tv NBC Nightly News NBC September 21, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
payback for public servants in a small town living high on the hog until the people found out about it and threw them out. what would you go? would you do what this father did if your child was being bullied on the bus to school? a story that touched a nerve. "in disguise." so many girls in a place the u.s. knows well live a lie with their family's blessing. and the industry that's popped up and suddenly exploded aimed at eradicating bedbugs. nightly news begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
with political anger roaring across the country tonight we go to a small town where the citizens found out how much their public servants were making and they went wild. it happened in belle, california, where the city manager for starters was making $800,000. tonight, eight current and former town officials are in jail. the l.a. county d.a. is calling this corruption on steroids and all public officials like them across the country should probably regard this as a warning shot. we begin tonight with nbc's george lewis who is in the l.a. suburb. george, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the eight are accused of misproper rating $5.5 million of city funds for their own use. authorities from the district's attorney's office rounded them up first thing this morning. >> do you have anything to say about the charges? >> reporter: the big fish is the former belle city manager robert
rizzo picked up at his luxury home in huntington beach, california, accused of stealing $4.3 million in public funds. >> rizzo, acting as the unelected and unaccountable czar of the city of belle, secretly set his own salary. >> reporter: rizzo is one of eight belle city officials present and former arrested today. the others are accused of misproper rating $1.2 million. officers used a battering ram to break down the door of belle mayer oscar hernandez when he delayed coming out. >> the complaint alleges they used the tax dollars collected from the hard-working citizens of belle as their own piggy bank which they then alluded at will. >> reporter: the district attorney making it clear he's going after anyone involved in this. >> i would charge my mother if i had evidence against my mother. >> i need respect from everybody. please. >> reporter: the people of belle
stormed city council meetings after learning in july about the six-figure salaries officials were receiving. they, citizens, were elated at news of the arrest. >> i went like this! yeah! we did it! >> reporter: the california attorney general now making a run for governor has sued belle city officials demands that they give back most of their hefty salaries. >> this is something when you see it you can smell it. and this stinks to high heaven. >> reporter: rizzo and the others are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow morning. the district attorney says he intends to ask the judge to set bail at $3.6 million. brian? >> george lewis in belle, california, thanks. we go now to florida. another kind of uprising. this one motivated by anger. a story tonight about a father's angry reaction to kids bullies his daughter who has a disability. what happened next is causing a big reaction across the country.
our own kerry sanders has more. >> reporter: on a school bus in suburban orlando, a father's fury caught on a security camera. >> my daughter can get on this [bleep] bus and the [bleep] and this is it. >> reporter: 42 year old james willy jones arrested for disorderly conduct admits his temper got the better of him. today -- >> i held it the wrong way when i went on the bus. >> reporter: he explained why he went so far as to threaten to skill students on the bus. he says they were bullying his 13 year old daughter who suffers from cerebral palsy. >> it's not about me. it's about kids getting bullied, going to school, even if you're walking to school. my action was very much out of character for me. but my daughter, i feel, i love her and i support her. >> reporter: while school tickets say jones never complained to them his daughter was being harassed in the deputy's report jones alleges
schoolboys on the bus smacked her on the back of the head, twisted her ear and shouted rude comments at her. and as this security camera footage from the day before revealed, tossed an opened condom. the national center for education statistics reports a quarter of all students say that they are bullied on a weekly or daily basis. but for disabled children, it's far worse. 85% say they've been targeted. >> kids with disabilities are often times targeted by bullies because of their vulnerable reaction to the behavior, whether it's getting mad or scared or angry, they are providing a response that makes the person bullying feel empowered and in control. >> reporter: the national center for bullying prevention, pacer.org, estimates 160,000 students stay home from school every day fearing they'll be bullied. now add james jones daughter to the list. she's in the hospital of what her father calls debilitating
anxiety, a result of the bullying. kerry sanders, nbc news, miami. this was the day americans who opposed the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the u.s. military thought maybe the policy of don't ask don't tell would be repealed. it didn't happen. but before that, there was high drama on capitol hill over what would happen, even a huge celebrity made her plea for a change in the policy. our own kelly o'donnell has been covering the story and she's with us tonight from washington. kelly, good evening. >> hi, brian. >> reporter: the emotions thons run deep and the intensity playing out is, to some degree, about the future of the policy itself and a lot is about politics. with just a few weeks to go before the mid-term elections. >> this is a blatant political approximately in order to galvanize the political base of the other side which is facing a losing election.
