tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS August 7, 2009 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
unemployment rate is down. the labor department reported today it fell a tenth of a point in july to 9.4%. job losses slowed to just under a quarter million, the lowest in a year. the white house tonight is cautiously opt misks. optimistic. here's anthony mason. >> reporter: the bad news is getting better for the job market and the economy. >> this morning, we received additional signs that the worst may be behind us. >> reporter: after averaging more than 600,000 jobs lost in the first three months of the year, for the past three months, the average loss has been cut by half, but the drop in the unemployment rate isn't all good news. >> the unemployment rate went down because a lot of people, more than 400,000 people, actually left the labor force for whatever reason, they've just decided to give up looking for a job. >> reporter: and more than a third of those unemployed, five million people, have been out of work for more than six months.
that's a record. >> all of our jobs are posted on the web site. >> reporter: a thousand people turned out for a job fair in new york this week sponsored by monster.com. is the job market getting better at all? >> i think a little. >> her head hunting firm had 10 job openings. >> today that's pretty good. if you asked me last year if 10 was good, you'd say no. but today if you're saying 10 is good? 10 is great. >> reporter: and in its latest survey of job postings on the internet, monster.com is beginning to see a turn in some industries. retail, the energy sector, and transportation all showed small growth last month, along with government hiring. even the battered real estate industry is showing glimmers of hope. at the job fair, alicia raymond was recruiting sales people for a small new york mortgage company. >> so, obviously, this reflects
some confidence in the economy. >> yes, i mean, we are doing well. we're looking to bring new people on. and it's it's an opportunity for to us grow. >> reporter: if the trend continues the economy could start to create jobs again boy the end of the yeerb but the unemployment rate is still expected to cross 10%. jeff. >> all right, anthony mason, tonight. still a ways to go. thank you, anthony. when the economy does start creating jobs again many are asking what kind of jobs will they be and how much will they pay? mark strassmann explains now new jobs may not pay as much as the old ones. >> reporter: when chuck dettman was downsized in the last recession, he launched a supporter group for the jobless. >> it's kind of a two-session... >> reporter: that was eight years ago. we got group together to gage their progress can anyone here say they have recovered yet? >> absolutely not. >> no. >> reporter: new jobs were only the start of their recovery. >> the earning power's not there. the salaries not there. i never had a thought that i was
going to go out and do anything else. >> reporter: but cud him had to after being let go as a graphic artist making $54,000. he now teaches high school and college but still makes less than he used to. in fact, one recent study found most people who lose a job are still earning less 15 or 20 years later. >> every day i go to work thinking this could be my last day. it could happen all over again. >> reporter: bill sankey is anxious, with good reason. analysts say workers laid off once are more at risk to be laid off again. sankey was let go as a computer programmer earning $55,000. he has lost his job twice since. only now is he back earning roughly what he once did but he has spent all his savings. >> i used to be very optimistic but i'm no longer optimistic. >> reporter: after some hard times, karen carron is the group's success story. after losing a $69,000 job as a
computer programmer, she also lost her house. today she's back programming computers but earns more, and yet she's still insecure. >> i don't know if it will-- if it's going to be a full-time job for me for the next 10 years. >> reporter: they all still rely on their support group to network and stay positive. >> never give up. that's the key. >> reporter: especially now, for every job opening, there are six people looking to fill it. mark strassmann, cbs news, north palm beach, florida. >> to health care reform now. congress begins its summer recess, and the debate is moving outside washington. to town meetings all over the country. and opponents are raising the volume. now chief white house correspondent chip reid tells us supporters of reform are trying to fight back. >> this man would be given no care whatsoever. >> reporter: in suburban detroit congressman john dingell was the target of so much anger at a town meeting on health care reform... >> no! >> reporter: they called the police. >> fine, then arrest me and my
son right now! >> reporter: it's happening across the nation. from tampa, florida, where police got involved after a protest in the crowd turned violent. to green bay, wisconsin. critics of health reform say it's genuine grass-roots anger. but democrats say activists are orchestrating the protest. the evidence-- web sites of conservative groups that list democratic town halls and urge critics to go and be heard. and conservatives, like rush limbaugh, who, democrats say, are whipping activists into a frenzy, comparing president obama's health care plan to nazi policies. >> adolf hitler, like barack obama, also ruled by dictate. >> reporter: unions and liberal supporters of the president say they're now mobilizing, hoping they'll soon outnumber the critics at town halls. the white house hopes by remaining calm in the face of ferocious anger, the tactics of health care critics will backfire. >> we can discuss these issues without being uncivilized.
it's the same thing i tell my six-year-old. >> reporter: to give an idea of just how nasty this battle over health care reform has become, capitol hill police say they are now investigating a possible death threat by a constituent against a democratic congressman from north korea. north california. >> chip reid in washington, chip thank you. now to the h1n1 flu virus, and concerns it could be stronger than ever this fall. it has hit the young in this country especially hard. at least 100 people 24 and under have died, and with 55 million children set to start school next week, federal health officials put out guidelines today for protecting them. dr. jon lapook has more. >> reporter: with h1n1 expected to surge in the fall, veronica jiminez is back to school list includes kleenex, disinfecting solution and an extra dose of caution. >> she might look like a hypochondriac, but at the same time we're protecting them.
