tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS November 18, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
clock? nancy cordes reports time's running out to avoid automatic spending cuts. 30 years after the death of actress natalie wood, lee cowan reports the police have reopened the case after a witness changed his story. >> i believe that robert wagner was with her up until the moment she went into the water. >> pelley: and on the road with steve hartman who finds a man with a formula for happiness. >> it's contagious. you want to do it again and again. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley. >> pelley: we're beginning tonight with news about one of the top selling cancer drugs, avastin. it's used to treat a variety of cancers but the f.d.a. said today it should no longer be used to treat breast cancer because there's no evidence it helps patients and it may actually hurt them.
avastin is big business, with sales of $3 billion a year, and it's estimated that as many as 5,800 americans are taking it for breast cancer. we asked dr. jon lapook what the f.d.a. announcement means for them. >> avastin is to me part of my safety net. >> reporter: breast cancer patient bonnie fertel feels crushed by today's f.d.a. decision. she believes avastin is keeping her alive. >> i feel like this is a life raft. i don't want to see it yanked away. >> reporter: fertel is afraid her insurance company will stop paying for the drug which costs $90,000 a year. >> it should be the patient's decision, not the f.d.a. it's a tremendous pickle. do i want to eat? do i want to pay my bills? >> reporter: the f.d.a. is withdrawing the preliminary approval it granted avastin in 2008 because further research found it caused serious side effects, including death, and did not help women live longer or feel better. dr. elise a port is a breast cancer specialist.
>> while the idea of not treating someone with cancer is unappealing to many of us, we certainly don't want to give them something that they have no reasonable hope of benefiting and yet may incur very significant side effects. >> reporter: oncologist dr. gary lyman was on an advisory panel that recommended withdrawing the drug. but he believes a small group of women do benefit from avastin the. >> i would not hesitate to use it if i felt it was the best option for a patient and the patient understood the financial ramifications. >> reporter: doctors can still prescribe avastin because it's approved for other cancers. and today medicare said it will continue to cover the drug for breast cancer. but genentech, the maker of avastin, told cbs news that several private insurance companies have already stopped paying for it. >> then it would only be patients that are relatively well-to-do who would be able to actually get the drug and pay for it themselves. >> reporter: although cost is
a big issue here, the f.d.a. says it doesn't consider the price of a drug, only whether it's safe and effective. >> pelley: but, jon, what about bonnie fertel in your story who says the drug is savig her life? >> reporter: scott, she may be a small group of women who may well benefit. but you know who we didn't have? the woman who died from avastin because of a side effect. that's what the f.d.a. has to consider as it's refereeing this tension between evidence-based medicine on the one hand and patient belief on the other hand. they have to consider evidence the big picture. that's why we saw today's decision. >> pelley: interesting. thank you, jon. there are just five days left far so-called supercommittee to figure out a way to cut nearly $1.5 trillion from the federal budget deficit or face automatic across-the-board cuts. remember, the committee was created after the president and the congress couldn't figure out how to do it. the committee is talking about raising taxes and cutting programs, but there is no sure sign of progress. congressional correspondent nancy cordes is watching them
tonight. nancy? >> reporter: scott, back when this supercommittee started working in september, many of the members wanted to try to go big. cut $4 trillion from the debt. well, now even going small might be out of reach. supercommittee members appeared markedly more pessimistic today, even as they continued to negotiate sun-up to sun-down. republican congressman jeb hensarling. >> we are painfully, painfully aware of the deadline that is staring us in the face. >> reporter: his cochair on the supercommittee, democratic senator patty murray says they are hung up on the same issue that has stymied congress all year. >> where the divide is right now is on taxes. and whether or not the wealthiest americans should share in the sacrifice. >> reporter: republicans see the supercommittee as their best chance to make the bush-era tax cuts permanent. they're set to expire at the end of next year. democrats want to let tax rate
for the wealthiest americans revert from 35% back to 39%. sense ago stalemate, republicans have offered democrats a smaller fallback proposal, stripping out almost everything controversial. the $643 package of spending cuts and new fees includes no cuts to medicare and medicaid, the primary drivers of the debt, and almost no new tax revenue. democrats rejected it. massachusetts senator john kerry explained why. >> settling for half of what the american people need and what we were sent here to do is unacceptable to me. >> reporter: some liberals in congress are now quietly saying failure might not be the worst thing. vermont senator bernie sanders is among them. >> the american people right now are in the midst of a horrendous recession with the middle-class collapsing. they don't... do not want to see medicare cut, medicaid cut or social security cut. that is very clear. >> reporter: the supercommittee deadline may be
