Animal rights extremists pretend to be "physicians"

The so-called “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” has rented billboards in Indianapolis urging people attending the Brickyard 400 to stay away from hot dogs because they are unhealthy.

First, let’s cut away the spin and expose the truth. The PCRM is an “animal rights” group with a plethora of ties to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and has been funded by PETA in the past. Their holy war against hot dogs does not have one single thing to do with human health. This is only due to the fact that they believe eating meat is immoral. They are hippies pretending to be doctors.

Look, if you believe that eating meat is immoral, fine. I disagree with you, but you have the right to eat or not eat whatever you wish. You have also have the right to try to convince others to follow what you consider to be a “moral” diet that does not involve meat or animal products. Despite my disagreement with your religion (and it is a religion) I can respect your beliefs and the sincerity of those beliefs.

What I do not respect, however, are liars and frauds. When you shamelessly lie to me about your true intentions, I cannot respect your argument. It is impossible to have a rational discussion with a liar. If you want to be treated with respect, then behave in a manner that deserves respect. The PCRM deserves no respect whatsoever.

Second, the PCRM’s so-called “study” is based on someone eating a hot dog every single day and the alleged increased risk of cancer caused by such dietary choices. But it is more than a little dishonest to take an extreme case and use it to condemn a popular treat. How many people actually eat a hot dog every single day? What are the risks (if any) of consuming an occasional hot dog instead?

I have consumed an average of about two or three hot dogs per year over the last twenty years. However, I am going to go to Naughty Dog this weekend. I will take a picture of whatever I order and send it to PCRM.

Attack on Mike Pence in conflict with the facts

This was submitted to the Muncie Star-Press on July 27, 2011

To the editor:

A July 26 letter to the editor falsely claims that Mike Pence never stood up to President Bush. Criticism is fine, but that criticism needs to be factual.

The fact is that Pence consistently stood for fiscal conservatism during the Bush years, opposing new federal programs such as the Medicare prescription drug entitlement and the No Child Left Behind law.

In fact, Pence led the revolt in the House of Representatives that delayed passage of the bailout of Wall Street – a bailout supported by the establishment of both parties including President Bush, Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama and John McCain.

The letter writer may have been misinformed. The Indiana Democratic Party is not misinformed. They know the facts well, so when the Democrats posted a link to the letter on Twitter they were intentionally misleading their followers.

I call on John Gregg to denounce the false propaganda advanced by his party. Civility demands that parties and candidates be truthful, and the Indiana Democratic Party failed in that regard.

Finally, the Muncie Star-Press should have known better than to publish this letter to the editor. Congressman Pence’s record is well documented and letters containing false claims should be withheld from publication. This was a bad call by the editor, and corrective action should be taken so that the newspaper does not publish false claims in the future – especially claims that are so obviously false, as this one was.

Journalistic integrity at the Herald-Times

I sent the following e-mail to the Herald-Times reporters who wrote the July 18 article about the cocaine problem in Bloomington. Whoever is responsible for Lauren Spierer’s disappearance should be held fully accountable, but groundless speculation and gossip does not help anyone.

Greetings,

With all due respect, inserting the speculation about cocaine’s role in the Lauren Spierer case tarnishes what is otherwise a good piece of investigative journalism about the cocaine problem here in Bloomington. You admit in your article that there is only speculation about cocaine in the Spierer case at this point, so why even include the fact that rumors are circulating?

If the H-T has some hard evidence of cocaine use (such a blood test results) then let’s see that evidence. Until then, reporting unfounded speculation and rumors belongs in the pages of the National Enquirer or Weekly World News, not in the primary news source for a university community that houses one of the nation’s best schools of journalism.

There are way too many rumors floating around out there, with a number of wild accusations in the comments on HeraldTimesOnline. We’re not just talking about Ms. Spierer here, but also about the reputations and futures of her friends. The H-T has a responsibility to the people involved in this case, to the readers and (most importantly) to the truth to be very careful about what is printed in the newspaper or posted to HeraldTimesOnline until more facts are available.

