Archive for August, 2008

Liberal Scholars Question Governor Palin’s Credentials

Here is some biased journalism if ever I saw it. The Politico, which covers Washington politics, has published a piece stating that history scholars say Sarah Palin is the least experienced Vice-Presidential pick in modern times. Reading the article is quite likely to make one believe that the current Alaska governor is not qualified to be Vice President.

What the article doesn’t say is that most of the historians interviewed for the story — Matthew Dallek, Joel Goldstein, David Kennedy, and Doris Kearns Goodwin — are scholars known for having liberal political views, and some have even donated to the Obama campaign. That could certainly taint their objectivity on Governor Palin’s credentials, but The Politico chose to leave those details out. A single conservative — Brad Blakeman — was included in the piece, but his opinion received only two paragraphs in the two-page article. Hardly fair and balanced.

The Politico does do some excellent reporting on occasion, but this is not one of those times.

Advertisements

Comments (1)

Sarah Palin: McCain’s Extraordinary Choice

The race for the White House took a surprising turn today when John McCain selected Sarah Palin as his running mate. As Hugh Hewitt stated, “McCain has turned the race on its head.”

Picking Palin was a fantastic decision on the part of McCain. The Republican candidate has energized social conservatives to a degree which they haven’t been at any other point during this campaign season. Sure, there was some excitement about Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson and even Mitt Romney. But now, all the conservatives have unified around one person, a woman who doesn’t just claim to have conservative principles but who actually lives out those principles.

Many who were uncertain about McCain’s conservative credentials (myself included) are now becoming truly excited about the possibility of having McCain and Palin running the country. I hope that the enthusiasm lasts all the way to Election Day and beyond.

Comments (3)

Alabama Taxing Fat People?

Is Alabama really going to start taxing its overweight citizens at a higher rate than other Alabamians? That is what one might infer from numerous national headlines this past week. But is it true? Not really, and it just shows how the media is willing to manipulate a story to generate a shocking headline.

The story being covered is about the Alabama State Employees’ Insurance Board and its decision to charge state workers twenty-five dollars a month for single coverage health insurance beginning in the year 2010. I am an employee of the State of Alabama, so I do have a little first-hand knowledge of this situation. And I can say that most media write-ups contained multiple inaccuracies. As an example, I will use an article posted on Health.com.

In the article, it is stated that the SEIB will charge overweight workers twenty-five dollars a month. That is not quite accurate. As I stated in the last paragraph, the fee applies to everyone who has single coverage. However, the Board will be offering a “wellness premium discount” of twenty-five dollars (essentially making coverage free again) to anyone who follows certain guidelines that the Board has laid out, which can be found at this link). If you take the time to read the information about the wellness discount, observe that even employees at risk due to their health can still receive the premium discount provided that they follow a few simple steps.

The next inaccuracy in the article is where it says health insurance “is currently free for all state employees.” How I wish that were true! What the writer may have meant is that up to this point, single coverage has been free. People with families (like myself) who want to cover their spouses and children have had to pay a sizable monthly premium for years.

Next, Health.com states that Alabama is the second fattest state in the country, right behind Mississippi. While that was true for 2007, the latest data shows that West Virginia has inched its way (no pun intended) ahead of Alabama for 2008. Still not good, but slightly better than what the article says.

Finally, I want address the notion of calling the twenty-five-dollar health insurance premium a “tax”. While the State Employees’ Insurance Board is an agency of the State of Alabama, in many ways, it acts very much like any other insurance provider one might encounter. The Board certainly has no authority to levy taxes, which is solely the privilege of the Alabama Legislature. What we are talking about is not a tax; it is a premium like what is assessed by insurance companies the world over. This is the first time I have ever heard of an insurance premium being called a tax, and I am not certain whether it is ignorance on the part of the media or a deliberate deception.

In conclusion: no, obese people do not have to pay a “fat tax” in Alabama. And yes, you should be skeptical of everything you read — even relatively mundane stories like this one.

Comments (1)

Obama and Biden’s Differences on Foreign Policy

Amanda Carpenter has an interesting post on a topic which few are talking about: the fact that Barack Obama evidently picked Joe Biden as his running mate because of his much-touted foreign policy expertise, yet Obama and Biden have had very public disagreements on what to do outside of U.S. borders.

Consider this: in 2002, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and many more Senate Democrats voted to give authorization to President Bush to use military force in Iraq. During the primary season, Obama claimed that Clinton’s vote for the war showed that she did not have the judgment to be President. Does that mean that Senator Biden lacks judgement as well since he voted the same way? Then why did Obama name Biden as his choice for Vice President, a position which is essentially a President-in-waiting?

In addition to the initial vote for war, Obama and Biden also disagree on funding the war, whether to meet with hostile nations without preconditions, and how to deal with Iran. Add to that Biden’s controversial plan of a couple of years ago to divide up Iraq into three sections to segregate the country’s three main ethnic groups, plus Biden’s public statement about Obama’s lack of readiness to be President during a primary debate.

With all these differences, it is difficult to envision two men who could agree any less on foreign policy.

Leave a Comment

Nadal Is the Number One Player in Men’s Tennis Post-Olympics

This has been a great year for Rafael Nadal. Not only did the Spanish tennis star win his fourth consecutive French Open plus very first Wimbledon title, but on Sunday he won an Olympic gold medal in the men’s singles tennis final in Beijing.

But it gets even better. Today, the Association of Tennis Professionals released their updated rankings, and Nadal is now officially the best player in men’s tennis. He takes the World No. 1 spot away from Roger Federer, who had dominated the ATP rankings for over four years.

Rafael Nadal, who holds the record for the longest span of time ranked at number two (160 weeks), has finally emerged from the shadow of Federer, undeniably one of the greatest men to ever play the sport (if not the greatest). This has been a long time coming, and it is now Nadal’s time to shine.

Comments (1)

Don Siegelman Will Speak at the Democratic Convention

Don Siegelman is well-known in Alabama politics, having served as secretary of state, attorney general, lieutenant governor, and finally governor of the state. Siegelman is also one of the most corrupt politician in the history of Alabama (and trust me — given the history of the state — that is saying a lot, I am sad to say). Alongside HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, he was convicted in 2006 on charges of bribery and mail fraud. Siegelman was sentenced to over seven years in prison for his crimes, but he was released earlier this year while he appeals his case.

Now, it turns out that the former Alabama governor has been selected to speak at the Democratic National Convention in Denver later this month. Apparently, the conventional Democratic view is that Siegelman is completely innocent of everything he was found guilty of by a jury of his peers, and the whole indictment and conviction matter is the result of a Republican conspiracy headed up by none other than Karl Rove. I kid you not.

As I have said before, I am amazed at the willingness of the Democratic Party to overlook the reprobate (and sometimes criminal) behavior of its members. Just imagine the outrage that would ensue if the Republicans dared to put Larry Craig or Mark Foley up on stage at their convention!

Comments (1)

Phelps Sets the Record for Most Olympic Gold Medals

Michael Phelps seems to be unstoppable at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad in Beijing. The American swimmer has competed in five events thus far and has taken the gold in every one. Even more amazing, Phelps set a world record in all five of the events.

In addition to his current inventory of five gold medals from Beijing, Phelps won six gold (and two bronze) four years ago in Athens. With a total of eleven, Michael Phelps has more gold medals than any other Olympian in history. And with three more events to compete in at these Olympic Games, he probably isn’t done yet.

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »