With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado, pot is hot. So when a reader was curious about the accuracy of an Internet meme about hemp -- a close botanical cousin of marijuana that has been caught up on in the war on drugs -- they sent it our way. The graphic says: "In 1916, the U.S. government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees would need to be cut down." The claim has proliferated all over the Internet. Sometimes a source is listed (such as the U.S. Department of ...>> More
Facebook posts: "In 1916, the U.S. government predicted that by the 1940s all paper would come from hemp and that no more trees would need to be cut down."
Barack Obama: "For the first time in nearly two decades, we produce more oil here in the United States than we buy from the rest of the world."
President Barack Obama this week touted the progress his administration has made in recovering from the economic recession, focusing on developments in engineering and manufacturing. "Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice of the American people, the good news is the economy is growing stronger," he said in a speech on Jan. 15, 2014, at North Carolina State University. "Our businesses have now created more than 8 million new jobs since we hit bottom. Because of an all-of-the-above strategy for American energy, for the first time in nearly two decades, we produce more oil here in the United States ...>> More
Robert Gates: On foreign policy, Joe Biden was against aid for Vietnam, said the fall of the Shah was "a step forward" for human rights in Iran, opposed Reagan's defense build-up and voted against the first Gulf War.
A new memoir from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates hit the book shelves this month, drawing both praise and criticism for its candid insights into the two most recent presidents Gates worked for, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and their administrations. Washington reporters immediately latched on to Gates’ portrayal of Vice President Joe Biden. Biden, he said, is a nice guy — "simply impossible not to like" — but "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades." Ouch. Asked to back up his harsh words Jan. 13, 2014, on National ...>> More
Chris Murphy: "Only 3 percent of voters 18 to 34 don't believe that climate change is really happening."
More than a dozen Senate Democrats called a news conference on Jan. 14, 2014, to draw attention to their efforts to curb climate change. One of those senators -- Chris Murphy, D-Conn. -- focused his remarks on the impact of public opinion on advancing an agenda on climate-change policy. Murphy said that advocates for policies to address climate-change "have to convince Republicans -- and those who would stand against the action that we're proposing -- of the electoral consequences of continuing to ignore this issue. We have to tell Republicans that if they ultimately want to stop the hemorrhaging ...>> More
Steve Southerland: "If you have a job in this country, (there's a) 97 percent chance that you're not going to be in poverty."
Five decades after President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the War on Poverty, Fox News Sunday invited Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., among others, to discuss the anniversary. Host John Roberts asked Southerland about ending current programs and moving to a system of block grants: "You said, looking back on Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, it has failed and failed miserably. Do you keep putting more money into existing programs or do you -- as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) suggested earlier this week -- fundamentally reform everything, (taking) a big pot of money that the federal government has and (giving) that ...>> More
In 2014, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone travelling without a laptop or smartphone, whether it’s professionals toiling over PowerPoint graphs on planes or teenagers scrolling through Instagram in the backseats of cars. So when a reader asked PolitiFact to vet a Facebook post about travelling across U.S. borders with electronics, we were intrigued. "If you live within 100 miles of the United States border, then you're in what is being called, the 'Constitution exemption zone,’ " read the post on a page called World Must Wake Up. "U.S. District Judge Edward Korman ruled that authorities along the U.S ...>> More
In the midst of a battle over whether to extend unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed, President Barack Obama’s Facebook page posted this: "Unemployment insurance kept more than 620,000 children out of poverty in 2012. Tell Congress to renew job seekers' economic lifeline." We wondered whether this claim, which was posted Jan. 7, 2014, was accurate. We checked with Organizing for Action, the pro-Obama group that the president has deputized to handle his personal Twitter and Facebook accounts. Organizing for Action spokeswoman Katie Hogan said the numbers were based on a report by the Joint Economic Committee, a ...>> More
The war on poverty would be more effective if states had more control over federal programs such as Head Start, says U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. In an interview with Rubio on CBS’ Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer pointed out this approach resembles the optional Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Right-leaning leaders in several states rejected federal money to cover more residents through the federal-state program. "What if these states opt out of these programs?" Schieffer asked. Obamacare is different, Rubio replied. "Well, here’s the distinguishing factor. Under Obamacare, when you turn Medicaid over to the states, ...>> More
On the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s announcement of the War on Poverty, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., gave a speech at an event titled, "Income Mobility and the American Dream," sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. During the speech, Rubio made a claim about the relationship between marriage and poverty. "Until at least a few decades ago, our economy proved sufficiently dynamic and innovative to replace old jobs with new ones, but that hasn't been happening in recent years," Rubio said. "Social factors also play a major role in denying equal opportunity. The truth ...>> More
Rand Paul: "There are many studies that indicate" that the longer people get unemployment insurance, "it provides some disincentive to work."
