November 18th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Is marriage becoming obsolete?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

People don't say "I do" like they used to.
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A new poll shows almost 4 in 10 Americans say marriage is becoming obsolete. That’s a sharp increase from the 1970s.

The study done by the Pew Research Center - along with CNN's sister publication Time magazine - shows only about half of adults are married; down sharply from more than 70 percent fifty years ago.

This decline in marriage has happened along class lines, with college graduates being much more likely to still get hitched these days than those with a high school diploma or less. This makes a certain amount of sense given the unstable economy.

As the marriage rate has dropped, cohabitation is on the rise, almost doubling since 1990. Nearly half of all adults say they've lived with a partner out of wedlock at some point, and most of them consider it a step toward marriage

This poll also shows rapidly changing ideas of what makes up an American family. Today nearly 30 percent of children live with a parent or parents who are divorced or not married. That's five times as many as in 1960.

Most people agree a married couple with or without kids constitutes a family, but majorities now also say that unmarried couples - single parents or same-sex couples - with children also fit the definition of family.

Those most likely to accept changing definitions of family include young adults, liberals, secular and unmarried people and blacks. But don't count traditional marriage out yet.

Americans are still more optimistic about the future of marriage and family than they are about the nation's educational system, its economy or its morals and ethics.

Here’s my question to you: Is marriage becoming obsolete?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Happiness • Religion
November 18th, 2010
03:57 PM ET

Will Pelosi as minority leader help or hurt Dems in 2012?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

She's a big part of the reason the Democrats got crushed in the midterm elections.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/11/18/art.pelosi.jpg caption=""]
Nancy Pelosi was seen as arrogant in her determination to help shove health care reform down the country's throat. Remember: "Vote for it so you can find out what's in it?"

She controlled a huge majority in the House of Representatives - that did virtually nothing about creating jobs as the country labored under the weight of a horrible recession and almost 10 percent unemployment.

Now in the wake of the midterm shellacking, Ms. Pelosi - who was targeted by Republicans in races all over the country as the face of the enemy - is insisting on remaining as minority leader in the House.

Some members of her own party wanted her to step aside, but Pelosi seldom has time for consideration of much of anything except Ms. Pelosi.

With some behind-the-scenes arm twisting, she has managed to get herself elected as minority leader in the house. Republicans must be giddy. Maybe they will throw a party for her like the one she threw for herself to celebrate her "accomplishments."

If Pelosi accomplishes as much for her party in the next 2 years as she did in the last 2, the Republicans may have all the seats in the house and senate come January of 2013.

Here’s my question to you: Will Nancy Pelosi remaining as House minority leader help or hurt the Democrats in 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Nancy Pelosi • Senate
November 17th, 2010
03:52 PM ET

Can Palin convince people she's qualified to be president?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Get ready for what could make an outstanding two years of television:
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/11/17/art.palin.jpg caption=""]
Sarah Palin says she is seriously considering running for president in 2012.

The drop-out former governor of Alaska tells The New York Times Magazine that she's having discussions with her family about a potential run because she says they are "the most important consideration."

Palin says if she decides to run, she would need to bring more "trustworthy" strategists onto her team. She once again claims she was thrown under the bus by strategists on the campaign of GOP presidential candidate John McCain. She says she needs to be careful about who she lets into her inner circle.

Palin also takes a shot at what she calls the "lamestream media." Although she mainly appears as a paid contributor on the F-word network and communicates with the public via Twitter and Facebook, Palin insists she's "not avoiding anything or anybody," adding that she's "out there" and that she wants to talk about her record.

However, Palin acknowledges that one hurdle she'd have to face is proving that record: "That's the most frustrating thing for me - the warped and perverted description of my record and what I've accomplished over the last two decades."

She's right on this count. She's going to have to prove herself.

Several recent polls show more than half of Americans give Sarah Palin an unfavorable rating. According to Gallup, Palin's unfavorable number is at 52 percent - the highest ever. Another recent survey shows a whopping 67 percent see her as unqualified to be president.

Here’s my question to you: How can Sarah Palin convince people she is qualified to be president?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: 2012 Election • Sarah Palin
November 17th, 2010
03:50 PM ET

U.S. hunger at highest level in 15 years


Volunteers prepare meals for homeless and impoverished people at the St. Anthony Foundation dining room in San Francisco. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As most of us get ready to gather around a bountiful Thanksgiving feast next week... and gorge on turkey and pumpkin pie, here's something to think about:

45 million Americans were food insecure last year - according to an Agriculture Department report.

This means they had difficulty feeding one or more of their members because they didn't have enough money. That's 14.7 percent of all U.S. households - or about one of every seven.

