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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  December 15, 2010 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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years old. and he never imagined facebook. >> see you at 6:00. am e the >> couric: tonight, staring death in the face. members of a florida school board are lucky to be alive. >> please, don't. please. >> couric: after a gunman opens fire. i'm katie couric. also tonight, christmas at the capitol. a spending bill turns into a christmas tree with $8 billion worth of earmarks. wounded warriors speak out about afghanistan. >> are we going to let it be in vain, just pick up and leave? >> couric: and what if every face in a crowd looked exactly the same? it does for victims of face blindness. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening,
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everyone. it's a frightening video that's gone viral and you can only imagine the terror members of that school board in panama city, florida, were feeling when a gunman threatened them, aimed at them, and then opened fire. tonight, we know more about that gunman and what drove him to do this. 56-year-old clay duke, an ex-con was apparently under economic pressure and angry that his wife, a teacher, had been fired. mark strassmann is in panama city tonight. mark, the idea of pulling a weapon on the school board didn't just come to duke yesterday. >> reporter: no, it didn't, katie. in fact police now know clay duke had planned the attack at the school board building for some time. in his trailer they found yesterday's date circled on a calendar. now a word of caution-- some of the following video may be disturbing. >> the school board policy 7.... >> reporter: from the moment clay duke spray painted a "v" on the wall, people in the room sensed something ugly was about
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to happen. then the ex-con startled a routine meeting of the bay district school board again with a pistol. everybody in this room hit the road. >> it was a .9 millimeter but it became a bazooka. that's the way we it. >> reporter: duke cleared the room of everyone except the male members of the board. but watch ginger littleton, the only female member of the school board, snuck back in and swat at him with her purse. >> i don't think anything was going through my mind except for the fact these guys were sitting ducks. >> reporter: duke pointed his gun at littleton's head but never fired. today, knowing she cheated death, she made light of it. >> oh, yes, this is the purse... ( laughter ) shall i-- shall i do my vanna. >> we're going to put some bricks in it for her. >> i have three wonderful daughters and they said, "mom, are you stupid?
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what were you thinking? >> reporter: duke's major grievance was his wife, a teacher fired earlier this year. superintendent bill husfelt tried to talk duke down. he pleaded with the gunman to let other board members go. >> reporter: no luck. in hindsight the "v" duke had spray painted earlier stood for vendetta, the logo of a movie about a mysterious man battling the government. the movie's characters filled duke's facebook page. duke then got more ominous. >> reporter: other board members also pleaded. >> reporter: but duke was in no mood to listen.
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>> he was going to do this. if you could have seen that gentleman's eyes, this was going to happen. >> reporter: suddenly, it did, gunshots pointblank range, targeting superintendent husfelt. >> one hit my board book and my papers on my desk. i was laying down and there was probably inches from where i was laying. >> reporter: incredibly, no one was hit. >> there is nothing short of a miracle that our superintendent is alive and well with us today. >> reporter: alive because of mike jones, the school system chief of security and a former police officer. he came into the room and off camera fired at duke. duke fell wounded, the only person hit. and on the floor, fired one final round, killing himself ending the drama. >> i'm telling you, mike saved our lives.
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>> there's no doubt in my mind if he hadn't did what he did when he did many of us would not be here today. >> reporter: late this afternoon, mike jones did show up here at the school board. inside he debriefed his bosses about what happened. he says he'll tell his story to the media tomorrow. as you might imagine, the hometown hero got lots of hugs around here today. we also learned that ten years ago, jones was on the "oprah" show honored for his work rebuilding bikes and toys for needy kids. his program is called salvage santa. the shooter, clay duke's widow, did speak today. she said that the world and the economy got the better of her husband. >> couric: mark strassmann, an incredible and terrifying story. mark, thanks very much. turning to washington now, where the senate voted today to extend all the bush tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of this year. the vote was 81-19, with 43 democrats, 37 republicans and one independent voting "aye." the house is expected to take up the bill tomorrow.
