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tv   CBS Overnight News  CBS  February 17, 2022 3:12am-4:00am PST

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presence here on school grounds this week. in a statement, the school district said, in part, that it has been exploring ways to move away from mandatory masking. since january, norah. >> mola lenghi, thank you. let's turn now to a cbs news investigation. military families have long complained about illnesses after they were exposed to water contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals like dry cleaning chemicals at camp la june in north carolina. veterans who tried to get help are now describing a broken va claim system.on aviator, marine corps veteran mark kotnour thought he would be working on his plane and taking to the skies in retirement. in 2017, kotnour was diagnosed with prostate and then pancreatic cancer. >> why did i have two cancers back to back like this?
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>> reporter: as a young marine he spent the summer at camp la june. the government admits between 1953 and 1987, nearly a million veterans and civilians were potentially exposed to contaminated drinking water at the north carolina military base. how many doctors have blamed your cancer on the contaminated water at camp la june? >> seven. >> reporter: with letters from the country's leading cancer specialists, kotnour filed a v.a. claim kektding his cancers to his time at camp la june. >> instantly got denied. >> reporter: based on your experience, is the v.a. system working? >> no, not at all. it's completely failing veterans. >> reporter: mike runs the veteran services clinic at yale law school. his students filed a lawsuit in 2016 seeking more information about the doctors who review their claims known as subject matter experts, or s.m.e.s. >> not all of them appear to have the qualifications for the job they were doing. >> reporter: according to documents obtained by cbs news,
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the approval rate dropped from 25 to 5% after they brought in these experts. the v.a. says the average approval rate is now 17%. though their own data shows it went as low as just 1%. >> the saying is deny, deny, deny till they die. >> reporter: they claimed on the basis their subject matter expert was more persuasive. >> they don't want to step up and do the right thing. >> reporter: kotnour is appealing and says it's not about the mochb i. >> my appeal now is 18 months old. i'm hoping to hear before, in my lifetime, but no guarantee. >> reporter: in a statement to cbs news, the v.a. says it is committed to the processing of all claims to ensure priority veterans are served as timely and accurately as possible. they told us the doctor in mark's case has appropriate credentials and also received four hours of additional training to evaluate contaminated water cases at camp la june. norah? >> catherine herridge with that important investigation.
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thank you. there's a lot more news ahead on the "cbs overnight news."
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cbs's jamie yuccas has a preview of the big game. >> reporter: this is the sixth time these teams have battled for gold in the olympic finals. canada has won three times. tonight, the americans hope to even the score. >> we bring out the best level of competition from one another. >> reporter: we spent time with hillary knight and the rest of the team before they left for beijing. >> in those jerseys, hate is a word that comes up a lot. >> reporter: hate? >> yeah, we hate one another, right? >> reporter: these women are all about perseverance. many growing up without leagues of their own. >> i grew up in a place where women didn't really play hockey at all. so i was a figure skater to start out. i hated it so much. >> reporter: aby rock is the first indigenous woman to skate for team usa hockey. she's also a dual citizen. her dad is canadian. >> he had to switch his hats and put on the usa cap. i feel kind of bad for dad. he's switched sides to the good
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side. >> reporter: these women say they're not only shooting for gold. there's another goal. >> we're the women that are doing it. we're in the trenches building something. >> reporter: building a future, not just for themselves, but for the sport. >> if we can inspire and even be a spark in someone's dream, we've done our job. >> and jamie yuccas joins us now from beijing. jamie, they've already played each other this olympics, right? >> reporter: they did. these twos ago in round-robin play. canada did win that game, but now the hardware is on the line, norah. so it should be fun to watch. these two teams, i have to tell you, they hate each other. but what we love is that every time these two meet, little girls start participating in the sport more all around the world. so that is a cool thing. >> yeah, strong match up. jamie yuccas, thanks. the los angeles rams got the hollywood ending they wanted at the super bowl and today they held the first championship victory parade in l.a. since
