tv NBC Nightly News NBC October 29, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
on our broadcast tonight, at what cost. the president campaigned on it. he said if you like your insurance, you can keep it. but tonight, more of our reporting on the millions of americans finding out their plans will have to change. of course we do. the u.s. spy chief hits back over the uproar in america, spying on our friends and makes it clear they're doing the same thing to us. sky high. what's in store before you board as holiday travel time gets ready to begin. and the superstorm. a year ago tonight, the one that barrelled through places like this and changed so many lives. "nightly news" from the breezy point, the still-battered coastline, begins now.
well, good evening. on the anniversary of the storm that starting one year ago tonight made life on this spot impossible at its height. due to water and fire and wind. hurricane sandy ravaged the east coast, some places scarred forever, others coming back slowly. and we'll have more on all of it in just a moment. but again this evening, it is a big problem on the part of the government that starts off our broadcast. specifically, this new health care law. beyond the colossal problems with the website well chronicled, now it is the assurances by the president that are drawing scrutiny when he told americans if you liked your health care plan, you could keep it. well, with insurance companies discontinuing some policies of some people, we finding that's no longer the case. as many deal with the potential for new higher costs. our senior investigative correspondent lisa myers broke the story for us last night and
has more for washington tonight. good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. so far almost 2 million of the 14 million americans who buy individual coverage have gotten letters that their policy is canceled or has to change because of the law. still the white house insists the president did not mislead americans when he promised everyone could keep their insurance. >> here is a guarantee that i have made. if you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance. >> reporter: that doesn't sit well with george schwab who is retired, started a new business, and been told because of the new health care law, his current policy is no longer available because it doesn't meet minimum standards. his new policy? comes with a premium increase of more than 400%. >> i just wish i could have my insurance back. i just -- that's what i want. >> reporter: he now has to pay for more than he wants, including pregnancy coverage for his 59-year-old wife.
>> i just don't think this was all that well thought out. i think the intentions were good. but you know, there is a lot of things that need to be fixed. >> my constituents are frightened. >> reporter: on capitol hill, the first administration official to appear since the botched rollout of the obama care website, apologized. but insisted to an incredulous audience that the system is working. >> the system is right now working? >> i'm saying it is working, just not at the speed we want or the success rate we want. >> how do you not know how many people enrolled? >> chairman camp, we'll have those numbers in november. >> reporter: the president spokesperson emphasized that those losing their coverage are getting better plans and sometimes subsidies. he seemed to rephrase the president's promise. >> if you had insurance that you liked on the individual market and you wanted to keep that insurance through 2010, '11, '12, '13, and in perpetuity and it was available, you could. >> reporter: a reminder that 80%
of americans are not impacted by this because they get their insurance through their employer, medicare, or medicaid. now, secretary kathleen sebelius is on the hill for the first time tomorrow since the rollout and will face tough questions. brian? >> lisa myers starting us off from our d.c. newsroom tonight. lisa, thanks. and now we turn to the continuing outrage from the reports that the u.s. has been spying on friends and allies, including foreign leaders themselves for many years now. today, top u.s. intelligence officials defended their operations and said in effect, everybody is doing it. our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell has our report. >> reporter: under fire from the moment they walked in, the intelligence chiefs were confronted by protesters about their spying on angela merkel and other foreign leaders. >> will we apologize to angela merkel? >> reporter: but america's spy agencies were not apologizing to anyone claiming instead that all countries spy. >> some of this reminds me of a lot of the classic movie "casa
blanca," my god, there is gambling going on here. it is the same thing. >> do you believe the allies have conducted at any time any type of espionage element against the u.s., our leaders or otherwise? >> absolutely. >> reporter: they also strongly denied reports of mass collection of phone records on countries such as france and spain. what is most surprising is france, germany, more than 30 leaders in all. an invasion of privacy the u.s. has not denied. what the administration will also not explain is how president obama didn't know, as the white house claims. >> if the president didn't know, he certainly should have known. one would think that if he didn't know, he would have demanded the resignations of those who should have briefed him. >> reporter: current and former officials say obama may not have known about merkel, but would know that the nsa spied on
