November 24th, 2010
03:23 PM ET

Time to reconsider profiling for airport security?


FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the national debate over full-body scans and pat downs at airports rages on, there's another idea that maybe deserves a second look: profiling.

It works pretty darn well for Israel, but questions of political correctness always seem to put an end to the discussion in the U.S. Instead we are reduced to having our crotches grabbed.

However, a Washington Post-ABC News poll shows 70 percent of Americans support using available information about passengers to determine who gets picked for extra security screening.

When asked what criteria should be used to select passengers: 86 percent say personal behavior, 78 percent say travel history, 55 percent say nationality, and 50 percent say personal appearance.

This goes to the point that not all profiling is equal. There's a big difference between smart profiling and the less effective kind – based on race, religion, gender or country.

What's important is for the U.S. to improve profiling based on things like behavior, no-fly lists, personal data and travel history.

It turns out many pilots support this kind of profiling. The Daily Beast reports that online discussion groups show pilots complaining that the government is wasting resources by applying the same broad security measures to everyone.

Meanwhile, with all the hype over airline security, consider this: Politico reports that in 99 million domestic flights (that have carried 7 billion U.S. travelers) in the last decade, there have been zero bombs snuck onto airplanes and detonated. Zero.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to airport security, is it time to reconsider profiling?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Airlines • The Cafferty File • Travel • Vacation
November 24th, 2010
02:26 PM ET

Spend more or less on holiday gifts this year?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As soon as the Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie are polished off – millions of Americans turn their attention to Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

What's yet to be seen is how the shaky economy and troubling forecasts are going to effect holiday spending this year.

The Federal Reserve now says to expect weak economic recovery for several years. Some policy makers say it could take 6 years – or longer – before unemployment, growth and inflation return to more normal levels.

Meanwhile, taxes are set to go up for 90 percent of Americans if the "Making Work Pay" tax credit expires at the end of the year.

Never mind all that. The American consumer is apparently ready to spend.

A survey by the National Retail Federation shows people plan to spend about $689 on holiday-related shopping this year. That's up about $7 from last year.

They say most of that money will be spent on gifts for friends and family. The rest of it will go to co-workers, decorations, food, candy and flowers.

The survey shows the $393 that consumers plan to spend on family and friends is the highest it's been since before the recession hit.

But partly because of the recession, consumers are still looking for bargains, which is why many stores started promoting their Black Friday sales right after Halloween. These discounts usually drop prices by 20 to 30 percent.

Here’s my question to you: Do you plan to spend more or less on holiday gifts than in years past?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Filed under: Economy • Holidays