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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Stop publishing lies and smears about Seven Oaks!

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

This is an open letter to Herald-Times editor Bob Zaltsberg.

----- Original Message -----
From: Scott Tibbs <tibbs1973@yahoo.com>
To: "rzaltsberg@heraldt.com" <rzaltsberg@heraldt.com>
Sent: Thursday, March 24, 2016 6:40 PM
Subject: Stop publishing lies and smears about Seven Oaks!

Mr. Zaltsberg,

I am profoundly disappointed (yet sadly not at all surprised) that you choose to publish a shamefully dishonest smear against Seven Oaks Classical School. You once again violated the very standards you have claimed to uphold in your editorials about negative claims in letters.

As I said in my guest editorial last November, "there is not and has never been one single shred of evidence that Seven Oaks Classical School will teach creationism." Seven Oaks is not a religious school. Seven Oaks is a fully public school and is therefore bound by Indiana law. This has been well-documented on many occasions and there is not one single informed person who has any question about that. There are plenty of liars who claim otherwise, though.

Yet the letter writer, knowing full well the answers to his so-called "questions," asks if Seven Oaks will be teaching creationism in its science classes. Then the writer asks two more incredibly dishonest so-called "questions," asking if Seven Oaks will "be nudging students toward a theocratic vision of America" and if they will "be teaching biblical inerrancy and Christian triumphalism."

Once again, as both you and the letter writer know, Seven Oaks is a fully public school and is not allowed to teach creationism. Claims to the contrary are blatant, brazen, bold-faced lies - and you know it!

As both you and the letter writer know, Seven Oaks is a fully public school and is not allowed to teach students Christian theology. Claims to the contrary are blatant, brazen, bold-faced lies - and you know it!

The so-called "questions" in this letter are a defamatory smear against the school, the school's board and (eventually) the teachers. Those so-called "questions" are meant to smear and demean the children who eventually attend Seven Oaks as having an inferior education. These so-called "questions" are meant to falsely imply that the Seven Oaks board and teachers are fully prepared and intend to break the law.

These so-called "questions" are not and were never intended to be legitimate questions. Those so-called "questions" are meant to propagandize lies and fabrications about people dedicated to providing the best education they can provide, free of charge, to the children of Monroe County. It is utterly shameful that a so-called "newspaper" would publish these defamatory lies and fabrications while hypocritically pretending to "strive for accuracy."

If you have any journalistic integrity, you will apologize to the Seven Oaks board, teachers, students and the community at large for publishing these lies. You need to apologize to your readership for printing these lies and smears. Most importantly, you need to resolve to never print lies and smears like this in your so-called "newspaper" ever again.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Does HeraldTimesOnline actually have comment guidelines?

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

Does the Herald-Times actually have guidelines for comments, or is moderation based entirely on the whims of the moderators? Once again, the H-T has demonstrated it is the latter, not the former. Yesterday, I posted the following comment under the horrific story of a one year old girl who was raped and murdered:

This is why child molestation is so evil.

Assuming initial reports are true and Kyle Parker is the murderer, he was almost certainly molested as a child. Whoever abused Parker is every bit as guilty for this crime as Parker himself. Children who are abused are traumatized and often go on to become abusers themselves.

That doesn't minimize Parker's guilt. He is 100% responsible for this crime and if convicted by a jury of his peers after a fair trial should be put to death.

And let's not forget that, under the law, he is innocent until proven guilty. We must be absolutely uncompromising on that.

My comment was promptly deleted. Naturally, I asked what rule I broke. The Herald-Times has the following blurb at the bottom of every story with comments:

We do not permit obscene, libelous, harassing, racist, hateful, offensive or violent language or images. Further, we will not allow personal attacks on news sources, other commenters or our staff.

I explained to HTO staff in an email that I could not have possibly libeled anyone, because I did not name anyone as Parker's abuser. What I said was not obscene, harassing, racist, hateful, or violent. I did not personally attack a news source, another commenter or HTO staff. My comment could be considered "offensive" but there's never been one single comment in the history of HeraldTimesOnline that could not be deemed "offensive" by someone because that's an incredibly subjective standard.

I further explained that it is a well-known and well-documented phenomenon that abused children become abusers themselves. My comment is therefore a perfectly reasonable and logical analysis of his behavior, especially given the horribly depraved nature of this particular crime.

The response was profoundly disappointing, yet sadly not surprising at all. This is the pathetic non-answer I got:

And as you stated in one of your comments minutes after this comment, perhaps we should close down "Comments on stories like this should probably be closed, as it invites wild speculation and accusations."

