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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  May 18, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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on the broadcast tonight, the guessing game along the mississippi river. with a ton of water on the way, how do you know when it's time to go? >> the fallout and the media frenzy after the stunning revelations about arnold schwarzenegger. how he fathered a child with another woman. tonight, new details and talk of an investigation. in our "education nation" report, the agonizing lottery for kids and their families to get into the best schools, but are they the best schools? and they're back, and they're getting on a lot of people's nerves tonight. what the buzz is all about. also tonight, what happened when the pilot of air force one thought he was not clear to land. "nightly news" begins now.
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captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. it is witheringly slow, relentless, and massive. this flood of 2011 is running behind predictions in terms of when it will crest in each community downriver. that means a longer wait for the water to do its damage, and that means people waiting longer to leave their homes. and look at the damage so far. 2 million acres of farmland flooded in the delta region. that's equal to about 1% of all the cropland we have in the country. crop loss is estimated at $300 million, but it's so early, farmers in louisiana alone could lose that much, and covering it all again tonight, anne thompson. she's in louisiana. good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the flood gauge here at butte
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larose which measures some 20 feet is under water and many of its residents are gone. peace and tranquility are why people live here, but today it's too quiet. most of its 800 residents are gone, ahead of the flood expected to do historic damage. >> there's no personal belonging that should be more important than a life. >> reporter: michelle is going to leave friday, keeping track of the rising water day by day. >> they said it's going to crest between the 23rd and 25th at 27 feet. >> reporter: today, the atchafalaya river stands just under 21 feet, and half of her dock is in the canal. >> knowing what happens with hurricanes and knowing what north nature can do with water, you can't pay me to stay. >> reporter: with more than 10% of the gates in the morganza spillway now open, no one is quite sure when the water will arrive, frustrating some residents trying to plan their escape.
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>> it goes to show you they don't know. they don't know what is going to happen. >> reporter: the army corps of engineers says its plan is working as expected with an unexpected assist from the drought. >> as the water comes out of the morganza spillway, it's being sucked up and absorbed so fast from the earth that it's not flowing as fast as it should, which is a good thing. >> reporter: in stevensville, protecting the elementary school is a community effort, but the principal is taking no chances. today, he ended the school year two weeks early. >> all the equipment has been removed and the furniture has been removed. we're trying to save as much of the building as we can. >> this congressman grew up here and represents six of the eight threatened parishes. >> we seem to keep taking it on the chin, but we get up and go about our lives afterwards. >> reporter: even when their homes are sacrificed to protect others. when the flood arrives, it's expected to stay for weeks and leave damage that could take years to repair. brian.
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>> anne thompson starting us off from louisiana, thanks. now we go to the west coast. the fallout from yesterday's bombshell out of california, the revelation that arnold schwarzenegger fathered a child with a member of the household staff. "time" magazine has decided to broaden the topic this week, you might say, very little ambiguity there. that's the first look at their new cover for the week. miguel almaguer reports about what we learned about the situation today from los angeles. >> arnold, any comment? >> reporter: news arnold schwarzenegger fathered a child out of wedlock broke tuesday morning. by late afternoon, it turned to the focus on the family housekeeper for 20 years, mildred baena, the mother of the former governor's now teenage child. in bakersfield, 110 miles north of los angeles, media gathered in an upper middleclass community for any sign of the mother. neighbors say she was last seen here the day before the scandal broke. >> it's saddening because of the
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family and especially the young boy who is going to be caught up in all this. >> reporter: the former first family's private drama is unfolding in the most private way. >> new details coming up. >> we'll talk about arnold schwarzenegger, infidelity, sex. >> birth certificates and property records are being scoured for the smallest details. >> the one thing i'll give the media credit for, they haven't run the pictures of the kid, but somebody will. that's the kind of world we live in. >> reporter: after schwarzenegger and shriver released separate statements on tuesday, the former governor was spotted leaving his office without comment. meanwhile, shriver was in chicago on stage with oprah winfrey. she never spoke of her husband, or his infidelity, but received loud applause had the two spoke of honesty. at the state capitol, some lawmakers are asking for a full investigation into the former governor's conduct. >> i would like to know if there are any costs the people of california or if campaign funds
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might have been used to perpetuate the cover-up that has gone on for seven years that schwarzenegger was governor of california. >> reporter: experts say the former governor's political career may have already been over. he left state office with low approval ratings. tonight, he and maria shriver are asking for privacy. brian, they say they will release no further statement. >> miguel, thanks. now to the scandal involving serious sex crime charges against the head of the international monetary fund, dominique strauss-kahn. his lawyers are going to court tomorrow to try to persuade a judge he should be allowed to bail out of rikers island jail here in new york. meanwhile, in france, where bad behavior by men is often de rigueur and private public figures often get to have private lives, there's some rethinking going on. michelle is in paris tonight. good evening.
