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August 23rd, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What if 22 states considering immigration laws like Arizona's?

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A U.S. Border Patrol vehicle drives along the fence separating the U.S. from Mexico near the town of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

One day we may look back on Arizona as the state that led the way when it comes to doing something about the illegal immigration crisis.

22 states are now considering immigration laws like the one passed in Arizona, according to a group called Americans for Legal Immigration.

These include another border state, Texas, along with northern states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and New Jersey.

Some states - like Rhode Island and Colorado - are sending lawmakers to Arizona to figure out how to best craft their own immigration laws.

All this is happening, despite the fact that a federal judge threw out key parts of Arizona's law - including requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone stopped for another reason. That ruling is now under appeal.

Polls show a majority of Americans support Arizona's law. They want something done.

Meanwhile - there are signs that the violence from Mexico's drug wars is spilling into the U.S.

A shootout between drug traffickers and Mexican authorities in Juarez injured three police officers and left one gunman dead. Juarez is only 30 yards from the border at El Paso, Texas - and has become one of the deadliest cities in the world - more than 1,800 people have been killed there this year.

Authorities say a bullet from the shootout may have struck a building at the University of Texas. This comes less than two months after several bullets from a deadly shootout in Juarez hit the El Paso City Hall. It's no wonder Texas Governor Rick Perry keeps pleading for more National Guard troops .

Here’s my question to you: What does it say if 22 states are considering immigration legislation like Arizona’s?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Immigration • Law Enforcement
August 23rd, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Political ambition ruined McCain's legacy?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

John McCain became a household name by riding across country in a bus called The Straight Talk Express. But these days, "straight talk" seems just about the last way to describe what's coming out of his mouth.

McCain now holds a comfortable lead over his primary opponent, J.D. Hayworth, as he makes a run for his fifth term representing Arizona in the U.S. Senate, but as Politico describes it, it's a "costly road" that could likely leave a "lasting and unsightly stain on his legacy."

For starters - John McCain, once a champion of campaign finance reform, has spent more than $20 million ahead of tomorrow's primary. And there are the positions McCain's taking - which are completely different from positions he took during his "maverick" days.

McCain was a sponsor of comprehensive immigration reform with Ted Kennedy. No more... now he's flipped on the issue. Big time. He supports Arizona's tough immigration law, and spends more time talking about border security and finishing "the danged fence." McCain has gone from maverick to panderer.

He's also changed his tune on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He once said he supported the repeal of the policy, but is now promising to filibuster any bill that would do just that.

Climate change? McCain used to be a leader on that issue, and now he's pretty much steering clear of it.

How sad. McCain used to stand up for what he thought was right. Now, at age 73, he's just another politician willing to sell out his principles for a vote. See it's the only way to save his political life - and get the support of the conservative Republicans who vote in Arizona's primary. The maverick has become a hypocrite.

Here’s my question to you: Has political ambition ruined John McCain's legacy?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: John McCain
August 19th, 2010
08:32 PM ET
August 19th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Things get worse if Dems lose control of Congress?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Things are pretty bleak for millions of Americans these days... but President Obama says they'll be worse if Republicans take over the reins.

That's the message coming from the commander-in-chief as he hits the campaign trail for Democrats - in a midterm season that could be a real bruiser for his party.

The president says that the GOP wants to "go back to doing the same things... if we give them the keys back, they will drive this economy back into the ditch."

But experts aren't so sure this message will resonate with voters. Blaming President Bush and the Republicans for what happened in 2008 may not work when many Americans are still hurting badly today - worried about finding a job and putting food on the table.

Meanwhile, polls indicate the Democrats may have reason to worry about November.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows Republican candidates have a three point advantage over Democrats in the :generic" ballot question... that puts them in almost the same exact position as in August 1994 - months before the GOP took control of the House for the first time in 40 years.

What's more, President Obama's disapproval rating of 51 percent matches his all-time high.

This poll also shows Republican voters are feeling an intense amount of anger over the direction this country is headed in... much like they did in 1994.

When you add all of this to the fact that Republicans have held a significant edge for months when it comes to voter enthusiasm... it doesn't seem to bode well for the Democrats and President Obama.

