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What are "alternative facts"

When President Trump's spokesperson Kellyanne Conway defended a claim that was easily contradicted by evidence, she claimed it was merely an "alternative fact".

That in itself was incorrect. Alternative means different, but a fact of any kind still is a fact.

So we call these alternative facts. But like all facts - they're factual.

They're the alternative facts that are displayed randomly on the News In FiVe main page. You can keep refreshing the main page to eventually see all of them. Or you can just come here.

Alternative Facts

Is this really old already?

Maybe, but we wanted it to keep showing up from time to time because it was our very first Alternative Fact, and the event that inspired the name...

Oh... our alternative facts all are true.

Japanese Internment

National Archives photo

It's been 75 years since President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order No. 9066, which forced all Japanese-Americans on the West Coast to leave their homes and business and moved into internment camps. That's 120,000 people - mostly American citizens.

For an interesting take, read this National Public Radio story.

Also be sure to read News in FiVe Editor Barry Shatzman's thoughts on the lesson we need to learn on why blaming things like this on the times we're living in is an excuse we're guaranteed to regret.



Government by the least competent or most unprincipled citizens.

Paul Weyrich

"I don't want everybody to vote... as a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down"

Paul Weyrich... who helped create the Heritage Foundation and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).



A form of government in which all power is vested in a few persons or in a dominant class or clique.

For more, read this interesting New Yorker article.

Bill of Attainder

The U.S. Constitution states that no Bill of Attainder shall be passed.

What is a bill of attainder?

DC Statehood

Washington, D.C. residents paid more taxes than residents of 22 states. in 2015. It has a larger population than two states.

Yet its residents have no voting representation in Congress, and local Washington, D.C. laws can be overturned by Congress.

For more, see our discussion of Washington, D.C. statehood.

Roberts: Same Sex Marriage

"I'm not sure it's necessary to get into sexual orientation to resolve this case. I mean, if Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can't. And the difference is based upon their different sex. Why isn't that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?"

Chief Justice John Roberts in the 2015 Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which resulted in marriage being a Constitutional right for same-sex couples as well as for opposite-sex ones.

Roberts still voted against the majority (thus against same-sex marriage) in the case.

You can read more about Roberts' questioning in this New York Times story.

Daylight Saving Time

Q: According to insurance company reports, what is the one hour every year that has the fewest car crashes?

A: Between 2am and 3am the Sunday morning Daylight Saving Time begins.

For more facts about Daylight Saving Time, see this Vox article.

Root Boy Slim

Former President George W. Bush and Washington D.C. area music legend Root Boy Slim were classmates at Yale University. At one point they were fraternity brothers.

Washington Emoluments

Emoluments are mentioned twice in the Constitution...

Article 1, Section 9 states...
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

Article 2, Section 1 states...
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

So what is an emolument?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines emolument as...

1. The returns arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites

2. (Archaic) Advantage

Pre-Existing Conditions

A pre-existing condition is a medical condition someone has prior to being covered under a health insurance plan.

According to a study by the Dept. of Health and Human Services...

o Depending on the criteria used, between a quarter and half of non-elderly Americans have a pre-existing condition.

o About 8 out of 10 Americans over the age of 55 have at least one pre-existing condition.

Parental Leave

Q: What do Swaziland, Lesotho, Papua New Guinea, and the United States have in common?

A: They don't guarantee paid parental leave.

Equal Protection

Equal Protection Clause...

Part of the Constitution's 14th Amendment, which states

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.


In the United States, the average desired family size is two children. To achieve that family size, women spend an average of about three years pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant, and three decades - more than three-quarters of their reproductive lives - trying to avoid pregnancy.


Beef? Chicken? Bacon?

How old are the animals that give their lives for your meat?

Cows8-24 months
Chickens1-2 months
Pigs3-6 months


Research shows that the least competent people tend to believe they're the most competent.

It's referred to as the Dunning-Kruger effect. You can learn more about it in this Pacific Standard article. Or watch this video...


"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Martin Luther King, Jr

Green Book

Before President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, road trips for African Americans could be quite difficult.

Restaurants, hotels, and gas stations (including bathrooms) all might refuse to serve them.

The Negro Motorist Green Book was written in 1936 to help - by listing businesses that would serve African Americans.

Click the front cover below to read the 1949 version of the book...

Independence Day

A conversation between News in FiVe's Barry Shatzman & Rob Dennis....

Barry: "The country's real birthday is July 2. That's the day the Second Continental Congress voted to declare independence. July 4 is just the day the final wording of the Declaration of Independence was agreed on."

Rob: "So on the fourth we're really just celebrating the press release."

We put everything into perspective!

The photo is News in FiVe's Lisa Ritter's parrot Murphy


What is the U.S. national motto?

o E Pluribus Unum?
o In God we trust?

The country's original motto - though never official - was E Pluribus Unum (Latin for From Many, One).

In 1956, Congress passed a resolution making the official motto In God we trust.

Truth is Truth

Our alternative facts really are facts (just like alternative music really is music).

That didn't stop Donald Trump's advisor from using the phrase to describe something obviously not true and his attorney from simply saying "truth isn't truth".

This 10-minute video demonstrates the mindset being taught to get people to accept it. It also demonstrates what we already have said - that the actual truth likely will win out in the end.

Pets in Hotels

You're evacuating your home because of a natural disaster such as a hurricane. Does the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) require hotels take your pet?

That's a common belief... but the fact is it does not.

However, if your pet is a service animal, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires the hotel to accept it regardless of the reason for your stay.


What countries have nuclear weapons?

o United States
o Russia
o China
o France
o United Kingdom
o India
o Israel
o Pakistan
o North Korea

How might any of these countries use nuclear weapons?
What would happen if they did?

Read this Vox article titled...
This is exactly how a nuclear war would kill you.

Mail-in ballots

Let's say you live in Oregon, where voting is done 100% by mail. Or another state that allows you to mail in a ballot.

And let's say you don't have postage stamps. What do you do?

Mail the ballot!

Even though postage is required, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will deliver it anyway in the interest of supporting voting.

That said, USPS operations are paid for by selling postage and other products - not by the government. And with millions of ballots being sent by mail, using postage can make a difference.

By the way... don't try this with your tax returns.

Christmas Songs

What do the following songs have in common?

o White Christmas
o Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
o Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree
o Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow
o The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
o (Walkin' in a) Winter Wonderland
o Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
o Santa Clause is Coming To Town
o It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

They all were written (or co-written) by someone who is Jewish.

As was this...

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