It is very easy for a lynch mob to form in cases like these. We have seen it in the Casey Anthony case (an innocent woman in Nevada was attacked by a vigilante because she looked like Anthony) and we saw it in the utterly shameful Duke “University” lacrosse case, where the so-called “university” immediately punished players who had committed no crime and had no sexual contact whatsoever with fraudulent “rape” victim Crystal Gail Mangum.

Let’s not have the H-T smearing the reputations of these young people without evidence.

Scott Tibbs

Zaltsberg fails to spin away the truth

Herald-Times editor Bob Zaltsberg attempted to explain away the newspaper’s call for one party rule yesterday, by basically saying “we did not actually say what we said. You misinterpreted it.” Of course, the H-T did call for one party rule. See the following statement.

Perhaps it’s time to lay the local Republican Party to rest in Monroe County. That would at least shift the public’s attention to the various factions and philosophical differences within the Democratic Party, and make room for those differences to articulate themselves.

It is unusual for the newspaper to officially respond to a letter to the editor, so my criticism must have stung last week. This is not because I did something special, of course. I merely pointed out the obvious.

Zaltsberg failed miserably in his attempt to spin the facts. A “clarification” of that editorial two weeks after the fact carries very little credibility – especially when the H-T could have easily published a clarification on the editorial page within a couple of days or posted an online editorial clarifying the position within a few hours. If the H-T is so concerned that its editorial was misinterpreted, why did they wait two and a half weeks to issue that clarification?

I’m simply not buying it, and a lot of other people have the same attitude. The Herald-Times got caught with its pants down and now Zaltsberg is trying to backpedal.

How refreshing it would be if the H-T would simply man up and admit that the editorial was an overreach. Instead of more of the same dishonest spin that is so common in politics, the H-T could have owned what they said and apologized for it. Instead, the H-T has further damaged its own credibility with more shameful dishonesty.

Yes, the Republican Party’s showing in the 2011 city election is and will be pathetic. There are only three candidates on the ballot for eleven offices. The best the GOP can possibly hope for is a 6-3 Democratic majority, and that would take a miracle. But there would be five candidates if not for the incompetence of the former GOP chairman, who missed the deadline to file paperwork to place two more candidates on the ballot.

Republican struggles in the city are not new, even though this year is particularly pathetic. There is a strong chance that the city council will have a 9-0 Democratic majority in January. But as I have explained before, the city and the county are not the same. Republicans hold two seats on the county council and the county Recorder’s Office. Republicans dominated Richland and Van Buren township elections in 2010. Lumping the entire county in with the city demonstrates an ignorance that is simply not acceptable, especially for the primary source for local news.

No one denies that Monroe County Republican Party is in shambles, hampered not only by incompetence and a severe lack of confidence but also by years of sabotage by a number of malcontents. There’s no reason the party cannot regain its footing, especially in county elections. The 2011 city elections are a lost cause and even making an impact in 2012 may be difficult. But with the help of a motivated and active chapter of the College Republicans the GOP can be rebuilt.

Previously:


Humiliation leads to character assasination

Last week on HeraldTimesOnline, Greg Travis posted the following (now deleted) comment in response to a story about a hate crime suspect. Travis serves on the Economic Development Commission as an appointee of the Monroe County Council and is the husband of failed county commissioner candidate Sophia Travis.

Then there’s your friend, Scott Tibbs, who here on HTO has referred to Judaism as a “Doctrine of Devils.”

Now, where exactly does this come from?

Back in May, I humiliated Greg Travis when he was posting outrageous lies about Biblical doctrine regarding eating meat. Travis claimed that Christian doctrine forbids eating meat, which is a lie. After I demonstrated how completely wrong he was, he posted the same foolishness on MobTalk.net and I humiliated him again. Unable to admit he was wrong, Travis posted the same foolishness on the Herald-Times website again, only to be proven wrong again. Because he is bitter about being embarrassed, Travis must try to defame me as an anti-Semite.

Let me clear up this foolishness. The Bible declares in 1 Timothy 4:1-4 that those who command others to abstain from meat are preaching a doctrine of devils. This statement was written by the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In case you didn’t know, Paul was a Jew. Not only was Paul a Jew, he was a Pharisee who strictly adhered to the ceremonial Jewish law before his conversion to Christianity.

That’s right, the Apostle Paul (who wrote the “anti-Semitic” statement) was a Jew.

