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CNN Student News Transcript: January 27, 2009

  • Story Highlights
  • Discover how the ailing economy is forcing some major companies to downsize
  • Learn why Illinois' embattled governor is boycotting his impeachment trial
  • Hear how some young adults are taking a conservative approach to job hunting
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(CNN Student News) -- January 27, 2009

Quick Guide

Layoffs You'll Notice - Discover how the ailing economy is forcing some major companies to downsize

Governor on Trial - Learn why Illinois' embattled governor is boycotting his impeachment trial.

Hair Cutbacks - Hear how some young adults are taking a conservative approach to job hunting.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: On HLN, online and on iTunes: wherever you're watching, we're glad you are. Thank you for checking out this Tuesday edition of CNN Student News. I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Layoffs You'll Notice


AZUZ: "Bloodbath" and "body count" sound more like horror films than headlines, but those are the words being used to describe the job market, as the ailing economy drags itself into 2009.

On Monday, some 70,000 layoffs were announced, pushing the total from this year alone over the 200,000 mark. That includes companies you know: Circuit City going out of business; 30,000 jobs will be lost. Caterpillar, a construction equipment maker, is still alive, but eliminating 20,000 jobs. Got a Sprint cell phone account? That company's downsizing by 8,000 employees. Home Depot: 7,000. Microsoft: 5,000. Honda: more than 3,000. Macy's: almost 1,000.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: These are not just numbers on a page. As with the millions of jobs lost in 2008, these are working men and women whose families have been disrupted and whose dreams have been put on hold.

AZUZ: Why? Simply put, a downward spiral. When jobs are lost, people spend less money; they buy less stuff. Companies selling that stuff look at their earnings, see that business is down, and decrease their workforce. Then, consumers have even less money to spend. You see how it goes; where it all stops, nobody knows. Some economists believe we'll have a V-shaped recession, going into this with very sharp losses, probably coming out quickly. Others see a long, deep, U-shaped recession, one that lasts into 2010.


Word to the Wise


impeachment (noun) a formal charge of misconduct, specifically against a public official

Governor on Trial

AZUZ: The impeachment trial of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is underway. But on day one, the governor was a no show! He says the trial is unconstitutional, so he's boycotting it. As you know, Blagojevich is facing federal corruption charges, including accusations that he tried to sell the state's open U.S. Senate seat. He's denied those allegations. Susan Roesgen fills us in on the proceedings.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Behind me, the Illinois state senate is meeting to decide whether or not to kick Governor Blagojevich out of office. That would be the last step in these impeachment proceedings. The state house has already impeached the governor, and again, the state senate has to decide whether or not to actually remove him from office.

But Governor Blagojevich is not here. He is making the rounds of the television talk shows, including CNN's Larry King Live. And the governor's case is that he does not believe he can get a fair shake here in Springfield, Illinois. He thinks that this senate trial, as it's called, is a sham. He says that he does not believe that he would get a fair hearing under his constitutional rights. And he says that he owes it to the people of Illinois to stay where he is.

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR ROD BLAGOJEVICH: I'm not going to violate my constitutional oath of office. I swore on the Holy Bible that I would support the Constutition of the United States and the state of Illinois. To participate in an unconstitutional process that denies fundamental due process and is a violation of the Sixth Amendment right to bring witnesses in to confront your accusers is to violate my constitutional oath of office. That's what they're doing. I can't participate in that, and I would rather let them throw me out on principle than allow them to get away with some phony process that is undermining the will of the people. Give me a chance to call witnesses, and I'll show I did nothing wrong.

ROESGEN: The truth is the governor can call witnesses; he just can't call any witnesses that might be related to the criminal case against him. Now, we do expect the state senate here to go ahead and vote to kick the governor out of office. But then the consequences could be much more serious for the governor.

He is still facing the actual criminal case; indictments are expected in April. Then he would go to a trial. And if he is found guilty of these various corruption charges, including the charge that he tried to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat, then Governor Rod Blagojevich could spend several years in prison. Susan Roesgen, CNN, Springfield, Illinois.