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2014. the pandemic forced l.a. lakers and the dodgers to cancel parades in 2020. quarterback matthew stafford, super bowl mvp cooper kupp, aaron donald and the rest of the team celebrated in a sea of rams' blue and yellow. is all right. still ahead, the investigation following the fiery explosion of a truck carrying thousands of gallons of gasoline. and a victory in court fort family of bob saget. why records related to his death investigation are not going to be released for now. and why avocados will soon be in short supply. and if you can find them, it will cost you. do you struggle with occasional nerve aches in your hands or feet? try nervivenerve relief
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center, new york, are investigating what led to the fiery crash of a tanker truck holding more than 9,000 gallons of gasoline. the truck crashed into a vacant building and burst into flames, burning fuel leaked into the sewer system sending flames shooting out of manholes. power was cut to the hundreds of homes in the area to prevent another fire. the truck driver and three firefighters are being treated for injuries. all right. now to this important story. if you love guacamole, you'll want to pay attention. the u.s. stopped all avocado imports from mexico until further notice following a threat to an american safety inspector. the threat comes amid escalating drug cartel violence in the region where nearly 90% of avocados imported to the u.s. come from. the disruption could lead to an avocado shortage and, yes, a spike in prices. up next, an american quilt maker who is weaving her way into history and teaching it at
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the same time. (dr. david jeremiah) there may have never been another time in history when end times prophecy has been more aligned with the culture and circumstances of the world than it is today. i believe there are ten phenomenon we are witnessing today that were recorded centuries ago in bible prophecy. (male announcer) join dr. david jeremiah in his new series, "where do we go from here?" on the next episode of "turning point." right here on this station.
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when you humble yourself under the mighty hand of god, in due time he will exalt you. hi, i'm joel osteen. i'm excited about being with you every week. i hope you'll tune in. you'll be inspired, you'll be encouraged. i'm looking forward to seeing you right here. you are fully loaded and completely equipped for the race that's been
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designed for you. long ago, quilt making took the leap from our grandmother's bed covering to the walls of art museums around the world. as part of black history month series, cbs's maurice dubois interviews someone teaching it one stitch at a time. >> reporter: she has a way of stopping people in their tracks. the life size portraits look like they're from the strokes of a painter's brush. but butler is a quilt maker, weaving fabrics of all kinds into celebrations of black life in america. >> i always want my portraits to be life size, to look the person in the eye, and to grab them. >> reporter: butler says she is often inspired by historical photos like this one in 1940, a north carolina family fleeing the jim crow south.
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in seven months she transformed their story onto fabric. what about this photo jumped out at you? >> that this family was so unified in coming so far, and that they were seeking better. >> reporter: she learned to sew from her mother and grandmother and started out as a school art teacher. now her work graces major magazine covers. last year she had her first solo show at the famed art institute of chicago. >> i will have the hair on these. >> reporter: does it feel like you're filling in a gap in history that was just left out? >> absolutely, absolutely. i feel like our history has often been either concealed, >> rter: took butle 11 ignored. months to create her most recent quilt commissioned by the smithsonian depicting the harlem health fighters, an all-black infantry that fought in world war i. >> they hoped that if they fought valiantly in europe, that
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when they came back to the u.s. they would be treated differently. they were not. >> reporter: a life mission stitching together the african american experience one portrait at a time. maurice dubois, cbs news, newark, new jersey. xxxx this is cbs news flash. i'm tom hanson in new york. the head of the faa steve dickson announced he will step down by march 31st. he says he's leaving due to separation from his family during the pandemic. president biden is rejecting a request from former president trump to withhold white house visitor logs from the house committee investigating the january 6th insurrection. the committee is seeking information on who entered the white house complex in the days leading up to the attack. and talk about hot wheels. this frightening dash cam video captured the moment a run away truck tire slammed into the windshield of a patrol car in pennsylvania. fortunately both officers inside the car walked away unharmed.
