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tv   CBS Morning News  CBS  December 14, 2011 4:00am-4:30am PST

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gridlock. more d.c. dysfunction as congress battles over the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits. now another capital showdown is on tap. love and marriage. a surprising new survey finds the two increasingly don't go hand in hand. liz taylor's treasures. massive diamonds and other jewels rake in millions at the auction of a one of a kind collection. captioning funded by cbs this is the "cbs morning news" for wednesday, december 14th, 2011. good morning, everybody. thanks for joining us. i'm betty nguyen. we begin in washington where congress remains in gridlock this morning. the latest flash point, an extension of the payroll tax cut which is now headed to the
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senate. now, the measure passed the house in a mostly party line vote last night. the president has promised a veto, but the bill seems sure to die in the democratic-led senate anyway. the 180 billion dollar measure would extend the social security tax cut and extend long-term employment benefits and prevent a cut in medicare payments to doctors. democrats want a more generous tax break and longer unemployment benefits but house speaker john boehner says the gop has done its part. >> we've passed a large bill that contains many of the priorities of our caucus and the white house. we have worked to find common ground. the white house says we can't wait on jobs and we agree and that is why we passed this common sense bill. >> another problem for the democrats is that the bill requires construction of an 1,800 mile oil pipeline from canada to texas. president obama wants to put off a decision on that. today, the senate is also
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scheduled to vote on two proposed constitutional amendments requiring a balanced federal budget. neither one is expected to pass. federal safety officials are recommending banning all electronic devices while driving. that includes talking on a cell phone, even hands-free, and also texting and e-mailing. national transportation safety board cause such devices a deadly distraction. according to the government, distracted driving caused 900,000 crashes last year. 417,000 people were injured and 3,092 were killed. bigad shaban has more. >> reporter: john skunzio makes many of his deals on the road. he's a fabric salesman who spends about three hours a day driving while talking on his hands-free cell phone. >> if i don't have that luxury, then it means almost wasted time while i'm driving. >> reporter: the national transportation safety board is calling for state bans nationwide on the use of
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portable electronic devices while driving. gps tools are not included. but cell phones are. >> that does apply to bluetooth, hand-held, hands-free. it is both a visual and cognitive distraction and manual distractions we are concerned. >> reporter: investigators point to this chain reaction pileup. a 19-year-old driver sent 11 text messages in the 11 minutes before he slammed into a truck. he and another teenager were killed and 38 others were injured. >> we are looking for anything that will keep people safe on the road. >> reporter: jeff spring is with aaa which backs a complete phone ban for teen drivers, but he says to change the culture, you need more than just laws. >> we have to have good education as well and good enforcement as well. people have to know there will be penalties if these laws are passed. >> reporter: skunzio understands the convenience of a ban but dreads the inconvenience. >> i think it would cause a stir with the people. >> reporter: the ntsb doesn't
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have the power to force the ban and it isn't aware of any financial incentives available to states that make the change. bigad shaban, cbs news, los angeles. now to the penn state sexual abuse scandal which will now go to trial. the accused former penn state assistant football coach jerry sandusky remains free on bail this morning after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing. as many as eight of sandusky's alleged victims were ready to testify in court yesterday. sandusky faces 52 counts related to alleged child sexual abuse involving ten boys. sandusky insists he will prove his innocence. >> stay the course, fight for fourth quarters. we will wait the opportunity to present our side. >> prosecutors say 11 witnesses, including most of the alleged victims, were ready to testify at that hearing. a lawyer for one of them called sandusky a coward for not facing his accusers, but there was also a sense of relief. >> every time he has to tell it
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in preparation and otherwise, it relives those -- those ghastly moments for him and now he doesn't have to do that. >> meanwhile, sandusky's attorney is in some hot water for comments he made after the hearing was called off. joseph amendola said that if anyone thinks penn state officials knew about sandusky's alleged behavior and failed to act, they should think again. >> their response was simply to tell jerry sandusky that don't go in the shower room any more with kids, i suggest you dial 1-800-reality because that makes absolutely no sense. >> amendola said he has used that 1-800 phrase for years to mean something doesn't make sense. to his embarrassment, the number turns out to be a gay sex line. now to a story that illustrates changing social attitudes in this country. the percentage of married adults has fallen to a record low. just 51% of adults 18 years and
