tv NBC Nightly News NBC May 9, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
on the broadcast tonight, demanding answers, families of veterans banding together as explosive new allegations surface from another whistle blower in the widening health care scandal at the va. >> show of force, a triumphant vladimir putin takes a victory lap in crimea and citizens staring down tanks. delaying motherhood. women waiting longer than ever for women waiting to have children. the new report out tonight with surprising numbers. >> the kill switch, if it's effective at a combatting thefts, why isn't it available everywhere? "nightly news" begins now. from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening.
the health care scandal surrounding the department of veterans affairs has widened. the investigation that started with one va hospital in phoenix has intensified. it's spreading out from there including east to washington. veterans' families are mobilized because of the charges returning vets have been ignored, mistreated and have died because of this. and a new whistleblower emerged tonight telling nbc news that an alleged effort to cook the books at another va facility. we begin in phoenix and today's visit from a decorated veteran who happens to be an arizona senator, john mccain. kel kelly o'donnell covering in phoenix for us tonight. kelly, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. whistleblowers have come forward to spoke to nbc news. newly surfaced documents are shedding light what practices were like concerning patient appointments and here in arizona
a town hall meeting brought the anger to the surface. in phoenix today, the growing controversy over veterans' care is personal and often painful. >> it took months for them to see him. it took months. >> reporter: families and veterans poured out their frustration. >> these are all people. we're not numbers. >> reporter: and their grief. >> my dad is no longer here, and i know there is something done wrong. >> reporter: the phoenix va medical center is under investigation over allegations that staffers kept secret patient appointment lists to conceal long waiting times from the official records. jim lily is a vietnam veteran under care in phoenix. when you first learned about the list, what did you think? >> we were betrayed, myself, other veterans, we went into the service to serve our country. >> reporter: senator john mccain says the evidence he's seen so far points to a coverup. when you met with the local va officials, did they acre knowledge an alternate patient list? >> of course not. they denied everything.
>> reporter: mccain says falsifying patient wait times may be widespread. >> we're hearing reports of atlanta, colorado, california, a number of other va facilities where the same kind of scandalous procedures are being pursued. >> reporter: brian turner is a va medical scheduling clerk in san antonio, texas who says clerks were coached to change numbers and dates to erase wait times of weeks or months. >> if you have a longer time frame than the 14-day window, you would receive a report, and it would tell you, you need to change this. >> reporter: turner says he has not seen a separate or secret waiting list. but claims he was told to change dates. >> my belief is we're changing numbers in order for the va to reflect they have a shorter wait period time. >> reporter: the san antonio va
told nbc news, it reviewed turner's claims last month and found they were not substantiated. given the scope of the allegations, mccain says he's disappointed in eric shinseki. >> i would have expected him if this is this big and wide spread as it appears to be, he should have known. >> reporter: and brian, tonight new information from wyoming, nbc news has obtained an e-mail written by a cheyenne va staffer to other employees that appears to offer coaching on changing the dates. it says quote, yes, it is gaming the system a bit. the e-mail goes on to say, the front office gets very upset when wait times are longer than 14 days. with that new information, secretary shinseki ordered a specific investigation of the cheyenne office, placed an employee on leave, and said if this is true, the behavior is unacceptable. >> what a mess. kelly o'donnell starting off our coverage in phoenix tonight. kelly, thanks.
retired u.s. army colonial jack jacobs is our military affairs analyst but more importantly, he's the recipient of a medal of honor and va health care and by his reckoning somewhere north of a dozen surgeries since coming home from the war and still have some shrapnel in you, i know. >> va is a huge bureaucracy, routine things in a routine way but any physician will tell you medicine is not routine. no matter what runs the va, no matter how much money we throw at a it, it will never deliver what we want, timely first class medical care to those who served and it has to go. there is no way under the current system to get what we want. veteran goes to the doctor, doctor treats veteran and the government sends the doctor a check. to make it any more difficult for veterans means we broke trust for those who fought for us. >> so you're arguing for a total
scrapping -- >> the entire va medical system needs to go. it hasn't delivered what we need and can't deliver what we need. it's senseless to have a costly system that can't give us what we need. >> jack jacobs, comments he's submitting to the new york times. we'll see what becomes of this idea. overseas tonight, a triumphant and defiant source as vladimir putin showed up in newly an necked crimea to celebrate ve day. about putin's claim this week that he had pulled back his forces from the boarder with ukraine, u.s. government today released satellite images saying they appear to show putin's claim is not true. the one on the left shows no russian forces. around about last october the one on the right showing them still there as of two days ago. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel in ukraine for us again tonight. richard, good evening.
