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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  March 1, 2013 5:30pm-6:00pm PST

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w choice things to say. major? >> reporter: scott, the president will sign the order placing these spending cuts in motion later on tonight. earlier today, he said the damage will not be felt immediately but when it comes it will be real. >> we will get through this. this is not going to be a apocalypse i think as some people have said. it's just dumb. >> reporter: tonight the administration will issue spending cut orders to every federal agency. in anticipation, the department today sent this letter to virginia's governor telling him it was canceling 11 ship maintenance projects in norfolk, virginia, and cutting 146 million from army bases, including fort lee and fort belvoir. at the justice department this week, a memo to employees warned of a possible furlough after april 21. if the furlough occurs, it reads, full-time employees will be furloughed no more than 14 work days. >> people are going to be hurt. the economy will not grow as
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quickly as it would have. unemployment will not go down as quickly as it would have. and there are lives behind that. and that's real. and it's not necessary. that's the problem. >> reporter: there is a way out of this, of course, scott, and that's for both sides to compromise. but in this conflict, neither side has shown any willingness to do that at all. >> pelley: thank you. it is a feature of this law that federal managers can't choose where to cut. the reductions must be across the board thereby eliminating both the wasteful and the vital. a few programs are exempt, however, and we asked nancy cordes to tell us where the cuts are coming. >> reporter: food stamp fund will not be cut. neither will children's health subsidies or medicaid. democrats protected those programs for the poor and a few others when they were negotiating the sequester with republicans two years ago. and both sides agreed that
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military pay and benefits along with funding for veterans should be shielded from the budget ax as well. but the rest of the federal government will be cut by $85 billion this year and more than $100 billion each of the nine years after that with the cuts split between defense and domestic spending. that translates into an 8% cut in pentagon funding. most domestic agencies will have to cut at least 5% from their ledgers. medicare itself won't get cut but doctors who see medicare patients will see their reimbursements trimmed by 2%. and there are many programs for the needy that will get cut back, like home heating assistance and unemployment insurance. but some democrats like arizona's raul grijalva see a silver lining. they got the big defense cuts they've been wanting for decades. so you think there is a lot of money being wasted right now? >> there are excesses everywhere you look. this requires the pentagon to examine itself and in the
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process of that examination come up with savings and make a military force that's up to the 21st century and i think that will be a good thing for america. >> reporter: many republicans see partial victory, too, the sequester may not be perfect they say, but at least it cuts spending. missouri's roy blunt. >> if you listen to the administration you'd assume it's the last day it's safe to go outside. >> reporter: republicans argue the cuts will not be as devastating as the president predicts. one thing that won't be cut: lawmaker pay. though they will have to trim their office budgets which could mean that some staffers face layoffs. scott? >> pelley: nancy, thanks very much. so why did this happen? in the end the impasse was over taxes. mr. obama insists on raising new tax revenue by closing loopholes that favor corporations and the rich. republicans say they already compromised on taxes in january when rates went up on the wealthiest americans and payroll
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taxes increased for nearly all working americans. last month, as the deadlock hardened, we spoke to john boehner, the republican speaker of the house, and to president obama. >> the question is, if we're going to be serious about reducing our deficit can we combine some smart spending cuts-- because there's still some waste in government-- can we reform our health care programs in particular? there are things we can do to reduce health care costs. and can we close some loopholes and deductions that folks who are well connected and have a lot of accountants and lawyers can take advantage of so they end up paying lower rates than a bus driver or a cop. >> pelley: so you think there is going to have to be additional revenue over the next four years? >> there's no doubt we need additional revenue coupled with smart spending reductions in order to bring down our deficit.
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>> the president got his revenue on january 1. it's time to get serious about cutting spending. >> pelley: you say the president got his revenue. are you say nothing more revenue? you will not -- >> there is no revenue that's necessary. the government this year will bring in more revenue than it has ever brought in the history of our country. the problem is spending. it's out of control. the president ran up over $5 trillion worth of debt in his first four years in office. we've got a budget deficit this year of another trillion dollars. you can't continue to spend money that you don't have. >> pelley: at his news conference today, the president was also asked about his decision to get involved in the battle over same-sex marriage in california. late yesterday, the administration filed a brief with the supreme court saying that california's ban on gays and lesbians marrying violates their constitutional rights. >> the supreme court asked me or my attorney general or a solicitor general do we think that meets constitutional muster i felt it was important for us to answer that question honestly and the answer is no.
