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CNN Student News Transcript: December 4, 2008

  • Story Highlights
  • Preview the Big Three's latest trip to Washington to discuss a proposed bailout
  • Discover why a calculus teacher is selling advertising space on his tests
  • Hear how a young pilot is soaring through the skies using only her feet
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(CNN Student News) -- December 4, 2008

Quick Guide

Automakers Bailout Case - Preview the Big Three's latest trip to Washington to discuss a proposed bailout.

Testing Ads - Discover why a calculus teacher is selling advertising space on his tests.

Flying without Arms - Hear how a young pilot is soaring through the skies using only her feet.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: On Headline News, online or on iTunes, you've found your way to this Thursday edition of CNN Student News! I'm Carl Azuz, and these are your headlines.

First Up: In the Headlines

AZUZ: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls on Pakistan to take responsibility for terrorists operating inside its borders. She made the comments during a visit to India yesterday, where's she hoping to ease tensions between the neighboring countries. India blames Pakistan for last week's deadly terror attacks, while Pakistan says it had no role in the violence.

AZUZ: President-elect Barack Obama unveils another nominee for his Cabinet. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is his pick for secretary of commerce. Of course, Richardson will have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. If he is, it won't be his first time in the presidential Cabinet. Richardson served as secretary of energy and ambassador to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton.

Automakers Bailout Case

AZUZ: And the United Auto Workers union will be working with automakers to make some changes to contracts. Both groups are hoping this will help the industry get that multibillion dollar government bailout it's been asking for. The heads of three major car companies are back on Capitol Hill to address that very issue with Congress. Kate Bolduan gives us a preview.


REP. GARY ACKERMAN, (D) NEW YORK: It's almost like seeing the guy show up at a soup kitchen in high hat and tuxedo.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN REPORTER: Mocked for taking private jets to ask for a taxpayer bailout, this time, they're driving: Ford's CEO in an Escape hybrid, and GM's top executive in a Malibu hybrid; making the nearly nine-hour trip from Detroit to Washington to ask for even more than the original $25 billion lifeline. Job one is salvaging a PR gaffe. Ford's CEO is making the case through a new Web site and YouTube.

ALAN MULALLY, FORD CEO: We'll get through this, and we'll come out the other end as a turbo machine.

BOLDUAN: Chrysler's vice president warning Maryland dock workers about the fallout if the Big Three fail.

JIM PRESS, VICE CHAIRMAN AND PRESIDENT, CHRYSLER LLC: The campaign that we're on is a real simple one. It's about saving jobs and preserving our way of life in America.

BOLDUAN: Congressional leaders are demanding accountability, proof the Big Three can survive and an end to excessive executive compensation.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: It's ridiculous to ask the taxpayers to fund the shortfall of companies that are paying millions of dollars to their executives, while the companies are losing billions of dollars.

BOLDUAN: GM is asking for up to $12 billion immediately, and maybe another $6 billion later. The company claims with restructuring, it can become profitable again and repay the loan by 2012. Ford wants access to up to $9 billion. Ford says it may be financially strong enough to not need the cash, but wants it available. And like the other automakers, it would step up production of electric and fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford also would get rid of its five corporate jets, and all the CEOs are promising to work for a dollar a year. Ford says that pay cut will take effect if the company uses the bailout money. Now, Chrysler's proposal is asking for $7 billion from the federal government. All three automakers will face the music once again when they come back to Capitol Hill for hearings Thursday and Friday. Kate Bolduan, CNN, Capital Hill.



ERIC GERSHON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Which of these universities has the highest tuition? Is it: A) Duke, B) Columbia, C) Harvard or D) Stanford? You've got three seconds -- GO! According to U.S. News & World Report, Columbia University has the highest price tag of these schools. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Higher Costs for Higher Education

AZUZ: In fact, a year of tuition at Columbia rings up at more than $39,300! That's more than some people make in a year. And the school isn't alone. According to a new report, college costs have been skyrocketing for years. From 1982 to 2007, tuition and fees have increased nearly 440 percent, adjusted for inflation. In that same time, the median family income rose 147 percent. When it comes to college affordability, the report flunked 49 states, and gave the other, California, a "C."

Testing Ads

AZUZ: If your grades could use a boost, or if you just want to keep them up, maybe you'd be encouraged if your tests came with an inspirational message. Maybe not. Well, in one California classroom, they do. That's because the teacher is selling space for them, and other advertisements, on his exams. Steve Atkinson of affiliate KGTV in San Diego takes us to school.


