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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Professionalize county government

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

It is long past time to professionalize county government in the state of Indiana. That means ending "at will" employment. Hiring and firing should be based on merit, not patronage and cronyism. If individual counties will not do it, the state legislature should mandate it.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Superpredators, Hillary Clinton and Black Lives Matter

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

The primary problem with the use of the word "superpredator" is that the predictions of a national bloodbath caused by out-of-control youth were just flat wrong. The facts on the ground never panned out as predicted. "Superpredators" who kill, rape and maim with absolutely no conscience or remorse do exist, but they exist in far smaller numbers than predicted. Unfortunately, our national and state legislators have greatly overreacted as a result.

See here and here and here and here for more.

In addition to being factually wrong, the other problem with the "superpredator" meme is that it became a synonym for urban black youth. As such, it dehumanized a generation of black teenagers as society cracked down more and more on teenage criminals. We will be dealing with the destructive consequences of that for many years to come. To be fair, this was not necessarily intentionally racist, and in many cases it was done out of a desire to protect black communities. But the consequences are what they are regardless of the intent.

After Hillary Clinton said she "regrets" using that term, her husband defended the word "superpredator" and defended his wife for using the word. Mr. Clinton is in an interesting position, simultaneously supporting his wife's campaign for President while defending his own record as President. Sometimes, those two come into conflict, as we saw then. And we should be very clear: This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. This is a bipartisan policy failure.

It is easy to look back at the failures of the past and see where we were wrong. It is not nearly as easy to apply those lesson's to the issues we face today. This is why we repeat the exact same mistakes over and over in a slightly different way, without recognizing we are doing the same thing today we have done in the past. Learning from the mistakes of the moral panic about "superpredators" is only useful to the extent it helps us recognize where we are wrong today.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

If Donald Trump loses, the only one to blame is Donald Trump

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

If Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President and loses the November election, the only person he has to blame for that loss is himself. If he loses to Hillary Clinton, then he deserves to lose to Hillary Clinton.

It is not Republican voters' responsibility to automatically vote for everyone who has an "R" next to his name. It is the candidate's responsibility to convince voters he is the better candidate and then to convince those voters to actually show up and vote. If Trump does not do that, then he does not deserve to win. At least in my case, Trump has absolutely not convinced me to vote for him, and therefore he does not deserve my vote.

And let's leave aside the nonsense about "party loyalty" and how I am "helping the Democrats" and get back to the real world. It does not matter what I do. I have a blog with a low readership and I have little influence even in Monroe County politics. No one is going to change his or her vote based on what I do or say. That is up to each individual voter - and, again, it is Trump's responsibility to convince those voters that he is worthy of their vote.

If Trump (or any other candidate) wants my vote, it is that candidate's job to make his case as to why I should vote for him. Trump needs to convince me that he no longer holds the Leftist views he has advocated for decades, that he is of sufficient moral character to be President, that he will not further corrupt the Republican Party and turn it away from conservative principles, and that he has the temperament and professionalism needed to be the President of these United States. Here is a spoiler: He will not and cannot do that.

Finally, if I vote for Donald Trump after everything I have said about him than I will be a liar and a hypocrite. I am not going to sacrifice my integrity to add one more vote for someone who will win Indiana and lose the general election regardless of what I do. If I become a liar and a hypocrite by voting for Trump, everything I do and say will have greatly diminished value, because I will have proven I am not trustworthy. I value my principles and my integrity far too much to throw it aside for the sake of party loyalty.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

More men should marry at a younger age

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

More men should marry younger, and we should encourage that practice, says Pastor Doug Wilson, and I agree with that sentiment. It would be helpful to both individual men to marry younger and to society as a whole.

Obviously, there are many caveats to that truth. I am not addressing those here.

First, let's acknowledge the grim reality: Porn is everywhere in our culture. Children today are growing up in an era where porn is more ubiquitous and easier to access than anytime before in human history, and every technological advance has made porn easier to use in private. The VCR made it so one did not have to go to a movie theater, the Internet made porn available instantly and digitally, and laptops made it easier to hide than a desktop in the living room. With smartphones, it is easier to use porn privately than ever before.