Christians consider the Bible to be the Word of God. If 1 Timothy 4:1-4 (written by a Jew) is anti-Semitic, then every Christian on the planet is an anti-Semite for accepting the Bible as the Word of God. Is Travis claiming that all Christians are anti-Semites? This is something that failed County Commissioner candidate Sophia Travis can expect to answer for should she run for office again in the future. Does she share her husband’s view of Christianity?

The fact of the matter is that every single person who forbids eating meat as part of their religion is preaching a doctrine of devils. This includes People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (an organization Travis supports) and the blasphemous trash they post on their site. As a Christian, I will never back away from this absolute truth.

Greg Travis (husband of failed county commissioner candidate Sophia Travis) is a crybaby who fancies himself to be some sort of Avatar of Knowledge. His bloated ego cannot handle being proven wrong and embarrassed, so he is now obsessed with defaming and discrediting me. But because his basis for this character assassination is that I submit to the Bible, he is defaming all Christians.

Monroe County deserves better than to have someone on the Economic Development Commission who has this bigoted attitude toward Christians. The County Council should never have appointed him to this position of authority, and should remove him as soon as legally permissible.

We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem!

Calvin Woodward of the Associated Press makes the utterly laughable suggestion that liquidating the government’s gold reserves “could raise a very handy $400 billion” for deficit reduction, comparing it to selling the family’s jewelry during hard economic times. The point is to compare the federal budget to “kitchen table” economics.

Of course, that would be completely meaningless, short-sighted and foolhardy. The estimated budget deficit for 2011 is $1.64 trillion. That’s not the national debt, folks. That is the amount that spending exceeds revenue just for one single year. Government spending increased dramatically from $2.98 trillion in 2008 to an estimated $3.82 trillion in 2011, according to the official White House web site.

What that means is this: If we sold every last ounce of gold in our reserves, the federal budget deficit for 2011 alone would be $1.2 trillion. Liquidating our gold would eliminate only 1/4 of the budget deficit and would have absolutely no effect from 2012 and beyond. A silly suggestion like this should not be taken seriously. We are on a path that everyone knows is unsustainable, and we have no other choice but to drastically reduce government spending.

The arguments from Democrats on the deficit represent shifting goalposts. First, they argue that we must increase taxes in order to close the budget shortfall. When conservatives point out (correctly) that spending is the problem, Democrats complain we cannot reduce spending because that would hurt the economy. Hello? Increasing taxes would hurt the economy too – something Barack Obama himself admitted last December when he decided not to raise taxes.

If we are going to get a long-term handle on the deficit, we need to deal with entitlements, which represent a huge portion of government spending. But fear mongering by Leftists makes a rational discussion more difficult. A couple months ago, a Leftist group released a video with a man shoving a terrified elderly woman off a cliff. This supposedly represented what Republicans wanted to do to seniors.

In response, a conservative group released a parody of that ad, pointing out that unless we solve the budget crisis, we will condemn future generations to crushing tax and debt burdens that will strangle both the economy and personal wealth. Whether the image of tossing a child off a cliff is appropriate or not, this is something that must be solved and it is incredibly irresponsible of politicians to keep handing out the cash with no effort to balance the budget.

Obama headed for defeat in 2012

President Barack Obama is toast in 2012:

Registered voters by a significant margin now say they are more likely to vote for the “Republican Party’s candidate for president” than for President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, 47% to 39%. Preferences had been fairly evenly divided this year in this test of Obama’s re-election prospects.

Source: Gallup.com

This is bad news for the President. The fact that the incumbent President is polling at only 39% less than 15 months from the election against a generic opponent demonstrates just how weak he is. Thirty-nine percent is basically the Democratic base, with a plurality looking to vote for “anyone but Obama.”

I said last December that Obama-mania was never real. Obama won the White House on nebulous promises of hope and change, against a weak Republican candidate who was despised by the Republican base. But two and a half years later, Obama has a record. We have seen the budget deficit explode thanks to Obama’s reckless spending and we have seen the economy mired in a terrible slump.

This poll is especially noteworthy because none of the Republican candidates has managed to light a fire under the Republican base. Combine this with the total rejection of the Democratic Party in the 2010 election, and 2012 is looking very good for the eventual Republican nominee.

