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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Honey attracts more flies than vinegar

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

The big man on campus: Every man wants to be him, and every woman wants to date him. Sounds innocent, right? Sounds harmless, right? Nope. A decade ago, a letter to the editor whined that the Indiana Daily Student "silenced every lesbian woman on campus by implicitly denying her existence." The IDS denied lesbians "the right to express their love." The letter ends on a dark note: "Silence can be deadly."

Let me be clear: This is why Donald Trump is the President of these United States. People are sick of being scolded for completely innocent comments that are attacked as "micro-aggressions." People are sick of being treated like garbage. People are sick of being demonized for having a different opinion. People are sick of being told they have "white privilege" and therefore their opinions are invalid. People are sick of virtue signaling, moral posturing, and social media lynch mobs. People are sick of falsely being called racist, sexist, bigoted hatemongers by social justice warriors.

But Leftists clearly do not understand the real anger and frustration with political correctness. That is why they are viciously attacking people who voted for Donald Trump as people who voted for white nationalism, racism, sexism and even homophobia. (That last one is laughable.) All of the other reasons someone would support Trump are tossed aside, because if you voted for Trump you must be a bigot or you find racism to not be a disqualification.

But here is the problem: Many Trump supporters do not think he is a racist. But let's concede for the sake of argument that Trump is a racist. Leftists have cried wolf so many times for so many years that they have lost credibility in claiming someone is "racist." When you cry wolf thousands upon thousands of times for decades, people tend not to believe you when the wolf is actually devouring the sheep. Does anyone remember the vicious personal attacks on George W. Bush for not supporting "hate crime" laws after the brutal murder of James Byrd? Two of his killers got the death penalty. The third got life in prison.

Furthermore, this was a status quo election on the Republican side. As the Republican nominee, Trump got about as many votes that Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush did in 2012, 2008 and 2004. Unless you are willing to say that 60 million people are all racists and have been voting for racism for four election cycles in a row, you will need to explain why that group of 60 million people is so different from the people who voted for Romney, McCain and Bush.

And while I am defending Trump voters, I will point out again that I did not vote for Donald Trump and I do not regret that decision in the least. I would make that same choice a million times over.

If Democrats want to win elections, demonizing sixty million people as deplorable racists, bigots and hatemongers is not the way to do it. This is exactly the kind of elitist arrogance that fueled so much resentment this year. If you cannot accept that sixty million people simply had a different opinion than you do, and if you cannot treat them with respect, then you cannot hope to convince them and you may even turn off many moderates in their own base. Democrats are heading down a politically dangerous road here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trump voters decided that racism isn't a deal breaker?

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

Some people have completely gone off the deep regarding the election of Donald Trump as President of these United States, to the point that they have become hysterical. Here is one such comment on Facebook, posted by a Republican who lives here in Bloomington:

  • Not all Trump supporters are racist, but all of them decided that racism isn't a deal breaker. End of story.

My comment on that post is below, though I have removed the name of the person who originally posted the meme. I think it is useful to keep perspective with people who vote for someone we find reprehensible, so that is why I am re-posting it on the blog.


Do you really believe that 20,527 people in Monroe County consciously decided that "racism is not a deal breaker" when they voted for President?

Forget about the more than 60 million people nationwide who voted for Donald Trump.

Do you really believe that 20,527 people in right here in Monroe County - our friends, our family, our co-workers, the people in our churches, the parents of our children's friends, and so forth - consciously decided that "racism is not a deal breaker" when they voted for Donald Trump for President?

Because I am going to be blunt with you. That is offensive.

As you know, I did not vote for Trump, and I stand by that decision. If I had the 2016 election to do over a million times, I would have made that same decision a million times. I have taken a whole lot of crap for that.

But I have a lot of friends that did vote for Trump, and these are not people active in the Republican Party.

I am talking about people who have no use for Trump as a person and think he will be a terrible President but who voted for him anyway because Hillary is so awful. Or people who have no use for Trump but voted for him because of personal loyalty to Mike Pence. That includes people who have adopted black children from Africa. And that includes some white folks who think we need MORE immigration from Mexico, not less.

That is who you are smearing. You have gone way, way over the line here and frankly I think you need to apologize for this post.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The county council's war against transparency

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

Bloomington Herald-Times, November 19, 2016

To the Editor:

The Monroe County Council's social services funding process is a farce and needs to be reformed immediately. The county council has continually attacked transparency and open government, and does not respect taxpayers.

