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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  May 21, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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>> couric: tonight, the beautiful beaches of grand isle, louisiana. now look at them. miles of sick, gooey oil, and b.p. says it could be august before the leak is stopped. i'm katie couric. also tonight, a medical marvel. he wears his heart on his back. and we'll end the week with a big finale. >> you're all crazy! >> couric: upon one dreamed up by one bob newhart. >> it actually was my wife's idea. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone. it's a sickening sight. one week before memorial day weekend, the beach on grand isle louisiana, a beautiful resort destination is closed after oil
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as thick as chocolate syrup washed up on shore today. b.p. oil. the next attempt to plug the offshore gusher will involve shooting heavy mud into the well a method called top kill. but b.p. now says that won't happen until tuesday at the earliest. and the worst-case scenario, b.p. says the oil could keep leaking until august when relief wells are finished." for now, though, the spill keeps growing in the gulf threatening more and more of the coastline there. mark strassmann is on grand isle tonight. mark, this is just what everyone has been dreading. >> reporter: you're absolutely right, katie. this is grand isle beach, a mecca for fishermen and tourists. everybody here, though, this morning work up to this-- oil everywhere. take a look. this isn't sheen or small tarballs. this is thick glops of oil, light crude that has washed ashore, and as bad as all this is, the worst is yet to come. >> it's nothing but a thick, brown oil, and it just is
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devastating. >> reporter: grand isle police chief euris dubois walked on to the beach this morning, and found disaster with still more oil coming ashore in waves. is it this thick all over? >> this thick all over. >> reporter: so much oil, the chief had to close the beach indefinitely. >> it was unbelievable. you have oil everywhere. >> reporter: this band of oil runs the entire length of grand isle beach, and this beach runs for seven miles. in both directions, oil as far as the eye can see. and just a mile from here, connected to this beach by two main passes is an unprotected state marine sanctuary. oil now stains 53 miles of coastal louisiana, a spill so mammoth, this was nasa's satellite view of it from space. more oil hits land every day, more wildlife is dying, includinging this brown pelican, louisiana's state bird. out in the gulf, more wildlife killed by the oil will never be found. state and local officials
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increasingly feel desperate and furious at the response by b.p., and the federal government. >> there is booms sitting on the dock. there are skimers sitting in trailers. that's not acceptable. >> reporter: especially in grand isle, population, 1200, the first residential area smeared by the spill. are you taking it personally? >> absolutely. this is as personal as it gets. >> reporter: monica south has a waterview of this crise. you peak over the dock and you look down there and you see boom oily boom. >> somebody's got to fix it. there's nothing you can do. will be there's-- there's not much you can do but just watch it come. >> reporter: chief dubois watched more come. >> as we speak, two miles into the gulf, there are thousands and thousands of gallons coming up. >> reporter: and he's most livid at b.p.. >> look at the beach. do you see anybody cleaning up. >> reporter: we saw scattered workers cleaning up, but dubois says he warned b.p. for days that oil is coming ashore and
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their response has been almost meaningless. >> so far, they have not done anything. they have not picked up a quart of oil yet. >> reporter: nothing at all. >> nothing at all. now it's coming to the beach. they still don't know what to do. >> reporter: experts will tell you there's nothing complicated about cleaning oil from a beach. you just take's shovel, you scoop it up, you put it in trash bags and you just haul it away, but it takes a lot of labor, and right now, grand isle has seven miles of dirty beach and no help to clean it up. katie. >> couric: meanwhile, mark rthere any health concerns on the island now that the oil has washed up there? >> reporter: absolutely, katie. i mean, no one has been sick from the oil so far. but chief dubois, for instance, is worried about medical issues like respiratory issues, for instance. if oil sus this island he as an evacuation order like a hurricane, just one of the many contingency plans here as all this oil keeps washing ashore. >> couric: all right, mark strassmann on grand isle, lose. thank you so much. meanwhile, president obama is appointing a commission to study
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what went wrong and cbs news has learned former democratic senator bob graham of florida and william reilly who headed the e.p.a. under the first president bush will lead the panel. b.p., meanwhile, is in charge of the response to the oil leak but as sharyl attkisson reports, some in congress are pointing fingers at the obama administration saying it's not putting enough pressure on the oil company. >> reporter: 5,000 feet deep, oil still gushes nonstop, no longer out of sight, thanks to the live feed b.p. was forced to make public, and a lead congressman says patience has run out. >> the american people want this leak plugged now. they are outraged. this is an all-handss-on-deck crisis. and we need to use every asset the united states has, including the defense department, and all of its most sophisticated technology. >> reporter: markey and others are taking issue with the obama administration's approach so far of leaving it up to b.p.
