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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Rules for comments: A reminder

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

I've had to delete a number of comments and I've been forced to ban some users lately. Therefore, it is appropriate to bring the rules back up to the top, as a reminder of what is and is not acceptable in the comments.

  • A reasonable level of civility is expected. While it is expected that controversial political and social issues may generate heated debate, there are common-sense limits of civility that will be enforced.

This is a wide open rule, and intentionally so. Here are a few examples of what is not permitted under this rule, though this is by no means a comprehensive list.

Open racism and anti-Semitism is not permitted under the "civility" rule. We live in an age where everything anyone says can be described as "racist," so this is much more narrowly defined than in a lot of places. Do not use racial slurs, do not describe an entire race with derogatory terms, etc. This is not difficult to figure out.

Namecalling should be avoided. For example, calling me or anyone else a "faggot" is a good way to get your post deleted and get your account banned. Threats of violence will not be tolerated.

It is impossible to predict everything that is beyond the bounds of civility, and it is pointless to try to list everything. That said, most people are adults and are capable of understanding what is and is not civil. It should not be a surprise when an overtly uncivil post is deleted, whether I have explicitly prohibited that specific content or not.

  • This blog is a family-friendly site. Therefore no cursing, profanity, vulgarity, obscenity, etc. will be allowed. This is a zero-tolerance rule and will result in automatic deletion of the offending post.

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

  • Anonymity has greatly coarsened discourse on the Internet, so pseudonyms are discouraged but not forbidden. That said, any direct criticism of a person by name cannot be done anonymously. If you criticize someone, you have to subject yourself to the same level of scrutiny or the comment will be deleted.

This one is pretty self-explanatory.

  • Please keep your comments relevant to the topic of the post.

Please comment on the post itself instead of using the comments to bring up something unrelated to the post. For example: If I write about tax policy, please do not use it as an opportunity to post about abortion, traffic laws, or the war on drugs. Thank you for your cooperation.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

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

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." -- John 15:13

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Meme sharing via guilt trip.

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

If you're active on Facebook, you've seen plenty of images with text like this:

"I bet only 2% will share this, and most people will just scroll on by because they don't care."

The easiest way to get me to not share a meme is to guilt trip me for not sharing it.

Homie don't play dat.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Oh for crying out loud!

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

So apparently the billboard advertising the new X-Men movie featuring a Apocalypse choking Mystique is controversial.

What utter nonsense.

The X-billboard doesn't glorify violence against women any more than Apocalypse beating up Charles Xavier glorifies violence against the handicapped. It is a villain being a villain.

Shut up, Social Justice Warriors.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Of course moderation is censorship

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

Anyone who has moderated any sort of forum has engaged in censorship if he has deleted comments or banned a disruptive user. That is not a bad thing and we should not run from the word "censorship."

Disqus is one of the leading comment providers on the web, used by a number of high-profile sites. They had a useful blog post about moderation, but this one statement caught my eye: "Removing hateful comments or banning users who are there to antagonize others isn't censorship."

Actually, censorship is exactly what that is. And that is not automatically a bad thing.

Think of it this way: If someone comes into your home and calls you a bunch of obscene names, you will probably ask him to leave. You are censoring what he is allowed to say to you in your home, and you have every right to do so. It is no different when someone is on private property on the Internet - a blog, a forum, or a Facebook page - and behaves in a way not allowed by the established rules of the site.

Censorship can be a bad thing, such as when government tries to make criticism of politicians illegal or engages in other ways of intimidating or punishing people who speak truth to power. Censorship can be a good thing when it preserves the decency of a forum, protects innocent people's reputations from libel, or silences disruptive trolls. The only thing that really matters is how censorship is used, not that censorship is occurring.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Fifteen years

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

I got married fifteen years ago today.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The opioid "crisis" is not a crisis

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

The opioid "crisis" has been inflated far beyond what the statistics justify, and is in danger of leading us to the failed policies of the past. We need to take a step back and closely re-examine this non-crisis, before we overreact with bad and destructive policy. Our "solution" could be far worse than the problem.

The abuse of opioids (both prescription drugs and illegal drugs like heroin) killed 28,000 people in 2014, leading the New York Times to describe opioids as "a leading cause of death." That description is misleading. Opioid abuse killed 0.009% of the population that year. Is this really a crisis? No, it is not.

"Candyman" doctors who recklessly distribute opioid painkillers should be prosecuted. As people who hold medical licenses, they hold a higher responsibility for the care of their patients. But doctors as a whole are far more knowledgeable about and experienced in the proper use of prescription drugs than government bureaucrats. Doctors know the needs of their individual patients far better than government bureaucrats.