On top of how tragically ubiquitous porn has become, the "hookup" culture has made sex something extremely common, and having plowed through multiple partners is more common now than in decades past in these United States. (I am not qualifying that statement either!) It is actually rare for someone's husband or wife to be her or his first lover.

But as the Apostle Paul writes in the seventh chapter of Corinthians, the marriage bed helps protect both men and women against sexual sin. The most memorable line may be "it is better to marry than to burn." Marrying younger protects men against years of sexual sin that they will bring into their marriage, as well as the warped ideas about sex that will influence how men see their wives.

Finally, marriage is a societal good because it tames and civilizes men, and civilizing men at a younger age is a good thing. Plus, there is nothing more sanctifying than having children. I have joked many times that you have not really lived until you have stumbled into work bleary-eyed and exhausted on three hours of sleep because the baby will not stop crying and go to sleep unless he is being held. Children force you to get out of yourself and think about someone else's needs more effectively than anything else.

If we Christians are interested in protecting marriage, the problem is not, never was and never will be same-sex marriage. The problem is too many young people abandoning marriage altogether as well as married couples getting divorced. We can start cleaning that up in our own churches, setting an example for the wider culture and instructing new Believers into why marriage is a good thing to be pursued.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Marlin Stutzman needs to stop siding with Democrats

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

Note: The following open letter was sent to the Marlin Stutzman campaign.

Congressman Stutzman,

Fighting the Republican establishment is worthless if you claim hyperpartisan Democrats as your allies while you do it. That is exactly what you are doing in your false attack on Todd Young for "tax evasion."

First off, you prominently quote Cathy Smith, a hyperpartisan Democrat who used this as a political tool to attack Young by falsely accusing him of "homestead fraud." You are repeating Democrat talking points, which is not something a Republican seeking Republican votes in a primary should be doing.

Second - and this is the most important part of this story - it was a mistake. Young never claimed anything that he was not entitled to claim. As his campaign explained, he moved out of a home he owned, but did not remove the homestead deduction he had previously been entitled to claim for that home. When the mistake was found, he corrected it and paid the back taxes due. This is much ado over nothing.

Obviously, we cannot all be perfect like you are, Congressman Stutzman. Oh wait: You spent campaign funds in a questionable manner and reimbursed your campaign for the expense when the spending was discovered. I think that is also much ado over nothing, but the bottom line here is this: Do not throw stones if you live in a glass house.

I will vote for you if you win the primary, and I have always maintained that both you and Young are highly qualified to be our next U.S. Senator. While I voted for Young, I have always said I wish I could have voted for both of you but unfortunately can only choose one. But this attack is unseemly and an endorsement of hyperpartisan Democrats. You are strengthening Baron Hill and the Democrats this fall. You need to retract this line of attack.

Monday, April 25, 2016

We need to stop qualifying our moral statements

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

We need to stop the practice of qualifying our moral statements with every caveat we can imagine. Instead, we need to state a general principle (or a general truth) and stand by it. Let the critics raise objections which can be dealt with later. Our initial statement needs to be much stronger.

First, the reason we should not qualify our moral statement is it destroys the authority of that statement. Instead of simply stating X, we water it down by saying, "Well, there is this exception, and there is this condition that modifies the truth, and there is this other exception, and there is this other case where X does not apply perfectly." But when our main purpose is to defend Principle X, then adding a bunch of caveats not only undermines the authority of Principle X, it wastes valuable time and energy that should be used defending Principle X as something we should follow.

The other problem is that when we qualify what we say in a preemptive manner, everyone assumes he is the exception to the rule. That person might be the exception, or he might not be. But in our rebellious and godless culture that opposes any objective truth or objective moral statement, we need to first establish that objective moral truths are real and should be lauded and defended.

