May 17th, 2010
05:33 PM ET

What's behind precipitous decline in America's morality?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The U.S. isn't only headed for bankruptcy when it comes to our finances... it looks like we could be going morally bankrupt too.

A new Gallup poll paints a depressing picture of the state of our moral values in the U.S.

45 percent of those surveyed describe morality in this country as "poor"... only 15 percent - fewer than one in five– say "excellent or good."

These numbers rank among the worst in this poll over the last decade.

The survey also shows 76 percent of Americans say moral values in the U.S. are getting worse... only 14 percent say they're getting better.

So what's wrong with us?

Poll respondents give many examples when it comes to how moral values are getting worse. From the disrespect of others to parents not teaching their children good values; from dishonesty among government and business leaders to rising crime, loss of religion, breakdown of the family structure; and people not being accountable for their own behavior. No one's responsible for anything anymore. Everybody's a victim.

And believe it or nor this is one thing all political parties agree on... neither Republicans, Democrats nor independents give positive ratings of moral values.

It's a crying shame that in this great, free country where anything is possible, we as a society have such a negative view of how we behave and how we treat each other. It's hard to imagine how we can come together to solve our problems... if we have such a poor opinion of the next guy.

Here’s my question to you: What's behind a precipitous decline in America's morality?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: United States
May 17th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Washington's response to exploding federal deficits?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The scariest part about the financial crisis plaguing Greece and other parts of Europe... is whether the United States is next.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/17/art.geithner.jpg caption="Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner"]
Much like Greece, we're drowning in exploding deficits: the Treasury Department says that the U.S. has now posted budget deficits for 19 months in a row.

Even more ominous is the fact that in April alone - the U.S. deficit was nearly $83 billion... almost four times as much the deficit for April 2009. Since April is the tax filing deadline... the month historically shows a surplus, not a deficit.

Overall - the deficit for this year is expected to be $1.5 trillion; and the national debt stands at more than $12 trillion.

So it's not surprising people are starting to draw a line between what's happening in Greece - and our own future.

The head of the Bank of England warns the U.S. faces the same problems as Greece. With our "very large fiscal deficit," he says it's important for governments to have a clear plan on how to reduce these deficits.

And of course, that's the crux of the problem. None of our leaders wants to make the tough decisions to either raise taxes or cut spending. They're afraid it will cost them votes.

The White House's top budget official says although the U.S. isn't in "imminent danger" of a crisis like Greece, U.S. lawmakers need to act quickly.

But we have an election in November. So our answer is to sit around waiting for that toothless bipartisan debt commission to come forward with its proposals - that Congress doesn't need to act on - by December. Just one of many reasons to throw the incumbents out - all of them.

Here’s my question to you: What is Washington doing about our exploding federal deficits?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Washington
May 14th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What do you think is Sarah Palin's favorite literature?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

This was just too good to pass up.

It was announced this week that Sarah Palin's second book will be out this fall.
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Oh goody.

The publisher says that among other things it will contain Ms. Palin's favorite literature and poetry.

Now if memory serves me correctly, back when she was destroying John McCain's chances to be president by doing those self-destructive interviews with Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News, Couric asked her what newspaper she read on a regular basis in order to keep abreast of current events:

Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?

Palin: I've read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

Couric: What, specifically?

Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

Couric: Can you name a few?

Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too.

Now we are being asked to believe that a woman who couldn't name a newspaper she read while aspiring to the second highest office in the land has an appetite for literature and poetry.

Sarah Palin is making a naked grab for all the money she can get her hands on.

And that's fine... they all do it. That's why she quit in the middle of her term as governor of Alaska.

But stop playing us all for rubes who fell off the truck when the carnival went through town.

Here’s my question to you: What do you think is Sarah Palin’s favorite literature?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Sarah Palin
May 14th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Should govt. keep track of how fat our children are?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The government might soon be in charge of tracking how fat or skinny American children are.

Under the Healthy Choices Act - states would receive federal grants to track the body mass index of children ages two through 18 years old. The bill would require doctors in these states to collect this information and then pass it on to the state government... which would in turn pass it along to the feds.

The bill says that federal officials would use this data to identify obesity trends in different parts of the country... and how those trends change depending on gender and socioeconomic status.

Also, if a child's body mass index is greater than the 95th percentile, the bill requires the state to give the parents information on how to lower it... and on local child obesity programs.

One of the bill's sponsors - Democratic Congressman Ron Kind from Wisconsin - tells Cybercast news service that no one would be forced to come into their doctor to get their body mass index tested.

