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June 30th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Fewer days of mail delivery to fix postal budget?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: William Thomas Cain/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A majority of Americans say they could get by with fewer mail deliveries so the U.S. Postal Service can save some money.

A new Gallup poll shows 66-percent of those surveyed would support cutting delivery from six to five days a week. 66-percent also back reducing the number of days the post office is open to five.

Fewer people support other cost-cutting measures like raising stamp prices or laying off more postal employees.

Despite the price of a first class stamp recently going up to $0.44. The post office is on track to lose more than $6 billion this year. It's being squeezed by several factors - including the economic slowdown, and competition from the internet as well as with private carriers.

When you add on rising gas prices... things could get even worse. Maybe we can get to $5.00 for a stamp and the mail will be delivered once a month. It's no wonder people increasingly are turning to UPS and FedEx.

Postmaster General John Potter wants permission to cut the number of postal delivery days. If it happens, they would cut back delivery on a day with light mail volume - possibly Saturdays or Tuesdays.

But not everyone supports the idea. Many manufacturers, publishers, and other small businesses say it would hurt their cash flow and their ability to get their products out.

Here’s my question to you: Would you support fewer days of mail delivery to save the postal service money?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy
June 30th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

How will recent GOP sex scandals affect upcoming races?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A couple of high-profile sex scandals were probably just about the last thing the Republican Party needed. This is the party of "family values," after all. First was Senator John Ensign of Nevada - who admitted to having an affair with a former staffer.

L to R: Sen. John Ensign (R-NV); Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC); Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)

Next was South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford. After going AWOL for nearly a week - with staffers saying he was hiking the Appalachian Trail - Sanford admitted to an affair with a woman from Argentina. Both Ensign and Sanford had been considered 2012 presidential hopefuls.

Also, don't forget about Louisiana Senator David Vitter... who is still in the Senate despite calls for his resignation... after his phone number showed up in the records of the D.C. madam a couple years ago.

Some wonder how much damage these incidents will have on the GOP in the 2010 elections. After all, the sex scandals come at a time when the party has been trying to rebrand itself. Although Republicans certainly aren't alone in dealing with these scandals - see Democrats John Edwards or Eliot Spitzer - they do make life more difficult for the party of traditional, family values.

But, former Vice President Dick Cheney, for one, isn't too worried... he says the Republican 2012 bench remains strong. Cheney says the party has "got some great talents out there," and that "in adversity, there's opportunity." Cheney helped create the adversity the Republican party is trying to overcome.

Here’s my question to you: How much will recent Republican sex scandals affect upcoming races?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: GOP
June 30th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

How will SCOTUS reversal on Sotomayor decision affect her confirmation?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Critics of Judge Sonia Sotomayor have some new ammunition... now that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a group of white firefighters claiming reverse discrimination in New Haven, Connecticut.

The high court said New Haven was wrong to scrap a promotion exam because no blacks and only two Hispanic firefighters would have been promoted. It's a case that could change employment practices around the country... and make it harder to prove discrimination.

And it's a bit of an embarrassment for the White House - since President Obama's Supreme Court nominee had earlier ruled against these firefighters.

All this comes just two weeks before Sotomayor's Senate confirmation hearings... Republicans say the Supreme Court's decision raises issues about her ability to serve on the high court... they say they'll use this ruling, along with her 2001 comment about a "wise Latina woman" to question her views on discrimination.

But supporters of Sotomayor say the ruling actually proves her restraint and unwillingness to go beyond established precedents... that's because the panel on which she sat upheld a district court judge in the case. The Supreme Court's five-to-four ruling also gives the justice cover.

The White House insists there's "little political significance" to the court's decision when it comes to Sotomayor. I guess we'll see in two weeks.

Here’s my question to you: How will the Supreme Court's reversal of a decision by Sonia Sotomayor affect her chances of confirmation?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Sonia Sotomayor • Supreme Court
June 29th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Life in Iraq once U.S. troops leave cities?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Tomorrow marks an historic day for Iraq - the deadline for U.S. combat troops to pull out of its cities - and Iraqis are reacting with mixed feelings. The government has declared it a national holiday, with celebrations and military parades planned.

