US election record turnout, windy “traffic turbines,” city of champions, odd animal election

Nov 4, 2020 Episode 19

Hear reports across the US as voters show up in record numbers, about dirty cars creating clean energy, the city of angels becoming the city of champions and an odd animal election that’s barking mad!

Episode Transcript

OPENING STING – LEELA: “New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”




LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – a whirlpool of news and information for curious kids


MAMA: And adults!


LEELA: I’m your host, Leela Sivasankar Prickitt.


MAMA: And I’m Lyndee Prickitt.


LEELA: This week all eyes are on the United States of America, as voting closes and counting is underway for the big, general election.


We’ll have reports from the capital – Washington DC, the battleground states of Florida and Texas, and an analysis from California.


We’ll even tell you what “battleground and swing state” actually means!


But that’s not all… We’ll also have a dose of environment-meets-tech news, hearing how the wind from dirty cars is being harnessed for clean energy…


Why the city of Angels is celebrating two Monu-mental sporting championships.

And another election that barking mad!


First up is, of course, the…


STING: The Big News Story of the Week.


MAMA: Americans have exercised their democratic power – voting in the big, general election.


LEELA: Well, if you were like me, you might think that this election is just for the US president… But, nope!


MAMA: Yeah, the big job of president gets all the attention, but actually there are a lot of politicians, or lawmakers as they’re also called, up for election. So, let’s go to the capital of the US


LEELA: That would be Washington, D.C.


MAMA: …to hear more from our reporter


LEELA: That would be Andy Tidwell.


MAMA: Indeed.


LEELA: Over to you, Andy!


ANDY: Thanks, Leela. You’re right. A lot of people think this election is just about the fight between Democrat Joe Biden challenging Republican Donald Trump, who’s the current US president. But they aren’t the only candidates in the ring.

America’s Congress is divided into two groups of lawmakers. The Senate and the House of Representatives. All 435 Representatives are also up for election, along with 35 Senate seats.

So, there’s a lot of counting to do! And this year is super unusual because of the COVID-19. Usually, the majority of people vote on election day. But not this year. More people than EVER BEFORE have voted early. More than half of all the ballots cast were early either through mailing or dropping off ballots, or going to special election booths set up early.

This was to stop big crowds forming on election day during a pandemic. But since many ballots have been sent in the mail, they will take time to arrive and be counted. So, it might be a while before we know who all the winners are. From the Washington DC area, I’m Andy Tidwell for Newsy Pooloozi.

LEELA:  Thanks for that report, Andy.


MAMA: So, Andy’s parents voted with absentee ballots in the mail. But now let’s go down south of DC to our reporter Chaska Power.


LEELA: Who also happens to be the co-host of the great book review podcast, “Book Power for Kids.”


MAMA: Yep, with his two sisters. They live in Florida and Chaska got to go with his parents to vote in person the old-fashioned way on a paper ballot in a voting booth that was opened a few weeks early.


LEELA: Did they have to stand in line for hours and hours like so many other people have had to do?


MAMA: Let’s find out. Take it away Chaska.


CHASKA: Frankly, I was expecting expected there to be hordes, or loads, of early voters stretched around the building, along with overworked poll workers acting disgruntled and grumpy. What I got was a pleasant surprise. The atmosphere at our local early-voting-center, a gym and aquatic center, could only be described as friendly. Inside, the gymnasium was filled with voting machines.

They come in different forms, but they are basically electronic boxes, many are simple computers, that record votes and print out a receipt. More than half of all voters here in Florida cast their ballots early so maybe that’s why things were so chill. Florida is a really important state in the election. More often than not, whoever wins Florida ends up winning the presidency. Watching my parents/dad vote was super interesting.

Kids got a yellow ballot with made-up pun names to practice filling in the bubbles next to their preferred candidate and depositing the ballots in the voting machine, which was fun. Can’t wait till I can vote for real, though. From Kissimmee, Florida, I’m Chaska Power, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!


LEELA: Thanks, Chaska.


MAMA: He wasn’t kidding when he said Florida was quite a battleground state.

Do you know what I mean by battleground?


LEELA: Yeah, they’re really fighting it out.


MAMA: Yes, not a real battle, of course, thank goodness but it means winning in those places is super important to winning the whole election. You could also call it a swing state and do you know what that is?


LEELA: I take it doesn’t mean jhoola, or swings, on the playground?!


MAMA: No, but like a swiiiiinnnnngg it could easily swaaaay either way for Trump or for Biden.

And Texas, is another swing state. But it didn’t used to be.


LEELA: And for more on that…We’re going to the capital of Texas to hear from Olivia Mitchell, who’s no ordinary eight-year-old.


MAMA: She’s one of Austin’s youngest and busiest “block walkers” What’s that, you ask?


