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CNN Student News Transcript: January 18, 2008

  • Story Highlights
  • Hear about the "r" word, and see how a possible recession could be fought
  • Learn why a Florida family is balking at a statewide baseball rule
  • Consider what it would be like to have a national anthem without lyrics
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(CNN Student News) -- January 18, 2008

Quick Guide

Focus on: The Economy - Hear about the "r" word, and see how a possible recession could be fought.

No Girls Allowed - Learn why a Florida family is balking at a statewide baseball rule.

A Song for Spain - Consider what it would be like to have a national anthem without lyrics.



CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Fridays are awesome! Thanks for spending part of yours with CNN Student News! From the CNN Center, I'm your host, Carl Azuz.

First Up: Focus on: The Economy

AZUZ: First up today: Technically, recession isn't a four-letter word. But it is one that Americans don't like to use, because it describes a downturn in the economy over time. Why might this happen? Well, many Americans' home mortgages are going up. And they're not able to pay. More people are out of work, consumers --like you and me-- are spending less money overall. And we don't even need to mention gas prices. Now these factors add up to an economic forecast that's not so good; Your family may be feeling the pinch. And all this is lighting a fire under government officials to fight a possible recession. Brianna Keilar considers the options Congress has, to try to prevent America from slipping into the red.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN REPORTER: With fears of a recession growing, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was on Capitol Hill Thursday, urging Congress to act quickly on an economic stimulus package.

BEN BERNANKE, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Stimulus that comes too late will not help support economic activity in the near term and it could be actively destabilizing if it comes at a time when growth is already improving.

KEILAR: The president had a conference call with Senate and House leaders from both parties, the White House characterizing it as a consultation rather than a negotiation. All sides are indicating partisan bickering will take a backseat to finding a quick solution. Today marks the first time the White House has said President Bush is backing a stimulus plan, but spokesman Tony Fratto shied away from discussing specifics.

TONY FRATTO, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECY.: The headwinds that we're dealing with right now are things that we see over the next coming quarters. So we do want to try to pass something quickly.

KEILAR: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader John Boehner met for the second day in a row. Both sides are stressing a bipartisan effort, but proposals are still vague. One option Democrats and Republicans seem to agree on: tax rebates: checks sent to taxpayers in an attempt to quickly pump money into the economy. Democrats say they'll scuttle any Republican attempts to extend the president's tax cuts as part of the stimulus package. Privately, congressional Republicans acknowledge it's a fight they can't win. What's more, Bernanke told Congress Thursday, making the tax cuts permanent won't help in the short term.

BERNANKE: I think that the evidence suggests that measures that involve putting money in the hands of households and firms that will spend it in the near term will be more effective.

KEILAR: Speaker Pelosi is hoping to have a final agreement before the State of the Union on January 28th. Brianna Keilar, CNN, the White House.


No Girls Allowed

AZUZ: The next question today is, are girls as good as boys at sports? And if they are, should they be allowed to play at the organized, school level? Swing by Jacksonville, Florida, and you'll find that very controversy rounding the bases. But it's not over a school rule-- It's a state one. Laura Mazzeo of affiliate WJXT steps up to the plate.


ALYSSA PITRE, WANTS TO PLAY BASEBALL: I can play as well as a boy.

LAURA MAZZEO, WJXT REPORTER: Twelve-year-old Alyssa Pitre is passionate about baseball

PITRE: I just love the sport.

MAZZEO: She lives by the motto, "practice makes perfect."

PITRE: I'm gonna try harder.

MAZZEO: She spends hours here in the batting cage and working with coaches on her curveball. But this week, Alyssa went to try out for the middle school baseball team at the Providence School and was told she couldn't play.

PITRE: I'm a girl. So what? You're not supposed to discriminate against females if they want to try to do something new, and try to make history at their own school.

MAZZEO: The school's headmaster says they have no problem with her playing with the boys, but that she isn't allowed by the Florida High School Athletic Association.

DON BARFIELD, HEADMASTER OF PROVIDENCE SCHOOL: Since we have a softball team, the state has indicated to us that she would not be permitted to play baseball.

MAZZEO: The most obvious difference between softball and baseball -- it's the ball. The softball and the baseball. But Alyssa says there's much more to it than that.

PITRE: The pitching is different. The ball is different. In softball they have longer bats -- different gear.

