid of a nanny state RINO last year, who supported making pseudoephedrine available only by prescription. Looks like more primary challenges are needed to get rid of some more RINOs.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Murder is already punishable by death!

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

A headline in the newspaper yesterday illustrated the absurdity of some of our state legislators: "Indiana Senate backs death penalty for beheading crimes."

Don't we have anything better to do? Murder is already illegal. Murder is already punishable by death, especially if aggravating factors are present. There is no need for another law.

This is just stupid and a waste of time.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Thoughts on protest tactics and coverage

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

This past Sunday, about 150 anti-abortion demonstrators blocked traffic on a heavily-traveled Bloomington street. Many of them wore bandanas to hide their faces (how gangsta!) and one of them was arrested for assaulting a police officer. The scene generated considerable outrage in the community and especially on Herald-Times story comments.

Now of course, that did not happen. Well, it did happen, but it was the "Reclaim MLK" protesters who committed those acts. If that is what we had done, you can imagine the reaction - and that reaction would be justifiable.

The anti-abortion protest was 225 people and had no illegal obstruction of traffic and certainly no assault on police. Christian Citizens for Life paid $500 to reserve the county courthouse (including a refundable damage deposit) and some volunteers picked up trash that was left on the courthouse lawn before we got there. The weather was nice this past Sunday, but young men from CCFL would often shovel and salt the sidewalks (with donated salt) around the courthouse to ensure the people attending are safe. Guess which protest was covered and which was not?

The "Reclaim MLK" protesters said they needed to block traffic to get people's attention and make the public face an important issue. One could argue that if the tiny number of police shootings necessitates blocking traffic to force people to face the issue, the 3200 babies killed every day by abortion (a disproportionate number of whom are black) would be a much bigger justification for blocking traffic. Yet you can imagine the reaction had we done that.

The covering of the protesters' faces is an unnecessary tactic. What is the purpose of hiding their faces? Do they really think they will face repercussions in Bloomington Indiana if their faces were not covered? This is a tactic that is common in anarchist protest and is arguably intended to be intimidating. If your message is that important, do not be afraid to show your face - especially since this was meant to honor Martin Luther King, who never hid his face.

The H-T again failed to cover the Rally for Life, which is consistently one of the biggest public events in Bloomington on an issue of social and cultural significance, as well as significance in the local political arena. The newspaper was notified of the rally well in advance, and there was no reason a reporter could not have been dispatched.

This was a great rally, and Pastor Jody Killingsworth delivered a powerful keynote address about abortion and our own culpability in it. The weather and turnout were excellent. It would be much better, though if we never had another rally because unborn babies' lives would be protected.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Forty two years ago today

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

On this day in 1973, the Supreme Court thew out laws in all 50 states protecting unborn lives from abortion. Since that day, we have seen fifty million unborn babies slaughtered by the abortion industry. The number of abortions per years has dwindled, but we are still seeing over a million babies murdered every year. May God have mercy on us for this bloodshed.

This is the bloody reality of abortion in these United States:

Source: The Center for BioEthical Reform

Source: The Center for BioEthical Reform

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

We must constantly be on guard against censorship

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

As expected, the aftermath of the Muslim terrorist massacre in Paris has brought out not only defiance but a new debate over censorship. That debate reminds us why we must be vigilant and constantly fighting against censorship. We saw this in a letter to the editor last week.

The author makes the absurd claim that the Bill of Rights "identifies the possible limitations of those ideas." Perhaps she is referring to Supreme Court decisions, if we are being charitable. But there is clearly nothing in the Constitution that enables government to restrict free speech. The Constitution does the opposite - it prohibits government from restricting speech (before or after the fact) because the Founders assumed free speech was a fundamental human right that government could neither grant or deny.

The author is correct that free speech "cannot work in a vacuum." There are limits on speech that are socially enforced, and parents restrict what their children say - whether the speech is crass, insulting, rude or simply out of turn. ("Mommy and daddy are talking.") There are laws on the books that allow damages from slander and libel, because of the harm false accusations can cause to someone's family, career and reputation. But socially enforced speech codes, rules provided by parents and awards granted in a civil lawsuit are a completely different animal than censorship enforced by the power of the state.