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>> they have the legal responsibility and the technical expertise to plug the hole. >> reporter: or do they? they haven't pluged it in 31 days. and today, press corps hammered away. >> they're not getting the job done. does the government just stand there as a spectator and hope for the best? >> chip, chip, there's nothing that would denote that the federal government has stood there and hoped for the best. >> reporter: gibbs says the obama administration has been aggressive, prodding b.p. and asking it for more data and information. >> you can't do that from a private company. >> you took over a.i.g.. >> well, we-- we-- the company is largely in receivership. that's -- >> reporter: today, cbs news obtained more undersea video turned over 11 days after congress found out about it and demanded it. another clip showing the attempt to cap the well on may 6, and more video apparently showing use of toxic chemical dispersant
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to break up the oil, a strategy one scientist today called unthinkable. >> it's a p.r. stunt to dissolve this oil with david petraeuss. it's just to get it away from the cameras on the shoreline. >> reporter: b.p. had already used hundreds of thousands of gallons upon dispersant before the e.p.a. ordered a halt earlier this week. they will be allowed to continue using dispersants but with less toxic chemicals. katie. >> couric: thank you. we just heard chip reid in cheryl's piece. now he's standing by at the white house. and, chip, last week, president obama was accusing b.p. other and countries involved in the drilling operation of playing the blame game, and, clearly, white house officials are concerned some fingers are starting to point at them. >> reporter: well, katie, they're doing everything in their power to make sure that does not happen. at the briefing today, very contentious as you saw, robert gibbs did not give an inch. he insisted over and over again the federal government is in charge and they're doing everything humanly possible to respond to this disaster. in fact, they continued fighting back even after the briefing was
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over, calling reporters, some reporters, one by one, up to the west wing to criticize them for asking the same questions over and over again for weeks. and, you know, they're right-- we are. but i think the reason is that there's a growing frustration in that room on capitol hill and in the region that some questions about what the government is doing still haven't been adequately answered. katie. >> couric: chip reid at the white house tonight. now, to a bizarre incident yesterday at boston's logan airport and an apparently distraught copilot for jetblue airways of taken away by federal agents after he reportedly threateped to harm himself. karen anderson of our cbs station in boston, wbz is at logan tonight. and, karen, i understand this copilot was carrying a gun? >> reporter: yes, he was. we learned the man was in the crew lounge about an hour before takeoff when he sent an alarming e-mail to his ex-girlfriend who happens to be a flight attendant. we're told that she alerted t.s.a. who called in state police and the f.b.i. >> the person was so distraught,
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that he was threatening to harm himself in a spectacular fashion. >> reporter: the key word t.s.a. officials say are "harm himself." they say he never directly threatened the plane or its passengers. now, the reason he had the gun was because he's part of a program that was created after september 11 to arm pilots as a last line of defense. katie. >> couric: and, karen, are pilots who have been given the okay to carry guns on plane also given any kind of psychiatric examination? >> reporter: we're told in order to be in that program, the pilots must undergo a mental health evaluation. but we did learn today from the f.a.a. that regular pilots must only undergo regular physical exams. katie. >> couric: karen anderson of our cbs station in boston, wbz, reporting from logan airport tonight. karen, thanks so much. turning to international news now, secretary of state hillary clinton spoke out today against
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north korea, sath evidence is upon whening that one of its submarines sank a south korean navy ship back in march. 46 sailors were killed. in tokyo, at the start of an asian trip, clinton said north korea should be punished. >> i think it is important to send a clear message to north korea that provocative actions have consequences. >> couric: one option reportedly being considered is a show of force involving a joint u.s.-south korean naval exercise. for its part, north korea denies it sank the warship. now to afghanistan, where u.s. forces are preparing for that major new offensive to drive the taliban out of its birth place, kandahar, in the southern part country. the operation will be modeled on last winter's battle for marja, and if it turns out to be anything like that, it could be a long fight. mandy clark is embeded with u.s. marines in marja.
