April 24th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

New law for your state's constitution?

There's a growing chorus of voices in California who think it's time to rip up the state constitution and start all over. Support for a proposed constitutional convention - once considered nothing more than a gimmick - has been building.

Calif. Gov. Schwarzenegger supports amending his state constitution so government can run more smoothly.

Even Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says he would back an effort to change the document so the state's government could function more smoothly.

California's constitution - which has been amended more than 500 times - is one of the longest and most complicated in the world. Supporters of a constitutional convention want to put a proposal on the November 2010 ballot that would focus the convention on a few key issues - like budget reform, open primaries, and allowing local governments to collect and spend tax revenues - instead of the state. It would not include controversial social issues like gay marriage.

One supporter insists California needs to change its constitution because the state is in crisis. He points to serious issues with education, the transit network, the water supply and an overflowing prison system.

But critics claim this is all just a ruse to raise taxes; and could open up the constitution to changes driven by special interest groups. One expert says it's reasonable for voters to be scared of the prospect: "Once you open it up, you don't know where it's going to go."

Here’s my question to you: What new law would you add to your state's constitution?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government
April 24th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Mistake for some in GOP to call Democrats 'Socialists'?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It seems like some Republicans still haven't realized that they lost big-time last November because the American people are sick and tired of their style of politics. And here's Exhibit A: a conservative faction of the Republican National Committee wants the party to brand Democrats as Socialists.

Some RNC members argue Pres. Obama wants to restructure U.S. society upon socialist ideals.

Politico reports RNC member James Bopp, Jr. of Indiana is accusing President Obama of wanting to restructure American society along socialist ideals, saying: "Just as President Reagan's identification of the Soviet Union as the evil 'empire' galvanized opposition to Communism, we hope that the accurate depiction of the Democrats as a Socialist Party will galvanize opposition to their march to Socialism."

16 RNC members agreed to the resolution and are petitioning Chairman Michael Steele to set a special meeting to consider it. An RNC spokesman wouldn't say what Steele thinks about all this, but a memo from earlier this month suggests that while he agrees with hardliners who say the president is leading the country toward socialism, he's probably not going to make it official party policy.

And it's not just Democrats who they're after - Bopp also wanted to criticize the three Republicans who supported the stimulus package: Senators Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. But that effort was apparently watered down - the resolution instead praises those in the party who have opposed bailouts and Democratic spending plans.

Several Republicans threw around the "socialist" label during last year's campaign; and more recently Congressman Spencer Bachus of Alabama claimed there were 17 socialists in Congress. None of this seems like the best way for the party to attract voters.

Here’s my question to you: Is it a mistake for some Republicans to try and brand Democrats as 'Socialists'?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Democrats • GOP
April 24th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Will Bush officials ever be prosecuted for 'enhanced interrogation' program?


Bush Administration officials such as Nat'l. Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Attorney Gen. John Ashcroft, CIA Dir. George Tenet, and VP Dick Cheney approved the use of harsh interrogation methods.(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The torture debate continues to heat up in Washington; with President Obama and top Senate Democrats pushing back against the creation of an independent commission to investigate the Bush administration's approval of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

Some Democrats like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been calling for an independent panel - like the 9/11 commission - to look into waterboarding and other harsh techniques.

But the president says a special inquiry would take away time and energy from his policy agenda, and could end up being a distraction looking back on the Bush years. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid backed the president, saying everyone should wait for the results of an investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee due out late this year.

Yet it's unclear how much of that panel's findings will ever be made public, since this is an investigation dealing mostly with classified information.

Meanwhile a new Senate report shows that top Bush administration officials approved the use of waterboarding as early as 2002 and 2003 - the harsh methods were approved by the likes of then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General John Ashcroft, CIA Director George Tenet, and Vice President Dick Cheney. Maybe that's one reason we're hearing so much from Cheney these days.

And expect for more of this stuff to keep dripping out... The ACLU says that the Defense Department will soon release "a substantial number" of photos showing abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan; these could prove that prisoner abuse during the Bush administration was widespread and reached far beyond Abu Ghraib.

Here’s my question to you: Will Bush administration officials who authorized and oversaw the enhanced interrogation program ever be prosecuted?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Bush Administration