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>> reporter: hi, brian. the initial angry shock over the arrest, the talk of conspiracy theories have evolved into a much closer look at his behavior in the last few years, and in this city where flirtation is almost a part of daily life, a closer look at french society itself. the uproar started with the sight of the handcuffs, the walk for the camera. >> the reaction, shock to everything. >> reporter: and growing. a young journalist who claimed in the past strauss kahn had attacked her regrets not pressing charges nine years ago and considers doing so. there's an affair he had three years ago with a subordinate who said he coerced her and, quote, had a problem. another journalist who said he repeatedly offered her interviews in exchange for sex, which she declined. a politician who said he groped her, and still more, according to writer and historians. >> a lot of women are talking to each other in the political
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circle, in the media circle, saying there were a witness, they had encounters with him where they could sense he was an aggressive womanizer. >> reporter: not necessarily criminal, but menany here in france say such things are often simply brushed aside. >> it's good for the women, it's good for them to speak about the sexual harassment. >> reporter: a popular online journalist is also asking why didn't the press talk about his private life? this ought to be a lesson for no longer ignoring certain characteristics. >> the french are opening the conversation about what is private and public, what is maybe aggressive courtship, womanizing, and criminal conduct. where is the border there? >> reporter: and what that border should be between
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acceptable and unacceptable behavior. one paper said strauss-kahn's only problem was the way he treated women, and the french are asking the question we have had to ask in the u.s. so many times recently. for such an intelligent, successful man, the front-runner to be the next french president, if this happened the way his accuser said it did, how could he have risked everything like this, brian? >> michelle in paris for us tonight. thanks. in this country, news about a difficult subject, the sexual abuse crisis in the catholic church. it's about a new study commissioned by the church and how few people will be satisfied when they hear the conclusion. the question was what caused the crisis? why did so many priests abuse children? our senior investigative correspondent lisa myers reports tonight on these controversial findings. >> reporter: the report's more significant findings, that the permissive culture of the '60s and '70s created stress for
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priests poorly trained to deal with it, and the surge of sexual abuse by priests mirrored transient society. some call it blaming woodstock. >> there was a number of types of deviant behavior that increased in the '60s and '70s and we saw the increase in abuse cases in the church was consistent with some of the other patterns of behavior. >> researchers from john jay college of criminal justice also found neither celibacy or homosexuality were to blame. that gay priests were not significantly more likely to abuse minors than heterosexual priests. surprisingly, the report takes issue with the term pedophile priest, saying less than 5% of the thousands of priests accused of abuse met the definition of pedophile. researchers say reports of abuse have dropped sharply since the mid-'80s. the bishops credit their reform. >> the study shows what we're doing works. >> reporter: some victims of abuse say the report is flawed
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because it relies on numbers provided by the cathric church, and undercounts victims. >> the bishops are using this moment to push responsibility off on somebody else. >> reporter: some say the church hierarchy has turned a blind eye to abuse. >> the problem is the power structure and the fact that bishops are not punished, cardinals are not removed, and yet this report avoids that reality like the plague. >> reporter: all sides agree that for decades, the church failed to put children first. lisa myers, nbc news, washington. the fallout continues from the killing of osama bin laden. at the pentagon today, the top two men in charge, the defense secretary and the head joint of the chiefs sat down to talk to reporters. both men clearly frustrated with how much talk there's already been about the raid and both men are convinced somebody knew bin laden was in the secret compound where navy s.e.a.l.s eventually found him and shot him. >> as part of that deficit reduction effort, it's my supposition, a supposition
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shared by a number in this government that somebody had to know. we have no idea who or no proof or no evidence. >> and alongside there secretary gates, was admiral mike mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs who expressed his own frustration at the number of people, including retired military, who have been talking publicly about the details of this raid on bin laden's compound. he said they need to stop. >> a few weeks back when an airplane carrying michelle obama was forced to abort a landing and then circle around before finally landing at andrew's airforce base, we said at the time it's a practice that happens quite often at busy airports. a lot of us were on planes who had to skip a landing, climb back, and try again. and now it's happened to the president of the united states. air force one was on approach to land bradley international airport in hartford today when the pilot didn't like the weather he saw approaching the field, and now we get to hear what it sounded like over the
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radio between the tower and the preside president's 747. >> the tower then told another aircraft in the area what had just transpired. >> actually, the vip just missed approach so he's going to come back for another try. once he gets on the ground, i'm expecting 20 minutes to a half hour from now. >> the president, of course, landed just fine, or you would have heard to the contrary by now. he was exactly two minutes late, and as the calm, business-like tone of the radio transmissions indicates, nobody was ever in any danger. as expected, congresswoman gabby giffords had surge ray today to replace a piece of her skull that was removed after she was shot in the head in january. it's a plastic, computer-generated instrument. she's recovering on schedule
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tonight in a hospital in houston. her husband, mark kelly, of course, is in space. as shuttle commander. they're now docked at the internuncial space station. when we come back, anxious kids and parents. they have put everything on the line for a spot in the charter school, but do the schools really deliver? and later, a big buzz in a big part of the country. a special appearance for a limited time only. what will it be next?
