December 9, 2011

Spy Planes and Planets

We finally made it to a Friday,
Let's take a look at the news but do it my way.

Starting with the presidential campaign,
It looks like that's a wrap for Herman Cain.
Who will be up to vote for Republicans?
Romney or Gingrich?
Or one of their other friends?

What about international governments?
Ayo what happened in Iran?
Let me tell you what it was again...
They say they shot down a US drone,
That wound up in airspace that wasn't its own.

But let me take it back home,
If you need to send mail then you better get it on.
'Cause the post office is making cuts,
Everybody's online and they needed to adjust.

Did you hear about the students who were crushed,
When the field got rushed
'cause the crowd went nuts?
Oklahoma St. beat Oklahoma,
And it turned into a frenzy at that exact moment.

Now while we're speaking on college,
Let's take a moment of silence to acknowledge...
Robert Champion from FAMU,
A drummer for the 'Marching 100' band too.
They're saying that he may have been hazed,
Now the school's trying to move into a new phase.

Wanna take a trip for a few days?
They found a planet like earth just light years away.
It looks like it's just right to support life,
Let me know when it's time to catch an interstellar flight.

Flocab's got it on lock air tight,
Giving you the news over a beat, behind a mic.

Next week we'll be back with 2011: The Year in Rap. Want to write your own mini Year in Rap? Enter the writing contest that we're hosting with The New York Times Learning Network.

Herman Cain is out of the race. Image by Gage Skidmore.

Hermain Cain, the Republican presidential candidate and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, has dropped out of the race. Cain had captured the spotlight with his simple-to-remember "9-9-9" tax plan, which other Republicans said sounded more like a pizza price than a plan for taxing Americans. Still Cain won over supporters with his folksy style and his focus on the economy. But when women came forth saying they had been harassed by Cain when they worked for him, his reputation took a hit. Then more women came forward, accusing him of being unfaithful to his wife. Amid this controversy, Cain decided to drop out of the race. Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich is surging in the polls. He's now neck and neck with front-runner Mitt Romney. Do you think it was the right time for Cain to drop out of the contest? Learn more.

Iran displays the U.S. spy plane on Thursday.

This week, Iran's armed forces claimed that they shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plan that was flying through Iranian airspace. The plane may have been a drone that American forces lost contact with last week while it was flying over western Afghanistan, which neighbors Iran. Why does this matter? For years the U.S. has accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran, for its part, has claimed that all its nuclear facilities are for energy, not bombs. But the U.S. and ally Israel try to gather as much information as they can about Iran's nuclear facilities. Usually they do this without actually violating Iranian airspace, but Iran has shot down drones in the past that were in its airspace. Last year, President Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had developed its own drones - bombers that he called "ambassadors of death" for Iran's enemies. Why do you think that countries are using more unmanned (drone) aircraft? Learn more.

Will the USPS survive?

Do you send letters? Do you want letters delievered quickly? Well, like it or not, the U.S. Postal Service is making cuts. With mail volume dropping fast, the Postal Service is running out of money. To avert bankruptcy next year, the post office announced it would lay off nearly 30,000 workers and close 250 processing centers. What does this mean? Snail mail just got slower. The Postal Service is a strange beast: It does not receive any tax money, but it's overseen by Congress. Will it go the way of the dodo bird or the thylacine? Or will we always need someone to carry letters? Will the Postal Service be able to survive in an increasingly paperless world? Learn more.

A game at Oklahoma State University.

Deep in the heart of football country, where a win equals exultation and a loss can simmer like a stew, a big win came with a big fright. The annual game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Oklahoma Sooners was nicknamed "Bedlam," and this year it lived up to that name. As soon as the Cowboys won, thousands of fans rushed onto the field, celebrating and tearing down goalposts. But as the crowd pushed and moved, at least a dozen people were injured, pushed and trampled. One had to be airlifted to a nearby hospital. Should fans be allowed to rush the field after a win? Learn more.

Do you know about hazing? It's when a group forces new members to do something that they would not normally choose to do. In some cases it can be relatively mild - singing a song outside a dorm, for example. But hazing can quickly go too far, and the results can be fatal. That seems to be the case with Robert Champion, a student at Florida A&M. Champion was a drum major in FAMU's famous "Marching 100" marching band. He was found dead in a bus outside a hotel after a football game on November 19. Police are saying that hazing was probably involved, though they aren't providing more details. Now the school's president is promising to change the culture at the school and make sure hazing isn't acceptable. Do you think hazing is a part of college life or should it be outlawed? Learn more.

The video above briefly describes how planets are discovered.

What's as warm as San Diego, has a birthday every 290 days, and is 600 light years away? Kepler-22b, the newly discovered planet. Who cares? Well, it's the most Earth-like planet astronomers have ever found. It orbits a sun that is remarkably like our own, and it probably has rock and water. The only problem is that the planet is likely too big for life to exist on the surface. It's about 2.4 times as big as Earth. Still, it's an exciting discovery by NASA's Kepler space telescope, whose mission is to look for these habitable planets. Want to take a trip to this new, warm space rock? It will only take you 22 million years on a space ship. Let's say that it took 22 years instead of 22 million years to get to this new planet. Would you want to go? Learn more.
Who dropped out of the GOP presidential race?
Herman Cain
Which GOP presidential candidate, besides Mitt Romney, is now at the top of the polls?
Newt Gingrich
Iran claims it now has something that belonged to the United States military. What is it?
A drone aircraft
What giant organization in the U.S. will be making major cuts?
The Postal Service
What happened after a big football game in Oklahoma?
Fans rushed the field and were injured.
What do police believe contributed to the death of a drum major at Florida A&M?
What did the Kepler space telescope recently discover?
A planet that could support life
Next week, we'll drop The Year in Rap. Want to write your own mini version?
Enter our Year in Rap writing contest with the New York Times Learning Network here .

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