Obviously caveats exist to even what we consider universal moral truths. Let's take homicide as an example. Killing people is a terrible thing, but doing so in legitimate defense of one's own life or another person's life, killing is justifiable. But if we spend all of our time dealing with the exceptions, then we will not be hammering home the moral truth that killing is something that Almighty God does not allow. We need to stop sacrificing the normal on the altar of the abnormal, and defend truth and morality.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 6:30 PM (#)

Having used both iOS and Android, I find the two operating systems pretty similar without a major advantage to one or the other. However, I definitely prefer the spellcheck in iOS to the spellcheck in Android.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Romans 5:10

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

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Revisiting "party unity" again

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

With the very real possibility that Donald Trump will be the Republican Party's nominee for President of these United States, it is appropriate to revisit "party unity" and why it is an impossible pipe dream. We will never have party unity and we should not desire it. We should instead embrace our divisions.

I am a Republican. I will never vote for Donald Trump, for many reasons I have explained in the past. I will, however, support every other Republican on the ballot. As I look up and down my ballot, every single candidate for offices other than President are people I can not only vote for, but enthusiastically vote for in the general election - even if my favored candidates do not win the primary. That has not always been the case, and it may not be the case in future elections, but in the 2016 election every Republican (other than Trump) can count on my vote in November.

But I will never vote for Donald Trump. Attempting to berate me, shame me, attack me or bully me into supporting Trump not only will not work but will only strengthen my resolve to oppose him and increase the volume of my opposition to him. That is how it went down in 2008 with John McCain, and you better believe that is how it will go down in 2016 if the Republican Party nominates Trump.

And let me inform you of a little secret: There will always be candidates that people within the party refuse to support or even openly oppose. It has always been that way and will always be that way. That does not mean they are disloyal or bad Republicans. It simply means that they cannot support certain candidates on principle. And here is another little secret: That phenomenon exists for Democrats as well.

Furthermore, there will always be strenuous, sharp disagreements within the Republican Party. There always have been and always will be. That is what it means to have a "big tent." The very definition of a "big tent" is that we have people of all kinds of ideological commitments within that tent! If we do not want these disagreements, then we are going to have to shrink the tent, pushing out either conservatives or moderates. You do not see very many open public fights within the Libertarian or Green parties, but look at how many votes they get compared to Republicans and Democrats.

So let's please stop being butthurt little crybabies whining about disagreements and fights within the party. Instead, let's look at where we are unified and see where we can move forward in a positive way. Every single second we spend whining about divisions is a wasted second we could be using to advance a positive agenda where we are united, and electing candidates we all support.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Using lethal force to get what you want

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

I posted the following on Twitter a while back: "Every single time you pass a law, you need to answer this question: Am I willing to have lethal force used to enforce it?" That got more attention than I anticipated, so it is appropriate to expand it into a longer post.

First let me be very clear: This is absolutely not an argument for anarchy. The civil magistrate is a gift given to us by God for our benefit, to restrain evil and protect the good. Because we live in a fallen world, that gift (much like the gift of sex) has been distorted and perverted to the point where it has in many cases become a curse. But if you look where government has broken down and anarchy reigns, it is worse to live under anarchy than to live under even an evil government because the unrestrained strongman has all the power.

But that does not mean that government should have unlimited power. Government is necessary to restrain and punish evil, but the men who rule over us also have a sin nature and are prone to the worst sort of wickedness. Even Christians can be prone to acts of evil, as we saw when King David of Israel abused his power as king to commit adultery with another man's wife and then murder her husband in cold blood (even showing a willingness to inflict collateral damage) in order to cover it up. Government that is limited has less opportunity to abuse power and commit evil.

With that established, back to the original premise. Every single time you pass a law, you need to answer this question: Am I willing to have lethal force used to enforce it?

Obviously, there are cases where the answer is a clear and easy "yes." Murder, rape and kidnapping come to mind. But what about collecting taxes on cigarettes? As we saw with the case of Eric Garner, a dispute over even such a trivial law can lead to tragedy. Garner was not collecting taxes on cigarettes, which is why police confronted him. The rest is history, but the reality remains: If there was no tax on cigarettes then Garner would still be alive today.

This does not mean that all laws against things like selling untaxed cigarettes are bad. But the point remains: Legislators should realize that any time you have law enforcement interact with citizens to enforce something, things have the potential to get out of control. Even some regulatory agencies have SWAT teams!

