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CNN Student News Transcript: June 1, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Take a drive back in time as another American icon's wheels come off
  • Plug into the reasons why President Obama has cybersecurity concerns
  • Step onto the campus of a school that's a model of sustainability
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(CNN Student News) -- June 1, 2009

Quick Guide

A Look Back - Take a drive back in time as another American icon's wheels come off.

Cybersecurity Concerns - Plug into the reasons why President Obama has cybersecurity concerns.

Reusable Lessons - Step onto the campus of a school that's a model of sustainability.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: I'm Carl Azuz and this is CNN Student News! It is the first day of June and our last week before summer break. Thank you very much for joining us.

First Up: A Look Back

AZUZ: First up, a major move for the country's largest automaker as General Motors is expected to file for bankruptcy today. This comes one month after Chrysler, another of the so-called "Big Three" U.S. car companies, did the very same thing. Under the terms of General Motors' bankruptcy, the company will be reorganized and essentially taken over by the government. Thirty years ago, GM made up more than 40 percent of U.S. auto sales. Today, that number is 19 percent. The company's reported more than $90 billion in losses since 2005. As the bankruptcy process begins, Christine Romans looks back at the history of GM and the American car.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Henry Ford started at the beginning of the last century with four wheels and a running board; 1908 was the birth of American car culture. That same year, General Motors was formed in Flint, Michigan. It wasn't until 1925 when the "Big Three" was complete with the formation of Chrysler Corporation.

JOHN DAVIS, HOST, MOTORWEEK: When the Big Three emerged, they not only emerged as rivals that really gave Americans much better automobiles at the time, but they also cemented the American automobile as a world standard.

ROMANS: "As goes General Motors, so goes the nation." That phrase defined America's economic power for much of the last century.

PETER MORICI, ECONOMIST, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: So many folks were either employed at General Motors or the other two major car makers, making steel and all the other components that go into cars. It just meant that if the automobile companies were prospering, the country was prospering, too.

ROMANS: Today, there are 74,000 rank-and-file GM workers in the U.S. But in its heyday, GM was the largest industrial company in the world; a technology leader. By 1979, 600,000 people worked for GM. Those good jobs helped build America's middle class.

DAVIS: It also allowed us to migrate out from the cities to have the quarter lot in a suburb, to basically get away from a lot of the congestion of the metropolitan areas.

ROMANS: General Moters was the company that revolutionized what we drove, how we thought about our cars, and how we paid for them. GM invented auto loans and the model year. It was the first to hire designers instead of engineers to create new car concepts; think big fins and chrome of the 1950s and 60s. And everything changed. Ford adopted flashy fins with the Ford Fairlane, as did Chrysler with the popular Desoto. Automobiles from the Big Three put their stamp on popular culture, from music to movies to television. What's considered to be the first rock and roll song ever recorded was "Rocket 88" by Ike Turner, about a GM product. The Pontiac GTO, considered by many to be the first true muscle car, was showcased in a song by Ronnie and the Daytonas.


ROMANS: The Corvette on Route 66. The 1948 Ford in the iconic movie "Grease."

FROM "GREASE": Go grease lighting, go grease lighting...

ROMANS: The TransAm in Smokey and the Bandit, and Archie Bunker's Old La Salle.

CARROLL O'CONNOR AND JEAN STAPLETON, "ALL IN THE FAMILY": Gee, our Old La Salle ran great. Those were the days...



GEORGE RAMSAY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mr. Schultz's civics classes at David Brearley Middle School in Kenilworth, New Jersey. Where did the word "cyberspace" first appear? Was it in a: A)Movie, B) Book, C) Scientific paper or D) Magazine article? You've got three seconds -- GO! Author William Gibson is credited with creating the word in a science fiction novel. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Cybersecurity Concerns

AZUZ: It may have started as science fiction, but these days, practically all of us, including the government, spend time in cyberspace. But President Obama says we're not as prepared as we should be, as a government or a country, for cyber-attacks. That's why he's planning to create a new position: cybersecurity coordinator. Jeanne Meserve explains the new job.


JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Hackers cut power to a skyscraper and then reprogram it to play Space Invaders in a spoof video on YouTube. But cybersecurity is not a laughing matter.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It's now clear this cyberthreat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation.