on wednesday, but they are required by law to come up with a blueprint by monday so that all the members of the supercommittee can review it before they vote. scott? >> pelley: they'll be working the weekend. thank you very much, nancy. in an important opening today, the president said he will send the secretary of state to one of the few countries on earth that the u.s. has refused to deal with. next door to thailand, the country calls its myanmar, but relations are so bad the u.s. government still calls it by its old name, burma. a brutal military dictatorship has had a great there since the 1960s, but a new ruler has begun easing some of myanmar's oppressive policies. there is another dictatorship that the president wants to see overthrown. that of bashar al-assad in syria. assad has been killing civilians, perhaps thousands of them, after an uprising started eight months ago. our chief white house correspondent norah o'donnell sat down with secretary of state clinton today and posed this
question. >> reporter: i do want to talk about syria. are we at a tipping point? and how much long dore you think assad can survive? >> look, assad's going to be gone, it's just a question of time. what we slope that they avoid a civil war, that they avoid greater bloodshed. that they make the changes that they should have been making all along. >> reporter: how much longer? >> i can't sit here and predict it but we think pressure is building. >> pelley: secretary of state clinton says she does not expect an international force to intervene in syria the way the u.s. and nato did in libya. a question on libya seemed to challenge republican presidential contender herman cain today. campaigning in florida, he was reminded of a question that he'd gotten earlier this week on u.s. policy in libya. but his answer seemed to confuse libya with afghanistan. where the u.s. is fighting the taliban. >> do you agree or disagree with president obama on libya?
what part? do i agree with the part where we intervene with rockets and missiles? do i agree with siding with the opposition? do i agree with saying that qaddafi should go? do i agree that they now have a country where you've got taliban and al qaeda that's going to be part of the government? do i agree with not knowing what the government was going snob which part was he asking me about? >> pelley: the united states invaded afghanistan in 2001 to root out al qaeda and overthrow the taliban. another coach from a major college sports program is accused of sexually abusing children. bernie fine, an assistant basketball coach at syracuse, is accused of molesting two ball boys during the 1980s. one of them first went to authorities in 2005 but no charges were brought.
in a statement today, fine called the allegations "patently false." head coach jim boeheim said fine has his full support. the second ball boy says he came forward after hearing about the sex abuse case at penn state and we learned today that fired head football coach joe paterno has lung cancer. his son says it's treatable. there were other developments at penn state today and armen keteyian is in state college. >> reporter: dr. david joyner, ex-penn state football player under joe paterno, star wrestler and board of trustee member since 2000 was officially introduced today as the school's acting athletic director. >> i'm here to help and i'm near do the right thing. >> reporter: as a wounded university tries to move forward from a sex abuse scandal that has devastated the community. you are an insider at penn state. what assurance cans you give that what critics have called a culture of denial here at penn state cannot continue?
>> no matter what they say about me being an insider, as you watch what i do and how this university behaves you will know and appreciate that i'm about doing the right thing. >> reporter: penn state's board of trustees has complete responsibility over the university. yet joyner said to his knowledge the board was never informed of multiple allegations of sexual abuse by former football coach jerry sandusky until news of a criminal investigation broke in march. if president spanier knew in 2002 of that incident, why wasn't the board informed? >> i don't know the answer to that question. >> reporter: fallout from charges of abuse and a potential coverup has now cost four top university officials their jobs, including paterno, the larger-than-life coach, and school president graham spanier. and today the n.c.a.a. announced it would examine what it called the actions and inactions of university personnel. in a statement, the organization said:
a spokesman telling cbs news the inquiry will focus on ethical standards. and, scott, now there's word the second mile charity founded by sandusky and prosecutors charge used as bait to lure in young boys is preparing to fold. >> pelley: long way to go in that investigation. armen, thank you very much. a wildfire in reno has destroyed more than 20 homes and forced thousands to flee. a real estate man with a mission on the road with steve hartman. and 30 years later the police reopen the investigation of natalie wood's death when the "cbs evening news" continues. [ timers ringing ] [ male announcer ] it's that time of year. time for campbell's green bean casserole.