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for more news download the cbs news app on your cell phone or connected tv. i'm tom hanson, cbs news, new york. xxxx >> announcer: this is the "cbs overnight news." good evening and thank you for joining us. we want to begin with new questions about russia, what russia is really up to and their claims tonight that they're actually retreating from the border with ukraine. but the biden administration and nato don't believe that to be true. in fact, the intelligence shows the opposite, with some troops moving closer to the border. and this just in. u.s. officials now say 7,000 more russian soldiers have arrived near ukraine w some arriving as recently as today. the crisis in ukraine keeps growing by the hour, and the united states continues to warn that a russian invasion could happen at any moment. the state department says
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russian propaganda and misinformation could be used as a pretext to cross the borders. soldiers from the 101st airborne division at fort campbell, kentucky, tonight, have been ordered to deploy to europe as part of what's being called joint task force dragon to support our allies and nato in the region. we have a lot of news to get to and cbs's holly williams joins us from ukraine's capital kyiv. good evening, holly. >> reporter: good evening, norah. it is likely russian cyber actors have targeted the military and government infrastructure to collect intelligence. it is feared invasion could be preceded by devastating cyberattacks. the russian government claims this video shows columns of its military vehicles leaving cry miya, but today satellite images of russia's troop buildup on ukraine's border reportedly show heightened military activity as well as a new pontoon bridge and a large field hospital.
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both in belarus to ukraine's north where russia is carrying out a massive military exercise. >> there's, you know, what russia says and there's what russia does, and we're watching very closely what steps they're taking. but they remain amassed in a threatening way at the border. >> reporter: there is skepticism from washington all the way to ukraine where thousands gathered today to demonstrate their unity in the face of the russian threat. >> i have my emergency bag in my flat, and i'm ready to defend my country. >> it's two different countries, and they must understand that it's two different countries. >> reporter: ukraine's president volodymyr zelensky also says he's seen no sign of a russian pullback. he observed ukrainian military drills today if there is an invasion, it will be a david and goliath battle. ukraine's military is estimated to have roughly a quarter the manpower of russia's.
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and less than a 10th of russia's fighter aircraft. do you still think it's possible that russia will invade? >> we don't have any doubt on that. >> reporter: petro porasenko is the former president of ukraine. this is a new cold war between the west and russia. >> my two piece of advice. first, don't trust putin. second, don't be afraid of putin. >> reporter: belarus claims all russian forces will leave its territory when those military exercises end this weekend. we'll have to wait and see if that's true. it might be a better indication of russia's intentions. norah? >> holly williams, thank you. and we're lucky to have cbs's chief foreign affairs correspondent and moderator of "face the nation" margaret brennan with us here tonight. so, margaret, we just heard fro. what are you hearing from your sources when russia might strike? >> well, russia is poised to
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attack at any time, but u.s. officials now believe the time line for potential attack is pushed out another four or five days. that puts us past the olympics, past a key gathering of leaders this weekend in germany. and, in fact, ukraine's president is scheduled to be out of the country at that summit over this weekend, which sources have indicated to me may not be the best idea for him. but right now given the threat level to his country, more than 60% of russia's standing army is at high alert right at the border. >> that's really interesting about the time line. what do officials think putin is really after here? what's he doing, what's his strategy? >> that is' what has kept everyone guessing. but really what i hear is that putin gives himself many different options. that's the way he plays this. and u.s. and european allies are slightly different in their assessment. some europeans believe he is trying coercion. negotiating with the west while it has a gun head. others like the united states
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think he will use military forces. one potential flash point is in the southeast of ukraine in the region called donbas. there are pro russian separatists who have been fighting there and putin has been running propaganda claiming there's a genocide underway. he may try to use that as a predicate to justify an invasion, which he could do at any time. meanwhile the u.s. is just th great reporting. thank you so much. tonight the cdc says it may soon loosen its covid mask guidance. a growing number of states have already dropped indoor mask mandates for businesses while the the debate over masking in schools rages on. cbs's mola lenghi reports. >> we want to give people a break from mask wearing when the metrics are better and have the ability to reach for them again should things worsen. >> reporter: for now the cds's recommendations remain unchanged regardless of vaccination status, everyone should wear a mask in indoor public spaces in areas of high transmission. as of today, that's more than