LEELA: Tell us more Olivia…


OLVIA:  Well, it started when my mom took me to a campaign rally last year.

SFX: people sound


OLIVIA: I really liked the buzz and excitement. I said I wanted to help get the candidate elected AND get more people out to vote. Well, trust me, parents take political enthusiasm seriously! And so, we started going on “block walks” to get people registered to vote. That means we walked house-to-house, leaving leaflets on people’s door. Not just for our candidate, but also just to encourage people to vote. Because of the pandemic we couldn’t knock on doors and talk to people, which was OK with me.

LEELA: Wow that sounds so cool, Olivia. I wish we could go on block walks!


OLIVIA: Well… I’ll be honest. The first half-hour was always fun. But the second half-hour felt a bit like… hard work! Sometimes, I just wanted to play with my Legos. But Texas is a very important state. For years it’s been a red state and that means it mostly votes for Republicans. But this year Donald Trump and his Republican Party are worried, because Texas could go blue. Either way, I’m glad with the part I’ve played. More people have voted early than the total amount of people who voted in the last election yay! Just goes to show sometimes… your Legos can wait! In Austin Texas I’m Olivia Mitchell, reporting for Newsy Pooloozi.

LEELA: Well, I think that sounds awesome, Olivia. Now I want to go on some block walks though maybe just for half an hour at a time!


MAMA: Well, there are elections happening in India all the time, though voter turnout here is super high compared to the United States.


LEELA: There’s always room for improvement!


MAMA: That’s true.


LEELA: Now for our final take on the US election, let’s hear from Porter Robbins in California.


MAMA: Which, of course, is on the West Coast and so was one of the last states to vote.


LEELA: How does it look like things are going to shapeup, Porter?


PORTER:  Well, like everywhere else, people have been voting in record-breaking numbers here on the West Coast. California generally votes blue or for the Democrats. But that doesn’t mean everyone. A lot of people in the rural areas are die-hard Trump supporters.

Some wish they could have a separate state, because they feel their votes would be stronger that way.  It could be a while before an official winner is announced. But what is clear, is that America is pretty divided. Sometimes it seems like people aren’t choosing political parties or how they want their state to operate, but are just picking their favorite football team.

And shout and boo at the other side. And that’s kind of okay in football, because it’s just a game. But when it comes to running a country and living alongside each other, it seems a little wacky to me. One thing is for certain America will need to do a lot of kiss and make up or at least try to hear what the other side is saying if it really wants to be great again. In California, I’m Porter Robbins for Newsy Pooloozi.

LEELA: Thanks a lot, Porter!


MAMA: And to all the other reporters across America. Well, as Newsy Pooloozi gets ready to post this weekly episode, it’s too soon to declare a winner, because it’s super-duper close and all the mail-in ballots will have to be counted properly. But one thing is for certain, this election is a win for democracy with more people voting this year than the last one hundred years.


STING: “What’s that? I’ll tell you what. That’s the halftime bell!! Which means. It’s time to hear what’s making news around the rest of the world. Hold on tight, it’s around the world in 80 seconds

MAMA: The World Health Organization says governments face another for ‘critical moment for action’ as Europe and North Africa see COVID-19 surge. Britain, Germany, France and Italy are once again turning to lockdowns to try and get the disease under control. The health crisis in the US is also deepening and India’s capital, New Delhi, has the highest single day rise of patients testing positive.


The Philippines is being hit by Ferocious Typhoon Goni. It’s the 18th storm this year and proving to be the most powerful. Over a million people have been evacuated.


Hurricane Eta hits land in the central American country of Nicaragua. It’s the 12th Atlantic hurricane of the year and is expected to bring catastrophic winds, flash flooding and landslides across the region this week.


And Thanks to new technology and an underwater robot called Sebastian, a “massive” new coral reef has been discovered in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef as part of an underwater mapping project. At 500 meters about 1,600 feet, it’s taller than Malaysia’s Petronas Towers and much taller than the Empire State Building.


LEELA: Thanks for that whiz around the world… Busy week for news, I say! And now for a breezier story…


STING: “It’s time for… Technology News, technology news, tech news!”


MAMA: Remember we did a story on air pollution a little while ago? We talked about cars being are one of the biggest causes of poor air because they spit out a lot…  (coughs)


LEELA: harmful gasses! (coughs)


MAMA: But…. what if… we could use all that heavy traffic to do some good for the environment, by powering wind turbines….


LEELA: What?! OK, first of all, what’s a wind turbine again?


MAMA: Oh, modern day windmills. They look like gigantic fans out in the countryside or at sea.


LEELA: Oh, yeah. I’ve seen those.


MAMA: And because the blades are so high up in the sky, where it’s super windy, they move and move


LEELA: and move and move


MAMA: And that movement creates energy, which can be harnessed, or trapped, to create


LEELA: electricity! Yay! And without burning anything and polluting the air!