For example, speeding laws are obviously necessary for public safety. But we have seen traffic stops over things like speeding escalate rapidly with tragic results. Many times, the person killed by law enforcement brought about his own demise with aggressive, threatening or violent behavior. But the fact remains that it was the enforcement of a relatively "minor" law that ends in death.

This is not meant to necessarily argue against any particular law, but to point out the state is by its very nature a blunt instrument with enormous power. This is why we must be very judicious with the use of government power, always placing individual liberty over state power, even when that liberty is used in ways we do not personally like.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Never forget the massacre in Waco!

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 7:45 AM (#)

Twenty-one years ago today, the Branch Davidian cult was massacred in Waco, Texas. Never forget this crime.

Twenty years ago today: Never forget Waco! -- April 19, 2013

The botched raid in Waco - 20 years ago today -- February 28, 2013

Lessons from Waco, 19 years later -- April 19, 2012

The Waco massacre, 15 years later: Never again! -- April 18, 2008

There must never be another Waco -- April 26, 2006

People should not live in fear of their government -- May 27, 2010

April 19, 1993 vs. April 19, 1995 -- April 20, 2010

Monday, April 18, 2016

Vote for Jim Banks for Congress

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

Note: I submitted this letter to the editor to the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette.

I have known Jim Banks for 16 years, since he was a student at IU Bloomington. He worked tirelessly to elect Republicans and advance conservative values, and spent a lot of time helping elect two of the most qualified men I have ever known to serve in Congress - John Hostettler and Mike Sodrel.

Jim then went on to work for Focus on the Family, one of America's premier organizations fighting for conservative values, the right to life, and Biblical marriage. Jim is an uncompromising defender of our First and Second Amendment rights and understands why the federal government must be limited. He authored and advanced critical legislation expanding concealed carry, and he has worked tirelessly to protect the unborn in the state legislature.

Jim served his country in Afghanistan and is fully informed on issues of the day. He is the most prepared and the most qualified candidate to advance conservative values and legislation if he is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

I cannot tell you how proud I am that this young college student has transformed into a statesman, a leader of the conservative movement and, hopefully, the next Congressman representing northeast Indiana.

Vote for Jim Banks for Congress in the May 3 Republican primary.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Forcible anal intrusion is rape

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

"Civility does not require that I presume cops had a reason to do things. Civility does not require me to be automatically skeptical of accusations against them. Civility does not require me to refrain from calling forcible anal intrusion a rape."

Source: PopeHat.com, April 13, 2016.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Observation on food stamps

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

Posted on Facebook about a year ago:

Grandstanding by celebrities aside, food stamps are not meant to purchase all of someone's food. The abbreviation for the program is SNAP and the first letter stands for "Supplemental." As in it is meant as an aid to purchasing necessary food, not that the government will purchase all of your food for you.

Such is the burden of being a hardcore literalist.

Friday, April 15, 2016

A case against early voting

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

I like the concept of early voting and I have used it myself but it has gone too far and needs to be reigned in. We would be better off limiting early voting to a few days before Election Day.

The problem with allowing people to vote for up to a month before Election Day is that it necessarily leads to voters being less informed than they otherwise would be when they cast their ballots. Let's say candidate A and B are running close together and a major scandal breaks just before the election. Or, on the positive side, one of the candidates unveils a significant endorsement or a major public policy a week before the election - or an incumbent elected official steps up in a crisis and solves a major problem. Votes that would have been swayed are locked in because those votes were cast a month ago.

Even without an "October surprise" candidates are running TV ads, sending mailers, having debates, going door to door, and posting on their websites or social media trying to convince voters. But those who vote the first week of October (or the first week of April) cannot be informed by those things (or news coverage of the campaigns) the last month of the election - which happens to be when election coverage and campaigning is most intense. With all other things being equal, a voter who casts a ballot a month early is going to be less informed than a voter that casts a ballot on Election Day. Do we really want less informed voters deciding our elections?