Here is a little history. Back in 2011, the county council website advertised for several weeks that the council would be voting on the social service funding package on November 22. They actually voted on November 9. It should be illegal for any unit of local government to behave this way.

Then in 2012, the county council passed the social services funding package two days after Christmas and the day after a blizzard that had snarled the county.

The council fast-tracked the vote in 2015, trying to sneak through a vote that had always taken place later in the year.

This month, the county council voted on the funding package on November 9, the day after the election after putting it off for nearly three months. It did benefit Shelli Yoder to not have to vote to fund Planned Parenthood until after the election.

This fund has existed since 2008, so the learning curve is over. Taxpayers deserve a predictable process that is the same every single year.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hypocritical virtue signaling

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

If Mayor John Hamilton had the courage of his convictions he would cancel the Columbus Day and Good Friday holidays instead of renaming them. Since he didn't, this is just hypocritical virtue signaling.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Romans 8:38-39

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

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

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

A few verses from God's holy Word for Thanksgiving:

  • Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. -- 1 Chronicles 16:8
  • Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. -- Psalm 18:49
  • Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. -- Psalm 30:4
  • Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare. -- Psalm 75:1
  • Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. -- Psalm 106:1
  • But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -- 1 Corinthians 15:57
  • Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. -- 2 Corinthians 2:14
  • Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. -- Philippians 4:6
  • And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. -- Colossians 3:17
  • In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. -- 1 Thessalonians 5:18

May God bless you as you enjoy this holiday.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving week

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

There will be no new blog posts this week.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2016

In defense of Donald Trump's voters

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

I have made no secret of the fact that I opposed Donald Trump, and did not vote for the man. That said, there are many people of good conscience who did vote for Trump and are unfairly being smeared and maligned by Leftists bitter abut his victory. I understand the frustration but these smears need to stop.

Let's be real here. Trump's victory was not a victory for bigotry, xenophobia, racism and whatever other sins you want to pin on Trump's voters. Trump's victory was a rejection of Hillary Clinton, who got about five million fewer votes than Barack Obama did in 2012. Meanwhile, Trump got about the same number of votes that Mitt Romney did when he was the Republican nominee four years ago.

  • 2008 -- Barack Obama got 69,297,997 votes and John McCain got 59,597,520 votes.
  • 2012 -- Barack Obama got 65,446,032 votes and Mitt Romney got 60,589,084 votes.
  • 2016 -- Hillary Clinton got 60,467,601 votes and Donald Trump got 60,072,551 votes.

Obviously, Trump was a deeply flawed candidate and is a deeply flawed person. But this was not about bigotry. It was a status quo election. Republicans who voted for Romney and McCain also voted for Trump. Meanwhile, millions of Democrats who voted for Obama did not vote for Clinton. The 2016 election followed normal political patterns: It is rare for a party to win three Presidential elections in a row.

Crying wolf will not help matters. What the Democrats said in 2016 about Trump is virtually identical to what they said about Mitt Romney, John McCain, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. Eventually people start to tune it out. If Democrats believe that Trump is uniquely dangerous, they should regret damaging their ability to make that case by using such absurd hyperbole against Republican candidates for President (and Congress and all the way down to local government) for generations.

Because this was basically a status quo election, smearing Republicans who voted for Trump as people who "reached into their soul and found there, after all its conceits were stripped away, a grinning white supremacist" will not work. Instead, it will harden opposition to Democrats and motivate those people (who are not white supremacists) to continue to vote for Republicans. After all, why would sixty million people ever want to vote for a political party that thinks they are all a bunch of hate-mongers?

If you are going to be angry about the 2016 election, you should direct your anger to the appropriate place. Instead of being angry at Republicans, be angry that Democrats nominated a deeply flawed, thoroughly corrupt, uncharismatic liar who could not hold the Obama coalition together.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Donald Trump and homosexual rights

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

Putting aside all of the other attacks on Donald Trump, the fear and terror about what Trump will do to homosexual rights when he takes office is completely and utterly absurd.

Donald Trump is, by far and away, the most pro-homosexual Republican nominee of all time and will be the most pro-homosexual Republican President of all time. Trump was advocating for same-sex marriage a full 13 years before Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton "evolved" on the issue and came out in support of same-sex marriage.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Encouraging news for Monroe County Republicans

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

One of the things I found most interesting about the 2016 election here in Monroe County was how the down-ballot races broke regarding county government races. This should provide some encouraging news for Republicans going forward, with a major caveat.

