April 28th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Most families allow media to cover fallen soldiers



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Since the Obama administration lifted the ban on media coverage of fallen troops returning to the U.S., most military families are choosing to allow reporters and photographers to witness the ceremonies.

The press had been banned from covering these solemn ceremonies ostensibly to protect the privacy of the soldiers' families. Cynics suggest it was because President Bush didn't want attention drawn to the fact that soldiers were being killed in the phony war he started in Iraq.

The ban was actually imposed 18 years ago by Bush's father, the first President Bush, during Operation Desert Storm. The father of one Army corporal recently killed in Iraq said, "I think it was to protect the government's butt." That's exactly what it was.

So far - 14 of 19 families have allowed the media cover their loved one's return. The Pentagon calls it "a pretty good majority." The Air Force Mortuary Affairs office says reporters have been cooperative and there haven't been any problems. They also say they'll help facilitate a meeting with reporters if the family wants... although only one family has done that so far.

Sadly, media interest has dropped off rather dramatically in just a few short weeks: almost 40 members of the press turned up for the return of the first combat casualty they were allowed to cover... at a more recent ceremony, the AP says its photographer was the only one.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if most military families want the media to cover the return of fallen troops to the U.S.?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: U.S. Army • US Military
April 28th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Is spending less a new reality for your family?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In light of the ongoing recession, about one-third of Americans say they've been spending less in recent months. More importantly, they say they plan to make this their "new, normal" pattern in the future. A new Gallup poll shows overall 53 percent of those surveyed say they have been spending less, while 32 percent of those people say it will become the new norm.

Many Americans say they’re saving more in light of tough economic times. Others are struggling just to make ends meet and do not have the extra cash to put away.

30 percent say they're spending about the same amount of money; and a surprising 17 percent say they're spending more. Meanwhile when it comes to savings, 36 percent say they're saving more in these tough times.

31 percent are saving the same amount as before; while 32 percent say they're saving less. This is probably because many Americans are doing everything they can just to make ends meet and don't have any extra money to put away.

The poll also found nearly 60 percent of Americans say they enjoy "saving money" more. That's 22 points higher than those who say they enjoy "spending money" more; and that gap has increased since the last time the question was asked.

It's worth noting that it's difficult to predict what people will actually do in the future; but these poll numbers could mean bad news for the country's retailers. Gallup suggests we may be seeing a "new frugality" settling in among many Americans.

Here’s my question to you: Is spending less a new reality for your family?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Economy
April 28th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Has fear of swine flu changed your life?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Drastic measures are being taken to prevent the spread of swine flu in many countries around the world - including Mexico, which is the eye of the swine flu hurricane. But in the U.S. the response has been more muted.

Only 64 cases of swine flu have been diagnosed here so far - and the majority of these people apparently became ill after traveling to Mexico. Compare that to Mexico's 1,600 cases and more than 150 deaths linked to the swine flu.

Newsweek reports that public health officials suggest the virus probably won't hit us as hard as our neighbors to the South. For one thing, the anti-terror training that took place after 9/11 makes American hospitals better prepared to handle a pandemic.

The U.S. also has more resources: more hospitals, facilities for doctors and nurses, better critical care, and with large quantities of drugs that can treat influenza.

Also, the government's declaring a public health emergency should help, because it can act more aggressively. And, if people are freaking out a bit, they're also more likely to wash their hands, get treated, etc., which can all help keep swine flu from spreading.

In this country some schools have closed, others have told kids not to shake hands. Pharmacies in New York reported that paper face masks were selling by the box; while New Mexico set up a swine flu hot line. One Chicago hospital required anyone entering to use a liquid disinfectant.

Here’s my question to you: Has the fear of swine flu changed your life in any way?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health