Friday, December 08, 2006
The Situation Online: Foley report, conservative kid's book

Rep. Mark Foley resigned in September after his Internet exchanges with former congressional pages surfaced.

Foley ethics report
In a new report, the House ethics committee has found Republican leaders broke no rules in the handling of the Foley scandal, but were negligent in protesting the teenage pages. In addition to the report, the House panel has posted several exhibits online, including over 100 pages of instant message transcripts.

Dems steal Christmas?
A new book attacks Senators Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and other democratic leaders, and takes aim at "extreme left-wing liberals" who "hate Christmas" and "want it out of our schools." The book's core target audience: age five to eight. Is it an appropriate book for children? We investigate.

Watch "The Situation Room" at 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM, and 7:00 PM ET for these stories and more from our Internet reporters.

Posted By The Situation Online Producers: 12/08/2006 04:56:00 PM ET | Permalink
Thursday, December 07, 2006
The Cafferty File: Full-time Congress?

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:

What effect will a 5-day workweek have on Congress?

Jack, let's do some arithmetic. Monday evening is only part of one day. Friday until 2pm is only part of one day. How do you get Congress working five days out of this? And that doesn't mean they will actually be there let alone do anything.
Al, Camarillo, California

A five-day workweek will be a good initial dose of reality for Congress. Can we pay them minimum wage for the first week so they can see the economic reality for the millions of working poor?
Mike, Etters, Pennsylvania

Jack, For God's sake, don't you see the damage they can do being in the Capitol an entire week?

The 5-day workweek will kill off the members of Congress. Plain and simple. This is too much like work and their delicate constitutions will not be able to handle the stress of working a full week.
Pat, Toronto, Ontario

Will a border fence "get in the way" of U.S.-Mexico relations?

Building a fence will not secure our borders and will damage our relationship with our neighbors. It will not keep the Mexicans out, but rather makes us prisoners. You want to secure the borders? Here is an idea. Ask any third grader anywhere in the world, what the main purpose of any country's military force is and they will tell you "to defend the borders!" And where is our military force? In Iraq.

Come on, Jack! Of course the fence will get in the way of US-Mexico relations. But there are times you gotta let things get in the way of relations to keep people from walking all over you. Forget the fence, put a wall across the entire border, and have the US Army there, with loaded weapons. This is a democracy, and it is high time the government did what the people want.
Stuart, Tybee Island, Georgia

Of course sealing the border will impact our relations with Mexico. Who cares? They need us more than we need them... Maybe it's time Congress and the president concern themselves with their relations with the American public.
Steve, Palm Harbor, Florida

Who the hell cares? For God's sake, this is our country.
John, Royersford, Pennsylvania
Posted By Jack Cafferty, CNN Commentator: 12/07/2006 05:45:00 PM ET | Permalink
The Situation Online: Space Shuttle Discovery

Shuttle astronauts plan to rewire the space station, deliver a 2-ton addition and replace one of the space station's crew members.

Countdown to launch
The official clock is counting down toward a scheduled 9:35pm ET launch of Space Shuttle Discovery. On the 12-day mission, the crew of STS-116 will rewire the International Space Station and install an additional part. Could bad weather postpone the shuttle launch? Check out NASA's launch blog for the latest up-to-the-minute shuttle updates. The launch can be viewed on CNN, CNN Pipeline, and NASA TV.

Watch "The Situation Room" at 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM, and 7:00 PM ET for this story and more from our Internet reporters.
Posted By The Situation Online Producers: 12/07/2006 05:41:00 PM ET | Permalink
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
The Cafferty File: Talk to Iran?

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:

Will the U.S. eventually have to talk to Iran?

Jack, at this point in time, we have to and this is one of those cases where the longer you wait, the harder it will get.
Curtis, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Of course we'll have to talk to Iran! A refusal to talk to Iran, Syria, North Korea, or anyone else (e.g. Democrats in Congress) is almost as ridiculous as claiming that there are only two courses of action in Iraq - "stay the course" or "cut and run". However, there ARE only two ways to characterize this behavior: 1. Childish; and 2. Unproductive.
Bill, Arlington, Virginia

A generation ago we were ignoring China because we didn't like Mao. Today we are ignoring Iran because we don't like What's-His-Name. We never seem to learn anything from experience.

Eventually is already here! We must use diplomacy if we have any chance of any form of success.
Kathleen, Lilburn, Georgia

What can President Bush do to salvage the remainder of his presidency?

Pull the troops out of Iraq and admit he blew it. Short of that, there is nothing that he can do or say that can save his presidency. He has been the worst U.S. president ever and has all but ruined this once-great country.
Sharon, Chicago, Illinois

Bush could salvage the remainder of his presidency if he would get James Baker to move into the White House and have him act as his ventriloquist replacing Cheney.
Bob, Louisville, Kentucky

Resign! If only our country could heal without having him to contend with for the next two years, perhaps we could feel some hope for the future. Bush has shown himself to be incapable of making rational decisions.
Karen, San Diego, California

Salvaging a presidency is like salvaging a marriage. You need to stop the lies, stop the cheating, admit your mistakes and beg for forgiveness. Unfortunately, history will never forget the horrendous mess Bush has gotten us into with all his lies and deceitfulness.
R.J., Venice Beach, California

If he had an ounce of honor, he would resign. It would be one of the only things he ever got right in his entire presidency.

