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President Obama Delivers State of the Union Address

Aired January 25, 2012 - 04:00:00   ET


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is where (inaudible) Ms. Hathaway`s (ph) class.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From Kilgore High School in Kilgore, Texas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And this is CNN Student News.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back to you, Carl.



CARL AZUZ, HOST, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Want to give a big thanks to Ms. Hattaway`s (ph) class for helping launch today`s show. Thanks to all of you for spending part of your day with CNN Student News. I am Carl Azuz. Let`s get started.

First up today, President Obama`s State of the Union speech. The Founding Fathers put this annual message in the U.S. Constitution, but all they said was that the president needs to tell Congress how things are going from time to time.


AZUZ (voice-over): This is video from last year`s State of the Union address. A huge event. Members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, the president`s Cabinet and special guests all show up for this.

Since it`s a presidential election year and since President Obama is running for reelection, last night`s speech was expected to be a political one. In 2011, he talked about the programs and issues he wanted to government to address. This year President Obama was planning to lay out the main themes of his reelection campaign and talk about his goals for the economy.


AZUZ: Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was scheduled to give the Republican response to the president`s speech. Both of those took place after we produced this program, so we`re going to look at what was said during the speeches in tomorrow`s show. Get more details on the State of the Union at our website.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Time for the Shoutout. Which U.S. president gave the first annual message, which later became known as the State of the Union speech? Was it George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln or Harry Truman? You`ve got three seconds, go.

No trick answers here. The country`s first president gave the first annual message. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout. And here`s Carl with some more State of the Union trivia.


AZUZ: Washington gave his annual messages in person. So did John Adams.


AZUZ (voice-over): But starting with Thomas Jefferson in 1801, presidents just wrote Congress a letter. It was more than 100 years before another in-person annual message. The State of the Union name started with Franklin Roosevelt`s eighth address in 1941.

FDR also hold the record for the most State of the Union speeches with 12. Harry Truman gave the longest State of the Union speech. His 1946 address was more than 25,000 words. Shortest? The very first one. Washington`s 1790 address is believed to have lasted less than 10 minutes.


AZUZ: It took a lot longer than 10 minutes for the effects of a storm on the sun to reach the Earth. You probably didn`t notice anything different. I didn`t. But scientists say it was the most powerful radiation storm in years.

AZUZ (voice-over): It started with a solar flare, an intense eruption on the surface of the sun. That launched a storm of radiation particles toward the Earth. This kind of radiation isn`t dangerous to us, but it can sometimes affect things like power grids or communication systems.

AZUZ: Rob Marciano explains how these solar storms can impact the Earth, and how intense this one was.

Rob, a lot of us are wondering how often these things happen. Can we expect more of them?


ROB MARCIANO, CNN REPORTER: We`re entering this period of solar activity that`s going to be quite active, not just now, but going forward through next year. And the flare that happened Sunday night -- and there was one that happened last Thursday, so it`s happening quite often -- the flare that happened Sunday night was pretty strong, at least the radiation of it was.

And just to give you a reminder, when you have a sunspot it emits a solar flare that has radiation with it. It also has charged particles. So it`s a two-pronged event basically. The radiation gets here a little bit faster (inaudible) some planes.

They don`t like to fly over the Poles because one, it messes with the radio communications and, two, the x-rays from this radiation, it`s not -- you know, you don`t want to get zapped with too many x-rays. So some planes were diverted because of that. Now the charged particle or this -- what we call the coronal mass ejection, CME, travels at 1 million miles an hour. All right?

So 93 million miles away, you do the math. It`s coming at us right now. So this was not a ex-flare (ph), thank goodness, but it`s very, very close. If this was an ex-flare, this would be a major event that would trigger wide-scale blackouts.

But we figure -- it was an M-9 flare, brief radio blackouts possible throughout the day today. And with a G-3 type of storm, it might be some power outages and spots. But it`s more going to be a G-2, G-3 --



AZUZ (voice-over): On this day in history, in 1915, Alexander Graham Bell made the first transcontinental phone call. He was in New York and dialed up San Francisco.

