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CNN Student News Transcript: September 19, 2007

  • Story Highlights
  • Discover how a recent college forum is raising questions about free speech
  • Learn about a recent interest rate cut made by the U.S. Federal Reserve
  • Meet a geologist who's investigating a fault line in the Pacific Ocean
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(CNN Student News) -- September 19, 2007

Quick Guide

Free Speech? - Discover how a recent college forum is raising questions about free speech.

Fed Rate Cut - Learn about a recent interest rate cut made by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Earthquake Hunting - Meet a geologist who's investigating a fault line in the Pacific Ocean.



Teachers, please preview the first segment. It contains content and images that some students may find disturbing.

CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Thanks for checking out this Wednesday edition of CNN Student News. From the CNN Center, I'm Carl Azuz. Let's get right to our top story today.

First Up: Free Speech?

AZUZ: Earlier this week, we celebrated Constitution Day. This document established some of the basic rights and freedoms of American citizens. Now one of the first ones on the list is freedom of speech. But are there times when that freedom can be taken too far? And if so, what's an appropriate response? An incident on a college campus is raising those very questions. But teachers, please preview this segment. It contains content and images that some students may find disturbing.


BERNIE MACHEN, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: This is a university. We want to have civil discourse. And that's what we're all about.

AZUZ: But how far should that discourse go? That is the question following an incident at the University of Florida on Monday night. Senator and former presidential candidate John Kerry was on hand at a campus forum. The woman who gave CNN this video says she was ahead of Andrew Meyer in line to ask questions. He gave her his camera and asked her to shoot this video of him questioning Kerry.

STUDENT (AMATEUR VIDEO BY CLARISSA JESSUP): How did you concede the election on the day? How did you concede the 2004 election on the day? And this book is one of five million books that have expressed that you won the election; didn't you want to be president? I'm so--- I'm not even done yet. I have two more questions. If you are so against Iran, how come you're not saying, "Let's impeach Bush now"? Impeach Bush now, before we even invade Iran. Why don't we impeach him? Impeach Bush. Also, are you a member, were you a member of Skull and Bones in college with Bush? Were you in the same secret society as Bush? Were you in Skull and Bo--- Thank you for cutting my mic. Thank you. Are you going to arrest me? Excuse me! Excuse me! What are you arresting me for?

AZUZ: He'd been at the microphone for about a minute and a half when police moved to escort him away. That led to a struggle, and that led to the threat that the student would be "tased" -- shocked with an electric stun gun -- if he didn't comply with officers. Police then used the Taser. The student was charged with resisting arrest and disturbing the peace, and he was released the next day. The debate is just getting started.

MATTHEW HOWLAND, WITNESS: I didn't see the student resisting arrest; I saw a student wondering why he was being dragged up the auditorium like that.

CHAD RIDING, WITNESS: You know, they gave him a lot of chances. They're like, if you don't roll over on your stomach, we'll tase you. And the police officers acted very professionally in my opinion.

AZUZ: Two police officers were placed on leave while authorities investigate the incident. One issue being considered is whether the Tasers were used improperly.


AZUZ: Alright. So what do you think? Should speech always be free, or are there times when limits should be placed on what we say? We want to hear your opinions on the issue. E-mail us here at CNN Student News and tell us your thoughts.

Word to the Wise

AZUZ: A Word to the Wise...

Interest (noun) A fee for the use of money. It is paid by the borrower to the lender. For example, banks pay account holders interest on money held at the bank.


Fed Rate Cut

AZUZ: Some borrowers may be paying less interest to their lenders soon. That's because the Federal Reserve announced a cut to a key interest rate on Tuesday. The Federal Reserve, or Fed, is the central banking authority of the United States. And yesterday, it cut the federal funds rate by half a percentage point, lowering it to 4.75. That is the first time in more than four years the Fed has adjusted the federal funds rate. So, how does the cut affect you? One word: plastic. Actually, the federal funds rate impacts the interest that consumers pay on several types of debt, like loans for buying houses or cars. But credit card debt is also influenced by the rate. So people who pay with plastic might be incurring less interest thanks to the move.

Economy Poll

AZUZ: The Fed says that it cut the rate to help boost the U.S. economy. According to a recent poll, a majority of Americans believe the economy's doing well. 54 percent of the people interviewed in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll said that the economy's in good shape. But that number's actually a drop from the start of the year, when 63 percent of the people who were polled thought that economic conditions were good.


