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CNN Student News Transcript: January 15, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Explore the recent drops of the Dow Jones and the mercury
  • Learn how officials are preparing for inauguration crowds
  • Hear some students' views on racism in modern-day America
  • Next Article in Living »
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(CNN Student News) -- January 15, 2009

Quick Guide

Dow, Mercury Drop - Explore the recent drops of the Dow Jones and the mercury.

Crowd Control - Learn how officials are preparing for inauguration crowds.

Class in Session - Hear some students' views on racism in modern-day America.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: From an economy that keeps diving to a car that flies off the ground -- you've got to see this -- today's edition of CNN Student News is taking off. I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Dow, Mercury Drop

AZUZ: First up, Wall Street, where the stock market is struggling through a six-day slump. Yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which indicates how the overall market is doing, dropped 250 points. Experts blamed it on bad news from the banking industry and a report that retail sales dipped in December. One executive said, "We knew it was bad, but not this bad."

And as the dow dips, so does the mercury, with parts of the country's Midwestern region shivering through sub-zero temperatures yesterday. But the worst may be yet to come. Experts say the next couple days will bring the coldest air of the season. They predict the frigid conditions will continue through the weekend and stick around for Tuesday's presidential inauguration.


GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Which U.S. president's inauguration drew the largest crowd to date? If you think you know it, shout it out! Was it: A) George W. Bush, B) Bill Clinton, C) Ronald Reagan or D) Lyndon Johnson? You've got three seconds -- GO! In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson's inauguration drew a record 1.2 million people. That's your answer and that's your shoutout!

Crowd Control

AZUZ: Well, next week's inauguration could set a new record. Officials are estimating that up to two million people might turn out for that event. In fact, President Bush has declared a disaster in D.C., even before anything happens. The move frees up federal support to help out, including emergency personnel and equipment. Jeanne Meserve examines some other ways the city is preparing for the crowd.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Port-a-potties side by side, row upon row on the National Mall, in preparation for a very big inaugural crowd. A poorly managed crowd can be destructive, even deadly. Just a few weeks ago, a Wal-Mart security guard was trampled by shoppers on the hunt for a bargain. Inaugural officials have consulted a crowd management expert who has studied events like the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

HANI MAHMASSAN, NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY: People have learned from the mistakes that have been made in terms of massing very large numbers of people there, in terms of having a hard start where you simply open the flood gates and then you get these stampedes through.

MESERVE: Washington is used to big gatherings like Fourth Of July celebrations, and the police know how to handle a crowd. But the challenges on Inauguration Day could be unprecedented.

CHIEF CATHY LANIER, D.C. POLICE: Information is my best friend.

MESERVE: Text messages, jumbotrons and loudspeakers will all be used to communicate with the crowd in an emergency. If long waits lead to frustration and anger, officials have plans to defuse it.

LANIER: We actually have customer service folks that will be walking up and down lines, giving them maps and telling them where to go, kind of being ambassadors to make people feel a little bit more comfortable with what they want to do.

MESERVE: Officials are already publicizing the basics. Screening checkpoints will open at 7 to let the first 300,000 or so people onto the parade route. Backpacks, coolers, strollers, large umbrellas will all be banned. Restrictions will be looser on the Mall, where the overflow will be sent. Spectators who choose can stake out a Mall spot early, though camping is prohibited. Officials deny they are trying to discourage people from attending.

MALCOLM WILEY, SECRET SERVICE: Quite to the contrary. Our efforts are to make sure people are safe. We'd like for as many people to come as want to come.

MESERVE: Some experts say the number of portable toilets, estimated at 5,000, is "grossly inadequate" for the crowd. Others are worried about food and drink. Planners believe they are about as ready as can be, but warn this will not be your average day out. People should plan carefully and dress for the weather. Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.



AZUZ: If you won't be near a TV on Tuesday, you can still see the inauguration at Live! Follow all the day's events, from the swearing in to the inaugural address, the parade to the parties. And don't forget to check out our One-Sheet and Learning Activity on presidential inaugurations. You'll find those free resources at!