That interesting fact is this: With only one exception, all of the Republican candidates for office in county government outperformed the Republican candidates for U.S. Congress, U.S. Senate, Governor and President by at least two thousand votes. All of the Democrats running for office in county government under-performed relative to the Democratic candidates for the same four offices, by at least a couple thousand votes each. The biggest vote-getter among Republicans was Ann Collins, who was running for county Treasurer.

This should be encouraging for local Republicans. It has not been that long since Republicans were winning elections here. What was different then was that Republicans were either winning Monroe County at the top of the ballot or reducing the margin of loss enough that county candidates were within striking distance. Had the difference between the Democrats at the top of the ballot not been so extreme, Republicans could have won several county government offices.

They key for Republicans going forward, then, is to reduce that margin of loss. It simply does not matter how great our candidates are or how terrible the Democratic candidates are (and some of them were abominations) if the margins at the top of the ballot are too great to give local Republicans a fighting chance at winning anything. This will not be easy, and the Democrats' dominance of Monroe County elections will not be turned around for at least a couple of election cycles, but I truly believe it can be done.

Democrats - Top of the ballot

  • President -- Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (D) -- 34,183
  • U.S. Senate -- Evan Bayh (D) -- 34,198
  • U.S. Congress -- Shelli Yoder (D) -- 36,049
  • Indiana Governor -- John Gregg and Christina Hale (D) -- 36,303

Democrats - Monroe County government

  • County Treasurer -- Jessica McClellan (D) -- 30,199
  • County Coroner -- Joani Shields (D) -- 31,324
  • County Surveyor -- Trohn Enright-Randolph (D) -- 30,735
  • County Commissioner, D-2 -- Julie Thomas (D) -- 32,674
  • County Commissioner, D-3 -- Amanda Barge (D) -- 32,301
  • County Council At Large -- Lee Jones (D) -- 28,527
  • County Council At Large -- Geoff McKim (D) -- 24,533
  • County Council At Large -- Cheryl Munson (D) -- 27,535

Republicans - Top of the ballot

  • President -- Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence (R) -- 20,527
  • U.S. Senate -- Todd Young (R) -- 20,994
  • U.S. Congress -- Trey Hollingsworth (R) -- 19,314
  • Indiana Governor -- Eric Holcomb and Suzanne Crouch (R) -- 19,866

Republicans - Monroe County government

  • County Treasurer -- Ann Collins (R) -- 25,562
  • County Coroner -- Eric S. Powell (R) -- 23,772
  • County Surveyor -- Russell J. Stanger (R) -- 23,809
  • County Commissioner, D-2 -- Nelson Shaffer (R) -- 22,238
  • County Commissioner, D-3 -- Paul White Sr. (R) -- 22,416
  • County Council At Large -- Hal Turner (R) -- 22,779

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

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

Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start.

Remember, it's only cheating if you get caught!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Positives of President Trump

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

There is no question that I am very unhappy with the election of Donald J. Trump. We picked an orange-skinned buffoon who is wholly unqualified to be President. We picked a clown who is a complete moral degenerate. I just pray there are enough principled conservatives left in Congress to resist Trump's dangerous authoritarian impulses once he takes office. There are many reasons why Trump will be a disaster. However, let's try to look on the bright side for a moment.

It ought to be obvious to conservatives that Trump is not one of us. However, there will be many people within the administration who we can work with, starting with Mike Pence. Conservatives cannot possibly ask for a better #2 man than Mike Pence, who is not only a solid fiscal and social conservative but is a genuinely upstanding Christian and a devoted family man. There will be others, in the cabinet and down the administration who will listen to conservatives and will have some influence on Trump.

The Supreme Court is the big prize. If Trump nominates justices who simply interpret the law as written, we have an excellent chance of reversing some of the terrible decisions by activist Leftist judges who have been legislating from the bench. (The Supreme Court should not be the big prize, because SCOTUS has way too much power. It needs to be disciplined. That is another issue, though.)

Republicans have majorities in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate, so if they take the lead on policy and send good conservative legislation to Trump's desk he will probably sign it. We should be pressuring our legislators now to resist Trump's dark authoritarian impulses and present him with good legislation he can sign.

The power of the President to issue executive orders has often been abused, but Trump can do good here simply by reversing many of Obama's terrible orders. Trump should start with the transgender bathroom "voyeurism" mandate and reverse the mandate "interpreting" Title IX to strip away all due process rights for men accused of sexual assault on college campuses.

