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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  February 23, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EST

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the knife had already made its way over to her stomach so vets had to operate to get it out. that was a few weeks ago. the dog is already back to eating anything she can find. you >> on the broadcast tonight, the surge in gas prices up again overnight and up and over $5 a gallon in some places. what's driving this? the politics of birth control, women, contraception and a national fight over this issue that came out of nowhere. going to extremes, people all over the country are talking about the weather today from vient weather to summer temperatures where it should be the dead of winter. the hidden risk in some hospitals of derty surgical instruments in the operating room and the obvious question, what's not being done to protect patients? >> and the academy understand thatting out hollywood's biggest prize, but who are the academy members who get to pick the winners? tonight, pulling back the curtain a bit on one of the most
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glamorous nights of the year. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television captions paid for by nbc-universal television >> from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams. good evening. while americans slept gas prices went up another three and a half cents. it's not a supply problem. right now there's plenty on hand, and it's not a demand problem, we're using less gas than we do in the summer months. the problem is prices are largely set by commodities traders also known these days as speculators and with just the hint of military action in the middle east between iran and israel and a few other fact o it drives up the price of the one liquid that can be the lynchpin of the u.s. economy, the one thing that can affect everybody and make everything more expensive, these pump prices are getting the attention of a lot of americans. today that included the president. it's where we begin tonight with nbc's miguel almaguer in l.a.
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miguel, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. we found a bargain for you tonight $4.35 a gallon for regular at this gas station. a deal because so many gas stations are charging upwards of $5 a gallon. the gas station owner here telling us he's been forced to raise his prices every day, sometimes every hour. >> $86.92. >> reporter: the pinch at the pump is putting the squeeze on drivers everywhere. today backlash from both sides of the register. andre van derlock owns two gas stations, a chevron, texaco and this shell. >> consumers should be very, very angry and very challenging of the oil companies. that's where it all starts. >> reporter: from california where the average price of unleaded gas spiked 11 cents in two days. >> $110 bucks. >> reporter: to new york where the state average is edging close to $4 a gallon. >> i think it is out of control. >> reporter: anger over what a,a a predicts could be record highs this summer, projected national
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average of $4.35 a gallon with some states topping $5. the president today in miami today said there's no quick fix. >> you know, we can't just drill our gaway to lower gas prices. we can't overnight solve the problem of world oil markets. there is no silver bullet. >> i agree -- >> reporter: the issue quickly becoming political. >> i developed a program for american energy so no future president will ever bow to a saudi king again and so every american can look forward to $2.50 a gallon gasoline. >> reporter: the daily spike in gas is blamed mostly on unrest in the middle east and the rash of refinery shutdown, but oil production is up and demand at a 15-year low. some analysts say speculators and investors are pushing up prices, too. >> the main reason that nobody talks about, but is really true, is about all of these financial inputs into oil price. >> reporter: with the national average for a gallon of regular now at $3.61 a gallon, up 42
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cents from a year ago today, it's driven some commuters innic which chick to down size from four wheels to two. >> i have a lot of customers that come in that own larger vehicles, suvs and they come in and say they need a cheaper alternative to get to work. >> reporter: for some, a scooter will have to do for now, but it's a short-term fix to a long-term problem. as you can see behind me, gas prices are only on the rise. brian? >> miguel almaguer in los angeles starting us off. thanks. the price of gas isn't the only contentious campaign issue tonight. birth control seems to have become as one headline writer put it today, the third rail of american politics right now and this happened really out of nowhere. in fact, it was a question about birth control that got the biggest audience response at last night's gop debate in arizona. nbc's kelly o'donnell has more on the politics of birth control and women's health. >> reporter: protests today in
