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The rumor that President Barack Obama refuses, or doesn’t know how, to say the pledge of allegiance just won’t die. Since early in his presidential candidacy, we’ve been getting e-mails with photos that purport to show Obama failing to properly salute the flag during the pledge of allegiance or the national anthem. The photos have reliably been real, but taken out of context. The most recent example, for instance, included a genuine photo of Obama standing with hands folded while everyone else saluted or put their hands over their hearts —

Extras: iPhone Death Panels, Newton, UFOs

This week’s political tidbits range from a new iPhone app to 17th century scientists’ correspondence.
There’s an App for That
OMG! We thought we’d seen it all. But an iPhone app designed to test your knowledge about the overhaul of the health care system? Seriously?
To play "Death Panel," the new game from People Operating Technology, players assume the role of a local official who must answer questions about health care. According to the creators,

‘Climategate’

In late November 2009, more than 1,000 e-mails between scientists at the Climate Research Unit of the U.K.’s University of East Anglia were stolen and made public by an as-yet-unnamed hacker. Climate skeptics are claiming that they show scientific misconduct that amounts to the complete fabrication of …

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.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

We've received a number of queries about a photograph purporting to show President Obama at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, listening to the national anthem without his hand over his heart.

Anyone who saw news coverage of Obama on Veterans Day might have smelled a rat right away: He didn't wear a red tie that day, as he does in the picture, but a blue one, and he wore a winter coat over his suit. (We've seen some e-mails claiming that the picture is from the Ft.

Imprisoned for Not Having Health Care?

Q: Could somebody be imprisoned for not purchasing health insurance under the House health care bill?
A: Both House and Senate bills would levy a tax on persons who refuse to obtain coverage. Willfully evading that tax could result in jail time under the bill passed by the House – but not the bill approved by the Senate Finance Committee.

Swine Flu Emergency?

Q: Did President Obama declare a national state of emergency because of H1N1?
A: Yes, but claims that this is an effort to instill panic in the American population show a misunderstanding of what such a declaration actually means.

Inoculation Misinformation

Wild rumors are flying about the newly developed vaccine for pandemic influenza H1N1, also known as “swine flu.” We’ve seen e-mails stating that the vaccine is tainted with antifreeze or Agent Orange, causes Gulf War syndrome, or has killed U.S. Navy sailors. One says the vaccine is an “evil depopulation scheme.” …

Grayson’s Iffy Claims

Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson is facing rebuke from House Republicans for saying that "Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick." In a Sept. 29 speech on the House floor, Grayson said that the Republican health care plan is: "Don’t get sick. And if you do get sick, die quickly." Grayson later told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, "What I mean is they have got no plan," and that the lack of plan would allow uninsurance-related deaths to continue.

The DNC and Senior Scare

The Democratic National Committee has released a new TV ad about health care legislation, this time on the Senate Finance Committee proposal.

In the ad, the DNC takes on Republicans for "trying to scare seniors about health reform," saying that news outlets had called their claims "dishonest" and "scare-mongering." The ad’s citations for both quotes check out – the first is from an editorial in the Palm Beach Post, the second from an editorial in The New York Times.