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older are now married. a pugh research center says that is a drop from 57% in 2000. at the same time, when americans first married has hit all-time high, median age 26 for women. and 29 for men. the survey found 4 in 10 young americans consider marriage, quote, obsolete. switching to politics now. the republican race for president. a new a.p. poll out this this morning shows newt gingrich edging romney in the republican race. in today's "the washington post" he calls the former house speaker, quote, an extremely unreliable leader in the conservative world. today, the romney campaign will release an ad attacking gingrich for a tv commercial from 2008. >> hi. i'm nancy pelosi, lifelong democrat and speaker of the house. >> and i'm newt gingrich, lifelong republican and i used to be speaker. >> we don't always see
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eye-to-eye, do we, newt? >> no. but we do agree our country must take action to address climate change. >> back then, gingrich said there was sufficient evidence that man-made global warming was real. now he says he is open-minded on the subject. donald trump now says he won'ting moderateing a republican presidential debate in iowa after all. only newt gingrich and rick santorum had agreed to participate. coming up on "the morning news," a reprieve for thousands of post offices. a one-man demolition derby in tennessee. you have to see this to believe it. this is the "cbs morning news." tennessee. you have to see this to believe it. this is the "cbs morning news." which one is right for me? then i found new pronutrients omega-3. it's from centrum, a name i trust. it goes beyond my heart to support my brain and eyes too. and these ultra-concentrated minigels are much smaller than many others. it's part of a whole new line of supplements.
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but then crashed head-on into a bread truck. look at that! he was injured. and now faces several charges, including attempted murder. my goodness. in miami, a police officer and local residents couldn't help but laugh after his cruiser somehow attempted to climb a telephone pole. yep. the officer says that he leaned down to pick up a pen yesterday and his vehicle rode up the tension support wire for the pole. no one was hurt, but try filling out that accident report. on the cbs "moneywatch," a big sale for boeing aircraft. ashley morrison is here in new york with that and more. i guess you're not buying one, huh? >> i'm thinking about it, but i don't think it's going to happen. asian markets headed down this morning. worried about europe's debt. tokyo's nikkei and hong kong's hang seng lost a fraction. that follows yesterday's down day on wall street. stocks fell tuesday after the fed said it did not offer any new stimulus for the economy.
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the dow fell 66 points, while the nasdaq lost 33. the u.s. postal service has agreed to delay the closing of over 200 mail processing centers and nearly 4,000 local post offices until mid may. the cash-strapped agency says delaying the closings will give congress time to work on a rescue plan. today, for the first time since the gulf of mexico oil spill, the government is selling the rights to offshore drilling. the government plans to auction about 20.6 million acres of the gulf of mexico for petroleum leases. it is the first gulf auction since last year's bp oil spill. environmental groups are trying to stop the sale. southwest airlines is upgrading its fleet. the carrier has placed a huge order for a redesigned and more fuel-efficient version of boeing's most popular plane, the 737. southwest is buying 208 aircraft valued at nearly $19 billion. the new planes should help
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southwest bring down its soaring fuel costs. and finally there are toilets and then there are thrones. check out this masterpiece from japan. this commode is covered with 72,000 pieces of crystal worth almost $150,000. but it's not actually for sale. it is being used to draw more tourists to a ritzy shopping area in tokyo. betty, hhmm! >> a lot of things will draw you to shopping but i don't know if a toilet is exactly number one on my list. >> i don't think so but it is pretty interesting. >> it's pretty but no one will sit on it. and if you do, you don't want it in the public eye. ashley morrison in new york, thank you. well, there are only 11 shopping days left till christmas. i have so much to do. while there are thousands of toys on the market this holiday season, some already sold out. manuel gallegus shows us which toys are hot this year. >> reporter: goody balloons. hand-held helicopters, and
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justin bieber with his latest look. justin's real hairstyle? >> his new real hairstyle so they have to be fast at the manufacturing. >> reporter: toy expert chris burns showed us some of the hot sellers this holiday season. for under $20, kids like angry birds and fire flies and zsa zsa hermit crabs. easeme easeme easement. >> they run around like robotic crabs and has a tropical caribbean theme. >> reporter: a new kind of video game that uses little action characters. kids know what they like. >> i like to play with electronics and video games. >> too young for the ipad? how about the leap pad? educational tablets for little kids. >> it has an organizer.