Here’s my question to you: Will things get worse if the Democrats lose control of Congress in November?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress • Democrats
August 19th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Real reason Muslim community doesn't want to relocate mosque?

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The building which is poised to house the Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Cultural Center in Manhattan. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Sometimes no answer can be an answer. When asked if a portion of the $100 million needed to build the mosque and Islamic community center near Ground Zero might come from either Saudi Arabia or Iran, the developers refused to comment.

This only adds to the already heated controversy surrounding this project. Remember 15 of the 19 hijackers responsible for deaths of nearly 3,000 people and the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11 came from Saudi Arabia. And the U.S. considers Iran a sponsor of terrorism.

Nonetheless - New York Governor David Paterson tells CNN he's still working on finding a compromise site for the mosque and Islamic center away from Ground Zero.

The developer, Sharif el-Gamal, has said the proximity of the planned mosque and center is not an issue.

Really?

If the people behind this project are sincere about community relations, you'd think they would do something about improving community relations - and talk to the governor about a compromise.

This is not about freedom of religion - no one is suggesting Muslims can't practice their religion. This is about insensitivity to what happened on September 11 and an affront to this city and country. The murders of 3,000 people were committed by muslim extremists.

That's the reason for the outcry from families of victims, rescue workers, and New Yorkers in general - 2/3 of them are opposed. It's simply unrealistic to think you can build a muslim house of worship two blocks from where this awful thing happened and not get a negative reaction. But then I think the developers probably know that.

Here’s my question to you: What's the real reason that the Muslim community doesn't want to relocate the mosque and Islamic community center planned near Ground Zero?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Religion • September 11
August 18th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

South Carolina to spend $2.4 million on weight loss surgeries for state workers

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

South Carolina is about to spend $2.4 million to pay for 100 obese state employees to have weight loss surgery.

The state has approved a pilot program, which would put the money toward gastric bypass and lap-band surgeries. They can cost up to $24,000 each.

The state health plan will monitor these state workers - chosen first come, first serve - for 18 months to see if the plan is worth it.

The idea is South Carolina will save money in the long run by paying for these surgeries upfront. If these fat people will lose a lot of weight after the surgeries, it should alleviate other health issues often related to obesity - like diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and sleep apnea. That in turn would hopefully drive down health care costs, prescription costs, etc.

Critics say special interest groups won out here over taxpayers. They suggest this money would be better spent elsewhere, considering the state is furloughing workers.

But one South Carolina surgeon says several other southeastern states - including North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia - cover weight loss surgeries for state workers.

He says in the long run, the state will save "a boatload of money."

They better hope so. You should pardon the expression, but in South Carolina obesity is huge. Nearly 63 percent of adults and 34 percent of children are overweight or obese; both those numbers are above the national averages.

Here’s my question to you: Is it a good idea for South Carolina to spend $2.4 million on weight loss surgeries for state workers?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Obesity • On Jack's radar
August 18th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Who sent clearer message as president, Bush or Obama?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama - arguably one of the great orators and most articulate campaigners ever to occupy the White House - runs the risk of an "incoherent presidency." The White House is sending out mixed messages that have people scratching their heads and political opponents licking their chops.

David Morey, whose communication group - Core Strategy - gave advice to the 2008 Obama campaign, tells CNN that "simpler is better" and this White House needs to lead by controlling the dialogue.

It's pretty tough criticism for a candidate whose campaign was tightly run and almost always on message.

Recently - that doesn't seem to be the case. Take the wave of criticism Pres. Obama is facing since he weighed in on the plan to build a mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero.

After making his initial comments in defense of the project on Friday, the President seemed to backtrack the next day... a White House spokesman felt the need to clarify those comments. And then today Mr. Obama told reporters he has "no regrets" about weighing in on the debate. I bet he does.

Maureen Dowd described Mr. Obama as an "incoherent president" in a recent New York Times column.... saying he's "with the banks, he's against the banks. He's leaving Afghanistan, he's staying in Afghanistan. He strains at being a populist, but his head is in the clouds."

The advice from Morey, the communications expert, is the president needs to sound less like a law professor.

Just a few years ago, critics often ridiculed former President George W. Bush for his mangled speech, mispronouncing words... or just plain making them up. But, Pres. Bush rarely had to backtrack on what he said because he kept it so simple and direct... ""bring 'em on" and "I'm the decider"... remember?