Wow.

Instead of explaining exactly what rule I broke or how my post violates written HTO comment guidelines, Herald-Times staff decided to play a childish game of "gotcha."

The Herald-Times completely ignored my explanation for why my comment was "a perfectly reasonable and logical analysis of his behavior" especially considering I sent hyperlinks to stories on their own website that document this phenomenon. Exactly where in HTO comment guidelines is my observation and analysis not permitted?

Here's a hint: My comment in no way violates HTO comment guidelines.

This is sad and pathetic. Worse yet, this is completely unprofessional. Obviously, the Herald-Times can allow or not allow whatever it wants, but if the H-T wants users to follow the rules, then we need to know what the rules are. If the "rules" are simply what the whims of the moderators are that day (and that is the way things are run, whether the H-T wants to admit it or not) then they should be honest with that standard.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Genesis 1:27-28

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

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

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Monday, March 28, 2016

Movie Review: Jurassic World

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

The entire premise of Jurassic World is absurd. After this went very badly the last three times, they would NEVER be allowed to operate another park. The U.S. government would be like this:

"No. You had a Tyrannosaurus Rex go on a rampage through San Diego. You are NOT going to create more dinosaurs, especially genetically engineered dinosaurs that are bigger and more powerful than the others. We are going to nuke the island and incinerate everything on it."

Even if the park was somehow allowed to operate, no tourist would ever go there. You certainly could not fill up the park with people after multiple disasters and all of the people that were killed and eaten. Tourists would never be clamoring for bigger, more powerful and more dangerous genetically engineered dinosaurs that will create havoc and massacre people like they did the last three times.

Beyond the absurd premise, we get an overused movie trope. Twenty minutes in we already have some military guy wanting to use the velociraptors as bio-weapons. I am sure this will end well. Of course it does not end well.

I understand Jurassic World does not necessarily take place in the same world as other movies where this very sort of thing backfired, but one would think that in this universe they have movies and books and video games where we create bio-weapons that turn on us. As soon as the stereotypical "military industrial complex" guy started blabbing about using the raptors as weapons I knew the raptors would turn on the humans. Just how stupid are these people?

Better yet, just how lazy are these writers?

I can suspend disbelief for the idea of cloning dinosaurs, but you need to have people behave like normal people would behave in that world. The most important question to ask yourself when writing characters for a movie is this: "If this were real, would these characters be behaving this way? Would I behave this way?" Characters are not believable when they act in ways that only an evil, stupid or certifiably insane person would behave. This is just lazy.

Normally, I do not like reboots but this is one case where a reboot would have been far better than a sequel. That way, you are not carrying the baggage of three dinosaur rampages that would doom any chance for this park to even exist, much less draw more than a handful of insane and suicidal tourists.

As stupid and nonsensical as the movie was, it was entertaining. The writers know what this is and they went straight to the main attraction: A dinosaur rampage. It is too bad that the path to getting to that rampage was so poorly written that it would be better as a parody than as an action movie.

Final Grade: C+

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

A few words from Donald Trump

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

This man is the next President of these United States.

I have never been so depressed for the future of our nation.

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Friday, March 25, 2016

A troublesome anti-abortion bill

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

Abortion is a terrible thing and a stain on our nation. I welcome and support legislative efforts to restrict the practice, but the most recent effort in the Indiana legislature is troubling because it compromises a core conservative/libertarian principle of equal protection under the law.

From the legislative synopsis of House Bill 1337:

Prohibits a person from performing an abortion if the person knows that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion solely because of: (1) the race, color, national origin, ancestry, or sex of the fetus; or (2) a diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability.

It's one thing to ban abortions after a certain gestational age (such as 20 weeks) or to ban certain abortion procedures such as the hideous barbarity known as "partial-birth abortion." Some abortion opponents bristle at limited bans because they explicitly make it legal to murder millions of babies while only protecting a few, but this is part of a legislative strategery to chip away at abortion rights with the end goal of making it completely illegal.

But this ban is not like like other bans that protect all babies from "partial birth abortion" or bans that protect all babies after a certain age. This specifically singles out abortions done for specific reasons. If you want to kill your baby because you cannot afford another child or because you just feel like getting an abortion that day, you are free to do so. If you want to kill your baby because you do not want a little girl, then that is prohibited.

This sounds like "hate crime" laws I have railed against for years, punishing an action more harshly not because the act itself is abominable but because you do not like the beliefs of the person committing the crime. The reason hate crime laws are bad is because they make some victims of identical crimes "more equal" than others, and they start down the dangerous road of punishing beliefs we dislike instead of the actual crimes committed. This is a dangerous road for the anti-abortion movement to travel.

