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January 28th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Should NASA's plans to return to the moon be scrapped for budgetary reasons?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

No more Americans on the moon - at least not now.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that when President Obama releases his budget proposal Monday, there will be no money for the Constellation program - which was supposed to return humans to the moon by 2020.

Also on the chopping block will be plans to develop a new rocket to replace the space shuttle; and a new cargo rocket - meant to launch supplies and fuel that would one day be needed to extend human life beyond earth's orbit.

In place of the planned moon landing program, the administration is touting what it calls a "very significant program." And insists that canceling the moon plans doesn't mean the president is abandoning exploration and human spaceflight.

Officials point to a new $6 billion project to develop commercial rockets that could take astronauts into orbit. They're calling on American companies to get involved and help develop private space taxis.

And they say this is all part of a larger plan to increase NASA's budget by about $1.3 billion annually over the next five years to increase research and development and extend the life of the International Space Station, among other things.

But - no mention of developing a so-called heavy-lift rocket capable of taking humans beyond the space station.

Here’s my question to you: Should NASA's plans to return to the moon be scrapped for budgetary reasons?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy
January 28th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Should Hillary Clinton challenge Obama in 2012?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

They nearly tore the Democratic Party apart the first time around, yet some are hoping for a Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama rematch in 2012.

(FILE PHOTO) Clinton and Obama during the April 2008 debate in Philadelphia.

(FILE PHOTO) Clinton and Obama during the April 2008 debate in Philadelphia.

When President Obama brought Clinton on-board as his Secretary of State after a long and bitter battle in the primaries, many saw it as a smart move to unite the party and get Hillary on board. It was compared to when Abraham Lincoln brought his "team of rivals" into his cabinet.

Fast-forward a year - there's a piece in U.S. News and World Report suggesting that a lot of Democrats are worried about the ongoing decline in President Obama's approval ratings. When you add in the recent losses in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts and the president's unsuccessful bid - so far - for health care, it has some Democrats running for the hills.

Similar circumstances helped the late Senator Ted Kennedy challenge the incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

For her part, Clinton tells PBS she is "absolutely not interested" in running again for president. But in the same interview, she suggests she is a one-term secretary of state. Clinton says considering the demands of the job, eight years would be very challenging.

No doubt all this has helped stoke chatter about Clinton leaving the cabinet sometime in the president's first term - perhaps over a matter of principle - so she could be in place to challenge Mr. Obama in the primaries in 2012.

For Hillary's supporters, it might just be wishful thinking, but history suggests it's not a good idea to ever count a Clinton out.

Here’s my question to you: Should Hillary Clinton challenge President Obama in 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

January 28th, 2010
01:00 PM ET
January 28th, 2010
12:30 PM ET
January 27th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

How much do State of the Union speeches matter?

ALT TEXT

(FILE PHOTO) In his 1996 State of the Union speech, Bill Clinton promised that the era of big government was over - it wasn't. (PHOTO CREDIT: JOE MARQUETTE/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

They are full of pomp and circumstance, lots of applause and plenty of media attention, but history proves that State of the Union speeches really don't matter all that much.

That's because generally speaking presidents come out and say the state of the union is strong - even if it's not - and a bunch of other stuff that isn't necessarily true.

For example, in 1934 FDR said: "Now that we are definitely in the process of recovery." Problem was, the economy was nowhere near recovering.

Then there was Richard Nixon - who in his 1974 State of the Union speech - promised the country no recession was coming. He also pledged to never resign and described the U.S. as the winner in the Vietnam war. Within months, Nixon quit, the country was in a recession and North Vietnam is still communist to this day.

In 1996 - Bill Clinton swore that "the era of big government is over" - turns out it wasn't. In Clinton's address to Congress the following year, he talked about how much stronger the country could be if it let the government get more involved in several areas.

Of course President Obama's speech tonight will get lots of media coverage, but polling suggests that a president's support is usually unaffected by the state of the union. A Gallup poll shows that among recent presidents, only Clinton seemed to get a bump in public opinion from his annual state of the union speeches.

Here’s my question to you: How much do State of the Union speeches really matter?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: President Barack Obama
January 27th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

U.S. may go bankrupt in the next decade. Why won't gov't do anything?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The United States could be bankrupt in 7 to 10 years, yet our government refuses to do anything about it.

The Senate voted yesterday against a bipartisan commission that would make recommendations on to how to reduce the nation's skyrocketing deficits... estimated to top $1.35 trillion this year.