Here’s my question to you: Who sent the clearer message as president, George Bush or Barack Obama?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

August 17th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Voters want deficits addressed, so why does Washington ignore them?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Voters are fed up with our lawmakers' inability to take action when it comes to reducing the $1.5 trillion federal deficit. And as The Wall Street Journal reports, it's the voters who appear more willing to take drastic steps to do something about the nation's mounting red ink.

The newspaper talked to voters in Virginia, a swing state, who say they're willing to make the tough cuts - from a national sales tax, to budget cuts, to higher medicare co-pays and deductibles.

The voters get it even if the federal government doesn't. And Washington really doesn't get it. Our leaders worry about being attacked in an election year if they suggest spending cuts or tax increases.

The American people just want their leaders to lead on this issue. Is that too much to ask? That's why they were elected.

One independent voter in Richmond, Virginia told the Journal, "I wish the politicians would be hard-[blanks] and be like, 'You know what? It's going to be horrible for the next few years, but you've got to shut up'."

Wouldn't that be refreshing? Meanwhile we await the results of Pres. Obama's bipartisan deficit reduction commission - which are conveniently scheduled for release after the November election. And when the recommendations finally do come; most, if not all, of them will have to be approved by Congress. Which will likely render the entire exercise meaningless.

Some are suggesting a popular uprising is the only way to get our country back on track. A piece on InfoWars.com suggests "without a revolution, Americans are history."

Here’s my question to you: If voters want the deficits addressed, why does Washington continue to ignore them?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Deficit • Election Process • Elections • Washington
August 16th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Iraq's army: not ready until 2020; should U.S. forces leave next year?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Iraq's top army general says his troops won't be fully trained and able to take control of security until 2020.... another 10 years from now.

The warning comes as the U.S. says it's on target to end its combat mission and pull thousands of troops out of Iraq by the end of this month.

The White House says it's pulled out 80,000 troops from Iraq since President Obama took office... and that thousands more will leave at the end of August.

The U.S. plans to keep about 50,000 troops in Iraq - for support and training - but they, too, will leave by the end of next year.

But Iraq's military brass don't think this is such a great plan. And Iraq's top army general may have a point. Iraq's political leaders still haven't been able to form a new government 5 months after holding elections.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jim Jones said despite this assessment by Iraq's army, there will be no significant U.S. troop presence after next year... and that, "the mission is on the way to being accomplished" in Iraq.

The U.S. better hope so... now that it's focusing a lot of money and military resources on the war in Afghanistan, where insurgent attacks are at record levels.

It doesn't look like Afghanistan will be in any shape to see U.S. troops leave as soon as next summer, which is what President Obama wants.

Here’s my question to you: Iraq's army says it won't be ready to take control until 2020. Should U.S. forces still leave next year?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Iraq • Troop Withdrawals • U.S. Army
August 16th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Muslims buying unnecessary problems by insisting on mosque near Ground Zero?

ALT TEXT

The building which is poised to house the Cordoba Initiative Mosque and Cultural Center in Manhattan. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Pres. Obama has stepped into a real firestorm in defending a planned mosque near Ground Zero. He's also managed to turn what was a highly emotional debate here in New York into a national conversation.

On Friday, the president called Ground Zero "hallowed ground," but said Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else. He said that includes the right to build a mosque and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan. The next day - the president seemed to backtrack by saying he wasn't "commenting on the wisdom" of the project... but rather the idea that the government should treat everyone equally, regardless of religion.

Republicans are pouncing on the president's comments, calling him insensitive to families of 9/11 victims. Some point out that even though the president may be right intellectually, this is an emotional issue.

Families of 9/11 victims are divided over the proposed mosque and Islamic community center. A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows almost 70 percent of Americans oppose the plan.

The New York landmarks preservation commission has said the the project can go forward. The Islamic center is set to include a mosque, a performing arts center, a lecture hall, a swimming pool, a gym, a restaurant... and a mosque.

New York Gov. David Paterson has offered to relocate the mosque to a less controversial location on state-owned land... but the project's developers said no.

Here’s my question to you: Are Muslims buying themselves unnecessary problems by insisting on building a mosque near Ground Zero in New York?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Religion • September 11
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