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December 16th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Where does controlling the volume of TV ads rank as an issue?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Congress is turning its attention to one of the most pressing issues of our time: lowering the volume of TV commercials.

That's correct - apparently we no longer need to be concerned with the little stuff... you know... like the worst recession since the Great Depression, health care reform, skyrocketing deficits, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 10-percent unemployment, a crisis in education... the commercials on television are too loud and something must be done.

The House has passed a measure by a voice vote called Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act - or CALM... which says that ads can be no louder than the TV shows during which they appear. An identical measure is making it way through the Senate.

Supporters call loud ads annoying and frustrating and say they came up with the bill after finding out this was a common complaint with the Federal Communications Commission. The measure would require the FCC to set new rules within a year - and start enforcing them a year later. Meanwhile - experts say viewers may not even be able to tell the difference if this becomes law.

When asked why Congress has to get involved in this, Republican Congressman Cliff Stearns of Florida said: "You can say, 'Well, that's fine. Just turn it off. But it's constantly an irritant when you have to do it. And we've got all the new bowl games coming up."

I now want to sharpen a pencil and jam it in my ear because I cannot take it anymore.

Here’s my question to you: On a list of the great issues of our time, where does controlling the volume of TV commercials rank?

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: Government • Media Coverage
December 16th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Good idea to move Gitmo detainees to Illinois prison?

ALT TEXT

The Thomson Correctional Facility in Thompson, Illinois. President Obama has announced that the prison will be home to roughly 100 prisoners currently being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jeff Haynes/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Obama administration is coming under fire for its decision to move some Guantanamo detainees to an Illinois maximum-security prison.

The plan is for the federal government to buy the Thomson Correctional Center - 150 miles west of Chicago. The Defense Department would then run the part of the prison housing what's expected to be fewer than 100 Gitmo detainees. There are about 215 prisoners currently being held at the controversial facility in Cuba.

Administration officials say the detainees going to Illinois would be those facing trial in U.S. courts or by military commission.

Illinois' governor says this move could bring 2,000 jobs and $1 billion to the local community - a big help to a state with an 11-percent unemployment rate.

But critics say it could wind up being another place where detainees are held indefinitely without trial. Republicans suggest this shows the White House has forgotten about the 9/11 terror attacks; and that they're bringing terrorists into the country under the guise of a "jobs program."

The ACLU is blasting the move as well, calling the Illinois prison "Gitmo North." They say closing Guantanamo is only a symbolic gesture if "we continue its lawless policies onshore."

Here’s my question to you: Is it a good idea to move Guantanamo detainees to an Illinois prison?

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.


Filed under: Guantanamo Bay • prisons
December 16th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Special commission the answer to finally addressing the deficit?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The national debt - now topping $12 trillion - has more than doubled in just the last eight years...

The National Debt Clock in midtown Manhattan in July 2009. Those numbers currently top $12 trillion.

The National Debt Clock in midtown Manhattan in July 2009. Those numbers currently top $12 trillion.

And experts say that if the government doesn't come up with a plan soon to get the debt under control - we could risk panic in the financial markets. They say the government shouldn't raise taxes or cut spending immediately so as not to hurt the economic recovery. But the changes will have to happen by 2012 or else. Don't hold your breath...

One option on the table is a bipartisan commission to look into sweeping tax increases and spending cuts. CNN is reporting that President Obama is seriously considering an executive order to set up such a panel. Excuse me, but isn't that what the government is supposed to do... manage taxes and spending?

This latest brainstorm would have a bipartisan group taking months to study the problem and then decide AFTER the 2010 midterm elections what to do. Wouldn't want to raise taxes or cut spending before they're up for re-election, right?

Meanwhile - instead of the proposed $2 trillion increase in the debt ceiling - fiscal hawks In Congress want to increase it by only a "couple hundred billion dollars" at a time.

I guess the idea is that way nobody will notice how far in the toilet we are. If the U.S. doesn't raise the debt ceiling by the end of this year - we will default on our debt. This is scary stuff and requires a backbone to make some tough calls. So let's get someone else to do it.

Here’s my question to you: Is a special commission the answer to finally addressing the deficit?

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: Deficit