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>> pelley: jan crawford is our chief legal correspondent and long-time reporter at the supreme court. jan, the court will hear arguments later this month that will impact all of this and i wonder what the president's comments today have to do with the case. >> scott, as president obama said today "i'm not a judge, i'm the president." his views carry no binding authority on the supreme court. just because the administration is making this argument doesn't mean the court has to go along with it. i mean, the federal government is not directly involved in this case. it's a challenge by same-sex couples in california to a california constitutional amendment that bans gay marriage. the administration chose to get involved to make a strong statement on gay rights. that, of course, reflected in his comments today but, scott, the brief is more important, i think, politically and symbolically than it is legally. >> pelley: if the case is
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centered on california, could it have wider ranging implications? >> yes, it could. even though this case comes from california it could have an enormous impact across the country. california is one of 30 states that has a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage so the decision could affect all of those laws. that's, of course, more than half the states in this country. and if the supreme court agrees with the president that amendments like california's are unconstitutional, scott, many or all of those laws banning gay marriage could be in jeopardy. >> pelley: jan, thanks very much. the future of space flight was riding on a rocket this morning when trouble struck. nasa has turned to private companies to reach orbit and one of those commercial missions, an unmanned cargo flight to the space station, had to be fixed in orbit today. bill whitaker followed the launch. >> three, two, one. >> reporter: the launch of the commercial space-x craft "the dragon" was picture perfect. the separation from its first and second-stage rockets went
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off without a hitch. but nine minutes into the unmanned flight, a serious problem struck. >> we are working to bring up the other two pods. >> reporter: three of four thruster pods failed. without the thrusters to steer it through space "dragon" couldn't reach the international space station. engineers on the ground worked feverishly. >> there's added pressure to get it right. >> reporter: bill nye is an aerospace engineer best known for promoting space education. he's a strong proponent of commercial space missions. it is a serious problem for commercial space exploration. >> you don't want to have problems in commercial space because there are -- there is an army of people who don't believe in this commercial space idea. >> reporter: space-x has a $1.6 billion contract with nasa to supply the space station. this is its second operational mission. with nasa focusing its limited resources on deep space exploration, private companies are angling to prove they can replace the retired fleet of shuttles.
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internet billionaire and space-x founder elon musk told scott pelley he's determined to play a role in the future of space. >> i don't ever give up. i mean, i'd have to be dead or completely incapacitated. >> reporter: scott, now all four thrusters have been fixed on the space-x but russia, europe, and japan all fly supply missions to the space station but only the space-x has a craft designed to return to earth with equipment from the station. space-x is planning a manned mission in 2015. >> pelley: bill whitaker in our los angeles newsroom. bill, thanks. can new york's strategy for fighting gun violence work in chicago? a huge sinkhole swallows a man inside his house. and red sky at night. hot winds whip up wildfires when the "cbs evening news" continues.
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>> pelley: we've been following chicago's epidemic of gun violence and there are signs of improvement tonight. the police report a sharp drop in homicides just this past month from 42 in january to 14 in february. and that is the fewest in any month in 56 years. our john miller, a former deputy commissioner of the inpatient,
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tells us about the new york import who's helping turn chicago's crime problem around. >> reporter: when mayor rahm emanuel hired police suspect superintendent gary mccarthy two years ago, it was a test. could mccarthy use the strategies he honed when he worked in the new york city police department to bring chicago the same kind of dramatic reductions in crime? the biggest challenge in chicago has been an estimated 68,000 gang members. one problem is a criminal justice system that lets nearly half of those arrested with illegal guns off with little or no jail time. >> the criminal justice system has to support what it is we're doing in the policing world if we're going to get long-term results rather than short-term spikes and valleys. >> reporter: so mccarthy has rolled out a series of tactical tools. first, technology. using electronic mapping to track each crime and deploy officers to hot spots, they call it putting cops on the dots.
