Dateline: Week Of September 22, 2010 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
Blaming himself for coolness to his health care overhaul, President Barack Obama is seeking to reintroduce the law to voters who don't much like or understand it six months after he signed it. The White House gathered patients from around the country who have benefited from the measure, and the president rolled up his sleeves to address them Wednesday in a sunny Virginia backyard, highlighting changes that take effect at the six-month mark on Thursday. These include a ban on lifetime coverage limits, as well as free coverage for preventive care and immunizations. Young adults will be able to stay on their parents' plans until they turn 26, and kids with pre-existing health conditions won't be denied coverage.
Former President Bill Clinton defended signing "don't ask, don't tell" policy into law in an interview with CBS, saying that Colin Powell, who was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, told him the policy would be more lax than it turned out to be.
Six weeks before midterm elections, House Republicans vowed to cut taxes and federal spending, repeal President Barack Obama's health care law and ban federal funding of abortion as part of a campaign manifesto designed to propel them to victory in November and a majority in the next Congress. The "Pledge to America," circulated to GOP lawmakers Wednesday, emphasizes job creation and spending control, as well as changing the way Congress does business. It steered clear of controversial issues such as Social Security and Medicare, big drivers of deficit spending.
European regulators ordered the diabetes drug Avandia off the market and the Food and Drug Administration placed stringent restrictions on its use in the United States, saying heart attack risks associated with the former blockbuster are too great a safety concern to continue its use for most people.
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said the U.S. economy remains in recession, disputing this week's assessment by a leading arbiter of economic activity that the downturn ended more than a year ago. "We're still in a recession," Buffett told CNBC television in an interview broadcast on Thursday. "We're not gonna be out of it for a while, but we will get out." the National Bureau of Economic Research said the world's largest economy ended an 18-month recession in June 2009, but cautioned that its assessment did not mean normal activity had resumed.
The first woman executed in the United States in five years was put to death in Virginia on Thursday for arranging the killings of her husband and a stepson over a $250,000 insurance payment. Teresa Lewis, 41, died by injection at 9:13 p.m. Thursday, authorities said. She became the first woman executed in Virginia in nearly a century. Supporters and relatives of the victims watched her execution at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt.
Iran’s hardline President provoked yet another controversy Thursday saying a majority of people in the United States and around the world believe the American government staged the Sept. 11 terror attacks in an attempt to assure Israel’s survival. The provocative comments prompted the U.S. delegation to walk out of Ahmadinejad's U.N. speech, where he also blamed the U.S. as the power behind U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, a technology that can be used as fuel for electricity generation or to build nuclear weapons.
Four dead - A woman fatally shot three people and herself at a Seattle home Thursday, injuring another woman who fled into the front yard and told officers: "My mom has gone crazy," police said.
A bank teller was kidnapped early Friday from his home by robbers who strapped a suspected bomb to his chest and used him to steal money from a Bank of America branch near the University of Miami, according to the FBI. The suspected explosive device was safely removed and the teller was brought out of the bank shortly before noon. The device remained in the bank at midday and authorities were working to detonate it, said. Lt. Janette Frevola of the Coral Gables Police Department.
The Obama administration on Saturday invoked the state secrets privilege which would kill a lawsuit on behalf of U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, an alleged terrorist said to be targeted for death or capture under a U.S. government program. In a court filing, the Justice Department said that the issues in the case are for the executive branch of government to decide rather than the courts. The department also said the case entails information that is protected by the military and state secrets privilege.
President Obama started the school week with a call for a longer school year, and said the worst-performing teachers have "got to go" if they don't improve quickly. Bemoaning America's decreasing global educational competitiveness, Obama sought in a nationally broadcast interview to reinvigorate his education agenda. At the same time, the president acknowledged that many poor schools don't have the money they need and he defended federal aid for them. But Obama also said that money alone won't fix the problems in public schools, saying higher standards must be set and achieved by students and teachers alike.
Southwest Airlines has agreed to buy AirTran in a $1.42 billion deal that will combine two of the nation's biggest discount carriers. The two airlines primarily overlap in the Baltimore and Orlando markets. Passengers traveling to and from those cities could face higher ticket prices because less competition traditionally means higher airfares.
Conservative Party candidate Rick Lazio on Monday (September 27) withdrew from the race for governor, a decision that helps the tea party candidate who beat Lazio in the Republican primary. Lazio told The Associated Press that he wants to continue to influence the race and bring a workable job-creation program into a contest he says has devolved into name-calling between Republican Carl Paladino and Democrat Andrew Cuomo.
