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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why did the Charleston shooting happen?

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

So why did the horrible massacre in South Carolina happen?

Because human beings are inherently corrupt and wicked, and only through the blood of Jesus Christ can we be saved. We're no better or worse that that evil gunman, and all are equally deserving of God's wrath.

Thankfully, God has provided an escape from the condemnation.

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John 5:24

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

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Romans 3:10-18

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes.

(4 Comments)


Monday, June 29, 2015

A more nefarious motive

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

I think we can all agree that "revenge porn" - a subset of non-consensual pornography - is a bad thing that should be stopped. I think we can all agree that the state has a legitimate interest in penalizing those who distribute "revenge porn." But it is just bad policy to make interactive content providers criminally liable for user generated content, as one proposal to criminalize "revenge porn" federally would do.

Think about this for a minute. A massive portion of the web is user-generated content. That is all Facebook and Twitter is - user-generated content. This does not even include comments on news websites and blogs - many of which use Facebook for comments. Congress recognized it was a bad idea to hold interactive content providers responsible for user-generated content in 1996, well before user generated content was as big as it is today. Why can they not see that now? Have they somehow become less informed about the Internet than they were two decades ago?

Might I suggest a more nefarious motive? Congress does not like the "little people" being able to broadcast criticism of them. If you greatly restrict user-generated content and make interactive content providers afraid of the long arm of the federal government, the "Wild West" of the Internet becomes easier to control and manage. Let there be no doubt about it: That is the endgame here.

Could it be that you have knuckleheads who do not understand what they are regulating, or what their regulations would do to the product they want to regulate? I would have believed that twenty years ago. Today? I find that highly implausible. Virtually every elected official from the state level on up has some sort of internet presence - not just a campaign website but a Facebook and Twitter account too. Many are also on Instagram.

So let's strip away the excuses and see this proposal for what it really is. This is not about "revenge porn" at all. This is about nothing more than censoring political speech and criminalizing dissent. Do not be distracted by the low hanging fruit. Always look at the motives and how things like this expand government power.

(0 Comments)


Sunday, June 28, 2015

"Massacres and Magical Thinking"

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

I shared this this on Google Plus but it's worth re-sharing on the blog.

Jacob Sullum says that "The urge to 'do something' after the Charleston church attack inspires half-baked proposals."

Read more at Reason.com.

(2 Comments)


Saturday, June 27, 2015

"This Crimson Carnage"

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

(2 Comments)


Friday, June 26, 2015

A basic principle of open government

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

I said in the press release announcing my candidacy for city council that when it comes to city boards and commissions, if I am elected I will "introduce legislation to mandate that all such meetings take place no earlier than 5:30 p.m."

To me, this is a basic principle of open government. If we are going to have meetings be "open to the public" then the meetings should be held at a time when most people can attend. Holding meetings in the middle of the typical 8 to 5 work day either excludes people from attending altogether or forces them to take benefit time to cover attending a meeting. It places the actions of local government under a cloud of darkness.

This is not acceptable. City government should endeavor to make sure that everything it does is done completely in the public's eye with as much opportunity for the public to observe as possible. The Herald-Times covers city government, but there is only so much time that city reporters can spend at meetings, and they may not cover details that are important to many members of the public. This is not a criticism; it is simply recognition of reality.

This is why making it possible for more eyes to be on city government, especially the eyes of average citizens, should be a top priority for city government. If the work being done by these boards and commissions is important, then there should be no objection to making the meetings completely open to the public at times when the public can attend.

Whether I win or lose, this is something that needs to happen. The citizens of Bloomington should demand that our city government leaders fully embrace transparency by holding meetings when working people can attend them.

(1 Comments)


Supreme Court on same sex marriage

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 11:02 AM (#)

(2 Comments)


Thursday, June 25, 2015

The horrific "Kelo" decision, ten years later

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

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the horrific Kelo vs. City of New London decision, in which the so-called "justices" on the Supreme Court rewrote the Constitution from the bench to allow private developers to use government as a mob enforcer to steal people's property.

The so-called "justices" should have been immediately impeached.

Here are the articles I wrote on this abomination in the summer of 2005:

As a reminder, Donald Trump (a "Republican" candidate for President) supported the Kelo decision.