By all means, we should encourage people to speak responsibly and with care to the feelings of others. But one thing cannot be tolerated, and that is violent suppression of speech by terrorists. There can be no rational discussion of appropriate or responsible speech with someone who is holding a rifle, a bomb or a sword. The terrorists need to put down their weapons or they need to die. Once the terrorists are in the ground where they belong, then we can have that rational discussion.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Coverage vs. non-coverage

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

So apparently if 150 people block traffic, and a couple of them fight with police and get arrested, the Herald-Times finds that worthy of coverage. If 225 people rally peacefully on the courthouse lawn and are careful to obey all laws, that is not worthy of coverage. Brilliant. Way to go.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Answering some objections to my anti-abortion posts

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

I do not get many comments on the blog, so I wanted to thank a couple people for their comments on recent posts on abortion, the rights of the unborn child, and the government role in regulating and/or banning abortion. (The first comment thread is here and the second one is here.) I wanted to take the opportunity to address some of those objections in a new post.

One objection was that traditional common law only saw abortion as a crime after the "quickening," or when babies start moving in the womb. Following up, here is a portion of that comment:

  • It is only at the third trimester that the state has any legitimate interest in the well being of the fetus.

The problem with the "quickening" argument is that our understanding of gestation and fetal development, based on the rapid advance of medical technology, is much more robust than it was when the Constitution was written. We now know that the unborn baby is far from an "unviable tissue mass" because we have seen the photographs that prove it. Furthermore, there is nothing in the text of the Constitution that states that "common law" is the basis for all of our laws. The only mention is the right to a jury trial in a lawsuit over a certain amount.

Obviously, people disagree on where life begins, but where life begins is a matter of verifiable scientific fact, not opinion or philosophy. That point is fertilization, where sperm meets egg and creates a completely new and unique human being. From that point on, all of the building blocks are there and given nutrition and shelter that new life - that one cell human baby - will grow and develop through the various stages of life.

  • perhaps your socially conservative argument against abortion would carry more weight if you didn't simultaneously try to lecture people as to every aspect of their "sexy time"

I have written at length about sexual morality and the harm caused by sexual immorality, as well as the need for our culture to embrace Biblical sexual morality once more. A lot of our problems as a society would be fixed by this. However, I have not advocated that government police sexual activity among consenting adults. In addition, the rights of the unborn baby to not be mutilated and murdered exist regardless of whether the person arguing for protection of those lives lectures about "sexy time" or not.

  • perhaps you would find more success at saving unborn lives by advocating for better access to birth control.

I am not opposed to non-abortifacient forms of birth control. I am actively opposed to abortifacients. As someone who cherishes religious liberty, I find it abominable that anyone would be forced to pay for abortifacient drugs. If someone wants abortifacient birth control, he or she can pay for it (because it's not that expensive) or seek employment with a company that does cover those drugs. Ideally, I would like to see those drugs banned, so as to protect unborn life from the moment of fertilization onward.

  • For example, do you support Sex Ed in schools?

It really depends on what is being taught. That is an incredibly wide term.

When I said "engaging in intercourse is a tacit agreement that pregnancy might occur," the following comment was posted.

  • Only if said intercourse is both "straight" and deliberately unprotected.

No contraception method (other than total abstinence from intercourse) is perfect. The pill, condoms and other methods reduce the chance of pregnancy but do not eliminate that probability. Therefore, I stand by what I said. The fact that a couple tried to prevent conception does not eliminate the rights of the unborn baby.

Now to deal with some other objections to my "inconsistency" on being pro-life:

Objection to government welfare programs is not an objection to aid for the poor. In fact, many charitable organizations that aid those most in need are explicitly Christian organizations, including Backstreet Missions and Hannah House right here in Bloomington, Indiana.

I do not advocate more war, so that is irrelevant. Militarily, I am an isolationist. We should use military force only when there is a direct threat to or assault ion national security. Military force should always be the last resort. I have also not defended "murderous" police officers. I defend the right to legally use lethal force as a last resort, and I abhor excessive force. I have written extensively in opposition to excessive force, especially in the name of the War on Drugs.

I am an enthusiastic supporter of capital punishment, but in my opinion that is a pro-life position. We show we value human life so much that we must terminate the lives of those who commit murder. We need reforms in our criminal justice system to protect the innocent from fraudulent convictions, but the truly guilty have forfeited their right to life by taking the life of another. When the ultimate crime is committed, the ultimate punishment is required.

