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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

November 24, 2009

President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving 1939 would be held not on the last Thursday of the month, but the fourth Thursday. The declaration, which moved the national holiday up to Nov. 23 that year, was made at the request of business owners who wanted more shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Source: FDR Presidential Library

November 23, 2009

President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be a national holiday, observed on the last Thursday of November, in 1863.
Source: Census Bureau

November 22, 2009

Minnesota is expected to be the top turkey-producing state in 2009, raising 45.5 million of the Thanksgiving bird.
Source: Census Bureau

November 21, 2009

Of the 709 million pounds of cranberries estimated to be produced in the U.S. in 2009, 400 million pounds will come from Wisconsin.
Source: Census Bureau

Gimmicks in the Health Care Bill?

Democrats in Congress have been pleased with the Congressional Budget Office’s findings that both the House and Senate health care bills would reduce the deficit over 10 years. But is that assessment due to some accounting trickery in the bills?
The conservative Employment Policies Institute is airing an ad on cable news networks featuring June O’Neill, former director of the CBO in the mid- to late ’90s, who says that "some politicians are using accounting gimmicks to hide the cost"

Extras: Palin, Rubio, Apps and Chain E-mails

From time to time we come across bits of political malarkey or other items that don’t quite rate a full article. Starting today, we’ll collect these tidbits in a new, occasional feature we call "Extras."

Palin: "Who makes a decision like that?"
In a Nov. 6 appearance at a no-cameras-allowed fundraiser, Sarah Palin criticized moving the words "In God We Trust" onto the edges of some new $1 coins: "Who calls a shot like that?

A Premium Freeze? Don’t Believe It.

In defense of House members who are under attack for supporting that body’s health care bill, two liberal-leaning organizations are on the air with ads that go overboard in describing the wonders of the legislation.
Americans United for Change and a labor union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, say they’re spending $1.7 million to run the cookie-cutter spots in 13 congressional districts where lawmakers have been hit with attack ads from the U.S.

November 20, 2009

The 2009 forecast for turkey sale receipts to farmers is $3.8 billion.

Source: Census Bureau

Not Just the Facts

Here at FactCheck.org, we’re always excited to see news organizations devoting time to fact-checking. So we were pleased to see that the Associated Press had decided to fact-check Sarah Palin’s new memoir, "Going Rogue." Putting 11 reporters on the task strikes us as overkill, but that might just be because it’s four more than our entire staff. Still, we’re glad to see others taking up the fact-checking standard.
Not everyone was a fan, though. The Columbia Journalism Review‘s Greg Marx is unimpressed with the AP’s efforts.

Recovery Stats Get Rougher

We reported yesterday that the federal government’s Recovery.gov Web site, which purports to track jobs created or saved with stimulus money, was citing new jobs in nonexistent congressional districts. Today a new report from the Government Accountability Office brings news that phantom districts aren’t the only problem.
GAO found almost 4,000 reports that showed jobs created or saved but no money received or expended. Those reports represented more than 50,000 jobs. Recovery.gov’s total job count is 640,329.