(1 Comments)


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I am running for Bloomington City Council

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

I issued this press release this past Friday, after I filed my papers.

Today, I filed as a write-in candidate for Bloomington City Council at-large. I believe it is important for people to have as much choice as possible in the election, so without three Republicans on the ballot I am providing my name as a choice for voters unsatisfied with the Democrats on the Bloomington City Council.

There is an obvious question that deserves an answer: I am a Republican, so why am I running as an independent write-in candidate, and not as a Republican?

The answer is that, as the father of a three year old and a one year old, I do not have the time to devote to a full-scale campaign for city council. My primary role right now is to be "daddy" to my sons and husband to my wife of fourteen years. It would not be fair to the Republican Party to have a candidate who is anything less than 100% committed to this race, which I expect would be a time commitment of at least twenty hours per week and probably more.

I am running purely to give voters an option on the November ballot that they would not have otherwise. If the Republican Party fields three at-large candidates in a caucus, or if the Republican and Libertarian parties combine for three or more at-large candidates, I will withdraw my candidacy.

If enough voters express confidence in me and place me on the city council, I will fully devote myself to my role as a city councilor.

A few points on my platform:

# - I will vigorously oppose funding for Planned Parenthood, as I have done as a non-candidate since 1999.

# - My automatic orientation toward allowing development is to vote "yes" by default and allow people to build on their property as they see fit. I assume that property owners know better than I do what is the best use of their land. However, if a development would cause harm, especially to neighbors, I may wind up voting "no" instead. As a city councilor, I may well vote against every rezone or variance request that comes to me depending on what the impact of that development would be. My default position, though, is a position that strongly favors private property rights.

# - I want to see a full and complete public accounting of all property taken by the city police via civil asset forfeiture powers. I believe in due process, and it is required by the constitution. No private property should ever be taken unless someone has been convicted of a crime.

# - I want to see a full and complete public review on the policy for deployment of the Critical Incident Response Team, which is Bloomington's version of a SWAT team. I am deeply concerned about the militarization of police, especially with the deployment of military-style weapons such as highly dangerous flash-bang grenades. The only real way to address this concern is to act locally.

# - The city has a number of boards and commissions that meet during the work day, which excludes working people from being able to fully monitor local government. As a city councilor, I will introduce legislation to mandate that all such meetings take place no earlier than 5:30 p.m.

More information will be coming in the weeks and months to come.

(0 Comments)


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chill out, dude.

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

Todd Starnes needs to chill out. Yes, Obama used an offensive word. He did it to make a point. I think we can give some leeway to a black man who used the slur Obama used.

(2 Comments)


Opposing corporate welfare for Planned Parenthood

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

This is my speech to the Bloomington City Council opposing a $5,000 handout to Planned Parenthood.

(2 Comments)


Monday, June 22, 2015

My campaign website is up.

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

I will be posting news on my campaign here on my personal blog as well as on the campaign site, but for campaign-specific news unrelated to my commentary on politics, culture, sports and so forth, visit http://www.VoteForTibbs.org/.

(2 Comments)


Google problems?

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

Is anyone else having trouble with getting Google affiliated webpages to load? Google, Blogspot, Google Voice, YouTube and Google Plus have all been very spotty for several days for me.

(1 Comments)


Is the city council enabling sexual predators?

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

Printed in the Bloomington Herald-Times, June 18, 2015

To the Editor:

Is the Bloomington City Council using tax dollars to help cover up the felony sexual abuse of underage girls?

The age of consent in the state of Indiana, per IC 35-42-4-9, is 16 years old. But the Bloomington City Council is giving $5,000 to Planned Parenthood to distribute birth control to 15 year old girls, even though sexual misconduct with a minor is a felony under Indiana law.

Let's be honest here. A pregnancy in a 15 year old girl is prima facie evidence that a felony may have taken place, and giving birth control to a 15 year old girl may help a sex criminal cover up felony sexual abuse.

There are some "defenses" in the code, including a "Romeo and Juliet" exception in the code for minors under the age of 18. But will Planned Parenthood be checking to make sure that a 15 year old girl seeking birth control is not the victim of felony sexual misconduct? If they discover a crime has been committed will they be reporting that crime? Most importantly, will the city council demand those crimes be reported?

