tv NBC Nightly News NBC July 15, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
on the broadcast tonight, it's stopped. at least briefly, but on day 87 of the worst ever environmental disaster, they managed to turn the oil off. problem is, this one's not permanent. where it goes. tonight, we are finally able to show you what happens to the oil in response to so many of your questions. tough times. president obama tells our own chuck todd what keeps him up at night these days. calling the cops? not so fast. why more communities are telling citizens, "you're on your own," when it comes to certain crimes. and making a difference. tonight, it's the first time we have ever honored dummies. tonight, it's the first time we have ever honored dummies. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening. it may be temporary. it may not hold, but we want to show you something that for a long while here didn't seem like we were ever going to see. right now, there is no oil spilling into the gulf. for now, the cap is on and working. no new billowing oil beyond, of course, the three-month supply already in the gulf waters and on the shores and in the marshes. they are testing the pressure now. this stoppage may not last. it's not a permanent solution. that can only come from those relief wells, but now we are able to visualize at least the day we have been hoping would arrive. we want to begin again tonight with our chief environmental affairs correspondent anne thompson in venice, louisiana. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. you know, even though this is the day that the people here along the gulf have waited some three months for, reaction is muted tonight because people here are hoping that it's when this test stops that the oil is still not flowing.
on day 87, the oil stopped, if only temporarily. bp closed all the valves on its new sealing cap at 3:25 eastern time this afternoon. at last giving a moment's relief to so many people along the gulf coast devastated economically and emotionally by the spill. >> it's finally an end to the groundhog day of waking up and it being the same and oil still spilling. >> we're just happy. finally there is an end in sight. finally a light at tend of the tunnel. >> reporter: bp isn't celebrating just yet. >> we have to manage our expectations. it's possible if the pressures are low that we'll have to reinitiate the flow and capture it. >> reporter: at the white house, president obama was every bit as cautious. >> i think it is a positive sign. we are still in the testing phase. i will have more to say about it tomorrow. >> reporter: the well integrity test will take two days and all eyes will be on the pressure levels. engineers and scientists in the houston command center will monitor those readings, hoping to divine what they cannot see under the seabed.
>> i think it's important to know whether the well has leaks or not. it could be an important issue for them to watch while they are doing the kill operation itself. >> reporter: the kill operation with the relief well, the permanent solution, is still weeks away. standing on one of the new sand berms built to block the oil, louisiana governor bobby jindal said the cleanup doesn't stop just because the oil did. >> this is a very, very -- potentially a very important step forward if they are successful. but the fight is not over for louisiana. but we know this is a marathon. >> reporter: everyone involved realizes this may only be a pause in this disaster. >> make no mistake, the number one goal is to shut in the well and kill it and stop it at the source. this is merely an intermediate step to contain the oil pending finishing the relief wells and plugging the hole. >> reporter: now, every six hours, bp and government officials will assess those test results and decide whether or not to move forward. this is going to be a very slow and deliberate process.
brian? >> for however long it's shut off, anne, we'll take it. anne thompson in venice, louisiana, again tonight. thanks. and now to something we will see here tonight for the first time. this next story answers one of the most frequently asked questions we have been getting in e-mails. where does the oil go after it's cleaned up and soaked up and picked up? nbc news correspondent thanh truong has spent days trying to find out. tonight from louisiana, he has our first pictures of the oil disposal. >> reporter: in an industrial lab 15 miles west of new orleans river birch landfill is filling up with waste, byproducts of the leak in the gulf. it's a scene repeated at landfills throughout the gulf region where bp says close to 27,000 tons of collected oily solid waste from gulf and beach cleanup is being stored. this truck is unloading hundreds of yards of oiled boom recovered from hope dale, louisiana.