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richmond, virginia. >> our bodies! our lives! >> reporter: a flashpoint in the political fight over government's place in women's health and reproduction. so provocative, the mere mention of birth control prompted boos. >> i don't support that. >> reporter: at the republican debate. >> just because i'm talking about it doesn't mean i want a government program to fix it. >> reporter: and rare applause at a democrats-only staged hearing today. set off by the outraged democrats vented when republicans called only men to testify last week on religious institutions and birth control. >> we've heard from over 300,000 people saying we want women's voices to be heard. >> reporter: democrats invited one woman, a georgetown law student to talk about hardships for some women who don't have insurance that covers birth control. >> without her taking the birth control, a massive cyst the side of a tennis ball had grown on her ovary. >> reporter: nearly 11 million
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women use birth control pill, the most common method of con a contracepti contraception, and some states looking it restrict a borgdz and funding for women's programs. >> reporter: after protests and a national spotlight legislators changed a controversial bill that would have required an invasive procedure before a woman could have an abortion. >> social issue should play a very high priority in the campaign. >> reporter: analysts say these social issues are more likely to help democrats. >> this issue has given democrats at every level an issue to talk to women voters about and particularly independent women. >> reporter: making women without party ties the most sought-after voters this year. kelly o'donnell, nbc news, washington. less than a week before two critical republican primary contests, last night's debate the 20th and final debate quickly turned into a romney-santorum smackdown, each
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one giving as good as they got. nbc's peter alexander reports tonight from the trail in michigan. >> reporter: mitt romney wasted no time today, trying to capitalize on his rival rick santorum's performance in last night's debate. >> i don't know that i've ever seen a politician explain in so many ways why it was he voted against his principles. >> reporter: like santorum's admission that he made a mistake backing president bush's education overhaul. >> it was against the principles i believed in, but when you're part of the team sometimes you take one for the team for the leader, and i made a mistake. you know, politics is a team sport, folks. >> reporter: in phoenix today romney took a swing at that comment, too. >> he talked about this as taking one for the team. i wonder which team he was taking it for? >> reporter: riding a wave of momentum. >> i'm here to talk about a positive solution to the problems that confront this country. >> reporter: santorum who insists he's the true conservative in the race mocked romney's assertion that he
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balanced budgets as massachusetts governor. >> michael dukakis balanced the budget for ten years, does that qualify him to be president of the united states? i don't think so. >> reporter: romney fired back accusing santorum of being a creature of washington's excessive spending. >> while i was fighting to save the olympics, you were fighting to save the bridge to nowhere. >> reporter: as romney prepares to give a major economics speech tomorrow at the home of the detroit lion, his supporters will begin to reair this ad. re-telling romney's accounts that helped bring home a former business partner's missing daughter. >> what a lot of people say are nearly impossible, but for me the most important thing he's ever done was to help save my daughter. >> reporter: one more thing about romney's super-pac it's nearly ident cal to the ad four years ago. it purchased the footage from romney's old media team and while that follows the ler of the law, it again, blurs that line between campaigns and super
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pacs. >> peter alexander on the campaign trail, millford, michigan, tonight. thanks. tonight investigators are combing through what's left of two military choppers, a cobra and a huey that collided over the southern california desert last night killing seven u.s. marines. six of them were based out of camp pende elpendelton, and thv out of yuma arizona. >> president obama apologized to the people of afghanistan for the unintentional burning of korans earlier this week at the largest american air base there. the eruption of anger toward the united states is growing and now two american soldiers have paid the price. nbc's atia abawi is in kabul again for us tonight. >> good evening, brian. protests spread for a third day throughout afghanistan as outraged afghans took to the streets despite continued apologies from both nato and
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u.s. officials. today we saw nearly a dozen protests throughout the country, some peaceful, others violent. at least two americans and eight afghans were killed in that violence in one of the deadliest demonstrations in eastern afghanistan, we saw hundreds of afghans trying to storm a u.s. base apparently egged on by religious leaders using megapho megaphones. according to a leader, the u.s. forces fired upon the ground which earninged an afghan soldier who then turned his weapon on the american, killing two and wounding four others. the taliban quickly claimed responsiblity for the attack and called on all afghans to target western troops, to beat them, to capture them or to kill them. we do expect the dem stragonstr to continue tomorrow after friday prayers and we expect them to be larger and deadlier than when we've seen in the last few days. brian? >> atia abawi, part of our kabul
