tv CBS Evening News CBS February 19, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EST
>> mitchell: tonight, standoff in wisconsin. supporters and opponents of the governor's plan to roll back union bargaining rights square off at the state capitol. i'm russ mitchell. also tonight, middle east in turmoil. protesters reoccupy the main square in bahrain where violent clashes spread across much of the arab world. final offer. the head of the $20 billion bp oil spill fund issues new rules for compensation but not everyone is pleased. and suffering in silence. victims of sexual abuse in the military file suit against the pentagon and speak out about the years they lived in fear. >> i was so terrified that, you know, i kept a knife under my pillow. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with russ mitchell.
>> mitchell: good evening. we begin tonight with a look at how budget troubles in most of the 50 states are creating havoc for taxpayers and lawmakers. in all, 46 states are projecting budget shortfalls from 2% in indiana to 45% in nevada. tonight, wisconsin, with an expected shortfall of almost 13%, remains in the spotlight, locked in a battle over budgets, politics, and labor. cynthia bowers joins us from the state capitol of madison, wisconsin, with the very latest. >> reporter: good evening, russ. raucous crowd today swelled to an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 as for the first time prounion protesters remember joined by conservative activists who say they recognize they are in the minority out here but say they have the majority where it counts, and that's with lawmakers. today, union supporters vied for space with conservative activists who say it's time their message is heard.
>> i know the majority is ready for these cuts. they're ready for things to change. >> reporter: they were here to show support for the new republican governor. >> scott walker was elected to do a job, and now that he's doing it some people are having a little temper tantrum. >> reporter: scott walker's first job, he says, is to fill a $136 million shortfall for this fiscal year. to help do that he wants nearly 300,000 wisconsin public workers to contribute more to their pensions and health insurance. >> this is what democracy looks like! >> reporter: but what is fueling these fiery protests is the provision that would take away public sector unions' right to collective bargaining. second grade teacher mary beth wendt says the governor's plan is union busting, disguised as budget balancing. >> we're sending a really strong message that unions are here for a purpose. >> reporter: although wendt taught this week, so many other teachers called in sick,
dozens of school districts had to cancel class. today, prounion physicians were busy writing backdated notes to allow those teachers to collect pay, even though they skipped school. >> the taxpayers are paying them to work while they're pretending they're sick and that's okay with you? >> it is. >> reporter: it was wisconsin that gave birth to public worker unions 75 years ago. now it could be the first to gut their power. labor leaders fear if this state falls, others will as well. 14 democratic lawmakers remain missing after fleeing the state to delay that vote. today, senate majority leader scott fitzgerald said no amount of protesting will change the outcome. >> the bill is not negotiable. what would be negotiable is what it's going to take to get them back in the chamber. >> reporter: with the holiday on monday, the likeliest earliest day for the legislation to reconvene is on tuesday although they say they could vote at any time if any of those
democratic ?aermts show back up. one thing is for sure, though, the crowd isn't going anywhere, russ. >> mitchell: cynthia bowers in madison, wisconsin, thanks very much. it was a late night on capitol hill, and before it ended after 4:00 this morning, the house had defied president obama and voted to slash more than $60 billion from the federal budget. the mood sets the stage for the possibility the government could run out of money. bill plante has more. >> the bill is passed. >> the vote, driven by new republican house members, strips $61 billion from in year's $1.2 trillion federal budget and setsum a confrontation with the democrats in the senate. >> we have a mandate from the american people to cut spending. >> reporter: in four long days and nights of debate on more than 150 amendments, republicans voted, among other things, to deny the money trierd carry out the provisions of the new health care law. to defund or roll back
regulations for environmental enforcement. and to stop federal funding for planned parenthood, the subject of an emotional exchange. new jersey republican chris smith arguing against the funding, quoted from the description of a procedure he called extermination. >> then the little body began disappearing into the canula before my very eyes. >> jackie speier, a california democrat, responded with an angry revelation. >> i'm one of those women he spoke about just now. >> reporter: speier said she had, had the same procedure, and not by choice. >> i lost a baby. but for you to stand on this floor and to suggest, as you have, that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly, or done without any thought is
preposterous. >> reporter: the intensity of the debate on all these issues left tempers short. >> this is a travesty of the democratic process. >> and to be lectured about what is a travesty is a travesty. >> reporter: but like it or not, the government runs out of money in two weeks. and that means that unless the senate adopts this budget, of which there's not really a chance, or both houses agree to another short-term extension, which the speaker says he won't do at the current spending rates, then the government will shut down. so is there a deal to be had? well, both sides remember what happened the last time there was a government shutdown, and you can expect two weeks of playing chicken while both parties assess the possible outcome. chris-- russ, i'm sorry. >> mitchell: no problem at all. i've been called much worse. bill plante at the white house. thank you. next we head overseas to the middle east and the unrest sweeping across the arab world. in algeria, police in riot fear and armed with clubs broke up a
protest by thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators. in libya, security forces fired on opponents of momar khadafy's 44-year long rule killing at least 14 people. in yemen thousands of protesters were fired upon by riot police. at least one person was killed, five others injured. in kuwait, police fired tear gas at roughly 300 arabs demanding citizenship. in bahrain, protesters seem to have won a partial reprieve, at least for now. allen pizzey is there with the latest. >> reporter: the day began with a standoff. riot police on one side of the raiser wire, several thousand chanting protesters on the other. bahrain's leaders had already withdrawn army tanks and troops under pressure from western leaders following a violent crackdown on thursday but the demonstrators weren't impressed. every police request for them to leave was met with chants of, "we are peaceful."