The news media has been incredibly irresponsible in reporting on this limited problem as a "crisis" and politicians have been irresponsible in jumping on a problem to "solve" with legislation. Only by educating ourselves and pushing back against this dishonest fear mongering - and lobbying our elected officials to not be swayed by it - can we stop further unnecessary government meddling in the doctor-patient relationship.

Let's not leave cancer patients or people with chronic pain in the cold because some bureaucrat thinks he knows better than a doctor, or because a doctor is too afraid of cowboy law enforcement to give the patient the medicine he needs under the proper supervision. Government meddling in our health care is the real crisis, not opioid abuse.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Posted by Scott Tibbs at 7:01 AM (#)

I banned another user this morning. This individual claims to be an actual Nazi but is more likely a parody troll.

Read the rules. Follow them, or you won't be commenting here. Calling me or someone else a "faggot," open racism or anti-Semitism, and other such violations of Rule 1 will get your post deleted and might get you banned.

I am not inclined to enable pre-moderation of posts, meaning I have to approve posts before they appear. However, I will do so if this continues. My blog will not be a place for this filth.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Like it or not, Hiroshima was justified

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

The Hiroshima bombing was a terrible tragedy and will always be remembered as an example of the horrors of war. While it was justifiable, it was nonetheless a tragic loss of human life.

Last month, I tweeted an article putting the nuclear annihilation in historical and mathematical context, and that context is critical to understanding and analyzing the decision to use nuclear power. That context is simple: The Hiroshima bombing resulted in fewer deaths than continuing the conventional war against Japan. Bombing Hiroshima saved lives, on both the American side and the Japanese side.

Sometimes in war, you are faced with no good options. President Truman knew that an invasion of Japan itself would be incredibly bloody and destructive for both nations. He chose the option that would end the war more quickly and result in less death and destruction - for both military and civilians - than an invasion.

In fact, one could argue that nuclear weapons have been the greatest force for peace the world has seen since the end of World War II. The horror of atomic warfare restrained both these United States and even the Soviet Union, a truly Evil Empire guilty of genocide against its own people. Both nations fought proxy wars, but a third world war between the USA and the USSR would have been horrific on a scale that would have easily eclipsed World War II.

While I understand that the destruction brought by only one bomb is very different psychologically than thousands upon thousands of conventional bombs, it is interesting that Hiroshima gets so much more attention than the much larger number of civilians killed by the Allies' conventional bombs in both Germany and Japan. Of course, the Axis targeted cities and civilians as well, with Germany's bombing of London and Japan's war crimes against China and Korea. We should remember those people at the same time we remember the lives lost in Hiroshima.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

City Council should reject Planned Parenthood funding

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

Bloomington Herald-Times, May 21, 2016

To the Editor:

The Bloomington City Council should reject Planned Parenthood's cynical request for $7,500 in corporate welfare from the Jack Hopkins Social Services Fund and instead distribute this money to an organization that could actually benefit from the grant.

The fund guidelines discourage funding operating costs, but in reality that is exactly what this grant seeks to do. This is not a "one time" investment, it is a continuing program.

Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky took in over $15,000,000 in its most recent fiscal report. PPINK also has the backing of an obscenely wealthy national organization and network of affiliates that bring in over $1,000,000,000 in annual revenue. There is more than enough money floating around Planned Parenthood to fund the Bloomington branch.

The city council should stop forcing pro-life residents of Bloomington to subsidize an organization we find morally abhorrent. They should instead donate their own money.

Finally, city councilor Dorothy Granger, who volunteers for Planned Parenthood as a clinic escort, should recuse herself from this vote. Using your position of authority to funnel tax dollars to an organization you personally volunteer for may not be a conflict of interest legally, but it does present a serious appearance of impropriety.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Spoiled? Naw, it can't be that!

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

I posted this on Facebook three years ago and was amused when it came up on my "on this day" page.

Nano came over and nudged my hand because something was in his way and he couldn't get to his bean bag. Naturally, I got up and fixed it. He's happily napping on his bean bag now. My dog might be spoiled.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Backsliding into bad drug war policy

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

We have made some progress in the failed War on Drugs over the last few years. It actually seems like our national focus is shifting away from the punitive policies of the past that have not only failed, but have unnecessarily ruined so many lives. But the increased use heroin and illegal use of prescription opioids has us teetering on the edge of a moral panic that will cause us to lurch backward into the same old failures.

Charging drug users with murder for sharing drugs with someone else is absurd. These people are not murderers. At worst, they are guilty of negligence or reckless homicide - and sometimes not even that. A charge of murder should require an intent to actually end someone's life, which is absolutely not true with the cases profiled in the Washington Post. Should there be some sort of penalty for providing an illegal drug that kills someone? That is reasonable. But that is not murder and should not be charged as such.