MESERVE: Americans use the Internet to bank and shop and talk to one another. Electricity, water, transportation all depend on it. But every day, there are attacks. The White House estimates in the past two years cybercrime has cost Americans more than $8 billion. And last year alone, hackers stole one trillion dollars worth of business secrets. Military and intelligence networks have been penetrated, and tests have shown a cyberattack can destroy critical infrastructure, like this generator. President Obama says the country is not prepared.

OBAMA: From now on, our digital infrastructure, the networks and computers we depend on every day, will be treated as they should be: as a strategic national asset. Protecting this infrastructure will be a national security priority.

MESERVE: The president will hand pick a cybersecurity coordinator to integrate policies across government, work closely with the private sector, and coordinate the federal response to attacks. Still unknown: who will get the job.

JAMES LEWIS, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: If you get the wrong person, or you put them in an office that doesn't have very much power, you can have the best plan in the world and it still won't work.

MESERVE: The plan is short on specifics, though the president says government will not dictate security standards to private industry, and will not monitor private networks or Internet traffic. Security experts say they generally like the steps the administration is taking, but warn there are many more steps to take on the long road to securing the nation's cyber-infrastructure. Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.


Big Ben's Birthday!

AZUZ: Heading across the Atlantic now to celebrate a big British birthday. Big Ben, one of the world's most famous clocks, turned 150 years old yesterday. Recently voted as Britain's favorite monument, it's actually just the 14-ton bell that's named "Big Ben," although most people use it describe the tower and clock, too. Despite a couple disruptions over the years, Big Ben has helped keep London on time since 1859.

Extra, Extra Innings

AZUZ: This college baseball game didn't last quite 150 years, but it did go into extra innings; 16 of them! Texas and Boston College took the field at 7 p.m. and left it at 2 a.m. after playing the longest game in NCAA history: 25 innings, almost 3 full games. At one point, a relief pitcher threw 13 scoreless innings. In the end, an RBI single helped Texas triumph, 3-2.

Word to the Wise

RAMSAY: A Word to the Wise...

sustainable (adjective) capable of being maintained with minimal long-term effects on the environment


Reusable Lessons

AZUZ: Sustainability projects can be as simple as recycling paper and plastic and using recycled materials, or they can be as complex as altering the viscosity of waste oil to convert it into biodiesel fuel. There's one place in Atlanta, Georgia that's doing all of this: a school! Jacqui Jeras takes us on a tour of the campus's environmentally-friendly efforts.


JACQUI JERAS, CNN WEATHER ANCHOR: The botany classroom is the great outdoors for students at the Lovett School in Atlanta.

ELLIOT MCCARTHY, THE LOVETT SCHOOL: This is something that we'll actually use later in life.

JERAS: They're digging in the dirt, getting lessons in environmental sustainability.

MCCARTHY: It's much healthier for you, it's less chemicals, it's completely natural and it costs less.

JERAS: The school's organic garden is just the beginning.

ALEX REYNOLDS, SCIENCE TEACHER: The idea that your labor can then nourish you is a life lesson, you know, and the fact that you take responsibility. If you do something wrong, you have to fix it.

JERAS: Food from the garden goes to the cafeteria. Menus change depending on what's fresh. The dining hall is also trayless, saving thousands of gallons of water used to wash them. The cafeteria does more than just cook with sustainability in mind. For example, all of the oil that is used for fried foods is ultimately turned into biodiesel. That biofuel is used to fill up the school's maintenance vehicles for half the cost of gas. There is even a wind turbine on campus creating electricity. But the key is keeping the students involved.

BILL DUNKEL, PRINCIPAL, THE LOVETT SCHOOL: It's really important for us to educate young people to be good citizens for the 21st century.

THOMAS MACDONALD, THE LOVETT SCHOOL: It's my earth and my water and my air, too, so I dont want anybody trashing it.

JERAS: Jacqui Jeras, CNN, Atlanta.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go: the answer to one of life's great mysteries. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get a donut! At least that's this bird brain's excuse. Alright, he's actually a rooster, but you get it. Every morning, he'd hear the opening bell at Scrumdiddilyumptious Donuts and dash across the street to get his complementary breakfast. Did heavy traffic ever scare him away from his risky run?



AZUZ: We already told you, this guy's no chicken. Well, we will be back tomorrow. You guys have a great one.

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