December 10th, 2008
01:06 PM ET

What is it about Illinois and political corruption?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin, the Democrat from Illinois, called yesterday "a sad day for my state."

A sad day, sure, his state's governor was handcuffed and hauled off to appear before a federal judge. But in Illinois it's not like this has never happened before.

There's a pattern of corruption among governors in the "Prairie State." Counting Governor Blagojevich, four of the last seven governors elected in the state of Illinois have been arrested. Democrat Otto Kerner, who was Illinois's governor from 1961 to 1968, was convicted of taking bribes from the manager of two horse-racing tracks and spent some time in prison. Dan Walker, also a Democrat, who held the job from 1973 to 1977, served time after he left office for receiving improper loans. And Republican George Ryan, who served as governor from 1999 to 2003, was charged with accepting gifts in return for political favors and was sentenced to six years in prison in 2006.

Blagojevich, of course, was charged yesterday with among other things trying to sell President-elect Obama's senate seat.

A proud tradition, isn't it? And don't even start on the history of corruption in the city of Chicago. This is only a three-hour program.

Here's my question to you: When it comes to political corruption, what is it about Illinois?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Chicago Senate Seat
December 10th, 2008
01:01 PM ET

'Car Czar' the answer to Detroit's problems?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's a deal, at least, in principle, for a $14 billion auto industry bailout with strings attached.

The Big 3 have three months to restructure under the watchful eyes, presumably, of a government "car czar." So that's it… a few billion dollars and government interference and Detroit will be just fine, right?

This car czar, to be appointed by the President, will write the guidelines for the $14 billion loans. The appointee will also set the terms for the loans and oversee the restructuring of the auto makers who take the money. There will supposedly be a report to Congress every 15 days.

In short, this person will have extraordinary power.

The deal is a short-term solution that is supposed to give GM and Chrysler enough cash to avoid filing for bankruptcy, at least until President-elect Barack Obama takes over and can negotiate a long-term solution. Ford apparently has enough cash on hand and won't need a loan, at least not yet.

If the government does as good a job with this as it's done with overseeing the $700 billion bailout, well… you get the idea.

Some are calling the arrangement "Bankruptcy Light"... saying it avoids the dangers of bankruptcy that scare consumers away from buying products, in this case cars.

Here’s my question to you: Is a government "Car Czar" the answer to Detroit's problems?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Auto Industry
December 10th, 2008
01:01 PM ET

Why are so many newspapers going under?



The newspaper industry could be at a breaking point. Tribune Company filed for Chapter 11 this week and the Wall Street Journal reports that the New York Times Company, which publishes 19 newspapers, is negotiating with lenders to borrow less next year due to falling ad revenues.

Newspaper publishers say there's been a 15 percent drop in advertising sales across the industry this year and the outlook is bleak for 2009.

Papers were already struggling to compete with cable TV and the internet and now the economic downturn is spelling more trouble.

Last year Tribune, which owns television stations and newspapers, went private and was bought out for $8.2 billion but it wasn't enough to save them.

The New York Times has been cutting costs by consolidating and closing print plants.

McClatchy Company, which owns 30 newspapers, cut 2,550 jobs this year and took other steps to cut $200 million. But it still may not be enough.

Here's my question to you: What does it mean that so many newspapers are going under?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: News Media