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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  August 6, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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on our broadcast tonight -- making history. how the final vote went today for future justice sonia sotomayor. cutbacks in mail delivery. is it possible we are going from six days to five? collision course, a tragic story. one woman behind a car accident that kills eight people including four children. authorities say she was drunk tonight. her husband says not so fast. ready or not, the scramble in this nation's emergency rooms to prepare for swine flu.
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and the man behind some of the iconic movies of our time has died. the iconic movies of our time has died. "nightly news" begins now. [ please stand by ] good evening. we now know who will be the next supreme court justice, the u.s. senate today confirmed judge sonia sotomayor as the first hispanic justice on the supreme court. only the third female justice in all of u.s. history. she is all but officially on the court. that comes with a swearing-in ceremony saturday. first came today's history-making vote. approving the nominee as it turns out by a comfortable margin. we begin here tonight with our justice correspondent pete williams at the supreme court building. pete, good evening. >> reporter: brian, judge sotomayor watched the vote at the federal courthouse in new york about half an hour away from the public housing project where she grew up. and around the country hispanic
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groups were celebrating. sotomayor! >> reporter: huge cheers in los angeles where hispanic supporters joined to watch the historic senate vote. here and at similar gatherings around the country pride in having a supreme court justice from the nation's fastest growing minority, now 15% of the population. >> i was just so elated, thrilled. i had to jump up. this was a moment we have been waiting for our entire lives. >> the yeas are 68, the nays are 31. >> reporter: confirmation a bulletin on the network telemundo. she was confirmed by a wider margin than the last supreme court justice, samuel alito nominated by george w. bush but got fewer votes than the other bush nominee, john roberts. supported by half the senate democrats. sotomayor picked up votes from nine republicans, four plan to leave the senate including
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ohio's george voinovich. >> while the founding fathers may have disagreements on some of her legal views, i think they would be proud, judging individuals on their merit has endured as part of this great experiment. >> reporter: for orrin hatch, the first vote against the supreme court nominee. >> i believe i am doing the honorable and right thing even though i feel badly about it. >> reporter: only ailing ted kennedy missed the vote. every other democrat voted for her. >> our first african-american president has nominated the first hispanic justice to the united states supreme court. times are changing. >> reporter: president obama acknowledged those changing times after the vote praising his nominee's beliefs. >> they are ideals she has fought for throughout her career, ideals the senate has upheld today in breaking yet another barrier in moving us yet another step closer to a more perfect union. >> reporter: judge sotomayor will be sworn in here at the
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court on saturday by chief justice roberts and she will first be on the bench just a month from now when the court meets in a rare summer session to hear a big case on campaign spending. brian. pete williams starting us off at the court tonight. thanks. after confirming the newest justice to be, the senate then took on the car business. specifically this popular new program, cash for clunkers. lately it's found itself without funding. but not without its critics. nbc's kelly o'donnell is on capitol hill tonight with the latest. kelly, good evening. >> reporter: brian, it was just minutes after that supreme court vote that the senate shifted into the nuts and bolts of cash for clunkers. should the car rebate program get another $2 billion? you have heard how it works. you turn in an old gas guzzler, you get up to $4,500 towards a new fuel efficient car. now senators are here late tonight with hours of debate over it. there are proposed changes most from republicans who say the government can't afford to help people buy cars.
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now if any of the changes were to pass the money for cash for clunkers would be dead. why? because the house of representatives would have to agree to it too and they have already left town for the summer recess. so the state of cash for clunkers will be known tonight when final volts are cast. kelly o'donnell working late tonight on capitol hill. kelly, thanks. in every city, town, village, hamlet in the country, mail delivery every day of the week except sunday. in a world of e-mail and with the postal service, running at a big loss, can snail mail continue at this same pace. not if you heard what was said about it in washington today. that story from nbc's lisa myers. >> reporter: faced with a staggering $7 billion loss, the postal service appealed to congress to allow it to end saturday delivery and close some facilities. >> the fact of the matter is i think we have reached a breaking point with the recession and that's why we are seeking to go from six to five day delivery.