>> reporter: good evening, brian. it was another bold move from putin. today he visited crimea which until recently was part of ukraine. the state department called it provocative. nato said it was inappropriate, but he still came. vladimir putin isn't easily detoured. today on a surprise visit, he sailed defiantly to a russian naval base in the next territory of crimea and said effectively, russia is doing what it wants. everybody should respect our lawful interest he said, including restoring historic injustice. he believes the breakup of the soviet union was an injustice and aim as to restore the glory. so do these ukrainians in donetsk who gathered to remember the victory over nazi germany. then, pro russian militia men
marched in. they got big cheers for fighting another regime they call fascist -- their own government. they are here to rally against new enemies, the government in. and they say its backers in washington. they put down the flowers, got on open trucks and drove to a nearby city to join a battle that's been raging for three days. ukrainian troops had come in force to try to retake the police station. the pro russian militias that occupied it fought back. terrified civilians tried to dodge bullets. they escaped their homes, not all of them managed it. while residents tried to evacuate one injured man, another was hit nearby and then another and then the crack of a bullet right overhead sent everyone running. some civilians joined the fight trying unarmed to stop the troops.
eventually the ukrainian soldiers managed to take the police station, but now it was burning. the troops left past rows of angry civilians and fired overhead to hold the crowd back and got into armored vehicles and left town in a hurry. the ukrainian government wanted to send a message to the militia and supporters today, and it was willing to scorch the earth to do it. officials here say seven people were killed today and this same violent scenario, brian, could repeat itself in the coming days. >> richard engel again tonight from donetsk, ukraine. richard, thanks. we're learning in this country what could be a first in aviation. a near collision between a commercial airline and an unmanned drone. it happened in tallahassee, florida skies. it happened back in march. the pilot of a u.s. airways regional jet reported the drone got so close to his aircraft he was sure he had collided with it. an inspection of the aircraft
found no damage. the faa is investigating the incident. the nba turned to a veteran of the business world to become the interim ceo of the clippers. he's richard parsons, he's a former chairman of citigroup and former head of time warner. it comes ten days after donald sterling was banned from the league over racist comments he made. the league is trying to force a sale of the team. in the meantime, the clippers play at the staples center in l.a. series tied 1-1. as the man once said, it looks like we're in for nasty weather. a rough mother's day weekend for millions of people. more weather danger ahead from the great lakes on down to the gulf of mexico. some big cities in the severe threat including st. louis, memphis, houston. tomorrow the worst of it moves to threaten kansas city, oklahoma city and on sunday mother's day. the severe threat area expands from central texas all the way north to chicago and beyond. and on this mother's day
weekend, new numbers out today show that more than ever before women are waiting longer to have children, if they can afford to. in the last decade or so, there is a 35% increase among women 40 to 44 having children for the first time. then there is this number, over the past four decades, a 900% increase among women over 35 having a first child. we get more tonight from nbc's janet shamlian. >> reporter: 36-year-old ellen has spent years building a career as an ob/gyn surgeon but having a family was also part of her plan. >> i realized i needed to do something before i became a desperate person looking to find anybody to marry just so i can have a baby. >> reporter: so two years ago at 34, ellen froze her eggs at the cleveland clinic. her mom karen helped pay for the procedure.
ellen is among a growing number of women freezing their eggs. no longer called experimental, many say it's insurance against an uncertain future. >> they don't have the panic of i've got to get out and meet mr. right. they can put that on hold and think about their career and when the time is right, they have their eggs to go back and consider for transfer at that point. >> reporter: freezing eggs is expensive and rarely covered by health plans. the average cost for one round is $13,000 and also an annual storage fee and the longer a woman waits, the less likely eggs will be healthy. that's why companies are cutting costs or offering payment plans to make freezing eggs affordable. >> how are you feeling today? >> reporter: but doctors caution the older you are, the riskier it is for mother and baby.
julie and husband ed had their first child without high tech help when julie was 39. >> i developed gestational diabetes, on insulin, having blood pressure issues. >> reporter: but max and lily are doing great and each mother's day is a reminder how lucky they are. still ahead on this friday evening, the kill switch. it does just what it says, a big part of a new effort to fight back against this nation-wide epidemic of smart phone thefts and later, is apple about to make their largest purchase ever?
in california tonight there is new legislation that could start a trend. it's aimed at what could be a staggering number of smart phone thefts. one in ten americans have been hit. if this new so-called kill switch effort is successful, it could protect cell phone users across this country, and a lot of people would love to know why they don't have it already. we get our report from miguel.