The situation was especially bad for about one-third of the households which reported very low food security.

These numbers are higher than in 2008, and represent the highest levels since the government starting keeping track 15 years ago.

The report found the households most likely to go hungry included those headed by single parents. Access to food was also worse in big cities and among African-Americans and Hispanics.

Out of the 50 states, food insecurity was highest in Arkansas - at nearly 18 percent - and lowest in North Dakota, at close to seven percent.

With numbers like these, it's no surprise that more people are participating in government-sponsored food programs:

More than 15 million households used food stamps in any given month in 2009 - that's a 20 percent jump from the year before. Rates also rose for the free lunch program and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

The report also shows the number of households getting emergency food from a food pantry almost doubled between 2007 and 2009.

Here’s my question to you: What does it mean when U.S. hunger is at the highest level in 15 years?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Hunger • United States
November 16th, 2010
04:28 PM ET

Where will federal government make deepest spending cuts?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Ever since the proposals of the bipartisan deficit commission have started to emerge - critics from all over the political spectrum are trying to shout loudest about what they don't want to see cut.

And now, you can add Defense Secretary Robert Gates to that list.

Gates is blasting the proposed reductions in military spending, saying such cuts would be "catastrophic" to national security. He says he's trying to use a "scalpel instead of a meat axe" to make cuts to his department.

Gates adds that when it comes to the deficit, the Defense Department is not the problem.

But that is the problem here - no one wants to see the programs near and dear to them cut - yet, if we're going to get serious about reducing our $13 trillion-plus national debt, a lot of cutting is in order.

And the deficit commission seems to have put nearly everything on the table with its draft recommendations. The overall goal being to reduce the debt by $4 trillion by 2020.

In addition to defense cuts, the commission recommends cuts to: Social Security and Medicare, raising the retirement age, increasing taxes, cutting contractors for domestic government agencies, freezing the pay of federal workers, shrinking the size of the federal workforce, and eliminating all earmarks.

Congress is already hard at work on that last one - voting on a symbolic, non-binding resolution to ban all earmarks. A non-binding resolution is about as worthless as Congress.

Here’s my question to you: In light of the deficit commission's draft recommendations, where do you expect the federal government to make the deepest spending cuts?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government
November 16th, 2010
04:25 PM ET

Would you pay extra for flight with no children?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

More in the Cafferty File today on the pleasures of modern air travel:
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After you're groped, X-rayed and looked at like a common criminal, you finally make it onto your flight only to find you're seated in front of, next to or behind someone traveling with one or more small children.

For the duration of your flight, you can look forward to screaming, crying, kicking, food-throwing and yelling parents.

The New York Times says for some, sitting near such an uncontrollable child is "the second biggest fear of flying." They report on a growing push for airlines to create child-free flights or to designate "family-only" sections on planes.

A recent travel survey shows 59 percent of passengers support creating these special sections, while close to 20 percent say they'd like to see flights with no children.

Some travelers say they'd gladly pay extra to fly with no children on board. Even some parents support the idea of separating kids from the rest of the passengers.

They say a family-only section would give parents and children more freedom to make a little noise. They also point out it's stressful for parents when their kids are screaming and won't calm down.

But it's unlikely any of this will happen. A major airline trade group says the industry is working hard to return to profitability; and they don't want to start turning people away from certain flights.

As for family-only sections, they say it would be too complicated. Plus it could set a dangerous precedent once you start separating passengers by age. What if there are calls for elderly-free flights or obese-only sections?

Here’s my question to you: Would you pay extra for a flight with no children?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Airlines • Children • On Jack's radar
November 15th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Should Pres. Obama not run for re-election?


FILE PHOTO: Obama campaigning in 2008. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

To be a great leader, President Obama should not seek re-election in 2012.

That's according to a Washington Post piece by two pollsters who worked for Democratic presidents.

Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen write that Mr. Obama needs to decide how he wants to govern for the next two years. And, they believe the only way he can attempt to fix the serious problems facing this country is by putting national interests ahead of personal or political ones.

By announcing he won't run again, Mr. Obama "will be able to unite the country, provide national and international leadership, escape the hold of the left, isolate the right and achieve results that would be otherwise unachievable."

Caddell and Schoen write that President Obama would not be a lame duck if he forgoes another term. Instead they believe it would give him much more leverage with both parties.

If the president showed more bipartisanship, the Republicans would be forced to meet him half way. Plus, Mr. Obama wouldn't be constantly worried about pleasing the Democrats' base - people like senior citizens and unions - in order to convince them to vote for him in two years.