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>> reporter: parents are telling us this year, they are willing to spend a little more on toys and games. but they want things that will last long after the holiday is over. >> we like to buy bigger toys that will last versus the smaller, you know, tons of it. >> do you have a budget that you're trying to stay within? >> no. i should, but i don't! >> reporter: grown-ups admit they often go overbudget buying everything from trick planes to collectible barbies. they just can't resist seeing that look on their child's face. manuel gallegus, cbs news, new york. straight ahead, your wednesday morning weather. and in sports, a long distance hockey shot from the raptors in nashville, tennessee. in louisiana. they came to see us in florida... nice try, they came to hang out with us in alabama... once folks heard mississippi had the welcome sign out, they couldn't wait to get here. this year was great but next year's gonna be even better. and anyone who knows the gulf knows that winter is primetime fun time.
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the sun's out and the water's beautiful. you can go deep sea fishing for amberjack, grouper and mackerel. our golf courses are open. our bed and breakfast have special rates. and migrating waterfowl from all over make this a bird watcher's paradise. so if you missed it earlier this year, come on down. if you've already been here come on back... to mississippi... florida... louisiana... alabama. the gulf's america's get-a-way spot no matter where you go. so come on down and help make 2012 an even better year for tourism on the gulf. brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home. and tea to choose from. it's the way to individually brew fresh, delicious coffee in under a minute.
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way to brew, hon. here's a look at the weather in some cities around the country. time now for a check on the national forecast. the latest satellite picture shows rain near the great lakes and snow in the southwest. and a new storm is approaching the northwest. later today, the southern plains could see some severe storms. rain will push from the midwest toward new york. and the southeast will be warmer than normal with a mix of sun and clouds. in sports, 14th ranked wisconsin pulled out a win against instate basketball rival milwaukee. the badgers brian evans scored a career high 16 points, including a three-point play on a jumper from the top of the key.
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that picks up a foul. wisconsin went on to win it 60-54. in the nfl, pittsburgh linebacker james harrison will appeal his one-game suspension. the league ruled that harrison must sit out a game for the helmet-to-helmet hit on cleveland quarterback colt mccoy during last thursday's 14-3 steelers win. it was harrison's fifth illegal hit on a quarterback in the last three seasons. in the nhl, ottawa got a come from behind victory. in overtime in buffalo, a tap was shod in for the goal giving the senators a 3-2 win over the sabres. during practice in nashville on monday, the predators shea webber attempted a trick shot from high newspaper the rafters of bridgestone arena. after the shot, you can see the puck landing on the ice and then it goes right into the net. that was not trick photography. that really happened. quite amazing.
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when we return, another look at this morning's top stories. and liz taylor's jewels sold at an auction. you won't believe how high the bidding went. it gets invited to parties with paparazzi. it hangs out poolside. it has millions of drooling fans. it knows the recipe for success. there's nothing like it. the big mac. it doesn't do interviews. and don't miss the mac snack wrap while it's in the house. the simple joy of famous flavor. ♪ sears real big gift sale of is on now.vor. save 50-60% off clothing for everyone on your list. and incredibly low prices on fleece activewear, only $9.99. plus, get coupons at for over $100 in extra savings on top of already low sale prices. sears. hurry! sears real big gift sale is on now! up to 40% off all mechanics tools sets, our lowest price ever on this craftsman autohammer,
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and entire stock tvs is on sale. plus 60% off men's outerwear, fleece and sweaters. so get to sears, now! santa clara gives a big thumbs up to a financing plan. but there's still a major obstacle.. standing in the way. it's the kind of thing you d expect to see in vegas or disneyland. the dazzling light show planned for the bay bridge. will it be another distraction for drivers? dialing and driving.. becomes the new d-u-i. the calls for a nationwide ban on phones in the car. and.. a chilly morning, with freezing fog! join us for cbs 5 early edition ... beginning at,,,,
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on the "cbs morning news," here's a look at today's weather. in the plains, it will be windy and wet in the south with severe storms possible in texas and oklahoma. look for a wintry mix of rain and ice near the canadian border. here is another look at this morning's top stories. the republican-controlled house passed an extension of the payroll tax cut, but it includes a requirement for construction of a controversial oil pipeline. the bill is expected to be voted down by the senate. government safety officials are calling for a ban on the use of all portable electronic devices by drivers that includes
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hands-free cell phones. a new government reports that the u.s. economy is finally slowly trying to regain its footing. the census bureau estimates that retail sales in november totaled nearly $4 billion. that's a solid increase of 6.7% from a year ago. there was a real spending spree here in new york last night. elizabeth taylor's jewelry collection was on the auction block and the bidding totaled nearly $116 million. alexis christoforous shows you the bling it bought. >> at 2.8 million. 3 million now. 3,500,000. >> reporter: collectors and fans of the hollywood actress packed christie's auction house in new new york for the chance to own one of elizabeth taylor's legendary jewels. the crown jewel of her collection the iconic 33 carat potentially flawless white diamond ring, a gift from husband richard burton.
