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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

January 31, 2010

Chikungunya fever is caused by a virus spread by infected mosquitoes. In recent years, cases have been reported in parts of Asia and the Indian Ocean.
Source: CDC

January 30, 2010

Any donations to Haiti relief efforts made this year (by Feb. 28) can be taken as a deduction against 2009 taxes.
Source: IRS

Lawmaker Loopholes?

Q: Is Congress exempt from “many” laws including one against sexual harassment?
A: No. The latest e-mail rant against Congress — proposing a “28th Amendment” to the Constitution — is full of false and outdated claims.

More State of the Union

A section of our story "Obama’s State of the Union Address" was inadvertently dropped when we posted the article Thursday. It shows that Obama spoke a little too sweepingly when he claimed that lobbyists have been cut out of policymaking jobs in his administration. We’ve added the section to the piece, and we include it below:

K St. to the White House: Road Almost Closed
Obama touted his efforts to change Washington’s ways.
Obama: [W]e’ve excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs or seats on federal boards and commissions.

January 29, 2010

Thomas Jefferson was the first president to deliver a "State of the Union" message in writing, instead of personally before a joint session of Congress. Subsequent presidents followed suit, until 1913, when President Woodrow Wilson made the speech in person. 
Source: Congressional Research Service

Obama’s State of the Union Address

President Obama peppered his State of the Union address to Congress and the nation with facts, which were mostly right but sometimes cherry-picked, strained or otherwise misleading. He said “there are about 2 million Americans working right now” because of last year’s stimulus bill. But his own economic advisers say …

January 28, 2010

The opposition party’s response to the State of the Union address began in 1966 when Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen of Illinois and Republican Rep. Gerald R. Ford of Michigan delivered the rebuttal to President Lyndon Johnson’s speech. 
Source: Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House

January 27, 2010

The "State of the Union address" was formally known as the "Annual Message" from 1790 until 1934.
Source: Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House

FactCheck Mailbag, Week of Jan. 19-Jan. 25

This week, readers sent us comments on a recent Supreme Court decision, political corruption and other readers’ comments. 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.

School Photo

Here at FactCheck.org, we’ve seen our share of fake photos of President Obama. So we were suspicious when a reader e-mailed us a silly-looking photo of the president speaking in a grade-school classroom with teleprompter, podium and presidential seal. The photo is so silly, in fact, that it was the butt of a late-night comedian’s ridicule. But this picture is real.
The White House video of this event prompted Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart to ask incredulously,