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CNN Student News Transcript: March 17, 2010

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CNN Student News - 3/17/2010

(CNN Student News) -- March 17, 2010

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Marshfield, Wisconsin
New London, Wisconsin



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Protests in the U.S. and overseas; a controversial motivational method; and the return of Eldrick: all of these headlines in today's edition of CNN Student News!

First Up: Health Care Debate

AZUZ: The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to take some kind of action on a health care reform bill this week. Some people who are opposed to the bill are urging lawmakers to vote against it. Yesterday, protesters rallied around Capitol Hill to try to sway members of Congress. Recent polls show that while some parts of President Obama's health care plan are popular, a majority of Americans are against the overall proposal. Part of what people are angry about is the way the Democrats are trying to get the bill passed. Jessica Yellin explains a bit more about that.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: First, we have the Senate version of the health care bill. He's just a bill trying to become a law. Now, this is still awaiting action by the House. Democrats. Some of them in the House really don't like what's in that Senate version of the bill, and they're worried that if they vote for it, they will pay a big price on election day.

So, Democrats in both the House and Senate are drafting a series of changes, or fixes, to the bill under the suddenly famous process now called reconciliation. Those are the fixes. And in the House, leaders are considering a sort of two-for-one deal to get it all done. That two-for-one deal is called a "self-executing rule." It would just deem the Senate bill passed once the fixes are approved by the House.

So, here's the bottom line: Under this plan, that rule, House Democrats would never have to take a direct vote on the Senate bill. Again, they'll never have to vote on the bill they don't like. Now, that bill is unpopular with some of them, so these House Democrats could go home and tell constituents, "Hey, I voted for the rule, not for the bill!" And they hope that that would give them some political cover.

But, as you probably guessed, some Republicans are not buying it. They say the whole thing is shady and it's just not the way major legislation should be passed.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MINORITY LEADER: The process has been tainted. It will go down as one of the most extraordinary legislative sleights-of-hand in history. Make no mistake, this will be a career-defining, and a Congress-defining, vote.

AZUZ: While the process is causing tension, one Democratic lawmaker argues that the concern should be about health care.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY, (D) ILLINOIS: People in the real world don't care about self-executing rules or reconciliation and don't even know what it is. What they do care about is the process of the insurance companies, the process of raising prices 39%, 50%, 60% for your insurance policy.

Word to the Wise

STAN CASE, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...

synagogue (noun) a Jewish house of worship


Synagogue Protests

AZUZ: The reopening of a synagogue in Jerusalem is increasing tension between Israelis and Palestinians. Yesterday, things boiled over. Jerusalem is a controversial subject. Both Israelis and Palestinians argue that they should control the city. It's home to Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites. And that includes the synagogue that was reopened yesterday for the first time in 60 years. So, how did that lead to violence? Well, some Palestinian groups claimed that opening the synagogue was a way for Israel to keep Muslims from praying at a nearby mosque. That led to this: protests by Palestinians. Hamas, a militant Palestinian group, declared yesterday as a "Day of Rage." Protesters hurled rocks, burned tires, fought with police who tried to break up the crowd. According to one Palestinian organization, dozens of people were hurt in the violence. As for the accusation that Israel was trying to block access to that mosque in Jerusalem, a Jewish official said it was nothing more than a rumor, adding that all they wanted to do was reopen the synagogue.

Tiger's Return

AZUZ: Eldrick Tiger Woods is ending his "indefinite break" from golf. Yesterday, he announced that he plans to play at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia next month. Woods stepped away from golf in recent months to work with his family after he admitted that he cheated on his wife. His return could give a big boost to the sport. One expert said that ratings for the Masters could be up as much as 20 percent over last year. In yesterday's announcement, Woods said, "The major championships have always been a special focus in my career and, as a professional, I think Augusta is where I need to be."


AZUZ: What will be the impact of Tiger's return? That is one of the questions you'll find in today's Daily Discussion. Go to It's right smack-dab in the middle of the page. This free resource includes the Media Literacy Question of the Day, and it helps students talk about and examine some of the stories covered in each day's show. Go check it out!

