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December 10th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Are government workers at every level accountable enough?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Here we go again... Five Transportation Security Administration employees are now on "administrative leave" after a sensitive airport security manual was posted on the Internet.

Here's some of what was revealed:

  • Who is exempt from certain additional screening measures
  • Examples of identification documents that screeners accept
  • And details of the screening process and the limitations of x-ray machines.

This comes weeks after three Secret Service officers were put on leave while that agency investigates how it allowed those two morons to crash a White House State Dinner.

Government employees who are found compromising national security are placed on "administrative leave." Gee... give me some of that. They sit home and do nothing while they continue to collect their paychecks. That's some "punishment." We have 10-percent unemployment in this country - yet try firing a government employee for anything short of a felony conviction. Can't be done.

They're protected, they know it, and as a result sometimes they just don't try very hard. Look anywhere from your local city hall to Washington, DC: Government is rife with complacency, inefficiency, and in some cases - downright arrogance.

I bet some of the 16-million unemployed would jump at the chance to get one of those jobs and would approach it with a little more enthusiasm and professionalism.

Here’s my question to you: Are government workers at every level accountable enough?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Uncategorized
December 9th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Why do some successful people throw it all away?

ALT TEXT

(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the Tiger Woods scandal continues to grow like a Chia pet on steroids, here's the latest:

  • Reports put the number of alleged mistresses at eleven and counting
  • Documents from the night of the crash show investigators suspected that Woods may have been driving under the influence
  • According to Nielsen, television ads featuring Woods have disappeared from prime-time broadcast TV and many cable channels

Woods makes $110 million a year from endorsements and tournaments... and in part he was selling an image. But that image has sustained more damage in the last two weeks than his Cadillac Escalade: One index that measures how celebrities influence shoppers shows Woods' ranking dropping from sixth to 24th place.

This makes Tiger Woods the latest in a long line of public figures - almost always men - who work hard to build successful lives and careers only to turn around and throw it all in a garbage can.

The website PoliticsDaily.com has a piece called "The Last Tiger Woods Question" that asks: "Why did he think he wouldn't get caught?" We all know the drill... from Bill Clinton to Eliot Spitzer, Rudy Giuliani, John Edwards and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford... people who are so controlled and accomplished in other areas of their lives, yet risk it all.

Experts say a lot of times these men simply don't think - that lust makes people irrational. Or, they think they're smarter, or somehow different or the woman in question is special, or they know other men who got away with it and think they can too. Wrong.

Here’s my question to you: Why do some successful people choose to throw it all away?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Uncategorized
December 9th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Obama look like Bush by letting aide avoid testifying?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Congress, and the American public for that matter, would like to know how uninvited guests can simply walk into the White House and attend a state dinner hosted by the president. Seems like a reasonable question.

White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers planned the state dinner that Tareq and Michaele Salahi crashed.

White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers planned the state dinner that Tareq and Michaele Salahi crashed.

Trouble is, no one wants to tell them. Except for the Secret Service, who willingly admitted their role in the screw up.

The intruders - they weren't guests - the Salahis - don't want to talk. And if they're subpoenaed by Congress to testify they say they plan to invoke the Fifth Amendment. The one that protects against self-incrimination. If, as they claim, they were invited - they weren't - why would they do that?

But the bigger question is why the White House is providing cover to social secretary Desiree Rogers. The president cites executive privilege in saying this woman who was in charge of the dinner, that's her job, doesn't have to testify.

Now we're not talking about a key policy adviser to the president here. We're talking about a secretary whose job it is to be in charge of stuff like dinner. It's not like she has access to the nuclear launch codes, if you know what I mean.

But the president doesn't want Rogers to have to go in front of Congress and explain why she didn't do her job. Which was dinner. Why not? People have been fired for less. But she's being shielded from any embarrassment not because of "executive privilege," but because she's an old pal of Obama's from Chicago. This is change?

Here’s my question to you: Does President Obama look like Pres. Bush when he allows social secretary Desiree Rogers to avoid testifying before Congress?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Congress • President Barack Obama
December 8th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

What's behind collapse of Obama's approval ratings?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama's approval ratings are on the move - but not in the direction he'd like.

With double-digit unemployment, rising deficits and spending, an unclear fate for health care reform and his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan...

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows only 48 percent of Americans approve of how Mr. Obama is handling his job... 50 percent disapprove.

This is a pretty significant drop in approval from earlier in his term. Back in July - the president got a 56 percent approval rating; in February, it was at 67 percent.