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then the persistently violent sectors of chicago neighborhoods were flooded with rookies and overtime money from the mayor's office helped push 200 cops out of desk jobs at headquarters and on to the streets. finally, a gang initiative used intelligence analysis to determine where retaliation shootings were likely, and have police on hand to prevent them. >> there's no such thing as positive spin on murder except to say that there's none. the goal is to keep that trend moving, keep the numbers going down. this isn't a victory, it's progress, though. >> reporter: but police in chicago say progress will only go so far unless the courts start slapping mandatory minimum prison sentences on people involved in gun crimes. scott, chicago's mayor has called on the state legislature to pass those laws, but that will take time. >> pelley: early days but promising, john. thanks very much. sinkholes are so common in south florida they don't usually make news.
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but last night a 37-year-old man was swallowed by a sinkhole that opened up beneath his bed. it happened inside this house in seffner, florida. the hole was 20 feet wide. it took jeff bush and all of his furniture. he is feared dead tonight. his brother jumped in to help and he had to be rescued. when sharks attack, there is something even more dangerous than the bite. and that story is in a moment. moment. the only fiber for regularity that won't cause excess gas. it's gentle and clinically proven to help restore and maintain regularity. look for citrucel today.
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>> pelley: a wildfire lit up the sky over southern california last night. what a sight! the flames were whipped up by hot, dry, santa ana winds. about 300 acres burned. helicopter crews tried to douse the fire from above. imagine being in that helicopter. by this afternoon, the fire was about 40% contained. from danger on land to danger at sea. a new report says there were 53 shark attacks in the united states last year-- about half of those in florida. mark strassmann found out that what happens after a shark attack could be more dangerous than the bite itself. >> reporter: anthony siegrich was scuba diving off this florida beach when he was mauled by a 12-foot bull shark. his friend took this video right before the attack. >> when i looked down i just saw the head and it just kept biting and biting and biting. the blood turns green underwater so the whole thing exploded green. the first bite goes across the
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knee, through kneecap all the way around and then down across the ankle. >> reporter: his wounds became infected. doctors could only guess at what antibiotics to use because they didn't know what bacteria were in the mouth of the shark. >> they pumped me full of pretty much every antibiotic you can imagine. that was weeks. i was in the hospital five we weeks. >> reporter: dr. robert borrego saved siegrich's leg. he's leading a team at st. mary's medical center in west palm beach to develop targeted antibiotics for shark bites. >> we have the sharks here so why don't we find out what bacteria are in the sharks' mouth? >> reporter: all they have to do is swab the gums of a live shark. >> shoot, man, i don't want to lose this fish! >> reporter: josh jorgensen's job was to reel in a six-foot black tipped shark. >> it's a black-tip! >> nice one! >> hold it. >> good. so now we're swabbing the teeth underneath the gum and along the
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tooth line because this is where the bacteria grow. >> reporter: the shark was released. the samples went to borrego's lab. the goal is to fine tune antibiotics for the bites of several species of sharks. >> it's their domain and it's their ocean. everything to them is food. >> open the mouth for me? >> reporter: finding a antibiotic answer could be the difference between life and death for the two dozen people who are attacked off florida's coast each year. mark strassmann, cbs news, riviera beach, florida. >> pelley: an octogenarian had one simple wish in his life. steve hartman has his story next "on the road." mine was earned in djibouti, africa, 2004. the battle of bataan 1942. [ all ] fort benning,
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>> it's a hard life, let me tell you. but you ain't never lived hard until you go through what i been through. this is me. >> reporter: 89-year-old ed bray served in world war ii. he was at normandy on d-day, has two purple hearts and more than a dozen other medals. but to this day, he still can't even read what they're for, not because it's too painful but because he simply can't read. you know what this word is? e-u-r-o-p-e? >> no. toughest thing that ever happened to me in my life is not being able to read. >> reporter: you said you were at normandy, though? >> yes. >> reporter: illiteracy can be that damning. >> i've covered this up for 80 years. nobody in this town knows i can't read. >> reporter: until he retired, ed worked a civilian job at an air force base refueling planes. a coworker helped him with the forms and what not. at home, his wife covered for him for 62 years until she died in 2009.