AZUZ: You just heard about one of the ways that the Federal Reserve can affect your interest rates. But when was the Fed established, and what tools does it use to influence the U.S. economy? You can use our Learning Activity to help students discover the answers. Check out the free resource at

Fast Facts: Plate Tectonics

AZUZ: Time for some Fast Facts! Ever wonder why some areas are more prone to earthquakes than others? Well, the theory of plate tectonics offers an explanation. Many scientists believe the Earth's surface is broken up into several large plates which can move and grind against one another in places called faults. This movement can trigger a release of energy that causes an earthquake. And that may explain why Indonesia, which is located along a fault line, has so many earthquakes.

Earthquake Hunting

AZUZ: It was certainly affected last week. The island nation was struck by almost a dozen earthquakes in a three-day period. Now, if you live in a place where the ground starts shaking that frequently, you might start looking to relocate. But for some people, there's no place they'd rather be. They're not thrill-seekers; they're scientists who are studying the fault lines. Hugh Riminton caught up with one of the earthquake hunters.


HUGH RIMINTON, CNN REPORTER: Smack on the equator, don't be fooled by the scenery. This is the deadliest stretch of ocean in the world.

JOHN GALETZKA, CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: Everywhere up and down the coast, just stripped down to bedrock.

RIMINTON: John Galetzka was a U.S. Army Range. Now he is on another front line, he's an earthquake geologist investigating the fault line that sparked the 2004 tsunami and, in recent days, three more powerful quakes. This is video he shot on Friday.

GALETZKA: Ok. Experience an earthquake. Let's see, 650, this one's a lot stronger than last night. Yeah, this is the big one. This is a big one. This is our big one. Whoo hoo! Oh yeah, look at the boat shaking here. Yeah, this is our big one.

RIMINTON: Moments later, he catches the panic on shore.

GALETZKA: You can see families evacuating to the hills about 200 meters behind Tellawayo. OK, earthquake time.

RIMINTON: The day before, another big quake, further away, but larger.

GALETZKA: Nice long period waves. Look at the water here.

RIMINTON: For John Galetzka, this is where theory meets reality.

GALETZKA: I just feet like the luckiest man alive, because to experience two strong events within almost 12 hours. Yeah, it was about 12 hours. And, and you can almost hear the excitement in my voice, like, oh my gosh, this is it, this is it.

RIMINTON: Galetzka is taking us on a journey to see the evidence his team believes it's found showing another giant earthquake, and possible tsunami, are on their way. So this is the first one you put in?

GALETZKA: That's right. Back in August 2002.

RIMINTON: Wow, it's a great view. Galetzka has established a network of position-markers, linked by satellite, that show a constant creep northeast among the islands on Indonesia's Indian Ocean frontier. These 30 measuring stations along this coastline are telling an ominous tale. Driven by the plate beneath the Indian Ocean, the Earth is flexing, it is literally bending underneath our feet. The pressures already are enormous. The theories are, possibly quite soon, those pressures will become intolerable. The implications are terrifying.

GALETZKA: Eventually it's got to, it's got to release in a giant earthquake.

RIMINTON: It could be a rare magnitude 9 quake; the plates so tightly sprung, it will happen, he believes, sooner, rather than later.

RIMINTON: Do you worry knowing what you know? Do you worry for the people living along this coast?

GALETZKA: I absolutely do worry. I tell them to be prepared. I myself, when I stay in Padang, I think about my escape routes almost, almost every moment.

RIMINTON: As he crisscrosses these islands searching for data, John Galetzka says his aim is to save lives. But he, more than anyone, knows the risks that one day he'll confront a wave out here; a tsunami powerful enough to swallow islands.

GALETZKA: If we saw it, we would head right into it. You know, I'd shake your hand and say good luck! Good luck.

RIMINTON: Hugh Riminton, CNN, off West Sumatra, Indonesia.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, you won't want to miss this patriotic plant life. After hours of slicing with his saw, this Iowa man has turned an old oak tree into a Lady Liberty look-alike! Sure, she's a little wooden, but still pretty impressive. Give her your tired, your poor, your huddled leaves yearning to change colors. She's not standing at the entrance to America, just keeping an eye on the neighborhood.



AZUZ: A writer wanted me to say "You go, girl" after that but even that's a little to cheesy for me. We'll just say that's the last branch of today's show. We hope you'll tune in tomorrow for more commercial-free CNN Student News. Until then, I'm Carl Azuz. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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