Remember, these people are not drug kingpins or even street-level drug dealers. They are drug users themselves, sharing their high with someone else. There is a reason many states have passed immunity laws shielding people who call 911 to get help from charges. Now, the people who made those calls to save a life are not only not protected, they have been charged with murder. Do you think that will make people more or less likely to seek help in the case of an accidental overdose? Over-charging these people will cause more people to die.

Anger and bitterness are both natural and understandable emotions when someone dies senselessly from a drug overdose. It is natural to want revenge, or to make someone pay for a loved one's death. But that should not be the basis for our public policy. Our policy should instead be decided based on what will be the most effective at eliminating a problem, and what will be proportionate when bad things are done. Murder charges are not proportionate.

We need to treat drug abuse as a public health problem, not as a literal war complete with military equipment including armored Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected (MRAP) military vehicles better suited for dealing with terrorists in Iraq or Afghanistan than drug users. Treating drug abuse as a literal war has been a self-fulfilling prophecy and has empowered hyperviolent cartels. We need to move beyond the failed policies of the past.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Party unity in a "big tent" party

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 8:00 AM (#)

You cannot have party unity in a "big tent" party. If we are going to have a wide range of ideological perspectives in the GOP, then we have to expect there will be heated disagreements and debates about public policy. Sometimes, these debates will become bitter arguments.

It is not realistic to expect people who have wide differences on public policy will not criticize each other and sometimes refuse to support candidates who have wildly different perspectives on public policy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Movie Review - Captain America: Civil War

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

It is unusual for a superhero to be the villain of his own movie, but Marvel managed to do just that with Captain America: Civil War. Just like with the comic mini-series that inspired the movie, there is not much reason to root for Captain America and his team of anti-registration vigilantes. At least this version of Captain America does not openly commit treason by calling on a foreign power to invade his country to stop the Superhuman Registration Act.

Much like the mini-series, there is an effort to force super-vigilantes to register with a government authority after massive collateral damage during a battle. While in the comics the incineration of an elementary school and much of the surrounding neighborhood was brought on by glory hounds filming a reality TV show, the collateral damage here happened while trying to stop terrorists from stealing a biological weapon. The Avengers, then, are not nearly as unsympathetic as the New Warriors were a decade ago.

I am not sure some of the critics are familiar with the source material. For example:

Woodard's "Who's going to avenge my son?" shamelessly taps the illusion of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Tamir Rice as Boy Scouts and potential Rhodes scholars. That’s way out of bounds.

I was looking for this connection when I watched the movie, and it was just not there. It is a figment of a National Review writer's overly active imagination. It is a very close adaptation of a scene in the comics where a grieving mother accosts Iron Man after her child dies in the blast caused by super-villain Nitro. It is this guilt, in addition to the political realities of superhero registration, that drives his motivation for holding super-vigilantes accountable.

It does make sense given the story that it is the United Nations that will oversee the Avengers, but I think it would have worked better had it been the U.S. government instead. And just like in the comics, Iron Man's support for registration is a compromise to stop something worse. The "something worse" should have been spelled out like it was in the comics. I knew what it probably was because I have read the comics, but people who have not (the vast majority of the audience) will have no clue what he is talking about.

But even without strengthening Iron Man's position, the argument basically boils down to Tony Stark arguing that heroes have to be held accountable and under proper supervision, while Captain America (Steve Rogers) basically says that vigilantes are better for the safety of the world than agents of a military or police force. In the real world, if someone puts on a mask to go beat up muggers, he is breaking the law. There's no reason it should not work that way in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Marvel's mainstream comic books.

Eventually, we find there is a bigger plot behind the scenes, and our heroes eventually join together to stop it. I found it really interesting that Baron Zemo, while his terrorist actions make him an evil character, has a motivation that is understandable and almost heroic. He is not the son of a Nazi war criminal out to take over the world.

A few short things: There was a big plot hole, because the writers apparently forgot that Scarlett Witch had psychic powers in Age of Ultron, as she does not use them here. Quicksilver was not mentioned at all, and one would think his twin sister would still be grieving his death. I strongly disliked the Ant-Man movie, but I loved the character's scenes in Civil War. I loved the inclusion of Spider-Man and while I would have loved to see the "Iron Spider" armor there is no way it would have worked here. His quips were great and he was by far the best thing about this movie.

Overall, this is a very good movie and well worth seeing. Final Grade: A-

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Recognizing simultaneous truths about rape

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

Rape is an evil, heinous act. Persecuting young men for crimes they did not commit is also an evil, heinous act. Both statements are simultaneously true, and the truth of one in no way reduces the truth of the other.