The first of 12 soldiers charged with crimes in Afghanistan that range from killing civilians to keeping body parts as war trophies appeared before a military tribunal on Monday that will decide whether his case proceeds to court-martial. The hearing began with 13 witnesses asserting their right to remain silent — including the lieutenant who headed their platoon. 1st Lt. Roman Ligsay was removed leadership of the platoon but isn't charged.
An airport spokeswoman in Cleveland says former President Jimmy Carter was taken off the plane by rescue crews and has been hospitalized. Jackie Mayo, a spokeswoman at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, says the 85-year-old former president was a passenger on a commercial flight to Cleveland on Tuesday morning and became ill. According to the website for Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Carter was due in Cleveland for a book-signing.
A gunman opened fire Tuesday inside a University of Texas campus library then fatally shot himself, and police are searching for a possible second suspect, university police said. A man fired an automatic weapon on the sixth floor of the Perry-Castaneda Library early Tuesday, UT police spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon said.
More News - September 22, 2010 -
Terrorist Threat - European security officials said Wednesday (September 29) a terror plot to wage Mumbai-style shooting sprees in Britain, France and Germany is still active and that sites in Pakistan — where the threat was intercepted two weeks ago — are being scoured for al-Qaida operatives. The plot was still in its early stages and not considered serious enough to raise the current terror threat level, officials said. Still, the Eiffel Tower in Paris was briefly evacuated Tuesday, the second time in the past week because of an unspecified threat, and police were on alert in Britain and France.
Mexican marines captured 30 suspected Gulf cartel members and seized an arsenal of weapons during two days of raids in a northern border state torn by drug gang battles, officials announced Wednesday.
The nation’s economic growth tailed off sharply in the spring and probably isn't faring any better now. Gross domestic product — the broadest measure of the economy's health — expanded at a feeble 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, The Commerce Department reported Thursday. That's a notch higher than the 1.6 percent growth rate the government estimated a month ago. The slight change was mostly due to a little more spending by consumers than first estimated. Still, that's not enough to have a major impact on the economy.
The independent panel that oversees the U.S. Postal Service has denied the agency's request to increase the cost of mailing a letter by 2 cents - to 46 cents.
Two people close to Rahm Emanuel said Thursday he will resign as White House chief of staff on Friday (October 1,) and will begin his campaign for Chicago mayor by meeting with voters in the city on Monday.
In the wake of multiple child injuries in the United States and Canada, Fisher-Price Inc. announced that it will recall more than 11 million items geared toward infants and toddlers, including tricycles, high chairs and toys. The recall, comes after 24 reported incidents of injuries to young children. Seven kids needed stitches after being cut by pegs on Fisher-Price high chairs, and at least six 2- to 3-year-old girls experienced genital bleeding when they sat or fell against protruding plastic ignition keys on Fisher-Price toddler tricycles.
Fascinating Facts - September 22, 2010 -
The Titanic hit an iceberg in 1912 because of a basic steering error, and only sank as fast as it did because an official persuaded the captain to continue sailing, an author said in an interview published on Wednesday. Louise Patten, a writer and granddaughter of Titanic second officer Charles Lightoller, said the truth about what happened nearly 100 years ago had been hidden for fear of tarnishing the reputation of her grandfather, who later became a war hero.
Business News - September 22, 2010 -
Things are on the up for U.S. billionaires with more than half of them adding to their net worth in a year which once again saw Bill Gates as the richest of them all, Forbes magazine said on Wednesday. Gates, founder of Microsoft, was the richest person in the United States for the 17th year in a row with an estimated worth of $54 billion, up $4 billion from last year. No. 2 on the list was investor Warren Buffett, worth $45 billion, up $5 billion. Oracle founder Larry Ellison's net worth was unchanged, in third place, at $27 billion. Christy Walton, heir to Walmart founder Sam Walton's fortune, was in fourth place with $24 billion, up $2.5 billion.
A wealthy British businessman who owns the company that makes the two-wheeled Segway has been found dead in a river in northern England after apparently falling off a cliff on one of the vehicles, police said Monday. The body of 62-year-old James Heselden and a Segway personal transporter were found in the River Wharfe and he was prounced dead at the scene, West Yorkshire Police said.
AIG, which became a lightning rod for criticism over government bailouts, said it reached a deal to repay billions of dollars it received during the credit crisis. The plan could return a profit to taxpayers who footed the bill for AIG's near collapse in September 2008.
