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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  December 30, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm PDT

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crane. see you at 6:00. >> smith: tonight, a vicious storm is on the move. it caused a 100-car pileup in the plains,but not before clobbering l.a. with hurricane- force winds, it even brought winter to the desert. i'm harry smith. also tonight, the road to recovery: fewer americans are applying for jobless benefits than at any time in two and a half years. is the economy finally regaining momentum? plus... >> either you push forward with the things that you were doing yesterday, or you start dying. >> smith: we say good-bye to 2010, and to those who left us. ♪ stormy weather... captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric.
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>> smith: good evening. katie is off tonight. it is fast and furious-- the winter storm that slammed into the pacific coast yesterday is heading east tonight. after rolling over several western states, that system is now pummeling a huge area from the southwest up through the plains, and it's leaving a path of destruction. homes flooded, trees toppled, and bill whitaker reports, it's making for a miserable holiday week for millions. >> reporter: from the pacific to the mississippi, winter weather is wreaking havoc. freezing rain and high winds led to a 100-car pileup in fargo, north dakota. iowa was shrouded in dense fog. and california can't seem to get a break as drenching rains move out, wicked winds blow in. frigid gales and gusts, up to 94 miles per hour, lashed l.a., knocking out power, toppling trees on to cars. >> before i knew it, i had a
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tree in front of my windshield. >> reporter: north of l.a., in lamont, california, the last of the rain flooded an irrigation canal. 120 households were told to evacuate. as the rain moved east, it fell as heavy snow in the mountains, closing the main highway to las vegas for five hours, hampering the search for a missing snowboarder in tahoe-- her body was found today. this nasty storm created nasty conditions across the west. heavy snow in washington, snowy whiteouts in new mexico. >> it's crazy. it's freezing cold. >> reporter: subfreezing temperatures blanketed the sierra, and brought wild weather to usually mild arizona. >> i didn't know it snowed in flagstaff, arizona, or arizona, period. >> reporter: kids liked it. the departing storm has left california waterlogged and weary. in mud-caked highland, the martinez family, who used all their savings to save their home from foreclosure, now may lose it to mud. >> it's a disaster. we're not going to be able to move back in the house.
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>> reporter: damage to this highland community now estimated at $17 million. almost no one here has flood insurance, and they have no idea how they're going to pay for this rebuilding and repair. harry. >> smith: bill whitaker in highland california, tonight. thanks. here in new york, mayor michael bloomberg said today just about every street has finally been plowed, some four days after the blizzard struck. and the backlog of passengers at the airports is clearing, too, although piles of unclaimed luggage remain at newark's liberty airport. despite weather, the big new year's celebration in times square will go on tomorrow night. today held the final dress rehearsal for the ball drop. one million people are expected to be there to ring in 2011. the news on jobs and the economy has been more positive lately. today, the labor department reported 388,000 americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week. that's a drop of 34,000 from the week before, and the fewest new claims since july of 2008.
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it also makes four straight weeks of flat or declining claims, and as don teague reports, it's another sign the economy may be turning a corner. >> reporter: in suburban dallas, bill hair's computer repair business is doing something now it hasn't done in two years-- hiring new employees, three in just the last two weeks. >> i see a lot of businesses have held back and they're now realizing it's time to move forward. >> reporter: hair's sudden hiring spree isn't over. he expects to add three more employees some time next year, starting at $12 an hour. >> i feel very lucky. i learn every day. >> reporter: and if the number of people filing for unemployment continues moving lower, that means what's happening here is happening elsewhere. businesses finally hiring. >> this week we passed that threshold. we may not stay there but at least it's part of an ongoing downward trend but it is a really good sign that we're heading in the right direction.