Even if I am inconsistent (which I do not believe myself to be) that does not affect the logical validity of the arguments on abortion and the rights of the unborn child. Again, thanks for the comments.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Obama needs to stay out of this

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

From ABC News:

The FCC is already considering requests for Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Wilson, North Carolina, to prevent state laws from blocking the expansion of their broadband projects. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in June that communities that want to provide their own broadband service "shouldn't be stopped by state laws promoted by cable and telephone companies that don't want that competition."


I agree with President Obama on this issue, philosophically. But the federal government does not have the Constitutional authority to do this. Once again, Obama is overstepping his authority as President.


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

The excessive use of flashbang grenades is a big reason people are worried about the militarization of law enforcement - especially in the War on Drugs. Using explosives on nonviolent suspects is an abomination.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Three years ago today

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

Three years ago today, I became a father for the first time.

Happy birthday, Timothy Benjamin Tibbs!

Friday, January 16, 2015

The local news focus of the local newspaper

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

The changing landscape of news coverage, especially in the Information Age, has brought a number of challenges to the local newspaper industry. One of those is that national and international news coverage is ubiquitous and the local paper now has much more competition than was the case twenty years ago. This is why the local Herald-Times made the decision over a decade ago to focus on local news coverage and de-emphasize national and international news.

This has brought some criticism, including in a letter to the editor on January 11. Years ago, when the H-T made the decision to focus on local news and give local news the priority in the print edition, I disagreed with that decision. Over time, I came to agree with it.

I can get national news anywhere, and I do - I have a subscription to the Washington Post online, and I read many other news sources. I also listen to various news podcasts - ABC and NBC evening news, the Rachel Maddow show and the BBC. For local news, I can get news from exactly three sources: The H-T, the Indiana Daily Student (which is often very good and more local folks should read it) and AM 1370. Local folks (or anyone, anywhere) can download AM 1370's news programs via podcast if they cannot listen while the programs are on the air.

But for better or worse, the primary source of news for Bloomington and Monroe County is the Herald-Times. Through story comments, HeraldTimesOnline.com also provides a local forum for community dialogue that a couple decades ago only existed in the much more limited letters to the editor section. The H-T is in a unique position to cover local news that you cannot get elsewhere. and they should continue to focus there. The quality of that local news is up for debate, but the focus on local news is a good one.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

To honor MLK Jr., let's protect unborn black lives

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

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, blacks make up about 10% of Indiana's population, but about 28% of abortions in the state of Indiana are done on black babies. (See http://1.usa.gov/1s2Y8HT and http://bit.ly/1AodHwF for the data.) If we truly believe that black lives matter, should we not be concerned that black babies are being aborted at a much higher rate than white babies?

This is an especially important question now, as we worry about how blacks (especially young black males) are treated by our criminal justice system. As we approach the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, we should also consider how we can ensure the blessings of life and liberty are extended to everyone - including unborn babies of all races.

Black lives do matter, even if the abortion industry does not seem to agree. January 22 will be the 42nd anniversary of the tragic Supreme Court decision that threw out laws against abortion in all fifty states, leaving unborn babies with little protection from the abortionist's cruel instruments. We should unite under the idea that innocent life deserves to be protected, and oppose abortion. We should demand our legislators take action to protect the unborn.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Enough with the Sandy Hook conspiracies!

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

Every now and then I see something pop up on my Facebook news feed (by people who really should know better) about how Sandy Hook was a hoax or a fabrication. Nonsense theories about how it was a "false flag" attack are to be expected, and we have seen that with other terrible events like 9/11 or the Oklahoma City bombing. No one denies those events actually happened though. It is offensive and heartless, and it needs to stop.

I am not even going to bother to refute the so-called "facts" and "arguments" presented by people who say the massacre was a hoax. I do not have the time or interest in wading through a bunch of foolishness and nonsense trying to "disprove" an event that everyone knows happened and has been extremely well documented. The events of that day have been well-established: An evil man walked into an elementary school and, for reasons only known within his demonic brain, slaughtered little children.

For those perpetuating this nonsense, I have several questions. Do you have no heart? Do you have no compassion? Do you actually believe something like this could be staged? Have you considered the harm you are doing if you are wrong? If your child was brutally murdered, how would you feel when you see some Internet crank spewing this stupid crap on Facebook? How do you think you are representing yourself?

