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President Obama Prepares to Roll out Jobs Plan; Wildfires in Texas

Aired September 8, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Glad you`re along for the ride this Thursday on CNN Student News. My name is Carl Azuz, welcome. Let`s get started.

First up, tonight is the night that President Obama will roll out his new jobs plan in a speech to both houses of Congress. You can watch that on CNN at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. The plan`s considered a pretty big deal because it`s a $300 billion program, one that the president says will make the economy stronger and create lots of new jobs for the those who are out of work.

And right now we`re at 9.1 percent unemployment, or nearly one out of every 10 Americans who`s looking for a job. To get an idea of how the job situation has changed in recent years, and where it stands now, we`re going to bring in Tom Foreman. As he tells us, not every job created is equal.


TOM FOREMAN, AC360 REPORTER: You know, we`ve talked an awful lot about all of the jobs lost during this recession, almost 7 million lost in the recession proper. The question is, are all these jobs the same? And the truth is, though, they are not.

Let`s look at what was going on before the recession, from 2001 to 2008. During that period of time, most of the growth was happening over here on the high wage area, above $70,000 a year ; middle wages, $35,000 and up -- that wasn`t so much -- and lower wage was doing sort of OK. That was before the recession.

Look what happened during the recession itself. Suddenly this middle wage group got pounded. Look at that, way down there. Higher wage, they lost some. Lower wage lost some. But bear in mind, this is roughly half of the country. This is what drives the economy, this big group in the middle.

As we look at the recovery that`s happened since then, watch how little this comes up, just a tiny bit in the mid-wages. Lower wage jobs, those have been coming back a fair amount, but these aren`t the ones that are really going to support the economy. Oddly enough, the higher wage jobs are still actually losing some ground over here.

But that`s the big difference here. The jobs we lost beforehand were better than the jobs we`re getting back right now. So a job is not a job is not a job is not a job.

There really is a difference between them, and that`s one of the reasons that even the jobs we are getting back and what many people see sort of a jobless recovery, are not strong enough to support the overall economy to bring all these other jobs back.


AZUZ: Jobs were expected to be a hot subject at last night`s debate of Republican presidential hopefuls. Eight candidates were scheduled to share their views and ideas on the economy and more at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California.

It was the first of three similar debates to take place in a span of 15 days, and it was the first to include Texas Governor Rick Perry, who jumped into the race for the White House less than a month ago, and is leading many national polls.

The next debate is coming up this Monday in Tampa, Florida, and it`s sponsored in part by CNN.


TEXAS GOVERNOR RICK PERRY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think we`ve ever seen a wildfire season like this, even, you know, going back into the `80s. And we had some substantial fires. But 3.5 million acres, Michael (ph), have now been destroyed since we first declared a statewide disaster in December.


AZUZ: That was Texas Governor Perry, talking about the wildfires that have been raging in his state for nearly 300 days now. The situation doesn`t seem to be getting any better. One of the biggest dangers right now is low humidity levels. That refers to the amount of moisture in the air, and it means things are dry. It also means that fire starts and spreads fast. Let me show you what I mean.

This is one of those fires in progress. Watch this.

You can see this in real time, sweep from the left side of your screen to the right, and it takes only about 30 seconds. Absolutely incredible. But it`s not just land and trees that are being destroyed by the fires. As David Mattingly shares with us, people`s lives are being changed by these fires forever.


NICHELLE BIELINSKI, WILDFIRE SURVIVOR: My heart is pounding. It`s pounding so hard right now, because I don`t know how I`m going to react when I actually see it and stand in front of it.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): A short walk down the street reveals friends and neighbors burned out as well.

BIELINSKI: Katie (ph) and Bryan`s (ph) house.

MATTINGLY: Then the moment Nichelle Bielinski had been dreading.

BIELINSKI: And that`s my house. That`s my husband.

MATTINGLY: Right here?


MATTINGLY: Oh, I`m sorry.

BIELINSKI: Oh, yes, the oak trees are still there.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Trees were left standing, but the two-story house, gone. Brick walls, fallen away, even stonework around the back yard pool, cracked and buckled under the heat.

BIELINSKI: It was completely smooth.

Oh, my gosh, the numbers are standing.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The only piece still standing, a section of brick where her front door used to be, only the house numbers are left behind.

MATTINGLY: Are you all right? You`re shaking.

BIELINSKI: I`m OK. I am the luckiest person in the world. My family is safe. Now I need to check on my neighbors.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this legit? The capital of India is Mumbai.

Not true. New Delhi is the capital of the second most populated country in the world. . (END VIDEO CLIP)

AZUZ: And New Delhi was the site of a terrible explosion on Wednesday. At least 11 people were killed after a bomb inside a briefcase went off outside the Delhi High Court on a really busy day there. Another 76 people were injured. Police are trying to figure out who caused the blast. An Islamic extremist group known to be violent says it is responsible, but government officials say it`s too early to be sure.

New Delhi is considered to be a target of terrorist groups. In fact, this was the second explosion outside this court complex in just four months.

For months now, a major health crisis has been going on in the East African country of Somalia. There`s been a historic drought, and that`s caused a severe food shortage, and a new United Nations report is showing just how bad it`s gotten. The report says a record 4 million people in Somalia need emergency help, and that 750,000 will die soon if they don`t get more food.

Tens of thousands of people have already died. Famine conditions are expected to spread to new areas in the coming months. But getting help to those who need it has been a challenge. Somalia has not had a stable government in 20 years. And fighting between rebels and government troops there has only made the humanitarian crisis worse.

For ways you can help drought victims in Africa, head to, click on the link that says "Impact Your World." It`s in a box on the right side, titled, "In the Spotlight."

And if you missed a word in the show, or if I missed a word in the show, check out our free transcript at Here`s how to get it: at our home page, click on "Shows and Transcripts" in the middle of your screen. You see it right there.

On the next page, you will see a line that says, "Click here to access the transcript.". You do that, and you`re all set.

Please keep in mind, there might be a delay between the time our show appears and when our transcript appears.

All right. See this guy shooting hoops? He`s 12-year-old Will Thomas, and he wasn`t doing this to practice for tryouts. He was on a mission over Labor Day weekend, hooping it up to raise money for the families of the 17 Navy SEALs who were killed in the August 6th helicopter attack and crash in Afghanistan.

Will`s goal was to make over 17,000 baskets. In the end, he made more than 20,000 baskets. It took him 50 hours to do it. He says he kept going because some donors pledge to pay him double for extra baskets. It`s a lot of extra baskets. In all, Will managed to raise about $31,000.

And before we go, do not mess with this next guy. You are looking at a 21-foot, 2,300-pound saltwater crocodile, recently found in the Philippines. When I said don`t mess with him, I meant it. It eats water buffaloes for lunch. Maybe that`s what helped him put on the pounds.

This thing weighs so much, a local mayor said it took about a hundred people to pull him out of the water. It`s hard to believe, but I assure you, it`s no "croc". We`ll catch you again tomorrow, same time, same place. Have a good one.