(CNN Student News) -- December 4, 2009
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: It is the most awesome day of the week. We're glad you're spending part of it with CNN Student News! Here to guide you through today's commercial-free headlines, I'm Carl Azuz.
AZUZ: We begin today with a meeting between President Obama and more than a hundred business leaders to talk about jobs. The goal of yesterday's White House gathering wasn't actually to create new positions. It was a chance to discuss possible solutions to the U.S. unemployment rate.
Right now, it is high: nearly 16 million Americans out of work. Some groups are being hit harder than others, and one factor for that is education. For people with a college degree, unemployment is around 5 percent. For high school dropouts, it's more than 15 percent! And that gap is the largest in American history!
While the president is looking at ways to try to turn around the struggling economy, some critics are saying that what the president has tried so far hasn't worked. Samantha Hayes shows us how both sides weighed in on yesterday's meeting at the White House.
SAMANTHA HAYES, CNN CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: Inside the White House Thursday afternoon, approximately 130 business and non-profit leaders discussed ways to generate jobs.
PROTESTERS: Money for jobs, not for war!
HAYES: While outside, those who think the president's policies aren't working protested the jobs summit. Unemployment has already reached double digits, and when November's number is reported Friday, it's expected to reveal an even bleaker scenario.
CHRISTINE LUCAS, DIRECTOR, ARLINGTON FOOD ASSISTANCE CENTER: I spoke to a business group the other day and I said, "If you want to help me, don't lay anybody off. We really need jobs."
ANDRES TOBAR, RUNS DAY LABOR CENTER: It is beyond scary, at least in terms of the glimpses we're getting here. For the day laborers, it's devastating.
HAYES: House Republican Leader John Boehner, a former businessman, says the president's policies are thwarting the ability of entrepreneurs to invest.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) MINORITY LEADER: When you look at all of these policies that are being proposed and the tax rates that are so uncertain, it's no surprise to any of us that employers continue to do nothing.
HAYES: Back at the White House, the president defended his $787 billion economic stimulus package signed back in February and said that's not all he plans to do.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We cannot hang back and hope for the best when we've seen the kinds of job losses that we've seen over the last year. I am not interested in taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to creating jobs. What I'm interested in is taking action right now to help businesses create jobs.
HAYES: Also Thursday, House Democrats announced a plan to use money intended to bail out the banks to pay for a new jobs bill, and they aim to vote on it by the end of the year. For CNN Student News, I'm Samantha Hayes.
AZUZ: Over on Capitol Hill, it's not an easy interview for Ben Bernanke. He's facing some tough questions from supporters and critics. Bernanke is up for a second term as the chairman of the Federal Reserve -- that's the country's central bank. Some lawmakers say they won't vote for him based on complaints about how the Fed handled the recent economic crisis. Others in Congress have praised Bernanke's leadership. They say they will vote for a second term. But they think the Fed should give up some of its power over the banking industry. Bernanke argues that if the Fed did give up that power, it wouldn't be able to achieve some of the goals that he's been praised for.
Word to the Wise
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
acquisition (noun) the act of getting control of something
AZUZ: There's a planned acquisition that's building buzz in the media industry. NBC, USA, Bravo: All of them are part of NBC Universal. Right now, that group is owned by General Electric. But Comcast, the country's biggest cable company -- you might have Comcast at home -- it's making a deal with General Electric: Comcast pays $6.5 billion and ends up with control of NBC Universal. It's not a done deal. Congress says it wants to investigate whether this would give Comcast an unfair advantage. One concern is that if the cable company would treat networks it owns differently from the ones it doesn't. But one analyst believes some of those networks are the reason why Comcast wants to make this deal.
CHRISTOPHER VOLLMER, BOOZ & COMPANY: And the cable networks within NBC Universal really provide the bulk of the profit and have provided the vast majority of growth over the last few years. And if you look at a lot of the rationale for the deal, it comes down to the fact that cable networks themselves have been the most recession-proof part of the media business. The cable network piece of this is really probably the most important part of the deal.