It would be taken when the child is at the doctor for a regular visit. The bill's sponsors also point out that any data collected will not include the patients' names.

This is all part of the larger measure that funds several programs and introduces new regulations meant to reduce obesity. Many would argue this is long-past due... with One-third of all U.S. children and two-thirds of all adults either obese or overweight.

Being fat also means being more likely to have everything from diabetes to heart disease to some kinds of cancer. And the costs of treating those things affect us all.

Here’s my question to you: Should the government start keeping track of how fat our children are?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Children • Obesity • On Jack's radar
May 13th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Would you enter a lottery where Bill Clinton is first prize?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Bill Clinton wants to help his wife pay off her campaign debt.
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So much so that the former president is raffling himself off in an e-mail to millions of Hillary Clinton supporters.

Here's what the e-mail says:

"How would you like the chance to come up to New York and spend a day with me? Hillary's campaign still has a few vestiges of debt that I know she would like to see paid in full. Will you reach out today to help Hillary this one last time?"

This is the second time in the last few months that Bill Clinton has raffled his time to help his wife. As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is not allowed to raise money herself to pay off her campaign debt.

The target audience here is not the typical big-time Democratic donors... Hillary relied on them during the campaign and most have already given the maximum allowed.

Rather, Clinton is appealing to smaller donors - you can give as little as $5 online and you've bought a chance to spend the day with President Clinton.

Hillary Clinton still owes a small boatload of money from her failed presidential bid... records show her campaign is close to $770,000 in debt. Much of it is owed to Mark Penn, Clinton's chief political strategist and pollster.

This doesn't include the $13 million personal loan that Hillary Clinton made to her campaign. She'll likely never see that money again.

Here’s my question to you: Would you enter a lottery where Bill Clinton is first prize?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Bill Clinton
May 13th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Do you plan to join the political rebellion this year?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

November is shaping up to be a blood-bath for incumbents.
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House Minority Leader John Boehner describes it as a "political rebellion" that's brewing in America. Boehner says the public is awake, involved and irritated at the arrogance of Washington... he says the message is "politicians beware."

And he's right... so far, we've seen incumbents from both parties lose in primaries - including 18-year Utah Republican Senator Robert Bennett and 28-year Democratic congressman Alan Mollohan of West Virginia.

And there are signs that they are only the first to drop... in Pennsylvania, Senator Arlen Specter may soon be on his way to the unemployment line. His primary challenger - congressman Joe Sestak - is surging in the polls and appears to have the momentum headed into next week's election.

Another Democrat, Senator Blanche Lincoln, seems to be on shaky ground in Arkansas' upcoming primary... polls suggest she may not win in the first round of voting and be forced to enter a run-off with her Democratic challenger.

Republicans have been predicting they'll make big gains in November... but that's not necessarily a safe bet. You see, the people are sick of pretty much all the politicians in Washington... Republicans and Democrats.

Take it from someone who's been there... former Idaho Democratic Congressman Larry LaRocca says the 2010 elections will be worse than 1994 for incumbents - that's the year he lost his seat in the big Republican sweep of Congress.

LaRocca believes the atmosphere is even more toxic now... but that this time, the anger is evenly divided between the two major parties. As it should be. One is as bad as the other.

Here’s my question to you: Do you plan to join the political rebellion this year?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Elections
May 12th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Why taken Catholic Church so long to acknowledge role in child sex abuse?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The pope is finally admitting that the Catholic Church itself is to blame for the worldwide child sex abuse scandal. It took long enough.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/12/art.stained..glass.jpg caption=""]
Pope Benedict XVI calls the crisis "truly terrifying" and suggests "the greatest persecution of the church doesn't come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the church."

Benedict also stresses that quote "forgiveness is not a substitute for justice."

It's refreshing to finally hear the pope talk about this growing crisis head-on. For weeks, as accusations piled up, we've heard other Catholic officials blame anyone but the pedophile priests and officials who covered it all up.

They blamed the media, they blamed homosexuality, and they described the whole affair as "petty gossip."

But thanks in part perhaps to the relentless reporting of the scope of the scandal worldwide by the media, the pope is now talking; and he will likely be controlling the message from here on out.

Hopefully this is a sign that the pope, who's been criticized for not taking enough actions against allegations of abuse, understands how deeply this crisis has affected the Catholic Church. But so far it's just all talk.

Victims groups want more than talk… and rightfully so.