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96% of u.s. counties. in the last two weeks, 11 states and washington, d.c., have rolled back their mask mandates. but 55% of the nation's top 500 school districts require masks, while more than 40% do not. in pennsylvania, the decision to mandate masks rests with local districts. at conistoga high school outside philadelphia tensions have reached a boiling point. on friday dozens of students who believe masks should be optional staged a walkout. ben shapiro is a sophomore and >> rorte the district say debe hundreds of online comments. then online threats. the district decided to close the school monday, moving instruction online. >> it seems like a distracting environment to go to school in. >> every period you're wondering is something else going to happen or there going to be
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another walkout? >> reporter: as a precaution there is an increased police presence here on school grounds this week. in a statement, the school district said, in part, that it has been exploring ways to move away from mandatory masking. since january, norah. >> mola lenghi, thank you. the los angeles rams got the hollywood ending they wanted at the super bowl. and today they held the first championship victory parade in l.a. since 2014. the pandemic forced l.a. lakers and the dodgers to cancel parades in 2020. quarterback matthew stafford, super bowl mvp cooper kupp and aaron donald and the rest of the team celebrated in a sea of rams blue and yellow. the "cbs overnight news" will be right back.
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>> announcer: this is the "cbs overnight news." i'm scott macfarlane in washington. thank you for staying with us. we have new developments this morning in our investigation into toxic drinking water at a marine corps base in north carolina. after our story aired last month, nearly two dozen veterans came forward with their own tales of mysterious illness at camp lejeune. they described how the veterans administration claim system is broken at best. cbs news found when the va agreed illnesses were more likely than not to be connected
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to the base's contaminated water but only after it was too late. cbs correspondent catherine herridge has been following the story and has this at the pentagon. >> reporter: the so-called subject matter experts, our cbs news investigative team found doctors who lacked expertise in relevant medical fields and veterans who spent years in the appeals process. >> about a year after he got out of the marines he started having problems with balance, stumbling and then he lost his hearing. >> reporter: patty is talking about her father dave. in the late 1950s, he spent 34 months at camp lejeune, a marine base in north carolina. on a driving tour of north county jackson, ohio -- >> we're coming up on the prison that i work at. >> reporter: patty, a nurse practitioner, showed us where her dad once worked as a machiner. until he got too sick his
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failing health became a liability. >> i know that depressed him because he went through a phase where he felt like, i'm no longer the person to support my family. >> reporter: the u.s. government acknowledges that from 1953 to 1987, nearly a million veterans and civilians who lived at camp lejeune were potentially exposed to dangerous chemicals in the drinking water. in some areas, it was 400 times what safety standards allowed. >> there's a lot of pictures here -- >> reporter: dave filed a claim with the v.a. to connect his neurological problems to his service at camp lejeune. if approved, they would receive much needed financial support. he was denied in 2014. and again in 2015. >> he did get depressed. he got angry. and he did attempt suicide once. >> reporter: fed up, patty did her own research and got his case in front of a v.a. judge. then waited. >> based on your experiene, is the v.a. system working? >> no, not at all.
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it's completely failing veterans. >> reporter: mike wishney runs the veteran clinic at yale law school. his students filed a lawsuit in 2016 on behalf of camp lejeune veterans seeking more information about the doctors who review camp lejeune claims. they're known as subject matter experts, or s.m.e.s. >> not all of them appear to have the qualifications for the job they were doing. >> reporter: cbs news reviewed va records and in some cases found general medicine doctors, not experts. >> but after they started this program, the approval rate, which was already low, went even lower. >> reporter: according to government transcripts and documents obtained by cbs news, the rate plummeted from 25 to 5%. >> the saying is deny, deny, deny until they die. >> reporter: retired lieutenant colonel mark kotnour, a lifelong aviator, is two years into his own battle with the v.a. to connect his pancreatic and prostate cancers with his service at camp lejeune.
