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June 23rd, 2010
05:57 PM ET

Should deepwater offshore oil drilling be banned?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, the debate over deepwater offshore drilling is heating up.

The Obama administration is pushing back after a federal judge ruled against a six month moratorium the president put in place after the BP oil disaster.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the government will issue a new moratorium that will be less restrictive on drilling.

Salazar says that we need a "pause" on deepwater drilling.

The White House says it doesn't make sense to keep drilling at these depths without knowing what happened - that doing so puts lots of people in danger.

But not everyone agrees.

Many in the offshore oil industry, as well as local politicians, have been calling for the ban to be lifted, saying it's hurting business and throwing people out of work.

The federal judge sided with the companies which filed suit against the government saying they are suffering "irreparable harm" as a result of the moratorium.

Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal and Senator Mary Landrieu are asking the Obama administration not to appeal the ruling.

Landrieu, a democrat, says she would rather they find a way forward that would meet the goals of safety and responsibility without jeopardizing an entire industry.

And Texas oil executive T. Boone Pickens compares shutting down all deepwater oil rigs after the BP accident to shutting down all airlines after one plane crash.

Here’s my question to you: Should deepwater offshore oil drilling be banned?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: BP oil spill • Offshore Drilling • Oil Prices • Oil spill
June 23rd, 2010
04:00 PM ET

How does McChrystal episode affect confidence in Afghanistan war?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: SAUL LOEB/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Sometimes timing is everything… and when it comes to the war in Afghanistan the timing of the departure of General Stanley McChrystal is awful.

The U.S. is in the midst of escalating the nine year old war in an effort to defeat the spreading power of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

This surge of tens of thousands of U.S. troops was pretty much McChrystal's plan - and he had close ties with leaders in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

Also - summer in Afghanistan is usually a time of heavy fighting and allied forces are on the eve of the Kandahar offensive. This month is on track to become the deadliest month for NATO troops since the start of the war in 2001.

But the president decided that McChrystal had to go. and on one level, you can't argue with him.

McChrystal's job was to implement the president's war plan on the battlefield. But he and his inner circle found it appropriate to trash top administration officials and make destructive personal attacks to a reporter from Rolling Stone magazine.

Just imagine what our enemies must think - not to mention families of the thousands of brave troops fighting in Afghanistan.

It put Pres. Obama in a very tough spot - he risked looking weak if he didn't fire the general... and now he could be accused of undermining his own strategy in Afghanistan by cutting loose the guy he put in charge at such a key moment.

Even before this incident - only 42 percent of Americans said they favor the war in Afghanistan - that's down six points since March. 56 percent oppose it.

Here’s my question to you: How does the McChrystal episode affect Americans' confidence in the Afghanistan war?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Afghanistan • U.S. Army
June 22nd, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Some companies only interested in applicants who already have jobs

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As if life isn't difficult enough for millions of unemployed Americans, check this out: Companies are increasingly interested in hiring only applicants who already have a job.

CNNMoney.com reports that some job postings have restrictions like "unemployed candidates will not be considered" or "must be currently employed."

In some cases - the companies have removed these restrictions from their job postings after media outlets, like CNN Money, pressed them on it.

Other employers may not spell out in a job listing that they won't consider someone who is unemployed; but it's pretty much a given that they rule these candidates out immediately.

It's rather shocking that with the unemployment rate at almost 10 percent - that some companies are outright shutting the door on so many Americans.

One New Jersey human resources consultant says that when she suggests candidates for openings, often the first thing recruiters ask her is if the person currently has a job. If the answer is no, the candidate usually won't get an interview.

She says employers sometimes think the unemployed have been laid off for "performance issues," but that's a myth in a time of 10 percent unemployment. Lots of people are losing their jobs through no fault of their own.

Others suggest employers are ruling out the unemployed because they're overwhelmed with applications; in other words, weeding out the unemployed is a short-cut for them.

Sadly, none of this is against the law.

Here’s my question to you: What if some companies not interested in hiring unemployed?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

June 22nd, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Will lack of immigration reform hurt Democrats in midterms?

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FILE PHOTO: A candlelight vigil calling for federal immigration reform in response to the Arizona law giving police new stop and search powers. (PHOTO CREDIT: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The debate over immigration reform has turned into a childish game of "he said - he said."

Republican Senator Jon Kyl says Pres. Obama told him in a one-on-one meeting, "if we secure the border, then you all won't have any reason to support comprehensive immigration reform."

Kyl suggests border security is being held hostage by the Democrats for political reasons.

The White House denies it, saying: "The president didn't say that and Senator Kyl knows it."

But Senator Kyl is not backing down from his version of events.

Actually, it almost doesn't matter who you believe in this. The truth is that immigration reform is looking less and less likely to happen yet again - what a surprise. But this time inaction could cost Democrats dearly.