Just days before the U.S. Senate began consideration of a bill to renew expiring benefits for the long-term unemployed, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., raised questions about how effective such a policy would be. Appearing on the Jan. 5, 2014, edition of ABC’s This Week, Paul said he was concerned "that the longer you have it, that it provides some disincentive to work, and that there are many studies that indicate this. So, what I've been saying all along, we have to figure out how to create jobs and keep people from becoming long-term unemployed." Paul has taken ...>> More
About 1.3 million Americans rang in 2014 with a loss of long-term unemployment benefits, due to Congress’ failure to renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program before its Dec. 28 expiration. Gene Sperling, a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama and director of the National Economic Council, is pushing Congress to extend the benefits. The Senate passed a key procedural hurdle Tuesday, but the House is not considered likely to follow suit. To receive the benefits, the law requires that people actively look for jobs. On CNN’s State of the Union, Candy Crowley suggested that some people may ...>> More
Tweets: It’s warmer on Mars than it is in parts of the United States and Canada during the polar vortex.
The polar vortex takes no prisoners. At the start of 2014, the Midwest, East Coast and parts of Canada experienced brutally cold temperatures, some of them record-breaking. We’ve seen pitiable tweets from #ChiBeria and tales of people burning themselves in the name of cold-weather science. But what really caught our eye was the number of people comparing the climates of Earth and Mars. There’s no shortage of claims on Twitter about different cities being colder than Mars: Minneapolis, Toronto, Chicago, you name it. Outlets like Yahoo and Smithsonian magazine also spread the information around ...>> More
Gene Sperling: The Obama administration offered "no magic number" of people that needed to sign up for health care on the marketplaces.
What botched rollout? That was so 2013. Talking points from President Barack Obama’s advisers are pointing to something new about Obamacare, something that sounds good: About 2.1 million people signed up for health insurance plans through the federal and state marketplaces. NBC’s Meet the Press host David Gregory posed a key follow-up question to Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling during the Jan. 5 show: Is the progress good enough for the administration to meet its original goal? "2.1 million have signed up. The goal is 7 million by March. How do you think you realistically get there?" Gregory ...>> More
Bloggers: "Obamacare Medical Codes Confirm: Execution by Beheading To Be Implemented in America."
We’ve heard people give lots of reasons for opposing Obamacare. But until a reader sent us some Internet links recently, we hadn’t realized that one of the fears being spawned by Obamacare was that it could usher in legal beheadings across America. The reader pointed us to a variety of blog posts, such as one headlined, "Obamacare Medical Codes Confirm: Execution by Beheading To Be Implemented in America." As if this wasn’t scary enough, this post was accompanied by a photograph of a masked executioner swinging a curved sword downward, just inches from the neck of the condemned. What’s ...>> More
Paul Ryan: The Murray-Ryan deal "is the first divided-government budget agreement since 1986."
Lawmakers and pundits heralded the recent agreement on federal spending reached between House Republicans and Senate Democrats as a rare, bipartisan accord between a deeply divided Congress. Some went so far as to suggest that it was historic, including Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican and chief budget negotiator for the GOP. "This is the first divided-government budget agreement since 1986," Ryan told reporters Dec. 10, 2013, when announcing the deal alongside Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. The deal has since passed the House and Senate. We knew that recent Congresses have clashed on federal spending over the years, but was ...>> More
Republican National Committee: "The latest Quinnipiac poll found that nearly six-in-ten Americans oppose ObamaCare — 30% support the law and 57% oppose it."
A reader recently asked us to check into a series of Facebook posts by the Republican National Committee themed to the "Twelve Days of Christmas." In the RNC’s version, the 12 days refer to aspects of President Barack Obama’s health care law that, according to Republicans, are having negative repercussions on the economy and health care system. One of those posts claimed that "the latest Quinnipiac poll found that nearly six-in-ten Americans oppose ObamaCare -- 30% support the law and 57% oppose it." It received nearly 4,000 "likes" -- but as it turns out, one of the percentages cited in ...>> More
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, now a Democrat and a 2014 candidate for governor, wrote an op-ed thanking U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a one-time Senate race opponent of his. Sound nice? It isn’t. It’s a thinly veiled dig at Rubio. "Senator Marco Rubio’s endorsement of Obamacare for his own family should end the rhetoric coming from Governor Rick Scott and other tea party groups," Crist wrote, adding, "The rollout of the Affordable Health Care Act has clearly been flawed, but that doesn’t mean that our work towards affordable health care should end. It should continue." We wanted to ...>> More
Bloggers: "By using a little-known loophole … Obama minions are allowing Nestle Company to export precious fresh water out of Lake Michigan."