Technology News - September 22, 2010 -
Facebook was knocked off the air for several hours on Thursday. No word yet on what caused the outage. Twitter was also knocked off the air several days ago.
The Federal Communications Commission is opening up unused airwaves between television stations for wireless broadband networks that will be more powerful and can travel farther than today's Wi-Fi hotspots. The five-member FCC voted unanimously Thursday to allow the use of so-called "white spaces" between TV stations to deliver broadband connections that can function like Wi-Fi networks on steroids. The agency is calling the new technology "super Wi-Fi" and hopes to see devices with the technology start to appear within a year.
Proclaiming that he believes in the education visions of New Jersey's Republican governor and Newark's Democratic mayor, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg on Friday pledged to set up a foundation to donate $100 million to Newark's schools over the next five years. The 26-year-old Internet tycoon announced his first major gift on Oprah Winfrey's talk show on the same day an unflattering movie about Facebook's early days, "The Social Network," was having its premiere.
An historically large oversupply of LCD TV panels is causing television prices to fall right in time for the holiday shopping season. By the end of this month, LCD TV prices will be about 5% lower than they were at the same time last year, according research firm DisplaySearch. But a tailspin will start in October: In the last three months of the year, the firm forecasts that prices will keep falling until they bottom out at 12% below 2009 levels. Reason – companies have not dropped prices – and demand has dropped.
The "virtual goods" market is growing at a healthy clip, according to an industry report issued Tuesday. The research group Inside Network says the U.S. virtual goods market will hit $2.1 billion in 2011, up from $1.6 billion this year. The group, which also owns a blog about Facebook, attributes much of the growth in that market to social online games like "FarmVille."
AOL purchases Tech Crunch. TechCrunch, which launched in 2005 and quickly became one of Silicon Valley's most influential news outlets, operates a network of tech-focused blogs. Audience traffic tracker Compete.com estimates the TechCrunch network generates more than 2 million visitors each month.
Music News - September 22, 2010 -
Susan Boyle has recorded the song she was prevented from performing on TV. The Scottish sensation was crushed that she couldn't perform Lou Reed’s "Perfect Day" on a recent "America's Got Talent" episode. Representatives for Lou Reed have said it was a licensing glitch. But the singer is getting the last laugh: The anthem is set to be the lead song on her second album, "The Gift."
No Sesame For Katy Perry’s Street - "Sesame Street" started previewing its 41st season on the Web this week, releasing teaser clips featuring stars like Jude Law, Will.i.am, Colin Farrall, and Run-DMC's Reverend Run. One of the shorts, however, got a lot more attention than the rest: a two-and-a-half minute video of pop star Katy Perry singing a reworked version of her 2008 hit "Hot N Cold" with Elmo. The issue: the perception that Perry's outfit wasn't appropriate for a show geared toward children ages one to six. So – she’s off the show.
Mother and daughter launch new clothing line in NY - I'm very proud, yep," Madonna beamed last night, as she and 13-year-old daughter Lourdes hit the bright pink carpet at Macy's in New York to celebrate the launch of their new line of clothes called “Material Girl.”
Passing – Legendary 1950’s hitmaker Eddie Fisher. He was known for his highly publicized marriages and divorces to some of the most famous Hollywood starlets of the era. He was in his 80s. Between 1950 and 1956, Fisher recorded 25 songs that made the "Top 40," including 19 "Top 10" hits and four that reached No. 1. Fisher's boyish good looks and natural charisma also helped him land roles on television shows and such feature films as "Butterfield 8," "Nothing Lasts Forever" and "Bundle of Joy." But it was his failed marriages to Debbie Reynolds, Connie Stevens and Elizabeth Taylor that many remember Fisher for best. He also reportedly was involved with Judy Garland and Ann-Margret.
Divorcing after 24 years of marriage – Heart’s Nancy Wilson and movie director Cameron Crowe.
British singer Pete Doherty was charged with possessing cocaine in connection with an inquiry into the suspected overdose death of heiress Robyn Whitehead. The 31-year-old Baby shambles frontman and former partner of supermodel Kate Moss was one of four people questioned after the January death of the filmmaker, who had been working on a documentary of Doherty at the time. Two of Doherty's friends were also charged -- Peter Wolfe, 42, for supplying and possessing cocaine, and Alan Wass, 29, for possessing cocaine.
Cover of the Rolling Stone - Is President Obama and his music. We get a glimpse inside his iPod. Should be interesting.
Kanye West, won’t be doing his weekly G.O.O.D. Friday song giveaway this week because he’s upset about the leak of his Bon Iver collaboration, “Lost in the World.”
