January 19th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Extravagant Inauguration: Does it send the wrong message?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Barack Obama is hosting the party of a lifetime, and it seems that there's no penny pinching going on in spite of the recession.

US President-elect Barack Obama and his wife Michelle wave during yesterday's 'We Are One' concert, one of the events of Obama's inauguration celebrations.

Estimates are that total costs for Obama's inauguration celebration could reach, or even exceed, $160 million. Obama has raised an estimated $41 million to help cover the costs of things like the train ride from Philadelphia to Washington on Saturday, and the star studded concert featuring U2, Beyonce, Bruce Springsteen and others yesterday. There's also the actual swearing in ceremony tomorrow with a price tag of $1.24 million and 10 official inaugural balls. Not to mention the cost of security and those 5,000 port-a-potties.

Four years ago, Democrats warned President Bush about an extravagant inauguration calling it inappropriate during a time of war. Today, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, the unemployment rate is the worst since 1945, consumer confidence is down along with the stock market and companies announce daily they are laying off people, closing stores or going out of business altogether.

But not a peep from the Democrats about the costs of Obama's inauguration. See, he's one of theirs.

And if you want to lose your appetite for dinner, consider this. The biggest donors for the inaugural festivities are recently bailed out Wall Streeters. Is this a great country or what?

Here’s my question to you: In light of the sour economy, does an extravagant inauguration celebration send the wrong message?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Inauguration • US Economy
January 19th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Global Warming: Where does it rank as a concern?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

No pressure, but as President, Barack Obama has just four years to save the planet. That's the dire warning from NASA scientist Jim Hansen, who says it's urgent for the new President to take the lead and do something about climate change.

Scientists believe that Greenland, with its melting ice caps and disappearing glaciers, is an accurate thermometer of global warming.

Hansen says in four years it will be too late. The consequences of doing nothing will include rising oceans, collapsing ice sheets, flooding, dying species, and disrupted weather patterns.

Carbon levels have already sent greenhouse warming past the point of no return and efforts to stop them from rising aren't working. Clearly a new approach is needed.

Hansen is urging the Obama administration to order an investigation of the ice caps around the world as the first order of business for the climate office. He's been asking the British Royal Society and the National Academy of Sciences to do so but it hasn't happened yet.

He makes it clear that the only way global warming can be solved is if the United States takes a leadership role. Without the U.S. aggressively pursuing solutions, Hansen says we are doomed.

Here’s my question to you: Where does global warming rank on the list of things that concern you?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Global Warming
January 19th, 2009
01:41 PM ET

What would Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. say about Obama?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Sometimes things work out the way they're supposed to. Today is Martin Luther King Day, a holiday set aside to honor the slain civil rights leader. Without him, tomorrow would never have happened. Tomorrow Barack Obama will be sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. The first African-American president we've ever had.

Martin Luther King would be 80 if he were alive today.

It's been almost 46 years since Dr. King, who would be 80 if he were alive today, led the march on Washington and delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech. From segregation, lynchings, water cannons and police dogs to the Oval Office in less than half a century. Dr. King would be very proud.

According to a CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll, 49% of Americans believe the U.S. has fulfilled Martin Luther King's vision laid out on that day: 69% of African-Americans and 46% of Whites.

A lot is riding on Obama. He is making history in a way his predecessors have not. Not since the late John F. Kennedy has so much hope been placed at the feet of one man by so many. It's going to be a helluva ride, and if Barack Obama can pull this off, our country is going to re-emerge from eight years of winter.

Here’s my question to you: If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were alive today, what would he say about Barack Obama’s inauguration?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Barack Obama • Inauguration