Granted, the comparison to "hate crime" laws is not perfect because no babies are is protected under current law, while HB1337 will single out some for protection.

If I were in the state legislature, I am not sure how I would have voted on this bill. Anything we can do legislatively to save lives is a good thing, and on the off chance that this bill is upheld and enforced it will save lives. Rather than leaving all babies completely unprotected from abortion, this will protect some. The civil magistrate has a responsibility to the God who gave them their authority to protect the helpless from being abused and murdered, and HB 1337 accomplishes that goal - although it does so in a very flawed way.

But the bill is also basically unenforceable and will almost certainly be struck down by the courts. Is it really a good idea to advance the destructive ideas behind "hate crime" laws to pass a bill that will never be implemented? The chance of this legislation saving any lives at all before it is struck down is minuscule, but the damage we are doing by advancing the Left's agenda on "hate crime" laws is real. Plus, it opens Republicans who voted against "hate crime" legislation to charges of hypocrisy - charges that are completely fair.

The strategery of passing incremental restrictions on abortion is a good one, and has been effective for decades now. The so-called TRAP laws have saved lives by shutting down abortion clinics. That should continue. But legislation like HB 1337 advances the Left's agenda while doing very little (if anything) to actually save babies from being murdered by abortion. This is a bad law that should never have been proposed.

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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Maundy Thursday

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

Who crucified Jesus Christ?

Scott Tibbs crucified Jesus Christ.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The Duke lacrosse team "rape" case, ten years later

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

It is easy to buy into the narrative of "good guys vs bad guys" when reading about crime stories. In my younger days, I certainly bought into it. And while most police and prosecutors are good people, there is no doubt that there are not only bad apples but openly evil people serving as both. Ten years ago my journey began in becoming much more skeptical of law enforcement and much more uncompromising on civil rights and due process.

March 13 was ten years since the fateful party that led to convicted murderer Crystal Gail Mangum fabricating charges of "rape" against the Duke "University" lacrosse team, and thoroughly corrupt prosecutor Mike Nifong pursuing a conviction despite knowing the charges were false and withholding evidence that proved the players were innocent in order to frame them for the fabricated "rape" that never happened.

Ann Coulter had some excellent observations shortly after the story broke. Here is one of the best:

You can severely reduce your chances of having a false accusation of rape leveled against you if you don't hire strange women to come to your house and take their clothes off for money.

Obviously, no one deserves to be falsely accused of rape, and no one deserves to have a thoroughly corrupt prosecutor try to frame them for a "crime" that they not only did not commit, but never even happened. But if the Duke lacrosse team were respectable young men who did not hire women to take their clothes off for money, convicted murderer Crystal Gail Mangum would have never had the opportunity to fabricate allegations of "rape" against them.

But that is not the real story here. No, that would be the criminal actions Mike Nifong, especially intentionally hiding evidence that proved his victims were innocent. Nifong attempted to frame innocent men in order to advance his political career. He was disbarred, but served a pathetic one day in jail for his crimes against the Constitution.

Nifong is the worst actor, but not the only guilty party. The faculty of Duke so-called "University" openly went after innocent men for a "rape" that was fabricated out of thin air, and the administration (particularly Richard Brodhead) trampled over due process and civil rights by banning the men from campus. This was one of the most shameful debacles in the history of higher education.

The fabricated "rape" in 2006 serves as a reminder why we must never compromise on civil rights and due process, and how we must root out and expose corruption in the criminal justice system.

Previous Articles:

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Quick Observation

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

It takes a special kind of klutz to knock a glass of water out of your own hand.

And I do that on a regular basis.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Nineteen years ago today: The best day of my life.

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

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. -- James 4:14

Nineteen years ago today, I walked into Parkview Hospital in Fort Wayne to have my left testicle removed in a procedure known as an inguinal orchiectomy. (Click here for the guest editorial I wrote in 1997, including the warning signs for testicular cancer.) It may sound very strange to hear this, but that was the best day of my life.

At 23 years old, I was a nominal Christian. I had graduated from a Christian high school, and I had attended church through elementary school, but from junior high onward I had little interest in going to church. Outside of mandatory academic work, I never read or studied the Bible. But in the days before Spring Break and the week of the break, I came face-to-face with my own mortality. I was at the beginning of my adult life and finally getting active in politics, which had been my dream for a while. Now in the prime of my life I had to deal with something that could kill me.

