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March 31st, 2010
06:54 PM ET

Would Church benefit from forcing the pope out?

ALT TEXT
Pope Benedict XVI is facing a firestorm from critics as to how much he knew about the Vatican's latest sex abuse scandal. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In the middle of Holy Week and with Easter right around the corner - the Catholic Church is launching a massive P-R blitz to defend the Pope's role in the growing sex abuse scandal. Instead of contrition and asking for forgiveness, get a load of the following:

The Vatican is pushing back against the idea that Pope Benedict the 16th should take personal responsibility for the child abuse scandal... and it's defending his management of abuse cases. Some Catholic officials are suggesting it was the previous Pope, John Paul the Second, who blocked investigations into pedophile priests.

And the Vatican is planning a legal defense against an American lawsuit... that would force the Pope to answer questions under oath. The A-P reports court documents related to a Kentucky case show Vatican lawyers plan to argue the Pope has immunity as head of state and that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests weren't employees of the Vatican.

Pure garbage.

It gets worse:

In the Pope's native Germany, the church has opened a hotline for victims to report alleged crimes. Critics are outraged... saying that victims should tell the authorities first, not the church.... They have a point, considering that the Catholic Church has done virtually nothing except shuffle abusive priests around and cover-up the scandal for decades. Including a priest who molested 200 deaf boys. The church did nothing.

Meanwhile a new Gallup poll shows Pope Benedict's favorable rating has dropped to 40 percent in the U.S–its lowest level ever.... that's down from 63% two years ago. The Pope's image has declined about equally among Catholics and non-Catholics.

Here’s my question to you: Would the Catholic Church benefit from forcing Pope Benedict out?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Catholic Church
March 31st, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Race-based admissions a good idea at public colleges?

 Two students say the admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin violated the federal civil rights law.

Two students say the admissions policy at the University of Texas at Austin violated the federal civil rights law.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The White House is backing a race-based admissions policy at one public university.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration has asked a federal appeals court to uphold the system at the University of Texas at Austin.

The case was brought by two white students who were rejected for admission at the Austin campus. 75 percent of students are admitted on academic grounds if they rank in the top 10% of their high school class... but the rest are admitted through a so-called "holistic" evaluation that takes factors like race or ethnic identity into account.

These white students say the admissions policy violated the federal civil rights law. So far, a district judge has rejected their claim... but it's possible this thing could wind up before the Supreme Court.

You see, this case actually tests a 2003 high court ruling that upheld a similar policy at the University of Michigan law school. At the time, the court said the school had a "compelling interest in attaining a diverse student body." It prohibited "outright racial balancing"... but said race could be a "plus" factor in order to build a "critical mass" of minority students.

But since then, the Supreme Court has become more conservative and critics of race-based admissions are hoping that the Texas case could be the way to change the policy.

For its part, the university insists its policy is critical in achieving the "diverse institution" its looking for.

Here’s my question to you: Are race-based admissions a good idea at public colleges and universities?

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


Filed under: Education
March 30th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Are humans 'too stupid' to prevent climate change?

ALT TEXT

An enormous iceberg breaks off the Knox Coast in the Australian Antarctic Territory. Australia's CSIRO's atmospheric research unit has found the world is warming faster than predicted by the United Nations' top climate change body, with harmful emissions exceeding worst-case estimates. (PHOTO CREDIT: TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A new climate bill that would cap carbon emissions, increase offshore oil drilling and expand nuclear power generation may soon be making its way to the Senate floor.

Senators John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsey Graham - a Democrat, Independent and Republican respectively - are reportedly drafting legislation with broader appeal than the last climate change bill, which stalled in the Senate in the fall. The hope is that more conservatives and moderates will get on-board this time.

But it doesn't really matter, according to one of the biggest names in climate change. James Lovelock, a British scientist at the forefront of global warming research, says humans are too dumb to prevent climate change and that democracy is partly to blame.

In a new interview published in the British paper "The Guardian," Lovelock says climate change is an issue that may be as severe as a war and that "even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being." Lovelock says that may eventually be necessary when it comes to global warming. He also claims only a catastrophic event now could persuade people to really take the threat of climate change seriously.