NIVISON: Time for the Shoutout! Which of the following foods is a legume? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it a: A) Banana, B) Onion, C) Peanut or D) Fig? You've got three seconds -- GO! Peanuts, like other legumes, reveal seeds by splitting in two places. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Peanut Pressure

AZUZ: Some products containing those legumes are being recalled because of a salmonella outbreak that's been connected to peanut butter and peanut paste. Nearly 500 people have gotten sick so far. Officials say individual jars of peanut butter, like you get at the store, aren't affected. But Melissa Mckinney of affiliate WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama looks at one group who is feeling the impact of this health scare: peanut farmers.


MELISSA MCKINNEY, WSFA REPORTER: Carl Sanders knows peanuts.

CARL SANDERS, PEANUT FARMER: Well, I started farming in 1976, so that would be 32 years.

MCKINNEY: But this year may be a little different. The recent recall of many peanut products means demand is going down.

SANDERS: People are really afraid to eat peanut products.

MCKINNEY: Making it harder for Sanders to sell his crop.

SANDERS: Contracts are not being offered right now for 2009 production of peanuts. So, we can't make plans on what we're going to plant on these different fields. We've got to decide soon, and we still don't have any contracts offered.

MCKINNEY: Sanders says he has to know by May 1st who he's contracting with, or it could greatly reduce this year's peanut production.

SANDERS: If we're not going to plant peanuts on that field in May, we need to be doing something else before then.

MCKINNEY: Sanders says "something else" might mean an increase in corn or cotton taking the place of possibly 300 acres of peanut production. But leaders say they don't think the incident will hurt the industry in the long run.

RANDY GRIGGS, ALABAMA PEANUT PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION: If peanuts are produced in the United States, they're going to be produced in the three southeastern states. So, as long as there's a peanut market where the U.S. is a part of it, I think our area's going to be involved in it.

MCKINNEY: But for now, Sanders waits.

SANDERS: We're just in limbo. Uncertainty always makes you a little nervous.

MCKINNEY: Hoping things pick up in time for peanut picking.



AZUZ: Coming soon on CNN Student News: Black History Month. It recognizes the contributions and accomplishments of black Americans, and it begins next month. We'll be celebrating the event with special programming on our show and free curriculum materials on our Web site.

Hair Cutbacks

AZUZ: Last year, the U.S. saw its worst job losses since 1945! So as you can imagine, there are a lot of folks out there looking for work, and some applicants are hoping to stand out in the crowd by toning down a feature that already makes them stand out. Eric Wilkinson of affiliate KING in Seattle, Washington cuts to the chase.


ERIC WILKINSON, KING REPORTER: Out of work for three months now, Kelly Mullaney is desperate for a job. So desperate, the shaggy haired tech writer is instituting some cutbacks of his own.

KELLY MULLANEY, JOB HUNTER: So, I'm essentially taking myself from looking a little more punk rock to a little more conservative and professional.

WILKINSON: If the tried and true economic barometer of the barber shop is to be believed, grungy Seattle is going Republican, the recession prompting job hunting pinksters, punksters and hipsters to clean up their acts and take on a definite part to the right.

IAN THOMPSON, HAIR STYLIST, RUDY'S BARBER SHOP: Instead of spiking it up and doing it really messy, it's getting more parted and sleeker, that kind of deal.

WILKINSON: In a market where too many people are looking for too few jobs, eager applicants don't want to send a prospective boss the wrong impression.

PAUL FREED, EMPLOYMENT RECRUITER : Walking in with purple hair might be an initial turn-off.

WILKINSON: Employment recruiter Paul Freed says first impressions are critical. That's why knowing the culture of the company you're hoping to work for is key. That mohawk could convey different messages to different bosses.

FREED: You could fight authoritiy, or you could be rebellious, or you could be very artistic and creative. Those things could be things companies are looking for in a certain attribute or department or group.

WILKINSON: As for Kelly Mullaney, he's trimmed up and ready for corporate America, almost.

MULLANEY: I think it's just gonna make me look more professional than before. If I can just ditch the earrings, I think I'll blend in. I'll be good.

WILKINSON: Eric Wilkinson, KING 5 News.


Before We Go

AZUZ: And finally today, look what came in with the tide: wood! About 1,500 tons of it. The lost lumber came from a Russian cargo ship and washed up on the British coast. According to the law, it's OK to cart off the treasure trove of timber, as long as you report how much you take. But you can't do anything with it for a year, just in case the original owner shows up and wants it back.



AZUZ: A real stake in the heart to any wood-be British builders in the crowd. You guys have a great day. I'm Carl Azuz.

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