MAMA: Yep, it’s super clean.


LEELA: But, ummm, what does this have to do with dirty old cars?


MAMA: Well, I think we should go to our tech correspondent, Jackson Hosking in England to give us the lowdown…!


JACKSON: Well, have you ever felt that gush of wind when you’re standing on the pavement and a car race past? Now think about how much wind is created by lots of cars racing past on a busy highway. Imagine how that wind could power wind turbines! No need to imagine, a clever businessman in England, Barry Thompson, and the company he heads up, Alpha 311, have done just that.


They’ve invented wind turbines that can be attached to lamp posts along busy highways and motorways…and they say the wind created by cars speeding past, can generate enough electricity to power those street lights. The inventors believe that eventually, with enough lamppost turbines in place, they could generate enough electricity for a whole village to use.

And here’s another positive to their wind power invention… the wind turbines can be attached to lamp posts that are already in place along many busy roads, so no need to build big structures to make it work this is Jackson Hoskins reporting for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Thanks for that breezy bit of good news for cars, Jackson! Can’t wait to see these traffic turbines in action. When we’re ever able to get on a plane and fly to England again…


MAMA: One day, one day…


LEELA: OK, let’s go back to California, back to Porter Robbins because…


SPORTS STING: It’s time to play ball… Score…  Sports news!


LEELA: So, you may know that Los Angeles, as in the city, actually is Spanish for “the Angels”.


MAMA: I do.  That’s why Los Angeles is known as the city of Angels.


LEELA:  But right now, it would be more correct to call it the “city of champions.” Why? Well, let’s go back to Porter LA for more.


PORTER: You’re right, Leela. We are the city of champions! First basketball, now baseball.

In the middle of October, the LA Lakers beat the Miami Heat in the sixth game of the National Basketball Association Finals. And what a turn-around that was! Their triumph comes after four years of being at the bottom of the league! Then, as if that victory wasn’t enough… our baseball team, the LA Dodgers, knocked it out of the park too!


For the first time in 32 years the Dodgers won the World Series, beating the Tampa Bay Rays in the sixth game of the finals. I know, I know why do they call it the World Series when only America plays!?!

It just makes us feel good I guess. But still, you can imagine the boost this double win has given the city of Angels during these stressful times. Full of pride in Los Angeles, I’m Porter Robbins for Newsy Pooloozi!


MAMA: Thanks, Porter, and I believe that’s the first time since 1988 that both major league teams have won championships in the same year.




STING: Step right up, Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? And odd ball, no doubt!


LEELA: Well, what do you know, there’s another election in the US.


MAMA: What?


LEELA: Well, this is the odd ball story as chosen by our lucky dip machine, so don’t expect too many hard facts and figures… But a little bit of this…




LEELA: And this…




MAMA: Hmmmm… OK….


LEELA: Yes, once upon a time just a few days ago a cat owner from Oakland, San Francisco got so fed up with the general election you know, the super duper important one we’ve just been covering…


MAMA: The one that’s got families divided and neighbors arguing over the political signs they put up in their lawns?


LEELA: That’s the one. Well, this woman decided her San Francisco street needed a little distraction.

So, she took a picture of her cat, Wally, and made the cat her very OWN political sign saying


MAMA: “re-elect Wally, as Mayor of 55th street.”


LEELA: Never mind cats can’t be mayors… Her neighbors quickly joined in the fun and started making signs for their pets to be elected mayor. Like the humans who keep 11-year-old Tabby the cat, whose slogan was, “Change Meow. Meowwww!


Well, dog lovers on 55th street were having none of this! The humans of dog, Mimi, had her slogan as “She’ll bark when it matters.” And there was one more… A 6-year-old pit-bull-mix, called Macy, had a sign with the slogan “Keep Oakland Ruff.”


OK, so it was mainly an exercise to teach the local kids a thing or two about democracy and how elections work. But we’re happy to report, in this election no one fought like cats and dogs.


MAMA: Let’s hope the same will be said about the real election now that it’s over.


LEELA: Time to kiss-and-make-up America!


STING: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top… five fab facts heard today.



LEELA: The United States of America’s Congress is divided into two groups of lawmakers: The Senate and the House of Representatives.



MAMA: A battleground state in an election is one that’s so important, winning it could mean winning the whole election. While a swing state is a state that easily could sway either way for the two main candidates.



LEELA: Going on a “block walk” is when people walk door-to-door, handing out leaflets and talking to people either about a candidate, a political party or the importance of voting.



MAMA: Wind turbines are modern windmills, which look like gigantic fans, usually in the countryside or at sea, with blades so high up in the sky, where it’s windy, they move round and round, creating energy which can be turned into electricity.



LEELA: Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers and basketball’s LA Lakers have both won championships this year the first time since 1988.


LEELA: And that brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi!!!!!

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