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By Willoughby Mariano April 24, 2011

Things got hot at PolitiFact Georgia, thanks to Josef Stalin, an aging stripper and a Cobb County school board member.

Some days, there was nary a whiff of burning pants in the newsroom air. Atlanta Police Chief George Turner and U.S. Rep. Tom Graves earned Trues on crime statistics and taxes, respectively.

It all changed when U.S. Rep. Paul Broun cranked up the heat with a False claim about President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Stalin. A Cobb County school board member made a weak claim about the school calendar.   

Democrats earned a Pants on Fire for an ad that claimed seniors might have to find work mowing lawns or running lemonade stands to pay for Medicare because of Republicans. In one scenario, an elderly man resorted to stripping. Hot!

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Atlanta Police Chief George Turner: "If you go strictly by the numbers, crime is down across the board. Last year we had a 10 percent decrease in the most serious crimes."
Worried about burglars kicking in your door? If you live in Atlanta, you might find some comfort in crime statistics, according to the above statement by Turner.
Yet many city dwellers don’t think they are any safer, according to a recent survey. We therefore took a closer look.

The numbers confirm Turner’s statement. In addition, the drop is part of a broader trend. Crime in Atlanta during the past decade is down by about 30 percent.

Residents told PolitiFact Georgia they have noticed improvements, and recent audits of the city’s crime statistics found the agency is reporting them according to federal guidelines.


U.S. Rep. Paul Broun: Says President Franklin Delano Roosevelt sent his advisers to study socialism with Soviet dictator Josef Stalin so the president could replicate it in the United States.
The U.S. is marching toward socialism, Broun says. During last week’s scrum over the federal budget, he lectured Congress for 45 minutes on why and included the above claim.
This was like no version of history your PolitiFact Georgia scribes studied. We took a look.
A spokeswoman for the Athens Republican told us his proof is "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression," a 2007 book that is critical of New Dealers.
We read it. It doesn’t say what Broun’s office claimed. Its author told PolitiFact Georgia that the congressman’s specific claim is incorrect.

We interviewed other experts. One called Broun’s comments a "malicious, scurrilous lie." Another called it "a whole bunch of hooey."

Broun earned a failing grade: False.

U.S. Rep Tom Graves of northwest Georgia: "America's wealthiest 25 percent pay 86 percent of total income taxes. Wealthiest 5 percent pay 60 percent of total income taxes."
In honor of the tax deadline, Tom Graves, a congressman from northwest Georgia, began sending out messages last week about the current tax system. The above claim, which was broadcast via Twitter, caught our attention.

Instead of trying to figure who’s right about whether the rich pay their fair share in taxes, we wanted to know whether Graves’ facts were correct.

Graves was off by a percentage point on one of his figures, but both numbers are very close to Internal Revenue Service data. While using only the federal income tax as a stand-in for the total federal tax burden paints a somewhat skewed picture, Graves’ tweet, as worded, is accurate. He earned a True.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: "Seniors will have to find $12,500 for health care because Republicans voted to end Medicare."        
A new ad shows seniors running a lemonade stand, cutting the grass and even stripping at a bachelorette party -- all to raise money to pay for Medicare.
The stripper, dressed as a firefighter, bellows, "Did someone call the fire department? Because it's about to get HOT in here!"
The ad critiques a budget proposal from U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that would dramatically restructure Medicare.

But to say the Republicans voted to end Medicare, as the ad does, is a major exaggeration. All seniors would continue to be offered coverage under the proposal. Instead of $12,500, the cost is more like $6,350. Plus, people 55 and older won’t see changes under the Ryan plan.

Furthermore, Republicans voted on a budget resolution that states policy preferences. They did not actually change Medicare.
It is hot in here, but don’t blame the stripper. The Democrats’ Pants are on Fire!

Cobb County school board member Kathleen Angelucci: "It is a fact that it costs more to run the schools in August."
Cobb’s school board has debated for years about whether to start the school year at the beginning of August or a week or two later.

In 2009, it moved up the start to the beginning of August. In February, it pushed it back to Aug. 15. Angelucci supported the later start and made the above claim.

We called and e-mailed Angelucci repeatedly and didn’t get a reply. When we finally caught up with her at a recent board meeting she promised to send us supporting data. She didn’t.

Local school district officials who start school earlier said they did not have data on cost savings, but some said there were benefits such as fewer faculty absences that save the district money.  

Nationally, there’s little research.

There is scant evidence that Angelucci made a valid point, and she provided nothing to back up her statement. Barely True.

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