But while facing my own mortality was enough to call me back to God, I was still not serious about following Him. I am convinced that the additional suffering I endured over the next decade (especially a great deal of physical suffering) was a gift of God to call me to faith. Facing death and physical suffering is a reminder that our time is borrowed from God, and can be taken from us at any moment. I have no idea what my life would be like today if I never had cancer, but I am sure it would not be nearly as good as it is.

I still have a long way to go and it is often frustrating to see how peers my age have progressed spiritually when I spent so many years stagnant - a Believer, but not growing and falling back into sin. I will always struggle with sin and my old nature. All Christians do. But I thank God for Christian friends and a church that won't let me go back to what I was twenty years ago. I also thank God for the heavy responsibility He has placed on me in being a father.

My advice to young Christian men is this: Get married and have children. There is nothing more sanctifying than taking care of a little one who depends on you for everything. You have not really lived until you have stumbled into work bleary-eyed and half awake on three total hours of often-interrupted sleep because your baby will not sleep unless he is being held. But the Bible is true when it says children are a blessing from the Lord, while our culture is built on lies.

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Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sixth Amendment

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

As a conservative, I believe government must be limited and civil rights and due process should be respected even when it makes us feel slimy. Which is why I endorse the following:

In the legal community, it's understood that criticizing an attorney who defends an unpopular defendant—especially a public defender assigned to an impoverished client—is inappropriate, offensive, and unprofessional. Public defenders who represent disreputable defendants are fulfilling the requirements of the Constitution; to condemn them for doing so is, in a very real sense, to condemn the Sixth Amendment itself.

Read more at Slate.com.

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

Liar

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

When he was running for Monroe County Sheriff, Jim Kennedy spoke at the Friday Lunch Bunch on Friday, September 08, 2006. He spoke in favor of cutting parks and social services in order to make sure the primary functions of county government (courts and criminal justice) are paid for.

Later, he denied what he said in front of dozens of people. It is unfortunate that Monroe County elected a liar as sheriff twice.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Let's please think critically about "Common Core Math"

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

I understand a lot of people do not like Common Core, but we need to think critically about objections to it and not simply buy into every criticism of it without examining that criticism. Nowhere is that need more evident than in a lot of the social media firestorm about "Common Core Math."

(Note: I am not a common core supporter. I haven't studied the issue enough to form an opinion. I am only taking issue with one specific argument.)

If you've spent much time on social media, you've probably seen videos like this one about the alleged dangers of "Common Core Math." So let me lay down a general principle: There's nothing inherently wrong with teaching kids different methods to do things, if it helps them learn. I do that all the time if I am trying to do something in my head. I will break a math problem into smaller problems so I can solve it without pen and paper or a computer.

But before automatically buying into videos like the one I linked, we need to apply a "common sense test." Teachers need to teach kids to solve a math problem. With high stakes testing, the school's grade and future independence, teacher performance evaluations and maybe even employment on the line, will those kids be taught the simplest, easiest method to get to the right answer, or will that be abandoned by presenting some convoluted mess that makes what should be an easy problem overly difficult?

Unless the school is run by sadists who just love to see kids struggle and fail, it will be the former and not the latter. There is no benefit to the teachers or the administration to make math problems more complicated and watch as students who could get it become frustrated and discouraged and ultimately not learn. Taking a video of a single math problem and presenting it out of context to an hour-long class period - much less an entire semester's worth of mathematics instruction - is not a good way to address the question of how math is taught in our school system.

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Thursday, March 17, 2016

A welcome step forward on transparency

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

The Monroe County Commissioners are terrible on transparency, and they could learn a lot from the Monroe County Republican Party. The MCGOP is actively working to improve transparency in county government though the limited positions Republicans hold. The commissioners (all three of whom are Democrats) stubbornly resist transparency.

On March 15, the Republican Party's appointee to the election board (and Monroe County Republican Party chairman) William Ellis moved that the county election board members have county government e-mail addresses to ensure that all e-mail correspondence on official business is stored on the county's e-mail server and subject to open records requests. That proposal was unanimously passed.

The reason this is significant, especially for the county commissioners, is that two of the three county commissioners openly use their private e-mail accounts for official business.

The other reason this is significant is that while Ellis earns a small stipend for his position, the county commissioners earn an annual salary of $32,921.00 for holding their position while the county commissioners' president earns an annual salary of $34,249.00. They are earning more than many full-time county employees make!

