tv NBC Nightly News NBC July 16, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
captions paid for by nbc-universal television "nightly news" begins now. good evening. it's now official we are living in one of the worst droughts of the past 100 years. the part of our country we call the bread basket, the section of the u.s. that feeds its share of the world, is burning up right now. the worst conditions they've seen since 1956. the governor of illinois says his state has never seen anything like this. he calls it a disaster of epic proportions. over one-third of the u.s. corn crop is in big trouble. over half the country is now affected. the problem is forecasters can't point to any rain on the way. it is where we begin this evening with nbc's kevin tibbles in walker, iowa tonight. kevin, good evening. >> reporter: brian, this is corn country and it is parched.
these would usually be fully formed ears of corn by now. in this state they're pretty much worthless. and farmers at the grain elevator behind me in walker say they know their yields are going to be way down this year. many are starting to wonder whether they'll get any crop in at all. many farmers are throwing up their hands and looking to the heavens. >> we've done all we can do and it's up to the good lord to supply the water and send it on time. >> reporter: more than half the country, 55%, is now in drought with crop yields at their lowest levels since 1988. corn futures closed 34 to 40 cents higher today and prices hit record levels. for soybeans, too. as the drought stricken conditions in the midwest and elsewhere pushed prices higher. in illinois where a combination of extremely hot and dry weather in the first six months of 2012 broke records -- >> thank you. >> reporter: governor pat quinn announced today the state would be assisting farmers and residents in drought-impacted
areas. >> we've never had it this hot and we've got to come together and help our neighbors because illinois is a mighty agricultural state. >> reporter: in the last 12 weeks the drought has grown dramatically expanding in the states already too hot and dry for live stock. in arkansas ranchers are selling their herds because hay fields have shrivelled and drinking ponds have dried up. while this year's drought covers more square miles than in 50 years it's not a repeat of the infamous dust bowl conditions of the 1930s, which lasted a decade. >> we are far away from a decadal scale drought. that was something that built up over a tremendous period of time. if you look at the peaks of the drought certainly getting very high this year. no question about that. >> reporter: and the heat is not letting up. >> the heat builds east for tuesday. look at the temperatures. 97 new york. 101 in washington. we break by thursday but the
dangerous heat just shifts back to the heartland and the southwest. at least through late week. >> reporter: how bad is it? there are even reports tonight that water levels on the mighty mississippi are so low the river has become unnavigable near vicksburg, mississippi and the dry heat isn't going anywhere. >> brian? >> kevin tibbles, walker, iowa to start us off tonight. kevin, thanks. another side effect of the widespread drought has been the terrible wildfire season so far. in northern california 12 firefighters were injured battling a big fire burning across steep and rugged terrain there. and for people living in areas where the wildfires have already charred the surrounding landscape, there is another danger to worry about now and that's flash floods. our report from nbc's miguel almaguer. >> reporter: the most destructive wildfire in colorado history scorched 28 square miles. >> obviously rock 'n' rolled
through here. killed all the trees, all the vegetation. >> reporter: and it destroyed nearly 350 homes. >> we're very fortunate. >> reporter: warren pierce's house was spared. now he is preparing for the next disaster -- flash flooding and mud slides. >> it's going to go on for years. >> reporter: these hillside homes sit surrounded by acre after acre of blackened dirt. >> this is like having a sheet of wax paper and it is below the surface as well. >> reporter: the burned area emergency response team called it hydrophobic soil, airtual water slide. >> we're very concerned about increased flooding into neighborods. all of the water on these burnt hill slopes behind us will be draining right here toward us. >> reporter: the threat so serious the federal government has stepped in. >> we would strongly encourage folks in this area to consider the purchase of flood insurance. >> reporter: something warren pierce never expected he would need. >> even if we had flood insurance it doesn't cover basements and that's what's
going to flood. so kind of between a rock and a hard spot. >> reporter: and the threat can last years. this is where california's station fire burned back in 2009. these hills were first ravaged by flames then after it rained came the floods. this area today is still a danger zone. seven months after the fire a river of knee deep mud washed down from the barren foothills. the cleanup topped $30 million. in colorado the river went from this to this. the fire then the runoff turned once calm water into a raging river of black sludge. now in colorado springs an urgency to protect what survived. >> the disaster after the fire is something almost to be on par with what the fire is itself. >> reporter: one threat gone, another still looming. miguel almaguer, nbc news, los angeles. from our natural world to the political world now where
the president and his campaign continue to bore in on mitt romney's private sector career, which romney has been running on as a high point in a down economy. our report tonight from nbc's peter alexander. >> reporter: at his first town hall of the 2012 campaign today in cincinnati president obama sharpened his attacks on mitt romney, having already accused his opponents of shipping jobs overseas while at bain capital. president obama today hammered romney for tax policies that the president argues would encourage other companies to do the same. >> we don't need a president who plans to ship more jobs overseas or wants to give more tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas. i want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in ohio. >> reporter: the romney campaign called that report biased linking it to an obama support. >> what does it say about a president whose record is so poor that all he can do in his campaign is attack me?