Here’s my question to you: Are humans "too stupid" to prevent climate change?

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: Global Warming
March 30th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

What does it mean that the Census Bureau can't be ready for 2010 count?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

This Thursday, April 1 is National Census Day, the day the once-a-decade U.S. headcount officially begins.

The Census form is required to be returned by April 1. The first Census was taken in 1790, when the U.S. population was less than the current population of Los Angeles -- around four million.

The Census form is required to be returned by April 1. The first Census was taken in 1790, when the U.S. population was less than the current population of Los Angeles - around four million.

It may not be a coincidence that April Fool's Day is the same day. But the joke here is more sad than it is funny.

You see, even though the agency has had 10 years to work out the kinks in this cumbersome process of counting every American man, woman and child, it hasn't.

Information technology problems are a top concern, in particular two software programs that manage the maps and workloads for census takers making those door-to-door follow up visits. An estimated 50 million households out of a total of 120 million will likely require a follow-up visit. The Census Bureau says there is still time to fix the problems - they've had 10 years to get ready for this - but they say time is running out. No kidding.

The Census Bureau has already shelled out an extra $88 million for a technology glitch last fall that paid $300 to a reported 15,000 temporary hires who did little or no work updating the Bureau's maps.

The entire Census process is expected to cost taxpayers more than $14 billion, but that number will likely be higher and who knows how reliable the results will be. This is our government at work. Now they want to manage health care.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean that the Census Bureau can't be ready for 2010 count?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Population
March 29th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What government services could you get by with less of?

ALT TEXT

Saturday mail delivery and collection may end in early 2011. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Big government costs big money, and in the recession, all levels of government are looking for ways to make budget cuts. On the national level, one of the big ones is the U.S. Postal Service, which is looking to move to a five-day delivery week.

Tomorrow, the USPS will submit a proposal to its regulatory board that would limit mail delivery and collection to Monday through Friday beginning early next year. However, post offices that are now open on Saturdays would stay open and express mail delivery would still be available seven days a week.

The postal service estimates the delivery change would save more than $3 billion a year which is a step in the right direction, considering it's on track to lose as much as $7 billion this year.

Then there are the states facing huge deficits. They are also under pressure to make some significant cuts.

In Illinois, lawmakers want to chop the school week to four days.

Supporters say that students would still have to complete the same number of hours per school year. They suggest a lot of money could be saved by not using heat, lights or cleaning the school buildings along with using school bus service for fewer days.

But critics say that students who receive free lunch would miss a day and a longer school-day means after-school activities would start even later.

Plus, there's a big question of what happens when kids are home an extra day but their parents are at work.

Here’s my question to you:What government services could you get by with less of?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Government
March 29th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Illegal immigration: should states be allowed to do what the federal gov't refuses to?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama has a pretty big to-do list for Congress this spring: Financial reform, an overhaul of No Child Left Behind, the closing of some campaign finance loopholes, maybe even a clean energy bill. But illegal immigration? Still nothing.

A section of fence along the U.S./Mexico border.

A section of fence along the U.S./Mexico border.

On NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said despite promising an immigration bill in his first year of office, President Obama has done "almost nothing" on immigration.

Meanwhile, our border states in particular continue to be overrun with illegal aliens, and Washington could care less. Eight and a half years after 9/11 and we won't even secure the nation's borders.

In Arizona, police may soon be allowed to arrest illegal immigrants on trespassing charges for simply being in the state. There are currently 460,000 of them in Arizona alone. In addition, it would become a felony to employ them even as day laborers and transporting them anywhere in the state, even family members.

The bill's cleared the state senate and Governor Jan Brewer has indicated she will sign it. It would be the toughest law of its kind in the country.

But don't ask Senator John McCain about it. McCain, who was home campaigning this weekend, once backed a bipartisan effort in Congress to grant illegal immigrants amnesty. But he refuses to answer questions on where he stands on this state bill.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to illegal immigration, should the states be allowed to do what the federal government refuses to do?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Government • Immigration
March 26th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Started thinking about your 2012 vote?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here in the Situation Room, it's never too soon to start thinking about the next big election... So here goes:

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll - taken before the health care vote - shows Americans are split right down the middle on whether Pres. Obama should be re-elected in 2012.