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>> reporter: 700 post offices now on the possible chopping block, mostly in cities and suburbs. the situation is so dire -- that today, the usual congressional politics, raising kane about potential closings or cutbacks did not come into play. in fact, key senators seemed resigned to dramatic changes. >> the alternative is increasing fiscal desperation. >> reporter: a brutal recession and the internet have caused mail volume and thus postal revenue to plummet. the average daily delivery to each address has declined from almost six pieces in 2000, to four pieces today. some say that will never come back. >> i am getting all my bills now, not through the mail. >> i wish you were a better customer of ours, that is okay. >> postal officials say eliminating saturday delivery would save an estimated $3
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billion, less than half the current deficit. so some senators argued that something more has to give. that drastic change is required in the age of the internet. >> post office has got to adjust to it or they will go the way of the horse and buggy. >> reporter: experts say the postal service still has plenty of inefficiencies. 50% more processing capacity than needed for first-class mail. union contracts with inflexible work rules. and which make layoffs almost impossible. and excess post offices. one pennsylvania county has 63 of them. four times as many as counties of comparable size. postal officials say if congress approves a cutback in service, the public will have at least six months before saturday delivery becomes another casualty of the recession. lisa myers, nbc news, washington. a developing story tonight. u.s. forces say they believe they have killed a man responsible for some of the
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worst and most spectacular terrorist attacks of our time. our pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski on duty tonight has more on this story. jim, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. u.s. officials are confident tonight that taliban leader massoud is dead. one senior official tells nbc news it is believed that massoud was killed in a missile strike in pakistan yesterday. but so far there is just no way that they can confirm it. now, massoud among the most notorious taliban leaders accused in assassination of benazir bhutto, of terrorist attacks throughout pakistan and on attacks against u.s. forces in afghanistan. if massoud is in fact dead this would give a huge boost to u.s. and pakistan efforts to take out his taliban network. according to one official tonight, if it is true that he has been killed, quote, that would be great. brian. >> jim miklaszewski on duty at the pentagon for us. jim, thanks.
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news on the economic and job situation in this country as we await tomorrow's report on unemployment for the month of july. bear with us here, these numbers are important. for last week, fewer people filed new claims for unemployment benefits down 38,000 to just over half a million. but the number of americans continuing on the unemployment rolls was up by 69,000, to 6.3 million. that does not count the 140,000 who exhausted their regular benefits and were rolled over into the government's extended benefits program. movie fans across this country are startled tonight by word of the sudden death of a major force in the motion picture industry for over a generation in this country. john hughes made a lot of movies about kids that appealed to kids and then some. from "planes and trains" to "vacation" to "home alone" he made some icons in his time. tonight, nbc's george lewis has a look back.
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>> ahh! >> reporter: he was the guy who had movie audiences roaring at films such as "home alone." >> buehler. >> reporter: and "ferris buehler's day off." john hughes jr. was born in michigan in 1950. he was proud of being a self-made man who began his career in chicago writing advertising copy. chicago became the setting for many of his pictures. >> anything is peaceful from 1,353 feet. >> a brain, a beauty. >> reporter: in 1985 he won critical praise for the movie "the breakfast club" a look into the psyche of teenagers. ♪ as you walk on by >> i think one of the mistakes that is commonly made in hollywood teenage pictures is they're just going for the bucks. >> reporter: he helped launch the careers of several young
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actors later known as the brat pack, they included molly ringwald and ally sheedy. >> my god, are we going to be like our parents? >> not me. >> it's unavoidable. it just happens. >> what happens? >> when you grow up your heart dies. >> when you get older you can't be that sensitive that you -- your skin gets a little thicker. and you have more responsibilities. and you know the world starts to press in on you. >> john hughes spoke to a whole generation. he didn't talk down to them. he seemed to get it. >> reporter: john hughes, a man whose work focused on youth, was only 59 when he died. george lewis, nbc news, los angeles. when "nightly news" continues on a thursday night -- hospitals trying to get ready for this possible swine flu surge. will the care givers themselves
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be able? later, a terrible crash that killed a mother, her child, nieces, strangers. now her husband speaks out. (announcer) there are engines... and then there's the twin-turbocharging, 365-horsepower-generating, ecoboost™ engine in the all-new ford taurus sho that has the thirst of a v6 with the thrust of a v8. we speak car. we speak innovation.