When I first saw this, I rolled my eyes. Then I started to get angry. I thought of the parents who are still grieving the loss of their child, and the violent and terrifying final moments of their child's life. I thought of the brothers and sisters of those dead children, and how they were deprived and exposed to something they cannot understand. I thought of the surviving children, how they were traumatized, and how they are probably still dealing with the emotional and psychological effects of an evil man murdering their friends in front of them.

This callous depravity needs to stop. It shows absolutely no compassion for the survivors, and for the victims' families. It discredits the person sharing the "facts" and "arguments" that "prove" the massacre never happened. I am reminded of the pithy phrase that it is better to be quiet and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. Some things simply should not be said.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Words matter!

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

Re-posting from Google Plus: When the suspect in a violent crime is 18 or 19 (a legal adult) it is very irritating when he (usually a he) is referred to as a "teenager." That may be factually correct, but it is misleading and often intentionally dishonest. The suspect is a man, not a teenager.

Also, someone who is between 18 and 20 and drinking illegally is not a "minor." He or she is underage. There is a big difference.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Following up on my #BlackLivesMatter LTTE

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

My letters to the editor on abortion always bring quite a few comments, so the reaction to my January 4 letter was not a surprise. The 47 comments (one was deleted) was actually lower than past letters on the same subject, which have generated between 95 and 150 comments. I want to address some of the comments on my most recent letter here:

The act of conception does not render a woman to the status of mere host to a parasite being. That is slavery.

The act of intercourse is an act that naturally brings about procreation, so engaging in intercourse is a tacit agreement that pregnancy might occur. (This is true for both men and women.) Even if we accepted the premise that sexual intercourse is not tacit agreement to sex, we do not have the right to kill a human being because we did not intend for him or her to be created.

Referring to the unborn baby as "a parasite being" is typically dehumanizing rhetoric. The unborn baby is not a tapeworm that invaded the body. He or she is a human being with as much value as any other person, born or unborn. It is typical that those who would oppress a class of persons would use rhetoric that would cast the victims as less than human. We have seen this all throughout history. Killing an innocent is never justified.

Furthermore, equating pregnancy with slavery is shamefully racist, as it minimizes the real oppression that black people experienced under slavery in these United States. Pregnant women have freedom and can go about their lives in a way that slaves could not dream of doing. Pregnancy is not slavery. It is a natural biological process. Equating pregnancy and slavery is absurd and silly hyperbole.

The intrusion has tended to come only in the doctor-patient relationships of females. No one has argued for laws ordering vasectomies for men who hate condoms and love sex.

This would be a legitimate comparison if we were proposing criminalizing tubal ligations for women but not vasectomies for men. That is not the case here, so it is a straw man argument. The issue is whether it should be legal to terminate the life of an unborn baby. The issue is much bigger than the "doctor-patient relationship" because there is a third person involved in the decision, with rights and value of his or her own.

If God would have not wanted abortion, it wouldn't exist. Are you challenging God, you foolish human?

This is a really silly comment. One could make the same argument about killing adults - not to mention rape, theft, adultery or any number of sins prohibited by God but that humans have the free will to commit. The fact that we have the ability to do something does not mean we are allowed to do it, by God's law or man's law. Duh.

Furthermore, the fact that abortion and infanticide occurs in the animal kingdom does not mean either is morally acceptable act for human beings. (Yes, there is abortion in the animal kingdom. Google it.)

I do not argue that the unborn does not have rights. Rather, I argue that the mother has sovereign right to remove any unwanted cells of her body in all time and circumstance.

Here is an interesting distinction the commenter is trying to make, but it is a distinction that is not possible in any logical sense. If one is arguing that there can be no limits on the "right" to kill an unborn child (which is what that comment means) then the unborn child has no rights at all.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

I Corinthians 15:19-26

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

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dealing with the root cause of rape culture

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

From the New York Times, a new policy is in place at the University of Virginia to prevent rape:

  • Under the agreement, at least three "sober and lucid" fraternity members will monitor behavior at parties where "jungle juice" and other potent alcohol punches will be banned along with beer in kegs. Guest lists are to be tightly enforced at the door. One monitor will be in charge of watching frat-house bedrooms with a set of keys to guard against sexual assaults.

Unfortunately, we are fighting at the edges and not dealing with the root cause of the problem: The Sexual Revolution.

