.
August 14th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Offering $ to help fat people lose weight not working

Some say fast food chains are partly to blame for the nation's obesity epidemic.

Some say fast food chains are partly to blame for the nation's obesity epidemic.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The town of Elgin, Illinois is offering its citizens money to lose weight, but they can't find any takers

After a statewide survey named Elgin the "fattest" city in Illinois, city officials decided to try to do something about it.

The local YMCA is offering $48,000 in grants to promote healthy living. They asked schools, business, churches and community groups to submit their plans – and the winning groups would get $1,000 each.

The hope was that residents would come up with solutions like buying gym equipment, starting healthy cooking classes, creating a walking club, etc. But no one has signed up for the money yet.

Elgin's mayor says the lack of interest in this program shows the city has a long way to go, he suggests people come up with "non-traditional exercise programs" – an alternative to team sports, like a program to get kids to ride bikes and skateboards.

Officials hope some of this grant money can also help pay to teach parents about healthy eating for themselves and their children. Almost half of the kids in Elgin's school district are obese or at risk for being obese.

The deadline for this program is September 1st, so if you're listening in Elgin, Illinois, you have a couple weeks to get off the couch and sign up.

SO HERE'S THE QUESTION: If offering money to help fat people lose weight doesn't work, what will?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?
FULL POST


Filed under: Health care
August 14th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Pres. Obama's transparency promise on bailout & stimulus $?

 When it comes to stimulus and bailout money, has Pres. Obama kept his promise of transparency?

When it comes to stimulus and bailout money, has Pres. Obama kept his promise of transparency?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Pres. Obama has been promising the American people transparency ever since he was on the campaign trail.

And, when it comes to the $700 billion dollar bank and auto bailouts, known as TARP, and the $787 billion economic stimulus package, the president vowed an unprecedented level of openness.

A lot of information has been made public through websites like recovery.gov and financialstability.gov. The administration calls these sites "pioneering" compared to how government worked in the past.

But we're talking about almost $1.5 trillion dollars here – and there is key information that the public doesn't know about how and where this money is being spent.

For example, the Treasury Department doesn't require banks that have gotten TARP funds to show how they're using the money or who the bailed out banks are lending to.

Also, taxpayers won't have any idea if they've lost or made money on government investments in companies like General Motors, AIG, Citigroup and Bank of America until the government sells its stakes.

As for the spending of stimulus dollars, the government accounting only goes as far as the first tier recipients from the states. So it's not known which and how many companies down the line are getting work.

It's not enough. We deserve the transparency that was promised us. Otherwise it's just another example of government lying to us in order to get us to go along with something. Does the Iraq war ring a bell?

SO HERE'S THE QUESTION:When it comes to stimulus and bailout money, has Pres. Obama kept his promise of transparency?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?
FULL POST


Filed under: President Obama • Stimulus
August 14th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

"A few years" in combat in Afghanistan?

 The U.S. will soon be entering the 9th year since the invasion of Afghanistan, but the war could be far from over.

The U.S. will soon be entering the 9th year since the invasion of Afghanistan, but the war could be far from over.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The U.S. will soon be entering the 9th year since the invasion of Afghanistan, but the war could be far from over.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says it will take "a few years" to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, and larger scale success will take even longer.

Gates describes how long U.S. troops will be in the country as a "mystery" – saying there are too many variables to predict.

Variables like the Taliban – which are in control of more and more of the country. This means insurgent attacks are up. Last month, 49 coalition troops were killed in bomb attacks, up from 8 during the same time last year.

Some think more troops are the answer: There are now 62,000 U.S. troops there – with another 6,000 on the way. Gates says the top commander in Afghanistan won't be asking for more troops right now, but some expect him to eventually ask for another 10,000 troops.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has spent more than $220 billion on Afghanistan since 2001 – and is now spending about $4 billion a month.

But that still may not be enough. A new Senate report paints a grim picture of the security situation in Afghanistan and makes clear that the U.S. needs to send more troops and civilians. Officials tell Senate investigators that progress in Afghanistan "if it comes" would be "incremental", talking about anywhere from 2 to 10 years.

SO HERE'S THE QUESTION: Should the United States spend a "few years" in combat in Afghanistan?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?
FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan