By CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Europe's financial crisis is a warning siren for the U.S., but many Americans aren't listening.
A new Gallup Poll shows only 16% of those surveyed say they're following the news about Europe's crisis "very closely."
33% say "somewhat closely," 21% say "not too closely" and 29% "not at all."
This poll also shows even though all Americans aren't paying attention, 71% are concerned about the impact of the European financial crisis on our economy - that includes 31% who are very concerned.
It's been suggested that Americans' concerns about Europe might be higher if more people were actually paying attention.
And it's too bad they're not.
What's going on in Europe is a big part of the reason why we've seen such recent volatility in U.S. markets.
And if it continues, we could see a drop in U.S. exports and less European investment in the U.S. Also, U.S. banks could decrease lending here at home due to worries about Europe.
Meanwhile things are going from bad to worse in Europe. on top of concerns about Greece's debt crisis, Spain is dealing with a huge banking crisis.
Many of Spain's large banks are crippled by bad debt and money is fleeing the country in massive amounts.
Portugal, Ireland and of course Greece have already had to seek international bailouts due to high borrowing costs by the government.
But in the case of Greece, the citizens made it very clear in the last election they are not interested in the government spending less money. They want their handouts come hell or high water. Sound familiar?
Oh, and our government isn't paying attention either. Many of the things leading Europe deeper into crisis are running rampant here - and Washington does nothing.
Here’s my question to you: Most Americans aren't too focused on Europe's financial crisis. Should we be?
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.
(CNN) - Space travel might soon be a reality for the average Joe - or at least for wealthy average Joes.
With NASA shuttering the space shuttle program and the government decreasing funding for the space program, private companies are filling the void.
Thursday, the first private capsule to dock at the International Space Station successfully returned to Earth.
As part of its historic nine-day trip, the Dragon capsule - built by the company SpaceX - delivered more than 1,000 pounds of cargo to the space station.
NASA has hailed the mission as a step toward a new future of private innovation in the space industry.
SpaceX is one of a few companies getting funding from NASA to develop commercial transport of astronauts into space.
Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration has given the green light to Virgin Galactic to start rocket-powered suborbital test flights for a commercial spacecraft.
The so-called SpaceShipTwo seats six passengers; it has one year to test flights beyond the atmosphere.
Virgin Galactic, owned in part by British billionaire Richard Branson, has taken deposits from more than 500 people, including celebrities such as Ashton Kutcher.
It costs $200,000 a pop. Passengers will get to experience weightlessness and see the curve of Earth against the black sky of space.
Virgin Galactic's commercial spaceflights are not expected to start before 2013.
Finally, NASA is warning future moon explorers not to ruin the Apollo landing sites.
Twenty-six teams are competing to become the first privately funded group to land on the moon as part of the Google Lunar X PRIZE.
It's clear we're inching ever closer to the final frontier being open for business.
Here’s my question to you: Would you want to travel into space?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
(CNN) - What is wrong with Mitt Romney?
Here he finally makes it to the nomination after a bruising primary fight against all sorts of whacky, right-wing elements in the Republican Party: Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich - you name it.
Four years after losing the race for the nomination, he finally secures the requisite number of delegates for his party's nomination for president of the United States. Sweet.
But what's one of the first things he does? He appears at a fund-raiser in Las Vegas with Donald Trump. Donald Trump. He of the curious hair and even curiouser ideas about the nation's priorities.
Donald Trump, who is still insisting Barack Obama's birth certificate is a phony. In a loud, annoying voice, he goes around claiming Obama is not qualified to be president because he wasn't born in this country.
No one is listening, Mr. Trump. Except Mitt Romney. If Romney wants to drive voters away, all he has to do is continue to indulge Trump’s lunatic ravings about the president's birth certificate.
There are real, serious problems in this country. The legitimacy of Obama's birth certificate isn't one of them. And for Romney to align himself with this gasbag with the funny hair is tantamount to wanting to destroy his candidacy before it even gets off the ground.
Except for contributing money, there is no way Trump helps Romney become the next president. And if Romney can't see that, well, I'd say the lad has some serious problems.
Here’s my question to you:Why does Mitt Romney continue to put up with Donald Trump?
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The United States once again failed to make the top 10 when it comes to the happiest countries in the world.
The U.S. just missed the cut - ranking 11th in the organization for economic cooperation's recent report on life satisfaction in the developed world.
The survey measured everything from housing, income, and jobs to education, the environment, civic engagement, health and work-life balance.