Could make it a whole lot easier to accomplish something meaningful on the tough issues - like the deficit.

The writers do believe that President Obama can be re-elected if he chooses to run, but to win he'll have to carry out a "scorched-earth campaign," the kind of divisive campaign that President Bush ran in 2004 and that Mr. Obama completely rejected the first time around.

Here’s my question to you: Should President Obama not run for re-election in 2012?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


November 15th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Has airport security gone too far?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If you enjoyed your last mammogram or prostate exam, you'll love your next trip to the airport.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/11/art.body.scan.jpg caption="Airport staffer demonstrates full body scan. The image on the right is not the airport employee pictured left."]
That's a quote from a Chicago Tribune column, headlined "Government in our pants," that suggests airport screening is out of control.

More than nine years after the 9/11 attacks, it seems as if airport security might have finally crossed the line.

Grassroots groups are calling on people either not to fly or to protest by refusing to submit to those full body scanners, the ones that show "everything."

Major airline pilot unions are urging their members to avoid full-body scans. They're worried about health risks because of repeated small doses of radiation, along with intrusiveness and security officer behavior.

The Transportation Security Administration insists machines are safe. And you believe what your government tells you, don't you? But some scientists say not enough is known about them.

As for the pat downs, one pilot says it was like "sexual molestation."

A California man learned this after being thrown out of the San Diego, California, airport over the weekend.

John Tyner first refused to submit to a full body scan, opting for the traditional metal scanner and a basic pat-down. He then refused a groin check by the TSA guard, saying at one point, "You touch my junk, and I'm going to have you arrested."

Tyner has been threatened with a civil suit and a $10,000 fine.

All this comes just days before Thanksgiving and the start of the busiest travel time of the year.

Here’s my question to you: Has airport security gone too far?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Airlines
November 10th, 2010
04:18 PM ET

Two years later, do you ever miss Pres. Bush?


George W. Bush waves while signing copies of his new memoir, 'Decision Points' at a Borders Books in Dallas. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tom Pennington/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

George Bush is out hawking a new book, and suddenly the former president is popping up all over the place, from broadcast news interviews to Oprah's couch.

Two years later, it seems worth comparing the former occupant of the Oval Office to the current one.

Howard Kurtz writes in his Daily Beast column that the contrast between presidents Bush and Obama in recent appearances could hardly be sharper. Kurtz calls it the Decider versus the Agonizer.

Bush, as always, talks in those short, declarative sentences and appears sure of himself - even on weighty issues like waterboarding, Saddam and WMDs. On the other hand, Kurtz writes that President Obama's "finely rendered prose" and meandering around any topic makes him sound like a think tank analyst.

Kurtz points out that Bush doesn't have nearly as much on the line here, except maybe some image rehab. He compares the man who approved torture to the man who tortures himself.

After eight years of President Bush, it felt like most of the country couldn't wait to be rid of him. "Bring 'em on," "Wanted dead or alive," and "I'm the decider," had gotten on everyone's nerves. Much of America welcomed the more intellectual and eloquent Barack Obama with open arms. But the new love affair is shaping up as a bit of a one night stand.

Forty-five percent of those surveyed in a recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll say Bush was a better president, compared to 47 percent who feel that way about President Obama.

A year ago, only 34 percent thought Bush had been a better president, compared to 57 percent for Mr. Obama.

At this point, the trend is not President Obama's friend.

Here’s my question to you: Two years later, do you ever miss President Bush?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


November 10th, 2010
04:15 PM ET

Why is number of childless women at all-time high?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The number of American women without children is at an all-time high.
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A recent report by the Pew Research center shows one in five women between the ages of 40 and 44 were childless in 2008 - that's an 80 percent increase from the 1970s.

This is a phenomenon that's being seen across all racial and ethnic groups, and most education levels. White women are the most likely not to have children; but childless rates are growing more quickly for blacks, Hispanics and Asians over the last decade.

Researchers say part of the reason behind all this is people are waiting longer to get married and have kids.

Experts tell AOL Health that people are freer and enjoying their lives more - doing things like traveling, shopping and eating out. All of which are much easier to do without a baby in the picture.

They also say many women are delaying getting pregnant because they can't find someone they want to have a child with - they're either very picky or very educated.

Also in the last 30 years, contraception has gotten better and there are improved job opportunities for women. Research shows there's less pressure from society now to be a mom, and the decision to have a child is seen as an individual choice.

And don't forget about money. Especially in tough economic times like these and with high unemployment, many people may feel they're not in the financial position to have children.

Here’s my question to you: Why is the number of childless women at an all-time high?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Children
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