tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS May 29, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
see you at 6:00. captions by: caption colorado firstname.lastname@example.org >> o'donnell: tonight, calling for the head of th pressure builds on the president to fire eric shinseki for the v.a. scandal. a whistle-blower tells us how she covered up long hospital wait times. >> reporter: you had to go back into the computer and make it sound like he waited a couple of days? >> that's right. >> o'donnell: reports from wyatt andrews, nancy cordes, and major garrett. cases of measles reach a 20-year high. dr. jon lapook tells us what's behind the flare-up. ben tracy reports the crisis in ukraine could put the u.s. space program in jeopardy. and the story behind a hollywood blockbuster. dean reynolds on how a cornfield became a ball field. >> just as we got to the top of the hill, i looked, and i went, "it's perfect!" captioning sponsored by cbs
this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> o'donnell: good evening. scott is off tonight. i'm norah o'donnell. this is our western edition. the outcry is growing louder over the v.a. scandal. today, more members of congress from both parties called on the secretary of veterans affairs to resign. and the white house is finding it more difficult to defend eric shinseki. we have a series of reports tonight. first, major garrett at the white house. >> reporter: norah, secretary shinseki's days may be numbered, and the number may be down to one. the secretary's due to deliver a speech early tomorrow morning to advocates for homeless veterans, and then deliver to the white house his own report on veterans administration health system failures. the white house will no longer say it has confidence in shinseki, and with political pressure intensifying for his ouster, president obama may be willing to accept his resignation. as one top official just told
us, "we'd like to resolve the situation as soon as possible." >> o'donnell: all right. major garrett, thank you. and with the midterm elections coming up later this year, support for shinseki on capitol hill has been shrinking rapidly. nancy cordes is there. nancy. >> reporter: norah, as of this evening, a full quarter of the senate has called on shinseki to step down, and what's most problematic for the president is the number of these statements that are coming from members of his own party. veterans affairs secretary eric shinseki called the manipulation of v.a. wait times reprehensible in an op-ed today and vowed to accelerate access to care for veterans. but at least 25 senators now say that job should fall to someone else. nearly half of the senators are democrats, like minnesota's al franken. >> i believe, in the interests of our veterans, that we need new leadership. and that's what this is ultimately all about. >> reporter: but top house leaders from both parties said today they were reluctant to
abandon a decorated four-star general. house speaker john boehner. how do you feel now that you've seen the inspector general's report? >> well, i'm going to continue to reserve judgment on... on general shinseki. the question i ask myself is, is him resigning going to get us to the bottom of the problem? is it going to help us find out what's really going on? and the answer i keep getting it no. >> reporter: there is some concern up here that, if shinseki leaves, it will send a false signal that the v.a.'s problems have somehow been solved, and that it's time to move on. and that's dangerous in a place like congress, norah, which is famous for its short attention span. >> o'donnell: nancy cordes, thank you. and the scandal is about v.a. hospitals keeping veterans waiting for months for appointments, and in some cases, covering up those long wait times. a v.a. insider showed wyatt
andrews how she says it was done. >> reporter: this whistle-blower says that a simple computer trick has allowed the v.a. to falsify its reports of how long veterans wait for health care. for several years, she's been an appointment scheduler here at the hines v.a. medical center outside chicago. we've agreed to protect her identity because she fears the v.a. will fire her. the scam, she says, boils down to this-- no matter how long a veteran waited for care, supervisors demanded computer reports showing no wait time at all. >> they start telling us that we need to put in-- make the wait time zero wait time to make it seem like the patients didn't have to wait that long. >> reporter: reporting a zero wait time, she says, was easy. >> you scam the system. >> reporter: you're scamming the system? she showed us the v.a. software program called vista to demonstrate. here one veteran asked for an appointment on may 28, his desired date, but gets an
appointment on june 10. that's a wait of 13 days. she says the typical wait is three months, and here's the manipulation. the system allows schedulers to alter the desired date. when she changes the desired date to june 10, up comes a new report of zero days waiting. it doesn't matter how long he actually waited, the computer sees no wait time. >> no wait time. >> reporter: three of her co- workers and sources at other v.a. hospitals told us they've used this same computer trick for years. >> yes, we've been ordered to do it illegally, verbally, by our immediate supervisor. >> reporter: and if you don't comply? >> we get a write-up. and we have to correct it. "hey, you did something wrong. correct it." >> reporter: and so did you feel like, in order to keep your job, you had to keep falsifying? >> yes. >> reporter: why would they do this? >> bonuses. >> reporter: was that well known? >> yes. >> reporter: if they admitted a problem, they'd have to ask headquarters for more