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>> pelley: there's a development tonight in one of hollywood's most enduring mysteries, the death of natalie wood. she drowned 30 years ago this month while boating off california's catalina island with her husband, robert wagner. now, "48 hours" and "vanity fair" have uncovered new evidence and lee cowan reports the los angeles county sheriff's department reopened the case today. >> i believe that robert wagner was with her right up until the
moment. >> reporter: dab necessary davern says he was there that night as the captain of the "splen dour" the yacht that carried actress natalie wood and her husband robert wagner out to sea on a thanksgiving weekend. for 30 years the story had been that wood fell overboard, no one knew how or when. but davern tells cbs' 48 hours he believes wagner did know and did little to help. i said to robert wagner "maybe i should turn on the search light" and he said "don't do that." >> reporter: the next day woods' body-- clothed in a nightgown and down jacket-- was found in the waters off ca cataa island. the coroner ruled it an accident. wagner and the captain told investigators the last time they saw wood she was below decks in her stateroom getting ready for bed. but what's different about the captain's story now is he says wagner and wopping arguing. >> yelling, things being thrown about and then the fighting went back to the back of the boat and
then it was quiet. >> reporter: l.a. county detective john corina says that and other lights were enough to reopen the case. >> this new information is substantial enough for us to want to take another look at the case. >> reporter: he wouldn't go into detail but he did answer one question. is robert wagner a suspect? >> no. >> reporter: the relationship between wagner and wood was always tabloid fodder. they'd married each other twice at the height of their careers. >> well, young lady, what's your name? >> susan walker, what's yours? >> reporter: wood came to fame as a child sweetheart in "miracle on 34th street." ♪ i feel pretty, oh so pretty... >> reporter: she went on to play alongside hollywood legends earning three oscar nods. but it was on the set of "brainstorm" where she became friends with a actor christopher walken. he was also on the boat that night. in a 2009 autobiography, wagner said he and walken had gotten into an argument on deck. he was so mad, he wrote, he
smashed a wine bottle. but he told cbs "sunday morning" rumors about how natalie wood ended up overboard are conjecture. >> if i had heard anything or known anything we would have done anything. nobody knew what happened. >> reporter: scott, investigators say for now nothing has changed their mind. the death of natalie wood remains an accident. but as for that ca captain, sco, he has a lot of critics. there are people questioning not only his motives but the timing of his revelations, coming just shy of the 30 *9 anniversary ofa depth that has captivated this town ever since. >> pelley: there will be more about this on "48 hours" tomorrow night at 10:00, 9:00 central time. a massive wildfire in reno, nevada. a report from the fireline next. dry mouth can be frustrating... and ignoring it can lead to...
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yeah, you know it's funny. it only took 15 minutes to sign up for that new auto insurance company but it's taken a lot longer to hear back. is your car up a pole again? [ crying ] i miss you, jessica! jerry, are you crying? no, i just, i bit my tongue. [ male announcer ] get to a better state. state farm. >> pelley: firefighters in reno, nevada, are battling a major wildfire. it started overnight and has already burned 2,000 acres and destroyed 20 homes. about 10,000 people have been evacuated. one man died of a heart attack while fleeing his home. wind gusts of up to 60 miles an hour are feeding the fire. they don't know how it started. our sacramento station k oovr is in reno. what are you seeing now? >> reporter: strong winds have made this fire fight so challenging and unpredictable.