There are many workers in county government (and the private sector) who make significantly less money than Pat Stoffers and Julie Thomas, but have no issue with having separate work and personal e-mail addresses. For the many workers in county government who play by the rules and have their e-mail open to FOIA requests, what does it say to them that two of the three elected county administrators who make significantly more than they do are unwilling to play by the same rules? What do you think that does to employee morale?

When I ran for city council last year, I highlighted the need for more transparency in city government. And while the city has its problems, county government is much worse. Taxpayers deserve better than what we are getting from Pat Stoffers and Julie Thomas. Both of them should immediately stop using their personal email for official county government business and apologize for not following basic "best practices" in their employment with the county.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Chill out over Twitter's "trust and safety council"

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

I am late to the party on this one, especially given how quickly things move on the Internet, but conservatives who are apoplectic over Twitter forming a "trust and safety council" really need to chillax. This is not some sort of nefarious conspiracy to silence conservative voices.

Conservatives have pointed to the fact that Twitter's abuse page has an option to report someone who is "offensive, disrespectful or in disagreement with my opinion." (Emphasis mine.) But while this is poorly worded, hovering over the little question mark icon reveals the following text: "Twitter does not screen content and does not remove potentially offensive content unless such content is in violation of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service."

Twitter is a large company, with several hundred million users. Because there are so many people and so many inflammatory topics discussed, Twitter fields a lot of abuse reports. Sometimes, there are abusive Tweets that should be taken down but are not. Other times, Tweets do not break TOS but the users are disciplined anyway. There are bound to be mistakes and bad decisions with a user base that size.

But let's be real here: If Twitter really wanted to silence conservative voices, they would be losing a significant part of their user base. Disaffected Twitter users would go to a competing platform or maybe even a new one.

I do not doubt that Twitter executives lean to the Left. But this is a for-profit company and they are not nearly stupid enough to potentially alienate tens of millions of customers who have active followings. There will be some inevitable hiccups as the policy of cracking down on harassment settles, but I am absolutely confident that people from every point of the political spectrum will have no problem expressing their opinions.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A basic principle

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

If having something (like health care) requires forcible confiscation of wealth from someone else, it is not a human right. You do not have the right to mandate that someone else give up his wealth or property in order for you to have that thing.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Watering down the sex offender registry

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

If the point of sex offender registries is to protect the community from dangerous predators, is it wise to water down those registries by including people who are not dangerous alongside people who are? In some states, people have been put on sex offender registries for urinating in public, next to people who have violently raped children. That's the height of the absurdity scale, but not the only problem with the lists.

We should establish right away that we are also taking our eye off the ball to a much more imminent threat. While "stranger danger" does exist, A large majority of sex crimes (especially crimes against children) are perpetrated by someone the victim knows. Children growing up in homes where their mother is married to or shacking up with a man who is not her children's biological father are in significantly more danger of being physically or sexually abused than children living with both biological parents.

The New Yorker's report on the consequences of putting underage teenagers and children on sex offender registries is sobering. And while there are some who do belong on those registries, others do not. For example, a 19 year old man who has "consensual" sex with a 14 year old girl he mistakenly believes to be older should not be treated the same as a serial child molester. (Consensual is in quotes because a teenager that young cannot legally give consent.) A little girl who has "pantsed" a classmate may have committed a cruel prank, but she is not a child molester. It is absurd to prosecute a teenager for child pornography for taking a picture of himself and sending it to his girlfriend - especially when he is simultaneously the predator and his own victim.

The idea behind sex offender registries is a good one: In its original form, to let law enforcement track people who have committed sex crimes. There can be value in letting the community know who sex offenders are, because precautions can be taken to protect children and prevent future crimes. But we have so greatly expanded the registries that they are ruining the lives of people (men and women) who are not a danger to the community. In doing so, we are spending a lot more money than necessary and we are making it nearly impossible for "sex offenders" to become productive members of society. In the long run, we run the risk of making sex offender registries useless as people cannot know whether someone on the list is legitimately dangerous or not.

Clearly, reform is needed in two directions. First, people who are not dangerous sexual predators should not be on sex offender registries. This is complicated, but can be done. Second, we need to recapture a Biblical worldview toward those who are violent predators: Meaning we need to re-establish the death penalty for crimes such as rape and child molestation. Since the Supreme Court is standing in the way of justice, this will require a constitutional amendment to bypass the judicial oligarchy and re-establish the rule of law.

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Sunday, March 13, 2016

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

Observation:

The worst thing Leftists could do to oppose Trump, politically speaking, is violently disrupt his rallies. Even a lot of Trump's most vehement opponents are going to support him on this matter. This is just dumb.