If there is one thing I like about Trump, it is his reluctance to engage in military interventionism. His approach is deeply flawed, but it will be refreshing not to have a bloodthirsty warmonger like Hillary Clinton getting us into one military conflict after another.

I am very glad that I stuck with being a #NeverTrump voter, and I am convinced Trump will be a disaster for the Republican Party and the nation. Republicans will get obliterated in 2018, but the worst danger is that Trump will destroy the last vestiges of the GOP as a small-government party oriented to individual liberty and states rights. If we have two big-government parties, with no loyal opposition, America is doomed. Our liberty cannot endure two parties that are openly hostile to limited government. That said, there are positives to a Trump presidency. Let's pray that the positives are big and the negatives are limited.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Blogspot comments imported

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

I have successfully imported the old blogspot.com comments into the Disqus comment system.

Pretty cool feature.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Psalm 146:3-4

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

Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day

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

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, "The War to End All Wars" finally ended.

On this day, we celebrate all veterans. Thank you for your service.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

County council funds baby killers again

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

Last night's county council meeting was an utter embarrassment. The council has proven once again that not only do they disregard those who oppose funding Planned Parenthood, they do not want to hear from us at all. The social services funding allocations is a corrupt, rigged process.

The most obvious problem is the timing. The council voted the day after the general election was over. Granted, voting to fund PP has not hurt Democrats on the County Council, but it was damaging to Shelli Yoder's run for Congress. So rather than give Trey Hollingsworth another vote to use against Yoder, her fellow Democrats decided to help her out and vote after the election was over.

Am I being too cynical? No. Historical context matters. Last year, the council Democrats acted in a shady, slimy, unethical manner by fast-tracking a vote that had always taken place later in the year to August, hoping to hide it from the taxpayers just as a major scandal erupted all around Planned Parenthood.

That was not the worst example. Back in 2012, the Democrats decided to hold the vote to fund Planned Parenthood two days after Christmas and the day after a blizzard that had brought much of the county to a standstill. That shameful move that showed total disregard for transparency and open government.

I have criticized the Bloomington City Council for years, but at least the city's social service funding process is open and predictable. We know the process starts in the spring and the vote will be taken in the middle of June. It is the same process every year and has been since I started following it in 1999.

Not so with county government. This could maybe be excused of it was the third or fourth year the council was doing this, but that is not the case. Thia is the ninth time the county council has distributed funds to various social service agencies. The learning curve is over. Not only does this show utter contempt for transparency and open government, it shows a complete and total lack of professionalism.

I do not need to go through the reasons why Planned Parenthood does not deserve money, as I have covered that ground before. But this year's grant was especially egregious as the council voted to give money to Planned Parenthood without knowing what the money will be used for. Specifically: Who will get the birth control funded by the grant? Will underage teenage girls be getting birth control?

I asked the social services funding committee. No answer. I e-mailed someone at Planned Parenthood, after being given the address. They opened the e-mails I sent, because I have the read receipts. Still no answer. Is this money going to be used to give birth control to underage teenage girls or not? What is the minimum age to get the birth control? Is it 16? Is it 13? It is shameful that the county council has voted to give this money to Planned Parenthood without demanding that PP fully disclose what it will be used to do.

This year, the council is also funding the "all options" organization, which has an abortion fund to help women pay for abortions. Money is fungible, so when "all options" gets money for other programs they have more money available for their abortion fund.

This farce needs to stop. Unfortunately, it will not stop until the county council is populated by people who are actually interested in transparency, open government. It will not change until we have county council members who are interested in being accountable or the money they spend.

In short, it will not stop until we stop electing Democrats.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

President Trump? Really?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:41 AM (#)

I am ashamed of my country today. We picked an orange-skinned buffoon who is wholly unqualified to be President. We picked a clown who is a complete moral degenerate. I just pray there are enough principled conservatives left in Congress to resist Trump's dangerous authoritarian impulses once he takes office.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Misogyny and Gamergate

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

It is ridiculous that women on Twitter who dare to have an opinion on video games far too often have to put up with abuse from limp-wristed pathetic crybabies. After a woman criticized a Tweet by a company that makes gaming computers, she was targeted for abuse by Gamergate activists. Razer's now-deleted Tweet was a picture of a gaming laptop with a SD card slot and the following text: "You call yourself Pro? S my D."

Here is the tweet that offended Gamergate activists, followed by another one. Note that these are copy-pasted quotes of the tweets, not my own language.