Many Republicans were against the commission idea - because they don't want to support anything that could mean tax increases. Many Democrats were opposed, too - because they don't like the idea of big spending cuts in entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

But the truth is: There are only two options for reducing our more than $12 trillion national debt: Either raise taxes or cut spending - or both. Washington is choosing to do neither.

Republican Lindsey Graham, who voted in favor of the commission, tells Politico he's disgusted with the Senate's lack of progress on much of anything:

"I'm willing to try anything because I'm desperate. Immigration: Hard, tried, it went nowhere. Social Security: Hard, tried, it went nowhere. Health care: Hard, tried, went nowhere. We're running out of opportunities to try hard and go nowhere. Time is not on our side."

Meanwhile President Obama is expected to set up a similar deficit reduction commission by executive order in his State of the Union address tonight. Noble - but in reality, it's just another empty political gesture that means nothing.

Unlike the proposed commission killed by the Senate, the president's commission won't be able to force Congress to do anything. In other words - it won't have any teeth.

Here’s my question to you: The U.S. may go bankrupt in the next 7 to 10 years. Why won't our government do anything about it?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Economy • Government • United States
January 27th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Has U.S. done enough to protect itself against a major terror attack?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With the hundreds of billions of dollars we have spent since 9/11, here is something to think about:

The United States is not prepared to protect itself against the threat of WMDs - at the same time al Qaeda seems intent on another large-scale attack.

(FILE PHOTO) In a recent radio address, Osama bin Laden praised the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner. He also warned of more attacks to come.

(FILE PHOTO) In a recent radio address, Osama bin Laden praised the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner. He also warned of more attacks to come.

A bipartisan commission appointed by Congress is giving the White house and Congress failing grades for not coming up with a rapid-response to deal with disease outbreaks from bio-terrorism... or providing enough oversight of security and intelligence agencies.

The chair of the panel says the U.S. no longer has "the luxury of a slow learning curve, when we know al Qaeda is interested in biological weapons."

Not very reassuring that this report comes on the heels of the failed attempt to blow up an airplane bound for Detroit on Christmas Day - after which President Obama acknowledged intelligence agencies didn't connect the dots.

And, Osama bin Laden is back, praising the attempted bombing. In a new audio recording, bid Laden says it was a heroic act meant to remind us of the 9/11 terror attacks. He warns that more attacks against the U.S. are coming.

Intelligence officials worry that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - which claimed responsibility for the Christmas bomb attempt - may have trained other suicide bombers.

Just last week, Britain elevated its terror threat level to "severe" - its second highest level. At the same time - American officials have described an "unusually high" number of people on the no-fly list trying to board planes bound for the U.S.

Here’s my question to you: Has the U.S. done enough to protect itself against another major terror attack?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: United States
January 27th, 2010
02:30 PM ET
January 27th, 2010
02:28 PM ET
January 26th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

Should Pelosi have to explain her trip to Copenhagen?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Hundreds of thousands of dollars.

That's how much it cost for a delegation of 59 people - led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi along with members of Congress, staff and in some cases spouses and kids - to go to Copenhagen, site of the Climate Summit, just before Christmas.

House Speaker Pelosi attends a press conference at the Copenhagen Climate Summit.

House Speaker Pelosi attends a press conference at the Copenhagen Climate Summit.

CBS News reports that for 21 Congressmen, food and rooms for two nights cost $4,400; and the Total hotel bill - including meeting rooms - was more than $400,000.

Pelosi used two military jets for herself and her party at a cost of more than $100,000 dollars in flight time.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money. This has nothing to do with the Obama administration officials who went to Denmark to actually attend the summit.

Pelosi filed the required expense report - but so far has failed to explain why it was necessary for her and her colleagues to make the trip to Copenhagen in the first place. Her arrogance is absolutely breathtaking. As for the high hotel charges, Pelosi's office says those who stayed two nights were charged a six-night minimum at the five-star Marriott. Information that was probably available before Pelosi and the freeloaders made their vacation plans.

Note to the House Speaker: We have skyrocketing deficits and national debt in this country. The President is talking about reigning in discretionary spending. I wonder if that would have included this junket by Pelosi and her colleagues. I would be curious to know where Nancy Pelosi gets her sense of entitlement to simply blow hundreds of thousands of dollars of our money at Christmas time so she and her colleagues can take a little trip to Copenhagen.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

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