An Iraqi girls looks up at a U.S. soldier in the village of Khan Bani Saad, near Baquba. U.S. combat troops will pull out from Iraq's cities and main towns tomorrow as Iraq takes sole charge of security in a major stepping stone to American withdrawal.

Many Iraqis say they're glad to see Americans gone... that they will feel freedom and liberation. But, others aren't so sure... One Baghdad resident says she feels "fear and horror"... and says many Iraqis will be "afraid of each other." Others say they have come to depend on U.S. troops.

More than six-years after the invasion - the U-S says Iraqi forces are ready to take control of security in the cities. We'll see soon enough. The last 10 days have seen several bomb attacks and assorted violence which has left more than 200 Iraqis dead and hundreds more wounded. Iraqi and U.S. officials had warned of an expected rise in attacks around this withdrawal date.

After the handover - U.S. forces will have to get permission from Iraq to go into cities or carry out operations in urban areas. There will be a small number of U.S. troops remaining in cities to train and advise Iraqi forces - but most of them will be in bases outside city limits.

There are about 131,000 U.S. troops still in Iraq. Most are supposed to leave the country by next summer, with all forces gone by the end of 2011.

Here’s my question to you: What is life likely to be like in Iraq without the presence of U.S. combat forces in its cities?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Iraq
June 29th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

How much Michael Jackson coverage is too much?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's been pretty much impossible to avoid news coverage of the death of Michael Jackson since Thursday afternoon... Cable TV, network news prime-time specials, the tabloids, special edition newspapers, the blogs, you name it....

And, as is often the case with these celebrity stories, it seems like there won't be an end any time soon. This one may be especially lengthy, because of new questions that keep popping up every day - including how Jackson actually died.

The family has asked for a second autopsy and they are "quite clearly troubled" about the circumstances surrounding the singer's death. An autopsy performed by a county medical examiner was inconclusive. It could take another four-to-six weeks to get the results of toxicology tests.

Jackson's doctor's role in all this was immediately questioned, although his lawyer insists he didn't inject Jackson with painkillers.

The story will also drag on due to questions surrounding what happens to Jackson's three children; his mother has been granted temporary guardianship of the kids. But, there's a hearing set for early August for permanent guardianship and you can expect that to be a circus.

Not to mention the worldwide media attention that will be focused on a possible global memorial service as well as Jackson's funeral. Big story… but the coverage is even bigger.

Here’s my question to you: How much Michael Jackson coverage is too much?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: News Media
June 29th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Should House have passed climate change bill?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Sloan/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

House Minority Leader John Boehner calls the climate change bill a "pile of manure." Only he used the other word for it.

The Democrats released a 300-page amendment to this 1,200-plus page bill at three a.m. on Friday - just hours before the chamber would vote - and before the July 4 recess. Much like the economic stimulus bill, it seems nearly impossible that members even had the chance to read it. The bill passed by a narrow margin - with virtually no Republican support.

The measure would reduce greenhouse gas emissions 17-percent by 2020 and 83-percent by 2050 through the so-called "cap and trade" program where companies would buy and sell emissions credits. It would also force utilities to make more power from renewable sources.

Democrats hail the bill as transformational legislation; but it faces an unclear fate in the Senate where majority leader Harry Reid says they will take it up in the fall.

Opponents say some industries will just move jobs overseas to countries that don't control greenhouse gas emissions. Republicans insist the bill amounts to the largest tax increase in U.S. history... saying it will tax anyone who drives a car, flips on a light switch, etc. But Pres. Obama insists it will cost the average American about the price of a postage stamp every day.

Here’s my question to you: Should the House have passed a 1,200 page climate change bill amended only hours before it was voted on?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress
June 26th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Good idea to pay young girls not to get pregnant?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

After 14-years of decline, the nation's teen birth rate has risen over the last two years. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the current rate is more than seven pregnancies per 1,000 teen girls.

So here's an idea out of North Carolina to cut that number: Pay young girls not to get pregnant.

A program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro called College Bound Sisters gives girls aged 12-to-18 $1 a day if they avoid pregnancy.