The Herald-Times’ shocking call for one-party rule

Printed in the Herald-Times, July 19, 2011

To the editor:

I was shocked that the Herald-Times advocated for one-party rule in Monroe County after the Republican ex-chairman missed the deadline to place two more Republicans on the ballot.

City elections and county elections are very different. The GOP’s failure to field candidates this year should be balanced against the 2010 elections. Republicans filled most of the ballot, and the only real failure was not having a candidate in County Council District 1. It is no surprise that no one wanted to challenge sitting judges or the always-dominant Judy Sharp.

Republicans dominated Richland and Van Buren township elections, won back a seat on the Monroe County Council and won back the Recorder’s office. The most Republican areas of Monroe County have now joined the rest of the county in the new Ninth District.

The Herald-Times’ call for one-party rule with policy differences decided by factions of the Democratic Party is without merit. Even with intra-party disagreements, there are enough differences between the two parties that a dissenting voice needs to exist.

Finally, conflict between the parties during the general election generates interest in local news. The Herald-Times is disregarding its own economic interest in the pursuit of a partisan pipe dream.

Google Plus overview

I joined Google Plus yesterday. Here are my thoughts on Google’s attempt to compete with Twitter and Facebook on a social networking platform.

On Facebook, you only have a connection to someone else if a “friend” request is both sent and approved. On Google Plus, you follow and are followed by other profiles without approval. You could technically follow many more profiles than follow you, or vice versa. In this way, it is much more like Twitter than Facebook. Right now, Google Plus is not nearly as robust as Facebook with its many applications, games and so forth. I expect that will change quickly.

Here is an annoyance. All of your Google products are linked to your Google Plus profile. This means my “album” of pictures posted to this blog is linked on my profile. If the album is not public, then pictures do not load on the blog. This is not a big deal, since all of the pictures in the album were posted to this blog anyway, but it would be nice to have the option to not link to it. Furthermore, the collection of pictures looks strange without the blog posts to provide context.

I have not found a way to feed my blog posts into Google Plus, like you can with Twitter and Facebook. That doesn’t mean the feature is not there, of course, just that I have not found it yet. Right now, when I post on this blog, both my Twitter feed and the Facebook fan page for ConservaTibbs are automatically updated. I expect Google will add that feature soon if it doesn’t exist already.

Unless there is an option to add a feed to Google Plus, I don’t expect my profile will be updated often or will contain much more than the bare minimum it does now. I have more than enough to do without adding something else.

Microsoft Office 2010

I’ve been using Microsoft Office 2010 for a few months, and here are some thoughts.

First, Microsoft fixed the bug in 2007 that made it nearly impossible to distinguish between highlighted cells and non-highlighted cells in Excel, so that is a huge improvement.

Another bug, however, has not been fixed. You still have to change the preferences in two different places to get Word and Outlook to not change straight quotes into “smart” quotes. This is simply bad design, and unlike last time (when Office went through a major facelift with the ribbons) there is simply no excuse not to fix it.

Microsoft has fully changed Outlook to use the ribbons, whereas the last version of Outlook was a hybrid between the ribbons and the old file menus from previous versions. The biggest annoyance is that Outlook is now much slower than before in both sending and receiving messages. This needs to change.

But those are far from the biggest annoyances. When you copy-paste text into Excel, the program will not unwrap the pasted text. It simply ignores clicking the “wrap text” button at the top to undo it, and it ignores unchecking the “wrap text” option in the “format cells” menu. This is really annoying, but it can be fixed by setting the row height.

But there is no reason this should be the case. The program should never ignore the “wrap text” button in the ribbon. How about just not forcing the text to wrap in the first place? There is a “wrap text” button I can easily click if I choose to wrap text. Excel should not force me to change it, and it certainly should not ignore me when I try to fix it.

This is not Microsoft’s first trip around the block. How many versions of Office have they released now? You would think they would know what they are doing by now. You should never have features in the previous version of Office suddenly refuse to work once you upgrade to the new software. But that is not surprising from this company, because every single release of Internet Explorer has been worse than the one before since IE7 was released.

Microsoft needs to do better with the next release.