the bulldozers will eventually take this boom and move it on top of that ridge. by the end of the day it will be covered by a foot of clay. >> it is not hazardous material. the oil that was actually collected from the oil spill was sent to laboratories and tested. that oil came back from the reports as nonhazardous based on epa and state definitions of hazardous waste. >> reporter: vic culpepper is the technical director here. he says in the past month and a half they have taken in more than 2,000 tons of oiled boom and 5,000 barrels of oily water. in this green tank, hundreds of barrels of oily water from skimming operations. inside, the oil is separated. >> the oil is pumped into a recovery tank and then we send that oil for reclamation. so it's actually recycled. >> reporter: to date, about 126,000 barrels have been collected across the gulf and will eventually be recycled. >> they need to make sure the landfills are appropriately permitted for this type of
waste. if they are, it probably can be handled safely there. >> reporter: the tangible evidence of an environmental disaster and there is more on the way. and the epa will be sampling these landfills on a regular basis to make sure they continue to meet environmental and safety standards. the epa has reportedly told bp it wants the waste disposal programs, brian, to be fully transparent. >> all right. thanh truong in louisiana tonight rounding out our coverage. thanks for your reporting. bp is in the news for something else today. perhaps you remember almost a year ago when the pan am 103 lockerbie bomber was allowed to go home to libya because he had terminal cancer and was dying -- or so we were told by both sides when the deal to release him came through. now, it turns out bp was a player behind the scenes in that controversial deal. our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell explains how and why. >> reporter: the only man convicted of the pan am bombing
abdel baset al-megrahi got a hero's welcome in libya a year ago. he was set free because doctors said he had only three months to live -- advanced prostate cancer. now, a year later, he is still alive. the cancer specialist who examined him was hired by the libyans, but today denied he was under any pressure. >> the question was how can you get an accurate prognosis and the real truth is it's very difficult to be accurate. you can just aprostate cancer sat -- approximate. it's all numbers and statistics. >> reporter: did bp pressure the government? >> what role did bp play in convincing the british government to agree to this and the release of megrahi? >> reporter: the oil company said it was concerned about the slow progress of the prisoner transfer agreement, was aware that this could have a negative impact on uk interests including bp's oil deal. the company claims it never
specifically pressed for megrahi's release. lawmakers aren't buying that. >> the whole thing has deep circumstantial evidence that points to the fact that there was a trade-off. release the terrorists in exchange for an oil contract. >> reporter: all of this renews the pain and anger of the victims' families. >> this is a national disgrace. there needs to be an investigation on the involvement of the american government and the british government. megrahi was released for oil. heads should roll. >> reporter: the british government said the release of the pan am bomber was a mistake, but that scottish authorities had sole jurisdiction and they are offering no apology. andrea mitchell, nbc news, washington. >> we have a lot of news on the economy tonight. the senate has given final passage to the financial regulatory reform bill. a response to the wall street meltdown that brought the world to the edge of economic collapse two years ago now. among the changes the new law will usher in a new consumer protection agency, will oversee all kinds of bank transactions including mortgages and other
financial products. new regulations for banks, big and small, and wall street banks will face limits on risky trading practices. the president said today he'll sign the bill into law next week. but will it help convince americans that the economy is headed in the right direction? our own white house correspondent chuck todd sat down with the president today. an exclusive interview on the road in michigan on the state of the economy and more. >> the main thing that keeps me up at night right now is we lost 8 million jobs. the month i was worn in we lost 750,000 jobs. >> reporter: the president has been struggling to convince the public that things are getting better. >> we have regained about 600,000 this year so far. if we stay on pace, hopefully we'll gain several hundred thousand more. but making up for the 8 million will be a challenge. >> reporter: mr. obama took time out to talk exclusively to nbc news during a three-hour trip to hard hit western michigan to
sell the idea his stimulus plan is working. >> it turns out we are actually getting $3 in private investment for every dollar that went into the recovery act. >> reporter: some of the money is going into electric car battery plants. he helped break ground for one today. still, he acknowledged the economy is not back on its feet. >> look, nobody in the white house is satisfied with where we are now. what we are convinced of though is that we are on the right track. >> reporter: what do you tell the person who may have voted for you and can't find a job or got laid off since you took office why they should keep the democrats in charge because they are not feeling any of the positive yet. >> right. look, if somebody's out of work right now the only answer that i'm going to have for them is when they get a job. until that point from their perspective the economic policies aren't working. >> reporter: you're okay if they find you accountable? >> that's my job as president is to take responsibility for moving us in the right
