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Quick Guide & Transcript: House hears testimony on Tillman, Hip-hop mogul calls for lyrics ban

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(CNN Student News) -- April 25, 2007

Quick Guide

The Truth Of War - Hear testimony about the military's handling of two high-profile incidents.

Hip Hop Clean Up - Learn why a music mogul says it's time for hip-hop to clean up its language.

Txt Spk - Find out how one Pennsylvania teen cashed in on her quick texting talents.

Teachers: Please preview the second segment of today's program, as it discusses language that may be inappropriate for some students.



MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: We're glad to have you with us for this Wednesday edition of CNN Student News. I'm Monica Lloyd. Questioning the military: A House committee is hearing testimony on the Army's handling of information about events surrounding two high-profile soldiers. Watching your words: In the wake of the controversy over Don Imus' offensive remarks, a music mogul wants to flip the script on some hip-hop lyrics. And playing with your food: Thousands of people bang coconuts in a record-breaking musical performance.

First Up: The Truth Of War

LLOYD: First up today, questioning information that comes from the military. Allegations are being raised that the military spread false stories about events surrounding two high-profile soldiers: Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch. During testimony to a congressional committee yesterday, Kevin Tillman expressed outrage over what he calls a cover-up of his brother's death, and Lynch contradicted news reports of her ordeal as a prisoner of war. John Lorinc has more on the hearings.


JOHN LORINC, CNN REPORTER: On Tuesday, a House panel began looking into the way the military handled the 2004 death of the former NFL star Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan. Investigations revealed the military knew friendly fire killed Tillman, but that his family was told the enemy was at fault. Speaking before the panel, Tillman's brother accused the military of fraud, saying it was an effort to cover up yet another political disaster.

KEVIN TILLMAN, PAT TILLMAN'S BROTHER: We appeal to this committee, because we believe this narrative was intended to deceive the family, but more importantly, to deceive the American public.

LORINC: A soldier who was with Tillman when he died testified his commander ordered him not to tell Tillman's brother, a fellow Army Ranger, the truth.

BRYAN O'NEAL, U.S. ARMY: And I was quite appalled that when I was actually able to speak with Kevin, I was ordered not to tell him what happened, sir.

LORINC: Also at issue: Allegations the military made up accounts of the capture and rescue of former POW Jessica Lynch in Iraq. Lynch says she's not a hero:

JESSICA LYNCH, FORMER SOLDIER: I didn't go down shooting like a Rambo GI Jane. I didn't even shoot off my weapon. So, you know, I just felt that it was important to set the record straight.

LORINC: For CNN Student News, I'm John Lorinc.


Word to the Wise


lexicon (noun) the vocabulary of a particular person, genre, field, etc.


Hip Hop Clean Up

LLOYD: After the big controversy over offensive language used by radio host Don Imus, the lexicon of hip-hop music lyrics are now being put under a microscope. As Mary Snow reports, an industry leader says it's time for hip-hop to clean up its language. Now this story is about offensive lyrics, and while we're not going to use those words in our report, if you're familiar with hip-hop tunes, you know what the words are. Teachers, we encourage you to preview this segment.


SONG LYRIC: And if a n*** get a attitude.

MARY SNOW, CNN REPORTER: The N word, bleeped out here, is used in many hip-hop lyrics. But now hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons says enough. That word and two others, he says, should be on par with extreme curse words.

RUSSELL SIMMONS: We think, we can say it today, b*** and h***, and also the n word, which we don't say often, but could say if you wanted, be taken off the airwaves.

SNOW: Simmons is part of the Hip Hop Summit Action Network. They say they still defend the artists' use of these words, but they are proposing a voluntary ban on the words on public airwaves. And it follows the Don Imus controversy. Imus was fired following his use of offensive language describing the Rutgers women's basketball team. The outcry prompted hip-hop lyrics to once again go under the microscope.

SIMMONS: Public outrage has inspired us to look inside. This is about response to public outrage.

SNOW: Reverend Conrad Tillard is a long-time critic of Simmons. He calls the voluntary ban a good first step, but says there's been damage, especially to African-American women.

REV CONRAD TILLARD: These young women in cities and suburbs around this country have had to embrace their own degradation -- I'm a b***, I'm a h*** -- in order to be considered cool and to be considered hip-hop.

SNOW: That's not how Russell Simmons views it. In his new book 'Do You,' he says hip-hop has empowered young people. And he says hip-hop artists speak about their reality.

