May 7th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Housing market better or worse than 6 months ago where you live?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There are some signs that the nation's beat-up housing market might be starting to recover...

USA Today reports that more homes for sale are now getting multiple offers as buyers are trying to lock in deals at low prices. Real estate experts say this has especially been the case in states like California that are hit hard by foreclosures and dramatic price drops.

One Florida realtor says that one in 10 homes now gets multiple offers - that's up from one in 30 last fall. The competition for some homes is driven by low prices - down almost 40 percent in some places - low mortgage rates, and also a new tax credit of up to $8,000 for some first-time buyers.

Meanwhile first time owners are now buying more than half of all homes; and experts say they could help the industry by snapping up much of the excess inventory.

There are other positive signs:

– Pending sales of existing homes just posted their first back-to-back gains in almost a year.
– Construction spending unexpectedly rose, ending a six-month slide.
– And, one report shows the decline in home prices in 20 major cities slowed during February for the first time since 2007.
– When you add in some scattered signs that the job situation is not unraveling quite so fast and an uptick in consumer confidence, you have the makings of a better spring than a lot of the experts expected.

Here’s my question to you: Is the housing market better or worse than it was 6 months ago where you live?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Economy • Homeownership
May 7th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Legalizing marijuana answer to government's $ problems?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's time to debate legalizing marijuana in California - so says Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. As the state faces mounting deficits, the governor says he's open to talking about different ways to create revenue. Although Schwarzenegger doesn't think the state should rush to judgment and start taxing and legalizing pot right now, he says he's interested in looking at other countries that have legalized it to see what effect it's had.

A cannabis plant is pictured. Cannabis is known as marijuana in its herbal form.

Schwarzenegger's comments come as support grows nationwide for legalizing pot. In California, a recent poll found for the first time a majority of voters back legalization.

One California lawmaker says regulating and taxing marijuana would bring the state as much as $1.3 billion a year in extra revenue. Proponents say it's about more than just money; it's about the failure of the war on drugs and implementing "a more enlightened policy."

One advocate tells The San Francisco Chronicle that Schwarzenegger's comments represent "a tectonic shift" in attitudes on the issue, saying: "The public is going to drag the politicians into doing what is right."

But not everyone is so sure this would be the right move. Some lawmakers say the potential revenue would hardly make a dent in California's deficit - which could soon reach $20 billion. They say this is just a sign of the governor's "growing desperation" over the budget.

Here’s my question to you: Is legalizing marijuana the answer to the government's money problems?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government • Law Enforcement
May 7th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Does it matter if president publicly observes Prayer Day?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama broke with yet another Bush White House tradition today by not holding a public ceremony to recognize the National Day of Prayer. During the Bush administration, the White House hosted an interfaith service in the East Room every year - inviting Protestant, Catholic and Jewish leaders.

Bush's father, along with President Reagan, also marked the day with a White House ceremony. But this White House says: "Prayer is something that the president does everyday," adding that Mr. Obama would sign a proclamation to recognize the day.

They wouldn't comment on whether Bush's ceremonies were politicized, but said that President Obama "understands, in his own life and in his family's life, the role that prayer plays."

Meanwhile both Christian conservatives and atheists are criticizing the president's decision. The National Day of Prayer Task Force says it's disappointed in the toned-down observance: "At this time in our country's history, we would hope our President would recognize more fully the importance of prayer."

A group called American Atheists wishes the president would take it one step further and ignore the day altogether. They say it's not the president's job to tell people to pray; and the separation of church and state should mean just that.

Here’s my question to you: How much does it matter whether the president publicly observes the National Day of Prayer?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: President Barack Obama • Religion