January 19th, 2011
04:42 PM ET

Make your child learn Chinese?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Forget the romance languages. If you really want your child to be ready for the future, you might want him to crack open some Chinese language textbooks.
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As President Obama meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao at the White House this week, there are more reasons than ever to believe China holds the key to all of our futures.

For starters, China owns us – or soon will, as they continue to snap up U.S. treasury bonds. China is now the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, just under $900 billion.

The Chinese also have a significant financial stake in many other countries around the world. It was reported this week that China has lent more money to developing countries in the past two years than the World Bank.

Then there's their military expansion – Chinese military spending is up 12% in the last decade.

A Chinese-developed stealth fighter jet recently took its first flight. They've also created a long-range missile that could hit U.S. ships in the pacific. And, they're building their first aircraft carrier to launch missions far off China's coast.

There's more: Beijing has become an integral player in nearly every major international issue, from the standoffs with North Korea and Iran to global warming.

In fact, one top NASA scientist says that China is the world's "best hope" in the fight against global warming. He says that our democracy – including lobbying dollars from the fossil fuel industry – makes it impossible for the U.S. to confront global warming.

Here’s my question to you: If you were the parent of a small child, would you make him/her learn Chinese?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Children • China • Education • On Jack's radar
January 18th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Tighten rules for senior citizens who drive?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As snow and ice cover many of the nation's roadways, here's something to think about:

At what point should elderly drivers be taken off the road?
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America Online reports that elderly drivers now make up almost 20 percent of all motorists. And that number is growing as the Baby Boomers age. It's no surprise that one recent survey shows almost one in 10 adults are worried about an older family member driving.

Experts say the top thing is to understand the importance of mobility for the elderly. Driving gives them a huge sense of independence and autonomy.

They suggest if you're worried about a family member's driving, you should take a ride with them and watch. And then, if necessary, have a conversation about it - a sensitive topic, for sure.

Here are some things to look out for when a senior citizen gets behind the wheel:

Stopping in traffic for no reason, difficulty staying in the same lane, getting lost in familiar places, being easily distracted or irritated while driving, difficulty turning around to see when backing up, loss in confidence, other drivers often honking horns and scrapes or dents on the car or garage. Clues, one and all.

There is no specific age when the elderly have to stop driving. But there comes a point when they become a danger to themselves and others.

Many states have special requirements for senior citizens to renew their licenses. Sometimes they have to apply for a renewal more frequently. In some states, they need to retake road or vision tests or renew their license in person, instead of through the mail.

Here’s my question to you: Should the rules be tightened for senior citizens who drive?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Uncategorized
January 18th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Cheney: Obama a one-term president

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

He's ba-aaack.

In his first interview since heart surgery last summer, Dick Cheney says he thinks President Obama will be a one-term president.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/01/18/art.cheney.jpg caption="Former Vice President Dick Cheney"]
The former vice president - who hasn't exactly been shy about his opinions since leaving office - tells NBC News that Mr. Obama chose a course of action that didn't have as much support as he thought it did.

Cheney points specifically to lack of job creation, deficit spending and big government programs, including health care. He insists there's a lot of support for repealing the health care law.

Cheney also suggests that President Obama has taken lessons from the wisdom of the Bush Administration. He says the president has "learned from experience" that some of his predecessor's decisions on terrorism were necessary. The former veep believes Mr. Obama has changed his tune on a lot of this stuff since he was a candidate.

Things like not being able to close the Guantanamo Bay terrorist prison camp. Also, Cheney cites the Obama administration's expanded use of drones in Pakistan. He believes now that he's president, Mr. Obama "found it necessary to be more sympathetic to the kinds of things we did."

So how about Cheney's prediction that President Obama won't get a second term?

A new poll out shows the president's approval rating is up five points since December - and that more Americans think he's a strong leader who can handle a crisis.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll puts Mr. Obama's approval at 53 percent. And what might be most significant here is that the increase comes from the ever-important independent voters.

Also, President Obama's rating at the start of his third year is six points higher than Bill Clinton's was, and a whopping 16 points higher than Ronald Reagan's.

Here’s my question to you: Dick Cheney says President Obama will be a one-term president. Is he right?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Cheney • Dick Cheney • President Barack Obama
January 13th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Will Tucson massacre change tone of political debate?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It was one of President Obama's finer moments.

Speaking to a full auditorium in Tucson - and the wider television audience of a grieving nation - the president told Americans, "We can be better."

In light of the massacre of innocents and a country more divided than ever, Mr. Obama said it's time to talk to each other "in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds."