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Saturday, March 12, 2016

Zombies

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

If zombies are driven by the primal need to eat, why are they not omnivores? Why don't they eat fruits and vegetables or even junk food? Imagine a horde of undead rampaging through the potato chip aisle at the supermarket. Plus, bags of potato chips won't fight back when you try to eat them.

I think I nitpick things entirely too much.

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Friday, March 11, 2016

Is it wrong to be angry?

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

If there is one thing that has defined the 2016 election, it is anger. Much of that anger is misplaced and has led people to work against their own principles, and it is never good when emotion overcomes logic. But is anger itself wrong, and should we condemn those who are angry? No. Anger has a legitimate place in politics.

First, let's establish that anger itself can be a righteous emotion. Jesus was angry when He violently drove the money changers out of His temple with a whip. The anger of God is displayed all throughout both the Old and New Testaments. If it is good for God to be angry, then it can be good for us to be angry.

I have been angry many times. I have been angry at county government for sneaking controversial votes through under cover of darkness. I have been angry at our criminal justice system for framing innocent people and putting them in prison. I am angry that babies are massacred every week at the Planned Parenthood "clinic" in downtown Bloomington. I am angry when I see my friends unjustly attacked, lied about and smeared for political gain.

Yes, anger can be wicked. I have been wicked in my anger on many occasions. But anger itself is neither wicked or righteous. It can be either, and sometimes it can be both at the same time. We absolutely need to think through our anger and react not only from emotion, but from principle and logic. Being angry is not a justification for being foolish or destructive. But we should not dismiss the value of anger, especially in forcing social change.

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

The infinite grace and mercy of God

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

In our culture today, Christians want to forget about the wrath of God and only focus on "cheap grace." I have often written of the judgment and wrath of God because of this heresy. But we should also refute another common (yet less loudly spoken) heresy: The idea that some people are so evil they cannot be redeemed.

I knew that King Manasseh of Judah was a wicked man. He burned his children to death in sacrificing them to demons. But when I was reading in 2 Kings 21, something caught my eye and completely blew my mind: On top of his own wickedness, Manasseh led the kingdom of Judah "to do more evil than did the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the children of Israel." (Verse 9.) That is stated again in 2 Chronicles 33:9. He led Judah to "do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel."

God was filled with holy anger, and allowed Manasseh to be captured and held in Babylon. Then something amazing happened. Manasseh repented. God heard his prayer, and had him sent back to Jerusalem. Manasseh destroyed the idols and commanded his subjects to only worship the One True God.

It does not stop there. This horribly wicked man, who not only committed abominations before God but caused Judah to be worse than the pagan people God had destroyed, is listed in the lineage of Jesus Christ.

There can be no more powerful example of how God's mercy is infinite. This horribly wicked man, who was worse than most of us can even imagine being, was not only forgiven and redeemed, he is forever recorded in the lineage of our Savior. If God can forgive Manasseh for his sins, is there anything we have done that is too severe for God to forgive? Is there anyone alive today who cannot be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb?

Praise God for His infinite mercy!

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The importance of local elections

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

Printed in the Bloomington Herald-Times, March 07, 2016 (Comments)

To the Editor:

The most unfortunate thing about local elections in Bloomington and Monroe County is how few people care about them. Look at last year's city elections. In a city of 80,000 people, only about 8,100 people bothered to turn out to vote. We have a mayor elected with less than 6,300 votes - a dominating landslide to be sure, but still a tiny minority of the city's population.

This is despite the fact that city and county government affect your life much more directly and much more frequently than the state or federal government. Think about it: Snow removal, trash pickup, police and fire protection, parks and much more are controlled by city government. And while local government has the biggest impact on your life, each individual vote matters much more in local elections than in state or national elections.

The national elections take up a lot of airtime, but if an individual voter wants to have a voice in public policy, local government is the place where that influence is strongest.

No matter how you vote, please study the local candidates and local issues, and vote for the candidates of your choice in every election - especially city elections!

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Gloating over a "shaken baby" conviction

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

Should an elected prosecutor be boasting about a conviction based on what is, at best, shaky science that has been documented to have resulted in false convictions?

An Indiana prosecutor recently purchased an advertisement in the program for a Lincoln Day Dinner boasting he is "proudly over-crowding our prisons." While it is always good when the civil magistrate appropriately punishes criminals, there is no question that convicting an innocent person is also a terrible injustice. That's why the mugshot of someone sent to prison for a "shaken baby death" caught my attention. The science behind the "shaken baby syndrome" diagnosis has come under strict scrutiny over the last few years and there are serious doubts as to the validity of that science and by extension "shaken baby" convictions.