This is a terrible abuse of tax money that may enable victimization of young girls.

(0 Comments)


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day

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

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. - Ephesians 6:4

(2 Comments)


Saturday, June 20, 2015

A good point on the "hard cases"

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

Doug Wilson makes an important point:

So here is the problem. When a child is conceived in a rape, there are three parties involved in the consequences — the rapist father, the victim mother, and the victim child. This standard political response blurs over this reality completely, but this blurred reality sums up all the issues in the entire abortion debate.

If pro-lifers are correct, the unborn child is a person created in the image of God. As a consequence, it is a monstrous iniquity to execute him for the crime of his father. We are saying, in effect, that the guilty party will not be executed, but that one of the victims will be. What kind of thoughtful compassion is that?

Source: Blog and Mablog.

I have addressed this issue here and here and here and here and here and here.

(5 Comments)


Friday, June 19, 2015

I will never vote for Donald Trump!

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

Donald Trump announced this week that he will be running for President in 2016, and I reiterate my statement from four years ago that I will not vote for him. I will not even consider voting for Trump. As bad as John McCain was, Trump is far worse. In addition to being a clown, he is a thug and a thief who (if he is not racist himself) plays to racism in his attacks on President Obama.

Let's start with Trump's idiotic statement on Twitter that "because president Obama has done such a poor job as president, you won't see another black president for generations!"

First, if you want to be technical about it, Obama is biracial. Therefore if his race has any bearing on the qualifications of people of the same race (Hint: It does not) then Obama's performance reflects poorly on whites too. Second, it is completely absurd to argue that because Obama has been a failure that other blacks are not qualified to be President. This "argument" by Trump is the dictionary definition of racism - that negative characteristics of one person of a particular race is indicative of all those of the same race.

The charitable interpretation of that statement is that Trump is a racist. The uncharitable interpretation is that Trump is not a racist but is cynically using racism for political gain, which is even worse because he does not even believe what he is saying. Trump makes it easy for cynical race-baiters to smear all critics of Obama as disliking him only for his race, which is why I strongly denounce him here. I have no use for Obama, who has been a terrible President and an uncompromising enemy of liberty. But criticisms of Obama should be based on what he does, not who he is.

Trump does not believe in private property rights, which are critical to many of our liberties protected by the Constitution. For example, Fourth and Fifth Amendments operate under the assumption that private property rights are essential to liberty. Much of the concern over the government's intrusion into our privacy in the name of the War on Terror is essentially an argument about private property rights.

Trump is a clown and a joke, but he is also a threat to our liberty. Republicans should not be fooled by someone who has no real principles and is only running to satisfy his lust for attention. If Trump wants attention, he should make another appearance at WrestleMania and leave politics to those who are serious. If Trump somehow wins the Republican nomination, I will vote Libertarian like I did in 2008.

(1 Comments)


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Luke 12:16-21

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

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

(2 Comments)


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Let's be realistic about repealing ObamaCare

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

   

One of the issues that will be debated in the next election - especially the primary - is how Republicans should go about repealing ObamaCare and whether incumbent Republicans have been committed enough in the effort to repeal it. But we need to be realistic in how we go about it and how we expect our elected officials to act.

Here are a few proposals to make the current law better:

  • Offer current ObamaCare enrollees unlimited medical savings accounts that roll over indefinitely. Subsidize those savings accounts.
  • Pass a dollar-for-dollar tax credit on medical expenses.
  • Allow insurance companies to operate in all states and across state lines without restriction.

Let's be realistic here: A straight up repeal will never pass. It should, but it will not happen. We can reform ObamaCare and make it better, with the ultimate goal of repealing it and replacing it with something else. But those reforms will have to be passed piece by piece. First, we have a presidential veto that we cannot get passed until at least January 2017. Even if we get a Republican President then a full repeal will not get through a filibuster. Like it or not, it will be a ten or twenty year project to repeal this monstrosity piece-by-piece.

We can look to the past for examples of what to do and what not to do in repealing ObamaCare. For example, there were some good ideas in the 1990's to reform Medicare. One of these was allowing seniors to choose a different delivery system for their benefits, but it was explained poorly and Republicans were wholly unprepared for (and wholly naïve about) the attacks on that proposal and the people proposing it. A similar reform could be proposed for ObamaCare, though it must be handled better than the Medicare proposal was handled.