Denmark ranks as the happiest country on earth - followed by Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Israel, Finland, Australia, Canada and Sweden.
The website 24/7 Wall Street has crunched the numbers in this report to determine the strongest factors related to happiness.
And it's no surprise that economic prosperity tops the list.
Researchers say the overall regional economies of these top 10 countries appear to be doing "exceptionally" well.
Government debt as a percentage of GDP is relatively low. Some of these nations are even running a surplus. Hard to imagine as our country runs $1 trillion-plus annual deficits and is almost $16 trillion in debt.
Employment obviously plays a key role in making people happy, and many of these nations have low unemployment rates.
After economic stability, physical and social well-being factor into happiness.
That includes things like good health, longer life expectancy, strong social support networks and having enough leisure time.
And the survey suggests it ain't all about money. The U.S. has the highest rate of disposable income in the developed world.
But we have a lower life expectancy, low job security and relatively high long-term unemployment.
Here’s my question to you: Why does the U.S. rank as the 11th happiest country in the world?
Right on the heels of Memorial Day comes a strong suggestion that President Barack Obama could have problems with military veterans in November.
A new Gallup Poll shows that veterans support Mitt Romney over Obama by a whopping 24 points - 58% to 34%.
Veterans make up about 13% of the population as well as almost a quarter of adult men. Pollsters say this large edge among veterans is a big reason why Romney leads among men overall.
Historically, Republican presidential candidates do better among veterans than Democrats. Both George W. Bush and John McCain carried the veteran vote, but Obama won veterans under 60 in the last election.
It's worth pointing out that another poll this month found the president leading Romney among veterans 44% to 37%.
Meanwhile, both Romney and Obama saluted the troops over the Memorial Day weekend.
The president honored the veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and those who "loved their country enough to sacrifice their own lives for it."
He talked about the importance of providing health care, benefits and education for veterans. His campaign has been highlighting the killing of Osama bin Laden, the end of the Iraq war and the push to wind down the Afghanistan war.
Romney addressed global threats at an event with Sen. John McCain. "I wish I could tell you that the world is a safe place today," Romney said, telling veterans that the United States must remain the world's top military power.
This year is the first election since World War II without a major candidate who is a veteran. And it's clear both men realize the power of this voting bloc.
Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if Mitt Romney leads President Obama by 24 points among veterans?
With more than five months to go before election day, there's one thing you can count on: the polls.
There will be polls. Lots and lots of polls.
Some of us in the media tend to hyperventilate about the latest polls, their significance, and what we can read into them. but it's worth remembering that sometimes, they're just numbers.
The Los Angeles Times has a smart piece that lays out some rules on how to be smart about the polls.
For starters, don't forget the limits of national polls.
While presidential elections are fought out state-by-state in the electoral college, most polls are nationwide. It's too expensive to keep polling all the battleground states individually.
So while national polls can be helpful, they may hide important changes at the state level.
Next up: don't obsess about small shifts in the horse-race numbers.
Small bounces in the polls for Pres. obama or Mitt Romney from week-to-week are likely a result of natural changes in the statistical sample. Instead - pay attention to what issues are moving voters.
Another hint: be skeptical of apparent big swings. They usually don't happen in the general election.
Also: don't mix apples and oranges.
Every polling organization does things a little bit differently, which could explain significant "shifts" in surveys done by different pollsters in the same state.
Lastly, this Los Angeles piece suggests it's wise not to set out looking for a poll that supports what you already think, "as the saying goes, some people use data the way a drunk uses a lamppost - for support rather than illumination."
Here’s my question to you: How much faith do you put in polls?
Right about now, Democrats are probably wishing they hadn't picked North Carolina as the site for this summer's convention.
When President Obama selected Charlotte, North Carolina, more than a year ago, it seemed like a smart way to double down on a state that propelled him to victory in 2008.
North Carolina hadn't gone to the Democrats since Jimmy Carter.
But things have gone downhill – fast – in the Tar Heel State for Democrats, and the list of problems seems endless.
For starters, North Carolina voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage at the same time President Obama was saying he thinks it's a good idea.
Now gay rights activists want the convention moved out of North Carolina, practically impossible at this point.
Unemployment in North Carolina is 9.4%, far above the national average.
Plus, who dreamed this up? President Obama will give his convention speech in Bank of America Stadium. Perfect – not.
Then there are the unions, one of the Democrats' key voting blocs. They're angry and aren't in the mood to help fundraise.
That's because there are no unionized hotels in Charlotte. Also, North Carolina has the smallest proportion of union members and union membership in the country.
To top it all off, there are two sex scandals engulfing prominent North Carolina Democrats: the trial of former Sen. John Edwards and the ongoing investigation of the state party chair, David Parker.
The Obama political operation used to be better than this.
Here’s my question to you: Was it a mistake for Democrats to pick North Carolina for their convention?
Joe Biden's recent gay marriage gaffe is only the latest example of the vice president stepping in it.
And some are starting to openly wonder if Biden is the best running mate for President Obama in what is shaping up to be a close contest against Mitt Romney.
Republicans are making a strategy of targeting Biden, following him closely on the campaign trail in the hopes that he slips up.
A source close to Romney tells Politico that Biden is "a ticking time bomb. Who the hell knows what he's going to say?"
And another Republican describes the veep as "the chink in the armor" - someone likely to commit unforced errors.
Biden's off-script moments are legendary, from describing then-candidate Obama as "clean" and "articulate" in an interview to calling Obama’s health care reform a "big f***ing deal" on mic.
But Democrats insist Biden is the best surrogate for the president. He connects with working class voters in a way that the sometimes aloof president can't.
Also, Biden is a great attack dog who goes after Romney in a way Obama might not want to. Just yesterday Biden said Romney's time in private equity didn't qualify him for the White House any more than being a plumber would. Gotta love it.
Meanwhile if you listen carefully, the calls for a Vice President Hillary Clinton keep getting louder.
Clinton's approval numbers are through the roof, and some suggest that with Romney closing the gender gap and gaining among women, Obama should dump Biden for Clinton on the ticket.
It seems like a remote possibility, but stranger things have happened in politics.
Here’s my question to you: Joe Biden: asset or liability for President Obama?
The Catholic Church is suing President Obama for violating the freedom of religion that is guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.
In what's being called the largest legal action of its kind, 43 separate Catholic institutions filed lawsuits in a dozen different federal courts this week.
They are challenging the federal mandate in President Obama's health care law that requires employers to cover contraception in their employees' health plans.
These Catholic groups include the University of Notre Dame, the Catholic University of America, the archdioceses of New York and Washington - along with those serving Dallas, Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
The lawsuits say that the health care law violates the First Amendment guarantee of religious liberty.
The Obama Administration tried to smooth things over with the church when the issue first bubbled over.
As a compromise, they said insurance companies would have to provide contraception for employees who wanted it - so Catholic employers could avoid directly providing birth control.
But that wasn't good enough for the church.
So far, the White House isn't commenting on these lawsuits, although one official told The Wall Street Journal that they're still trying to work things out with Catholic leaders: "Lawsuits or no lawsuits, our doors remain open."
Experts are split over whether these lawsuits will succeed, but either way it can't be helpful for the president in an election year.
For those keeping track, President Obama has managed to anger both the black churches - over his support of gay marriage - and the Catholic Church over birth control.
Here’s my question to you: How damaging is the Catholic Church's Obamacare lawsuit for the president?
It's the economy again, stupid; and this time around it just might sink President Barack Obama's re-election chances.
A new poll shows the president and Mitt Romney locked in a dead heat over who could better fix the economy, the top issue on voters' minds.
The Washington Post/ABC News Poll shows Obama with a three-point lead over Romney if the election were held today – 49% to 46%. But on handling the economy, the two are tied at 47%.
Despite the recent hoopla over other issues ranging from birth control to gay marriage, more than half of Americans say the economy will decide their vote. Issues such as health care, taxes and the federal deficit only rank in the single digits.
Late in the campaign in 1980, Ronald Reagan famously asked Americans: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"
Turns out they weren't. There was a sudden 10-point swing in the closing days of the campaign, and Reagan defeated the incumbent Jimmy Carter in a landslide.
So how about in 2012? Some 30% of those surveyed say they are worse off financially today than when Obama took office in January 2009, only 16% say they are better off. This might make Obama-land nervous.
Obama's numbers on this question resemble those of George H.W. Bush. He lost his 1992 re-election bid in a rough economy.
However it's not all bad news for Obama. The poll shows voters are evenly split on who could better create jobs, and the president tops Romney on the question of who better understands people's economic problems.
Yet at the end of the day, many Americans might look in the mirror and ask themselves this question.
Here’s my question to you: Are you better off now than you were three and a half years ago?
Jack Cafferty sounds off hourly on the Situation Room on the stories crossing his radar. Now, you can check in with Jack online to see what he's thinking and weigh in with your own comments online and on TV.
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