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>> reporter: still, nearly nine million people are receiving unemployment benefits, and economists say new applications for benefits will have to drop from their current level to below 375,000 to make a significant dent in unemployment. this miami unemployment office still had plenty of people searching for jobs today. >> let's try to find some work. >> reporter: and back in texas, ryan holland, who has been looking for a job since he was laid off in april, says competition for good jobs is still intense. >> you've got to be best of the best to really land the type of job that you want to land. >> reporter: still, holland is looking on the bright side. with his wife caring for their newborn, he's helping run her growing internet coupon business a business that once holland finds his own job will need new employees of its own. while today's numbers are a start, economists will now focus on next friday's report on the number of jobs created or lost
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in december, and that could tell us whether the employment picture is finally, really improving. harry. >> smith: don teague in dallas tonight, thank you. the coming year will be a big one for ex-presidents george w. bush and bill clinton, as well as millions of others born in 1946. the first of the baby boomers are turning 65. that makes them eligible for medicare, and that has huge implications for all of us. sharyl attkisson explains. >> reporter: the day after tomorrow, the first baby boomers will celebrate the big 6-5. and they're not just getting older, they're getting more costly. boomers are the 77 million americans born from 1946-64, beginning january 1, 10,000 a day will turn 65. that will continue for the next 19 years. >> the retirement of the baby boom generation will bring a tsunami of spending that will cause a severe problem for the
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federal government's budget over time. >> reporter: take medicare, health care for the elderly and disabled. the number of people eligible will nearly double from 46 million to 80 million by the time all the boomers reach 65. it's estimated the cost will grow from $500 billion a year today to $929 billion by 2020. >> ultimately we're going to have to make tough choices about how much health care can we afford and sustain and how are we going to change our payments is to make sure that it doesn't bankrupt the country. because if there's one thing that could bankrupt the united states, it's out-of-control health care costs. >> reporter: medicare is already under-funded by at least $23 trillion. that's the difference between the benefits promised and the taxes actually being paid in to medicare. it could go bankrupt as early as 2017. yet, americans still, apparently want it all. according to a new poll, they don't want to raise the age for medicare, and a majority of both democrats and republicans, young and old, would rather raise taxes than cut benefits.
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>> what are you talking about? >> reporter: the health care town hall meetings gave a glimpse into how americans react when they think their benefits might be cut. >> this is anarchy! anarchy! to say the system-- americans will ultimately have to work longer and get used to less government help. the question is not if change will have to be made but when politicians choose to make them. harry. >> smith: sharyl attkisson in washington tonight. thank you. tea party republican christine o'donnell today fiercely denied accusations that she diverted campaign funds to her own pocket. o'donnell ran for the u.s. senate in delaware but lost. chief legal correspondent jan crawford reports o'donnell is not shying away from the controversy. >> reporter: under scrutiny by federal prosecutors for campaign spending, christine o'donnell today came out swinging. she appeared on every morning
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television show to confront allegations she misused campaign funds. >> well, you know, it's obviously politically motivated. >> reporter: federal prosecutors are reviewing allegations that o'donnell paid for meals, gas, other and expenses with political contributions. that's illegal until federal election rules. >> did you use campaign money to pay your rent or pay your personal expenses? >> no, absolutely not. there has been no impermissible use of campaign funds. and, you know, you've got to look at how many ridiculous accusations have been taken out of context. >> reporter: o'donnell says the charges are dirty tricks by the political establishment. now, if that sounds familiar, it should. that was often her response during the campaign whenever she faced embarrassing revelations. >> when they can't attack you on substance, they try to call you names. they try to make up stories. >> it's something she used during her entire campaign, in the primary and general election. here she is on morning tv again
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pitting herself against the world, basically. >> reporter: and o'donnell knows her responses could determine her political future. jan crawford, cbs news, washington. >> smith: coming up next on the cbs evening news, the flip side to that good economic news. this store is packed with shoppers who would go hungry without food stamps. and later, some kept us laughing. others inspired with us their courage. the class of 2010. [ robin ] my name is robin. and i was a pack-a-day smoker for 25 years. i do remember sitting down with my boys, and i'm like, "oh, promise mommy you'll never ever pick up a cigarette." i had to quit. ♪ my doctor gave me a prescription for chantix, a medication i could take and still smoke, while it built up in my system. [ male announcer ] chantix is a non-nicotine pill proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke.
