Recently, the U-T San Diego added conservative radio talk-show host Roger Hedgecock to their columnists roster. Apparently, the paper's given Hedgecock free rein to write whatever he wants, fact-checking be damned. So, we thought we'd take a stab at it. Just for fun. Below are claims made in Hedgecock's recent rant "Have You Had Enough Government Yet?" and the truth.
Claim: A majority of Americans are opposed to the federal government requiring them to buy a health insurance policy whose terms of coverage will be dictated by the government and whose cost will be dictated by the health insurance companies.
Truth: Gallup shows folks are split on Obama's health care plan. USA Today found that while people don't like the mandate to buy health insurance, the majority want the law to stay in place. And as the website Crook and Liars found, poll results are largely the product of inaccurate, hair-on-fire media reports.
Claim: The prayer Jesus taught includes the plea, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Claim: In California, the Air Quality Board has promulgated standards for bakeries that require scrubbers on the exhausts from ovens to protect us from air pollution caused by the smell of baking bread.
Truth: Aww... the smell of baking bread. What could be lovelier? Actually, it's only bakeries that produce more than 100,000 pounds of bread products a day that are regulated—and have been for more than two decades. In other words, no one's going after places like Bread & Cie. The point of the regulations is to reduce VOCs (volatile organic compounds) being emitted into the air by massive bakery ovens. VOCs are kinda nasty.
Claim: Obama’s experts also want to brand sugar a toxin, and the exhaled breath of every living creature on the planet a pollutant.
Truth: Researchers argued in a Feb. 1 article in the journal Nature that sugar should be regulated like alcohol. The researchers are affiliated with UC San Francisco, not the Obama administration.
Claim: Los Angeles County government recently upped the ante, declaring digging holes in the beach sand to build sand castles and Frisbee tossing and football throwing on the beach to be unlawful, with violations carrying a fine of $1,000.
Truth: As the L.A. Times reported, there's no ban on playing Frisbee on the beach, digging holes or building sandcastles. A routine update of county laws turned up an obscure, never-enforced, 40-year-old ban on playing Frisbee and football on public beaches. Supervisors called for that ban to be loosened and then...
...erroneous media reports went viral, with various websites and talk-radio stations spreading the purported news that the county had enacted a $1,000 fine against would-be football and Frisbee throwers. Talk-show host Rush Limbaugh set the tone, calling the county's law an "encroachment of soft tyranny."
Protests started pouring in over phone and email, prompting Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky to hold a news conference to clarify the issue.
He held up a football and assured that "nobody's going to get fined $1,000" for throwing one and asked beachgoers to exercise "common sense."
Claim: The free market moved America from whale oil lamps to gas lamps to electric light bulbs in less than 40 years. Now the government wants to ban that incandescent light bulb in the name of energy conservation.
Truth: And the free market gave us more energy-efficient bulbs, too! As for the "ban," even though regulations to phase out the manufacturing of inefficient incandescent bulbs received bi-partisan support in 2007, in December, Congress pretty much stripped the Department of Energy's ability to enforce the new regulations. (Why fiscal conservatives don't like more efficient bulbs is a head-scratcher; aren't y'all all about saving money?)
Claim: It’s no mystery why Obama is demanding government regulation of the Internet. No authoritarian government can stand the success of freedom.
Truth: You mean PIPA and SOPA? The former was introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy. The latter by Rep. Lamar Smith. Obama didn't support SOPA, nor did he support PIPA.
Claim: Ronald Reagan said, “When government expands, freedom contracts.”
Truth: What he really said was: "As government expands, liberty contracts."