May 1st, 2009
06:00 PM ET

What makes you happy during the recession?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the recession drags on, many Americans feel they've been dragged down with it. A new Washington Post-ABC News Poll shows 56 percent of those polled say the recession has caused them to make significant changes in their lifestyle; and a quarter are angry or upset about having to do so.

Exercise can reduce symptoms of depression, particularly during these trying economic times.

According to the survey, 66 percent of Americans have lost a job or seen it happen to someone close to them; while 71 percent have either had their wages or hours cut or seen it happen to a friend or relative. Not to mention the values of their 401(k)s and homes tanking.

So how can people stay positive with all this depressing stuff going on? U.S. News and World Report talked to experts for tips on how to stay happy during the recession.

Some of their suggestions include:

– Spending money on an experience, show tickets or dining out, rather than an item - new clothes, a cell phone or jewelry

– Working on meaningful relationships - especially with cheerful people

– Being grateful for what you've got - spending time with those less fortunate, like at a soup kitchen or hospital, can do wonders for that

– Exercising - which can reduce symptoms of depression

– Practicing acts of kindness like donating blood or feeding a friend's pet

Here’s my question to you: In light of the recession, what makes you happy?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Recession
May 1st, 2009
04:40 PM ET

Why are frequent churchgoers more likely to support torture?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the debate about torture rages on in Washington - with calls for investigations of the Bush administration - here's a perhaps surprising nugget about how Americans view torture of suspected terrorists.

Turns out the more often people go to church, the more likely they are to support torture - that's according to a new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The poll finds that of more than half of Americans who attend church services at least once a week, 54 percent say the use of torture is often or sometimes justified.

Only 42 percent of people who seldom or never go to church agree...

Evangelical Protestants are the religious group most likely to agree; while people unaffiliated with any religious group are least likely to support torture.

Of course evangelicals were a major voting bloc courted by President Bush both times he ran for office; and former Bush officials continue to speak out now about how the harsh techniques yielded critical information that helped keep this country safe. But it's ironic that the faithful are more supportive of torture, isn't it?

Overall, Pew found 49 percent of Americans say torture is at least "sometimes" justified; while 47 percent say it rarely or never is. Republicans are more likely to support the actions than Democrats; while a majority of Independents believe that torture is sometimes justified.

Here’s my question to you: Why is it that the more often Americans go to church, the more likely they are to support torture of suspected terrorists?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Religion
May 1st, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Time to invest in the stock market?

Stock markets have been rallying for almost two months now since the Dow hit a nearly 12-year low in early March. The S&P 500 has surged about 30 percent since then; and the Dow Jones industrial average has posted its best two months since the start of the last bull market in 2002. International indexes are up sharply too, marking the strongest global stock rally since 1991.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange moments before the closing bell.

One expert tells the Financial Times: "All the things are in place for the bear market to have ended."

And it's not just stock markets that are rebounding... credit markets, emerging markets and commodities - like oil - are all on the rise. Also, although company earnings are still decreasing, they aren't as bad as they were. Surprise results have come from companies like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, Ford and Apple.

And then there's the massive economic stimulus program that may have started to work its way through different parts of the economy.

It's hard to believe two months ago we were all talking about the first depression since the 1930s, deflation and bank nationalizations. But markets often improve before the wider economy does; and some think the markets could keep rallying for another six months.

The 'glass half empty' crowd isn't convinced. They suggest the current stock market rally is not for real. They worry that banks will continue to hold back lending and housing prices will continue to fall.

In light of the fact that many Americans have been standing on the sideline for some time...

Here’s my question to you: Is now the time to invest in the stock market?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Recession • Wall Street