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bureau where the situation is clearly and officially out of hand. >> a series of coordinated attacks across iraq today killed at least 55 people and wounded hundreds more. the bombings are the latest in the wave of violence since the last u.s. troops withdrew from there just over two months ago now. syria's bloody crackdown continues. today the unissued a scathing indictment of the assad regime accusing it of gross human rights violations, ordered at the highest levels of the armed forces of the government. they continue to target civilians. back in this country and across the country today people were talking about the weather. across much of the northeast it was so warm today a lot of folks were outside in short sleeves. it's still february, remember, and here in new york city the sidewalks usually crunch underfoot this time of year in the cold. today it was nearly 60 degrees. for folks in the upper midwest, a much different story. tonight, they're getting red for
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a snowstorm. weather channel meteorologist mike seidel with us tonight from desplains, illinois. good evening. >> good evening to you. here in chicago, the wet snow is just getting under way, another city that hasn't seen much snow at all this winter, only 16 inches so far compared to 54 this time last year, but they're saving money. the storm got cranking yesterday and look at these winds howling through the front range in boulder county, colorado. 93 mile an hour wind gusts blowing over people in the streets and semis on the highways and knocking out power and the winds gusted to 55 miles an hour early this morning and blew around the snow and there were white-outs and some folks got out with their dogs. test a mess with numerous accidents. now the snow moves into the midwest, overnight here in chicago and detroit, notice the swathe of snow of 4 to 6 inches. by tomorrow morning snow arrives in parts of the northeast, upstate new york, albany, 2 to 4
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before it changes to rain. boston, you've only had 7 inches this winter. now you may get an inch or two before it changes to rain and brian, once the storm moves out and the front moves in tomorrow, the temperatures will be cooling off to average this coming weekend. >> such a strange winter season. mike seidel, thank as always. as we continue, dirty surgical equipment showing up in hospital rooms. tonight a man who suffers the consequences. why there's growing concerns for others like him. later, the red carpet and the golden statue and all of the glamour, but who decides who golden statue and all of the glamour, but who decides who walks away with the big prize? l. to put more giddy-up in our get-along. to keep stepping up even in overtime. it's time to start gellin' with dr. scholl's... ... and mix a little more hop in our hip hop. thanks to the energizing support and cushioning of dr. scholl's massaging gel insoles,
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your feet will feel so good... ... you'll want to get up and go. whose non-stop day starts with back pain... and a choice. take advil now and maybe up to four in a day. or choose aleve and two pills for a day free of pain. way to go, coach. ♪ one chance to hunt down the right insurance at the right price. the "name your price" tool, only from progressive. ready, aim, save! grrr! ooh, i forgot my phone! the "name your price" tool. now available on your phone. get a free quote today. you wouldn't want your doctor doing your job. so why are you doing his? only your doctor can determine if your persistent heartburn
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is actually something more serious... like acid reflux disease. over time, stomach acid can damage the lining of your esophagus. for many, prescription nexium not only provides 24-hour heartburn relief, but can also help heal acid related erosions in the lining of your esophagus. talk to your doctor about the risk for osteoporosis-related bone fractures and low magnesium levels with long-term use of nexium. possible side effects include headache, diarrhea and abdominal pain. other serious stomach conditions may still exist. let your doctor do his job, and you do yours. ask if nexium is right for you. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. tonight comes right out of the operating room. nbc news partnered with the center for public integrity to look at what some have called a growing problem in this country, dirty surgical instruments sometimes making their way into surgeons' hands and thus, patients' bodies. our chief medical editor dr.
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nancy snyderman has more. >> reporter: like most patients john hairson put his faith and trust in the surgeon standing over him in the operating room. >> i had to have surgery to repair my shoulder. i was not worried one bit. >> reporter: two weeks after rotator cuff surgery, john was back in the hospital with a life-threatening infection. the cause? a dirty surgical instrument. and a new report says surgical tools contaminated with hidden blood, tissue or other debris are showing up with alarming regularity. >> it is a job that cannot be given to robots because the robot doesn't have the critical thinking to say this is still dirty. >> reporter: at a hospital in virginia, which is not the hospital where john was treated, sharon greengolden has made her sterile processing department a model for what should be happening across the country. because in every state, except new jersey, there are no requirements that workers who sterilize instruments have any kind of training or certification. >> a barber has a license.