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some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these symptoms or behaviors, stop taking chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix. if you develop serious allergic or skin reactions, stop taking chantix and see your doctor right away as some of these can be life-threatening. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it. dosing may be different if you have kidney problems. until you know how chantix affects you, use caution when driving or operating machinery. common side effects include nausea, trouble sleeping and unusual dreams. ♪ my benjamin, he helped me with the countdown. "ben, how many days has it been?" "5 days, mom. 10 days, mom." i think after 30 days he got tired of counting. [ male announcer ] it's a new year. so, ask your doctor about chantix. and find out how you could save money on your prescription
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of the ones you love. campbell's.® it's amazing what soup can do.™ >> smith: earlier, we reported on the improving outlook for jobs in this country, but for millions of americans, the economic recovery can't get here soon enough. in 2010, a record 40.3 million americans received food stamps-- that's a 20% jump from last year. seth doane explains, even with that help, many of our neighbors are just getting by. >> wow, there is not a lot. >> no. >> reporter: by the end of each month the question in sheri lopez's kitchen isn't "what's for dinner," but "will be dinner?" >> in the end we're all just trying to find something in the cabinets. sometimes we go to bed kind of hungry. >> reporter: since sheri's husband lost his construction job a year ago. >> it has been downhill. there has been no ups and downs, just downhill. >> reporter: this oklahoma
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family of five saw no choice but to apply for food stamps. their $500 benefit lasts two to three weeks but hardly four. so just before midnight on the last day of every month, sheri and her husband make a trip to the grocery store to beat the midnight rush. >> we get excited. we're like, "we're going to go shopping tonight!" >> reporter: excited to come to the grocery store because you can come? >> yes. >> reporter: on the first of the month these food stamp debit cards are automatically refilled with benefit money from the government. on an average night the store would do about $3,000 worth of business between midnight and 3:00 a.m.. but on the first of the month, that number is ten times as much with most everyone here using food stamps. the aisles are stocked with stories of hard times. alisha ross has been looking for work for six months. what would do you if you didn't have food stamps? >> oh, i don't know. they're pretty important. >> reporter: in oklahoma, the number of folks relying on food
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stamps is up close to 40% in two years. the stamps are only meant to be a supplement, but in some cases, there's nothing to supplement, so the oklahoma food bank is filling the gap. >> the last two weeks of the month, it's when our pantries just get slammed. >> reporter: the increased distribution, 74% to keep up with the end-of-the-month crunch. >> it used to be an emergency. now they're asking us to sustain that. >> reporter: pantries and food stamps have helped sustain the lopez family, but those days may soon be coming to an end. your husband just got a job. >> yes, yes, thank god, yes. >> reporter: and with the new year, sheri's resolution is to get off food stamps for good. setting doane, cbs news, oklahoma city. >> smith: we'll have more news in a moment, and later, a final farewell to those we lost in 2010. >> what you talking about willis? ( laughter )
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another heart attack could be lurking, waiting to strike. a heart attack that's caused by a clot, one that could be fatal. but plavix helps save lives. plavix, taken with other heart medicines, goes beyond what other heart medicines do alone, to provide greater protection against heart attack or stroke and even death by helping to keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming dangerous clots. ask your doctor if plavix is right for you. protection that helps save lives. [ female announcer ] certain genetic factors and some medicines, such as prilosec, reduce the effect of plavix leaving you at greater risk for heart attack and stroke. your doctor may use genetic tests to determine treatment. don't stop taking plavix without talking to your doctor as your risk of heart attack or stroke may increase. people with stomach ulcers or 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. tell your doctor all medicines you take, including aspirin, especially if you've had a stroke. if fever, unexplained weakness or confusion develops,
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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. >> smith: the owner of a smokeshop in waco, texas, knows how to stay cool under pressure. early wednesday, two robbers pulled guns on him and his friend. surveillance video shows the owner, amar kayah, didn't panic, possibly because he had his own gun under the counter. suddenly, there was a fire fight. somehow, kayah and his friend were not hurt. he's pretty sure he hit one of the robbers who got away with $150. it's going to cost the new york jets plenty to put that now-
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infamous tripping incident behind them. the nfl today fined the team $100,000, all because an assistant coach tripped a miami dolphins player last month. the team was also faulted for lining players too close to the field of play. the jets have already suspended that coach for the rest of the season. the sun set today on a product celebrated by paul simon for making you think all the world's a sunny day. ♪ kodachrome... >> smith: introduced in 1935, kodachrome was the first effective color film used in many famous photos. kodak stopped making it last year, and today, dwayne's photo shop in parsons, kansas, shut down the world's last kodachrome processing machine. geraldine doyle is not a household name, but her face inspired generations of women. a picture of her in a michigan factory during world war ii was the basis for this, the now- famous "we can do it" poster
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often confused with rosie the riveter. doyle, who died this week at 86, was just happy to be the model for the can-do spirit. up next, from the boss to you some more of the people we'll miss. , who the people will miss. ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] every day thousands of people are switching from tylenol® to advil. to learn more and get your special offer, go to take action. take advil®.