It is true that Congress could simply refuse to fund ObamaCare, and fully fund the rest of the government. Let Obama and the Democrats choose to shut down the government and stand your ground. But that is not realistic. Our leadership in both houses, and a significant portion of the membership, does not have the stomach for that. If that were to happen, it would need to be planned well in advance with a unified Republican Party that is prepared for the attacks and disciplined in its message. None of those prerequisites exist.

Finally, we need to be honest with ourselves: An entitlement has never been eliminated in the history of our nation. The odds are against repealing this one, simply because of the political realities in Washington. We can make this better, less intrusive and less oppressive, but we can only do it a little bit at a time.

(6 Comments)


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

1 Samuel 14:1-16

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

I posted this on Facebook last week, but it's worth re-sharing on the blog.

This is one of my favorite passages in Scripture.

There is nothing to great for God to accomplish. We might be few and weak, but He is sovereign over all things and reigns in Heaven.

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1 Samuel 14:1-16

Now it came to pass upon a day, that Jonathan the son of Saul said unto the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over to the Philistines' garrison, that is on the other side. But he told not his father.

And Saul tarried in the uttermost part of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree which is in Migron: and the people that were with him were about six hundred men;

And Ahiah, the son of Ahitub, Ichabod's brother, the son of Phinehas, the son of Eli, the Lord's priest in Shiloh, wearing an ephod. And the people knew not that Jonathan was gone.

And between the passages, by which Jonathan sought to go over unto the Philistines' garrison, there was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side: and the name of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other Seneh.

The forefront of the one was situate northward over against Michmash, and the other southward over against Gibeah.

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.

And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.

Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them.

If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them.

But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the Lord hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us.

And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves.

And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.

And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him.

And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow.

And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a very great trembling.

And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked; and, behold, the multitude melted away, and they went on beating down one another.

(1 Comments)


Monday, June 15, 2015

2015 Hopkins funding package

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

The social services funding committee has recommended which agencies should be funded when the city council votes to distribute the Hopkins grants this Wednesday. Here is what the council will vote to approve in two days:

AGENCYRECOMMENDED
ALLOCATION
Amethyst House
Men’s ¾ Way House Repair & Restoration & Multi-Facility Refurnishing
$19,000.00
Area 10 Agency on Aging
More Than a Meal Nutrition Program & Mobile Food Pantry
$2,875.00
Big Brothers Big Sisters
One-to-One Mentoring
$10,300.00
Bloomington Police Department
Downton Resource Officer Program
$63,400.00
Bloomington PRIDE
LGBTQ Youth Cultural Competency Training Program
$5,700.00
Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington
Roof Replacement – Crestmont Club
$25,000.00
Catholic Charities Bloomington
Identifying the Mental Health Needs of Senior Citizens in Bloomington
$0.00
Habitat for Humanity
Construction Truck and Skid Loader
$30,000.00
Middle Way House
Communication Project
$0.00
Monroe County United Ministries
Community Playground Project
$27,475.00
Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard
Technology Upgrade
$4,250.00
My Sister’s Closet
Rising to Meet Needs of Clients
$7,000.00
New Hope Family Shelter
Children’s Program House Rehabilitation
$16,600.00
New Leaf – New Life
Transition Support Center
$6,000.00
Planned Parenthood
Subsidized Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives at Bloomington Health Center
$5,000.00
Shalom
A Floor to Stand On
$5,900.00
Shalom - IFWS
I’m Gonna Wash That Homelessness Out of My Clothes Project
$6,800.00
South Central Community Action
Increasing Housing Affordability through Reducing Energy
$0.00
Stepping Stones
Bridge Funding
$20,000.00
Stone Belt - LIFEDesigns
Management Training for Frontline Supervisors
$9,000.00
Volunteers in Medicine
Early Detection of Cardiovascular Disease in Uninsured Adults
$5,700.00

When the county council votes on its own social services funding, they break it down so each allocation gets a "yes" or "no" vote. This would be an improvement on what the city council does now, and would remove the excuse of it being an "all or nothing" vote on the entire package.