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>> reporter: three months after the battle of marja, marines here are still coming under fire. taliban fighters are taking shots at marines at every opportunity. >> send them through! we've got them covered! >> reporter: a marine was killed here a few days ago. this foot patrol is both a show of force and a chance to tell locals that the marines are here to stay. this is what the new strategy for counter-insurgency looks like. commanders say it's working. >> today you get pot shots. >> reporter: but marines are still dying in marja, and the next attack is always right around the corner. >> it was blown too early. >> reporter: a roadside bomb just blew up but it was remote controled and it was pulled too early before the platoon got there. nine miles and two attacks later the marines came back to base safely. they were lucky. and they know it. >> he was smart.
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he waited until half the patrol got through and took out about four guys. >> reporter: but the taliban learns quickly, and tomorrow the marines will have to go back out on patrol. mandy clark, cbs news, marja, afghanistan. >> couric: and coming up next here on the cbs evening news, why what's in this backpack is very close to this man's heart. ♪ [ smack! ]
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>> couric: heart disease claims more lives in this country than anything else. and for the more than 3,000 people with heart failure, currently waiting for a transplant, ever minute is precious. dr. jennifer ashton introduces us to a man who is on the transplant list but he's regained his freedom by carrying around a remarkable new device. >> reporter: for nearly two years, 43-year-old charles okeke has tried to live a normal life in the hospital, tethsered to a 400-pound machine. >> it kind of overwhelms you to think i'm stuck to a machine. >> reporter: okeke was barely 30 when a blood clot destroyed his heart. he had a transplant and for 10 years, life was good for this computer consultant, a father of three. but in 2008, his body rejected that heart, and at that time, another transplant was out of the question. >> there is a-- an artificial
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heart inside of me that the tubes connect to from this exit site right here. >> reporter: the sound you hear is the total artificial heart. both ventricles were removed, along with four valves. koktor tubes were sewn in, and it pumps blood just like a human heart. tell me about the moment you realized that you had now a total artificial heart there. >> for the longest time, i could not physically put my hand to my chest because it felt so weird. >> reporter: but okeke's life is about to be transformed. the f.d.a. has just approved this backpack-sized device that runs on batteries, and weighs just 13 pounds. it's the first portable technology to support the entire artificial heart. >> the sensors that used to be the size of a can of soup are now about the size of a quarter. that type of leap in technology has enabled to us downsize the entire console. >> you're on the new device.
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>> yea! ( applause ) >> reporter: charles okeke is the first heart patient in the country to test the freedom driver. but there are worries. will this device supply enough power to the heart so the liver and kidneys function, too? will okeke trust his heart to this machine? >> how comfortable he feels with it the device, and that will be as important as all the other organs working. >> reporter: after a few more weeks readjusting the freedom driver, okeke experiences his freedom for the first time in years. ( applause ) >> wow! >> reporter: leaving the hospital with a hero's good-bye. ( laughter ) charles has come home, where his real heart is. >> dad! >> i am about as happy as a person as you can have right now. to be able to sleep in my own
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bed after two years on a hospital bed, you can't imagine. >> reporter: the okekes know they're not home free. charles will have to work hard to maintain his health as he awaits a new heart. but if the right match is not found, doctors say he could live indefinitely on this device. >> thank you for all your support. i love you guys. >> reporter: this syncardia total artificial heart costs about $125,000, and about $18,000 a year to maintain, katie. >> couric: what a wonderful story. clearly he has to hang on to that backpack at all times. could this one day actually replace heart transplant? >> reporter: perhaps in the future and will continue to evolve to a smaller model but the key, katie, will be better treatment of those heart failure patients before they get sick enough to require a transplant. >> couric: all right, dr. jennifer ashton. jennifer, thanks so much. for more on this story you can go to our partner in health news and search heart
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gone caused by strong floodwaters below. russia was once called an evil empire. so were the new york yankees. but 30 years ago tonight, everyone's favorite evil empire got some payback. >> i am the father. >> couric: yes, it's the 30th anniversary of "star wars, the empire strikes back." many still consider this sequel, technically episode 5, to be the best of the "star wars movies. and how do you pay tribute to pac-man's 30th birthday tomorrow? if you're google, you turn your home page into a working arcade. video games have evolved, but gobbling dots and dodging ghosts are still pretty popular. the world record score of 2n't34 million points was set just two years ago. and still ahead, what was the best sitcom finale of all time? no, not "cheers." not "mash" either. what "tv guide" says it was next.