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>> put you guys some coffee on. >> reporter: today ed manages okay. but the soldier in him still refuses to surrender. >> i wanted to read one book. i don't care if it's about mickey mouse! i want to read one book before i die. >> reporter: over the years, ed says many people have tried to school him, but invariably either the teacher or the student would get frustrated and give up. then a few months ago, a friend suggested he see a professor of reading education here at oklahoma's northeastern state university. >> he told me i was wasting my time; and i said, well, we'll just sit and chat a couple of times a week. is that okay? >> reporter: tobi thompson says eventually their weekly talks gave way to flash cards. >> and everything started clicking. >> reporter: he got pretty good at the sight words. >> one. >> reporter: but the real breakthrough came just last week, when, at the age of 89, ed bray read this book about george washington. >> it gave me goosebumps and it still does. it still does. >> it just makes me feel good, boy.
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"to power a car." >> reporter: he's read three more since. and although they're all just third grade level biographies, each one has the same dramatic ending. >> did you ever think you'd read that? >> reporter: each one the same moral takeaway for anyone who thinks they're too old to do something. >> get in there and learn, baby, now! because you ain't going to learn in that pine box. [ laughter ] >> reporter: just learned to read and already a poet. >> that's the truth! >> reporter: steve hartman "on the road" in cookson, oklahoma. >> and that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, i'm scott pelley. i'll see you sunday on "60 minutes." good night. here's a tip: if you >> your realtime captioner: linda marie macdonald. good evening, i'm julie
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watts. >> i'm ken bastida. allen and liz are off tonight. if you need a tip sheet for a tax funded paid conference in hawaii, don't take it. kpix 5 reporter linda yee tells us others couldn't resist including one bay area manager who says he doesn't see the problem. julie, nothing bad about being where there's palm trees on a beautiful island. like i am here. but this happens to be in the bay area. it turns out about 1,000 public pension managers from around the country though are headed to hawaii on an all-expenses- paid trip. who wouldn't want to come here? certainly not the hundreds of people nationwide who help manage public pension plans. their annual conference in may just happens to be at the hilton hawaiian village resort an all-expenses-paid trip to sun, surf and sand to talk
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shop. the estimated cost up to $3,000 a person. >> someone needs to go since we paid dues, why would you belong to an organization and not go? >> reporter: richard cabral is a trustee for the contra costa county employees retirement association. despite the troubles some government funded pension plans have suffered in this struggling economy, cabral sees nothing wrong with a trip to hawaii paid for by pension plans. >> it happens to be in hawaii and people make a big deal about it. i understand it's a very nice place. i -- i just -- it's the content and what you get from it, not so much the locale. >> reporter: critics however say it's irresponsible. pension reform expert -- >> they are raising people's contribution rates, employees have to pay more, they want to cut benefits. and they are going to go to hawaii?! what's up with that! >> reporter: conference organizers expected problems so they offered tips on their website on how to justify the
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trip. there's even a sample letter talking points. cabral said he didn't have to talk anyone into letting him go. despite the hit to the county's pension account took during the down market. >> you know, losses and we are recovering from that. >> reporter: so maybe this is not such a good time to be going to hawaii. >> yeah. see, uhm, that -- that's kind of like penny wise, pound foolish. >> reporter: the wisdom of picking hawaii when -- >> but i didn't pick hawaii. >> reporter: maybe you could choose not to go. >> yeah. i -- i guess. i stand on a principle. and forego speaking to people that might be there. i -- i -- i -- i don't -- i don't -- i don't want to make such a foolish point. >> reporter: well, he says he is going because he does get a lot from it and he brings back information. but one other person, another trustee with that county's retirement system says he won't go. that's county supervisor john


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