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the dog groomer has a license. the tattoo artist has a license. and i'm dealing with instruments going into your body and i'm not required to be certified. >> reporter: an engineer at the university of michigan health system ran a tiny video camera through 350 suction instruments that had been sterilized and deemed ready for the o.r. all contained some kind of debris. >> it's not even an old instrument. oh, my gosh. now you shocked me. that's pretty horrifying. if a dirty medical device finds its way into the operating room the fda does not require hospitals to report it. the fda says hospitals are reminded to carefully clean and sterilize reusable medical devices. a patient's risk of acquiring an infection from a reprocessed medical device is very low. for john, what was supposed to be a six-week recovery has turned into a three-year nightmare. >> it changed my life and changed every aspect of it. thousand ofs of days of waking up in pain. >> reporter: last summer the fda
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held a work shop for instrument makers and hospitals where the fda and cdc talked about the challenges of keeping up with cleaning complex instruments. now the same group will have to find a solution to keep up with this problem so surgeons and patients can enter the operating room knowing that the instruments they have to rely on are clean and safe, brian, it will be a monumental task. >> that will get your attention. nancy, thank you, as always. up next, a woman bracing for history. next, a woman bracing for history. i find the omega choices overwhelming.
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then i found new pronutrients omega-3. it's from centrum. it's a smaller minigel. with two of the best omegas to support my heart, brain and eyes. new pronutrients from centrum. that's going to have to be done by a certain date. you always have homework, okay? i don't have homework today. it's what's right here is what is most important to me. it's beautiful. ♪ ♪ my dad and grandfather spent their whole careers here. [ charlie ] we're the heartbeat of this place, the people on the line. we take pride in what we do. when that refrigerator ships out the door, it's us that work out here.
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[ michael ] we're on the forefront of revitalizing manufacturing. we're proving that it can be done here, and it can be done well. [ ilona ] i came to ge after the plant i was working at closed after 33 years. ge's giving me the chance to start back over. [ cindy ] there's construction workers everywhere. so what does that mean? it means work. it means work r more people. [ brian ] there's a bright future here, and there's a chance to get on the ground floor of something big, something that will bring us back. not only this company, but this country. ♪
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we want to show you some spectacular images of a partial solar eclipse seen from space. it's not like we missed anything here. this wasn't visible from earth. these were shot by nasa, by the way. our next opportunity of a partial eclipse visible to all of us, may 20th. more signs tonight of our tough economic times. an iconic old american brand, the fuller brush company whose
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salesmen sold door-to-door back in the old days, filed for bankruptcy just two months after declaring itself back with a new line of products with a new brand new website. also tonight, the u.s. postal service struggling to survive has sent congress its list of more than 200 sorting facilities that plan to close down now, slowing down delivery of first-class mail and costing 35,000 jobs. >> finally, sears reported some dismal numbers today for the fourth quarter of last year, a loss of $2.5 billion. they're going to spin off parts of the company to hang on, but they're going to keep big brands like kenmore and craftsman. >> slowvox got the chance to vote on the name of a new foot bridge that crosses into austria and their resoutherneding choice, the chuck norris bridge. needless to say, chuck norris who gave us lone wolf mcquade, is a pretty big deal over there and while the voting is still open until april, he has 74% of
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the vote. >> danica patrick took a very hard lick this afternoon during a qualifying race for sunday's daytona 500. she was in the top ten and moving up in the field when she got caught up in somebody else's wreck in the progress which sent her into the inner wall. thankfully daytona uses the new soft wall technology which might have even saved her life. she emerged unharmed and now it's on to sunday for her nascar debut. by the way, we will talk to danica on the broadcast tomorrow night. up next for us tonight, the academy. behind the glitz and glamour of hollywood's biggest night, as they say. hollywood's biggest night, as they say. i thought those days might be over. so my doctor prescribed symbicort. it helps significantly improve my lung function, starting within 5 minutes. symbicort doesn't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. with symbicort, today i'm breathing better, and that means... game on! symbicort is for copd, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
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it should not be taken more than twice a day. symbicort may increase your risk of lung infections, osteoporosis, and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking it. [ whistle ] with copd, i thought i might miss out on my favorite tradition. now symbicort significantly improves my lung function, starting within 5 minutes. and that makes a difference in my breathing. today i'm back with my favorite team. ask your doctor about symbicort. i got my first prescription free. call or click to learn more. [ male announcer ] if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. it's real milk full of calcium and vitamin d. and tastes simply delicious. for those of us with lactose intolerance... lactaid® milk. the original 100% lactose-free milk. i remember the day my doctor told me i have an irregular heartbeat, and that it put me at 5-times greater risk of a stroke. i was worried. i worried about my wife, and my family.