physicians? >> that's right. >> reporter: and they were trying to hide that. >> yes. >> reporter: we asked the v.a. for a response to this story, but officials there referred us to the o.i.g., the office of inspector general. no comment there, either. but, norah, if you remember the o.i.g. report from yesterday, officials announced that the new focus of this investigation would be on who ordered up the scheme and how far up in the v.a. bureaucracy does this go? >> o'donnell: wyatt, so, has the hines v.a. medical center done anything to correct this problem since these revelations surfaced? >> reporter: norah, we haven't learned of anything specific at hines. remember, nationwide, the v.a. has finally this week said-- or acknowledged that these weren't clerks that were making mistakes. this is systemic. so all of the clinics, hines included, have been told to dig into the computer system, get these back-logged veterans an appointment, even if that means going outside the v.a. >> o'donnell: all right, wyatt andrews. thank you. another major concern for the
white house is the crisis in ukraine. the government is battling pro- russian militias for control in the east. and today, insurgents shot down a ukrainian helicopter, killing at least 12 soldiers and a top general. charlie d'agata is in ukraine, and he has more about who these rebels are. >> reporter: russian fighters have long been accused of taking part in the fight here. and today, we got confirmation at the morgue where rebels are still counting their dead. officials told us they've identified 33 russian nationals among those killed this week, showing us coffins, they said, that would be taken back home to russia. we learned those coffins were empty. they had to come here to collect the bodies themselves from where they were being kept cold at an ice cream factory. it was a gruesome scene, but they wanted to show us that russians are part of this fight.
"we already have fighters from all over russia," rebel leader denis pushilin told us. but they're counting on even more help. have you made a request to the russian government for help? "yes, we have asked before," he said "but now we have sent an official request in writing to russian president vladimir putin. but with or without russia's help, the separatists say they're not standing down. are you afraid this is going to come under attack? "no," he told us "we're not afraid. do you understand? we're ready to fight." we're seeing a lot more heavily armed men here in donetsk, and heavy weapons, including the kind capable of shooting down a ukrainian helicopter like that attack today. norah. >> o'donnell: charlie d'agata, thank you. the crisis in ukraine could eventually threaten america's space program. we're going to look at that later in the broadcast.
parts of the gulf coast got more soaking rain today. floodwaters have taken over several neighborhoods outside houston. streets turned into rivers. some folks used the opportunity to get in some water skiing. in louisiana, the water washed caskets out of their graves. and the harsh weather this past winter is getting much of the blame for a slowdown in our economy. first-quarter growth had been estimated at a paltry .1%. today, the government said it was even worse. the economy was actually shrinking at a rate of 1%. anthony mason is here. so, anthony, what's going on? >> reporter: well, it's the first time since 2011, norah, that the economy has actually shrunk. all that snow and ice froze business, but most economists believe it sets the economy up for rebound this quarter. consumer spending that drives two-thirds of the economy was strong, just up over 3%. more importantly, initial
unemployment claims for the week dropped sharply. the four-week average has now fallen from just under 350,000 a year ago to about 311,000. that's the lowest since august of 2007. so we are finally back to pre- recession levels. >> o'donnell: anthony mason, thank you. and the parents of the man behind that deadly rampage in santa barbara apologized today. last friday, elliot rodgers stabbed or shot to death six u.c.s.b. students before taking his own life. in a statement, his parents wrote: chicago knows all too well the toll of gun violence. there were more than 1,800 shootings last year, resulting in 350 deaths. dean reynolds told us the mayor has a plan for trying to stop the violence. >> reporter: there are no gun stores operating in chicago, and
the new restrictions mayor rahm emanuel is proposing are designed to keep anyone from trying. they would make chicago the first major city to order gun shops to videotape any purchase. they would force any employee to be trained to spot purchases for gang use. and customers would be allowed only one purchase a month. the moves would discourage gun dealers while at the same time honoring a court ruling that struck down chicago's one-time outright ban on all gun sales. but many of the guns used in chicago crimes are obtained just outside the city limits. >> there are way too many guns from shops in cook county, from neighboring states that come into the city of chicago. >> reporter: according to a new city government report, three of the top four sources for seized firearms were gun dealers a short drive from the city. howard brookins is an alderman on the city's south side. what do you think of the mayor's proposal?