>> reporter: on meet the press the romney adviser insisted romney wasn't involved with bain in 1992 as the obama campaign charges when companies the equities firm managed began outsourcing jobs. >> he actually retired retroactively at that point and ended up not going back to the firm. >> with both sides eager to debate, on friday romney tried to redirect attention to the president's handling of the economy. >> their strategy is to, quote, kill romney, end of quote. and the american people want instead a discussion about the direction of the country. >> reporter: the romney campaign today rolled out this web video slamming the president for showing more love for wealthy donors than middle class americans. ♪ i am so in love with you >> reporter: mocking his singing on the campaign trail. >> the fundamental question
before the country is what is the success story for the american economy of the 21st century? that's what the american people are listening for and so far aren't hearing from either campaign. >> reporter: with the fight over the economy still swirling foreign policy issues, brian, are also looming. the present secretary of state hillary clinton was in israel as part of a worldwide trip today and romney is planning a trip there later this month. >> peter, we're starting to get the first hints in the air we should start paying attention to the possibility of a romney vp pick. >> there's been a lot of reporting that an announcement of a running mate could happen as early as this week today. a top romney adviser said very clearly and i'll quote, no decision has been made on a vp. it seems to boil down to these names, senator portman of ohio, former minnesota governor tim pawlenty, louisiana governor bobby jindal who was raising money with romney today. also mentioned often a senator from south dakota john thune and wisconsin congressman paul ryan. the timing is significant, brian, because the sooner it's
announced the sooner romney has help raising money going forward. >> peter alexander from our d.c. newsroom, thanks. the u.s. navy confirms tonight it opened fire on a small boat about ten miles off dubai in the persian gulf killing at least one person, wounding three others. the boat possibly a pleasure craft, maybe a fishing boat, was closing in on a navy supply ship in what the navy called an aggressive and threatening manner, ignoring a repeated series of warnings from the crew. it's still unclear whether the dead and injured are from the uae, united arab emirates, or india. but pentagon officials say this was not a case of an iranian vessel harassing a u.s. navy vessel as has happened in the past. court-martial proceedings started today at lackland airforce base in san antonio in the u.s. military's largest sexual assault scandal in more than 20 years. our pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski reports on this
latest example of a problem the military knows it needs to fix. >> reporter: air force staff sergeant louis walker went on trial today in texas charged with 28 counts of rape and sexual assault against ten female recruits, many still in their teens. he's among a dozen trainers at lackland airforce base under investigation for sexual assaults against 31 recruits. jennifer norris is not one of the 31 recruits but she did train at lackland and before she got there says she was drugged and raped by a recruiter in maine. >> i was frozen. i couldn't move. he did what he had to do and then just rolled over like i was a piece of trash. >> reporter: terrified, norris did not report the rape. like many victims in the male dominated military she felt powerless to fight back. >> they have power over you. there is no room for debate. you do everything they say to do. you don't say no. >> reporter: the pentagon's own
numbers on sexual assault are staggering. 19,000 per year. but only 13% are reported. and a small number, less than 200 a year, end in prosecutions with convictions. representative jackie spear claims suspects are often protected by military commanders. >> they're sexual predators and this is not an isolated circumstance. i don't care what any military brass suggests to you. >> reporter: pentagon officials insist they're making progress but the number of reported assaults is still on the rise. jennifer norris now spends full-time counseling victims of military sexual assault but says the deck is still stacked against women in uniform. >> why i don't know. but it's heart breaking. it really is. >> reporter: and there is still one more heart break. if assault victims reach out to seek some kind of mental health counseling military officials say it's likely they'd lose their security clearance, which would essentially end their military career.
>> jim miklaszewski at the pentagon for us tonight. jim, thanks. still ahead here as we continue along the way on a monday night, ready or not, here comes the world. the first big test for the city of london less than two weeks before the games begin. and later, the queen of soul just one of the american legends in a unique election. we talked to her about it tonight.