As he eulogized the dead, the president said while we may not be able to stop all evil in the world, how we treat one another is entirely up to us. Mr. Obama spoke at length about Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl who was killed, saying that he wants "our democracy to be as good as she imagined it."

The president walked a fine line as he tried to stay above the partisan blame game that has evolved since this tragedy. He said, "the forces that divide us are not as strong as the forces that unite us."

Many believe the speech was just what the doctor ordered for a country reeling from the shootings and weary of years of divisive politics. But in the long run how much will it matter?

There's still a dark side to what happened in Tucson last weekend. A very dark side.

An aide to Sarah Palin says there are a record number of death threats against Palin since the Arizona shootings. Her aides are looking to step up her security.

This stuff is ugly and scary and very much begs the question of what we are becoming.

Here’s my question to you: Will the Tucson massacre change the tone of the political debate in this country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Tragedy • United States
January 13th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Palin's reaction to Tucson massacre end her chances of being president?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Sarah Palin may have done herself in.

The tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, presented an opportunity for Palin to reach beyond her base and strike a note of unity. It was her chance to say something that showed she was capable of true leadership.
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You see, before Palin opened her mouth, there was a good deal of sympathy for her. Many believed it was wrong to drag her into the debate.

But then she spoke. And it was just awful. Defiant and inflammatory, Palin invoked the historically painful term "blood libel" in attacking the media. This is a phrase used to describe anti-Semitic myths about how Jews killed children to use their blood in rituals.

NBC news correspondent Andrea Mitchell suggested the use of the phrase "blood libel" was "ignorant." Which it was. A CBS analysis suggested Palin played "the victim card." Which she did. And ABC said Palin "once again, has found a way to become part of the story." True.

It is being suggested that the scope of the Tucson situation is simply beyond Palin's limited skill set. And when you compare Palin's response to the uplifting speech we heard from our president last night, well, you can draw your own conclusions.

President Obama still has work to do when it comes to delivering on his campaign promises to change Washington and elevate the national discourse but last night went a long way in reminding many Americans why they voted for him.

And comparing the president's lofty words to Palin's small ones must have many Republicans rethinking their support of a woman who has great difficulty getting beyond her image of some sort of rogue momma grizzly bear.

Here’s my question to you: Did Sarah Palin's reaction to the Tucson massacre effectively end her chances of ever being elected president?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Sarah Palin
January 11th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Tucson tragedy enough to change gun laws?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's a debate almost as old as the country itself: whether it's a good idea for private citizens to own guns.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/01/11/art.glock.jpg caption="A Glock 19 handgun."]
And when something like the Tucson massacre happens, the debate roars to life all over again.

It was remarkably easy for the shooter - Jared Lee Loughner - to get his hands on a gun in Arizona, which has some of the laxest gun laws in the country.

The 22-year-old passed an instant background check in a sporting goods store before purchasing a Glock 19 - a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. He also bought an oversized magazine that allowed him to fire 33 shots without reloading - instead of the standard 10. Some lawmakers want to ban these oversized magazines nationwide.

They're already outlawed in at least 6 states.

But not Arizona - where a recent law allows anyone over 21 to carry a gun without a permit. Guns are allowed almost everywhere in Arizona - including the state capitol, many public buildings, in places that serve alcohol and on school grounds.

Meanwhile, by many accounts, Loughner is being described as mentally unstable and someone who should have never been allowed to buy a weapon in the first place.

He failed the "drug screening process" for the military and was rejected. Loughner had five run-ins with his Community College police before he was kicked out of school for disruptive activity.

But instead of becoming stricter, the nation's gun laws have actually become more lax in recent years. Examples include the removal of Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban and an amendment to allow gun owners to carry concealed and loaded weapons in national parks.

Here’s my question to you: Should the Tucson tragedy be enough to change the nation's gun laws?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Firearms • Law Enforcement • Tragedy
January 11th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

What can Pres. Obama say in Tucson to ease the pain?


President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama observed a moment of silence yesterday to honor the victims  of the Arizona tragedy. (PHOTO CREDIT: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It is the nature of events that confront our leaders that often serve to define them.

In the wake of the Tucson massacre, President Obama has been given an opportunity to deliver on a promise he made long ago: to raise the level of political discourse and by so doing to unify this country.

Politico has an excellent piece on how this tragedy presents Mr. Obama the chance to elevate the nasty tone of politics; much like Bill Clinton did after the Oklahoma City bombing.