Almighty God tells us in Holy Scripture that we are not to bear false witness against our neighbor. For those in a position of authority, that is even more important. After all, Romans 13 tells us that the civil magistrate was given authority by God and they are His deacons. Elected prosecutors and law enforcement, then, are under an even heavier burden to be truthful and to seek justice. This means that prosecutors must be very careful about seeking convictions based on science that is, at best, highly suspect.

Imagine you are a parent, and your child has a medical condition. You did not neglect, abuse or harm your child, who dies in your care. It is awful, but sometimes there is a tragedy and no one is to blame. Imagine then, on top of the terrible grief, pain and inevitable (if misplaced) guilt over losing your baby, that you are then framed for the murder of that child. And yes - we know from multiple exonerations that parents have been framed for the murder of their child by corrupt prosecutors and district attorneys more interested in getting notches on their belt than seeking justice.

The "shaken baby syndrome" scandal is yet another illustration as to why the entire focus of our criminal justice system needs to change. There is far too much emphasis on "getting the bad guys" and "winning" while there is not nearly enough emphasis on seeking justice. A prosecutor's job is absolutely not to win convictions. A prosecutor's job is to seek justice, and putting innocent people in prison is not justice. Instead, it is a betrayal of the taxpayers, a betrayal of due process, a betrayal of the Constitution and most importantly it is a betrayal of Almighty God who granted that prosecutor his authority in the first place.

See here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here for more on "Shaken Baby Syndrome" and the questions about it.

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Monday, March 7, 2016

Hypocrisy is real, but people can change their minds.

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

Why is it that so many of us in politics cannot simply accept that someone agrees with us?

When we invaded Iraq thirteen years ago, I supported the war. In 2008, after five years and after re-examining my positions, re-examining the reasoning for my position, re-examining opposing arguments and considering that position in light of my own commitment to limited government, I came to the conclusion I was wrong. The Iraq was was a huge foreign policy blunder and I was wrong to support it. I have explained why I changed my position. Instead of going over that ground again I will link to my older writings:

When I wrote a letter to the editor criticizing President Obama for his policy in Syria a few years ago, this was one of the comments that was posted, and it is worth re-visiting to make an important point:

Maybe most don't remember Tibbs was one of the loudest cheerleaders for the war in Iraq until people questioned why a person of his exaggerated belief in the mission wasn't signing up to go. Then his tuned changed entirely.

Let's get this out of the way. I was hearing the "chickenhawk" argument for five years before I changed my position. If the "chickenhawk" argument was the reason I changed my position, I would have flip-flopped in the summer of 2003 or sometime in 2004. I would not have waited until after people had been questioning for five years why I "wasn't signing up to go." Finally, there was absolutely no political benefit to me changing my position. If anything, this would be a roadblock to me running for office, especially in a Republican primary. In short, there is absolutely no logical or factual basis to accuse me of anything other than legitimately changing my position. This was a smear, and nothing more.

But there is a more important point to be made here and that is comments like the one quoted above represent what is wrong with politics. Instead of being happy that I have realized I was wrong and changed my position, the troll personally attacked me. You see, it is not enough that I was wrong. I was a heretic then and I am a heretic now on other matters, so the fact that I agree with the troll's position does not matter.

Yes, hypocrisy is real. Yes, people do change their position because of political expediency - or worse, candidates articulate a position they do not believe purely to attack an incumbent. The challenger then adopts the incumbent's policies when he takes office. But there are a number of people who legitimately change their positions on issues. We should not be so cynical to assume that every change is "hypocrisy" or driven by some nefarious motive. Because if that is the case, you can forget about Republicans and Democrats - or Left and Right generally - ever finding common ground and accomplishing something together.

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

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

MaddowBlog headline: "Rape rhetoric trips up another GOP official."

Why not just say that all babies are made in the image of God and deserve to be protected?

Just be honest and stick to your principles, instead of anti-factual fake "science" and you will be much better off.

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Saturday, March 5, 2016

A childish response to #NeverTrump

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

As the #NeverTrump movement gains steam, I am seeing an increasing number of childish Trumpites and/or hyperpartisan Republicans scold the movement for allegedly "taking your ball and running home."