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how many doctors have blamed your cancer on contaminated water at camp lejeune? >> seven. >> reporter: seven doctors? still, the v.a. denied kotnour's claim on the basis that their subject matter expert was more persuasive. why would the v.a. side with a general medicine expert over a group of cancer specialists? >> they don't want to step up and do the right thing. >> reporter: kotnour is appealing and says it's not about the money. >> the marine corps and the v.a. needs to be accountable to the marines and the sailors and all those people at lejeune. and they haven't been. >> reporter: are you expecting a decision from the v.a. in your lifetime? >> you know, my appeal now is 18 months old. i'm hoping to hear before in my lifetime, but no guarantee. >> reporter: in dave's claim, the subject matter expert specialized in preventive medicine. >> the subject matter expert that looked at his case knew nothing about neurology. >> reporter: in 2018, a v.a.
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judge overruled the earlier denials. on her dining room wall hangs the framed v.a. approval letter granting her dad 100% disability. but dave never lived to see this victory. he died 14 months earlier. >> about a week prior to his death, he was still lucid and talking, and i had some time alone with him. and he gave me a hug and said, don't give up. keep fighting. i promised him i would. >> reporter: dave's widow is receiving survivor's benefits, but the family is still fighting the v.a. over back pay. in a statement to cbs news, the v.a. says it's committed to the processing of all claims to ensure priority veterans are served as timely and accurately as possible. they also told us the doctors in these cases had, quote, appropriate credentials and received four hours of training on issues relevant to the evaluations.
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and while the v.a. acknowledges the average approval rate is now 17%, their own data shows that the approval rate dropped dramatically once they started using these experts, and more than half of the outstanding claims are now considered backlog. >> that was catherine herridge reporting from the pentagon. the overnight news is back in two minutes. hello, how can i? sore throat pain? ♪honey lemon♪ try vicks vapocool drops in honey lemon chill for fast acting sore throat relief ♪ahhh!♪ wooo! vaporize sore throat pain with
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strongest of the strong. so similar to what many other children of freed slaves heard from their parents. it's a story history has forgotten. >> we are survivors. >> reporter: daniel smith is one of the last living links to america's original sin. your grandparents were enslaved. >> right. >> reporter: your father was born the property of a white man. >> yep. >> reporter: his father abraham was born into bondage in virginia in the early 1860s. he was 70 when his youngest son daniel was born. >> he used to tell me stories -- >> reporter: stories about the in humanity their ancestors suffered and survived. >> father said, you could hear them, the screaming and crying at the whipping post. but the interesting thing, my father never allowed you to talk negatively about america. >> reporter: his father believed, like other freed slaves in this new america, his
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young son would be great. >> he grabbed me and shook me. he said, you have nothing to -- nothing to cry about. this is america. we came from the strongest of the strong. we survived the ships. >> reporter: the ship. >> he gave me the signal to be strong and to survive. >> reporter: and not just survive, but thrive and fight for true freedom. >> john lewis. >> reporter: you have a lot of memories with him. >> right. >> reporter: smith's living room is a testament to his generation's struggle for equality. he was there for martin luther king, jr.'s march on washington. >> i want to remember his someday. walk hand in hand. >> little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. i have a dream today. >> i was saying, yes, and yes. >> reporter: smith followed that dream to alabama where he helped lead the fight for voting
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rights. he witnessed firsthand the terror. smith remembers the ku klux klan torching his office and one night while driving, a car full of white men chased him down a dark road. >> then all of a sudden, boom, they hit me. so i sped up as fast as my car would go. and then they come along aside me. [ bleep ] pull over, you black [ bleep ]. and said, no, this black [ bleep ] is not pulling over because if they catch you, you're gone. >> reporter: that must have been the most terrifying. >> i wasn't scared. i was angry. but it stays with you up to 89, you know. >> reporter: like you can still feel that feeling. >> yes, right. >> reporter: smith went on to a successful career in government. and served as head usher at the national cathedral where he led presidents to prayer. an incredible life, inspired by a generation history forgets.