then, without warning, the riot police beat a hasty retreat. the crowd surged forward, a cheering placard waving river of people took back pearl square. even they could hardly believe it. >> the victory is about democracy. we want to be no less than what democratic people in the west, the democracy they enjoy. >> reporter: there is no indication their demands will be met, but today they were enjoying the moment. but for the protesters this is the victory for which all the blood was shed. control of pearl square gives them a focal point for their demand, but one of those demand is for the removal of the ruling dynasty and the troops weren't pulled out to let that happen. even as the square was being reclaimed, riot police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at another group heading for the celebration. at least 60 people were reported injured. despite the violence and a number of deaths this week, repression no longer
intimidates. >> we have been given promises. we have seen our own people die. the bahrainians die on this floor. we are not going to be quiet. >> reporter: as night fell, pearl square was anything but quiet. thousand came to celebrate their symbolic victory and press the point that they're prepared to camp out to push their demands for radical change. tonight, perhaps taking a page from the protesters who organized themselves on social networking systems, the government's ministry of information put out a twitter message saying the crowned prince was engaged in dialogue with opposition members. it's not clear who they are or what form that dialogue is taking. >> mitchell: from what you're hearing, what is the government's next move? >> they have to talk. it seems like the crown prince is the one the public will trust if they trust anybody in the royal family. the crown prince has credibility. he is in his 40s and that's the way they're going to have to go. i don't see they have any other way out of this.
>> mitchell: allen pizzey joining us via skype. u.s. officials said somali pirates seized a yacht in the arabian sea believed to have four americans on aboard. they are headed back to smallia where they could hold the americans for ransom. >> reporter: for more than six years, jean and scott adam of california sailed around the world on their yacht, want s/v quest." the couple's web site said the yacht was on its way to oman from india. according to reports, the "quest "was hijacked. maritime experts say detecting and avoiding pirates in the region can be impossible. >> there's a saying every pirate is a fisherman and ever fisherman is a pirate. until they commit the act or attempt to commit the act they have a right to be on the wate waters. >> also believed to be aaboard the "quest "who other americans
whose names have not been released. the military is monitoring the situation. >> ideally, the united states will be able to intercept this yacht, intimidate and harass the pirates enough, make it in their interest to give up the hostages without awe gunfight. >> reporter: the hijacking happened just two days after a somali pirate was sentenced in a federal court in new york to 33 years in prison for the hijacking of the "hey, alabama" in 2009. >> piracy has become a major industry in somalia, filling a vacuum of a state that can't provide economic opportunity, can't provide livelihoods for its people. >> reporter: except through criminal enterprise, which puts unsuspecting americans in dang danger. elaine quijano, cbs news, new york. >> mitchell: and still ahead on tonight's cbs evening news, could wattsob the computer be your next doctor? first, victims of the bp oil spill
>> mitchell: today a university of georgia scientist revealed new underwater picials which she believes shows oil from the bp spill is still stuck on the sea floored of the gulf of mexico and still stroying life there. meanwhile, the head of the $20 billion gulf claim funds announced new rules on how final payments will be determined. mark strassmann has more, including an exclusive interview with the fund chief. >> what do you think we're all a bunch of crackers? >> reporter: for months, ken feinberg got an earful, angry gulf coast residents demand bp pay them for their losses. as the bp fund administrator, feinberg needed to figure out what was fair for people like sarah rigaud. >> this is a lot worse than katrina. >> reporter: on grand isle, louisiana, business at rigaud's restaurant as it tanked, down 90%. bp paid her $10,000. she's applied for another
$162,000 from the gulf claims fund, or she closes for good. >> i. >> they don' don't have no certn date of when we might get another check or how much it might be. >> reporter: late yesterday that changed and nearly a half million people with claims now know fine pearg's final formula. with proper documentation, bp will write most of them a check for twice their losses for 2010. oyster men will get four times their losses, and they agree not to sue bp. feinberg thinks it's fair but told us in an exclusive interview he knows the grumbling is about to get louder. >> you do not design and administer these compensation programs expecting anybody to be happy. >> reporter: bp thinks it's too generous. the oil giant has already paid out $3.4 billion in partial claims, and another $12.6
billion for the cleanup, ongoing in places like bay jim nelouisiana. >> make the best of a bad situation. >> reporter: bp hired danny ray and his boat for the cleanup. he earn more than $250,000, enough to buy himself a new house. the locals call guys like ray "spill-ionaires." >> diokay. >> reporter: but the bill killed business for gregg schlumbrecht, another charter captain. one booking for all this year. he's counting on a generous bp check. >> this is my sole source of income. >> reporter: feinberg says only 17% of all claimants have filed the needed documentation. >> the biggest obstacle to actually making the payments is the tremendous lack of substantiation of these claims. >> reporter: claims from people with a new decision-- take bp's final offer or hire a lawyer. mark strassmann, cbs news, grand isle, louisiana. >> mitchell: winds with gusts
up to 60 miles per hour required through the northeast today with some disastrous results. in washington, the winds toppled a national christmas tree planted on the ellipse near the white house back in 1978. and just ahead on tonight's cbs evening news, victims of sexual abuse in the military take their case to court.