In addition to my long-held opposition to funding the local abortion "clinic," I find it very strange that the Bloomington Police Department is getting over $63,000. It seems like it would be smarter to simply increase the BPD's budget, even if only for a single year. This is not what the social services fund is for - it should be for helping local social service organizations with one time projects rather than transferring money between departments within city government.

Unless something unexpected comes up, I will be at the city council meeting (again) to register my opposition and encourage the council not to fund Planned Parenthood.

(0 Comments)


Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Excited delirium"

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

The deaths of people experiencing "excited delirium" in police custody is a real issue, but it is unfair to blame Taser for the deaths. They provide a less-lethal option for law enforcement to use. They are not to blame for someone misusing their product any more than automobile manufacturers are to blame for drunk driving.

(3 Comments)


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Paying protection money to the Mafia

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 10:21 PM (#)

Blaming Wal-Mart for the infamous shampoo aisle brawl is completely absurd.

And a $2500 fine levied against the store every time a shopper commits a crime is little more than legalized theft. This sounds more like the Mafia demanding "protection money" than dealing with a legitimate nuisance.

(2 Comments)


Friday, June 12, 2015

A very tough free speech case

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

I am a free speech absolutist, but I find this case to be a difficult test. Basically, Anthony Elonis was criminally prosecuted for ranting on Facebook, posting violent fantasies and rap lyrics about his wife, an FBI agent and others. Should his speech be seen as an illegal threat, or protected by the First Amendment?

I am not sure what to think. Elonis' ex-wife certainly felt threatened, and the posts were directed toward her. These were not generic fantasies or lyrics. These were fantasies about specific people, and what Elonis wanted to do to those people. It is now easier for someone to make a real threat and claim he was simply posting rap lyrics protected by the Constitution. Where should we draw the line in a case like this?

This is not like the case of Justin Carter, who spent five months in prison for making a stupid, tasteless and offensive "joke" that was prosecuted by a thoroughly corrupt prosecutor as a "terroristic threat." Someone clearly needs to be in prison for the rest of his life in this case, but it should be the prosecutor and the so-called "judge" that perpetuated this injustice and this frightening abuse of power.

But we have to be careful, especially in the age of political correctness that has gone to a completely absurd extreme. We actually have so-called "college students" claiming that differing opinions cause them to be "unsafe" while the "university" actually encourages this nonsense instead of telling the little snots to grow a spine and deal with the fact that not everyone agrees with them. Since more and more people are fed up with the pathetic whining that speech is "offensive," extreme Leftists have now started to use "safety" as an argument for censorship.

The slope really is slippery.

So where do you draw the line? It is wise to err on the side of free speech, especially given the oppressive atmosphere we are seeing with regard to freedom of speech. This should also be a lesson that posting violent fantasies on social media is likely to only cause you trouble, and it is wise to refrain from doing that. Anthony Elonis' life would have been a lot easier these last few years had he followed that advice.

(0 Comments)


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Is free speech doomed?

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

"Less than one-fourth of those over sixty say the First Amendment goes too far. But nearly half of those between the ages of eighteen and thirty think it goes too far. This does not bode well for the future."

Source: Townhall.com.

(2 Comments)


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Who is to blame for the McKinney mess?

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

With all of the outrage over the pool party in McKinney, Texas, here is a perspective worth reading:

Blame the teenagers for what happened in McKinney, not the police.

(1 Comments)


Why everyone should move to the right

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

We have all been there. We are driving down the highway and we want to pass, but the person in front of us is hanging out in the left lane. This either leads to a backup of traffic behind him, or someone illegally passing on the right. Thanks to a new law, passed 97-0 with unanimous support of both Republicans and Democrats in the Indiana House, the slower driver will now be ticketed for not moving over - even if the driver behind him is exceeding the speed limit.

This is a good, common sense law. People who are blocking faster traffic by stubbornly sticking in the left lane are a safety hazard and the state has an interest in protecting public safety by forcing these people to get out of the way. While some may see it as unfair that someone doing the speed limit could be ticket for not moving out of the way of someone driving faster, the interest in preserving public safety and preventing road rage is a good enough reason to pass this law.

That said, people need to have patience. I cannot count the times I have passed a slow driver, only to have some maniac whip around me on the right before I have a chance to merge back into the right lane. I do not expect him to be there, so I could easily merge into his path and cause an accident. By not giving me a few seconds to get out of the way, the right-lane-passer is also creating a safety hazard in addition to exposing his character.