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>> i want to think is happened so long ago. >> reporter: freed slaves her similar messages from their parents. >> mothers and fathers said, we didn't survive, we can be anything other than great. >> reporter: in her book sugar of the crop, she spoke to more than a dozen children of slaves all of whom now are gone. instead of anger, they were taught, like smith, they could do anything. >> after the civil war, blacks truly believed the worst was over. >> reporter: the worst was over. >> so we had this immigrant mentality that we are going to go go out and achieve everything we can. >> reporter: they didn't anticipate the barriers white america would erect. but their message, like the one from smith's father, was you are the strongest of the strong. >> people always say it can't be done. you can't do this, you can't do
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that. i don't believe that. if you tell me that, i'm gonna do it. >> reporter: you hear people say today, but america has made so much progress. >> it has. it real ill has. i voted for obama. i was shaken, i couldn't believe i was doing this. a black man? we've made a lot of progress. >> reporter: but he says not nearly enough. >> we cannot continue as a nation with people hating each other. my father, he never hated anyone. >> reporter: you never saw that from him? >> right, no, never saw it. >> reporter: what would your message be for the future? >> we need more kindness. i look back in terms of my crazy life, and i think it all came from my father saying, do good things. do good things. >> reporter: now, daniel smith turns 90 next month. he's planning to share his story in a book that he's writing with his wife loretta called "son of
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a slave." it's that reminder that the dark chapter in america's history is not that far
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animals in australia from koalas to kangaroos to the platypus. not many get taken in as pets. people down under have recently been opening their arms and their backyards to a friendly insect called the stingless honeybee. tina kraus has the story. >> reporter: a swarm like this would have most people making a bee line for cover. but not these kids. >> i like the bees. >> reporter: unlike other buzzing insects -- >> here we are. >> reporter: these black sugar back bees in australia don't sting. >> as soon as i hear the word stingless, they gravitate towards us. i want to find out a little bit more. >> what the queen does, she's
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busy laying eggs. >> reporter: the stipulatingless sugar back bee is one of the biggest pollinators. >> they've been part of the system hundreds of thousands of years, and they face a number of threats, notably habitat loss. >> reporter: throughout 2020, billions of australian insects were wiped out in devastating wildfires and flooding. to protect the point-sized pollinators, rescuers are delivering hives to neighbors around sydney and creating quite a buzz. >> every single person has a hive. when they see how gentle and tiny, they want it because it's the best pet. >> i see all of them. >> reporter: for those who befriend the bees, helping the environment isn't the only reward. the tasty honey they make is pretty sweet, too. tina kraus, cbs news. and that's the overnight news fo this thursday. for some of you, the news continues. for others check back later for cbs mornings and follow us online any time at cbsnews.com. reporting from the nation's capital, i'm scott macfarlane.
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this is cbs news flash. i'm tom hanson in new york. the head of the faa steve dickson announced he will step down by march 31st. the former delta airlines executive says he's leaving due to separation from his family during the pandemic. president biden is rejecting a request from former president trump to withhold white house visitor logs from the house committee investigatihe january 6th insurrection. the committee is seeking information on who entered the white house complex in the days leading up to the attack. and talk about hot wheels. this frightening dash cam video captured the moment a run away truck tire slammed into the windshield of a patrol car in pennsylvania. fortunately, both officers inside the car walked away unharmed.
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for more news download the cbs news app on your cell phone or connected tv. i'm tom hanson, cbs news new york. it's thursday, f captioning funded by cbs it's thursday, february 17th, 2022. this is the "cbs morning news." disinformation campaign. russia says some of its troops have retreated from ukraine's borders. why the u.s. is rejecting those claims. new benchmarks. change could be on the way for federal mask guidance, but tensions grow over mandates for students. long-running rivalry. for the sixth time in winter olympic history, the u.s. women's hockey team takes on canada for the gold medal. well, good morning, and good to be with you. i'm anne-marie green. we begin with questions about russia's military activity on ukraine's borders. moscow says that it's pulled back some of its troops, but the

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