>> it is wrong to suggest that the fight legislatively is election-driven. >> reporter: republicans effectively blocked repealing the 17-year-old ban on gays serving openly in the military so the president's often-repeated promise goes unfulfilled. >> i will end the "don't ask don't tell." that's my commitment to you. >> reporter: failing to deliver has angered liberal voters. that frustration took stage on monday in maine where music sensation, lady gaga can be toned down her looks and turned up the heat. >> doesn't it seem to you that we should send home the prejudice? the straight soldier who hates the gay soldier. >> reporter: they chose mainl trying to win over the moderate republicans. >> i think it's the right thing to do. i think it's only fair. >> reporter: but today, collins and all republicans voted "no." >> it's totally political and all set up for the november 2nd
election. >> reporter: republicans claim democrats were rushing to fire up the voters and refused to wait for a december pentagon report on changing the policy. democrats say top brass already want to end the ban. >> secretary gates, a republican? decides this policy must change, because there's an election coming up? of course not. >> reporter: and democratic leaders have tried to pass the repeal by adding it on to a big military spending package. and two democrats voted no, both from arkansas, including senator blanche lincoln who is at series k of losing her seat in november. brian? >> and the whole mess in washington continues for another day. kelly o'donnell with our report. thanks. this has been an awful day for americans in afghanistan. nine u.s. service members killed this morning when their chopper went down in southern afghanistan. the deadliest chopper crash in more than four years for any of the nato forces. question now, of course, were
they shot down by the taliban? our own john yang is in kabul and he's with us from there. john, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. military officials say this appears to be an accident, not a shootdown. but still as you say, the worst helicopter crash since may of 2006. today's nine deaths bring the u.s. death toll to at least 351 for this year. still, more than three months to go in 2010 but already, it's the deadliest year for both u.s. and coalition forces. the helicopter that crashed today was a black hawk. the crash is under investigation. officials say there's no indication of any hostile fire. that can be despite a taliban claim, they shot the helicopter down. meanwhile, another threat to hamid karzai in afghanistan. mounting claims of fraud in this past weekend's parliamentary election almost on the scale of
last year's tainted presidential election. so growing challenges here, both on the security front and on the political front, brian. >> thank you for all of it, john yang in kabul, afghanistan, for us tonight. it has happened again, just south of the u.s. border in the fierce fight between the drug cartels and the mexican government. another journalist has been killed sending a chilling message about how journalist cover the dangerous and violent war on drugs. nbc's mark potter has been reporting exclusively on the war next door to the u.s. he has more tonight on this latest round and a deadly campaign of intimidation. >> reporter: at a dusty funeral over the weekend in juarez, mexico, local journalist mourn the loss of one of their own, an intern at the city's newspaper. 21 year old louise santiago, a photographer, was shot and killed in his car outside a busy shopping center in broad daylight last week. another intern was also shot but survived the attack.
colleagues grieved at the crime scene. the gunman escaped. juarez, mexico, is now considered the most dangerous city in the world. a vicious war there between the drug cartels, gangs and the police, left 2800 people dead last year and 2200 more, so far, this year. in response to newspaper published a front-page editorial addressing the drug traffickers directly and it read -- you are at present the de facto authorities in this city. we ask you to explain what you want from us and what we should try to publish or not publish so we know what to expect. a mexican government spokesman condemned the newspaper saying that no one should negotiate with criminals. the acting newspaper editor shot back saying if the authorities cannot guarantee citizens the right to be informed, then we want to know who can. >> in mexico, the government cannot, will not, does not protect journalists. >> reporter: and there are other
dangers. when a car bomb went off in juarez earlier this year, the photographer who shot it was badly injured. by exploding the car bomb here at this intersection in juarez, the traffickers ratcheted up the drug war to a new level of violence and authorities fear the violence will escalate and spread. as that happens, more and more mexican journalists are under siege. mark potter, nbc news. back in washington, the white house announced tonight president obama's chief economic adviser, larry summers is leaving to go back to a job at harvard university by the end of the year. the president is reportedly considering replacing summers with someone from the corporate world. that would be in response to criticism that his is inner circle and economic team has been lacking private-sector business experience. if you've paid to check a bag or bought a snack, airline
profit margins for the second quarter of this year were the liest they've been since 2002. that's because the major airlines say they cut schedules, they are flying packed planes and charging fees for just about everything that used to be free in the air. the stli as a whole, pulled in more than $3 billion in the second quarter, with low-fare carriers like southwest and jetblue reporting the highest profit margins. when our broadcast continues in just a moment, a stunning look at the lives of young girls who are being raised, instead, as boys. and later, taking the nationwide fight fight of bedbugs to a whole new level. [ male announcer ] if you have type 2 diabetes,
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life for themselves and most importantly, their children. our own kate snow has more on this secret in plain sight. >> reporter: they look like any other middle-class family in kabul. mom makes breakfast and kids get ready for school. but 6-year-old mehran is not what he seemed. two years ago, the mom told her youngest daughter she would be getting a haircut. >> and you would be a son after this. play outside? fight with the boys? and also, to play football, ply cricket, i like it. let's go. >> reporter: as hard as it may be for americans to understand, in afghanistan, families cherish boys so much they often cry when a girl is born. in partnership with the "new york times," dan rather's team spent several months talking with families that changed girls to boys for a program airing on hd net tonight.