direction. but what i'm absolutely convinced of is that we're going to have a choice. not just in november, but for years to come. >> reporter: so you're prepared for november to be called a referendum on your policies and this presidency? >> what i'm prepared is to be held accountable for the policies i put in place, but americans don't have selective memory. they're going to remember the policies that got us into this mess as well. >> reporter: yet he acknowledged that his agenda has been risky for his party. >> when people are determined and are willing to take tough votes even when it's politically inconvenient we can get things done. >> reporter: it is not translated into political capital with the public. honestly, are you frustrated by that? >> you know, i'm not frustrated because we were in such a deep hole that even if we got three-quarters of the way up out of the hole, even if i know we're going in the right direction, people are still feeling -- things are tough. >> reporter: do you think it's the economy? >> look, if unemployment is 9.5% the party in power is going to
have some problems regardless of how much progress we have made and how much worse it would be if the other side had been in charge. >> reporter: chuck todd, nbc news, grand rapids, michigan. one more note on the financial industry tonight. the s.e.c. today settled its fraud case against goldman sachs charged with misleading investors who brought a subprime mortgage product set up by a hedge fund manager who was betting the mortgages would go bad. goldman admitted today it made a mistake, in quotes, and will pay a $550 million fine. that may be the largest fine in s.e.c. history, but it's not a very large sum for goldman sachs. the richest firm on wall street, the firm that had the most to lose as this case dragged on. when "nightly news" continues in just a moment, more on the economy and states with crushing budget problems. and what about when the lay-offs mean police officers and there is no one left to respond when you call the cops?
and later, there are dummies and there are dummies and tonight we salute two of them who did a very smart thing for all of us. our making a difference report. you may also have very high triglycerides -- too much fat in the blood. it's a serious medical condition. lovaza, along with diet, effectively lowers very high triglycerides in adults but has not been shown to prevent heart attacks or strokes. lovaza starts with omega-3 fish oil that's then purified and concentrated. it's the only omega-3 medication that's fda-approved. you can't get it at a health food store. lovaza isn't right for everyone. tell your doctor if you're allergic to fish, have other medical conditions and about any medications you're taking, especially those that may increase risk of bleeding. blood tests are needed before and during treatment. in some, ldl or bad cholesterol may increase. possible side effects include burping, infection, flu-like symptoms, upset stomach,
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country where the situation is just as dire, public servants are losing jobs because there is no money to pay them. nbc's george lewis has more on the problem hitting home especially hard in california. >> reporter: police in oakland, california, have their hands full last week as angry protests erupted over the trial of a white transit cop accused of murdering a black man in what some thought was a verdict that was too lenient. one of the officers on duty that night was jerry moriarti. the next day, he was one of 80 cops laid off. >> it's unbelievable. it caught me completely off guard. i never thought it would end like this. >> reporter: now if you call the oakland police to report a nonviolent crime they won't send an officer. instead they will tell you to report the crime online. >> the city's going to be different and the wolves are going to come out. >> reporter: the national association of state budget officers says up to 400,000 state and local public employees
could lose their jobs in the next year because of further budget cutbacks in places where state budgets have already been cut to the bone. >> if you have taken all the low hanging fruit, it's now time to make some severe cuts and that means layoffs, even for essential service employees. >> reporter: essential employees like police officers and firefighters. here in los angeles, in the middle of a heat wave with high fire danger, half the firefighters at this station have been forced to take the day off. it's a cost-saving measure known as a brown out. it leaves the department minus 10% of its personnel. the firefighters union says it was a huge problem earlier this week when a major fire involving several buildings ate up most of the department's resources. >> there were 14 neighborhoods we couldn't protect. we didn't have enough companies. >> reporter: in the middle of a long, hot summer, many communities now find themselves without the usual safety net. george lewis, nbc news, los
angeles. this was a pivotal day for a new weight loss drug called qnexa -- another great name. in the end an fda panel decided not to approve it. there were several concerns in the end about side effects including depression, concentration, memory problems and the risk of birth defects. and we learned something interesting about dick cheney's latest heart procedure. last night on msnbc the head of aortic surgery at new york presbyterian hospital told rachel maddow dick cheney has no pulse, no heartbeat. his heart valves remain closed with this new device that's been implanted. he now has a continuous flow of blood. it runs on batteries, by the way. he's supposed to carry extras with him. at night it has to be plugged into a power adaptor in the wall. up next, has apple produced a lemon? if so, what are they going to do about it?
