February 5th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Good idea to collect DNA from shoplifting suspects?


Washington State is considering a bill that would require DNA samples from shoplifting suspects. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Suspects in Washington State arrested for crimes like shoplifting or driving with a suspended license might soon be forced to give a DNA sample.

The state is considering a bill that would require these samples before the suspect is even charged with a crime. More than a dozen states already allow this - and two others are considering similar proposals.

Under Washington's bill, anyone arrested for a gross misdemeanor or felony would be forced to give a DNA sample. It would be stored at the state crime lab and destroyed if no charges were filed or the person was found not guilty.

Supporters say collecting DNA helps solve crimes – that it would make it easier for law enforcement to close cases and also to free those who have been falsely accused. One murder victim's mother praised the bill, saying DNA "helps us protect the innocent and catch the bad guys."

But Critics say the proposal enables unwarranted searches and would elevate those arrested for less serious crimes into the same category as violent convicts. Criminal defense groups and the ACLU are calling the bill unconstitutional – violating the right against unreasonable search and seizure.

It's estimated the program would cost $1 million over two years. And one lawmaker says although he likes the bill, he doesn't think now is the right time to pass it because of the state's money problems.

Here’s my question to you: Should states be allowed to collect DNA samples from suspects arrested for shoplifting?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


February 5th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

World economy in a "depression"?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It took no time at all after British Prime Minister Gordon Brown suggested the world is in a "depression" for the entire country to get its knickers in a knot.

Mr. Brown’s spokesman said the prime minister had made a slip of the tongue when he used the word “depression.”

While facing questions from Parliament, Mister Brown told lawmakers: "We should agree, as a world, on a monetary and fiscal stimulus that will take the world out of depression.”

The opposition party jumped on it right away and said the prime minister should explain himself - that he needs to be careful with his language to make sure he doesn't undermine confidence. They asked if Mister Brown had information that everyone else didn't know about.

Mister Brown's spokesman quickly came out and said the prime minister had made a slip of the tongue when he used the word "depression”, that it was "not deliberate, and not what he thinks.”

Just a week earlier, Mister Brown admitted that Britain was facing a "deep" recession, and the country's treasury secretary has said that they are "facing some of the harshest economic conditions for decades, perhaps for a century.”

Whatever words they're using, things are getting ugly everywhere, including Britain. Statistics already show the country is facing its worst recession since 1980. Forecasters suggest that the British economy will likely contract more than any other leading industrialized country this year.

Here’s my question to you: Is the world economy in a "depression"?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Economy
February 5th, 2009
02:40 PM ET

"Buy American" in stimulus plan?

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's no shortage of controversy when it comes to the massive stimulus bill – including whether or not it should include a "Buy American" provision.

Supporters of the "Buy American" provision want all bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure to be made of American materials.

Supporters insist that using only U.S. made goods in work projects - like bridges, roads and tunnels - will help jump-start the economy by giving business to American companies. Steel companies and labor unions are pushing for such a provision. But others worry that restrictions could start a trade war, and make the economic downturn even worse.

When the House passed its stimulus bill last week – it ensured that only U.S. made iron and steel can be used for construction – with a few notable exceptions. But the Senate has agreed to softened the "Buy American" clause, saying it won't override existing trade treaties.

President Obama says he doesn't want any provision that would violate U.S. trade rules. Already some of our closest trading partners are voicing concern. The European commission says it might challenge such a move if it becomes law. And Canada says it would violate NAFTA if the U.S. buys only American-made steel.

Some economists are also hesitant - saying now is not the time to institute any kind of protectionist measures. If the U.S. refuses to buy foreign made goods, our trading partners might decide to stop buying our exports - which could hurt us even more in the long run.

Here’s my question to you: Should the final version of the stimulus package contain a "Buy American" provision?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Economic Stimulus • Economy