March 18th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Pope: Condoms aren't solution to AIDS; they make it worse

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's time for the Catholic Church to enter the 21st century; or at least try to drag itself out of the 13th. On his first trip to Africa, Pope Benedict XVI said condoms are not a solution to the AIDS epidemic; rather, they make it worse.

Pope Benedict XVI believes condoms hinder the AIDS crisis.

In his first public comments on condom use, the pope told reporters that AIDS "is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems." Huh?

Since becoming pope four years ago, Benedict has stressed that the church is on the front lines of the battle against AIDS; with the Vatican encouraging sexual abstinence as the way to stop the disease from spreading.

Obviously that message hasn't delivered the desired results in Africa where parts of the continent have been ravaged by AIDS. Not to mention right here in our nation's capital: a new report shows three percent of Washington D.C.'s residents have HIV or AIDS. That translates to almost 3,000 people for every 100,000 population. That figure represents a "severe epidemic." One health official says Washington's rates are higher than parts of West Africa - and "on par with Uganda and some parts of Kenya."

Here’s my question to you: The pope says condoms aren't the solution to AIDS; they make it worse. Is he right?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Pope Benedict XVI
March 18th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Your economic questions for Pres. Obama?

President Barack Obama heads to California today where he'll hold a couple of town hall-style meetings and answer questions from ordinary Americans about the economy, among other things.

President Obama will answer questions from ordinary California citizens.

Although a visit to California is usually a breeze for a Democratic president, Mr. Obama should probably prepare himself for a good grilling. California - which, on its own, is the world's eighth-largest economy - has been ravaged by the recession, a housing meltdown and double-digit unemployment. The president's trip also comes while the public is outraged over the $165 million in bonuses given to AIG executives.

Americans have plenty of worries about the economy. A new CNN-Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 63 percent of those surveyed say the economy is the most important issue facing the country.

When asked what the top economic concern is, 36 percent of Americans say unemployment, 20 percent say inflation, 16 percent say the mortgage crisis, 14 percent say the stock market, and 11 percent say taxes.

In addition to the town hall meetings, President Obama is scheduled to appear on 'The Tonight Show' with Jay Leno tomorrow night, making him the first sitting president to hit the late-night talk show circuit.

It's all part of the White House's effort to sell its economic plan to Main Street.

Here’s my question to you: What would you tell the president about the economic situation where you live?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Economy • President Barack Obama
March 18th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Washington to blame for AIG bonus scandal?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As outrage over AIG bonuses reaches a fever pitch, many are now wondering why our leaders in Washington didn't do more to prevent the situation in the first place. The Obama administration says that it didn't know until a couple of weeks ago that AIG executives were set to receive $165 million in bonuses.

Cafferty: Why didn’t our leaders in D.C. do more to prevent this situation?

They say that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner found out last Tuesday; and the president learned of all this on Thursday, just a day before the controversial retention payments went through. But Geithner was running the New York Federal Reserve Bank last fall when AIG got a high-interest loan of 85 billion dollars to help prevent collapse - along with its first installment of federal bailout money.

And none of these folks must watch CNN because in late January, Mary Snow did a story on this very program about the insurance giant paying hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses to its financial products unit.

And then there's Congress... When some lawmakers tried to prevent bonuses in the stimulus bill last month they actually made an exception for pre-existing contracts. Democrat Chris Dodd - who proposed the executive compensation provision - insists that he did not include that exemption clause. He says he doesn't know how it got there; as do several other Democratic sources.

Dodd and then candidate-Barack Obama were the top recipients of AIG political contributions in 2008 - each getting more than $100,000.

And there's more... The Senate had passed a bipartisan amendment that would have taxed bonuses on any company getting federal bailout money if the company didn't pay back the bonus money to the government; but that was stripped from the stimulus bill during closed-door meetings. This is bordering on insanity.

Here’s my question to you: How much is Washington to blame for the AIG bonus scandal?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Bailout • Washington