In 1924, the first Winter Olympics were held in France. The games included 14 events and six different sports, like the ski jump and the bobsled.

And in 1961, President John F. Kennedy made history when he took questions from reporters as part of the first live televised presidential news conference.


AZUZ: Protection versus privacy: that`s the debate at the center of our next report from CNN`s Mary Snow. It focuses on a new technology that would scan people walking on the street for concealed weapons. The New York Police Department is developing these scanners and hoping to use them to keep the city safer. But some critics say this idea goes too far.


MARY SNOW, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): The stuff of science fiction is edging closer to reality on New York City streets. If you were carrying a gun, it would look like this with technology the city`s police force is developing with the U.S. Defense Department. The device would read the energy of a person`s body.

COMM. RAY KELLY, NEW YORK CITY POLICE: Terahertz is a radiation that, in essence, comes from lots of things, but can come from the human body. What it doesn`t penetrate is metal or objects similar to metal.

SNOW (voice-over): And the commissioner says since the radiation can`t penetrate metal, it makes the outline of a gun visible. The detector looks like this, and the plan is for it to be operated from inside a vehicle.

SNOW: Right now these devices only work from a couple of feet away, and the NYPD is hoping to stretch that to about 80 feet.

SNOW (voice-over): Just the possibility of using this technology is setting off alarms among veteran civil liberties advocate Norman Siegel.

SNOW: Your first reaction when you heard about this?

NORMAN SIEGEL, ATTORNEY: Oh, my God. It`s Fantasy Land. It`s Orwellian. It`s "1984" coming to New York City. And if it takes hold in New York City, it will ripple all across America. And that`s not the America that I grew up in.

SNOW (voice-over): But the New York Siegel grew up in has changed dramatically. Police surveillance cameras blanket the city following 9/11 and continue to expand.

SIEGEL: If this goes forward, the government will not only know where you are, who you`re associating with, but also know what`s in your pockets and what`s in your body.

SNOW (voice-over): The city`s mayor sees it differently. He`s been a strong advocate for cracking down on illegal guns and defends the technology.

MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (I), NEW YORK: You can argue that`s an invasion of privacy, but in the world we live in, that`s something that we just have to live with. The alternative is intolerable.

SNOW: Challenges over privacy issues are nothing new to the NYPD. Concerns were raised over surveillance cameras and bag searches on subways. The department says then as now, it`s working with its lawyers to address those concerns as it develops this technology -- Mary Snow, CNN, New York.


AZUZ: Most of you do not agree with the Texas school district`s decision to eliminate sports in an effort to save money and improve academics. From our blog at --

AZUZ (voice-over): Caleb says sports tech you life lessons that you can`t learn anywhere else. By taking sports away, athletes will have no drive to get good grades, because there will be no benefit for them to be eligible.

From Kaitlyn, you can take sports out of a school. It doesn`t give the students the motivation to get the C average and be on the team.

And for Elijah, baseball gets him up and moving. He writes, "It motivates me to go to school, knowing I cannot play without good grades and attendance."

Now Danielle argues that if you do take away sports, you`re going to get a lot of complaints, but grades will most likely go up.

And Sam says eliminating sports would help. I just think they`re not as important as academics, because academics prepare you for the future.

But Katherine suggests making study groups after school to help students, or using sports and education by relating lessons to sports.


AZUZ: Before we go, one TV station`s unique way of covering a trial --


AZUZ (voice-over): -- cameras not allowed, so an Ohio local news program recreates the legal action using puppets. The station`s news director says they cover the trial seriously at the start of the newscast. The puppets come at the end of the show, and they use word-for-word transcripts from the trial. Some viewers might think this is pretty funny. Others might call it inappropriate.


AZUZ: We guess you`ll just have to judge for yourself. Would they ever try this again in the future? Probably be on a case-by-case basis. But they had to at least give it a trial run. You knew we were going to court some legal puns with this story.

Guilty as charged. We just hope you don`t have too many objections. Either way, it`s time for us to adjourn. We "hearsay" there will be 10 more minutes of CNN Student News tomorrow. We just hope you`ll join us to witness it. I`m out.