We should not eliminate early voting entirely. Sometimes things happen that cannot be foreseen. I had a death in my family just before the Bloomington city elections in 1995, and I voted on Monday instead of Tuesday so I could travel back to my hometown for the funeral. People may get sick, have a family emergency, or be called into work unexpectedly. Therefore, it is unreasonable to limit voting to twelve hours on the second Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

It is not unreasonable, however, to expect voters to show up over a much shorter time frame. It would be better for early voting to be limited to Friday or Saturday through Tuesday - allowing people four or five days to vote, but not cutting off efforts to inform and convince voters and perhaps change a few votes here and there. This would result in a more informed electorate and would allow people more time to consider the candidates' policy positions, record and personal character. Any effort to do this would have intense backlash but sometimes the right thing to do is not the most popular thing to do.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

When being "polite" is the worst thing you can do

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

So I am waiting in line to make a left turn, and the lead car in oncoming traffic just stops. He's holding up two lanes of traffic - the line of cars behind him and the line of cars waiting to turn left. What he was doing is trying to allow the person turning left to go in front of him instead of just making a right turn into the parking lot.

No. That is very bad. Do not do that.

The people behind you do NOT expect you to just stop in the middle of the street and block traffic. They might expect you to slow down to make a right turn but they are not expecting you to just sit there. You are just asking to get rear ended or cause someone else to have an accident. It is an irresponsible and dangerous move.

The left turners do not expect that either, so no one is moving and everything is at a standstill until the first person in line realizes what is happening and makes a quick left turn.

This is one of those times you should NOT be polite. Take your turn and get out of the way. You are a danger to everyone around you when you do something like this, because you are doing something that no one expects you to do. We have rules of the road for a reason, so when you break protocol you create a dangerous situation - even if you are doing it for the alleged purpose of being "polite."

Just follow the rules and take your turn. This is not difficult, people!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Republicans lead the way on transparency

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

Bloomington Herald-Times, April 12, 2016 (Comments)

To the Editor:

If the county election board can commit to transparency and open government, why won't the county commissioners do the same?

Monroe County Republican Party Chairman William Ellis moved in March that election board members have official county e-mail addresses, a motion that passed unanimously. Having official correspondence take place on the county's official e-mail server and stored by county government expands transparency and enables easier Freedom of Information Act requests.

Unfortunately, county commissioners Pat Stoffers and Julie Thomas stubbornly use their personal e-mail addresses for county business. It is their personal e-mail addresses that are listed on the county website, not official county government e-mails.

Election Board members are paid a small stipend for their service. The commissioners earn a salary of $32,921.00 and $34,249.00 per year – more than many full-time county employees make! For that salary, why can't the commissioners follow the same rules expected of county employees? The commissioners should be setting an example, as the county executives.

Remember, Julie Thomas is up for re-election this year.

Thanks to William Ellis for showing leadership, even in this small way.

The Democrats who serve as county commissioners should follow the Republican Party chairman's lead on transparency and open government.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Profoundly selfish

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

Donald Trump's voters are profoundly selfish.

They know that they are nominating a man who is completely unacceptable on principled grounds to a wide swath of Republican voters, yet they are voting for Trump to stick their finger in the eye of the "establishment."

They are willingly sending those voters to a third party candidate or maybe even Hillary Clinton if Trump is the Republican Party's nominee for President. They are making it more likely that Hillary Clinton will be the next President of these United States.

Just remember: You asked for this.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Thoughts on being "anti-establishment" or an "outsider"

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

The labels of "establishment" and "outsider" are rapidly becoming meaningless and conservative voters in Republican primaries would be better off ignoring them altogether and focusing on what really matters -- Voting record, qualifications, position statements and personal character.

We hear every year about who is an "outsider" or "anti-establishment" but those labels have become completely meaningless in a year where Donald Trump has been the front-runner since last summer. Trump had dumped over $580,000.00 into the campaigns of Democratic politicians and Democratic party organizations. Someone who has donated that much money to politicians and political parties cannot be described as an "outsider" or "anti-establishment" with any credibility.

It is always helpful to define our terms. So what exactly does "establishment" mean, anyway? Does it mean the party leadership in the House and senate? Does it mean the Republican National Committee? Does it mean Wall Street interest groups, including the big banks? Does it mean influential lobbying groups like the National Right to Life Committee, the National Rifle Association or the Heritage Foundation?