Take Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who is facing an uphill battle for re-election in Nevada. Reid is now pandering to Latinos there with Spanish TV ads.

He needs their vote - and is still hoping they'll support him even though he promised immigration reform and now likely won't deliver.

Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey tells Politico: "I don't necessarily think we're going to have a comprehensive bill this summer."

One key Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham, already backed away from bipartisan efforts for immigration reform.

Meanwhile as Arizona moves forward with its own immigration law, the Obama justice department is thinking of suing the state.

It's absolutely absurd. The federal government refuses to do anything about the illegal immigration crisis in this country. After all if they sealed the border, if they enforced their own laws against illegal immigration, Arizona wouldn't need such a law in the first place. Our government is badly broken.

Here’s my question to you: How badly will a lack of immigration reform hurt the Democrats in the midterm elections?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Democrats • Elections • Immigration
June 21st, 2010
06:00 PM ET

What if China overtakes U.S. as world's leading manufacturer?

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(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's an ominous sign of the end of an era:

For 110 years, the United States has been the world's leading manufacturer... a title we will likely lose to China next year.

A report by an economic research firm shows that China's manufacturing sector nearly caught up to the U.S. output last year... and will probably surpass us in 2011.

According to IHS Global Insight, China may be able to quickly close the gap - particularly due to the recent announcement that it will let its currency, the yuan, rise in value versus the U.S. dollar.

But even without a stronger currency, China's manufacturing sector has been growing at a much faster rate than the U.S.

No surprise since we've been shutting down factories left and right for years... and shipping jobs overseas, where the labor is cheaper.

One expert suggests the U.S. shouldn't worry too much about losing this title to China.

He says it's obvious that China would pull ahead at some point since they have four times the population and a tenth of the wages of the United States.

Really?

Then why didn't they challenge us for 110 years?

Nonetheless - with almost 10 percent unemployment in the U.S. there's no question we could use those lost jobs back here.

The U.S. has been the world's top manufacturer for more than a century - in the late 1890s, the United States surpassed Britain, which had held the top slot for a few decades.

And before that?

It was all China, which held the title of world leader for goods production for more than 1,500 years.

Looks like they will soon reclaim the title.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean if China overtakes the U.S. as the world’s leading manufacturer?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: China
June 21st, 2010
05:00 PM ET

How much power should govt. have over the internet?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There are growing signs that the government wants more control over the internet.

For starters - a bipartisan Senate bill would give the president a so-called internet "kill switch." The measure would allow the president to control or even shut down the internet in emergency situations.

Sen. Joe Lieberman - a co-sponsor of the bill - says that America's economic security, national security and public safety are all at risk from new kinds of enemies... like cyber-terrorists. He says that's why the government needs more control over the internet in "times of war."

Critics worry about the level of control the bill would give to the president... and they claim it could have "unintended consequences."

Speaking of terrorism - the Homeland Security department says the U.S. must do more to monitor terrorist groups that use the internet to recruit and train.

DHS secretary Janet Napolitano says the government needs to find the right balance between protecting individuals' right to privacy and keeping the country safe.

This comes on the heels of several domestic terror attacks in which the internet played a key role. it's believed that the alleged terrorists in both the Fort Hood shooting and attempted bombing of Times Square were inspired by online postings of Islamic extremists.

Finally, the Federal Communications Commission is getting in the game too - taking steps toward more internet regulation.

Just last week - the FCC voted to formally consider tighter control over high-speed internet companies. Until now - these companies have operated with virtually no government oversight.

Here’s my question to you: How much power should the government have when it comes to the internet?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Government • Internet
June 18th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

White House: Cable news not 'where all of real America lives'

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Traditionally there's not much love lost between any White House and the media.

And so it was this week:

 White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs

Almost two months into the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, Pres. Obama addressed the American people from the Oval Office about the Gulf oil spill.

And his speech got panned... pretty much everywhere... including MSNBC which usually just loves anything this president does.

They said the president wasn't specific enough and didn't appear to show that he was in charge. They were absolutely right. The speech was weak.

The next day in the White House briefing room - Mr. Obama's Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs, was asked about the drubbing his boss took. Reporters wanted to know what Gibbs thought about cable news critics who said the president is being too hands-off when it comes to the oil crisis.

Gibbs responded:

"I appreciate the hand on the pulse of America by those who live on cable TV. I don't actually think that is where all of real America lives."

Gibbs also said that if Mr. Obama had decided to run for president based on what the pundits were saying a year before the primaries started... he would still be in the Senate.

Meanwhile despite all the talk about the president's speech and the criticism that followed... it was the second least-watched Obama speech ever. The audiences for his speeches are beginning to mirror his job approval ratings.