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and take it seriously. [ male announcer ] learn more about protecting your heart at iamproheart.com. [ male announcer ] learn more about protecting your heart there's oil out there we've got to capture. my job is to hunt it down. i'm fred lemond, and i'm in charge of bp's efforts to remove oil from these waters. bp has taken full responsibility for the cleanup and that includes keeping you informed. every morning, over 50 spotter planes and helicopters take off and search for the oil. we use satellite images, infrared and thermal photography to map and target the oil. then, the boats go to work. almost 6,000 vessels. these are thousands of local shrimp and fishing boats organized into task forces and strike teams. plus, specialized skimmers from around the world. we've skimmed over 27 million gallons of oil/water mixture and removed millions more with other methods. we've set out more than 8 million feet of boom to protect the shoreline. i grew up on the gulf coast and i love these waters. we can't keep all the oil from coming ashore, but i'm gonna do everything i can to stop it,
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it's been a hot summer across the country already, but this has been an especially long and hot day in parts of the american west. look at some of the high temperatures today. california, nevada, arizona, well over 100 degrees. stress on people and the power grid as a result over several states. apple has called a press conference for tomorrow, and there is much speculation on the web tonight. it will be to announce either a fix or some sort of recall of its new iphone 4 which, as you may know, drops calls if you hold it a certain way. it has been an unwelcome p.r. nightmare for the iconic design and electronics company. construction workers digging at the old site of the world trade center at ground zero here
in manhattan yesterday unearthed a boat encased in mud believed to date back to the 1700s. archaeologists rushed to study it before it deteriorates once exposed to the air and is taken out of the mud. the hull measures about 30 feet and it was found about 30 feet down. they say there used to be a dock there back in the day. up next, an accident-prone bunch of guys who have been making a difference for a good, long time. is because i have to go to the bathroom. and when we're sitting in traffic, i worry i'll have an accident. be right back. so today i'm finally going to talk to my doctor about overactive bladder. [ female announcer ] if you're suffering, today is the day to talk to your doctor and ask about prescription toviaz.
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we're back and it's now time for our making a difference report tonight. here's a first for us. it's the first time we have bestowed this honor on a couple of dummies, but in our own defense, these two guys are the real deal. people are alive today because of them. they are the crash test dummies, the guys who told us to take it from them, we should use our seat belts. in part, thanks to them, we did. they have now entered the smithsonian because they made a difference. their story tonight from nbc's tom costello. >> one, two, one, two. >> reporter: no one ever accused
vince and larry of being very bright. ♪ we are the dummies ♪ crashing on through ♪ busting our heads just for you ♪ >> reporter: but the message was brilliant. >> you could learn a lot from a dummy. buckle your safety belt. >> reporter: from 1985 to 1998, these two hapless crash test dummies were whiplashed from one car wreck to another. a slapstick public service campaign that became one of the most successful ever. >> if we had half a brain we would have buckled up. >> i do have half a brain. >> reporter: in the early '80s, hard linen buckled up. serious warnings about seat belts were ignored. so the cocreator turned to humor. within weeks vince and larry were a part of pop culture. >> there was a magical formula here. people were paying attention. the message was getting across and people actually were buckling their safety belts. >> reporter: now, 25 years after the first spot aired, vince and larry's costumes are being inducted into the smithsonian
along with a pile of heads, arms and legs. associate curator roger white calls them the poster children for car safety in the '80s and '90s. >> americans were finally accepting seat belts after decades of resisting them. >> reporter: in the 13 years the campaign ran, seat belt use jumped from 14% to 79% saving some 85,000 lives. today, david strickland runs the national highway traffic safety administration. >> these two dummies made a huge difference in every american's life in terms of how you approach traffic safety and wearing your belt. >> reporter: seat belt use today has risen to 84%. >> thousands die every year in car accidents because they don't buckle up. >> vince, we're dummies. we don't wear safety belts. >> reporter: not a bad contribution for a couple of dummies. tom costello, nbc news, washington. and that's our broadcast for this thursday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. and we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night.