>> i applaud his efforts, but i'm not sure that it's going to work. we have to do it at the federal level in order for it to have some significant teeth to curtail this violence. >> reporter: now, the chicago city council has until july 14 to enact the mayor's proposals, norah, but already, gun rights advocates are indicating a court challenge could follow soon thereafter. >> o'donnell: all right. dean reynolds, thank you. there was quite a scare at one of chicago's major attractions, the ledge, at the willis tower, once known as the sears tower. it's a series of glass bays extending from the 103rd floor. visitors feel like they're hovering above the city. last night, as four relatives posed, they felt cracking beneath them. sure enough, there were cracks, but only to the protective coating. building officials say the glass itself is still intact. ford recalled more than a million vehicles today, mostly s.u.v.s, including the explorer, the escape, and the mercury mariner.
they have problems that could lead to a loss of power steering while driving. and we posted a complete list of the recalled vehicles on cbsnews.com. a microsoft billionaire makes a huge bid to buy the l.a. clippers. and what's behind a rise in measles cases when the cbs evening news continues. nexium level protection. [ mathey can see the lightes. eof a single candle.. look after them with centrum silver. multivitamins for your eyes, heart and brain. centrum silver. for the most amazing parts of you.
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century now, but the number of cases is up sharply this year. today, the c.d.c. reported more than 300 cases so far. that's the most in 20 years, and reason to call in dr. jon lapook for an explanation. >> reporter: 97% of the cases began with a traveler bringing measles back to the united states. dr. anne schuchat is with the c.d.c. >> most of this is people who have decided not to be vaccinated, exempting from vaccines through personal beliefs or philosophical reasons. and when measles virus is imported into the united states and finds an un-immunized person, that person will get measles. >> reporter: measles have been reported in 18 states. almost 90% of cases appeared in three places-- california, new york, and ohio. >> ready? >> reporter: in the united states, the vaccination rate against measles is over 90%. >> there you go! >> reporter: but pockets of un- immunized people remain. the 177 cases in ohio were
primarily among unvaccinated amish communities. some of them traveled to the philippines, where there's a large measles outbreak. >> the critical issue is that if you're traveling around the world and you haven't been vaccinated against measles, chances are you're going to get it and bring it back home. >> reporter: infants are especially vulnerable to measles because they don't get vaccinated against it until age one. so, when travelers bring home the infection, infants are easy targets for the virus. >> o'donnell: all right. dr. jon lapook, thank you. today, the lawyer for a san francisco giants fan who was severely beaten outside dodger stadium told a jury the dodgers did not hire enough security. he now requires constant care that could cost millions. he's suing the dodgers and former owner frank mccourt. the defense argued stowe was intoxicated and partially to blame. two dodger fans are serving time for the 2011 attack. could the russians pull the plug
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of the tensions between the nations over the ukraine. but what happens if the crisis there drags on? right now, american astronauts and satellites cannot get off the ground without engines made in russia. here's ben tracy. >> 2, 1, and liftoff. >> reporter: this air force rocket that carried a u.s. spy satellite last week was powered by a russian engine. their engines help launch about half of all u.s. military rockets. space writer and cbs news consultant bill harwood. >> it's the only engine in world in its power class-- nearly a million pounds of thrust, and it's extremely reliable. >> reporter: but our 15-year arrangement with the russians is now threatened by the fallout from the crisis in ukraine. the u.s. imposed sanctions on some russian officials, including the man who helps run the space and defense program. he's now threatening to ban russian rocket engines on u.s. military flights, and on twitter