Failing Grade List

AZUZ: You hear a lot about how good grades will help you in the long run. What do you get for them right now? Well, at a middle school in Wisconsin, you get to go to a school dance. But when the principal posted a list of students who didn't make the grade, some parents got pretty upset. Colby Robertson of affiliate WAOW has the story.


COLBY ROBERTSON, WAOW REPORTER: This controversial list was posted Thursday outside of Principal Dave Schoepke's office. It lists every student in the Marshfield Middle School with a failing grade. Anyone on this list can't go to the school dance.

JAMES KRIER, MARSHFIELD MIDDLE SCHOOL PARENT: Their name, class and the F by it. It showed the F grade. I was pretty distraught when I went there. When I saw it I took a picture of it.

ROBERTSON: His daughter, one of a hundred names on the F-list posted for the entire school to see.

KRIER: She couldn't believe it that she was on that list. She was very upset.

ROBERTSON: Principal Schoepke says his intent wasn't to embarrass students.

DAVE SCHOEPKE, MARSHFIELD MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: What the kids have known for quite a long time is that if they have their names on a failing list at a natural grading period, they do not have the opportunity to go to a dance or field trip or something like that; their privilege is gone.

ROBERTSON: It's the first time he's posted the F-list in public. He says posting the list of kids with failing grades was his way of motivating them to get their assignments in so they can go to the school dance. And it seems to have worked.

SCHOEPKE: I also told the kids, once you get that stuff turned in and we can get you taken off the list today, then you'll be eligible to go. And I think we're about halfway through our list, and we probably have half of those kids are already getting homework turned in and assignments turned in and projects turned in so this failing grade will go away.

ROBERTSON: Still, parents feel publishing failing grades is a violation of their child's privacy and not a form of motivation.

KRIER: You should notify the parents. We're the people that are backing the kids and it's not up to him to post their grades. How is it going to help? It's going to run them down into the ground even further.


Blog Promo

AZUZ: An update to this story now: Principal Shoepke has changed his mind. He now says he regrets the decision, and that he took the list down after getting complaints. Whatever you think, you can talk about this story at our blog! Get there by clicking on We also want to hear what your school needs the most; the one thing that could really help out in this recession.

That is an open subject, as well as what you think of yesterday's story about the canceled prom at a Mississippi high school. Comments like this one from Chris. He says he thinks "you should be able to take anyone you want to the prom, even if it's someone of the same sex." Rebecca thinks "it'd be a little bit distracting for those with dates of the opposite sex," but she doesn't think "the school was right to cancel prom because someone wanted to be different." Zach's opinion: "The school should not have canceled prom just because one gay couple wanted to go. Not only does this ruin the fun; it is also wrong," he says. Many of you agreed with comments like this, but not everyone. James says, "I think the gay couple should not go because it is a rule that is in the handbook. Constance McMillen should've been aware of this rule." Tommy has an interesting theory: He says he doesn't "believe the school canceled prom just because of the couple." He thinks "the school probably had funding problems and just couldn't afford the event!"


TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Who is the patron saint of Ireland? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Saint Christopher, B) Saint Valentine, C) Saint Patrick or D) Saint Nicholas? You've got three seconds -- GO! Saint Patrick, who was born in the 4th century, is the patron saint of Ireland. That's your answer, and that's your Shoutout!

Before We Go

AZUZ: And of course today is St. Patrick's Day. Now, it's mostly a celebration of the country that St. Patrick is connected with, with parades and festivals all over the world. Before we go, we want you to check out one Wisconsin town's Irish imitation. Around this time every year, the city of New London transforms into New Dublin thanks to the help of some local leprechauns. Dublin, of course, the capital of the real Ireland. The city -- the Wisconsin one -- does a whole week of St. Patrick's Day celebrations, so we kind of get the point behind the name change. But why have leprechauns do it?


AZUZ: Well, maybe they think it'll bring the town some lucky charm. And before y'all start pointing out that I'm not wearing green today, put a sock in it!