Political analysts say that the president could use this experience to help move the country to a higher moral ground.

This is a promise the president first made in his famous 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention. And civil discourse is something he also talked about tirelessly on the campaign trail and since he's been in office.

But action speaks louder than words, and in the last two years we haven't seen much, if any, of this in Washington. In fact, the partisan divisions and heated rhetoric between the two sides are arguably worse than they've ever been.

And President Obama, at times, has been part of the problem. During the campaign, then-candidate Obama said of countering Republican attacks, "if they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun." And more recently, in the lead-up to the midterms, the president referred to Republicans as "enemies."

The president has called the Tucson shootings "a tragedy for the entire country." He's headed there on Wednesday. A nation increasingly weary of anger and division will be listening.

Here’s my question to you: What can President Obama say in Tucson to ease the pain?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: President Barack Obama • Tragedy • United States
January 10th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

How to tone down the hateful rhetoric?


Well-wishers leave flowers, candles and notes outside the district office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It was probably only a matter of time.

For the past two years, the political rhetoric in this country has quickly grown more hateful, angry and divisive.

We've seen guns at rallies and signs with nasty and racist slogans. And now we have the tragedy in Tucson, Arizona. Is there a link between this inflammatory rhetoric and the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others, six of whom are dead? Bet on it.

Several lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are now calling for the political rhetoric to be toned down. They say politicians need to "cool it" and to think about "how our words affect people."

There's an idea!

This is happening at the same time some of them are deciding to start carrying guns.

Many are pointing fingers at Sarah Palin, who makes incendiary and irresponsible comments with some regularity. Palin once tweeted concerning the health care debate, "Don't retreat, instead - RELOAD!"
She posted a map online before the midterms showing crosshairs over 20 contested Democratic districts, including Giffords'.

At the time, Giffords said, "When people do that, they've got to realize there are consequences to that action."

Since the shooting, Palin has expressed her condolences and said she hates violence.

The Tea Party movement, which has also been a cauldron of inflammatory rhetoric, is distancing itself from the tragedy, condemning what happened.

But even if there is no direct correlation here, people such as Palin could bear some indirect responsibility for the mindset of the shooter and others like him.

Here’s my question to you: What can be done to tone down the hateful rhetoric in this country?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Tragedy • United States
January 10th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Some members of Congress to carry guns?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In light of the tragedy in Tucson and the attempted assassination of a sitting member of Congress, some lawmakers are taking matters into their own hands.
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They say they plan to carry guns in public in their home districts.

Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah tells CNN he's always had a concealed weapon license and has often carried a weapon, but says now he may "do it more regularly."

Chaffetz says he's already gotten half a dozen threats that have caused him to call the capitol police or local law enforcement - and that's after only 2 years in office.

He also thinks Congress should consider using the U.S. Marshals service to provide security for lawmakers in their districts - like they do for federal judges.

Politico reports that Democratic Congressman Heath Shuler of North Carolina also plans to carry a gun more often and increase security in his district. Shuler is even encouraging staffers to get their own permits to carry a gun. Shuler was the victim of a serious death threat a couple years back.

Other lawmakers are taking steps to tighten security in their offices. Some suggest that local law enforcement could play a larger role at events like the one where Congresswoman Giffords was shot or at town hall meetings.

But - other members of Congress say they won't change their lifestyles at all. They say they'll continue to engage their constituents and offer full access.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say about the U.S. that some members of Congress will now be carrying guns?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Congress • Firearms
January 6th, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Internet to replace TV as top news source?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

We - meaning those of us in television news - may soon go the way of the dinosaurs.

A new report shows that the Internet is gaining on television as Americans' main source of national and international news.

The Pew survey shows overall 41% of those polled say they get their news from the Internet - that's up 17 percent from just three years ago.

Television still tops the list as the main news source at 66%, but that number is down significantly from 82% as recently as 2002.

Newspapers and radio are at the bottom of the heap in this survey.

Although the use of the Internet for news is growing among all age groups - it's especially pronounced among young people.

For the first time in 2010, the Internet was the main source of news for those under 30 years old.

There are also differences when it comes to education and income.

The survey found college graduates are just as likely to get their news from the Internet as television, while those who only have a high school diploma are much more likely to say TV is their top source of news.

When it comes to money, it's not a big surprise that wealthier people are more likely to get their news from the Internet than those with incomes under $30,000.

So - take a good look at Wolf and me while you still have the chance!

Here’s my question to you: Is the internet destined to replace television as the primary source of news?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Internet • Journalism • News Media
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