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ask your doctor about plavix. protection that helps save lives. people with stomach ulcers or other conditions that cause bleeding should not use plavix. taking plavix alone or with some other medicines including aspirin may increase bleeding risk, so tell your doctor when planning surgery. certain genetic factors and some medicines, such as prilosec, may affect how plavix works. tell your doctor all the medicines you take, including aspirin, especially if you've had a stroke. if fever, unexplained weakness or confusion develops, tell your doctor promptly. these may be signs of ttp, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, reported sometimes less than 2 weeks after starting plavix. other rare but serious side effects may occur. >> couric: and finally tonight, fans of "lost" are dying to see how the writers and producers end the series this sunday after
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six years on the air. that got us thinking about what could be the most creative series ender ever, 20 years ago tonight right here on cbs. >> he's begging us for a group hug! >> he sure is. >> couric: when bob newhart needed a way to send his second tv sitcom off into the sunset, he did what any other comic genius would do-- he asked his wife. >> actually, it was my wife's idea, the whole thing about waking up in the bed with suzie. >> reporter: ginny newhart's stroke of brilliance was for bob to wake up next to suzanne pleshette, a.k.a. emily hartley, bob's former tv wife from his first sitcom. >> i just had a thought. >> couric: reducing the entire eight-year run of "newhart" to nothing but a dream. >> i said what a great idea. >> reporter: and a risky one, too. the episode would be shrouded in secrecy. >> this is pretwitter, so.
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>> couric: complete with a phony script about dick loudon's date with destiny. >> i got hit in the head with the golf ball and i go to heaven and god is george burns. well, we never intended to shoot that scene. it was strictly a red hering to mislead the tabloids and they did. they picked up on it. >> reporter: even the cast and crew were kept in the dark as the late suzanne pleshette recalled nay 2006 interview with the archive of american television. >> they hid me in a trailer for six hours with no phone-- you don't do that to a woman like me-- no shopping? no phone? what are you kiding? >> couric: but when it came time to shoot, who would have thought that bob and emily hartley's own headboard would give them away. >> they pulled the floater and revealed the bedroom set. and it started to get applause. they were applauding the set before they knew suzie and i were in bed. >> honey, wake up. you-- you won't believe the dream i just had! ( laughter )
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don't you want to hear about it? ( cheers and applause ) >> we pulled it off. it was a very exciting moment. we knew we had done something special. >> couric: so special, the last "newhart" is widely considered the best series finale of all time. >> no more japanese food before you go to bed. ( laughter ) >> couric: a national tv treasure not unlike the 80-year-old newhart himself. >> people come up to me more and more and say, "thank you for all the laughter." and my response is, "thanks for laughing." ( laughter ) ( applause ) >> couric: it was our pleasure again tonight. and that's the cbs evening news. i'm katie couric. thank you for
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good evening. tonight in your only local news at 7:00, deadly ride. a bise list and -- bicyclist and driver are dead after an accident in fairfax county. child's play. police are investigating a 10- year-old behind the wheel when this car handed on oo landed on top of a house. this is bruce leshan at the national zoo where a suddenly bereft lion -- [ inaudible ] -- her first cub had nestled. on tuesday keepers proudly showed off a cam where you could squint in the staw and just barely make out the national zoo's first lion cub in ten years. but vets say an autopsy shows the cub somehow inhaled some of that straw and the irritation


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