American Morning

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May 13th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

We Listen!

Wednesday’s American Morning "robocall" segment piqued viewers’ attention, as many reported their own experiences with the irritating scams.

  • James: Good morning JOHN I was watching CNN this morning when you guys spoke about the ROBO CALLS. a friend on mind got a call two weeks ago about car warranty. The situation is that we are not living in the United States. We live in the Bahamas. I did not suspect anything wrong at first until i watch CNN this morning. It’s a good thing she didn't call back to give out her visa or master card number. Thanks to CNN I now can warn family and friends.
  • James C: I found your story on the scams associated with the auto warranty programs now being sold via phone solicitations to be very informative and accurate. I found it very amusing that you ran an ad promoting one of those companies under investigation immediately following the story.

Have you been the victim of a robocall? Do you listen to the pitch or simply hang up? Has your cell phone bill increased because of these calls? Tell us about your experiences with robocalls.

Social security and Medicare were considered “old” issues that have remained on the “back burner” too long and simply needs to be fixed.

  • Lorraine: i have been hearing this by government and the media for as long as i can remember. this [Medicare and Social Security] is no new problem but it is one that has continuously been placed on the back burner. i'm sick of hearing about it. when is the government going to do something about it?
  • Sannerae22: Is anyone truly surprised that these funds are in trouble? Who has always paid into these funds? The middle class. Once again it is middle class being raped. The wealthy have loopholes protecting them from paying into the system and they funnel their money elsewhere. The lower class doesn't pay into the programs but draw from it. Congress steals from it to fund other projects. In the mid to late 1970's, my husband and I had many discussions with my grandfather about social security and Medicare being gone by the time we were eligible to draw on it and how we wished we could have the hefty sum of money taken out of our checks so that we could use it as we saw fit but it was money lost to us forever.

How do you feel about the current situation with Social Security and Medicare? Will universal health coverage help to solve many of these problems?  Is there a better solution?


Filed under: We Listen
May 13th, 2009
01:52 PM ET
May 13th, 2009
11:51 AM ET

Senator wants end to fraudulent 'robocalls'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption= "Senator Charles Schumer wants to put an end to fraudulent robocalls."]

We’ve all received them – phone calls from a machine saying the warranty on our car is set to expire. It seems the "robocalls" are annoying to everyone, including lawmakers.

New York senator Charles Schumer got one of those calls. And now he's working to put an end to what he is calling consumer fraud. He spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday.

Kiran Chetry: I got confused and I am sure other people get confused. I thought they knew it was my car. I thought they knew what they were talking about. And so it really is not only an issue of annoyance but also that they're not pedaling something that's legitimate. Is that correct?

Charles Schumer: This is consumer fraud, A-101. Yes, they call everybody. They call randomly. They call people who don't have cars. But unfortunately there are too many people who are gullible, particularly with everything going on with Chrysler and GM. And they ask you for your credit card and they take $200, $250 off. And, leave you open to credit card fraud. So first job here, consumers should not respond to this. If you're worried about your car warranty, call the company that issues the car.

Chetry: You and your colleague Senator Mark Warner want to do something about it. You want to ask the Federal Trade Commission to take action. How big of a problem do you think this is, besides being a nuisance and what do you hope the FTC can do?

Schumer: Well, we know that just about everyone has gotten these calls and repeatedly. By the way, another minor annoyance, when you press two, they still call you again. I pressed two the first time I got the call and I've gotten them three or four more times. There are four levels of problem. A) It's annoying. B) They have pierced the Do Not Call List. You notice, you don’t get cell phone spam much, except these folks. Third, of course it costs money if you don't have the right plan. But worst of all, many people are duped and lose lots of money for no reason.

We've asked the FTC to do a full-fledged investigation of this. It shouldn't be hard to track down who these scammers are, because after all, you follow the money. They've got to get the credit card and cash it in. The FTC has been very cooperative. They sent us a letter yesterday saying there's an investigation in progress. And we look forward to hearing from them soon about what they're going to do about it. They have the powers. This is a criminal violation of law. And they have the powers to go after these people. We just need them do it.


Filed under: Crime
May 13th, 2009
11:42 AM ET
May 13th, 2009
11:12 AM ET

Mandatory training needed to prevent pilot error

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption= "Greg Feith is a former senior investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board."]

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill today are investigating the deadly crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407, which killed 50 people in February near Buffalo, New York.

In a story Monday, the Wall Street Journal cited investigators as saying the crash resulted from pilot Marvin Renslow's incorrect response to the plane's precarious drop in speed: He overrode an emergency system known as a "stick pusher," which sends the plane into a dive so it can regain speed and avoid a stall.

Colgan Air, the operator of Continental Connection flights, said Monday that Renslow had never trained in a flight simulator with the safety system that activated just before the plane went down. Colgan said there is no regulatory requirement that it provide hands-on training with the "stick pusher."

"A stick pusher demonstrated in an aircraft simulator is not required by the FAA," the airline said in a statement. "And thus was not included in Colgan's Q400 training program."

The Federal Aviation Administration said its standards do not require hands-on practice with the safety system.

Greg Feith, a former senior investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, says flight simulation training on this type of system should be required for all pilots. He spoke to Kiran Chetry on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday.

Kiran Chetry: The cockpit voice recorder revealed a conversation took place five minutes before the crash. First Officer Rebecca Shaw said she had “never seen icing conditions.” She said “I don't want to have to experience that and make those kinds of calls. You know I’d have freaked out… I'd have seen this much ice and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we were going to crash.’” She's telling the pilot she's worried about icing conditions. It seems like a scary conversation to be having in the cockpit at the time.

Greg Feith: Absolutely. When you look at the transcript and where that conversation took place being so close to the final event, you have to wonder why their awareness wasn't higher when they first took off and got in to the icing conditions. And one of the things that the NTSB is going to really have to look at is why they breached that sterile cockpit rule. But if you look at the transcript, they talk about ice, and then they go back to their normal conversation. They don't really talk about the flying of the airplane and the approach speeds that they need to be flying.


Filed under: Transportation
May 13th, 2009
10:29 AM ET

Medicare is the real danger, not social security

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption= "Bob Weiner says we should worry about Medicare before we worry about Social Security."]

The front page of the New York Times today reads: Recession Drains Social Security and Medicare. The latest report card on the social safety net is not encouraging. The officials who oversee the program forecast Tuesday that the Social Security trust fund will be exhausted by 2037 — four years earlier than estimated last year.

Bob Weiner, former chief of staff for the House Committee on Aging, says when it comes to fear over Social Security, it's much ado about nothing. He joined John Roberts on CNN’s “American Morning” Wednesday.

John Roberts: You say everybody has it wrong on the alarm bells being sounded about Social Security. How do we have it wrong?

Bob Weiner: Not everyone has it wrong. There are a lot of experts in Social Security who understand that this is a program that has been the most successful one in the history of American social programs – taking half of senior citizens out of poverty. Half of seniors rely on Social Security for 90% of their income.

Roberts: What do we have wrong, though?

Weiner: The program is solvent for the next 30 years. Once, and even then, when they say insolvent, it still will be able to pay 75% of the benefits even under the worst economic model. And the economic model that they're using is the crash that we're in right now. So they've taken the worst case scenario, instead of recognizing that the economy will improve and that we’ll go back to a solvency situation with Social Security.


Filed under: Economy • Health
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