>> reporter: today the centers for disease control issued new guidelines, including a change in how long most children should stay home if they come down with the flu, one day after the fever is gone. >> it used to be seven days. now, it's 24 hours after fever goes away. >> reporter: while the c.d.c. expects the impact of h1n1 on schools will be worse this fall than last spring, officials believe the benefits of closing& schools are often outweighed by the disruption. >> you may reduce the spread of flu for a period of time but you also increase the number of kids who may be unsupervised. you may add social stregs in the community. >> reporter: because outbreaks of flu are so hard to contain, health experts are focused on vaccination, rather than relying on anti-viral medication. a new analysis find tamiflu and relenza, only reduce symptoms from saej flu by a day, at most. >> our scientists are working hard to have a vaccine ready for consumption by mid-october.
>> reporter: today the first of several thousand americans got the experimental h1n1 vaccine in several sites to test the safety. patients will most likely need two doses three weeks apart. two forms of the vaccine are being tested-- a shot and a nasal spray. >> we're trying to find out what strength of vaccine-- that is the amount of the virus that is need in the vaccine-- and how many doses are needed, one or two. >> reporter: whatever happens with the new vaccine, experts strongly advise getting the regular seasonal flu vaccine as soon as possible. it should become available by the end of this month. jeff. >> all right, dr. jon lapook, thank you so much tonight. now, to safety in the skies, cbs news has learned tonight that f.a.a. claims-- the f.a.a. has plan to order airlines to replace the air speed sensors on airbus 330s. this follows reports that problems with the sensors left pilots on some domestic flights unsure about how fast they were going. those planes all landed safely,
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>> there is a job opening in the senate. florida republican, mel martinez who had not planned to run for a second term announced today he is resigning to spend more time with his family. martinez, whose term expires in 16 mons, said he will leave as soon as republican governor charlie crist appoints a replacement. an update tonight on a story sharyl attkisson has been investigating-- washington power brokers who got so-called vip loans from a company at the center of a mortgage meltdown, countrywide financial. another v.i.p. name has surfaced and once again tonight, sharl will follow the money. >> reporter: add congressman edolphus towns to a growing list of government v.i.p.s who received loans from countrywide financials. that's significant because towns and democrats heads the committee investigating the mortgage lender's practices, and he personally blocking the effort to subpoena countrywide
documents. republican darrell issa is behind the subpoena effort. >> it's really about what countrywide sought to do, how vast it was, what they got for their millions of dollarses in discounts and how do we make sure it doesn't happen again. >> reporter: a countrywide whistle blower said the company aggressively courted those in positions to make decision. giving out risky exploonz selling them to government-backed fannie mae. billions of dollars worth of those loans defaulted at taxpayer expense. today, senate ethics committee cleared senators kent conrad and chris dodd of violating senate gift rules for getting vip countrywide loans. internal countrywide e-mails leave no doubt as to why some congressional staffers referred favorable loans, calling them a big supporter of countrywide, or responsible for legislation of interest and importance to countrywide. towns received three loans from countrywide, and countrywide is
listed as the mortgage holder on his brooklyn property. towns declined our interview request, his office saying he neither sought nor received any special mortgage benefits. for now he continues to block the subpoena of documents that could list all the v.i.p.s given special treatment by countrywide and show what, if anything countrywide sought in return. sharl, cbs news, capitol hill. >> when we come back here, the other crisis in afghanistan. where drugs are cheaper than food, and hundreds of thousands unlock a supreme seafood experience with yellowfin and albacore tuna, crab, salmon and ocean fish flavors.