This is not a perfect law, but this is not a perfect world. The legislature has identified a problem and moved to solve it (or at least make things better) and that is all we can ask.

(1 Comments)


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Lauren Spierer, due process, and journalistic integrity

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

Note: I sent this e-mail to Herald-Times editor Bob Zaltsberg last week.

Mr. Zaltsberg,

I was very disappointed with this line in your editorial on Wednesday for a number of reasons.

  • "Four men, who hired lawyers through which to make denials of wrongdoing after being associated with Spierer on that last morning, live with a cloud of suspicion."

As you well know by reading the comments on HeraldTimesOnline.com in the days after Lauren Spierer vanished, a lynch mob was quickly forming. Even if they did nothing wrong that night, it is not unusual for a scapegoat to be found in a tragic case like this one - and even in cases where no crime was ever committed. One such example is the case of Bernard Baran, who was convicted after fraudulent "abuse" claims and sent to prison where he was repeatedly violently raped.

In a situation like this one, where you have a high-profile tragedy and emotions running high, it would be incredibly foolish to not immediately hire a lawyer and shut your mouth. I find it extremely sad that a newspaper that relies on the freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights to exist and operate would publicly shame someone for exercising other liberties protected by the Bill of Rights - such as the right to an attorney and the right to due process.

But more than that, there is an issue of basic journalistic integrity here. Yes, these men have lived under suspicion for the past four years, in no small part to editorials that continue to attach them to Spierer's disappearance despite the complete lack of any actual evidence they were at all connected to it. Including two of the men as being under "suspicion" is especially egregious and borders on dishonest, and quite frankly I think your newspaper owes both men a retraction and an apology.

One of the men was home working on a term paper when his roommate and Spierer showed up drunk. He took her to a neighbor's apartment in hopes that she would be fine. Should he, or the neighbor, have been a gentleman and walked her home? Sure. But is it fair that someone who was doing literally nothing wrong, and was trying to be a responsible student, would be named by the newspaper as living under "suspicion" because his roommate was out partying while he was home working? Really?

Spierer's boyfriend was not even with her that night, and reported her missing to police the next day. Including him by name as living "with a cloud of suspicion" is unfair and borders on dishonest sensationalism.

The editorial was a worthwhile reminder of why we need to be concerned about the safety of women in our community. It is too bad that it was tarnished by yet another needless swipe at these four men, at least two of which should have been long ago cleared of any "suspicion" in this case.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Three years behind bars, without due process

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

This man spent three years in jail without ever being convicted of a crime.

Now he is dead.

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Faith-based charities: See? I told you so!

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

I really wish conservatives would understand why getting entangled with government is bad. Now that President Obama is proposing that faith-based charities that get grants from the government be prohibited from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, I want to point out that I warned about this back in 2001. With government money comes government strings. (Thanks Monica Boyer for the tip.)

See? I told you so!

Yes, I am gloating about being right. Republican after Republican told me I was being an alarmist, but the test of time has proven I was right all along. But it is much more important that conservatives understand that we cannot trust the government to simply give you "free stuff" without expecting anything in return.

This conflict is exactly why government needs to be smaller and less powerful. It is inevitable that things like the faith-based charities program will be abused, like a drug dealer expecting more from the people hooked on his product. Once you get faith-based charities addicted to the narcotic of federal money, you can use that as leverage to force them to compromise their beliefs. Every single time you create a government program - like the "faith based charities foolishness" - you can count on it being abused.

And here is the frustrating thing about this controversy. I am not a prophet. I am not a genius who sees things people of lesser intellect cannot. The only thing I used to predict this is an understanding of human motivations, a knowledge of history and current events, and an understanding of human motivations. This requirement was easy to predict and everyone - including the Bush Administration - should have seen this coming.

This does not mean I believe all government is bad. I am not an anarchist. We see in Romans 13 that government was given to us by God for our benefit. It is righteous and good when government punishes the wicked and protects the innocent. But because human beings are sinners, government needs to be strictly limited. When you extend government's reach beyond its core duties, you have to know that sinful men will - not may, will - abuse that power. When you take the government's money, you accept the government's strings, and you better believe those strings will pull you in a direction you will not like.