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it would also cut the social security payroll tax for one year and extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. senate democrats, meanwhile, rolled out another bill today. this one provides more than $1 trillion to keep the government running and a few other things, like $400,000 to commemorate the 1959 visit of the nikita khrushchev to iowa. the money would be used to build the khrushchev in iowa trail for bikers and hikers. sharyl attkisson reports it's just one of $8 billion worth of earmarks in the bill. >> reporter: 'tis the season... >> it's december. it's cold outside. as snow is on the way... >> reporter: so is this year's giant blizzard of earmarks. for all the republican scorn over earmarks their finger prints are all over the ones in the spending bill. >> on the issue of congressional earmarks, as the leader of my party in the senate, i have to lead first by example. >> reporter: mcconnell's earmarks of $650,000 tax dollars
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to advanced genetic technologies, $1 million for a blood center building, $4 million for marijuana eradication. democrats are right in there with billions of dollars worth of their own earmarks, despite their supposed disdain for them. >> i'm somebody who is big on eliminating earmarks in congress. >> reporter: all told, congress added at least 6,600 earmarks worth $8 billion. many of the projects already get millions from the regular federal budget. these are extra sweeters in doled out by members usually without competitive bidding. there's money for the cold fuel alliance. research on cool season legumes. maples, small fruit, and peanuts, management of beavers, blackbirds, potato tests, and noshes weeds. oyster safety, virus-free wine grapes, and cran berry and blueberry disease. >> everybody who took a pledge
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and said we're not doing earmarks going forward, they didn't mean this year. they meant for next year. >> reporter: in other words, congress was for earmarks before they were against them. it's gotten so confusing senator mcconnell said he opens the whole spending bill, his own earmarks included. >> i'm going to vote against things that would arguably benefit my state. >> reporter: one earmark comes from five democrats, spending $10 million of your tax dollars to honor the memory of their controversial colleague john murtha. >> he was the king of earmarks according to many people and a big defender of the earmarks process so it's ironic a memorial foundation in his name is getting funded through earmarks. >> reporter: members of congress committed to the ear said marks before the election, but in case you're wondering there's nothing to stop them from stripping the earmarks out of the spend bill, nothing except themselves. katie. sharyl attkisson reporting from capitol hill. thank you, sharyl. in other news, a generation of
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infants have slept in drop-side cribs but today the government said they can no longer be sold. they're simply too dangerous. the side rail moves up and down, making it easier to lift a baby out of the crib but in some cases, the rail can detach and a baby's head can get stuck between it and the mattress. drop-side cribs are blamed in 32 deaths since 2000. nine million have been recalled in the past five years, but starting next june, only cribs with fixed rails can be sold. the federal government also went after b.p. today, suing the oil giant and eight other companies for the disaster in the gulf. 11 workers were killed when the deepwater horizon rig blew up in april. more than 200 million gallons of oil leaked from the b.p.'s well. the justice department wants the company held liable for billions in the cleanup cost and damage to the environment. jan crawford in washington is our chief legal correspondent. this comes after months of investigation by the justice department. what does it mean for b.p. and the other companies? >> the lawsuit was widely expected, katie. it was really a matter of when, not if the government filed it.
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it accuses the companies of violating several violate laws and safety regulations before the spill, including things like failing to keep that well under control by using the latest and safest technology. now, if b.p. and the other companies are found liable, they could face penalties ranging from $5.4 billion to, if there is extreme negligence, upwards of $21 billion. >> couric: but, jan, these are not criminal charges filed today. are those still possible? >> reporter: absolutely, katie. attorney general eric holder said today's lawsuit is merely a critical step forward and not a final step, which indicates criminal charges may be on the horizon. now, many legal experts i talked to think those charges are likely, so the government can send a message that the conduct was so reprehensible it's criminal and that could mean even more fines and possible jail time for executives if they knew there was a high risk that rig could fail and they deliberately ignored it. >> couric: and i know this is separate from the claims people
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have made for damages as a result of lost wages or property, and the billions b.p. has already spent on those, as well as the cleanup. >> reporter: well, that's right. i mean, b.p. has already set aside $20 billion to pay for the lost income and wages and those claims are being handled separately through the independent administrator, ken feinberg. >> couric: all right, jan crawford in washington. jan, thanks so much. still ahead here on the cbs evening news. he cannot tell one face from another. we're going to tell you about a condition called "face blindness." and they lost limbs in afghanistan. was it worth it? what these marines told us, next.