The "Never Trump" movement has substantive, policy-based and practical reasons for opposing Trump. This is not us pouting because our favored candidate did not win. Speaking only for myself, I would have been happy with any of the Republicans who ran for President this cycle. But as I have explained many times, I will never vote for Donald Trump. I have been very explicit in outlining my reasons for doing so. (For more, see here and here and here and here and here.) Childish taunts will only harden my opposition to Trump and make my opposition to him louder.

If you're looking to unite the GOP, taunting people who have legitimate principled and practical objections to Trump is absolutely not the way to do it. All you're going to do is harden the opposition to Trump and make people more determined to oppose him.

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Friday, March 4, 2016

Banning bans on plastic bags is a victory for small government

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

I have been shocked to see how many liberal Democrats support the right of cities to ban black people from living within the city limits. As I observe Democrats' uncompromising advocacy for "home rule" it becomes obvious how there is a frightening undercurrent of racism in this position. They want local government to have more authority so they can abuse that authority to discriminate.

Note for the terminally stupid: The above is sarcasm.

Yes, I understand the difference between prohibiting racial discrimination and prohibiting bans on plastic bags. I am not equating the two kinds of laws, and I recognize racial discrimination enshrined in law is far worse. I was using an admittedly extreme example to make the point that there are, and there obviously should be, limits on "home rule" and what local government is permitted to do. There should be limits on what the majority of voters can do through their elected representatives. The question is obviously not whether there should be limits. Of course there should be limits. The question is what those limits should be.

While I understand the objections some conservatives have to a law "increasing the power of the state" and preempting what a "majority" of local residents want as expressed through their elected officials, the power of the majority should not be unlimited. Prohibiting local government from banning plastic bags is a good, small government law that limits the ability of local government to micromanage business and limit consumer choice. State government has a legitimate interest in guarding against the tyranny of the majority in local communities.

Passing laws is not necessarily big government, if those laws limit the power of the government to meddle in our lives. Limits on government power are all through our national and state constitutions. At a time when even the supposedly "conservative" Republican super-majority is passing laws expanding the power of government, spending more money and regulating how we live our lives and manage our businesses, it is refreshing to see a law passed that actually limits the authority of government. We need a lot more laws like this.

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Thursday, March 3, 2016

Trump's many disqualifying factors

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

I saw a Facebook post yesterday telling Republicans to chill out over Donald Trump's support of Planned Parenthood. But let's be clear: If Donald Trump was anti-Planned Parenthood and had been 100% pro-life for the last fifty years and I would still never vote for the man.

He's anti-gun. He's an unrepentant serial adulterer. He has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrats. He is hostile to private property rights. He is hostile to free speech. He has promised to advance the GLBT agenda. He's an obnoxious, foul-mouthed bully. He is emotionally unstable. He refuses to denounce the KKK.

He has played to racism in his anti-immigration rhetoric. He has openly bragged about his promiscuity. He has bragged about how he would date his own daughter. He compared dodging sexually transmitted diseases to being a soldier in Vietnam. (He sure does respect veterans!) He has promised to torture people. He has promised to murder the innocent family members of terrorists. He lies constantly.

I will never vote for Donald Trump.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

IDS opinion page makes students unsafe

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

Why is the Indiana Daily Student subjecting students to possible harassment and stalking?

We hear a lot about students needing to "feel safe" on campus these days, and most of that is utter nonsense. "Students" who need a "safe space" because someone had the audacity to disagree with them on a political or social issue need to grow up and join the real world. But there is a potentially real threat to student safety from the IDS editorial page, and that is the sloppy editing of letters to the editor.

The IDS has a bad habit of printing e-mail addresses of letter writers, which is bad enough. But I was taken aback by the February 24 edition, which printed the cell phone number of a student who had written a letter. It was also online, but was removed after I sent a note to the editor-in-chief and the opinion editor saying that for the writer's "privacy and safety, I urge you to take it off the website."

I understand why a newspaper would want a letter writer's address and phone number for verification purposes, to ensure the writer is who he says he is. Normally, that information would never be published in the print or online edition.This allows the writer to have his say without exposing him to unnecessary attention. If someone has a listed phone number, a disgruntled reader can always call him up and curse him out, but it is an extra step. It should be obvious why someone's contact information should not be published with his letter.

I do not believe the Indiana Daily Student meant any harm, or even intended to publish the number. But the opinion editor and the copy editors need to be more careful about this sort of thing in the future, to protect students' safety. This is a mistake that should never be made. Furthermore, the IDS needs to abolish the practice of publishing letter authors' e-mail addresses. A paid columnist or writer should expect to see his e-mail published, as that is a common practice. A letter writer, however, does not and should not expect that.

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