By the way, this is exactly why vouchers for private schools are a terrible idea and a threat to liberty.

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

The myth of overpopulation

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

The pedophobia present in the myth of overpopulation saddens me.

The world is not overpopulated. You could house the entire planet's population in one big city-state the size of Texas and have the rest of the world available for farming. There is plenty of open space and natural resources for the planet.

The population bomb that was predicted to hit two decades ago never hit because of technology and human ingenuity.

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

"The unjust law that led to Freddie Gray's death"

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

Here is an excellent editorial on Reason.com:

But according to The Baltimore Sun, the police task force that investigated Gray's death concluded the knife was covered by the city's ban. This disagreement probably would have made it impossible to convict Rice, Miller, and Nero of false imprisonment, since that would have required proving beyond a reasonable doubt that they lacked probable cause to arrest Gray.

At the same time, if police and prosecutors cannot agree about whether Gray's knife was legal, how was he supposed to know? It is plainly unjust to punish someone with up to a year in jail, the penalty allowed by Baltimore's ordinance, for violating an inscrutable law.

***SNIP***

Knife bans give cops another excuse for hassling people they deem suspicious, who are disproportionately young black men like Freddie Gray.

Asking how Gray was supposed to know if his knife was "illegal" is a really good question and once again raises the issue of how government is over-criminalizing so many aspects of life.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Exposing your employer to a libel lawsuit is a bad idea

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

Note: I submitted this letter to the editor to the IDS last week.

Sarah Kissel's editorial about the "mattress girl" case left a lot to be desired, and exposes both her and the Indiana Daily Student to a possible libel lawsuit. It was a reckless editorial that should have been thought about and edited more carefully.

By describing Emma Sulkowicz as a "rape survivor," Kissel declares that there is a rapist, and that alleged rapist is Paul Nungesser. There are serious questions about Sulkowicz' allegations, given the information that has been exposed in the months since Sulkowicz started carrying her mattress around campus like Jesus bearing His cross. It is worth noting that not only did law enforcement decline to prosecute Nungesser, but the university disciplinary hearing that operated under a much lower evidentiary standard also found him not responsible for sexual assault.

You can see several articles on this case here:

Keep in mind that universities nationwide have been under pressure from the federal government for several years now to take allegations of rape seriously, and keep in mind that Columbia is not exactly a hotbed of patriarchal thought. Why did Sulkowicz continue to exchange friendly messages with Nungesser after he supposedly brutally anally raped her? Is it significant at all that the other allegations against Nungesser have also been found to be not credible despite the national spotlight that is shining on Columbia?

A basic tenet of journalism is that, unless someone has been found guilty of a crime, journalists are not to write of the accused as if they were guilty. The fact that this was an opinion column and not a straight news story does not change that standard. By writing her column as if Nungesser is clearly guilty, Kissel has written something that is potentially libelous. Given that Nungesser could sue both Kissel and the IDS as a result of this column, more careful consideration should have been given this column by the opinion editor.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dennis Hastert, structuring, and government overrreach

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

The arrest of Dennis Hastert late last month is an example of how government has over-criminalized our lives and is an example of how government's reach needs to be sharply curtailed. We need to reform our criminal justice system, especially as it relates to the War on Drugs.

Hastert was arrested under "structuring" laws, which make it a "crime" to avoid federal reporting requirements by making withdrawals or deposits in amounts less than $10,000. This is unjust. As long as you are not doing anything illegal with your money, you should be allowed to withdraw or deposit in any amount you want as often as you want. And what Hastert was doing with that money was not illegal.

I understand the reasoning behind structuring laws, to catch drug kingpins and prevent money laundering, along with other things. But as Radley Balko has pointed out, structuring laws catch too many innocent people and became oppressive a long time ago. It is an overreach of the War on Drugs that has harmed many people who have nothing to do with the drug trade. Once again, we are punishing the innocent for the crimes of the guilty.

When the Hastert story broke, I imagined the following scenario: A rich man sets up four accounts of $100,000 in four different banks. Each business day, he makes two transfers of $9,500. On the odd days, he transfers the money from account A to account B, and from account C to account D. The second day, he transfers money from account D to account A and from account B to account C. This is repeated until he catches the attention of the federal government and federal law enforcement arrests him, leading to a lawsuit challenging the law itself.