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>> couric: president obama's long-awaited strategy review of the war in afghanistan is coming out tomorrow. tonight, we get an assessment of the war from some of the men who have been fighting it and who paid a very heavy price. do they think the war and their wounds are worth it? listen now to what they told david martin. >> reporter: if ever marines earned the right to speak their minds about the war, it is these four, all of them gravely wounded by roadside bombs in afghanistan. >> we're the ones paying the price, and we're telling you it's worthwhile. we are the price. the price is right here. that's where it's at. >> reporter: cbs news was there
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in southern afghanistan when sergeant johnny jones got hit. that's him being rushed to a helicopter a stretcher. >> first thing i saw was my legs, and i knew they were gone. >> reporter: he was part of a team that had cleared nearly 50 roadside bombs in five days but the taliban were watching and learning. >> they understand that we have these wands out there. we're sweeping the ground. eventually they figured out that's to find metal so then they come up with components that are nonmetallic. >> they may be kind of in the stone age people but for what they have they are very smart and they can make some very high-tech or low-tech stuff that we can't find. >> reporter: lance corporate mike martinez was a dog handler playing a deadly game of hide and seek against the taliban. it must be a frustrating enemy. they don't stand and fight. >> everything is on their terms. >> reporter: do you get a feeling you're shoveling sand against the tide? this is just going to go on day after day after day? >> people who haven't been there don't understand it.
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but you get in there, you talk to the villagers. you see progress on a day in/day out basis. it's getting better. >> reporter: captain timothy cooper was thrown 180 feet leaving his legs paralyzed. for the others, here is how progress is measured purpose were the people coming over to your side? >> yes. >> absolutely. >> yes. >> it takes courage to come up and talk to me and tell me about i.e.d.s when they know they're putting their own family at risk by doing that. but... >> "we'll burn down your house. we'll kill your livestock. we'll kill your family." >> reporter: it's a grunt's-eye view of a war that changed dramatically since it began. >> my first tour was strictly combat. search out and destroy the enemy. >> reporter: sergeant major raymond mackay was one of the first marines into afghanistan in 2001.
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>> the second time over there, i realized that not everybody is the enemy. they're good people, the afghanis. they want to make a living on their term, not the taliban's. not our terms, but their terms. >> reporter: but is opening a market in southern afghanistan worth this? most people would look at this picture, four men in the prime of their lives, not a good leg among you, and say are we asking too much of our marines? >> no. >> no. >> if i could go back, i would. you know, i'd go back in a heartbeat. >> reporter: their only doubt about the price they paid and continue to pay each day is this... >> are we going to let it be in vain, just pick up and leave, let the country go back to where it was before or worse or are we going to stick it out. >> reporter: four wounded marines are not the final word on whether the u.s. can succeed in afghanistan, but one thing's for certain, if the u.s. fails, it won't be because they weren't
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tough enough. david martin, cbs news, walter reed army medical center. >> couric: tomorrow, we'll take you to sergeant johnny jones' unit in afghanistan and you'll meet the man in charge of finding i.e.d.s before they cause any more american casualties. ,,,,,,
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freezing rain and icy roads are blamed for five deaths in mississippi and alabama. much of the eastern half of the nation is still dealing with
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bitter cold temperatures, in some cases 30 degrees below what's normal for this time of year. an update on dr. jon lapook's story about those silver amalgam dental fillings. millions of people have them and there are questions about whether they're safe. today an expert panel recommended to the f.d.a. that the fillings, which contain mercury, come with warnings about unknown risk for some people, including children and pregnant women. facebook founder mark zuckerberg had quite a status update today. the 26-year-old c.e.o. was named "time's" person of the year. "time" says with half a billion administration facebook has revolutionized the way people around the world interact. just look at this map created by facebook representing the links between ten million pairs of friends. unfortunately, facebook's not always used for friendly purposes. last week, a burglar broke into the home of a "washington post" reporter. among the items stolen, his son's laptop.
