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July 20th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Good idea to build a mosque near Ground Zero?

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Opponents of a proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero attend a community board meeting to debate the issue in lower Manhattan. The site is so close to the location of the 9/11 terror attacks that debris from one of the hijacked planes smashed through the roof of the existing building there. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The debate over a proposed mosque near Ground Zero keeps heating up.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is now firing back at Sarah Palin, who called on New Yorkers to "refudiate" - her very own made-up word - the planned mosque only blocks away from the site of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Palin called it an "unnecessary provocation" that "stabs hearts."

Bloomberg says Palin has a right to her opinions, but that he couldn't disagree more, adding: "Everything the United States stands for and New York stands for is tolerance and openness."

But even before Palin decided to step into this one - the issue has stirred lots of controversy and passion here in New York. Some relatives of 9/11 victims say it would be like a monument for terrorists... or a "sacrilege on sacred ground."

And local Republican politicians are calling for an investigation on how the center would be financed... they're also raising questions about the views of its leader. Opponents are hoping to get the city's landmarks commission to protect the current structure thereby blocking the mosque project from going forward.

But supporters insist the mosque would represent the voice of moderate Muslims. They say it's meant to improve relations between Islam and the West, and add that the location - only steps away from Ground Zero - shows how important religious freedom is in the U.S.

Some 9/11 families also support the mosque, saying there's no better symbol of tolerance and inclusion.

Besides a mosque, the proposed $100 million community center would stand 13 stories tall and include a gym, swimming pool and performing space which would be open to anyone.

Here’s my question to you: Is it a good idea to build a mosque near Ground Zero?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Religion • September 11
July 20th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Extend unemployment benefits without a way to pay for them?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

After weeks of haggling - the Senate is one step closer to extending unemployment benefits.

Pres. Obama speaks to the press at the White House Rose Garden after calling on Congress to extend long-term unemployment benefits to assist Americans still out of work.

Pres. Obama speaks to the press at the White House Rose Garden after calling on Congress to extend long-term unemployment benefits to assist Americans still out of work.

Two Republicans joined Democrats - in breaking the GOP filibuster - against extending the benefits through November. Republican leaders had earlier blocked a vote several times. They argue that any benefits extension should be offset by spending cuts. And they have a point.

This nation is quickly headed down the road to insolvency. We're more than $13 trillion in debt. And because the Democrats didn't bother to offer a way to pay for the benefits extension, another $34 billion will simply be added to the deficit.

President Obama tore into Republicans ahead of the vote... arguing that they were operating on a "misguided notion" that a new bill would discourage people from looking for work. Mr. Obama says the unemployed aren't looking for a handout, that they desperately want to work. The president described the GOP as hypocrites for voting for these benefits under Pres. Bush... but not now.

But Republicans insist it's all about fiscal responsibility. They insist they're not against unemployment benefits... they've said they'll support the bill, but only if it's paid for...

More than 2.5 million Americans have run out of unemployment benefits since the deadline passed in June.

The national unemployment rate is hovering just below 10 percent; and many economists expect it to stay high well into next year.

Here’s my question to you: Should unemployment benefits be extended without a way to pay for them?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

July 20th, 2010
12:22 PM ET
July 20th, 2010
12:21 PM ET