Entertainment News - September 22, 2010 -
She’s Baaaack – Lindsay Lohan returned to jail in handcuffs Friday after a judge refused to set bail and ordered her to remain in custody for failing a drug test until another hearing nearly a month away. Bailiffs escorted the troubled starlet from the Beverly Hills courtroom immediately after the hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes. She arrived at the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood a short time later, with sheets held up around her to shield her from sight. It will be Lohan's third jail stint for a 3-year-old drug and drunken driving case filed after a pair of high-profile arrests in 2007.
Lindsay Lohan was freed from a suburban Los Angeles jail late Friday night, well short of the nearly monthlong stay a judge had intended for the actress following a failed drug test. Lohan, who stayed in the same cell she occupied during her last stay, was freed at about 11:40 p.m. after posting $300,000 bail, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
Passing - Gloria Stuart, the 1930s Hollywood leading lady who years later became the oldest Academy Award acting nominee for her role as the spunky survivor in "Titanic," has died. She was 100.
Ashton Kutcher is President of Pop Culture (which means he was hired by popchips and this is their new ad campaign). He needs a V/P. Any votes for Mr. Pop Culture and his 3,000 week-by-week library?
Passing – Comedian Greg Giraldo, known for his stint as a judge on Last Comic Standing and Comedy Central roasts, dies from an accidental prescription drug overdose. He was 44.
Passing –Tony Curtis, who molded himself from a 1950s movie heartthrob to a respected actor, showing a determined streak that served him well with such films as "Sweet Smell of Success," "The Defiant Ones" and "Some Like It Hot" dies. He was 85.
The creator of the popular "Cathy" comic strip will put down her pen Sunday, bringing a bitter sweet end to a generation of fans who shared the title character's guilty obsessions - food, love, work and mom.
Eminem is returning to acting, with a role opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins and Rachel Weisz in the upcoming drama "360," according to Production Weekly. The movie will concern a series of scenes between pairs of characters before or after a sexual encounter. The rapper made his big-screen debut in the semiautobiographical film "8 Mile" in 2002 and has appeared as himself in a recent episode of "Entourage" and in Adam Sandler's 2009 comedy "Funny People.”
Passing - Oscar-nominated actor Joe Mantell, who co-starred in "Marty" and delivered one of movies' most famous lines in "Chinatown" has died, his family said. He was 94.
Television News - September 22, 2010 -
Universal Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Zucker will step down once Comcast Corp. completes its takeover of the company as the new owners move to reshape management. Zucker, 45, told employees in a memo today of his departure from the company where he has spent his entire working career. Parent General Electric Co. also announced the decision in an internal memo. From executive producer of the “Today” show at age 26, Zucker rose to oversee all of NBC Universal by 2007 -- the broadcast network, the Universal Pictures film studio, theme parks and cable channels such as Bravo. His tenure was marred by falling ratings at NBC, which failed to develop new hits as popular shows like “Friends” left the air. His decision to put comedian Jay Leno in prime time backfired.
TV ratings news- September 22, 2010 - emerged victorious from the first contested Thursday night of the fall TV season, leading CBS to a ratings win, according to overnight Nielsen estimates. Big Bang, in its Thursday debut, drew 14 million viewers and improved over its Monday season premiere a year ago among the adults-18-to-49 demographic. The strong start also lifted freshman comedy S#*! My Dad Says(12.5 million viewers) to a solid debut and provided a healthy lead-in to CSI(14.6 million viewers) and The Mentalist(15.3 million viewers). However, the two procedurals were down in the demo 17 percent and 8 percent, respectively, versus a year ago. NBC's rival Thursday comedies suffered, as Community(5 million viewers) fell 42 percent from its freshman debut. (It did, however, premiere after The Officea year ago.) 30 Rock ( 5.8 million viewers), which also premiered post-Office last year, was down 13 percent in the demo. The Office (8.4 million viewers) was up slightly, providing a nice platform to new comedy Outsourced(7.4 million viewers).
NBC placed third overall behind ABC, which debuted documentary-style scripted drama “My Generation”to a disappointing 5.2 million viewers. The show tied with the CW in the demo during the 8/7c timeslot and was down 60 percent compared to FlashForward's debut last year. ABC-TV bounced back with the premieres of Grey’s Anatomy(14 million viewers) and Private Practice(9 million viewers). Though Grey's was the highest-rated program of the night in the demo, both shows were down more than 20 percent from their debuts the previous year.