Should President Bush give outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

This president has turned the Medal of Freedom into the Medal of Failure, and by that token, Rumsfeld should get it, too.
Bill, Provo, Utah

Mr. Cafferty, This president has so cheapened the meaning of this highest of awards, by presenting it to his cronies, that it really has no meaning if given to former Secretary Rumsfeld. So, who cares?
Al, Gilbert, Arizona

Jack. Mind if I use your questions as part of a stand-up comic act? Of course Rumsfeld should receive the Medal of Freedom. I would like the opportunity to plan the service free of charge. I say let’s start the 2007 New Year with Bush presenting the award in Baghdad. I think there is plenty of room where the statue of Saddam once stood. George could present Donald the medal at midnight, then let the fireworks fly.
Bill, Dover, Delaware

Of course! Consistency is important. While Bush is president, continue to debase the Medal of Freedom by giving it to those who have had a hand in planning the hell that is Iraq. Such medals given under his presidency can then be shown in history with an asterisk and disclaimer.
Wendy, San Rafael, California

I think he should ask for the other three back!
John, Wildwood, Florida
Posted By Jack Cafferty, CNN Commentator: 12/06/2006 05:33:00 PM ET | Permalink
The Situation Online: Iraq Study Group report
Iraq Study Group Report online
Click here to read the official Iraq Study Group Report, which calls for a change in U.S military and diplomatic strategies in Iraq. The 160-page document has also been posted online to the Web sites of four organizations key to the effort. Don't have time to read the entire report? CNN has posted key findings, as well as a guide to who's who in group. The Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward - A New Approach was also released today in paperback and is rocketing up the bestseller list.

Watch "The Situation Room" at 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM, and 7:00 PM ET for this story and more from our Internet reporters.
Posted By The Situation Online Producers: 12/06/2006 02:47:00 PM ET | Permalink
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
The Cafferty File: Iraqi Leadership

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:

Is Nuri al-Maliki the right person to lead Iraq into the future?

He will never lead Iraq. The only way he can possibly lead Iraq is if he is willing to become a puppet for Iran and Syria where he lived for twenty years prior to the U.S. invasion
Bob, Louisville, Kentucky

Nuri al-Maliki may have good intentions in secularizing his nation but his government infrastucture hasn't had enough time, security or tools to step up to the daunting task.
Richard, Seattle, Washington

I am sick and tired of everyone asking whether or not we think Al-Maliki is the right man to lead Iraq. That is not for us to decide. That is for the Iraqi people to decide. As Bush and everyone else repeatedly shove in our faces, it is a democratically-elected, sovereign government. We should stop sticking our noses in the Iraqi people's business and start letting them do their jobs, so we can start packing up and leaving.
Mark, Jacksonville, Florida

Nuri al-Maliki is as competent to run Iraq as Bush is to run the United States. That says it all.
Andrew, Paramus, New Jersey

Will lawmakers considering a 2008 presidential run hurt the 110th Congress?

We need Congress to do the work of the Congress, not the work of their party or their top campaign contributors. They all have to remember they are Americans first, and Democrats and Republicans second.
Mike, Nashua, New Hampshire

Nothing changes. We all know that keeping their job is their primary objective, which includes paying back their lobbyists for their support. Taking care of the nation's business is one of those annoying tasks they must endure.
Ernie, Ocala, Florida

Politicians are always greedy for more power. Therefore if becoming the president of the United States of America means more power to any of the senators, then Jack tell me the reason why it won't hurt the 110th Congress.
Gabriel, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Jack, our Congress has been wounded for several decades. This is just one more wound that won't heal until we, the American people, quit voting in career politicians and make changes in laws, allowing people to make a career out of it. It's business as usual, period.
Jim, Mt. Shasta, California

It's clear that anyone running for president of the U.S.A. should give up their leadership position on any committee and should not even be on any committee hearing testimony. The public should be looking to Washington outsiders or former congressional members for their next leader.
Scott, Wilton Manor, Florida

The Department of Homeland Security says it needs another five years to control the U.S. border with Mexico. Why?