foreign leaders, including friends. >> the president then, his national security council would be well aware of the types of targets the nsa was targets. that could include allies in europe. >> reporter: merkel, the ally's most powerful politician, grew up in east germany, famous for spying on the citizens, but being eavesdropped by the u.s.? >> don't underestimate her. she has a long memory, and i think it will be a harsh problem for the american/german relations for the next years. >> reporter: the white house is trying to curb the way they control mass records especially here at home. that in the face of growing criticism that america's spy agencies have gone rogue. brian? >> andrea mitchell at the state department for us tonight. andrea, thanks. back to the issue that brings us here in breezy point, this section of coastal new york city. we could not have stood here at the height of the storm that
started a year ago tonight. as storms go, remember it was only a category 1. the problem with sandy was it hit us on our vulnerable side. a massive storm surge up and down the coastline. 80 mile-an-hour winds, and this entire area got a lesson in vulnerability including the devastation along the jersey shore. a lot of which is still visible to this day. lester holt is across the way in ortley beach, new jersey, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. you may not have expected to see this one year later, but each area here, each home tells a story. maybe a story of renewal or disappointment. for others, it's a story of limbo living as if sandy hit only yesterday. sandy hit at high tide. >> the fear is that all of this water will come together and inundate this town. >> reporter: there was simply no defense for a 14-foot storm
surge. >> the entire coastline has basically been rearranged. >> reporter: it swamped the electrical grids and laid waste to hundreds of miles of shoreline. >> i was lucky to survive. i went to a friend's house thinking okay, i'll be back the next day. >> reporter: a year of next days later -- >> this is my patio. >> reporter: bill mullen tends to an empty lot where his ortley beach home once stood. he didn't have flood insurance. >> they will allow me $5100 to replace the shingles on my roof and the siding on my walls. >> reporter: a roof he no longer has. sandy destroyed or damaged 56,000 homes, caused at least $65 billion in damage. one county recently estimated 26,000 people still hadn't returned home. after ending a year of shuffling through three hotels paid for by the city of new york, cheryl manuel and her children have just now found a home.
>> we were people that was living in homes that was destroyed by sandy. and they were treating us like we were somebody they picked up off the street. >> reporter: it was a year of milestones, the return of summer tourists to the beaches and the boardwalk returning this past friday. it was also a year of setbacks, including the accidental fire in september that destroyed one of the jersey shore's newly rebuilt boardwalks. with $50 billion in aid approved by congress, nearly $14 billion has been paid out or approved including national flood insurance program which generating fierce complaints. >> the national flood insurance program has let people down. they're low-balling everybody, giving numbers that can't allow them to rebuild their homes. >> reporter: in sea bright, new jersey, flood-damaged homes still stand but are empty. >> be it ever so humble. >> reporter: one of them belongs to the town's mayor. >> unfortunately, our flood
insurance is only going to cover about 30% of what we need to rebuild our home. >> reporter: in a statement, fema says it will not be satisfied until policy-holders have received payments for all covered losses. while there is clearly still a struggle to understand the bureaucratic lessons of hurricane sandy, the physical lessons are already being applied in some cases. take for example these sand dunes along the jersey shore. they have been built up at a much higher level than before the storm. sand is being replenished along battered beaches. a natural defense in the face of rising sea levels. >> i think we have to look at the future that sandy will happen again and again along our coast. the rest of the coast is not immune to this type of devastation. >> reporter: higher has become a common mantra here. liz homer has rebuilt her flood-damaged home 14 feet above sea level. >> i just knew if we were going to stay here and feel a sense of security, i knew there was no
other option than to do that. >> reporter: a sense of security that eludes thousands who are still trying to find their way home. there is so much focus on what government has and has not delivered. but brian, let's keep in mind at the height of this there were more than 400 charities and volunteer organizations helping people get back on their feet. many of them are still on the job tonight. >> lester holt not far to our south tonight on the shore there. and back to where we are, breezy point, so named for a good reason. a beautiful spot. a tiny enclave of homes from bungalows to larger homes. new yorkers always called this with a wink the irish riviera. it is hugely populated with new york city police officers and firefighters, generations of them. put another way, the names beginning with o, go on for
several pages in the phone book and a sizeable italian delegation, as well. but then a year ago, everything great about breezy point got ruined. everybody got water, some people got fire. it was a living, floating hell and more than 100 homes were lost. and the people here are finding out what all storm victims eventually learn, from here to katrina, there is no bouncing back in a year. five years is more like it. and not everyone bounces back. after the storm, i met a man from here named john neese, he is a lifer, a local firefighter, a local builder who met up with us here today to talk about this place now and then. what kind of heroism did you see that night? >> oh, the guys, especially the younger guys in rockaway point fire department, to put on the wet gear and all of that and go in. you know, we came in, but those guys actually went into the houses. you know, and they -- one lady was on her table with her dog, shaking. and the young kid, brian doyle, said come on, we got to go.