Consider this example: In 1989, a woman was savagely beaten, raped and sodomized in Central Park, drawing the outage of a nation and calls for harsh punishment of the perpetrator. The five teenagers who were convicted of this crime - four blacks and one Latino - were completely innocent and spent years in prison for a crime they did not commit. Pointing this out does not minimize the heinousness of that crime. False convictions only make injustice worse.

Now, on to the controversy over rape on America's college campuses and the meme that one in five women are raped or sexually assaulted in college. The "one in five" meme - which makes college campuses more dangerous than high crime inner cities - minimizes the heinousness of rape by including things that are not rape with rape. Forced kissing, fondling, or grinding are acts of moral depravity and a violation of a woman's right to bodily integrity, but none of those things are rape. It is an insult to rape victims to lump those things in with rape.

The Central Park Five is an extreme example, but one that should inform us in how universities and the Obama administration deal with rape on campus. It has been well documented that men on college campuses have been denied due process in campus kangaroo courts, are subjected to an extremely low standard of proof that they committed a crime, are denied the right to defend themselves, are denied the right to call witnesses or have an attorney, and in some cases are even denied the right to know the charges against them. One man was expelled after the woman he allegedly "raped" denied she was raped and said the sex was consensual!

This is simply wrong and it needs to stop. We need to protect rape victims and harshly punish rapists, and that should be done by the criminal justice system instead of a university that can at worst expel someone. I have always been in favor of harsh punishment for rapists. I have never said rape is anything other than evil. But what is going on at college campuses today is just wrong. Rape is evil. Ruining the lives of men who committed no crime is also evil. We need to be very clear in opposing both crimes.

Monday, May 16, 2016

If you condemn Clinton, you must condemn Trump.

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

As Christians, is our loyalty to the Republican Party, or to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Should our loyalty be to a political party that will give us better tax policy, or to the King of Kings who shed His blood and sacrificed His life to save us from eternal damnation in Hell Fire? This is the question many Christians face in how to deal with Donald Trump's moral depravity, promiscuity, adultery and womanizing.

Specifically, I mean the "christians" who got the vapors over Bill Clinton's immorality yet have no problem with Donald Trump engaging in behavior that is as bad or worse. I am pretty sure Bill Clinton never said that dodging sexually transmitted diseases was his personal Vietnam. These "christians" bring shame upon the name of Jesus Christ.

Christians either believe in Biblical sexual morality (one man, one woman, for life) or they do not. If "christians" condemn Bill Clinton for womanizing, philandering, and committing adultery, they need to condemn Donald Trump just as harshly for doing the same things Clinton has done. If they do not, they are hypocrites. A Christian's first allegiance is to be to God, not to a political party or a political leader. And many "christians" did condemn Bill Clinton for things done well in the past, before he was President.

Yes, Clinton did wicked things that Trump has not done, just as Trump has done wicked things Clinton has not done. That is not the issue here. The issue is whether "christians" actually believe in Biblical sexual morality, or if it is simply a convenient cudgel to use against Democrats but to be laid aside when it does not benefit our political ambitions.

And yes, it does bring shame upon the name of Jesus Christ when His professed followers are hypocrites. Look at how unbelievers and the culture at large reacts to Christianity as a whole when a prominent Christian is caught in terrible sin and hypocrisy. Josh Duggar is one example. Jimmy Swaggart is another. The list goes on and on.

My point here is not even political. It is theological. That's why I am condemning "christians" who refuse to submit to Christ's commandments. I do not believe that voting for Trump is sinful or a betrayal of the Gospel and I do not judge Christians who vote for the man. Different people make different decisions in how they vote based on what they think is pragmatic or the best strategy. But when it comes to morality, we need to be clear and uncompromising. Sexual sin is to be condemned whether the sinner is a Republican or a Democrat.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

1 Corinthians 15:22-26

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

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

I approve of this candy

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

Carrot cake flavor Hershey's Kisses.

I approve.

Friday, May 13, 2016

#NeverTrump Republicans still need to turn out and vote

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

An open letter to #NeverTrump Republicans,

I understand you are frustrated and why you cannot in good conscience vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 general election. Nonetheless, it is important that you turn out and vote for other Republicans in down-ballot races.

At the federal level, it is important that we elect conservative Republicans to the House and senate who are committed to opposing a big-government agenda from the White House. Republicans may not have moved the ball forward much in the last five years, but they have ended Barack Obama's legislative agenda and moved us closer to fiscal sanity. Even if you refuse to vote for Trump, we need other conservatives fighting the good fight in Washington.

At the state level, "red states" have made amazing progress in advancing conservative values over the last five years since the 2010 wave. We have seen significant advances in protections for the unborn, we have seen efforts to limit government, restrict the power of labor unions, and advance other conservative ideas. You may not like what is happening in Washington, but the real action is at the state level.