Of course it will take them 5 years to secure the border with Mexico. That allows them to milk the taxpayers for more and more money. How about using the FEMA trailers as a border fence? That way it is not a total loss and would appear to be a part of a plan of some sort.
Bill, Grant City, Missouri

No one is serious about enforcement of immigration. If we were as serious about this as even drunken driving, there would be a minimum mandatory sentence for those who employ illegals.
Albert, St. Petersburg, Florida

Five more years? Si Habla Espanol? In five more years, you'd better be able to speak Spanish because by then it will be our national language.
Scott, Nashville, Tennessee

The D.H.S. needs 5 years because they're hoping that this administration's open border-amnesty agenda will pass. Then the D.H.S. can continue to do what they've been doing: Nothing.
Barbara, Middletown, New York

Posted By Jack Cafferty, CNN Commentator: 12/05/2006 05:47:00 PM ET | Permalink
The Situation Online: Virtual FBI files
Virtual FBI Files
A new report (PDF) by the DOJ Inspector General expresses some concern over funding for the FBI's new computer system dubbed Sentinel, but reports that early implementation looks promising. The new system will help the FBI keep track of cases and share information between its offices and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies. The FBI will face questioning tomorrow by the Senate Judiciary Committee on its plan to overhaul the agency's computer systems as part of its priority to prevent future terrorist attacks. Incoming Senate Judiciary chair, Democrat Patrick Leahy, has raised concerns over where the FBI will obtain $57 million, but the FBI tells us that portion of the budget has long been accounted for and will not affect the overall $425 price tag.

Watch "The Situation Room" at 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM, and 7:00 PM ET for these stories and more from our Internet reporters.
Posted By The Situation Online Producers: 12/05/2006 05:28:00 PM ET | Permalink
Monday, December 04, 2006
The Situation Online: Calif. wildfires, new Padilla images

A firefighter uses a drip torch to ignite a back fire Sunday in Moorpark.

Containing So. Calif. wildfires
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declares a state of emergency in Southern California's Ventura County. Wildfires scorched more than 10,000 acres of land, as well as destroyed five houses and two businesses. With over 1,500 firefighters working to contain the blaze, authorities expect full containment of the fire by Tuesday night.

New Padilla images
Still video images of alleged terror operative Jose Padilla in chains and wearing headphones and blacked-out goggles is being used as evidence in a motion by Padilla's attorneys to dismiss terror charges. In new court filings, his lawyers claim Padilla was tortured by U.S. interrogators. Pentagon officials say Padilla was treated humanely and strongly deny Padilla's allegations of torture, saying they are without support. Padilla, a U.S. citizen once identified as a "dirty bomb" suspect and detained as an "enemy combatant", is still charged in a Florida federal indictment with supporting terrorism.

Watch "The Situation Room" at 4:00 PM, 5:00 PM, and 7:00 PM ET for these stories and more from our Internet reporters.
Posted By The Situation Online Producers: 12/04/2006 05:49:00 PM ET | Permalink
The Cafferty File: Do-Nothing Congress

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:

What will be the legacy of the 109th Congress?

This do-nothing Congress' only legacy will be that it did nothing, and was proud of it. They used time and money to feather their own nests, while forgetting about the people who put, and kept, them there. Good riddance to bad garbage, I say!
Rose, Miami, Florida

Don't you have to do something before you can have a legacy?
Paul, Pewaukee, Wisconsin

What will be the legacy of the 109th Congress? Pick one: greed, corruption, procrastination, fiscal irresponsibility, earmarks. Or all, as I do.
Bernie, Lowell, Massachusetts

They'll have left us with the knowledge that some day you too can grow up to work under 100 days out of the year and screw up the lives of millions of people.
Brett, Wapakoneta, Ohio

Should the business ties of Secretary of Defense nominee Robert Gates play a role in his confirmation hearings?

Of course it should. If he is involved in any of these corporations that keep telling us they don't know what they did with billions of our tax dollars while there was no armor on Humvees, no personal body armor, while we sent care packages from the States, I say we find someone who didn't glut themselves on our largesse over the corpses of our casualties.
Tom, Wilton, Maine

It should play a role, but Gates' role in the Iran-Contra Affair and other shady CIA dealings during the 1980s should play even more prominent ones.
Jared, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

That's all the administration needs, another Dick Cheney whose ties to the oil companies and Halliburton are well documented. Washington is filled with personal interest execs who are ready to thank those who hired them in exchange for more giveaways.
Al, Niagara Falls, New York

Big business has been running our government for the better part of 35 years now. Do you really think the prudent selection of one Cabinet-level department head is going to drastically alter that arrangement one way or another? You can keep on bellowing about the symptoms of what ails us, Jack; that will not solve the root of these problems though.
Thomas, Surfside, Florida

New York Times columnist Frank Rich says President Bush is "untethered from reality." Do you agree?

I expect Bush to maintain his detachment from reality bit as long as he's in office. It has allowed him to escape accountability for too long. Now that the media has gotten its spine back, he may not be so lucky.
Shari, Fleetwood, Pennsylvania

Yes, I agree with Frank Rich. Bush is out of touch with reality. But then I have thought that for some time. In these dangerous times, it doesn't give one a lot of comfort to have an unstable person leading the country for the next two years.
Sue, West Hartford, Connecticut

This president has been out of touch with reality his entire life. He's been so pampered, he has no idea what the average American life is like, what it means to balance a checkbook or be responsible for your actions.
Gary, Cary, North Carolina

Hard to believe a newspaper as great and revered as the New York Times could be guilty of such a huge understatement!
Toni, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Posted By Jack Cafferty, CNN Commentator: 12/04/2006 05:41:00 PM ET | Permalink
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