>> reporter: brazen cell phone robberies are an epidemic often carried out in daylight. 3.1 million americans had their smart phone stolen last year alone. one out of every ten of us. 23-year-old megan was talking to her mom on her new iphone when it was stolen and she was shot to death. >> we need to act quickly to stop the growing trend of violent cell phone thefts. >> reporter: her family wants all cell phones to have a so-called kill switch which they believe could save megan's life. >> if you create something where the phone becomes a brick and doesn't work, it's not appealing to steal it. >> reporter: in california the senate just approved a measure requiring cell phones to have a kill switch by next year. software allowing consumers to disable a device remotely rendering it useless. >> the only way to put a stop to this is when we get to the point where most of these devices have a kill switch. >> reporter: the bill has critics.
the trade group that represents mobile carriers who make billions on cell phone insurance says safety is their top priority, but are against a kill switch law. state-by-state technology mandates stifle innovation to the ultimate detriment to the consumer. cell phone theft is a crime of opportunity. it happens most often in the middle of a day, often in a restaurant. a study shows three out of four people will put themselves in danger just to get their cell back. >> it has all of my stuff, pictures and text messages. >> reporter: sarah mcguire was desperate when her cell was stolen. she did what police say you should never do, chased after the thief. >> we have one individual, his throat was slashed, people punched. >> reporter: a dangerous trend on the rise and now a proposed law, a kill switch many believe could save lives. we're back in a moment with
♪ johnny football, how we love you, how we tingle when the football flies ♪ >> one woman's now famous tribute to the quarterback aggie's fans call johnny football, johnny manziel but a funny thing happened, johnny football watched as clowney went first pick to houston. manziel went 22nd, looking more like johnny free fall as the writers had it but he's johnny cleveland going to the browns. all 32 nfl teams were able to say they got someone special. back to music for a moment. how about dr. dre? perhaps you own a pair of beats by dre. you've seen them on the street, musicians, athletes and dre with
his partner, fellow music producer jimmy may have hit the jackpot. if the rumored talks with apple are finalized, apple would pay over $3 billion for beats, the hardware and streaming music service. it would be apple's biggest purchase ever capping music and the life that got off to a rough start in compton section of l.a. a new piece from an american tragedy had us thinking today about the humanities. it's grainy film of the disaster in the hands of the ocean county, new jersey historical society. it shows a different angel of the explosion in lake hurst, new jersey 77 years ago. the hydrogen filled luxury ship went down in flames and took 36 souls with it. local historians say they don't think this clip has ever been broadcast before. sometimes it helps to speak the local language. it's so true in so many foreign countries as it is in boston where the highway sign guys felt compelled to use the local
dialect begging drivers use your blinker. let's just say with great affection, there are some drivers in the bay state who will be surprised to learn there is a device on the steering column in the car that could be used to signal your intention to change lanes. when we come back tonight, kids of all ages working over time on projects that all begin with dear mom.
finally tonight, did you know mother's day turns 100 years old this weekend? it was woodrow wilson declaring the second sunday in may as mother's day. contrary to popular myth, it was not signed by anyone named hallmark. speaking of which, however, countless cards are being bought or better yet, made by children everywhere. rehema ellis takes us inside the creative process with the help of some kids. >> my name is elijah. >> my name is -- >> reporter: and this is alex h. >> i don't know my whole name. >> reporter: alex is working on that.
but for now, he and his kindergarten classmates have a bigger task at hand. is this your card? can we see your card? they have cards to make as special as their mom. >> when i think about my mom, i think about chocolate cake. >> when i think about my mom, it makes me happy and warm inside. >> my mom is very nice and loveful. >> i like her face when she puts lipstick on and makeup. >> reporter: they also have plans to arrange. >> we would make breakfast for her and bring it into her bed. >> wash the dishes for her. i love washing dishes. >> i am going to make my mom a special dinner. >> i will buy my mom a teapot. >> reporter: somehow the card
making turned into something silly. imagine that with six-year-olds. >> i can get lost in a sea of children. this is the best part about a mother's day when you get smothered by children, right? in the end every card beautiful, unique and full of gratitude. >> thank you for always giving me breakfast, for letting me watch movies a lot. >> for cooking dinner. >> for cuddling. >> for always making my lunch. >> for loving. >> i love you. >> i love you. >> i love you. >> happy mother's day! >> reporter: rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. >> and that's what it is supposed to be about. that's our broadcast on this friday night and for this week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we, of course, hope to see you back here on monday night. wishing all the moms out there a happy mother's day and we wish you a good weekend. good night.
nbc bay area news starts now. what that teaches our kids is that you have to lie about who you are in this world in order to keep your job. >> right now at 6:00, parents wondering tonight if a bay area catholic diocese is teaching a lesson in intolerance. good evening and thanks for joining us. i'm jessica adwe dweeguirraguir. >> the deadline is today to sign a reality clause, morality
behavior in and out of the classroom. this is a delicate topic. what's the church's response? >> reporter: the church says that it's a broad definition in the actual contract and that they don't go into details for a specific reason. they just didn't want to. they were only trying to update the contract from 2013. but parents we talked to say it's taking it way too far. one parent told us she is going to take her jewish daughter out of the catholic church entirely if teachers start being punished for their personal beliefs. >> so here we have our bishop in the oakland diocese telling the teachers in his 54 catholic schools sign this pledge as part of your contract or you may not be employed next year. >> reporter: a particular clause for 2014 has assembly woman nancy skinner and some parents upset. >> it took a w
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