47 percent of registered voters say they would vote for him... while 47 percent say they would back an unnamed Republican.

It's worth pointing out that at the same point in Bill Clinton's first term - he was trailing an unnamed Republican by 15 points... yet he went on to win two years later.

The poll also shows a majority - 54 percent - believe that Mr. Obama will be a one-term president.

What's interesting is a lot of the same gender and generation gaps that we saw at the polls in 2008 still hold true: Pres. Obama has a significant advantage among younger voters and women... yet he loses among men and older voters. And, in what might be keeping some Democrats up at night: Independents currently favor the Republican by 11 points.

Among Democrats - more than three in four say they want the president re-nominated in 2012... Of course, there are some still holding out hope that Hillary Clinton will make another go at it... which would be something to watch.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side - no clear front-runner, with three potential candidates - Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee - all within a few points of each other at the top of the pack.

Here’s my question to you: Have you started thinking about who you will vote for for president in 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Election Process • Elections
March 26th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

What can Palin do for McCain that she hasn't already done?

ALT TEXT

FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential nominee John McCain (R-AZ) concedes victory on November 4, 2008 with vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin by his side. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's gotta be a sign of pure desperation.

The Fox News commentator and soon-to-be Alaska tour guide, Sarah Palin, is reuniting with Senator John McCain in Arizona.

Why?

History might suggest that John McCain had a pretty good chance at becoming the next President of the United States. Then he heard about the mayor of Wasilla, was smitten, suffered a lapse of judgment and asked Caribou Barbie if she'd like to be the vice president.

She jumped at the chance, and that was the beginning of the end of McCain's chances.

Palin did a couple of interviews on the CBS evening news with Katie Couric, and Obama was in.

But apparently McCain has some reason to worry about his re-election chances.

He's being challenged in the primary and with the general disdain for all of the members of Congress, it's not inconceivable he could get knocked off.

But if you're in danger of drowning, why would you ask someone to throw you an anchor?

Sarah Palin, in addition to being virtually without qualification to hold elected office, is also one of the reasons for the deep divisions in the country. She inflamed the conservative base of the Republican party with irresponsible comments about things like government death panels.

She's a lightening rod for criticism and controversy. Who needs this?

Here’s my question to you: What can Sarah Palin do for John McCain that she hasn't already done?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: John McCain • Sarah Palin
March 26th, 2010
12:04 PM ET
March 25th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

In light of the pope's role in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, should he resign?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here we go again. Time now for another chapter in the tawdry tale titled: The Pope and the Pedophile Priests.

The New York Times reports that top Vatican officials - including the future Pope Benedict XVI - refused to defrock a Wisconsin priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys.

Deaf boys? Doesn't get much sicker than that. This is despite the fact that several American bishops repeatedly warned the Vatican about this creep.

Church files show that although officials disagreed about whether the priest should be dismissed, their top priority was protecting the church from scandal. Of course.

This Wisconsin priest - the Rev. Lawrence Murphy - was never tried or disciplined by the church. He also got a pass from police and the criminal justice system. We all know the story by now... Instead he was "quietly moved" to a different diocese where he spent the last 24 years of his life freely working… ready? With children! He died in 1998... still a priest.

The Vatican calls this case "tragic" and says part of the reason the priest was never defrocked was his poor health and lack of more recent accusations.

Meanwhile this comes on the heels of a sex abuse scandal spreading across Europe - From the pope's native Germany to Ireland, Austria and the Netherlands.

There are other accusations against Pope Benedict that he didn't alert authorities or discipline priests who were sexually abusing children, when he was both an Archbishop in Germany and the Vatican's top doctrinal enforcer.

Critics say it's time for the pope to resign. But that's only happened a handful of times throughout history - and not for 600 years - so don't hold your breath.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the pope’s role in the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, should he resign?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Pope Benedict • Pope Benedict XVI • Religion • Scandals
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