Is being "establishment" necessarily a bad thing? If the Republican leadership in the House and Senate had stood up to President Obama the way the party base wanted, would the "establishment? not be seen as those people as a good thing? The "establishment" was pretty aggressive in opposing President Clinton in 1995 and 1996, leading to some significant conservative legislation and, eventually, a balanced budget.

I think my favorite term that Republican candidates use to describe themselves is "outsider." They are basically saying "Vote for me, because I am an outsider. Then if I am elected, I can be an insider!" Because once you are in the House or Senate, you are by definition an insider.

One candidate for Congress in Indiana's Ninth District gave a really good answer when questioned about donations by mainstream or moderate groups. The candidate would accept money from anyone, because there is a primary election to win. But the question to where a candidate's loyalties lie is not in donations taken, but in a voting record.

We need to stop being so hung up on whether someone is an "outsider" or part of the dreaded "establishment." Instead, we need to look at the candidate' voting record, what other campaigns that candidate has supported or donated to, and the candidate's public statements on issues, tactics and public policy. Once we cut through the noise and look at what really matters, we will be much more informed voters.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Vote for Jeff Ellington

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

Jeff Ellington on Facebook.

Jeff Ellington on Twitter.

Jeff Ellington's campaign website.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Quick Observation

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

People who say "my country right or wrong" are not patriots. They are traitors. A true patriot does not stand by his country when his country is wrong. A true patriot stands for what is right and pushes his country to be moral.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 2:00 PM (#)

The fear in the 1970's was that pornography would turn men into sex-crazed predators. As it turns out, porn makes men flaccid.

Just how stupid is Donald Trump?

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

The silly dust-up over a nude photo of Donald Trump's model wife demonstrates just how stupid this man is, and how he is therefore completely unqualified to be President due to that stupidity.

First, let's make one thing very, very clear: Absolutely no wrong was done to Trump or his wife in publishing that meme. This is not a case where a paparazzi stalker took pictures of someone without her knowledge or consent, which has been done to other celebrities. This is not a case where hackers stole private photos from someone's iCloud account and posted them online. This is not even a case where someone took pictures from Facebook that were limited to a small number of "friends" and distributed them publicly.

This is a case where a woman knowingly and intentionally posed nude, for a magazine photo shoot, with the desire to see those photos distributed as widely as possible in public. If Trump has this much of a problem with these pictures, he should not have permitted her to do the photo shoot. (Of course, a wife or girlfriend should and does have the same veto over her husband or boyfriend doing a racy photo shoot, so please spare me the "misogyny" nonsense.)

It is true that, generally, politicians' spouses and family should be off-limits. But when a politician's spouse makes himself or herself a public figure, that rule does not apply. The most glaring example is Bill Clinton, who was President of these United States for eight years. Obviously, he will figure strongly in his wife's campaign and it is expected he will have a major role in her administration if she is elected. With Mrs. Trump, she willfully exposed herself to public scrutiny, so her modeling is a legitimate topic of discussion.

Finally, Trump shows he does not know the basics of campaign finance law, and this ignorance is not encouraging in someone who may be President. Political Action Committees are independent of the candidates and no coordination is allowed between candidates and PACs that support them. If Ted Cruz knew about the anti-Trump meme before it went public, then Cruz broke the law. If Trump legitimate believes that Cruz engaged in illegal coordination, then Trump needs to put up or shut up. Instead of personally attacking Heidi Cruz's appearance, Trump should file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission.

All in all, this is just another example of how Donald Trump is both profoundly ignorant and dim-witted. He should not be anywhere near the White House and the awesome power of the Presidency.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Coffee cans

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

Coffee cans are so much easier to open now than they were 20 years ago. Just pull off the top, and no can opener is needed. I remember when I was a freshman in college and I purchased a can of coffee. I realized I should have also purchased a can opener, because I didn't have one. I did, however, have a claw hammer...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Dog ownership observations

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

I became a dog owner for the first time in 2004, and I've learned a few things that have been very surprising.

First, dogs can tell time. I never would have imagined this to be the case, but it's true. My dogs get fed at the same time every day and they will let me know when it is close to that time. The only time this is really a problem is when we switch from Daylight Saving Time to standard time, when the dogs recognize the sun is in the same place as it was this time last week but they have not been fed yet. So begins a lot of howling and whining.