Where your vote matters most, and where your vote is needed most, is for Republicans running for local government. In a much smaller electorate, each vote matters much more than in votes for governor, senator and especially President. Local elections may be decided by a few hundred votes or even a dozen votes or less. Here in Monroe County, we have a tremendous set of candidates that can roll back restrictions of our private property rights, expand transparency in local government, and stand against sneaky, underhanded and unethical attempts to "fast track" controversial Leftist agenda items by hiding them from the public.

Vote your conscience at the top of the ballot, but please do not punish Republicans at the state and local level because of your objections to the Republican Party's nominee for President.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Thank you, voters, for your confidence in me.

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

The results of the May 3 primary election in Indiana were very bad at the top of the ticket, but I fared well where I was on the ballot. I will be going to the Indiana Republican Party state convention in June after winning a spot in the primary. I was quite pleased with the finish. Obviously, the Ellingtons are the big names, while Paul White and Ann Collins were running elsewhere on the ballot countywide. Doug Bruce is a well-known local realtor who ran for city council in 2003, and I only finished 47 votes behind him.

First NameLast NameVotes
Jeff Ellington 2,660
Hope Ellington 2,007
Paul White, Sr. 1,515
Ann T. Collins 1,259
Doug Bruce 1,215
Scott Tibbs 1,168
Suzann M. Owen 1,163
Jennifer Mickel 1,046
Doug Bennett903
Patricia K. Parker 811
John P. Roberts 793
Marilyn L. Brinley 764
Doug Horn 749
Gene Moncel 717
Greg Knott 635
Douglas K. Parker 634
John W. Kirtland 610
Stephen C. Moberly 602
Alan Berg550
Marcia Lawlis Gero 519
Nick Ivey 491
AndrewRusch 432
Donna Disque 429
Morgan Parker 421
Doug Kayser 372
Billie P. Spellman 346
Glenn W. Gero 284

I also won my race for precinct committeeman 111 to 78, securing 58.7% of the vote. I won in a plurality in 2012.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Who do you trust to manage your health care?

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

The government wants to stop prescription drug abuse by cracking down on doctors. But who do you trust more to manage your health care: Your doctor or a government bureaucrat? I know who I trust, and it ain't the bureaucrat.

Prescription drug abuse is a problem and "candyman" doctors should be prosecuted. But intrusive government regulation of doctors will inevitably result in witch hunts against doctors and (more importantly) patients being denied the pain relief they need due to fear of government.

Monday, May 9, 2016

My general philosophy on voting

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

My general philosophy on voting is this: I will vote for every Republican on the ballot by default. If you are a Republican candidate for elective office you will get my vote. You do not have to convince me to vote for you, but you can convince me to vote against you. There are Republicans who have done that.

One way for a Republican to lose my vote is to take positions so drastically at odds with mine that I cannot in good conscience vote for him. Whether that is private property rights, abortion, gun control, or free speech, sometimes differences are far too great for me to support a Republican. This does not mean I have to agree 100% with any candidate. I will always vote for candidates with positions I disagree with unless I am voting for myself.

A Republican can also disqualify himself from getting my vote by being a moral degenerate. Being a serial philanderer, discarding his wife for a younger woman (especially more than once), attempting to bully elderly widows and steal their homes, employing violent thugs, or a general record of misogyny, thuggery, bullying, and vulgar public behavior can disqualify a candidate from getting my vote.

It is actually rare for me to vote for every single Republican on the ballot, because there is usually a candidate or two who has disqualified himself from getting my vote. I have never believed in 100% total party loyalty. I do, however, vote for the vast majority of Republicans running for office.

Friday, May 6, 2016

No more corporate welfare for baby butchers

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

This is an open letter to the Bloomington City Council.


Planned Parenthood has applied for another $7,500 in corporate welfare from the city's John Hopkins social services fund, and that request should be rejected.

Planned Parenthood took in over $15,000,000 in its most recent fiscal year and has the backing of an obscenely wealthy national organization. There is more than enough money floating around Planned Parenthood nationwide to cover the money PP is requesting for its women's health fund.

As has been the case for nearly two decades now, Planned Parenthood is seeking this handout as a political endorsement instead of as a legitimate means of helping people in need. These requests are not and have never been about need. If you want to endorse Planned Parenthood, then you can pass another resolution supporting their mission like you did last year. I will oppose and speak against that resolution, but it would be far better than wasting another $7,500 that could actually do some good in this community were it not spent on politics.