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using it, the crook posted a picture of himself on the son's facebook page. he's holding cash and wearing a coat, all stolen from the house. a bold move, but maybe not so smart. facebook has been able to track his locations and is sharing that information with police. and still ahead, what if every face looked the same? for some people it does. we'll have their story next.
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get your first full prescription free and save on refills. have. now a move to protect fastrak users privacy. the big changes coming in the new year. next on cbs 5 no ids wed no ids wed >> couric: all of us have trouble from time to time putting a name to a face, but what if you couldn't tell one face from another because they all look the same? it may sound like science fiction, but cnn's sudden's dr. sanjay gupta, a cbs news contributor, says it's a very real problem for millions of people. >> i have had difficulty recognizing faces for as long as i can remember. >> reporter: his face may not be familiar, but his books should be. neurologist oliver sacks has written ten bestsellers about the way the mind works. one, "awakenings" became a movie, and robin williams' character is based on dr. sacks. >> where are my glasses?
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>> they're on your face. >> thank you. >> reporter: now sacks is revealing his own brain disorder-- an inability to recognize faces. >> facial recognition is an amazing achievement. >> reporter: but for sacks, every face looks pretty much like every other face. it's called face blindness, or prospagnosia can you describe what you're seeing or maybe what you're not seeing? >> i see the features but it doesn't quite add up to a unique image. >> reporter: for example, look at these famous faces, easily identifiable. now look again. it's still the same eyes, nose, and mouth but the face is much harder to recognize. someone who is face blind sees the features but can't place the face. if you can't tell who is who, how do you respond? >> sometimes i kiss or embrace strangers, thinking i know them. >> reporter: it's so bad, that when sacks wrote a book reminiscing about his favorite uncle, he used a picture of someone else. >> when this was published,
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uncle tungsten's children wrote to me indignantly and said, "are you mad? that is not our father and it looks nothing like our father." >> reporter: he fixed it in the paperback. now, he is able to recognize people if he has enough clues. is there anything familiar about this face to you at all? >> i feel it ought to be familiar, and i have a vague sense of familiarity. whoever it is, is obviously eminent. very much at ease with poise and pose. i don't know-- could it be reagan? >> reporter: how did you arrive at that? >> there was a feeling of extreme self-assuredness. >> reporter: harvard researchers studying this disorder estimate one out of 50 people have it. >> with regard to face blindness, we can point to a particular area of the brain and say it comes from here. >> right. and you can also stimulate that area and the person will see faces or hallucinate faces. the sufferers include the artist
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chuck close who gained world wide renown with his portrait of faces. >> we have to prove to the people we see that we care about them even though we're not going to recognize their faces. >> reporter: it's one reason he paints family, like his daughter, maggie, and his wife, leslie. >> there are millions of us, of my sort, around who require, if not help some sort of understanding or some sort of tolerance. >> actually, my entire family has face blindness. >> reporter: by going public, oliver sacks hopes face blindness will be send much like dyslexia, a little bit of recognition for those who can't recognize. for cbs news, this is dr. sanjay gupta, new york. >> couric: and that is the cbs evening news. i'm katie couric. thanks for watching. i'll see you tomorrow. until then, for the latest news online, you can check out cbsnews.com. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. caption colorado, l.l.c. you can lie but your fastrak knows the truth. how that little device is speeding up divorce proceedings and the new effort to keep that information private. once again, asking for help. the one case that has oakland police calling on the fbi. and a grim conversation topic for your next water cooler chat. your cubicle space could be shrinking. good evening, i'm grace lee, in for dana king. >> i'm allen martin. that little gadget that pays your toll could come back to haunt you in a legal battle. the fastrak transponder collects information you might want to keep quiet. and it can be used as evidence. but today transit authorities announced changes to its privacy policy. simon perez shows us what it means for fastrak users. >> reporter: allen, every

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