July 23rd, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Did Wall St. learn from last year's meltdown?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Only months after being bailed out by billions of our taxpayer dollars... Wall Street is on track to pay employees even more than it did before the financial meltdown.

The Washington Post reports that so far this year the top 6 banks have set aside 74 billion dollars to pay employees - that's up from 60 billion dollars at this time last year - before the bottom fell out.

Washington is up in arms over this... with lawmakers blasting these financial institutions for going back to old habits. They are also promising to pass legislation to increase oversight on Wall Street pay days.

In last night's press conference - President Obama said Wall Street hasn't changed its behavior yet, saying: "I'd like to think that people would feel a little remorse and feel embarrassed and would not get million-dollar or multimillion-dollar bonuses."

All six of the top U.S. banks got federal bailout money last year. Three of them - Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan Chase - have since returned those funds. Yet - they still benefit from other emergency federal programs.

All of these banks - except for Morgan Stanley - posted profits this quarter. Some bank executives say it shouldn't be surprising that compensation goes up as performance improves.

Here’s my question to you: Did Wall Street learn anything from last year's meltdown?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Wall Street
July 23rd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Should Congress stay in session until it completes health care legislation?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It seems unlikely that President Obama is going to get his way... when it comes to Congress passing health care reform before its August recess. Although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists that the Democrats have enough votes to pass their health care bill in the House - she hasn't scheduled a vote yet.

Pelosi has suggested she may keep the chamber in session past its scheduled vacation if necessary - saying she wants to see a bill.

However, one top conservative from the so-called "Blue Dog" group of Democrats says even though they're making progress in negotiations, "we have a long way to go."

Republicans don't think it's going to happen either. House Republican Whip Eric Cantor says, "If they're going to get this passed next week, it's going to have to be a changed bill." Meanwhile - over in the Senate - officials say it appears the hopes of holding a vote before the August recess are gone.

Although the president didn't repeat his demand last night that Congress pass legislation before the month-long break... the White House insists the time to act is now. It's likely that Mr. Obama realizes time is not on his side if this thing gets delayed, saying :"If you don't set deadlines in this town, things don't happen. The default position is inertia."

The House is scheduled to leave town next Friday - and the Senate the following week.

Here’s my question to you: Should Congress remain in session until it completes the health care legislation?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Congress • Health care
July 23rd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Should use of wild animals in circuses be outlawed?


File photo of Ringling Bros. elephants. These animals were not featured in the video we aired. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has released a video that it says shows abuse of circus elephants by the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

The video shows animal handlers using a sharp metal object known as a bullhook to strike the elephants across the head, legs and body. In one part - a trainer curses at an elephant and then strikes the animal… telling it to "back up."

PETA says the video was shot by an undercover member who posed as a stagehand and worked for the circus for six months.

He said the circus elephants and tigers are regularly put through this kind of cruelty. The animal rights group says it has filed a complaint with the Agriculture Department under the Animal Welfare Act.

The circus denies the abuse claims and says it's looking into the validity of the video. They say they were in compliance with federal, state and local laws - and were inspected 10 times during the period that PETA claims the video was taken. The company says it loves its elephants and is proud of its efforts to care for and increase the endangered Asian elephant population.

But this isn't the first time Ringling Brothers has come under fire for allegedly mistreating animals. A 2000 case is set to be decided in federal court this month.

Here’s my question to you: Should the use of wild animals in circuses be outlawed?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Uncategorized