Word to the Wise

RAMSAY: A Word To The Wise...

xenophobia (noun) an unreasonable fear or hatred of anyone or anything that's foreign or strange


Class in Session

AZUZ: One example of xenophobia that a lot of us have encountered is racism. Is it still a problem in our country? And if so, to what degree? That's what we're talking about on today's blog, and that's what a group of Atlanta-area high school students discussed with Tony Harris recently, when the CNN anchor headed back to class. Check out what these students had to say.


TONY HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Are we, with this election, the nation's first black president, are we beyond race?


STEPHANIE STYLES, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: There is always going to be those barriers, socioeconomic status, different things. They're always going to matter. Just to say that now we have elected an African American, now that we have all this support, that the glass ceiling has just all of a sudden disappeared, I think that's unrealistic.

TAYLOR WALKER, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I believe that race will always be a problem, and that as time changed, our format for being harsh towards different racial groups has changed.

TAYLOR ALFORD, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I think it's always going to be in the back of everybody's mind, because for some people, it's second nature, what they were taught when they were little, like for grandparents and great-grandparents. They can't help it.

BEN POWERS, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I'm not going to teach my kids about racism and all that. I'm going to teach them everybody is all good. As you go through the ages, eventually you get through, as you get down to my grandkids and great-grandkids, eventually race is going to become less and less of an issue, until it's almost non-existent.

DEMARIUS "D.J." WALKER, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: That's not true, though. That's not true. As an elementary and middle school student, I went to all-black schools, and I didn't really meet white people until the summer before I got to Grady. At those schools where there were all black people, I had teachers who were people who fought in the Civil Rights movement and had parents who fought in the Civil Rights movement. They told us stories about these things, and that created and ingrained some type of xenophobic, or some view, because we didn't know these people, like, "Caroline is a person that I should be afraid of." And that didn't go away because Barack Obama was elected president. I think the fear is now we are a lot less honest about it. I think in the '60s, people were honest about their racism, and right now, it's more under the rug. And that's the danger.

FEMALE STUDENT OFF CAMERA: Or there could be the actual possibility that maybe we are changing.

DEMARIUS "D.J." WALKER: We're not.

CAROLINE MCKAY, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: A four year old who is growing up now thinks it's completely normal, for an African-American man and a woman were viable candidates for the presidency, and one of them is now the president. And that will never be weird or impossible, because it is what they grew up with.

HARRIS: How many of you believe that race relations in this country will improve during the Obama administration?

AKURE IMES, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I think it depends on Barack Obama's actions as president. They will associate that with whether race relations improve or not.

TAYLOR FULTON, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: I wish people weren't so afraid to say, "I don't know."

CLASS: Right!

FULTON: And we don't know.

HOLDEN CHOI, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: One of my hopes is that Barack Obama's election will stop people from seeing, like, black culture and white culture as opposite cultures, so much as a different type of culture.

ALFORD: And another thing is Barack Obama, during the whole election, he didn't present himself as the black candidate or as the African American. He just went on as "I'm another candidate, these are my ideas, etc." So, I think he himself took that step forward.

MICHAEL BARLOW, GRADY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: Though racism does exist in our country and there are tensions between the different races, I think that it's not as big as everybody's making it. Yea, we just elected an African American to the presidency. But at the same time, we have a country that's in economic turmoil. That's what we should be talking about, and that's what we should be worried about. Not whether if Caroline and I will hate each other tomorrow.

HARRIS: Because the answer is "no." D.J.!

BARLOW: Probably not. I don't think that race is as big problem as it was in the 1960s. I think this country has come a long way and inevitably, no matter what happens, it will go even further.

HARRIS: OK, anyone else? Last word? Okay, good. Awesome!


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go today we're bringing you a buggy that's built to travel across all terrains, including the sky! A team of engineers spent 18 months researching and designing this thing, and then launched it on a 3,700-mile journey from London to Timbuktu! Propeller on the back, parachute on the top, crazy in the cockpit. Well, you can judge that for yourself. The inventor says he's hoping the aerial adventure will touch down in Timbuktu in February.



AZUZ: Of course, if he bought a ticket on Air France, it'd only take about six hours. But either way, it's where the rubber leaves the road on CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz.

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