assaults came under fire in court. and that's tonight's "weekend journal." a lawsuit by a group of victims who aim to hold the pentagon to account. >> awareness is pain and that's definitely the case in this situation. glooch kori cioca is very aware of the military's problem with sexual assault. she was 20 years old when she was volunteered for the coast guard. >> i was there to serve my country, but i was a target. i was under friendly fire. >> reporter: she said commanders at her michigan base turned a blind eye by harassment from one superior officer who made constant sexual advanced. >> i was so terrified i kept a knife under my pillow. >> reporter: she said that officer pulled her into his cab and i know raped her in december 2005. >> i live in pain every day. >> mitchell: she is now the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed this week by 16 victims of sexual abuse in the military. they accuse defense secretary robert gates and his
predecessor, donald rumsfeld, of fail to prevent and prosecute rapes. >> the fact is we aren't where we should be. it is a matter of grave concern, and we will keep working at it. >> mitchell: the pentagon established a special office to battle sex crimes in its ranks six years ago. yet, reported attacks keep going up, to 3200 in 2009 while only 983 reports, or 30%, resulted in disciplinary action. >> if it happens by the person that's supposed to watch your back when you're in iraq or afghanistan, it can be especially disturbing. >> reporter: kaye whitley who heads the pentagon's program says the court-martial percent annual for sexual assaults is up but her focus is on prevention. >> intervention calls on each soldier, airman, sailor and marine to stand up and prevent sexual assault. >> mitchell: that may be easier said than done. sarah albertson, who says a higher ranking marine raped her in their barracks in 2006 says the military is plagued by a
culculture of cover-up. >> nobody wants to say there's been a rape in their command sphwhrooch advocates for victims say the aftermath can be just as painful in the assaults. >> in various different ways, these women were retaliated against with everything from insults and beating to being thrown out of the military, to being locked in their quarters. >> reporter: home in ohio and out of the military, kori cioca wants lawsuit to increase accountability and safety. >> i hope that things can change in the military. we are very beat but we are not beaten. >> mitchell: this april, the pentagon will launch a global hot line to report a sexual assault anywhere in the world.
>> mitchell: and finally this evening, as most of america knows by now, a computer named watson defeate defeated two humn opponents on "jeopardy!" this week. what does watson do for an encore? as jim axelrod tells us, it's already in training for a new line of work as dr. watson. >> reporter: forget lady gaga and her egg. the biggest splafn on tv last week-- >> this is "jeopardy!." . >> reporter: was made by a game show contestant. no, not these guys. this guy. >> seems to have a split personality. >> who is hyde. >> yes. >> reporter: watson, iba's
super computer which took on two of "jeopardy!'s" all-time champs and crushed them in a man versus machine match-up which carried some scary implications. >> i, for one, welcome our new computer. . >> reporter: no matter how much we chuckled about it. in the world of artificial intelligence watson is a superstar, able to sift through 200 million pages of content in three seconds to figure out complicated "jeopardy!" clues. >> it helps us appreciate our brains, our cognition, how we solve problems, and how incredible the human mind and the human body is. >> reporter: but ibm's m's engineers and computer scientists didn't develop watson simply to dominate game shows. job one for watson may be health care. ibm has partnered with two hospital is now testing watson to see how the computer would deal with patients. >> watson is answering medical questions as quickly and with
the same level of confidence that it answered a lot of those hard "jeopardy!" questions. >> reporter: dr. herbert chase says the information explosion in modern medicine threatens to overload doctors, making them less effective. >> watson can go find information that will directly impact on your understanding of the patient's diagnosis. >> reporter: one goal is to reduce diagnostic mistake, which account for 15-25% of medical errors. >> we are never going to replace physicians for example. the human brain is unassailable. >> reporter: in other words, while a computer could one day make even alex obsolete on "jeopardy!," when it comes to health care, the thinking is the human doctor will always be in. jim axelrod, cbs news, new york. >> mitchell: and that is the cbs evening news. thanks for joining us. i'm russ mitchell. i'll see you again tomorrow night. good night.