In the letter you sent to social service agencies about this year's process, you state that these grants are intended to be a "one-time investment." The letter explains the reasoning for this:

This restriction is intended to encourage innovative projects and to allow the funds to address changing circumstances. To make funds available for those purposes, this restriction discourages agencies from relying on these funds from year to year and from using these funds to cover on-going (or operational) costs, particularly those relating to personnel.

Planned Parenthood's requests have not been legitimate "one time" projects for a very long time. These are things that PP does normally. You are subsidizing PP's operating budget despite the guidelines discouraging requests for operating funds. Furthermore, things like STD testing can be done by county government's Futures Family Planning Clinic, which does not carry the moral baggage that Planned Parenthood does.

And Planned Parenthood does carry a large amount of moral baggage, which is why so many of your constituents are opposed to funding them from property taxes. In addition to killing babies every week at the "clinic" on South College Avenue, other Planned Parenthood "clinics" have been implicated in a baby parts selling scandal. This is all the same organization, with the same moral depravity. If you genuinely support PP, then you should combine to write them a check from your personal accounts. Between the nine of you (plus Mayor Hamilton) that is $750 apiece instead of forcing all of us to subsidize an organization we find morally abhorrent.

One final matter: Dorothy Granger, who volunteers for Planned Parenthood as a clinic escort, should recuse herself from this vote. In fact, she should have recused herself from previous votes. It presents an appearance of impropriety for a city councilor to be voting to give several thousand dollars of her constituents' money to an organization she openly volunteers for and supports. It is also an unfair advantage for Planned Parenthood over the other organizations that are applying for money from city government.

Thank you for your time.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Transgender bathrooms and abandoning reality

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

Is it really that difficult to understand that grown men should not be in a women's restroom? Apparently, we have abandoned basic biological facts for the feelings of an incredibly tiny minority. When North Carolina passed its infamous bathroom bill, Leftists around the country were infuriated. Major corporations threatened economic retaliation and condemnation rained down on social media.

First, we need to establish basic facts. Trans women are not women. They are men. If you are biologically male, you are a man down to your DNA. Mutilating yourself does not make you a woman.

Second, let's be clear: The North Carolina legislation was a reaction to an absurd "anti-discrimination" law in Charlotte that mandated private business allow men to use the women's restroom. Had the city of Charlotte not overreached, then the North Carolina state legislature would have had no reason to intervene. This was not crafted because some nasty old white Republicans woke up one day and decided to be mean to transgender people. This was crafted in response to the actions of radical Leftists in Charlotte.

Transgender activists complained that using the wrong restroom makes them uncomfortable or unsafe. So should we then completely ignore the comfort and safety of hundreds of millions of women and girls because a tiny percentage of the population feels uncomfortable and dysphoric if they are using the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex? The reality is that we are going to make some people uncomfortable. It is fairly obvious that we should not be passing laws infringing on the privacy and safety of 50% of the population for the feelings of a tiny minority.

So why not just respect private property rights? If Target wants to allow men in women's restrooms, let them. Better yet, let's see Target put their money where their mouth is and retrofit their stores to provide private, lockable single stall bathrooms instead of multiple-stall public restrooms. Sure, this would be expensive and cause them to lose floor space, but if they are committed to their convictions then they should do it. Meanwhile, If another business wants people to use the bathroom that corresponds to their biological sex, let them. If you do not like the policies of one establishment, take your business elsewhere.

No, this is not the same as allowing businesses to not serve anyone of a specific class. No one is advocating that business totally refuse service to transgenders, only that they should have the right to require men to use the men's restroom. If they do not like that policy, they can shop elsewhere. This way, no one's rights are violated and no one is forced to do anything. But transgender activists have no interest in a "live and let live" philosophy. They and their allies demand forced acceptance of transgenderism, meaning that businesses must be forced to allow men into women's restrooms. This is what the North Carolina state legislature reacted against.

I've been accused of "oppressing" transgenders and "forcing my views" on them for stating the biological fact that "trans women" are not women but are, in fact, men. This is silly. Me speaking the truth is not oppressing anyone, nor is it forcing anyone to live in a certain way. If transgenders and their allies do not like what I say, they are free to either completely ignore me or disagree with me. (I am still right.) And I have never once advocated any sort of violence against any transgender person. Any claim to the contrary is a lie.

Is biological fact really that offensive? Have we completely abandoned reality, to be totally governed by what we feel at the time? Apparently we have.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A quick note

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

I deleted several comments and banned a user this morning.

If you can't be civil, you won't be posting here.

We could all stand to be a little more humble.

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

I said yesterday that we should be humble enough to recognize others can disagree with us on policy or strategy without being morally deficient. This is especially true for those in our own political party. Politics is a blood sport, and those of is involved in politics have deeply held convictions. Because of this, it is easy for us to condemn those who disagree with us personally instead of simply disagreeing with their ideas or arguments. This is something we should not do.