If we're serious about fighting rape culture, we need to deal with the real culprit: An attitude that refuses to accept any limits on sexual activity, especially the limits God has provided for us in His Word.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Seeking justice over convictions in child death cases

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

If we are truly interested in justice, we need serious reform of our forensic "science" and a completely different orientation in how we investigate crimes - especially the deaths of children. Too many people are in prison because of bad "science" that is geared toward securing convictions instead of finding the truth. To that end, I strongly recommend this excellent documentary by PBS on criminal convictions in child death cases.

When a sudden unexpected tragedy happens, it is natural to look for someone to blame. When a baby or toddler who is assumed to be healthy dies, it is natural to suspect foul play. But sometimes, there is no one to blame. Sometimes, things just happen that are beyond anyone's control - it is just a tragedy.

When an infant in his care suddenly died, Ernie Lopez was convicted based on forensic "science" of raping, beating and ultimately murdering the baby. But further examination reveals that the baby had an underlying medical condition that could have easily explained the "injuries" that she allegedly sustained at his hands.

The problem, ultimately, is that the orientation was to finding fault and assuming that the "injuries" the baby sustained were the result of criminal activity. To that end, forensic "science" was used not to discover the cause of death, but to convict Lopez of a crime. It was a flawed and biased process from start to finish. It is very likely that a man's life has been ruined because of something that was completely out of his control.

The duty of the civil magistrate - including police and prosecutors - is not to secure convictions and is certainly not to defend and protect false convictions. The duty of the civil magistrate is to seek justice. Justice is sending the guilty to prison (or perhaps the electric chair) but it is also exoneration of the innocent. When prosecutors petulantly defend questionable convictions, they are betraying the justice system, their oath of office and their nation.

See previous articles:

♣ - Justice, not convictions, must always be the goal.

♣ - Strip away anti-justice immunity

♣ - Seek justice, not convictions (Part III)

♣ - Seek justice, not convictions (Part II)

♣ - Seek justice, not convictions (Part I)

♣ - Justice, not convictions, must always be the goal

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Facebook privacy notice

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

The Facebook privacy/copyright status is a hoax.


If you really, truly do not want your "private" information out there, don't put it on the Internet.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Religious liberty and "transgender" teens

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

It is always a tragedy when a young person dies, but the suicide of 16-year-old Josh Alcorn has struck a national chord and ignited a debate about religious freedom, parental rights and sexual identity. Alcorn was a teenage boy who wanted to live as a girl, and committed suicide when his parents disagreed with his choice.

When God created man, He did not create an infinite spectrum of genders. He created sex as a physical trait, not as a plastic identity. He created male and female, a binary system:

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. -- Genesis 1:27

Now, because we live in a postmodern age where we always want to discount a general truth by pointing to the exception (no matter how tiny that exception is) we should deal with the issue of hermaphrodites. (Also known as intersex.) There are people born with truly ambiguous genitals, so it is not obvious which sex that child belongs to at birth. However, hermaphrodites are a tiny percentage of the population, so trying to build a generic argument from a statistically tiny population has no logical merit.

Our culture is in full-on rebellion against God's sexual order and the boundaries God has placed around sex. We hate distinctions (especially as Americans) and we hate any restriction on our personal "freedom." The rebellion against God's creation of man as a creature with a binary male and female sex is just one more aspect of that rebellion. This is not new and we are not trailblazers. It is the same sin and rebellion that has been around for a very long time, which is why this commandment was included in the Mosaic Law:

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God. -- Deuteronomy 22:5

But our rebellion has reached the point that it is not enough to simply be "tolerant" of those who are in rebellion against God's commandments. We must accept and endorse that rebellion, or there will be consequences. Dan Savage, the professional Internet troll who created the "Spreading Santorum" website, is now calling for Josh Alcorn's parents to be criminally prosecuted, as well as arguing they should lose custody of their other children.

We actually have "serious" pundits (or at least trolls seen as "serious" by the mainstream media) arguing that Christians who teach their children to live according to Biblical sexual morality should be persecuted by agents of the state and have their children kidnapped from their home by those same agents of the state. It is a frightening time, and it is only going to get worse as "tolerance" evolves into force.

Obviously, Josh Alcorn's parents were not perfect parents - because no such thing exists. There may be things that happened in his life that we do not know about. But teaching Biblical sexual morality to one's children and teens, expecting them to follow that morality and providing Christian counseling to help them overcome sexual sins is not, has never been and will never be child abuse. We must resist any and all efforts by the state to infringe on Christian parents' God-given right and obligation to "bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." (Ephesians 6:4)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A quick observation on Sunday alcohol sales

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

This quote from the Herald-Times caught my attention:

"It comes down to what you should be doing with your time on Sunday," Steele said. "I'm sure when it was passed, a lot of people thought you should be at church."