And President Obama fares even worse in the Gallup Daily Tracking poll - which puts him at 47 percent; a new low in that poll, which includes a measly 14 percent approval rating among Republicans.

Gallup points out that while most Democrats still approve of the president - he's seen big drops in support among both Republicans and independents.

These new numbers are apparently getting under the White House's skin.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs mocked the reliability of the Gallup Daily Tracking poll - saying he was sure "a six-year-old with a crayon could do something not unlike that."

Gibbs says he doesn't pay any attention to the "meaninglessness of it." Wanna bet?

Here’s my question to you: What's behind the collapse of President Obama's approval ratings?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: President Barack Obama
December 8th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

What should be done with leftover $200 billion TARP money?

ALT TEXT

Morgan Stanley is one of ten lenders that won U.S. Treasury approval to pay back $68 billion in funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Despite record deficits, President Obama wants to spend more money to create jobs and try to ease the suffering of consumers and businesses.

The president's plan includes:

  • Giving small businesses tax breaks for new hires and equipment purchases
  • Expanding spending on infrastructure - building more roads, bridges water projects, etc.
  • And giving consumers rebates for modifying their homes to consume less energy.

The president didn't put a price tag on all these projects, but he suggested there's more money for the government to spend - since the TARP bailouts will wind up costing $200 billion less than expected.

Republicans are outraged at the idea of spending any of this TARP money - they say any money made back on the bailout of financial institutions should be used to pay down the skyrocketing national debt.

President Obama insists the U.S. can do both at the same time - pay down the debt and spend more to create jobs and spur economic growth.

Meanwhile there is an ominous warning out today about our ballooning national debt - now at $12 trillion and growing. Moody's credit rating agency says it's "not inconceivable" that the U.S. could lose its triple-A debt rating in 2013.

It could happen if U.S. growth slows, interest rates climb, and the government fails to address the growing national deficits - which the government is currently failing to do.

Here’s my question to you: What should be done with the leftover $200 billion of TARP money?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.


Filed under: Uncategorized
December 8th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Could Reid's support of health care reform cost him Senate seat?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Majority Leader Harry Reid is the top cheerleader for health care reform in the Senate... and this support for the bill might just wind up costing him his Nevada Senate seat.

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pauses while speaking after a meeting with Pres. Obama and other Senate Democrats as they consider their version of health care reform legislation.

Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) pauses while speaking after a meeting with Pres. Obama and other Senate Democrats as they consider their version of health care reform legislation.

That's because a growing number of Nevadans don't support health care reform...

A Las Vegas Review-Journal poll shows 53 percent of registered voters oppose the president's health care plan while only 39 percent approve of it.

Majorities of Nevadans are also opposed to a public option, believe that the reform plan would raise taxes, and that it would lead to the rationing of health care. Worse yet - ahead of his re-election bid next year, only 39 percent approve of Reid's efforts to get a bill though the Senate.

Evidence suggests that although most Democrats support Reid's efforts... that probably won't be enough to outweigh the disapproval of most independents and Republicans. One pollster says Reid is carrying the flag for this reform and "You remember what happened historically to flag bearers in war. The flag bearer gets shot first."

Meanwhile Reid managed to get both feet in his mouth when he compared Republicans' opposition to health care reform... to people who opposed ending slavery. That bit of stupidity was delivered on the floor of the senate. Republicans call Reid's comment "an ignorant moment" and they're demanding an apology.

Here’s my question to you: Could Harry Reid’s support of health care reform cost him his Senate seat?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Health care • Senate
December 7th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Do you believe Obama will begin Afghan pullout in 2011?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President said in last week's speech that he will send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan - but also set July 2011 as a target for starting to withdraw forces.

But you'd never know it listening to some of his top assistants over the weekend.

A lot of people didn't like that the president set a timeline for withdrawal. Republicans suggested setting a withdrawal date 18 months out would allow the Taliban and other enemies to just wait us out. Also - Afghan and Pakistani officials are worried the U.S. will leave too quickly.

So here's what we got over the weekend:

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: quote "we are not talking about an exit strategy and a drop-dead deadline".
  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates: "there isn't a deadline"... and only a "handful" or "small number" of troops might start withdrawing in July 2011... conditions permitting
  • National Security Adviser General James Jones says the July 2011 withdrawal date is quote "not a cliff, it's a ramp" for the beginning of turning over to Afghan Forces... Jones adds the U.S. would be in the region "for a long time"
  • And head of U.S. Central Command, General David Petraeus - says the president's strategy "doesn't trigger a rush to the exits"

That should clear things up.