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it sold for $8.8 million another burton gift here fetched $3.6 million. 80 earrings and necklaces and pendants and rings went under the gavel in what is one of the most important jewelry auctions in a generation. >> a hallmark of this entire collection is the quality of the stones and the craftsmanship. >> reporter: it took elizabeth taylor to mass her jewelry collection and christie says it's one of the finest in the world. and as rich as taylor's jewels are, so are the stories behind them. after a fierce bidding battle, the rare pearl necklace known as "la peregrina" sold for a staggering $11.8 million. a record for any jewel. but for these well-healed jewelers the legend of elizabeth taylor makes her jewels priceless. alexis christoforous, cbs news, new york. >> those jewels were just stunning! this morning, on "the early show," the season's best games for computers and smart phones. i'm betty nguyen.
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look at this. a new zealand family came home to quite a surprise. a baby seal resting on their sofa. they named it lucky and still a mystery how lucky managed to walk up from the harbor, cross a busy road, go through a pet door and make its way up the satairs to the sofa. the seal was eventually returned to the harbor. scientists at mit have come up with a new kind of imaging system, a kind of super fast camera. it is so fast, it can capture the passage of light through or over an object. here is an example. the light rings on the apple and other objects in the frame are actually waves of laser light caught by a picture taken in two
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trillionths of a second. with the retirement of the space shuttle, nasa is officially out of the space-launched business. but several private american companies plan to fill the gap and the newest project was introduced yesterday in seattle. john blackstone has more. >> the wing span of this plane is greater than the length of a football field. now just think about that for a second. >> reporter: paul allen, the billionaire cofounder of microsoft, has a plan to build the world's biggest airplane and use it to launch rockets into earth orbit. the twin fuselage craft will be powered by six boeing 747 engines and have a wing span of 385 feet, nearly double that of a 747. it will carry a rocket to 30,000 feet and then blast off, an easier way to get into space than climbing through the thick atmosphere close to the earth's surface.
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it may sfound fanciful, but allen has the assistance of bert retan. >> i would be love to be out there searching for other breakthroughs so we could have hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands people able to experience that view. >> reporter: in 2004, retan and allen together built spaceship one, a similar, but much smaller system, that became the first privately funded spacecraft to fly outside the atmosphere twice in two weeks. >> we have a long road to -- >> reporter: allen won't say how much he intends to spend on stratolaunch, but says it should make money launching private satellites and carrying payloads for nasa. allen won't say how long it will be until he will be offering rides to humans, but says he won't be among the first to fly. >> personally, i think i'm going to wait for, you know, a large number of those flights to happen before i'll think about it. i'm actually a very conservative guy in some aspects. >> reporter: the goal is to go from this model to a test flight by 2015 and the first launch
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of a rocket by 2016. john blackstone, cbs news, seattle. coming up on "the early show" more on the penn state sexual abuse scandal as accusations fly in both directions. plus, we will talk to the former chairman of the ntsb about the possible of ban of all cell phone use while driving. and see more of elizabeth taylor's treasures on the auction block. that's the "cbs morning news" for this wednesday. thanks for watching, everyone. i'm betty nguyen. have a great day. captioning funded by cbs -- captions by vitac --
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