May 19th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Should airports do away with whole-body scans?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Privacy groups want the government to get rid of whole-body imaging machines at airports - because they say the security technology performs a "virtual strip" search and produces "naked" pictures of passengers.

A TSA officer reviews a passenger's carry-on items during a whole body scan at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

These sci-fi looking scanners were first introduced at a Phoenix airport in 2007. There are now 40 of them being tested and used in 19 airports. Some airports use them as a primary security check option instead of metal detectors; while others use it as a secondary option instead of a pat-down.

The Transportation Security Administration says the machines detect metallic and nonmetallic "threat items" to keep people safe, and that the technology is proven and they're highly confident in its detection capability. They also say this option is faster.

TSA officials say they're committed to respecting passenger privacy. The system uses a pair of security officers. The one who works the machine never sees the image, which is viewed behind closed doors by another officer, who never sees the passenger.

Also, the passenger's face is blurred. Officers can't bring cameras or any recording device into the room; and the machines automatically delete the images.

But critics are calling for more oversight, full disclosure for air travelers of what's going on here and legal language that would protect passengers and keep the TSA from changing its policy later on. The ACLU says we shouldn't pretend "being groped and being stripped" are our only options.

A bill was introduced in the House last month to ban these machines.

Here’s my question to you: Should airports do away with whole-body scans because they show "everything"?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Airlines • Travel
May 19th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Willing to travel abroad for medical care?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

While Washington looks at trying to solve the nation's health care crisis, many Americans aren't waiting. They are willing to take matters into their own hands by seeking medical treatment elsewhere.

A new Gallup poll shows 29 percent of those surveyed would consider traveling outside the U.S. for treatment in a foreign country. 24 percent would travel for cancer treatment or diagnosis. 15 percent for a hip or knee replacement. 14 percent for heart bypass surgery. And 10 percent for plastic surgery.

When people are asked if they would consider treatment abroad, assuming the quality was the same and the costs much cheaper, those numbers jump by an average of 12 points.

Medical travel used to be considered a luxury for the rich, but with health care costs at home skyrocketing and an estimated 48 million uninsured Americans, that may no longer be the case. In fact, this poll shows people without insurance are more likely than those with coverage to think about going abroad for medical treatment.

When it comes to regions of the country, those in the West are the most willing to travel while people in the Midwest and South are less likely to go abroad.

Meanwhile if there are improvements in insurance reimbursements, hospital quality and cheaper costs abroad - more Americans could start traveling elsewhere for health care.

Here’s my question to you: Would you be willing to travel to another country to get medical care?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health care
May 19th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Time to buy a Chrysler or GM car?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If you're looking for a new set of wheels, there are lots of deals out there - as two of the big three automakers close thousands of dealerships around the country.

789 Chrysler lots have a deadline of June 9 to unload more than 40,000 cars and trucks. The dealers have to sell the Chryslers, Dodges and Jeeps before then - or risk losing thousands of dollars.

Chrysler, which has filed for bankruptcy, doesn't have the money to buy back the vehicles. But the company says that dealers being cut will get warranty reimbursement and sales incentives like rebates and low-interest financing until June 9. After that, they won't get either... and that's why dealers are in a hurry to sell, even if it's at a loss.

Over at General Motors, the situation isn't quite as bad - at least not yet. Although the company is cutting 1,100 dealers, GM isn't in bankruptcy yet so dealers have more options. They also have more time to sell their cars - and the company is still required to buy back some of the cars and trucks.

Experts say before going to a dealership, you should find out about incentives and other deals, and make a low-ball offer. Of course - People can wait until the deadline gets closer and dealers are perhaps even more desperate - but keep in mind that inventory could be lower then and you may not get your first choice.

Here’s my question to you: Is now the time to buy a Chrysler or GM car?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Auto Industry