More Entertainment News - September 22, 2010 -
MTV just can't let go of Lauren Conrad, the girl next door from Laguna Beach who became a tabloid fixture and the network's biggest star with the advent of The Hills. Conrad announced Friday that she will be returning to the network that made her famous, starring in what will be her third reality series.
Comedian and talk show host George Lopez and his wife, Ann, will end their 17-year marriage, the pair said in a joint statement on Monday.Lopez, who suffers from kidney disease, needed an organ transplant in 2005 and his wife donated hers in a successful operation. Their foundation is dedicated to helping kids and adults who face health and education challenges, as well as to creating awareness about kidney disease and organ donation.
Sarah Palin shows up in the audience of “Dancing With The Stars” to cheer-on her daughter – Bristol.
Michael Bolton, who got the boot from Dancing with the Stars last night (Wednesday September 29) was so offended by judge Bruno Tonioli’s harsh criticisms that he’s demanding a public apology.
Top Music Albums September 22, 2010 -
Passion, Pain & Pleasure – Trey Songz
A Thousand Suns – Linkin Park
The Guitar Song - Jamey Johnson
Recovery – Eminem
Band of Joy – Robert Plant
Hurley – Weezer
Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
Flamingo – Brandon Flowers
Asylum – Disturbed
My World 2.0 – Justin Bieber
Back To Me – Fantasia
Kaleidoscope Heart – Sara Bareilles
Thank Me Later – Drake
Lungs – Florence + The Machine
Versus - Usher
The Fame – Lady Gaga
Audio Secrecy – Stone Sour
Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons
Intimacy: Album III
NOW That’s What I Call Country – various artists
Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam
Avalon – Sully Erna
Raymond V Raymond – Usher
Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
Lisbon – The Walkmen
Kidz Bop 18
Nightmare – Avenged Sevenfold
The Foundation – Zac Brown Band
Top Movies - September 22, 2010 –
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (1st week $19 million)
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole (1st week $16.335 million)
You Again (1st week $8.3 million)
Resident Evil: Afterlife
Alpha and Omega
TV listings/TV Guide - September 22, 2010 -
Hip Sunday Night TV
7:00 to 8:00
ABC: 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'* (120 minutes) Season 8
CBS: '60 Minutes'* -- A 7:30 start for the 43rd season premiere
NBC: 'Football Night in America'
Current: 'Religion Uncovered' -- 7:30 start
8:00 to 9:00
CBS: 'The Amazing Race'* -- (90 minutes) 8:30 start for the 17th edition
FOX: 'The Simpsons'* and 'The Cleveland Show'* -- Season 22 for 'The Simpsons'; 2nd season for 'The Cleveland Show'
NBC: 'Sunday Night Football' -- NY Jets vs. the Miami Dolphins
PBS: 'Nature'* -- Season 29
Disney: 'Sonny With a Chance' -- 8:30 start
Food Network: 'Food Network Challenge'
MSNBC: 'Education Nation: Waiting for Superman'
9:00 to 10:00
ABC: 'Desperate Housewives'* -- Season 7 introduces new cast member Vanessa Williams
FOX: 'Family Guy'* -- hour-long 10th season opener with James Woods
PBS: 'Masterpiece Mystery!' -- (90 minutes)
CNBC: 'The Clinton Global Citizens Award Show'
Disney: 'Jonas L.A.'
Food Network: 'Iron Chef America'
HBO: 'Boardwalk Empire'
HGTV: 'All-American Handyman'**
History: 'Ice Road Truckers'
Showtime: 'Dexter'* -- Season 5
Style: 'Mel B.: It's a Scary World'
TLC: 'Hoarding: Buried Alive'
10:00 to 11:00
ABC: 'Brothers & Sisters'* -- The fifth season begins one year after the season finale
CBS: 'Undercover Boss'* -- Season 2
A&E: 'The Glades'
Adult Swim: 'Delocated'
AMC: 'Mad Men'
BET: 'Conversations with Ed Gordon' -- Steve Harvey
Cooking Channel: 'Drink Up'
E! 'Keeping Up With the Kardashians' and 'The Spin Crowd'
HBO: 'Bored to Death'* and 'Eastbound & Down'* -- Season 2 for both shows
HGTV: 'House Hunters'
History: 'Swamp People'
TLC: 'Sister Wives'*
truTV: 'Over the Limit'
We: 'Amazing Wedding Cakes'
11:00 to Midnight
Adult Swim: 'The Venture Brothers' -- 11:30 start