Because of the interest in combating organized crime, I would be comfortable with a reform where "structuring" is illegal, but only if someone is convicted of doing something illegal with that money. Unless you are convicted of a separate crime, structuring would be completely legal. If you are convicted of a crime, it would be either an additional criminal charge after that conviction or an enhancement to the punishment for the first conviction.

What is interesting about this scandal is that Hastert was a drug warrior. Hopefully, this will serve as a reminder of the overreach of the War on Drugs and why it is in everyone's best interest to curtail it. Sadly, that will not happen.

Note: Nothing I said above is meant to excuse any sexual misconduct and/or sex crimes Hastert may have committed. I am a strong and enthusiastic supporter of harsh punishments for those who commit sex crimes, especially against children and underage teens.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The bloody reality of abortion

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

Moreover thou hast taken thy sons and thy daughters, whom thou hast borne unto me, and these hast thou sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of thy whoredoms a small matter, That thou hast slain my children, and delivered them to cause them to pass through the fire for them? -- Ezekiel 16:20-21


Source: The Center for BioEthical Reform


Source: The Center for BioEthical Reform

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Monday, June 1, 2015

The Herald-Times fails miserably on the "Straight Pride Club"

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

It really would be nice if the so-called "newspaper" here in Bloomington would actually, you know, report on the facts before they spew an editorial denouncing some high school students. The so-called "newspaper" whined that homosexual students "felt threatened and intimidated by a club seemingly formed to oppose a group of students that has a history of being bullied and ostracized."

Then, the so-called "newspaper" basically admitted they knew nothing about the group or why it was to be formed:

Whether the idea for the club was directly to confront growing acceptance of LGBT equality, or to simply be a faith-based student alliance as some have said, the Straight Pride label made it unacceptable.

**SNIP**

The students interested in starting this club should go back to the drawing board and examine why they believe such a group is necessary. If they truly want to gather as a group centered on faith, such as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, they should find a name and mission statement that explains that clearly.

Notice all of the uses of the word if. For crying out loud, how hard is it to pick up the phone and call the students who wanted to create the group and ask them what the purpose of the group was? How hard is it to pick up the phone and call the faculty member who sponsored the group (and then withdrew his sponsorship) what the purpose of the group was? Are the so-called "journalists" at the Herald-Times unable to work a telephone? This has been nothing but sensationalism with no actual facts or reporting. It is shameful.

Now, I think a "straight pride" group is not needed. There's no reason to be "proud" of your sexuality. It is just something that is. In a society saturated with sex, "straight pride" is everywhere. Even if one believes that there is nothing morally wrong with homosexual behavior or attraction, there is still no reason to be "proud" of it, because it is just (according to the Left) one more expression of human sexuality. It one thing to argue for acceptance or nondiscrimination; it is another thing entirely to be "proud" of homosexual practice or attraction.

The Herald-Times editorial then concludes with a menacing statement that shows true ignorance of and contempt for free speech and the liberty we enjoy as Americans - a mere two days after they supposedly honored the men and women who died defending those very freedoms.

Until they do that, they will be seen as an incendiary group that should not have a voice in a school setting that should be safe for all.

Even the MCCSC administrators admitted that it would be illegal to forbid the group from existing, provided they do not harass anyone or disrupt the educational environment. Given that the Herald-Times can only operate if the freedoms protected by the First Amendment continue to exist, one would think the so-called "newspaper" would be the most sensitive to protecting freedom of speech and association. The Herald-Times displays a shocking ignorance of free speech law as well as brazen hypocrisy of "free speech for me, but not for thee."

Finally, the "safety" argument is complete nonsense perpetuated by crybabies. No one is made "unsafe" by opinions they dislike. It does a severe disservice to these young people - and the society they will eventually inherit - to perpetuate this foolishness. Obviously, no student club should be permitted to harass or bully students, but opinions have never and will never harm anyone. We should not teach our young people to be crybabies who cannot handle disagreement.

If you want to see the end result of what happens when we describe differences of opinion as a "safety" issue, see this blog post about an eleven year old who was arrested by police simply because he dared to have a dissenting opinion on medical marijuana. Obviously, the so-called "teachers" felt "unsafe" due to his opinion.

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