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federal health officials released new research on the accuracy of tests for swine flu. results are not encouraging. this comes as hospitals across the country are preparing for what could be a surge in cases when the official flu season gets under way. our report tonight from our chief science correspondent robert bazell. >> reporter: when swine flu first struck last spring. hospitals and hard-hit areas like parts of new york city were quickly swamped. >> emergency department. >> reporter: that's why hospitals across the country like leihigh valley in pennsylvania are getting ready
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now for the fall. one of the biggest concerns, people who fear they have the flu but don't. >> more and more people will be worried and they will seek treatment whether they have it or don't have it we'll have large volumes of patients coming in believing that they have it. >> huh to triage people. >> reporter: cary burger who heads infection control says a surge of flu cases could threaten the hospital in many ways. >> this hospital doesn't just take care of flu, right? >> that's correct. that's what's important to us to make sure our doors continue to remain open for the heart attacks, the strokes the newborn babies, the injuries. >> to limit spread, people who arrive with flu symptoms get hand sanitizer and a mask. >> this helps prevent the spread of disease. >> beaver they're triaged. the hospital has huge supplies of gloves, masks. >> 52,000 doses. >> and the drug tamiflu and can put up four tents within hours providing 150 beds, 32 critical care with ventilators.
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when vaccine becomes available, the hospital plans to repeat a drive-through program at a local amusement park. last year health care workers vaccinated 12,000 people in 12 hours. despite all the preparation, dr. luther rhodes, the head of infectious diseases following the pandemic across the globe still worries. >> this is the virus that has a great ability to head fake, come on look like it is not going to do much, and then when people let their guard down, become much more vicious and more of a serious threat. to make the public health situation even more challenging, studies out from the cdc today revealed that the tests widely used to determine if someone has flu can be wrong. in fact some of the kits which test just for flu, not even swine flu, can be wrong more than half the time. that means the doctors may have to treat some patients, especially those at high risk for complications like pregnant
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women with anti-viral drugs without knowing for sure they have the flu, brian. >> probably will cause more of the so-called worried well patients people who just want to get checked out. >> a lot of reasons for worry this fall. thanks. two stories came to our attention and raised the question what is in a name. specifically a brand name. first the new seattle starbuck's definitely not a starbuck's, a remodeled rustic looking store. the company is calling 15th avenue coffee and tea part of their push to make some more stores neighborhoodly, they will serve beer and wine as well. then there is radio shack which has now taken to calling itself just the shack. that's what they're going to call the company to freshen the image though they say the signs on the stores will remain the same. it is apparently part because radios have been around so long and so has the radio shack name. >> up anext as next, an awful c
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accident, eight people deaden clueding four children. was it drunk driving? or was there more to it? , not treating is not an option. all prescription nsaid pain relievers, like celebrex, ibuprofen and naproxen, help treat arthritis pain and have some of the same warnings. but since individual results may vary, having options is important. prescription celebrex has been the option for millions of patients for 10 straight years. just one 200-mg celebrex (once a day,) can provide dependable, 24-hour relief for many with arthritis pain, stiffness and inflammation. based on the available data, the fda stated that for certain patients celebrex's benefits outweigh the risks. if you are worried about stomach upset, you should know, in clinical studies, a lower percentage of patients taking celebrex reported stomach discomfort versus prescription ibuprofen and naproxen. and if you are taking low-dose aspirin for your heart and need an nsaid pain reliever, celebrex can be used because it doesn't interfere
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with the effects of low-dose aspirin. but when it comes to relieving your arthritis pain, you and your doctor need to balance the benefits with the risks. the fda requires all prescription nsaids, including celebrex, ibuprofen, naproxen and meloxicam, to have the same cardiovascular warning. they all may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death. this chance increases if you have heart disease or risk factors for it such as high blood pressure or when nsaids are taken for long periods. all prescription nsaids, including celebrex, also increase the chance of serious skin reactions or stomach and intestine problems, such as bleeding and ulcers, which can occur without warning and may cause death. patients also taking aspirin and the elderly are at increased risk for stomach bleeding and ulcers. do not take celebrex if you're allergic to aspirin or sulfonamides. ask your doctor if you could benefit from celebrex. understand the risks. feel the benefits.