and she said let me get my bag. she didn't know to look to the east and see that glow, it was a tremendous fire. it was tough. >> do you think that feeling of breezy point, of knowing everybody, of everybody having each other's back, do you think that will come back? >> not 100%. no. not like it used to be. >> the bones of the place have got to be the same. >> yeah, without a doubt. and you know something, you see the flags, i mean, the people have actually been putting flags on their new houses just to s w show. >> so give me a prediction. next year, we meet on this very spot. "a," will there be a house here? "b," will it sound like construction? "c," will it still be a little sad? >> a little sad. it will never -- until everyone is back it will never be the same. you know? but i'm here and i'm not leaving. and you know, i've been here. so. >> our talk today with john
neese who lives about 300 yards from where we're standing. and that is precisely where he and his family want to stay for the rest of their lives. still ahead tonight on our broadcast, news this evening about those fees the airlines charge for just about everything in the air these days from checking bags to boarding early.
we are back from breezy point in queens, new york, and as you can probably hear from time to time overhead, we're not too far from jfk or laguardia for that matter. a lot of flights these days and that means of course a lot of fees from checked bag to the privilege of boarding early. just as every thanksgiving traveller is about to find out. and tonight there are new numbers out on how these fees are adding up. our report from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: in atlanta, kate was just off the plane from her wedding in baltimore over the weekend. on top of her $200 airline
ticket, she had to pay $50 extra for her bag. if it weren't for her wedding, she never would have checked one. >> i refuse to fall for the traps. >> reporter: tonight, we learn how the airlines are making extras. from priority boarding, extra leg room, in-flight food, add in the revenue from mileage programs, commissions from rental cars and hotel sales and those credit cards which earn you miles, it's all expected to add a staggering $42 billion to the world's airlines' bottom line this year. >> for the airlines this is absolutely critical. they would not exist as they are today without these fees. >> reporter: u.s. airway who depends the most, discount spirit with revenues tied to the fees last year. $48.72 per passenger. $5 billion last year. roughly $38.11 per passenger. followed by delta, american,
southwest which doesn't charge for bags but does charge for priority boarding, and u.s. airways. if the airline makes $25 on each of the 50 bags on this carousel alone, they have already made $1250 just right here. >> i tell them to take the bags, less money and you'll have a good trip. >> reporter: the industry tells nbc news these optional services the customers pay for have made trips more affordable. meanwhile, sales at the airline are up 700% this year. $450 on the average, the time to buy those who are in the know, say now. tom costello. and when we come back here tonight, after the uproar a last night around, a promise kept this time on the uniforms. made in the usa.
