September 2nd, 2009
06:00 PM ET

How will a recent kidnapping case affect the push to release prisoners early?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

California wants to delay an order requiring the state to reduce its prison population by more than 40,000 inmates over the next two years.

Jaycee Dugard was kidnapped at 11 and kept hidden for 18 years in a backyard compound.

Last month - a three-judge panel gave California 45 days to decide how to cut its prison population, saying that was the only way to improve medical and mental health care for the inmates.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says the courts can't order the state to release prisoners; and he is set to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. He says cutting the state's inmate population must be done in a responsible way.

His administration is backing legislation that would cut the number of inmates, now at around 170,000, by about 37,000 over two years... Part of the plan would be to send more convicts to county jails or home detention.

And it's not just California... Several states have been under pressure to reduce prison populations to cut costs as their deficits increase and the recession means less tax money coming in.

But wait just a minute. This all comes as details continue to unfold in that horrific kidnapping case that broke near San Francisco last week... where a paroled sex offender was arrested for abducting an 11-year-old girl, holding her for 18 years and having two children with her.

The outrage over this story just might shape the debate over the early release of prisoners - as it should. This creep was released early only to do more of the same.

Here’s my question to you: How will a recent California kidnapping case affect the push for states to release prisoners early in order to save money?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Law Enforcement
September 2nd, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Congress pass health care reform after summer recess?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama is getting ready to shift his strategy when it comes to health care reform - after a brutal month of August that wounded and divided his party.

Politico reports top White House officials say the president is going to be more active in the debate - something he probably should have done weeks ago.

Mr. Obama is considering a major speech that lays out his health care demands as soon as next week, when Congress returns from its recess.

And despite pressure from his base, the president reportedly has no plans to insist on a public insurance option. This would likely anger many liberals, but could show the president is willing to take on members of his own party to get things done. Nancy Pelosi said no bill would pass the House without a public option.

One top Republican, Senator Lamar Alexander is warning that there will be a "minor revolution" if Democrats reform health care without GOP backing. He says the town hall meetings show Americans are "scared to death" of reform; and going it alone would "wreck our health care system and wreck the Democratic Party."

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows a majority of Americans want Congress to keep working on the health care bills already in progress. 25-percent say they should pass with few changes. 28-percent say they should pass with major changes. 25-percent say lawmakers should start over. And 20-percent say they should stop working on health care all together.

Here’s my question to you: With the August recess ending, what are the chances Congress will pass health care reform?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Congress • Health care
September 2nd, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Will swine flu fears change your daily life this fall?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's estimated between 30,000 and 90,000 people in this country could die from the swine flu this year. Scary stuff. True, in an average year about 36,000 people die from regular flu - but this has the potential to be much, much worse.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the best things people can do are simple... like washing their hands often and coughing into their sleeve.

President Obama says he doesn't want anybody to be alarmed, but he does want people to be prepared... This includes families and businesses making plans in case relatives or co-workers catch the virus and need to stay home.

Swine flu cases are expected pick up again as the school year starts... and possibly peak in mid-October. A vaccine is being tested - but isn't expected to be available until at least mid-October. Children and young adults will be at the greatest risk.

This thing has got Americans' attention. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 39-percent of those surveyed are concerned that they or someone in their family will get the swine flu... that's double the percent who felt that way in May.

The poll also shows most Americans are confident in the government's ability to prevent a nationwide epidemic, and two-thirds say they plan to get vaccinated.

So far there have been 550-deaths in the U-S from H1N1 - or swine flu. A scientific panel recently said it's possible that anywhere from 30-to-50 percent of the population could catch it. 50-percent of the population would be around 150-million people.

Here’s my question to you: Will the fear of getting swine flu change your daily life this fall?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Health