If that's really the reason, then it logically follows we should mandate all non-emergency services be closed on Sundays.

It's long past time for this law to be repealed.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Unborn black lives matter, so abortion must end

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

Bloomington Herald-Times, January 04, 2015 (Comments)

To the Editor:

We have seen the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter trend on social media and a great deal of concern about how police interact with minorities.

But we do not just have an elephant in the room in respecting black lives. It is more like a brontosaurus. That brontosaurus is the terrible tragedy of black lives lost to the brutal procedure known as "safe and legal" abortion.

In New York City, more than half of black babies are aborted. Nationally and in Indiana, black babies are aborted at a far higher rate than the black percentage of the population.

All in all, the abortion industry terminates over 1,200,000 unborn babies every year in America - babies of all colors and ethnicities. In Monroe County, there have been 753, 811 and 731 babies killed the last three years.

Yes, black lives do matter, as do all lives. That is why we must oppose abortion and seek to end this abominable violation of basic human rights. Come to the 2015 Rally for Life at 2:00 p.m. on January 18 at the Monroe County Courthouse to send the message to our community that we value human rights and human life, and we want to see babies protected.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

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

Christians must be faithful to Scripture.

Where Scripture is clear, we may not compromise. Where Scripture is not clear we may not judge.

Friday, January 2, 2015

An important reminder

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

As a reminder, for the new year:

Party Unity cannot exist with a Big Tent.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

CIA torture is the fruit of a poisonous tree

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

As we debate the report on the "enhanced interrogation" practiced by the CIA against terrorists, we need to keep in mind that the precedent for our intelligence agency's behavior was set by the War on Crime and the War on Drugs. The fear-mongering we have heard since 9/11 is cut from the same cloth as the fear-mongering about crime and drugs that has led to so many black men spending time in prison.

Did the "enhanced interrogation" techniques qualify as torture? I have always thought of torture as much more brutal: Ripping off fingernails, breaking bones, breaking or pulling teeth, beatings and things like the rack. Waterboarding may well meet the definition of torture, and forcing someone into a "stress position" (hanging by their arms for over 20 hours per day) and extreme sleep deprivation are all certainly inhumane.

There are certainly some things that were done that qualify as torture, such as medically unnecessary forced rectal feeding and hydration. But should we be surprised to find out we are doing this, considering the fact that American citizens are being raped by law enforcement in the name of the War on Drugs? We have gotten to the point that worry about people smuggling drugs has led to people being forced to undergo an anal probe. In other words, anal rape. For more, see here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

Moreover, the abuse of prisoners of war - or the sexual humiliation of prisoners at Abu Ghraib a decade ago - should come as no surprise in a nation where prison rape is epidemic. The brutal rape of men in our prisons is seen as a funny joke in the pop culture, or in a darker way as something the prisoner "deserves" to have happen to him. It is no surprise that a nation that does not protect the basic human rights of American citizens in our prisons would not respect the basic human rights of prisoners of war, especially when those prisoners are considered "unlawful enemy combatants" and given the patriotic fervor of the post 9/11 era.

The Washington Post pointed out earlier this month that Hollywood conditions Americans to accept torture through portrayals of how torture is justified when used on terrorists. But Hollywood has been an extreme right wing fantasy land on crime and drugs for decades now. How many movies and TV shows have had dangerous criminals get out because of a "technicality" only to kill and rape and maim more innocent people? If we could just dispense with due process and have vigilante justice, Hollywood tells us, we could be so much safer.

We are seeing the same kind of fear-mongering in today's loud and contentious arguments about the alleged rape "crisis" on college campuses. We need to dispense with due process and accept a lower standard of proof, feminists say, because we need to protect victims who are intimidated by their rapist being allowed on campus and to protect future victims. This is not new: Remember the lynchings of black men framed for committing "rape" against white women? Remember Emmett Till, who was brutally tortured to death for allegedly whistling at a white woman?

We have work to do in making sure we behave honorably in how we conduct our wars, but that is the fruit of a poisonous tree. The root of that tree is our attitudes toward the War on Crime and the War on Drugs, and our willingness to toss aside both the civil rights and the human rights of people even suspected of crimes - much less those who are actually convicted.