Truth-tellers, liars and equivocators

Archive for November 2010

Rushern Baker tries to boost P.G. County's spirit

November 17, 2010 - 07:07 AM
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Prince George’s County could use a pick-me-up.

Current County Executive Jack Johnson was just arrested, as was his wife Leslie, an incoming member of the county council. The federal corruption investigation that snared them looks likely to take down some other officials soon. The implications go beyond civic embarrassment.

The federal agents who've taken up temporary quarters in Prince George's homes and offices are sending signals to prospective employers around the region: Don't come here. And if you're the incoming county executive who promised to revive the economy and job growth, you can't have that.

Rushern Baker, who in early November won the race to succeed Johnson, finally commented on the scandal on Monday afternoon. In his statement, he avoided demonizing his predecessor and focused on rebuilding the county’s battered self-esteem.

“Prince George’s County remains the greatest jurisdiction for economic growth in this region,” he proclaimed.

Is much-maligned, often-mocked P.G. -- which sets its standard to simply be a ‘county of livable communities’ -- really tops in economic growth?

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Jack Johnson arrested: Taiwanese animators discover Prince George's County corruption probe. Did they get it right?

November 16, 2010 - 03:13 PM
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If you've been waiting for a Taiwanese animation company to reenact the Jack Johnson case, your wish has been granted.

Next Media Animation, the same folks who brought you Adrian Fenty wielding a machine gun, have this take on the corruption probe sweeping Prince George's County. Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson, his wife, incoming District 6 Councilmember Leslie Johnson and FBI agents all make appearances.

But their education reform video had some accuracy issues. Does this reenactment have the same problem?

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Virginia Republican Party spins a tale about Jim Webb and taxes

November 5, 2010 - 07:02 AM
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Though one 2010 Virginia congressional race remains remains undecided, the 2012 campaign has already begun. On Nov. 3, fresh from knocking off three House Democrats, the Virginia Republican Party turned its attention to its next targets by launching a new website: ObamaandWebbarenext.com.

The site features a black-and-white clip of Sen. Jim Webb (D) praising Obama during a 2008 campaign rally interspersed with headlines from Virginia papers about the Republican wave. It also contains several attack lines the Republicans are are rolling out against the first-term Democrat. One in particular caught our eye: “Jim Webb voted in favor of a Value Added Tax which would have placed an additional tax on almost every item we buy.”

A value added tax, or VAT, which is common in Europe, is like a sales tax, except the funds are collected as value is added to the item along the chain of production instead of being levied at the end. In the United States the tax is usually proposed as part of a package that includes cutting income tax or other taxes.

The Facts Machine was surprised. Wouldn’t a proposal to adopt a VAT in the United States have attracted a lot of attention? Why hadn’t we heard about this?

Because the adoption of a value-added tax never came before the Senate. The Republican Party of Virginia says it is referencing an April 15 vote on an anti-VAT amendment sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), which the Senate approved overwhelmingly. This is the text of the amendment:

“Expressing the sense of the Senate that the Value Added Tax is a massive tax increase that will cripple families on fixed income and only further push back America's economic recovery and the Senate opposes a Value Added Tax.”

Webb was one of 13 senators who voted against the amendment. Does this mean he supports a value added tax?

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