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>> there are reports tonight that a major terror figure has been captured or killed in indonesia. police surrounded a house in jaffa and traded shots with suspects holed up inside. the man they were after is believed to be the mastermind o& several deadly attacks, including the july 17 suicide bombings at the marriott and ritz-carlton hotels in jakarta. meanwhile, it's looking more certain that the taliban commander in pakistan is dead. baitullah mehsud was apparently killed wednesday by an american missile. more now from richard roth. >> reporter: he was pakistan's number one public enemy, and america had a $5 million bounty on him, dead or alive. baitullah mehsud was believed to be in his late 30s, diabetic, and camera shy. it's not the first time the commander of pakistan's taliban militia has been reported killed but it's the first time the
claim has credibility from intelligence expourss from mehsud's own lieutenants, and authorities say hiszk% followers are already picking a successor. the west blames mehsud for the assassination of former prime minister benazir bhutto and for a wave of violence in pakistan, including the bombing of the marriott hotel there last september. the white house called him a murderous thug, and if he's been eliminated, said a pentagon spokesman, that's a good thing. richard roth, cbs news, london. >> pakistan's neighbor, afghanistan, has been shattered by 30 years of war. it's one growth industry is the production of opium, and cheap drugs are turning afghanistan into a nation of addicts. from kabul now, here's mandy clark. >> reporter: marjabin introduces her children, karima 13, hillah four. like her, they're all opium
addicts. "i started taking opium more than a decade ago" she says "when my seven-year-old son was killed by a truck." she started giving it to her children to stop them shivering in the winter. they're all had treatment before but poverty led them back to drugs. she says opium, which she boils as a tea to suppress hunger pangs is cheaper than a meal and it brings her family some happiness. this is one of the few treatment familiarities for women and children in afghanistan, but the problem of family addiction is growing because few get help and many relapse. there are a million afghan drug addicts, according to the united nations. the drug counselors say the true number is at least double, with women and children making up a quarter of the addicts. the stigma of drug abuse makes it a hidden problem. even the government didn't know the extent upon it.,
>> reporter: when it comes to producing heroin, afghanistan is unrivalled with over 90% of the world's supply, according to a recent united nations study. dr. toorpaikay runs a treatment center, treating children in west kabul. she says children get addicted quicker and it's harder for them to quit. "for ever addicted mother there is on average four addicted children. if something isn't done today, the country will lose a generation to drugging." her oldest child is worried as well. she recently started taking opium on her own. "i'm concerned my family will be addicts all their lives," she says. the family is planning to return to rehab. karima hopes this time she'll beat the odds and become a normal teenaged girl but it will be difficult in a country that is the largest producer of opium
poppies. >> coming up next here, steve hartman with one for the books in tonight's "assignment america." ( crack of bat, cheering ) not playing with the kids? not on these legs. poor leg circulation. doctor says it's p.a.d. peripheral artery disease? hmmm. more than doubles your risk for a heart attack or stroke. so i hear. better ask your doctor about plavix. plavix can help protect you from a heart attack or stroke. plavix helps keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots, the cause of most heart attacks and strokes. my cousin the m.d. call your doctor about plavix. (male announcer) if you have a stomach ulcer or other condition that causes bleeding, you should not use plavix. when taking plavix alone or with some other medicines including aspirin, the risk of bleeding may increase so tell your doctor before planning surgery. and, always talk to your doctor before taking aspirin or other medicines with plavix, especially if you've had a stroke.
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>> the yard sale is a staple of summer but there is one this weekend that is sure to exhaust even the most dedicated bargain hunters. billed as the world's largest yard sale it stretches from ohio to alabama. the annual sale started 22 years ago to get drivers off the highways and on to the back roads to shop and it's worked, blossoming into a spectacle spanning five state, 654 miles of trinkets, chipped china and old books. finally tonight, books can open us up to whole new worlds, and as you're about to see they can also bring two very different worlds together. steve hartman with a story we'll call "the odd couple" in tonight's "assignment america." >> reporter: they met on boston common, two men with little in common. one, a well-heeled, high-powered attorney. the other, a street-schooled, often-ignored, homeless person.
rob slept on a spacewalk. peter had a swank condo in the back bay. but every morning they would cross paths here in the park, and over the course of several months, actually became good friends. >> how are you? >> oh, not bad, yourself? >> good. >> reporter: how did that happen? you'd think after weather and box scores they'd run out of things to talk about, and, indeed, they did. >> so i gave robert a copy of a book i really loved "water for elephants." and we would talk about that. >> reporter: discussing the book became their way of connecting, and a friendship was born. >> and one day i asked him, "what did you do with the book?" and he said, "i gave it to a fellow over there." >> i knew there were a lot of people that could read. >> so it occurred to us there was an interest out here that could draw people together. >> just because you're homeless doesn't mean you don't read. >> i'm an avid reader. >> reporter: about a year ago, peter and rob started the homeless book club. the week we visited, the group was dissecting a collection of short stories by o. henry.
>> o. henry is always teasing the reader. >> reporter: they meet every tuesday in a church conference room. peter buys the books. in the beginning he offered to bring in lunch, too, but the members said, no thanks. they wanted this to be about more than just another free lunch. >> for me, it's a place to go and escape. >> and to question things. >> year, i feel more sophisticated. ( laughter ) she was hoping the wind hit hard. >> reporter: unlike the others, jamie, who lives in a rooming house, says he never used to be a reader. his addictions were the priority. >> i picked up the first book and i start reading it, and i found i couldn't put it down. >> reporter: he's still addicted. >> the adrenaline... >> only now. >> it just gives me a rush. >> reporter: ...to literature. >> i keep reading and keeping my minds occupied, i'm less likely to hurt myself in life. >> reporter: testimonials like that are now inspiring other people in other cities, even
other countries to start putting together their own homeless book club, and as for the homeless man who helped start it all, rob turns out the only reason he couldn't get subs didz housing was because he had an unresolved traffic ticket. fortunately, he knows a good lawyer. peter was able to clear up that traffic ticket which is why tonight rob is no longer on the street. housed and working as a church kugs toadian. >> what a greatistic thank you, steve. i always encourage reading. what's coming up next week? >> next week i'm not sure. we're going to do something on the 40th anniversary of woodstock which is next weekend so we still have to figure out what it is. >> maybe people can make some suggestions. >> i'm always looking for ideas. >> steve hartman, have a good weekend. >> thank you. >> that is the cbs evening news for tonight. katie will be back on monday. i'm jeff glor and i'll see you tomorrow on the saturday evening news. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs th