By CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Imagine getting in your car in the morning and having it drive you to work while you answer e-mails, send text messages - or nap.
Fortune magazine reports on the so-called driverless revolution; and how self-driving cars could soon affect ordinary Americans and a wide range of industries.
Google's fleet of self-driving cars have already traveled 300,000 miles. There have been no accidents when the cars were controlled by a computer and only one fender bender with a human behind the wheel.
These customized cars use a combination of GPS, radar and a 3D mapping camera on the roof that can see traffic signals, lanes and pedestrians.
Cars that drive themselves are coming - it's just a question of when. Most of the big car makers are working on self-driving models.
And three states - California, Nevada and Florida - have already made self-driving vehicles legal - as long as a human is sitting in the driver's seat in case of an emergency.
Meanwhile these cars could boost worker productivity since the average commuter spends 250 hours a year behind the wheel. Or they could come in handy after you've had a few drinks.
Self-driving trucks could also transform the trucking industry. Just picture long lines of self-driving 18-wheelers traveling down the highway just a few inches apart: no drivers, no stops for gas or food. It could boost fuel efficiency by as much as 20%.
We'll need to keep driving ourselves for a while longer, though: experts say driverless cars should be more common in another 10 to 15 years when costs come down.
Here’s my question to you: How would you feel about riding in a car that drives itself?
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.
The Hillary Clinton for president buzz is loud - and getting louder.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett tells CNN that there's nobody better qualified than Clinton to become president in 2016.
"I like what she believes in. I think she's extraordinarily able and energetic... in pushing those beliefs,” he says.
And Buffett is just the latest to talk about a potential Clinton run in four years.
He joins President Bill Clinton, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Even Republicans, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove, have alluded to it.
Google "Hillary Clinton 2016" and you get more than five million hits.
For her part, Clinton insists the answer is "no."
She is finishing up her term as secretary of state and will leave as one of the most popular members of the Obama administration.
Clinton talks about how she's been in the political spotlight for 20 years and wants to have her own time back. Fair enough. She says wants to sleep and relax. OK, but what about after that?
While Hillary Clinton has repeatedly said she won't run again for president, this is the same woman who's said that politics is in her DNA.
She is a Clinton after all.
And with a resume that includes secretary of state, senator, and first lady, the Democratic nomination is likely hers for the taking if she wants it.
Vice President Joe Biden has kept the door open to a 2016 presidential run, although he recently acknowledged it might depend on the economy. It might also depend on Hillary.
Here’s my question to you: Is Hillary Clinton the answer?
Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.
The Petraeus sex scandal raises questions about privacy that could affect every American who goes online.
A lesson for all of us - what starts as a government search for crime on the web can turn into an invasion of the private lives of Americans. and don't think it couldn't happen to you.
In this case, what began as an investigation into alleged harassing e-mails from one woman to another wound up exposing an extramarital affair and bringing down the director of the CIA.
One electronic privacy expert tells The New York Times that cyber-investigations can rapidly become open-ended since there's such a huge amount of information available and it's so easy to search:
"If the CIA Director can get caught, it's pretty much open season on everyone else."
The ACLU questions what surveillance powers the FBI used to look into the private lives of Generals Petraeus and Allen. We still don't know, but it could include methods like subpoenas and search warrants.
And then there's this : Google acknowledges it passed information to authorities in response to 93 percent of government requests in the second half of 2011.
It's a tricky balance: National Security experts warn of a major cyber attack that could bring the country to its knees. But does that mean Americans must give up all rights to their privacy?
Some are especially concerned about the National Security Agency. Those would be the same folks who conducted warrantless wiretapping of Americans after the 9/11 attacks. Remember the Patriot Act?
Here’s my question to you: In light of the Petraeus scandal, is anything we do online really private?
Texas Gov. Rick Perry does not support a petition for the Lone Star State to secede from the union.
But a lot of people do.
The online petition asking the federal government to allow Texas to withdraw from the U.S. following President Barack Obama's reelection has nearly 100,000 signatures. It appears on a section of a White House website called “We The People" and cites economic difficulties due to the federal government's inability to cut spending.
Supporters suggest that secession would protect Texans' standard of living and "re-secure their rights and liberties."
The leader of the Texas secession movement tells Politico that Obama's reelection was a "catalyzing moment" for his group's efforts to leave the United States. He insists, "This is not a reaction to a person but to policy" and what they see as a federal government that is disconnected from its constituents.
Even though the number of signatures far surpasses the 25,000 required for a White House response, none has been made.
For his part, Perry says he "believes in the greatness of our union and nothing should be done to change it," although he says he shares the frustrations many Americans have with the federal government.
Texas is America's second-biggest state in area and population. It was its own nation for 10 years before joining the union in 1845.
And Texas isn't alone here. Petitions calling for secession of more than two dozen states - including Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Florida and Delaware – have been filed.
Here’s my question to you: Should Texas be allowed to secede from the union?
Picture the United States in the convertible at the end of the movie "Thelma and Louise" as it hurtles toward the cliff and the demise of the car's occupants. A bit melodramatic perhaps, but the fiscal cliff is fast approaching.
And if Congress doesn't take action before the end of the year - which is entirely possible - we're going to fall off it.
It's called a "cliff" for a reason. If nothing is done, massive spending cuts and tax increases will kick in.
The fiscal cliff also includes those automatic across-the-board spending cuts to The Pentagon and other domestic programs.
And once again as the clock ticks down, there seems to be little common ground between Democrats and Republicans:
Democrats want to raise taxes, Republicans want major changes to entitlement programs. And they want to do away with those automatic spending cuts. We've seen this movie before.
House Speaker John Boehner says 2013 should be the year we "begin to solve our debt" through tax and entitlement reform.
But don't hold your breath.
For starters, there's not that much time left for this lame duck session between their Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations. And Democrats might want to wait until January when they have a larger majority in the Senate.
Then there's always the possibility Congress settles on a smaller deal or a temporary one. Kick the can down the road once again.
But if nothing is done taxes will go up for every single American, and we will be looking at another recession next year.
None of this will be easy on Americans' pocketbooks.
Here’s my question to you: How will the fiscal cliff affect the way you handle your money?
To say that the GOP needs to do some soul-searching in the aftermath of the 2012 election may be putting it mildly.
Mitt Romney failed to connect with the majority of American voters, but the Republicans' problem is much bigger than Romney.
As one longtime Republican leader told Politico, the GOP needs to realize it is too old, too white and too male. He might want to add "too rich." This Republican said the party must figure out how to catch up with the demographics of the U.S. before it's too late.
It's well-known that Romney lost big among key voting blocs such as Latinos, women and young voters in the states that decided the election.
That might be because as conservative CNN contributor David Frum put it, "The Republican message is no longer relevant to middle-class America."
Frum told MSNBC that it's not just that Romney lost, but that in the past six presidential elections, the GOP has lost the popular vote in five of them. Frum said that over a generation - a "once majority" party has become a "nonmajority" party.
Republican positions on issues such as women's rights and immigration are big factors here.
And it doesn't help when you have Republican candidates such as Todd Akin making completely ignorant comments about rape.
If Republicans want to start winning elections instead of losing them, they're going to have to make some changes so that they don't continue to look like they're stuck in the 1950s.
Here’s my question to you: What does the Republican Party have to do to become more relevant?
A majority of voters say this election matters more than the elections before it.
According to a new Gallup Poll taken before Election Day, 70% said the outcome of the 2012 presidential election matters to them more than previous elections.
This is similar to how voters felt in 2008 and 2004. However, the concern is up sharply from the two presidential elections before that, 2000 and 1996.
The poll also shows Republicans more concerned about the outcome than Democrats, which is not surprising with a Democratic president who was running for re-election.
All you have to do is take a quick look at the state of the union to see why voters may have found this election so crucial.
In 1996 and 2000, the economy was much stronger. There were no major wars or other international issues to worry about.
Concern went up sharply in 2004 - after the 9/11 attacks - and then again in 2008, with the Iraq war still going on and the country suffering through the worst recession since the Great Depression.
This time, it's hard to pinpoint all the worries facing voters. Of course, the economy and high unemployment were at the top of the list for many.
There's also Obamacare, the staggering annual $1 trillion deficits and the more than $16 trillion national debt, the looming fiscal cliff and what to do about tax increases and/or cuts in government spending.
As for international hot spots, take your pick: Libya, the showdown between Iran and Israel, and Syria.
Here’s my question to you: Why would voters say this election matters more than most?
When we wake up Wednesday morning - or whenever this race is eventually decided - it might not matter all that much whether Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is the next president.
Here's why: It's expected Congress will remain divided in the next session with Democrats in control of the Senate and Republicans in control of the House of Representatives.
And we all know how productive our federal government has been the past two years with a divided Congress. Critical issues have gone ignored. They include, but are not limited to, our soaring national deficits, a $16 trillion plus national debt and the looming fiscal cliff.
Our lawmakers do nothing about the really important issues and instead focus on symbolic votes, meaningless hearings and name-calling of the opposite party. And it's highly likely we can expect more of the same for the next two years.
Experts are calling 2012 a "status quo" election with most incumbents expected to win new terms. That's really a shame. What have they done to deserve another term?
In the House, Republicans now hold a 242-193 majority and Democrats are not expected to win nearly enough new seats to take control of the chamber.
In the Senate, some Democrats say the worst-case scenario is maintaining their current 53-47 margin.
But if Americans are frustrated with the dysfunction they'll likely see under Obama or Romney come January, we have no one to blame but ourselves for re-electing the same people over and over again.
Here’s my question to you: How much does it matter who the president is if Congress remains divided?
With 12 days to go and polls tightening nationwide and in several key states, it looks like the 2012 presidential election just might be another nail biter.
That wasn't the case last time around.
In 2008, Barack Obama mopped the floor with John McCain, winning both the Electoral College and the popular vote by wide margins.
But the two presidential contests before that were close ones.
In the 2004 race between incumbent George W. Bush and John Kerry it all came down to the state of Ohio. That could very well be the case a week from Tuesday.
If Kerry had won Ohio, he would have been president.
Going back to 2000, it was even closer. So close it took 36 days and the Supreme Court to decide the winner.
The High Court effectively handed that election to George W. Bush over Al Gore after ordering the re-counting of ballots in Florida stopped.
The five-week drama of counting ballots, hanging chads and legal appeals took a toll on the country.
Fast forward to 2012 and what is by all accounts a tight race. Very tight. Not that long ago, President Obama was favored to win.
But after a monumentally bad first debate for the president and a strong month for Mitt Romney, the challenger now has the wind at his back.
When even The New York Times is out with a piece this week about how Romney has the momentum heading into the home stretch, it's an indication that we might be headed for another election all-nighter and then some.
Here’s my question to you: Which is better for the country: a close election or a clear mandate?
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The truth about what happened in Benghazi – and when President Obama knew it – could have a huge impact on the closing days of this campaign.
Turns out the White House, the State Department and the FBI were all told two hours after the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that an Islamic militant group had claimed responsibility. Two hours.
One government e-mail from the State Department shows a Libyan group – called Ansar al-Sharia – claimed responsibility for the attack on Facebook and Twitter. The group denied responsibility the next day.
This is big. It suggests that the president had reports that very day that the attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans weren't because of some film clip.
And yet – we heard just the opposite.
It took the administration nine days to refer to the attack as the work of terrorists.
Instead, top officials insisted there was no evidence suggesting the attack was "planned or imminent."
They continued to suggest that it was that anti-Muslim video produced in the United States that fueled a spontaneous protest in Benghazi. This includes folks at the very top like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and the State Department spokeswoman.
Why did the president and his top lieutenants obfuscate and hem and haw for so long before telling us what really happened? Try politics.
As for this latest report, the White House says that these e-mails were part of a public flow of information in the aftermath of the attack and that it's the job of the intelligence community to sort through this stuff. They still refuse to accept responsibility for misleading the American people.
However, the more information that comes out about the Benghazi attack, the more questions there are about how the administration handled this. And that's not good for Obama just 13 days before the election.
Here’s my question to you: Why didn't President Obama tell the truth about what happened in Benghazi?
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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