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we're back with tonight's education nation report. it's about charter schools in this country. they're in great demand and short supply. so parents and children lay it all on the line, sometimes entering harrowing lotteries to get in or not. our education correspondent, rehema ellis, reports on the
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tense waiting game for the relatively few spots and the questions being raised about whether charter schools are truly better schools. >> reporter: for parents and their children, it can be agonizing. >> i'm a little nervous. >> reporter: waiting and hoping their lottery number will come up for a seat in a public charter school. >> do you have butterflies in your stomach? >> in my feet, in my toes. >> reporter: linda henderson-smith doesn't like the process. >> i'm not much for gambling for education. >> reporter: still, she's here, desperate for her two children to avoid their district elementary school. the same is true for sherry way, mother of three. they're all clinging to a long shot. 329 students are competing for just 45 open seats at the cab academy of technology and environment. it's a k-eighth grade charter school outside of atlanta. classes are about the same size as traditional schools with an average of one teacher to every 24 teachers.
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>> we're not barred with red tape, we're not limited with bureaucratic issues. i think we have the freedom and the innovation to do so much with these students. >> reporter: in reading, math, and science, the students scored 98% above the district and 78% above the state. for all the excitement around charter schools, there's also growing concerns that overall, they may not be the answer for what ails america's public schools. >> they're no silver bullet. charters on the whole don't get better results than public schools. >> reporter: a recent study found only 17% offer superior education. 37% were worse. about half produced the same results as traditional public schools. linda henderson-smith's children didn't get in. >> he's crying. he's not happy about it. >> reporter: sherry way's lucky number came up, but for only one of her three kids. parents jumping at a chance to give their children a good education.
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fighting the odds. rehema ellis, nbc news, stone mountain, georgia. up next here tonight, two pop culture icons in the news. one from right now and one from the past.
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the forbes 2011 celebrity power list is out. the 100 most influential, popular, and most compensated famous people. justin bieber debuts on the list at number three. at age 17, he's pulled in $53 million over the last year. oprah knocked out of first place. at number one, laida gaga, a staggering $91 million in earnings, 32 million facebook followers. 10 million twitter followers. if you don't understand the attraction, you don't understand
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these ga grk a fans, started out camping yesterday, that would be tuesday, outside 30 rock, for ga grk a's appearance on "snl," that would be this coming saturday week. a long week in mostly rain. another celebrity under fire. public health advocates are pressuring mcdonald's to retire ronald, as in ronald mcdonald. protesters may show up at the annual meeting tomorrow to say a clown shouldn't be used to promote fast food. and a letter to that effect signed by 500 health officials appeared in several big newspapers today. separately marketing experts on the web wonder if ronald the grown man walking around as a clone with the hair and shoes isn't these days a bit weathered. someone wrote he was skivvy, seemed a little harsh. for its part, mcdonald's defended the happy meals and says the company takes their responsibility of marketing to children in this country seriously.
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up next here tonight, a whole lot of loud guests are back. they're decidedly not welcome.
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finally tonight, think of what we have reported on this year. record snows, record tornadoes,
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record rains, record flooding in 2011, and it's just may. what will it be next? all we're missing is the locusts. well, would you believe the cicadas are coming? they have been living underground for 13 years as part of their life cycle, so it makes perfect sense that this will be the year we'll have to deal with them, too. kevin tibbles reports tonight on the buzz sweeping the american south. ♪ >> reporter: they're playing a little louder in the honky-tonk of nashville these days. musicians in the music city have to compete for your ears with a band that hasn't been heard around here for 13 years. they are the cicadas. those inch-long, red-eyed noise makers that crawl out of the ground, sprout wings, and call for a mate. frank heal is an entmologist
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with the university of tennessee. >> you get a gazillion, they make a lot of noise. >> they could get up to 100 decibels or so. >> that's a lot. >> thing of them as bioacoustic instruments. >> reporter: like guitars. >> just like guitars. here in music city, they're making a lot of noise, aren't they? >> reporter: yes, they are. it's all part of their genetic makeup. this year's brew, the largest in the world, would awaken from a 13-year slumber and line dance across the better part of 13 states. go forth and multiply. though perfectly harmless bugs have caused quite a flap on twitter and youtube, some brave souls are eating them. after such a long wait, why not celebrate with a cicada party? >> we had ear plugs we sold out of immediately because they get loud, beer mugs, coffee mugs, posters. >> reporter: this girl is an 8-year-old cicada hunter. you can tell she likes them by her necklace and the dozens she has in her box.
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what are they doing? >> just making a lot of noise. >> reporter: and within five weeks, they'll sing, they will mate, and they will die. now, that even sounds like a country western song. kevin tibbles, nbc news, nashville. >> terrific news. that's our broadcast for this wednesday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. as always, we hope to see you tomorrow evening. right now at 6:00, caught on top, a man goes undercover to expose a restaurant's illegal practices. a story you'll see only on nbc bay area. also ahead, what san francisco police officers will soon be wearing in the wake of several allegations of police misconduct. and it's considered a private family matter, but one bay area city is putting the issue of circumcision before voters. the news at 6:00 starts


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