These days, President Barack Obama gets blamed for a lot of things -- the glitchy rollout of the healthcare.gov website, an unusually slow economic recovery, an out-of-control electronic surveillance network. But is he also at fault for selling off Lake Michigan’s water to the highest bidder? Several readers recently asked us to check a claim they had seen circulating on social media. The most commonly shared versions seems to have originated on the conservative blog Coach is Right and the website of the Western Center for Journalism, whose president is longtime conservative activist Floyd Brown. The post on ...>> More
Traditional Values Coalition: The Employment Non-Discrimination Act "discriminates against Christian daycare, Christian parents, Christian business owners, and the rights of religious freedom."
Early in the 2014 campaign season, religion has played an important role in the Arkansas Senate race. Incumbent Mark Pryor, a Democrat, released an ad recently about how the Bible guides him. Interestingly, when the National Republican Senatorial Committee attacked Pryor on the issue, challenger Rep. Tom Cotton’s office went against fellow Republicans to stand with Pryor. But that’s not where the debate about Pryor’s faith ends. It circles back to his November vote in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would prevent workplace discrimination based on sexuality and gender identity. It passed ...>> More
Bloggers: School children can earn higher grades by studying Islam under a new "nationwide Muslim outreach program" announced by President Barack Obama.
Several readers recently asked us to check a claim that’s been spreading widely through chain emails and on social media -- that the Obama administration is pursuing a "nationwide Muslim outreach program for children" in grades K through 12. Here’s some of the text that usually accompanies the claim: "At a press conference today, President Obama announced plans for the first ever federally funded Muslim outreach program. The program will be available nationwide for all elementary school students grade K-12 beginning February 1st, 2014. The program is designed to educate children about the fundamentals of the Muslim religion and Islamic ...>> More
Generation Opportunity: "Obamacare could force thousands of volunteer fire stations to cut service or close entirely!"
Few things tug on the heart strings, or put fear in people’s minds, like the image of a small town losing its volunteer fire station. So you can imagine why a number of readers alerted us to a Facebook post making the rounds that alleged just that. According to a graphic posted by Generation Opportunity, an organization that opposes the Affordable Care Act through outreach to young people, the health care law will have an adverse effect on volunteer emergency services. "Obamacare could force thousands of volunteer fire stations to cut service," the post alleges, "or close entirely!" As ...>> More
Following President Barack Obama’s recent speech on the economy, CNN’s Crossfire roundtable debated how to shrink the income gap. Talk centered mostly on the minimum wage. U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., told host Newt Gingrich she supports a raise to $10 an hour so that people can support themselves and their families. "First of all, $7.25 an hour. Can anyone live off that?" Lee said. "Secondly, I just have to say, 60 percent of people on food assistance are working. They're part of the working poor." We wanted to take a closer look at what percentage of people ...>> More
Heritage Foundation: "FACT: Repealing Obamacare would be easier than repealing Prohibition."
If the whirlwind of news about the bumpy rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law is making you dizzy, maybe it’s time to go for a drink. Maybe at a speakeasy? We had this idea after seeing a tweet sent recently by the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think-tank. Heritage, which opposes the Affordable Care Act, sent a tweet that featured a black-and-white photograph of people celebrating the 21st Amendment, which made it legal to buy, sell, transport and drink alcohol. The caption was: "FACT: Repealing Obamacare would be easier than repealing Prohibition." The tweet seems logical ...>> More
Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman questioned Democrats who want to raise the federal minimum wage and offered a flurry of statistics to help make his point. Speaking Sunday on ABC's This Week, Portman suggested that raising the $7.25 an hour minimum wage could force employers to cut jobs. "If you want to deal with income inequality, the No. 1 way to do it is to get people to work. That's what all the statistics show. About 2 percent of Americans get paid the minimum wage. Of that group, by the way, less than .3 of 1 percent of Americans are ...>> More