there's how some people have chosen to ride it out, riding some of the biggest waves ever recorded on earth. one surfer in particular, a brazilian, who was surfing the famous part of the coastline in portugal itching to set a new record, some witnesses came away believing the wave was over 100 feet. tonight the countdown is underway to the winter olympics in sochi, russia. just over 100 days to mark the occasion. the u.s. olympic committee set up a ski slope in times square, new york. olympic medalists in attendance. there was a small contingent of protesters also in attendance. demonstrating against anti-gay laws in russia. meanwhile, we got a first look at the uniforms that members of team usa will wear at the closing ceremony designed by wal lauren. and this time made in the usa, a promise made and kept by the clothing company after the
uproar during the london games when much of the team's apparel was made in china. tonight, the eternal flame, as we've known it for nearly half a century has been restored at arlington natural cemetery. the flame, which of course burns at the site of the grave of jfk, had been operating on a temporary line since april. while below-ground infrastructure repairs went on. it is, of course, one of the most visited sites in all of washington, d.c. when we come back, the folks who've learned all over again there's no place like home.
finally here tonight, environmentalists and city planners have spent the last year looking at what sandy did and where the water went. and a lot of people say don't rebuild in the storm zone, in places like this. well, that's easy to say. the problem with that is, this is home if you're from breezy point and most wouldn't dream of living anywhere else. we get that part of the story tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk. >> this is progress, i'm fine with it. >> reporter: if the sun is up, breezy point, queens, is reconstructing. >> i said from day one when the place was still smoldering, the
question keep coming up what will you do. i kept saying we'll be back. we'll get through this. >> reporter:urke, a new york city firefighter didn't evacuate when sandy hit. this is his video. >> there's a fire storm. it was essentially like a fire you'd see out west. and it literally had grapefruit size, golf ball size, things being ripped off the houses. this is my front porch, my son's play area. >> reporter: more than 140 houses didn't just burn, they incinerated after electrical wires sparked a fire. this home was here for three generations. for a place that means that much to you emotionally, to have something like that happen, what effect does it have on you, your kids, on your family? >> i think it's really heart breaking, but breezy point is a really strong,ry sill yent community and it always has been. everybody wants to have their
community back. >> reporter: she was the first to start to rebuild. you saw it have an effect on your neighbors? >> on everybody in breezy point, just the construction is a sign of progress. >> reporter: just outside the burn zone, the storm surge destroyed hundreds more homes, including the carlsons. their new house is nearly finished. >> we all did christmas dinner, if we could have it here, it would be amazing. >> yeah, it might be a pizza on the floor. but hopefully it'll be here. >> reporter: when sandy hit, michael jr. was just 6 months old. all of a sudden you guys are homeless. >> yes. >> reporter: what was that like? >> scary at first. >> reporter: but like many who live in this beachside working class community, leaving was never an option. >> it was my grandmother's and mother's dream to live here, our dream to always have a house here. >> reporter: everyone here has faced a mountain of obstacles, what's impressive, brian, is how little they dwell on it. >> and other suffer with
earthquakes and tornadoes. life goes on. and that is our broadcast on a tuesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams reporting tonight from breezy point in new york. we hope to see you back tomorrow night in the studio. good night. good evening, thanks for joining us. i'm raj matthai. >> i'm jessica aguirre. we begin with a developing story. thousands of people gathered today exactly one week after the killing of a 13-year-old boy who deputies mistakenly thought was carrying an ak-47. >> it's been an active and vocal day, but as night falls the mood will be reflective. the family of andy lopez is holding a memorial service which begins shortly. we have two reports tonight. nbc bay area's jodi hernandez has been with the protesters. we begin with jean at the funeral for this boy.
>> reporter: raj, an emotional crowd is here gathered for andy lopez's funeral. take a look. you can see this church is full. there are people standing in the doorways, listening, wanting to say good-bye to the 13-year-old boy. there are lots of young families here with long faces. the service was scheduled to begin at 5:00, but started around 5:30. a group of young pallbearers and church leaders in white robes at resurrection parish church in santa rosa brought the 13-year-old body's inside while a silent crowd watched. hundreds of people from all over the bay area are here. many came from an earlier protest demanding justice for protest. angry a sonoma county sheriffs deputy shot the teen because he had a toy rifle. people who know the lopez family says it's a relief to see so much support. >> this is very powerful. this is something beyond what i thought was going to happen. what i thought to be just as a
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