  • As someone who actually has been in competitions and uses a LOT of razer hardware, I'm really fucking disappointed. @Razer -- 10:31 AM - 1 Nov 2016
  • I can't keep up with my mentions right now. Just too many men crying about my tweet and/or telling me to kill myself. -- 1:39 PM - 1 Nov 2016

The tweet from Razer was crude, unfunny, juvenile and unprofessional. Some people might roll their eyes and move on, and others may object publicly. Personally, I favor the former response.

One could argue that the Randi Harper took it too seriously, especially as a slight against women gamers. The reaction to her, however, was completely ridiculous. This woman should kill herself because she has an opinion you do not like? Really? But it can be far worse, as many women in gaming have gotten death and rape threats for saying things Gamergate activists find offensive.

(Note: This is not to say that all Gamergate people engage in this behavior.)

As someone who has been playing video games for almost thirty-five years, this is just embarrassing. This is "social justice warrior" nonsense only from the other side - an attempt to shout down and silence opinions they disagree with. It does not help the cause of opposing political correctness in the gaming world to be engaged in reprehensible bullying against women. Good arguments are lost in the noise. Grow up, people.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Janet Reno

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

Let's not forget the people Janet Reno murdered in Waco, Texas.

Her victims' blood should not be silenced by her death.

The idolatry of celebrity in the conservative movement

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

If this election should teach conservatives anything, it is that we need to repent of out idolatry of celebrity and instead focus on people who are qualified, competent, and morally upstanding. Because too many conservatives are captivated by celebrity, the Republican Party got stuck with a thoroughly unqualified, morally depraved, mean spirited, thin skinned little crybaby as the party's nominee. But this is far from the first time we have embraced celebrity and elevated people who were not worthy of the attention we gave them.

One obvious example is Sarah Palin. She is a perfect example of why you should not elevate people who are not ready for prime time. Palin has famously made a joke of herself over the last eight years, demonstrating that John McCain's desperation move of picking her as his running mate was a mistake. It was especially harmful to Palin, who has cracked up under the national media spotlight she was not ready to face. Maybe Palin would have crashed and burned no matter what, but it would have happened only in Alaska and not on a national stage. Elevating her before she was ready certainly contributed to her cracking up.

The good news is that traditional conservatives have not been totally sidelined. The Republican Party has great leadership in red states an some good people in congress. Republicans and the conservative movement generally have a number of people who are actually serious about public policy, as well as intelligent and knowledgeable. Those are the people we need to be elevating in the future. It will not be as easy to elevate people who are actually qualified over the celebrity of the moment but that is what we must do.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

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

Therese Chambers did nothing as chief deputy while the last two county Auditors committed credit card fraud. She is just as guilty as they are. A vote for Chambers is a vote for corruption and theft.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Thoughts on social networking

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

A friend mentioned Twitter's troubles, and said that Twitter lacks a real identity and a reason to exist that distinguishes itself from other services. That got me thinking about social networking generally and the purpose of various sites, which is what inspired this post. What purpose do the sites serve?

Facebook -- This is the big dawg. Everyone wants to be Facebook. So what is the purpose? Pretty much whatever you want it to be. Do you want to post a bunch of political stuff? Do you want to post about theology? Do you want to keep it limited to posting stuff about what you're doing, pictures, and so forth? Do you want your posts to be public or more limited? Do you want to play games? Do you simply want to keep up with friends and family and not post hardly anything yourself? You can do any of that. Your interaction can be with the public or only with your friends. Facebook's biggest strength is versatility.

Twitter -- Twitter does something Facebook does not do: By default, you can follow, retweet or "mention" anyone else. It pretty much levels everyone on the platform. If you simply want to get your voice out there in a public way, Twitter is the quickest way to do it - especially if you get retweeted by someone with a much bigger audience. Twitter's 140 character limit makes it ideal for a "hot take." That character limit is both the platform's greatest strength and greatest weakness.

Tumblr -- Tumblr is kind of like "Twitter Plus." You cannot mention people the way you do on Twitter, but it is more versatile. I am not sure Tumblr should be classified as a social networking site or as a blog hosting service with social networking features. Tumblr is the service that probably has the least identity.

Google Plus -- Google tried to integrate both Facebook and Twitter. To be brutally honest, there is not much point to being on Google Plus. Google integrated Plus with Blogspot, but it was too little, too late.

Instagram -- Share photos. That's it. Instagram knows what it is, and has built quite a following based on that. You can share photos with the public, or only with your followers.