AZUZ: If you were paying close attention there, you'll have one answer in the bag when you take our weekly Newsquiz! Every Friday, we put you to the test with 10 questions about some of the stories CNN Student News has covered during the week. If you think you can score a perfect 10, head to CNNStudentNews.com and find out!
RICK VINCENT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Which term describes a government policy of avoiding economic or political relations with other countries? Is it: A) Imperialism, B) Isolationism, C) Manifest Destiny or D) Laissez-faire? You've got three seconds -- GO! That policy is called isolationism, something the U.S. government has practiced on different occasions. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: With economic partnerships with countries around the world, joint military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, isolationism, certainly not a policy of the U.S. government at the moment. But there's a new study out that indicates that American opinions about isolationism may be shifting. Tim Lister looks at some of the possible reasons why this could be.
TIM LISTER, CNN EXECUTIVE EDITOR: The war in Afghanistan, the growing power of China, the United States' influence in the world; on all fronts, Americans seem wary, even pessimistic.
ANDREW KOHUT, PEW RESEARCH CENTER: Americans are uncertain about the Unites States' role in the world. They're apprehensive about it.
LISTER: A Pew survey finds America in more isolationist mood than at any time in the past 40 years. Very nearly half of those asked said the U.S. should "mind its own business and let other countries get along as best they can;" sharply higher than in previous surveys. The number saying the U.S. should "go its own way" and not worry whether other countries agree, also at a historical high.
KOHUT: It's probably a reflection of two things. One, the very bad economy where the public wants to focus on the United States itself. But also at a time when we are waging two wars, both of which the public thinks are not going very well.
LISTER: The survey was done before President Obama's West Point speech on Afghanistan, but the American people are evenly divided about the chances of success, 47 percent believing it not likely that Afghanistan can withstand the threat of the Taliban; barely one-third favor increasing the number of U.S. troops there. Adding to the mood of uncertainty, Americans are dazzled by China's surge onto the world stage and its growing economic clout.
KOHUT: The American public thinks that the U.S. economy has been greatly weakened. They don't get the same sense, probably, that the Chinese economy has been hurt as much.
LISTER: 44 percent of Americans now feel China is the world's leading economic power, up dramatically from last year. Just 27 percent feel the U.S. is the top economy; sharply down. Last year, then candidate Obama promised a huge crowd in Berlin the U.S. would re-engage.
OBAMA: Partnership and cooperation among nations is not a choice; it is the only way, the one way, to protect our common security and advance our common humanity.
LISTER: This survey suggests Americans are traveling in a very different direction.
KOHUT: If there are other problems that will require American sacrifice looming ahead in a climate like this, it's going to be harder to get public engagement than it would have been at the beginning of this decade.
LISTER: Tim Lister, CNN, Atlanta.
AZUZ: From A to Z with me is the name of our blog at CNNStudentNews.com. It's our source -- main source today -- for when we report on your attitudes about a judge who would fine some parents when students skipped school. Several folks agree with Miranda: "Last time I checked," she writes, "it is the parents' responsibility to parent their children. If students are skipping school and getting away with it, the parents should be held accountable." Abhi argues, "going so far as to bring the parents to court because their children aren't going to school is a bit outrageous." Reo says this should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. "If a student has their own transportation, they are quite obviously the only responsible party." And Izaac at our Facebook site said this could lead to parent-supported skipping. "The kids who just don't want to go tell their parents and skip; while the parents who don't want to pay the fine write the kids a sick note."
Before We Go
AZUZ: Interesting insight from Izaac. Okay, well finally today, look around the classroom; you're going to see somebody you know who is always updating their status on Facebook. Well, we want you to meet Dana (the groom). Dana has just finished reciting his vows. Dana is taking a time-out from the ceremony to update his Facebook page. Dana's relationship status has gone from engaged to married. Dana is hoping his new bride finds this prank funny, and doesn't want a divorce. Dana's bride is now officially in on the joke. Dana is a very lucky man.
AZUZ: Give me one second here; I'm changing my Facebook status to awesome. Hope you guys have a great weekend. We will see you right back here on Monday. For CNN Student News... I'm busy.