you can see the home behind me is destroyed but the homes along this street are o.k. so all day long firefighters have been chasing these spot fires that have been fueled by the wind trying to knock them down and save as many homes as they can. kosk they have lost homes but fire officials believe they have saved 4,000 structures so far. we talked to one home owner who described firefighters lining up in his back glared a wall and basically protecting his home. they actually came back two times and he is grateful to them this evening for saving his home. at this point, they are waiting for these winds to die down. they haven't been able to get any helicopters, any aircraft up in the air to help them with this fire battle. they hope to have evacuated residents back in their home by saturday afternoon. >> pelley: incredible winds there. thank you very much. an exhibit dedicated to america's first ladies opens tomorrow at the national museum of american history in washington. visitors will see mementos from the earliest days of
presidential spouses when they were referred to as lady presidentress or republican queen. the title of first lady was first used by president zachary taylor in 1894 in his eulogy for dolley madison. he's the jolly man with the beard who gets lots of letters. no, it's not him. steve hartman has his story on the road next. after maybe you don't need these. take beano before and there'll be no gas. wat.
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>> pelley: we end the week with a man who made a fortune selling pieces of the earth. but to here steve hartman tell it, he may have a place up in heaven as well. steve met him on the road. >> reporter: if jesus were to come back, would it be as a real estate broker in wisconsin? probably not. but lord know this is bearded man in white burning the midnight oil sure fits the bill more than anyone i've ever met. >> we have to love one another and take care of each other and that's what it's about. >> reporter: sal dim sel sal dis poring over the letters he gets from poor people in need of minor miracles, like getting a
utility bill paid so they can have their gas turned back on. sal makes it happen using donations and a lot of his own money and then tells the stories in a local newspaper column he writes called "the time is now to help." >> the whole siding is off that side. >> reporter: his latest tip brought him to this should be torn down trailer. >> i thought there can't be people living in here. all of a sudden i heard little child inside. my heart sunk. >> reporter: six of them as we learned each more adorable than the next. they belong to henney acup and her boyfriend. you cold, sweet any the only heat they get is from the electric stove. yet henney says she didn't write a letter, somebody else must have. >> never realized you were like those people in the articles? >> not really, i feel lucky. >> reporter: you feel luck glee. >> yeah, i feel like just having my family, they're all loving and caring. >> reporter: all the more reason for sal to want to help-- although his main motivation is much more personal.
take me back to when you were a little boy. >> i remember being evicted. evictions coming... >> reporter: evictions? >> evictions. we were like gypsies. >> reporter: and poverty chased them to every new address. >> i made a promise to god that i would never forget these roots. >> reporter: eventually sal, who owns the real estate company, became a multimillionaire. although according to his bookkeeper and wife coreen, sal has given away almost-- all of it. $4 million and counting. >> yeah, i worry sometimes but there's no convincing him. (laughs) >> it gets contagious. you want to do it again and again. this is the van. >> reporter: over the last 20 years, sal's helped about 20,000 people. >> here's the master bedroom here. >> reporter: today it's henny and her boyfriend tim. who, thanks to sal, are now in a new completely furnished
apartment. this isn't what you were expecting? it. >> it's... i can't even... i don't even know. i don't even know. >> reporter: who knows how much longer sal can afford to keep doing this. >> thank you so much. i'm so grateful to you. >> reporter: if only hugs were dollars it wouldn't be an issue. >> thank you so much. if only there were more sals in the world there wouldn't be a need. steve hartman, "on the road" in lake geneva, wisconsin. >> pelley: and that's the "cbs evening news." for all of us at cbs news all around the world, i'm scott pelley. i'll see you sunday on "60 minutes." the time is running short for those those -- for those
six democrats. the committee is trying to figure it out by next week. danielle nottingham has the story from capitol hill. >> reporter: the supercommittee says it will work through the weekend to try meet its deadline. members must agree on a deadline to slash $1.2 trillion from the deficit over the next ten years and take a vote by wednesday. >> we are painfully aware of the deadline that is staring us in the face. >> reporter: congress created the 12-member bipartisan committee to end the summer debt ceiling standoff. but committee members find themselves locked in a familiar battle over raising taxes and cutting entitlement programs like social security, medicare and medicaid. >> where the divide is right now is on taxes an