with 11 days to go until the flame is lit and the olympic games get under way right about now in london it feels like one big arrivals terminal like the whole world is coming to one place. stephanie gosk is there for us tonight. stephanie, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. well, it is a big day and a big test for olympic organizers. a record was broken at heathrow today for the number of passengers they handled. 237,000. many of them are olympic athletes that flew in from around the world. they were met by an army of
volunteers that ushered them through immigration and helped them get their gear, their javelins, kayaks, sails, all of that stuff had to be flown in including 1,000 guns that are going to be used in competition. given those challenges, there were very few delays at the airport and very few delays on the road. the exclusive olympic lanes with openings today for the first time. and there were new signs of the massive security operation that is in place in the city. they put in place on apartment buildings around east london these surface-to-air missiles we've been talking about. this is just one layer of a multi layered defense to protect that air space above the olympic park. brian? >> stephanie, what about a weather report? i'm seeing the flags behind you. looks like a pretty brisk wind. it's been raining for weeks in london. >> reporter: it's been awful. cold and rainy. i've been living in this country for nine years. i complain about the weather all the time. i've never heard the british
complain about the weather until this summer. you know, it is a glimmer of hope for this weekend the sun may come out but i wouldn't bet on it. if you're packing your bag, definitely bring warm clothes. >> we'll see you over there in a few days' time. stephanie gosk our correspondent in london. thanks for that. yahoo has pulled off something of a corporate coup. they've hired one of google's senior executives as their new ceo. marissa mayer joined google back in 1999 in the early days before it was a verb. she was given employee i.d. number 20 back then and now takes over a company that saw its business diminished by google. mayer is an engineer by trade and is now one of the highest ranking women in all of silicon valley. and some big news around here. you know how we always say for more information go to msnbc.com? well, that changed today. it's now nbc news.com. while it looks the same and has all the same departments and
it was downright hard to sleep in parts of minnesota and other northern states this weekend because of the spectacular northern lights caused by the huge solar flare from late last week we were telling you about. it reached its peak around 3:00 a.m. saturday night with what one sky watcher called pink curtains in the night sky. it was a great book title and a lot of people gained valuable insight after reading "the seven habits of highly effective people." the author of that book stephen covey died today from injuries
he suffered in a biking accident back in april. covey was considered an authority on leadership and management and motivation. his book sold over 20 million copies. he was a father of nine and a grandfather of 52. stephen covey was 79 years old. they're calling it the hyde park freeze out. dancing in the dark. it was one of those epic nights in rock 'n roll history. bruce springsteen the e street band live in concert at hyde park in london then bruce brings out a special guest, sir paul mccartney. they do two songs together, "twist and shout" and "i saw her standing there" and just before the finale the organizers cut the sound because of a noise curfew in the neighborhood. 80,000 people walked silently home in the rain knowing that a little piece of rock 'n roll history had died an ugly death. when we come back here tonight a big piece of america's musical heritage that is alive and well
recording registry. prince, dolly parton, donna summer, booker t. and the mgs and rapper's delight by the sugar hill gang will all take their place now in the vault of the iconic recordings of this country stored away and taken together they tell the story of who we are. the audio treasury of the united states is kept in a former cold war bunker in the shenandoah mountains. if the walls could talk you could hear the sound track of the united states. >> i have a dream. ♪ >> who's on first? what's on second? >> out of the millions of recordings that are kept here by the library of congress there is an even more special subset, a collection of 350 recordings that they call the national recording registry, a version of america's desert island play list. so it was a big deal when this year's selections were named because they now join the other
greats like bruce springsteen ♪ baby we were born to run ♪ what you want >> and aretha franklin the queen of soul was inducted into the library of congress registry for her classic recording of "respect." ♪ r-e-s-p -- >> everybody wants respect -- young, old, middle aged, even little 3-year-olds want respect. >> as a musician is it like trying to pick one of your children that you like best? i mean, we fans have our opinions. >> mm-hmm. >> especially about "respect" and clearly the recording registry has their opinion. but what's it like for you? >> i love "respect." i have to have sung it now about 5 million times. but it's still good, i still enjoy singing it. love it because the audience loves it. >> matthew barton has the job of managing the list of songs. it includes rare treasures like
an early aluminum recording of the blues legend lead belly. >> in the whole world i doubt there are more than a few thousand recordings that were made this way. >> and one of the earliest voice recordings in this case of an american icon. ♪ blue eyes crying in the rain >> i think it shows good judgment. >> willie nelson is part of the registry for his own work and for a song he wrote that patsy cline made famous. ♪ crazy >> there is even a rare audio recording of a former slave. dr. james billington is the librarian of congress and he gets the final say on recordings added to the list. >> it reveals about america the enormous creativity and expressiveness of our people. ♪ how many roads must a man walk down ♪ >> at the rate of 25 new recordings every year this year's inductees are blended in with some american classics.
♪ redwood forests >> because in the end it all tells the same story. ♪ this land was made for you and me ♪ >> how about that? that's our broadcast on a monday night as we start off a new week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams and of course we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com good evening and thank you for joining us. >> a surprising -- marissa meyer, one of the most influential women in technology is leaving her post at google to become yahoo's next ceo. and while a physical move may just be a few miles down 101, a
cord separates google from yahoo. we begin with scott budman who has more on one of the expert who is are acting so surprised, should have seen this coming, scott. >> reporter: it's not a big change t commute for her, but a big change in job duties, the google executive heading a bit south to become ceo of yahoo. job one bring yahoo back to the dotcom leadership position it once held before taking a back seat like google and facebook and twitter. we have talked ed ted many tim myers, she can inspire people and that's important when it comes to rallying the troops at a company who has long struggled. >> it makes a lot of sense. the fact of the matter is she comes on board, people know her