Second, dogs can be possessive with their toys. A few weeks after we got our second dog, our friends came over with their two dogs. I soon realized that all of the dog toys we had were gone. Nano (the first dog) had gathered up all of the toys, put them in a chair and was laying on them as if to say "These are my toys. You cannot play with my toys." After I got done laughing, I made Nano move, allowed him to pick which toy he wanted, and distributed the rest.

Third, dogs can be bullies for no reason. One time I watched Nano and Tera playing. Tera would take Nano's toy, and he would move on to another toy. Then Tera took the second toy, and a third one. Within thirty seconds of taking each toy, Tera would lose interest. She did not want the toy - she wanted to show Nano that she was the dominant dog. I put a stop to that.

Fourth, dogs understand delayed gratification. This was a big surprise for me. I discovered this when I realized that every single time the dogs get a rawhide treat, Nano will not touch his until Tera is done with hers, so that he can eat his treat in front of her. Of course, this results in Tera taking the treat for herself, which leads to Nano walking over to me to whine at me because Tera took his treat. Nano then gets banished to a closed room so I do not have to play referee for twenty minutes while Nano finally eats his treat.

Fifth, dogs recognize specific sounds, like a jar of peanut butter opening. The same dog that cannot hear me when I am yelling at him to come inside from ten feet away can somehow recognize sound of the peanut butter lid being removed on the other side of the house, through three walls and a floor.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Abortion, pride, and different ministries

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

If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him. -- 1 Corinthians 12:17-18

We must be careful to guard against the idolatry of pride as we admonish our fellow Believers to be more faithful in their opposition to the horror of abortion. As Pastor Tim Bayly warns us, those who take a condescending attitude toward other Believers regarding anti-abortion activism "tell us nothing about their commitment to the Gospel or to ending abortion, but everything about their pride."

Back in February I wrote an article about why people should be involved in pro-life activism. I am absolutely convinced that one of the great failures of the church today and over the last forty years is passivity while over a million babies are murdered every year. If Christians in America were genuinely committed to ending abortion, it would end. If Christians in Monroe County were genuinely committed to ending abortion, we would not have seen 811 babies murdered by abortion in 2012 or 753 babies murdered by abortion in 2013.

But we must also not forget that not everyone is called to anti-abortion activism. We must remember that we are all members of the body of Christ. Some of us are called to oppose the bloodshed of innocent unborn babies. Some are called to minister to victims of physical or sexual abuse. Some are called to minister to young men addicted to pornography. Some are called to feed, clothe and provide shelter (and the Gospel) to the homeless. Some are called to travel to Africa or Eastern Europe to bring the Gospel there. Just because we are the right foot does not mean that the left thumb, the heart or the nose is not valuable.

Most importantly, we absolutely must not puff up our chests and feel superior to other Believers because we are on the front lines trying to defend the little ones murdered by abortion, while others are doing something else. When we do that (and I have been guilty of this many times) we are stealing the glory that rightly belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ and placing that glory on ourselves. We have made our works into a "god" instead of serving the God of the universe.

We should call out the church - and specifically ministers of the Word and Sacrament - for not being faithful in opposing the bloodshed in our streets. But we should do so while understanding that we are all wretched sinners pulled up out of the mud by a gracious and merciful God who has every right to send us straight to eternal damnation in Hell fire for our sins against Him. Thank God that He sent His son to take the punishment we deserved.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Prison rape is not justice

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

A man in Owen County is charged with and confessed to the horrifically brutal rape of a one year old girl. He deserves to die. I am an enthusiastic supporter of the death penalty, and I cannot imagine a case where someone deserves to be executed more. But as much as capital punishment is justified here, I am very disturbed to see people openly and publicly calling for the perpetrator to be gang raped, beaten, tortured and extra-judicially murdered.

I understand that at least some of the people openly hoping for Kyle Parker to be gang raped and murdered are letting off steam at an absolutely unbelievable act of demonic evil, and when it comes down to it they would not support vigilante "jailhouse justice." But many of them are gleefully serious in hoping other prisoners inflict the same brutality on Parker that he inflicted on that baby.