suggested the u.s. deliver its astronauts to the international space station using a trampoline rather than russian spacecraft. >> it's all served to stir up the pot and create a widespread awareness of just how much dependence on russian space technology there actually is. >> reporter: there are 16 russian engines currently in the u.s. if we don't get more, nine missions will be delayed, costing the government $2.5 billion. >> and liftoff of the falcon 9 rocket. >> reporter: california-based space x will unveil a new spacecraft tonight they hope, one day, will carry humans. the u.s. government is in the process of certifying space x for military missions, but even if it does, there would still be launch delays without russian engines. senator john mccain wants the u.s. to stop using russian-made engines altogether, but, norah, it could take an estimated five years and $1.5 billion to fully develop an american alternative. >> o'donnell: all right. ben tracy, thank you. the l.a. clippers could soon
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weather talent appears at wx center with generic >> o'donnell: we end tonight with the birth 25 years ago this month of a hollywood legend, forever linked to one of the most famous catch phrases in movie history. not what you'd call a star; more of a diamond... in the rough. here's dean reynolds. >> reporter: it's a quote made famous in the movie, a seven- word prophecy that came true here on this iowa farm. they built it, and they still come. >> wow! i love to see people come. >> reporter: there may never have been a "field of dreams" without sue reidel. back in 1987, as a volunteer for the iowa film office, she was told to go scout scenery for some movie. so you're tooling around the back roads of iowa, and you come
up to this hill and... >> we get right to the edge of the hill, and i looked, and i went, "oh, my goodness! it's perfect!" >> reporter: all she needed was the farmer's permission. >> i said, "are you crazy or what? you want to make a movie?" and she said, "yes, we want to build a ball field." >> reporter: the farm had been in don lansing's family since 1906. you used to play catch with your father. >> yes, me and my dad used to play ball 200 feet from where this ball field was built. >> dad, you want to have catch? >> reporter: kevin costner, james earl jones, and the rest of the cast spent all summer long on lansing's land. riedel got into the act, too. >> i was in charge of the last shot of the movie with the cars. so i had to organize 1,500 cars and 3,000 people. >> reporter: lansing is retired now.
he sold the farm a couple of years ago, but he still keeps the field in shape for the more than 60,000 fans who visit every year-- playing catch, running the bases, or just remembering the lines that moved them. >> do you have a favorite? >> mine is, "is this heaven?" >> is this heaven? >> it's iowa. >> "it's iowa." i love that. >> reporter: it's that way for sue reidel, too. >> i got to bring my father hereux and he wanted to hold that bat and hit it one more time. i think that says something, too, about the magic of the place. >> maybe this is heaven. for scott pelley, i'm norah o'donnell. hope to see you tomorrow on "cbs this morning." good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
your realtime captioner is linda macdonald. now at 6:00, reports that a former microsoft executive is ready to buy the embattled l.a. clippers. the price tag, get ready, nearly $2 billion. good evening, i'm ken bastida. >> i'm elizabeth cook. our sports director dennis o'donnell joins us with late details on what would be a blockbuster sale. dennis? >> reporter: indeed it would, ken, elizabeth. steve balmer is the apparent winner of the bidding war for the l.a. clippers. however, the nba has yet to confirm whether a deal has been struck. balmer, who made his fortune with microsoft, would pay a record price for an nba team. now, the previous record was the milwaukee bucks who sold for 550 million dollars this month. the $2 billion offer would be the second highest price paid for any professional team
behind the dodgers at $2.1 billion. balmer has ties to the seattle area, which has raised questions as to whether he would try and move the clippers. he has said he plans to keep that team in los angeles. of course, this is all tentative and needs the sterlings to sign off on it. and that's where it gets complicated. shelly sterling was given the green light to negotiate a deal. but donald sterling has been flip-flopping. now, at first, he appeared to dig in. he wasn't going to sell. then he had a change of heart. and that changed again this week when sterling promised to quote fight to the bloody end to keep the team. now, the sterlings certainly have plenty of suters to choose from. espn had been reporting a potential super group of owners might be in the works, one led by music mogul david geffen, oracle ceo larry ellison and oprah winfrey. and the group also apparently includes two guggenheim executives. now, if the deal with steve balmer moves forward, it would need the approval