Honorable mention: MySpace -- MySpace was Facebook before Facebook went public, and served some of the same purposes. It never grew or offered more, so it has withered.

Honorable mention: MyFamily.com -- No link here, as the site is dead. The purpose here was simple: A private, invitation-only service to keep up with family. You could post pictures, news, recipes or reviews, and everyone can see it. While it lasted, it was a great service. MF came before any of the other social networks, and was great for keeping up with family scattered over a large area. What most likely killed MF was the growth of Facebook, which offers everything MF did but without an annual subscription fee or limits on storage.

Social networking services offer different things, and each has its benefits. Which ones to use is entirely dependent on what you want to use it for. Except for Google Plus, which really has no use.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

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

False fire alarms at Indiana University

This is still a problem, and the city needs to pressure IU to be a better neighbor.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Time to stop whining about the news media

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

Here is a cold reality for Republicans: The mainstream news media is not and will never be on our side. Whether or not that reality is fair, just or ethical, that is the reality we face and the field on which we must battle. Continually whining about the biased media is not going to present a solution to the problem. Republicans need to work with what we have and bypass the media when possible - and that is more possible today than ever before.

Republicans today have an advantage that was not available thirty years ago: The Internet and social media. This was just starting to blossom when I first got active in politics back in 1995, but is now it is much more of a force than anyone would have predicted twenty years ago. Through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and even e-mail we can get our message out in a way that we could not do even ten years ago. We even have dozens upon dozens of conservative websites, from The Blaze to Townhall.com, Reason.com and National Review. So why not just use those advantages instead of whining about the media?

Now, this is not to excuse media bias, outright falsehoods in reporting, or burying important stories that either benefit Republicans or damage Democrats. We should hold the media accountable for these things, both to educate the voters that what they are seeing is slanted or even false, and to pressure the media to report on things accurately and fairly. Sometimes that works. While the Herald-Times, for example, has some real problems, I have seen the H-T treat Republicans more fairly over the last few years than in what was published in the 1990's or the first decade of the 21st Century. There are still problems but it has improved.

With all of the advantages we have today, we Republicans only have ourselves to blame if we cannot get our message out. There is an opportunity cost to everything: The time writing a post on a blog or on Facebook complaining about media bias is forever lost to getting our message out. We also need to be careful not to look like crybabies or sore losers. Let's take advantage of the fact that in today's world, everyone with a Facebook profile is a journalist and can get the message out. Let's stop whining and do the work of reaching voters and forming a solid, well-argued and well-researched message for our party.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Your vote in local elections always matters most

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

Printed in the Bloomington Herald-Times, October 31, 2016

I understand why some people are turned off by this dumpster fire of a Presidential election, but we still need to get out and vote. Even if you skip the Presidential election, there are plenty of races where your input is needed and that is true in local government more than anywhere else.

The Presidential election gets the most headlines, and then the state government picks up significant media attention - sometimes by national media. But the level of government that affects your life most directly and on a daily basis is not at the federal or state level, but at the local level.

It is local government, after all, that maintains parks, handles trash collection, plows your street, monitors traffic, and provides police and fire protection. Local government builds and maintains streets and county roads. If you need to register to vote, that is handled and maintained by local government. Most legal cases you have will be handled by the local clerk and court system. Local government decides what you may and may not do with your property, where businesses may locate and considers the potential impact of development on traffic and your property.

Think about your day, and how often your life is impacted by what local government does. Then think of how many times you interact with the federal and state government. The difference is pretty striking, is it not? It is critical, then, that we have experienced, knowledgeable, ethical people running our county government. Your vote will decide many very important races this year, from collecting and handling and monitoring your tax money, how your local taxes are spent, to a vote on the Planning Commission, to the administration of county offices, to the person who shows up when a loved one passes away.

It is also local government where your vote matters most! Every single vote matters in local government races to a much greater extent than in state or federal races - especially the Presidential contest. Some people say that with the large numbers, "my vote does not matter" in the race for President. Even if we accept that assertion as true for the sake of argument, your vote absolutely does matter in local government races. Not only does local government impact your life more directly and much more frequently than the federal or state government, it is in local elections where your vote has the strongest impact because the pool of voters is so much smaller.

Unless there is a major scandal or a particularly controversial piece of legislation, local government just is not as "sexy" as state or national government and I would wager most people do not even know who their local elected officials are. Therefore, people do not pay nearly as much attention to local government as they should. But you need to educate yourself on the experience, qualifications and ethics of local candidates and then get out there and vote for the candidates of your choice.