MAZZEO: Alyssa isn't alone in her baseball dreams. her parents are considering taking legal action in hopes of changing the rules.

ALYSSA'S MOTHER: If she wants to pursue baseball, then we'll pursue baseball. I just want to give her a chance. You know, give her a chance to try out, to see if she's good enough to make any team.

MAZZEO: Alyssa is a humble, yet confident 7th grader.

PITRE: I was going to give them something to show, instead of wearing pretty jewelry and short skirts.

MAZZEO: She believes she is good enough to play with the boys.

PITRE: There's really no difference - girls an play just as good as boys.



AZUZ: Standing up for what she believes in; gotta give her props for that. Another famous American who stood up to create change: Doctor Martin Luther King Junior. CNN Classroom Edition will air 'The MLK Papers - Words that Changed a Nation.' It's on at 4 am Monday morning. Be sure to set your DVR's now. For special curriculum on the program, check out


MONICA LLOYD, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Today's Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Simmons' geography classes at Dixon-Smith Middle School in Fredericksburg, Virginia! Who wrote the lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner"? If you think you know it, shout it out! Was it: A) Betsy Ross, B) Thomas Jefferson, C) Susan B. Anthony or D) Francis Scott Key? You've got three seconds, GO! Francis Scott Key wrote the words to the U.S. national anthem, the Star-Spangled Banner, after witnessing a battle during the War of 1812. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Song for Spain

AZUZ: For many of us, it's hard to say, "Oh Say Can You See" without singing it --the words and music are sort-of glued together. In Spain, there's just a tune to hum. And though one Spaniard recently got really close to putting official words to it. Al Goodman explains why many people there, didn't like the way they sounded.


AL GOODMAN, CNN REPORTER: The English proudly sing their national anthem, the Americans croon to theirs. And then, there's Spain. Hold it. The Spanish anthem doesn't have any words. This man won a nationwide contest with his lyrics for the anthem. But then suddenly the Spanish Olympic Committee, which sponsored the contest, withdrew the winning entry.

ALEJANDRO BLANCO, SPANISH OLYMPIC COMMITTEE: Once Spaniards heard these lyrics, they sparked a lot of controversy, even rejection.

GOODMAN: Viva Espana, or Long Live Spain, is how the now-discarded lyrics began. The phrase struck a sour note. Critics say it harkened back to the long right-winged dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

MARGARITA SAENZ-DIEZ, JOURNALIST: You have to understand that many Spaniards do not consider the national anthem as their own. It was played a lot under Franco.

GOODMAN: Spain is now a democracy, but many still bristle at the military march that's served for more than two centuries as the national anthem. Spain is made up of many different peoples, and five languages are spoken across the country. So, naturally, getting agreement on one set of lyrics is no easy task. One of those languages, ancient Basque, is among those taught in Madrid: Basques have their own national anthem and lyrics.

At the Basque Cultural Center we found a Spaniard who liked the proposed lyrics for the Spanish national anthem. They're good, he says, and very neutral about Spain. Many others say the proposed lyrics lacked polish and shine.

ANTONIO VILLALON, RETIRED CIVIL SERVANT (TRANSLATED): The French and American anthems speak about an enemy to defeat; our lyrics mentioned fields, wheat and friends. It's just stupid.

MANUEL RINCON, TAXI DRIVER (TRANSLATED): The anthem should give us goose bumps. Spain's long history and diverse culture should show, in the lyrics.

GOODMAN: The Spanish Olympic Committee says the search will go on, but in Beijing, Spanish athletes will likely have to just hum along to a wordless anthem, as they've done for years. It's a tune almost every Spaniard knows. Al Goodman, CNN, Madrid.


Before We Go

AZUZ: Before we go, smaller cell phones: Cool. Smaller MP3 players: Cool. Smaller bridges? You're not gonna get too much traffic across this Golden Gate bridge. It's pictured next to a toothpick because it's made from one! Check that out-- you can even see the lines on the hand holding it! This thing was carved, with a great deal more precision than I've got, from a single toothpick and glue. The footage sent in to us by I-Report. The guy who did this says he's been a toothpick artist for 36 years!



AZUZ: And as you could see, he really knows how to 'pick' his subjects. That's just painful! And that's where we conclude our week's last broadcast. We'll return on Tuesday, next week. Enjoy your three-day weekend, everyone! I'm Carl Azuz. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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