STEVE ATKINSON, KGTV REPORTER: It was a tough math problem for a man who teaches advanced calculus. After budget cuts, Tom Farber needed more money to pay for copies of all the tests he gives.

TOM FARBER, RANCHO BERNARDO HIGH SCHOOL MATH TEACHER: So I said, you know what? I'm going to do it in a more creative way.

ATKINSON: How's this for creative? He sells ads on the tests. Mostly they are inspirational quotes paid for by parents. Now, here's a typical ad, which is actually just a quote. It says: "Good luck. But remember, knowledge is more important than luck." It's all about adjusting to tough times.

FARBER: And I would never have done this five years ago or ten years ago. I wouldn't even have thought of it, because there never was a necessity.

ATKINSON: His principal, Paul Robinson, thought it was a great idea from the start.

PAUL ROBINSON, RANCHO BERNARDO HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: I kind of figured that there would be some support. I didn't imagine that the support would be as overwhelming as it's gotten.

ATKINSON: It has been overwhelming. E-mails from all over the country. The front page of USA Today had Farber's story this morning. He's flattered, but he hopes it focuses attention on education.

FARBER: I want the legislative process to make sure that kids are treated fairly, equitably at all public high schools.

STUDENT 1: I think it's a great idea, but I think it's sad that we have come to the point that we have to do that.

STUDENT 2: I think its a great idea, too. I think its kind of fun. Parents can wish their children well on the test if they want to.

ATKINSON: Farber says reaction has been 99% positive. As for the critics who say he's commercializing schools:

FARBER: If you really disagree with what I'm doing, then you need to get your wallet out.

ATKINSON: By the way, the ads cost $10 for a quiz, $20 for a test, and $30 for the final, and the final is already sold out.


Word to the Wise

GERSHON: A Word to the Wise...

congenital (adjective) relating to a condition that exists at birth


Flying without Arms

AZUZ: Jessica Cox says a lot of people have doubted her because of a congenital disease, but she hasn't let that hold her back. And now, the 25-year-old is a certified pilot. But what's really impressive is how she handles the plane. Lorraine Rivera of affiliate KVOA in Arizona launches into the details of this exceptional feat.


LORRAINE RIVERA, KVOA REPORTER: From the runway to the sky, this flight is like most others. Flying the pattern is a breeze; the landing, smooth. The only thing that's different: The pilot in command of this Air Coupe is a 25-year-old woman without arms.

JESSICA COX, ARMLESS PILOT: A lot of people have maybe doubted me or don't believe that a girl without arms, or a woman without arms, can do much.

RIVERA: But she can. Jessica Cox, a certified pilot, does it all and alone, even her pre-flight inspection.

COX: It's full.

RIVERA: She checks the oil with a screwdriver, her foot and head; fills out her own log book.

COX: Ok, today is the second.

RIVERA: Really, the only tricky part...

COX: This was my first challenge in flight training, was how to buckle the seat belt. So, I figured out, well, you don't always have to buckle the seat belt until after you sit down.

RIVERA: Born with a congenital birth defect, she's accepted who she is. For eleven years, she used prosthetic arms, then decided she didn't need them. Then three years ago, a pilot with Wright Flight, an aviation company, offered her the chance to fly.

PARRISH TRAWEEK, FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR: Well, when she came in here, we knew she'd be able to do it, just because of the drive she has. Absolutely.

COX: Yeah, Parrish, he has this undying faith in me.

RIVERA: She's already logged close to 100 hours in the sky.

COX: When you're behind the yoke and you're soloing the airplane for the first time, and you look over and don't see your instructor there, you're forced to accept that you're flying the airplane. You realize at that moment that you literally have your life in your own hands, or in my case, my own feet.



AZUZ: Great story there. Premiering one week from today: Planet in Peril: Battle Lines! This special documentary examines the conflicts between growing populations and natural resources. We're putting together reports and free curriculum materials to go along with the program. They'll be coming soon to!

Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go today, guess who's coming to town?

SANTA (SINGING): It's the most wonderful time of the year.

AZUZ: Sure it is, Santa! But apparently not everyone wants to hear you singing about it. Some neighbors are seeing red over Saint Nick's musical merriment. The owner says he's trying to keep holiday spirits up by keeping the volume down, and he hopes he won't have to shut Santa up for good.



AZUZ: Because that would make for one silent night. You guys have a great day. We'll see you again tomorrow.

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