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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Court Watch: Pennsylvania Slime

In another installment of our occasional Court Watch series, we look at mudslinging in the final days of the contest to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in Pennsylvania. In one ad, the state GOP alleges that Democratic candidate Jack Panella, a Superior Court judge, “turned his back” on the wrongful imprisonment of hundreds …

October 31, 2009

The Catholic Church’s All Saints’ Day ( "Alholowmesse" in Middle English) was called All-hallows and the night before, All-hallows Eve, which became the word Halloween.
Source: History.com

Fun with Semantics

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele takes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to task in an RNC fundraising e-mail for claiming that a tax increase isn’t a tax increase. But Steele adds some spin of his own, falsely charging that the tax in question falls on "middle class families and small businesses."
The RNC mailer accuses Pelosi of using "political doublespeak to mislead the American people" and links to a clip of a CNBC interview in which the speaker is asked whether allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire isn’t a "tax increase."

October 30, 2009

Halloween’s origins date back 2,000 years to the Celtic new year’s eve celebration, called Samhain, when the harvest ended and winter began. The Celts believed that the ghosts of the dead walked the earth on Oct. 31.
Source: History.com

The Obama Phone?

Q: Has the Obama administration started a program to use "taxpayer money" to give free cell phones to welfare recipients?
A: No. Low-income households have been eligible for discounted telephone service for more than a decade. But the program is funded by telecom companies, not by taxes, and the president has nothing to do with it.

October 29, 2009

In the early 1990s before a vaccine was available for chickenpox, about 50 children and 50 adults died from the disease each year. Some deaths still occur in unvaccinated individuals.
Source: CDC

Creepy Cap-and-Trade Claims are Illusions

It’s that spooky time of year, and legislation pending in Congress to curb carbon emissions is really giving the American Energy Alliance the willies.
What’s haunting us is the group’s misuse of statistics in a new ad attacking Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina for his support of the cap-and-trade approach that’s central to the major House and Senate bills.

According to the narrator: "This frightening tax will further hurt our economy, costing millions of American jobs,

Corzine, Christie Spar Over Income Taxes

With their race coming down to the wire, the candidates in New Jersey’s gubernatorial contest are attacking each other as ferociously as ever.
A TV ad from Republican Chris Christie accuses Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine of not paying state income taxes last year. Corzine’s campaign says the claim is an "outright lie." We find it to be true in a literal sense, but its implications are false.
The Christie ad says: "Last year, millionaire Corzine paid nothing,

October 28, 2009

The U.S. record for the most precipitation in 1 minute is 1.23 inches, which fell in Unionville, Md., on July 4, 1956.
Source: NOAA’s National Weather Service

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Oct. 20-Oct. 26

This week, readers sent us comments on health systems performance, polling questions and local political races.
In the FactCheck Mailbag we feature some of the e-mail we receive. Readers can send comments to editor@factcheck.org. Letters may be edited for length.