Participants may not have ever been pregnant. They must be enrolled in school, have a desire to attend college, and have a sister who had a child before age 18.

Girls in the program attend 90-minute meetings every week where they learn about abstinence and the use of birth control. In return, they receive $7 for every week they do not get pregnant.

The money is put into a college fund. Any participant who becomes pregnant or leaves the program loses her savings and they are split among remaining members. The program is funded through a four-year state grant.

Here’s my question to you: Is it a good idea to pay young girls not to get pregnant?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 6pm 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.


Filed under: Population
June 26th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

What's the right role for Michelle Obama?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

First Lady Michelle Obama has said her primary role in the White House will be 'Mom-in-Chief' to her young daughters, Sasha and Malia. But lately Mrs. Obama has been expressing an interest in taking on more.

The Washington Post reports Mrs. Obama has been telling her staff and close friends for weeks that she isn't having the impact she wants. Earlier this month, she hired a new chief of staff and got rid of the old one. She's brought on a full-time speech writer, and told her staff she wants to have a "message" at speaking events. In other words, she doesn't just want to shake hands and kiss babies.

Her new chief of staff told the Washington Post, "It isn't just about hugging. Whatever she talks about will bring press and interest, but it's important that she's not just talking [but] actually moving forward on those issues."

Those issues will likely go beyond aiding military families, a cause she has taken on since the campaign trail. In recent weeks, she's been talking up the president's health plan as well. Michelle Obama has commanded more attention accidentally than previous first ladies did on purpose.

Her ability to communicate seems effortless and she comes across as down to earth and genuine. All qualities in short supply in our nation's capital.

Here’s my question to you: What's the right role for Michelle Obama?

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.

June 26th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

How would you characterize the life of Michael Jackson?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Talent and torment often go together.

History is filled with great artists and composers whose lives were a constant struggle against their own private demons. In the end, they leave us a great legacy of their works, but it seems the only real peace they ever found was when they stopped breathing.

Possessed of one of the greatest talents in the history of show business, Michael Jackson also seemed for much of his life to be a tormented, unhappy man. Following his death yesterday, there were reports of prescription drug use, including a shot of Demerol shortly before he collapsed and died from cardiac arrest.

His life was filled with episodes of bizarre behavior. Everything from his trial on child molestation charges - he was acquitted - to dangling his baby off a balcony, to the grotesque altering of his physical appearance through numerous plastic surgeries to his failed marriages. The press had a field day with Michael Jackson.

But there was also a kind, gentle man who donated much time and money to charity. Remember We Are The World? He and Lionel Richie wrote the words and music to that song, which raised millions for hungry people in Africa. When his hair caught fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial, he donated the settlement from a lawsuit - $1.5 million - to a hospital burn center.

As with all of us, there was more than one side to Michael Jackson.

Here’s my question to you: How would you characterize the life of Michael Jackson?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm 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.


Filed under: Cafferty File • Race
June 24th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

What will rapidly growing elderly population mean for U.S.?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The United States is about to get a whole lot grayer... Consider this: people 65 and older now make up 13-percent of the population in this country. But as baby boomers keep aging, seniors will make up 20-percent of U.S. residents by 2030; and more than a quarter of the population by 2050.

New census data shows that the world's senior population will triple by mid-century to one-in-six people. Thanks to a decline in births and medical advances that help people live longer, seniors are now the fastest-growing age group. And the U.S. - along with many other countries - will find themselves struggling to support them.

As a result, one expert says the 2020s will be "an era of fiscal crisis" for most developed countries.

As for emerging countries like China - they may have it even worse - with millions of elderly Chinese potentially falling into poverty, creating social and political unrest. Of course, This could have a serious impact on the global economy as well.

As for the U.S., immigration of younger people has helped slow the aging of the population overall. Nevertheless, Medicare is expected to go broke by 2017. Social Security is also on its way to going broke. We have known both of these facts for years and the politicians consistently fail to muster the courage to do anything about it.

Here’s my question to you: What will a rapidly growing elderly population mean for the U.S.?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: United States
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