Here’s my question to you: White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says cable news is not "where all of real America lives." Is he right?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST

June 18th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Does it feel like a 'recovery summer' to you?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Turns out "recovery" is in the eye of the beholder...

President Obama and Vice President Biden have kicked off a massive PR campaign... celebrating what they're calling "recovery summer."

Pres. Obama and VP Biden discuss implementation of the Recovery Act, which would ramp up economic stimulus spending over the next three months in a bid to save or create 600,000 jobs through summer youth programs, schools and public works.

Pres. Obama and VP Biden discuss implementation of the Recovery Act, which would ramp up economic stimulus spending over the next three months in a bid to save or create 600,000 jobs through summer youth programs, schools and public works.

They say the $860 billion economic stimulus bill is working. The White House says 2.5 million jobs have been created; and that number should reach 3.5 million by the end of the year. They're highlighting new jobs at thousands of infrastructure projects across the country.

But the celebration may be premature. Just yesterday - the labor department reported that new claims for jobless benefits jumped by 12,000 last week. That's a sharp increase and shows the pace of layoffs has not slowed down. Plus we still have a national unemployment just below 10 percent.

An editorial in the Washington Times called "Obama's Endless Summer of Spending" suggests the administration's "make-work" jobs program has failed - and that those infrastructure jobs which are being funded by the taxpayers will disappear when the stimulus money runs out. Fact is the current recovery has been one of the worst for job creation on record.

Meanwhile the picture in many of the 50 states is terrible and getting worse. State and local governments are cutting wherever they can to meet their budgets... reducing or eliminating public services, underfunding state pension plans - and cutting more than 230,000 state and local government jobs in the last two years.

Former Fed chief Alan Greenspan is out with a dire warning that the U.S. may soon reach its borrowing limit if we don't make some drastic changes and reduce our $13 trillion national debt. But President Obama wants billions more for stimulus spending.

Somewhere there is a serious disconnect.

Here’s my question to you: Does it feel like a "recovery summer" to you?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Uncategorized
June 17th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Would a voluntary millionaire's tax work in the U.S.?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

With the U.S. drowning in a monstrous $13 trillion national debt, it's clear we need to consider any and all options to stem the tide.

This may be an idea worth taking a look at... then again, maybe not.

Bill Gates

Bill Gates

A group of 51 German millionaires and billionaires is volunteering to give up 10 percent of their income for 10 years to help with that country's finances.

CNBC reports that these uber-wealthy Germans founded a "Club of the Wealthy"... and proposed the so-called "rich tax" to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Germany, like much of Europe, is in the midst of tightening its fiscal belt... as the country debates an upcoming $80 billion Euro austerity package.

It's a noble gesture, but so far there are only 50 German millionaires on board... out of an estimated 800,000.

The total number of millionaires represents about one percent of Germany's population; similar to the ratio of millionaires here in the U.S. Makes you wonder how many American millionaires would be willing to do the same.

Speaking of America's very rich - two of the wealthiest are calling on their fellow billionaires to give away half of their wealth for charity during their lifetimes or after they die.

As first reported in Fortune Magazine, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates want the 400 richest people in the U.S. to give $600 billion to philanthropy and charity.

Their goal is to create an expectation that the rich should give away a big part of their wealth to better society.

Here’s my question to you: Would a voluntary millionaire's tax work in the U.S.?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Bill Gates • Taxes
June 17th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Should federal govt. sue Arizona over immigration law?

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A U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent drives along a portion of the border fence that separates Mexico and Arizona. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Just about the last thing Arizona needs is a federal lawsuit over its new immigration law.

Governor Jan Brewer tells HumanEvents.com that she would rather the federal government use that money to "help me build a fence on my border."

Brewer has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging the department of justice not to file suit - because there are already five federal court lawsuits pending.

They all are challenging Arizona's new law, that goes into effect July 29, and requires police to check the immigration status of people detained for other crimes.

Brewer says that every conceivable constitutional issue or question will be raised in these five other lawsuits. She wants the courts dismiss all of them.

In addition - the governor says she's hiring a private attorney to defend this new law since Arizona's Attorney General opposes it.

Brewer says other border states, like California and New Mexico, which oppose the law are simply not facing the same problem as Arizona is... she refers to her state, Arizona, as "the gateway for all illegal immigration, drug cartels and gangs" coming into the U.S.

And she's got a point. 3,500 acres of southern Arizona along Mexico's border - including a national wildlife refuge - have been closed to U.S. citizens for nearly four years because of increasing violence tied to illegal immigration. Officials have warned visitors to Arizona to beware of heavily armed drug smugglers and human traffickers.

It's no wonder A majority of Americans support Arizona's new law.

Here’s my question to you: Should the federal government sue Arizona over its new immigration law?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Government • Immigration
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