>> the reason they do it is, one, to bring honor to the family and make the family part of the afghan tradition and be accepted by peers. number two, to give the child an opportunity to go to school. >> reporter: it's been quietly happening for generations in the language it means "dressed up as a boy." boys are a drain and girls are contributors. it will take time to change. >> reporter: ironically, she's a champion for women's rightses, one of the rare female members of parliament but when constituent came to her home they would say how sorry they were that the family had no boys. now they proudly show off their son. in this secretive tradition, he'll likely be raised as a boy until she's a teenager, ready to be married off, which, by the way, is exactly what happened to
her mother, who spent years of her own life as a boy. kate snow, nbc news, new york. when we come back, a medal of honor for an act of heroism that was kept secret for 42 years. this is steven, a busy ma. his day starts with his arthritis pain. that's breakfast with two pills. the morning is over, it's time for two more pills. the day marches on, back to more pills. and when he's finally home... but hang on; just two aleve can keep arthritis pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is steven, who chose aleve and 2 pills for a day free of pain. and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels. the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom. i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs
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at a white house ceremony, the president awarded the medal of honor to a military hero. however, air force chief master sergeant richard etchburger was not there to receive the honor. he died in the line of duty in march of 1968. it's because of his mission and because of where he died in laos that it's taken this long. we were not supposed to be in laos on that day in 1968. he intentionally exposed himself to enemy fire to place three wounded men on board rescue choppers. they were under attack by thousands of enemy and as they flew away, ground fire hit and killed him. the president today said this was all a part of righting a wrong from an entire era. >> today, also marks another chapter in a larger story of our nation finally honoring that
generation of vietnam veterans who served with dedication and courage but all too often, were shunned when they came home. which was a disgrace. it must never happen again. >> his three sons were there today. at the emotional event to accept the thanks of a grateful president, a proud branch of the u.s. armed forces and, of course, a grateful nation. it was a stunning sight last night, the first time the skies over the united states looked that way since 1951 by our reckoning. that's because jupiter was a bright light right overhead. its closest path to us in a generation. it will remain bright and prominent for the rest of this month so don't worry. and with binoculars you can see uranus right behind it. he plays a former convict who always seems to be on the
make, but last night, he was every inch an academy-award winning movie star. man in full on the red carpet four blocks from this building at the new york premiere of his new movie "wall street ii." michael douglas who also happens to be our announcer is in the midst of one of three rounds of chemo and radiation for throat cancer and last night, he took time out to shine the only way a star knows how. up next here tonight, the epidemic that's also become a huge industry and it's all based on getting them before they get to you. maybe you want to rebuild homes for those in need? or, maybe you want to help improve our schools? whatever you want to do, members project from american express can help you take the first step. vote, volunteer or donate for the causes you believe in at membersproject.com.
take charge of making a difference. words alone aren't enough. my job is to listen to the needs and frustrations of the shrimpers and fishermen, hotel or restaurant workers who lost their jobs to the spill. i'm iris cross. bp has taken full responsibility for the clean up in the gulf and that includes keeping you informed. our job is to listen and find ways to help. that means working with communities. restoring the jobs, tourist beaches, and businesses impacted by the spill. we've paid over $400 million in claims and set up a $20 billion independently-run claims fund to cover lost income until people impacted can get back to work. and our efforts aren't coming at tax-payer expense. i know people are wondering-- now that the well is capped, is bp gonna meet its commitments? i was born in new orleans. my family still lives here.
i'm gonna be here until we make this right. hey what's going on? doing the shipping. man, it would be a lot easier if we didn't have to weigh 'em all. if those boxes are under 70 lbs. you don't have to weigh 'em. with these priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service, if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. no weigh? nope. no way. yeah. no weigh? sure. no way! uh-uh. no way. yes way, no weigh.
priority mail flat rate box shipping starts at $4.95, only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship. finally here tonight during the dinner hour, bedbugs, we have covered their slow and nasty march across this country, every little one of them. they're such a big problem now invading homes, hotels, college dorms and even stores and movie theaters. it's officially an epidemic and no carrieractive lisport encod.
today these factories are full of dot com businesses. and now my job is helping maryland create new economy jobs. training new math and science teachers investing in our institutions of excellence pioneering new cyber security jobs and giving an old gm plant a jump start building electric motors. i'm barbara mikulski.