Thursday, October 19, 2006
On the road with Secretary Rice
When I embarked on my first trip Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, I didn't realize I signed up for no sleep and no food.
Rice keeps an extremely hectic schedule: in and out of meetings, holding press conferences, making phone calls from the plane. She's come to speak to the media traveling with her once so far, and on the record.
We all travel at the back of the plane. We all drew numbers, democratically, to decide who sits where on the plane. I was last to pick a number and ended up in one of the few business class seats we have. I thought that was a good sign ...
The press sticks to its own section and doesn't wander into the cabin filled with State Department officials accompanying the Secretary on her trip. There are two bathrooms that mark an invisible line you can't cross.
I've never taken a sleeping pill before, but I was assured by the press traveling with me -- all very warm and extremely helpful -- that I needed to take Ambien and sleep. The drastic change in time zones, they said, would really mess me up if I didn't. So I risked it, popped a pill, and voila. I was out most of the flight to Tokyo, and woke up feeling pretty fresh.
When we arrive anywhere, we don't need to go through customs. I don't even have my passport. The State Department is handling all that (and all of our luggage). We go to-and-from the airport, to hotel press filing centers, and to press conferences.
I am often on the phone doing interviews, or at a CNN bureau writing scripts or doing live shots. They give us a schedule for the next day and we need to be down and ready to board our bus to the next stop. It's been a wonderful experience so far.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
The Cafferty File: Broken Government
I hear from thousands of people every week on the Situation Room and they're not happy.
They're not happy about the war in Iraq, about the worthless politicians in Washington D.C., about a president who has used the war on terror as an excuse to operate outside the Constitution, whether it involves the NSA spy program, which is done without the necessary warrants from the FISA court, or the recently passed detainee legislation, which abrogates the Geneva Conventions and makes an end run around the War Crimes Act by allowing the president to arrest and hold people indefinitely without access to a lawyer or court.
You see, both houses of Congress managed to pass that Republican bill on detainee treatment ahead of the elections. Although it makes illegal broad definitions of abuse, it also allows President Bush to decide which kind of interrogation techniques are permissible. 12 million illegal aliens are in this country, which accounts for about one in every 20 workers. And our borders leak like a sieve, with close to one million more illegals arriving in this country every year.
All the while, the administration rules by fear and excuses all sorts of transgressions as a necessary part of "the war on terror," and "protecting the country." What could be more fundamental to protecting the country than securing our borders and finding out who is here? What is becoming of this country that used to be a shining example of all that was right in the world? We're losing it. That's what's becoming of it. Our government is broken, our reputation in the global community is shot, we are mired in a needless war in Iraq with no end in sight and conditions in Afghanistan are deteriorating. It's not a pretty picture
The politicians don't own this country... we do. I propose going to the polls on Election Day and voting against every single incumbent on the ballot. Think about it. How much worse could it be to have a whole new group of people in Washington who haven't learned how to steal and lie yet?
We want to hear from you bout what can be done. Somehow we have to let our leaders know that they are failing and we know it and they won't be allowed to continue. If we don't take matters into our own hands at the polls, we can just sit idly by and watch this grand experiment in freedom gradually go down the drain.
Tune in to our special on "Broken Government," Thursday, October 19, 7pm ET. And we also want your ideas on how to fix it. You can e-mail us at JackBrokenGovernment@cnn.com or send us videos at cnn.com/ireport.
The Cafferty File: "Tempting Faith"?
On "The Situation Room" today, we asked viewers the following questions, and here are some of our favorite responses that we didn't get to read on air:How damaging are claims that Bush administration officials mocked evangelicals behind their backs?
It is about as damaging as how he mocks Democrats, or for that matter, everyone who doesn't agree with him, behind their backs. I have never seen an administration with such ignorant arrogance and hubris. This too will pass, I hope, come November.Wendy, Southington, Connecticut
The administration will send out their attack machine and tear this kid limb from limb and the so-called "Christians" will nod their collective heads in agreement like those little bobble head dolls in the rear windows of cars. Truth and reality mean nothing to these people, they just do like they are told and follow along blindly to the next disaster.Nancy, Bradenton, Florida
C'mon guys! I find this book just a little suspect, coming out just before the election. The author claims to be a card-carrying member of the religious right and yet worked for several Democrats in the past? What a bunch of whooey!Mike, Chardon, Ohio
First response: Doesn't everybody? Second response: Will not affect my opinion of the Bush Administration in a negative manner.T., Piedmont, South DakotaHow important will the Iraq war be to your vote in November?
The Iraq War will be extremely important to me in my vote. We are stuck in a quagmire, with a Congress & president who want to stay the course. Staying the course has killed over 2,700 Americans and wounded countless thousands more, including members of my own family.John, Dallas, Texas
The Iraqi war is very important, but the extremely important issue is the arrogance of this administration to re-write the laws so they can do whatever they want. Everyone is the country has to obey the laws written except this administration.Fraser, Jacksonville, Florida
Hey Jack, Even my Republican friends are anxious to cast their vote against the Iraq war. They are just as fed up as the Democrats when they see almost 2,800 of America's finest dead over this catastrophe. Of course it's the single most important issue in the midterm elections.Dave, Syracuse, New York
The Situation Online: Snipes indicted
Wesley Snipes charged with tax fraud
Wesley Snipes has been indicted for failing to pay taxes and not filing returns.
Actor Wesley Snipes was indicted
on tax fraud charges. IRS officials allege he failed to pay tens of millions of dollars in federal income tax covering years 1999 through 2004. Snipes is also accused of allegedly filing two federal income tax refund applications illegally claiming refunds totaling nearly $12 million dollars. The actor, who starred in the "Blade" trilogy and "White Men Can't Jump", faces a maximum of 16 years in prison. Federal prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant
for Snipes but authorities say they do not know where he is. Several calls to his publicist and manager went unanswered. (Read the Indictment in PDF form