SIMMONS: The artist should paint the picture as they see it. That's why we have the poets and the other artists, so they can tell the truth as they know it. And if that's a road map to how we can clean up our dirt, then good.

SNOW: Russell Simmons says his proposal is all about corporate responsibility and not about censorship. So how are hip-hop artists reacting? We reached out to several of them, who declined comment. Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


Is This Legit?

RICHARDSON: Is This Legit? The number 1 is the only digit on a telephone keypad without letters associated with it. This is false! If you glance at your cell phone, you'll see that 0 also has no corresponding letters.

Txt Spk

LLOYD: If someone sends you a funny joke, do you tell them it made you LOL? If so, then you're using a different lexicon, and you might not even realize it. Text messaging has it's own vocabulary, made up of shortcuts for typing all sorts of words. As Carl Azuz tells us, one girl's texting talents really paid off.


CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS: It is an English teacher's nightmare: "plz," "brb," "ic." How these could come to mean "please," "be right back," and "I see" is a mystery only text-messengers can solve. But the chances you're being graded on text messaging are pretty slim. Unless, of course, you're competing for the technological title of National Texting Champion!

ERICKA, TALENTED TEXTER: I just got this phone three days ago, so I've been texting all of my friends for the past three days.

AZUZ: Gone are the days of writing "LYLAB" -- "love you like a brother" -- in a yearbook. At this event in the Big Apple, whiz kids of the wireless world were given phrases to text as quickly and accurately as possible. And the overall winner got a lot more than a new phone:

ANNOUNCER: ...$10,000 and the chance to battle our West Coast champion from L.A., right here on this very stage for an additional $15,000!

AZUZ: That's right, a total of 25 g's for using your phone without saying a word. In the end, it was a 13-year-old from Pennsylvania who out-texted almost 200 other national competitors. The winning word was Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, which I couldn't spell with a dictionary, but she did it by phone in 15 seconds. How? I-D-K. Reporting from Atlanta, I am... (phone text reveals "Carl Azuz, CNN")



LLOYD: The CNN Classroom Edition: MLK Papers: Words That Changed a Nation, examines the writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights leader's personal determination and private courage. The program airs this coming Monday, and you can find our free curriculum guide at

Before We Go

LLOYD: B-W-G, or before we go, when you think of an orchestra, you probably imagine violins, flutes, maybe even some drums. But a record-setting gathering in London isn't making music with traditional instruments. Instead, they're using coconuts! Alphonso Van Marsh explains what it's all about.


ALPHONSO VAN MARSH, CNN REPORTER: And now, for something completely different. Thousands of Monty Python fans, some clearly more hardcore than others, gathering at London's Trafalgar Square, bent on setting a world record for the number of people clapping empty coconuts halves together, as if to form a musical orchestra.

SUE DULGARN, MONTY PYTHON FAN: I wasn't really sure. I wasn't really sure how many like-minded people there were, but obviously there's loads.

VAN MARSH: Loads who have seen "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," where comedians playing King Author and his knights are supposed to be on horseback.

TERRY JONES, CO-DIRECTOR, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL: We'd assumed we'd have horses, but then we realized we couldn't afford them. So it's coconuts!

VAN MARSH: Those coconut sounds, put them together and you have an orchestra. The world record for a coconut orchestra -- yes, this has been done before -- was set in New York City last year, where more than 1,700 people came together to clap shells like these. It's a brilliant way to hype the musical "Spamalot." Based on Monty Python skits, it's a hit on Broadway and in London.

SINGING: Always look on the Bright Side of Life....

VAN MARSH: So it's a natural to use one of the best-loved songs for the record attempt.

MOVIE CHARACTER: Get on with it!

MOVIE CHARACTER: Yes, get on with it!

VAN MARSH: After a little more instruction...

MOVIE: With a clapping motion, bring them together [clap]...then apart

VAN MARSH: They got on with it. Their attempt easily validated by a representative from Guinness Book of World Records.

GUINESS WORLD RECORD MAN: We have at least 4000 - 4,382. (Roar of crowd)

VAN MARSH: In the end, smashing that record with at least twice as many people feeling glad they took part.

MAN ON THE STREET: Fantastic. Brilliant. I am on a buzz.

VAN MARSH: Buzz off an orchestral movement that some might say is just nuts. (Singing) Alphonso Van Marsh, CNN, London.



LLOYD: And that's how today's show rides into the sunset. Thanks for watching. I'm Monica Lloyd. More Headline News is on the way.

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