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we're back now with our indepth report tonight and the latest developments today in a tragedy that riveted our
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attention here in the new york area. it is getting a lot of attention across the country as well. for the first time today we, heard from the grieving husband of a woman who killed herself and seven other people in a single, terrible car crash. she spoke out after investigators said his wife had been driving drunk. the story tonight from nbc's rehema ellis. >> reporter: it was a terrible accident that left people stunned. eight people died when a minivan went the wrong way. >> reporter: 36-year-old diane schuler driving her 2-year-old daughter, her 5-year-old son and three young nieces home from a summer weekend family outing. >> she was fine. we packed the cars up. like we always do. >> reporter: four hours later she hit and killed three men in a second vehicle, on a highway about 35 miles north of new york city. only schuler's 5-year-old son survived. days later, hundreds of neighbors, friends, and family members held a funeral service.
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husband mourning daughter and wife. schuler's brother and wife, saying good-bye to their three children. >> cherish your children. cherish your children. >> reporter: police investigators and family struggle to understand how this tragedy could have happened. at around 1:00 p.m. police say schuler called her brother, saying she felt disoriented but she continued driving. eyewitnesses later told police diane schuler drove erratically for the next 60 miles before coming here. and in broad daylight with the minivan filled with children she entered this road, that is clearly marked one way, do not enter. schuler drove the wrong way, weaving through oncoming traffic for nearly two miles. eventually causing the deadly collision. the initial autopsies show no medical reason for the crash. but this week, the toxicology report came in. >> diane schuler had a blood alcohol content of
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.19%. the legal limit for intoxication in new york state is .08%. >> reporter: police recovered a broken vodka bottle from schuler's car and say she had also smoked marijuana. today, schuler's husband met with reporters to say he may ask for a second independent autopsy. >> i go to bed every night knowing my heart is clear. she did not drink. she is not an alcoholic. something medically had to have happened. >> reporter: the family of two other victims in the second car said they plan to file suit. shattered families all searching for answers that may never come. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. >> up anext as we continue, remembering one of the last remaining soldiers who knew what it was like in the trenches of world war i. t... [ engine rattles ] [ man ] love stinks! ♪ love stinks! ♪ yeah! yeah! [ female announcer ] new swiffer wet jet is redesigned. it cleans deep in corners. its solution penetrates layers of dirt
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only one a day men's 50+ advantage... has gingko for memory and concentration. plus support for heart health. that's a great call. one a day men's. the united states is down to one surviving veteran of world war i. frank buckles is 108 years old, lives in west virginia. today in the united kingdom they buried their last veteran of the trench warfare that claimed almost 1 million brits.
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his name was harry patch, he was 111. and he was remembered by a nation that reveres its veterans. our report from london tonight from nbc's tom aspel. >> reporter: six young soldiers carrying the coffin of an old comrade today. ♪ >> reporter: harry patch, britain's last surviving soldier from world war i. today his honor guard from drawn from the rifles regiment, the successors to patch's old unit which fought in belgium at the battle in 1917 where half a million men on both sides died in 100 days of fighting for five miles of territory. he never talked about his war, not even to his wife and closest friends until he turned 100. all that time to remember the horror of losing friends under fire. >> they burst just behind, the last three who had the ammunition carriers coming up
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behind me. they were gone. blown to pieces. >> reporter: all that time to remember how scared he had been. >> scared stiff. and if any man tells you he ever went to fronts and went in the front line and tell you he didn't, he wasn't scared then he is a damn liar. >> reporter: harry patch went back to the battlefield a few years ago to remember his friends who didn't make it home. >> i had no inclination to fight anybody. i mean why, why should i go out and kill somebody i never knew for what reason? ♪ >> reporter: today in a cathedral overflowing with mourners, his friends paid tribute. >> harry let it out so we could hear his message. his message of peace and reconciliation.
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♪ >> reporter: and at the end the fading notes of the last post, a final farewell to a soldier who was one of the last witnesses to a war that killed more than 8 million men. tom aspel, nbc news, london. that is our broadcast for this thursday night. thank you for being with us. i am brian williams. we hope to see you back here tomorrow evening. we hope to see you back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac --


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