Here’s my question to you: Why has it taken the Catholic Church so long to acknowledge its role in the sexual abuse of children by priests?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Catholic Church • Children • Pope Benedict • Pope Benedict XVI • Religion
May 12th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Americans citing immigration as top problem highest in 2 years


Demonstrators protest Arizona's new immigration enforcement law outside the U.S. Immigration and Customs building in Phoenix. Critics say the immigration law could encourage racial profiling against Hispanics. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Americans are increasingly likely to name immigration as the top problem facing the country.

A new Gallup poll shows 10 percent of those surveyed cite immigration as the nation's most serious problem - that's up from two percent just one month ago. It's also the highest level Gallup has recorded in more than two years.

The poll also shows increased concern over immigration is highest in the West and among Republicans and conservatives.

This comes as the federal government considers suing over Arizona's tough new immigration law. Attorney General Eric Holder says possible grounds for the lawsuit would be that Arizona's law could lead to civil rights violations.

Did I get that right? We're talking about suing over something that hasn't even happened yet?

All this does is further muddy the issue. After all, it was the lack of federal enforcement of current laws that led Arizona to do this in the first place.

Meanwhile, as Arizona's longtime senator John McCain fights for re-election, he's all over the place on immigration. After years of criticizing a border fence, McCain now calls for completion of the "danged" fence.

It's difficult to know what John McCain believes anymore except that he is willing to say anything in order to to try to get re-elected - whether it conflicts with his earlier positions or not. He should lose the election just based on his willingness to sell out his principles. He didn't used to be this way.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if the number of Americans citing immigration as the nation's top problem is the highest in two years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Immigration • United States
May 11th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What can rest of us learn from Tiger Woods?


Tiger Woods lines up his putt on the second green during the final round of The Players Championship Sunday in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Tiger Woods is no longer just about golf, regardless of what he says. His swing coach, Hank Haney, quit. Says he wants to move on. Woods won a third of the tournaments he entered and more than $51 million while Haney was his coach.

Nobody walks away from that kind of success unless he sees something the rest of us are beginning to.

Since Woods' so-called comeback, he has been less than stellar. Fourth at the Masters, missed the cut at Quail Hollow after shooting a second round 79 and quit in the middle of the fourth round of the Players Championship. Said he had a disc problem in his neck that had been bothering him since before the Masters.

But last Friday when he was asked about his health, he told a reporter he was 100 percent.

Like the details surrounding the Thanksgiving crash of his SUV, something is missing. And now the man who coached one of the greatest swings golf has ever seen, Hank Haney, is also missing. And suddenly Woods is noncommittal about playing in the U.S. Open in June.

When he was in rehab, he was forced to admit a lot of things that probably made him uncomfortable.

But when he returned to golf, the bravado was still there. The arrogance and impatience were still there. You could see him trying to mask it, but it was still there.

What was missing was the golf game. Granted when you're blessed with the kind of ability Tiger Woods has, it's probably too soon to count him out.

But there are growing signs Tiger Woods is a very long way from coming to terms with himself and his demons. And until he's able to do that, it's going to be a struggle.

I know. I have been there.

Here’s my question to you: What can the rest of us learn from Tiger Woods?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Tiger Woods
May 11th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Elena Kagan right choice for Supreme Court?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama promised us Supreme Court candidates who can relate to the "real world" and how the law affects ordinary Americans... but there are questions whether Elena Kagan fits that description.
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Kagan comes from a world unknown to most Americans: from Manhattan's Upper West Side... on to Princeton University and then Harvard Law School.

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer jokes with Politico: "Are you suggesting that Princeton, Harvard and New York aren't the totality of real life?"

But a lot of people don't think it's funny, saying that someone who has spent so much time in elite academic settings is out-of-touch with average Americans.

So far - only one Republican has publicly said he would oppose Kagan's nomination to the high court. Oklahoma senator James Inhofe says he's concerned about Kagan's lack of judicial experience. He also points to her decision as dean of Harvard Law School to block military recruiters from the campus - in protest of the Pentagon's "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" policy. This could wind up being one of the biggest issues in her confirmation process.

Other critics also point to Kagan's lack of litigation experience and her scant writings. There's not the usual "paper trail" to vet a Supreme Court nominee here. Kagan has no judicial experience - she's never been a judge and has only written a few legal articles.

Also, some worry her lack of a public record means nobody knows what Kagan stands for but Pres. Obama. Still, others question Kagan's hiring record as dean of Harvard Law school - four out of every five hires were white men. Not exactly a poster child for diversity. Lots of questions...

Here’s my question to you: Is Elena Kagan the right choice to be the next Supreme Court justice?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Elena Kagan • Supreme Court
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