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>> smith: finally tonight, a toast to those who left us in 2010. giants on the playing field and in the halls of government, people who filled our world with music and laughter. now it's time for one last encore. ♪ two drifters off to see the world... ♪ ♪ they're not making the skies as blue this year, wish you were here... ♪ wish you were here wish you were here ♪ ♪ get your motor running head out on the highway... ♪
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>> the man is clear in his mind. >> there's a long drive! the giants win the pennant! the giants win the pennant! >> the party's over they say that all good things must end. ♪ >> you collect shells? >> yes, so did my father and my grandfather. you might say we had a passion for shells. that's why we named the oil company after it. ♪ near far wherever you are... i believe that the heart ♪
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>> ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country. ♪ don't know why there's no sun up in the sky, stormy weather... ♪ >> this woman has to be gotten to a hospital. >> a hospital? what is it? >> it's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now. >> book' em, danno. >> this is daniel schorr in berlin, my territory is central
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europe, the region that straddles the iron curtain. daniel schorr, cbs news, washington. >> the president was shot and wounded in the left side of his chest. >> home is where the heart is. if that is so, i have two homes. one is right here in this chamber, and the other is my beloved state of alaska. ♪ stand beside me stand beside me you're the only one who ever made me care... ♪ >> you put the pinstripes on, you're not just putting the baseball uniform on. you're wearing tradition and you're wearing pride, and you're going to wear it the right way.
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♪ sunday, monday, happy days tuesday, wednesday, happy days... ♪ >> that's what makes it all worthwhile. >> top of the morning, bosley, angels. >> you like movies about gladiators? ♪ now the world don't move to the beat of just one drum... ♪ willis? >> what you talking about willis? ( laughter ) ♪ thank you for being a friend... ♪ ♪ i want to be kissed by you... ♪ ♪ if you don't know me by now you will never, never know me... ♪ ♪ spend all your time waiting... ♪
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>> you really have two choices here. either you push forward with the things you were doing yesterday, or you start dying. that seems to me your only two choices. ♪ in the arms of the angels... >> in a cbs news exclusive interview, she talked with reporter harold dow. >> in your days of captivity, what were the conditions like while you were being held there? >> i was put in a closet and blindfolded. >> can you understand why they were upset? do you understand? >> no, i don't understand. >> smith: that's the cbs evening news. for katie couric: i'm harry smith. thanks for watching. i'll be back here tomorrow. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs
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captioned by media access group at wgbh your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. caption colorado, l.l.c. four shootings in four cities in the last three days. all involving police officers. what led up to the most recent incident this morning. bikes aren't allowed. but other two wheelers are. opening trails to a new kind of rider. who is now saying it's not fair or safe. and raging waters for only the third time in 30 years, where the reservoirs runneth over. good evening, i'm robert lyles. allen martin is off. >> i'm dana king. in each case, police say that they had no choice but to fire. in the last day and a half, there have been four separate officer-involved shootings across the bay area. three have been deadly. the first was tuesday in


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