I have often failed to uphold this standard, so I am writing to myself as much as to a wider audience.

Here are a few examples: Someone who advances a particular policy agenda after a tragedy is not necessarily exploiting that tragedy for his personal gain. Someone who opposes a candidate in his own party is not necessarily a sellout or a traitor. Someone who disagrees with us on a contentious moral issue might have legitimate reasons for doing so and may be able to express those reasons in a consistent, understandable way. Just because someone supports abortion rights, for example, does not automatically make him a bad person.

Instead of assuming that X is morally deficient because he disagrees with you on policy or strategy, why not consider what he has to say? After a long discussion, I may be unconvinced of the validity of your argument and may even be more resolute in my own convictions than I was before. That does not automatically mean that you are a bad person or that you are acting immorally because you disagree with me. It only means that you and I disagree.

Now, let's be very clear. There are morally depraved people. There are liars. There are thieves. There are hypocrites. There are degenerates. There are people who have been bribed, or who bribe others. There are corrupt politicians who try to hide what they are doing from the people. In cases where this is true, we should not be afraid to speak the truth, and we should not be afraid to condemn actions that spring from the root of corruption. I am not advocating and will never advocate that we should refrain from speaking the truth about this.

But we can all do better. I can do better. Let's try that.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I will never vote for Donald Trump. Period.

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

My opposition to Donald Trump is not and has never been about purity. That meme is both childish and false.

I have made it very, very clear that I am firmly in the #NeverTrump camp in the 2016 election. I voted against Trump when I voted early on April 15 and I will vote against Trump in the general election this November if he is the Republican Party's nominee. I have serious and substantive policy and strategic reasons for doing so.

But while I will never vote for Trump, I do not judge those who will hold their noses and vote for him in the general election. This is one of those times where people can argue for the lesser of two evils. I vehemently disagree with that decision, but I can respect those who take that position.

With that, I want to address something that was said to me about my opposition to Trump:

There's no point in being *quietly* holier-than-thou. One needs to broadcast their moral purity far and wide. Especially when they have traded the future of their country for it.

As I said a few months ago, voting is always a compromise. I have voted in sixteen general elections. Over the course of those twenty years, with all of the races for city, county and township government as well as state and federal races, there have only been two times that I have ever voted for someone in the general election that I agreed with 100% of the time. Both of those times, I voted for myself. If I was committed to maintaining my "purity" I would have never voted at all in any election unless I was running in the general election.

This childish taunting needs to stop. First, it does not work and will never work. It may serve to make the taunter feel better, but it is a failure as a method to convince anyone. There will always be candidates some voters will not support, even if they are normally loyal to one political party or another. Yet, those same voters will support candidates they disagree with on some issues. That is the case with almost every voter. Taunting and berating those voters to support your chosen candidate is a poor excuse for offering policy or pragmatic reasons to vote for that candidate.

Finally, this represents everything that is wrong with politics. We can disagree on policy or strategy without personally attacking those who disagree with us. While there are some people who are genuinely corrupt, many simply have disagreements (or different convictions) on policy or strategy. We should have enough humility to recognize others can disagree with us (especially those in our own party) without being morally deficient in some way.

Previous editorials here:

♣ - Donald Trump's war against private property rights -- April 28, 2011

♣ - I will never vote for Donald Trump! -- June 19, 2015

♣ - Why is Donald Trump so popular? -- July 13, 2015

♣ - Donald Trump is not qualified to be President -- July 31, 2015

♣ - Conservatives need to stop this stupid celebrity worship! -- August 17, 2015

♣ - Donald Trump is a pathetic crybaby, wimp and coward -- September 3, 2015

♣ - Republicans must not nominate Donald Trump! -- September 22, 2015

♣ - Republican hypocrites for Donald Trump -- October 7, 2015

♣ - Donald Trump is wrong on immigration and September 11 -- October 27, 2015

♣ - I absolutely will not vote for Donald Trump! -- January 8, 2016

♣ - Who would be worse: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? -- February 9, 2016

♣ - Yes, I do blame Trump's voters -- February 12, 2016

♣ - Just how stupid is Donald Trump? -- April 8, 2016

♣ - Revisiting "party unity" again -- April 22, 2016

♣ - If Donald Trump loses, the only one to blame is Donald Trump -- April 28, 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

Looking back on Marvel Comics' Civil War

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

Marvel Studios' Captain America: Civil War opens on Friday, based on a Marvel Comics storyline of the same name a decade ago. In addition to addressing a major universe-wide plot hole, the series attempted to address the "if this were real" problem that is often poorly addressed in fiction. The series did (for a while) change the landscape of the Marvel Universe. With the movie opening today, I figured I would look back on the series.