Meanwhile - Afghan President Hamid Karzai is asking for patience... saying that his country's military might not be ready in 18 months to take over responsibility.

Here’s my question to you: President Obama said the U.S. would begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July 2011. Do you believe him?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • President Barack Obama
December 7th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Did 'SNL' Tiger Woods skit go too far?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Saturday Night Live" is known for pushing the envelope when it comes to its satirical take on the news; but some say the show went too far this past weekend with a skit about Tiger Woods that insinuated domestic abuse.

The comedy sketch shows Woods holding a series of press conferences - where he tries to apologize for acts of infidelity. In each appearance, Woods appears more bruised and battered, eventually turning up with a golf club wrapped around his head - presumably having been put there by his wife.

But critics insist this is no laughing matter and ask if the show would have done the same sketch if it were a man suspected of beating his wife.

One person who probably wasn't laughing at this sketch was the show's musical guest, Rihanna, who was assaulted by her boyfriend, Chris Brown, earlier this year.

Meanwhile the Tiger Woods story and the alleged number of mistresses is growing larger by the day. Unofficial accounts have the number at nine with MSNBC reporting there could be more than a dozen women linked with the golfer by the end of this week. It's a wonder he ever had time to practice his golf game.

With all the tawdry headlines - no surprise that a new poll suggests Woods' popularity is circling the drain.

The CNN/Opinion research Corporation poll shows 60 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Woods; and 25 percent have an unfavorable view. That's down from an 84 percent favorable and nine percent unfavorable in 2001.

Here’s my question to you: Did Saturday Night Live go too far insinuating Tiger Woods was the victim of domestic violence?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Media Coverage
December 7th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

Is the global warming summit much ado about nothing?

ALT TEXT

Protesters gather on City Hall Square in Copenhagen to call for carbon emissions cuts during a global warming demonstration. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jasper Carlberg/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With the global warming summit kicking off today in Copenhagen, Denmark - some are wondering what the point of this whole exercise really is.

The British newspaper The Telegraph reports that more than 1,200 limousines have been booked by VIPs. Also, an extra 140 private jets are expected during the peak period of the summit - this far exceeds the capacity at Copenhagen's airport - so some planes will fly to regional airports, or in some cases Sweden, to park; and then come back to pick up their passengers.

All this for the 15,000 plus delegates, officials, journalists, world leaders, politicians, celebrities, etc. attending these meetings meant to reduce the planet's carbon emissions.

This little get-together will produce more than 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide - which is more than Switzerland produced in all of 2006.

To make matters worse, the summit is taking place under a cloud of suspicion - thanks to those leaked e-mails from climate scientists. Critics suggest the messages show researchers are ignoring data that questions whether global warming is real.

Now that President Obama has changed his schedule to attend the later part of the summit, some see this as a sign that an agreement may be closer to happening.

The U.S., India and China have all come out with specific proposals for the first time; and world leaders hope to come up with a deal that includes commitments on reducing emissions. But a legally-binding treaty to combat global warming? Never gonna happen.

Here’s my question to you: What do you expect to come out of the global warming summit in Copenhagen?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Global Warming
December 4th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Why is there only bipartisanship when military is involved?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Bipartisanship in Washington is virtually non-existent these days - except for President Obama's new strategy for Afghanistan.

U.S. Marines are pictured wading through a canal in Afghanistan's Helmand Province.

U.S. Marines are pictured wading through a canal in Afghanistan's Helmand Province.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll - conducted after the president's speech this week - shows his plan wins approval from 63 percent of Democrats, a whopping 72 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Independents. Gee, with a consensus like that you could actually run the country.

The president is getting thumbs-up from people more inclined to extend their middle fingers when it comes to things Democratic. Karl Rove says that the president's speech "deserves to be cheered" and insists victory is attainable.

Newt Gingrich is out praising President Obama for showing political courage on Afghanistan... in going against the anti-war left in his own party.

This is not to say that there aren't critics of the president's Afghanistan strategy in both parties, but on the whole, he's getting support - at least for now. If it doesn't go as planned, all bets are off. But at least for a few minutes we have the leadership of the country agreeing on something.

And this isn't just about President Obama and Afghanistan. The Democrats had no love lost for President George W. Bush but were mostly afraid to buck him on the wars.

Here’s my question to you: Why is it the only time there is bipartisanship is when the military is involved?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Bipartisanship • US Military
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