Does Parker "deserve" to be gang raped? I would have absolutely no sympathy for him if that happened. But the issue is not whether or not an extraordinarily evil man "deserves" to be raped, tortured and murdered. The issue is what kind of state, nation and culture we want to be. The real issue is who we are, and the moral standards we hold, rather than whether we should sink to the level of the most evil among us to ensure they get what they "deserve."

We should not be a nation where we allow anarchy to reign so that we can wash our hands of it while feeling a smug satisfaction that "justice" was served. Why not just go the whole nine yards and repeal the Eighth Amendment so that we can legally sentence him to be sodomized to death with a nightstick? At least then it would be administered under the law instead of having thugs and degenerates do it illegally in prison. At least then we would not be hypocritically ignoring the system of laws we have set up to protect the human rights of even the worst among us.

Prison rape is a serious issue, but it is too often laughed off. As Radley Balko points out, "We’re not just comfortable with prison rape, we often find it humorous... or we revel in the thought of inflicting it on people we abhor." But think about this: Many of the victims of prison rape will not be spending their entire lives in prison. They will be released eventually. Do you think that failing to protect their basic human rights will make them less likely to commit crimes, or do you think they will be filled with rage and looking for an opportunity to release that rage on innocent people? We are making things more dangerous for society by mistreating our prisoners.

We should be a nation of laws bound by civility and (yes!) Christian morality. We should not be a nation that wantonly tortures, threatens rape, or allows other criminals to do our dirty work. We should execute those who need to be executed, and that should happen much more quickly than it does in our corrupted legal system today. But we should be restrained and limited in how we treat our criminals (even the worst criminals) rather than going down the road to totalitarianism. Remember, once we give the civil magistrate the authority to rape, torture and extra-judicially murder (or allow the same to be done by other criminals) that power won't be confined to child murderers. Tyrannical regimes always target the innocent eventually.

Finally, I cannot help but notice that many of the people who damn me for enthusiastically supporting the death penalty have absolutely nothing negative so say about people who gleefully advocate that someone be raped, tortured an extra-judicially murdered by other inmates. Apparently, these hypocrites find years of gang rape and torture followed by an extra-judicial murder to be not as bad as a humane execution at the hands of the civil magistrate. The hypocrisy and special pleading is utterly repulsive.

Sunday, April 3, 2016


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

"As Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, John Gregg supported legislation authorizing a pay raise for himself and fellow lawmakers while the state was facing a crushing budget deficit."

Read the press release here.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Vindictiveness in the homosexual rights movement

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

I find it interesting just how hateful and vindictive many homosexual-rights advocates are, even to the point of gleefully harming those who agree with them if it helps make some sort of "point."

The most recent example is the CEO of Salesforce, who threatened to "divest" from the state of Georgia if the state legislature passed a religious freedom law. What exactly does that mean, especially for roughly one thousand Salesforce employees in Georgia? Will they be terminated? Will they be forced to move to keep their jobs?

So to send a message to the Georgia state legislature, Salesforce is threatening the livelihood of hundreds of employees, or threatening to force them to uproot their families, yank their children out of school, and move away from family or friends in order for the CEO to take a political stand and make himself feel better. I am sure that these threats are doing wonders for employee morale and loyalty.

Let's not forget that the employees facing punishment may agree with their CEO on this issue, though that really does not matter. This is pure childishness - the political equivalent of a temper tantrum.

Punishing your supporters is not new for homosexual-rights advocates. Does anyone remember Initiative 957, proposed a decade ago in the state of Washington? This absurd ballot initiative would have, if it passed, voided all heterosexual marriages if they did not produce children within three years. Whether by choice or not, and even if they supported same sex marriage they would all be punished by this hateful and vindictive proposal.

This is why there is such a strong push for religious freedom legislation, folks. People are not stupid. We see how vindictive and vengeful homosexual rights advocates are and how willing they are to use the force of the state to punish or outlaw dissent. The issue of homosexual rights stopped being about "live and let live" a very long time ago. This is about mandatory acceptance of homosexual behavior, not tolerance.