A quick note and disclaimer: It has been years since I read the series and I do not have the comics any more. Please pardon me if my memory is not perfect.

The event that sets off the series is a group of glory-seeking young superheroes have located some supervillains that recently escaped from prison. Instead of calling in the Avengers or SHIELD, they attempt to apprehend the criminals as part of their reality TV show. (Today, it would be a YouTube channel.) Things go badly when villain Nitro lives up to his name and sets off a huge explosion, incinerating an entire neighborhood and an elementary school.

The nation is outraged and increasingly fearful of super-powered characters running rampant, and legislation is drafted to force super-heroes to register with the government. They will no longer be allowed to fight crime as vigilantes, but must operate under state sanction or they will be in violation of the law. Such begins a "civil war" between Marvel's heroes, with Captain America leading the anti-registration side and Iron Man as the pro-registration leader.

The Superhuman Registration Act is where the universe-wide plot hole comes in. It never made sense to me that citizens of the Marvel Universe hate and fear mutants, but not people who got their powers through other means. Even people who got their powers by stealing a rocket ship and going on an unauthorized space mission are adored, but people who were born with their powers are not. If the worry is these immensely powerful beings requires something like a Mutant Registration Act, why not register all superhumans? Civil War tries to fix this.

The Superhuman Registration Act also addresses the "if this were real" problem. In the real world, if I put on a mask and go beat up muggers, I am not a hero. I am a vigilante and I am breaking the law. I will be arrested, not publicly praised. (Of course, I would be dead within seconds of my first outing, but that is another story.) If this were real, someone who is bulletproof and can bench press 100 tons, or someone who can manipulate energy powerful enough to incinerate a city block would not be allowed to use his powers to fight crime without accountability and training.

Civil War did change the landscape of the Marvel Universe for a few years. There were super-vigilantes who operated without government sanction and were outlaws, and there were super-heroes that were working for the government. The unmasking of Spider-Man had consequences for and was an (unfortunately temporary) evolution of the character. Civil War led indirectly to the Green Goblin eventually being the United States' top law enforcement officer.

Yes, the U.S. government really is that stupid in the Marvel Universe.

One moment that stands out is when Captain America loses his temper and brutally beats the Punisher after Frank Castle ruthlessly executes some super-villains. Punisher takes the beating without resisting, prompting Captain America to demand he fight back. The Punisher's response? "Not against you." This did a great job putting over how much the rest of the Marvel Universe looks up to and respects Captain America and sets up the final surrender of the anti-registration side when he orders them to stand down.

The series was heavy on action and was generally good, but did become aimless at the end. The biggest problem was the anti-registration side's final battle with the government. What exactly did Captain America hope to accomplish if his team won the battle? Was his plan to force Congress to repeal the Superhuman Registration Act under threat of violence? Was his plan to overthrow the government completely? Is having Atlantis join the anti-registration side maybe just a little bit too far, since Cap was calling in an invasion by a foreign power?

The final battle between the anti-registration and pro-registration side would have been better with a clear endgame by Captain America's rebel forces. An action scene like that needs a storyline justification for it.

Before you go see Captain America: Civil War, you should go get the trade paperback that collects the Civil War series as a reference point. While you're at it, go read Kingdom Come, a DC Comics series with a very similar premise: In an alternate future where super-vigilantes are running amok and causing massive collateral damage, Superman comes out of retirement to force the irresponsible new generation to work for the Justice League or be put in prison. In my humble opinion, DC did it better, though as an "Elseworlds" story it did not change the main DC Universe.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Dennis Hastert

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

Re-posted from Facebook:

If he were to be convicted of raping teenage boys, Dennis Hastert should be put to death for his crimes.

That said, Hastert is going to prison for a fabricated non-crime. We should not rejoice in an oppressive law being used in this case, even if the person convicted did get away with other decades-old crimes.

This is a dangerous law. There have been businesses that have been criminally prosecuted for structuring because they made deposits, transfers or withdrawals of just under $10,000. Why? Because that was their business' sales that day or week.

This law is so broad, and casts such a wide net, that innocent people have committed "crimes" without ever having any intent to do anything illegal or even immoral. They are just minding their own business, not bothering anybody, living their lives.

Because this law is so broad, a corrupt prosecutor with a grudge against someone can ruin his victim's life and it will be spun as "protecting the public." And yes, corrupt prosecutors exist. See Nifong, Mike.

If "structuring" is used to cover up illegal activity, then I can see a scenario where it should be punishable by law. But what Hastert was doing with his money was not illegal. Paying hush money is not illegal. It was terribly wicked, but not illegal.