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bill has the most common type of atrial fibrillation, or afib. it's not caused by a heart valve problem. he was taking warfarin, but i've put him on pradaxa instead. in a clinical trial, pradaxa 150 mgs reduced stroke risk 35% more than warfarin without the need for regular blood tests. i sure was glad to hear that. pradaxa can cause serious, sometimes fatal, bleeding. don't take pradaxa if you have abnormal bleeding, and seek immediate medical care for unexpected signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. pradaxa may increase your bleeding risk if you're 75 or older, have a bleeding condition like stomach ulcers, or take aspirin, nsaids, or bloodthinners, or if you have kidney problems, especially if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all medicines you take, any planned medical or dental procedures, and don't stop taking pradaxa without your doctor's approval, as stopping may increase your stroke risk. other side effects include indigestion, stomach pain, upset, or burning. pradaxa is progress. if you have afib not caused by a heart valve problem, ask your doctor if you can reduce your risk of stroke with pradaxa.
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everybody's getting their picks in in the office pool for the oscars sunday night, the night when we get to see the losers hide their disappointments through very tight smiles and the winners go to stage and they thank the academy. the question is who exactly is the academy and who gets to vote for the winners? our report from our man in hollywood, mike taibbi. >> reporter: part of what makes oscar night such delicious viewing is there is always an argument and beyond the red carpet. how did "the hurt locker" with 20 million in ticket sales in 2010 snag best picture over
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"avatar," the $2 billion juggernaut. and for this year's silent surprise "the artist" should be in the same conversation with george clooney's "the descendants" and seven other big picture nominees. >> you wouldn't be right and i wouldn't be wrong. >> reporter: the other argument that's been around for years is who actually votes for the stars, studios and craftspeople honored on afk ar night. "the l.a. times" had the most detailed answer yet reaching more than 5,000 academy members. >> we found out that the academy is 94% white and 77% male and the median age is 62. other notable numbers that 98% of the academy screenwriters are white and 97% of the cinematographers are men. >> hollywood's big night. >> not a huge surprise given the history of hollywood and the oscars, like other voting institutions with life time membersh membership, think baseball's
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hall of fame and the u.s. supreme court, change is slow. it's not just about old white men. actress dolores hart who once starred with elvis. >> i thought i was a nice girl. >> you are a nice girl. >> has long been a nun, now mother superior and still has her oscar vote. and the voters come from a not very diverse industry says former best supporting actress nominee alfrey woodard. >> this business is one of the last bastions of not reflecting what this country really is in an everyday way. >> reporter: so woodard is trying to get the business to become more representative. >> we're reaching out to people that we think, you know what? do you know about the academy? i think you should apply. >> reporter: and the academy is offering more and more grants and intern ships. >> in today's time who doesn't want to see more diversity? >> reporter: as the big show draws near, for all who have seen this year's nominated movies and stars, or not, the arguments have probably already begun. mike taibbi, nbc news, hollywood.
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that's our broadcast on a thursday night. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we, of course, hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. evening. evening. good night. -- captions by vitac --


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