Dateline: Week Of September 1, 2010 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
With Earl packing 125 mph winds and closing in on the mid-Atlantic, a hurricane warning was issued Wednesday for most of North Carolina's coast — adding urgency to the thousands of tourists on two islands ordered to evacuate. Moreover, Earl, now a Category 3 storm, could strengthen and return to a Category 4 "later today," the National Hurricane Center said in its 2 p.m. ET advisory.
Condemning Mideast peace "rejectionists," President Barack Obama convened a new round of ambitious talks Wednesday and vowed not to allow a fresh burst of violence dim hopes for an accord creating a sovereign Palestinian state beside a secure Israel. Obama, who met separately at the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, assailed those responsible for the killings of four Israelis near the West Bank city of Hebron.. The militant Hamas movement, which rejects Israel's right to exist and opposes peace talks, claimed responsibility.
A gunman with a possible explosive device strapped to himself entered the Discovery Communications building in Silver Spring, Md., Wednesday (September 1) afternoon and was holding an undetermined number of hostages, police said. Law enforcement authorities said they were talking to the man, whom they said they believed was James Jay Lee, 43, a longtime protester at the building who was sentenced to six months of supervised probation for disorderly conduct in March 2008.
Moscow bans night-time sales of vodka and other spirits, part of a nationwide drive to curb crime and disease linked with Russia's national drink. The ban is among a series of tough measures to reduce alcohol abuse ordered last year by President Dmitry Medvedev as part of a fight to slow Russia's persistent population decline. He called alcoholism a "national disaster" that undermines public health and hampers the economy.
No oil spill - An offshore oil rig exploded Thursday in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Coast Guard was responding to reports of people in the water. The explosion sparked a fire aboard the oil rig, owned by Mariner Energy. It occurred west of the site of the April blast that caused the massive BP oil spill.
The U.S. Justice Department sued Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday (September 2), saying the Arizona lawman refused for more than a year to turn over records in an investigation into allegations his department discriminates against Hispanics. The lawsuit calls Arpaio and his office's defiance "unprecedented," and said the federal government has been trying since March 2009 to get officials to comply with its probe of alleged discrimination, unconstitutional searches and seizures, and having English-only policies in his jails that discriminates against people with limited English skills.
A weak economy got a little lift Thursday with new data suggesting companies aren't pursuing mass layoffs and stores are a little busier. New applications for unemployment benefits declined for a second straight week after rising in the previous three. Retailers reported surprisingly strong sales in August. And more people signed contracts to buy homes.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton formally opens the first direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in nearly two years, imploring the two sides to make compromises to forge an agreement.In a ceremony at the State Department, Clinton said the Obama administration is committed to reaching a settlement in a year's time. But she stressed that after decades of failed attempts the main work belongs to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
A powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck much of New Zealand's South Island early Saturday and caused widespread damage, but there were just two reports of serious injuries. Looters broke into some damaged shops in Christchurch, police said. The quake, which hit 19 miles (30 kilometers) west of the southern city of Christchurch according to the state geological agency GNS Science, shook a wide area, with some residents saying buildings had collapsed and power was severed. No tsunami alert was issued.
After toying with tens of millions of coastal residents and tourists along the East Coast, Earl finally made landfall Saturday morning — but as a tropical storm and in remote Nova Scotia. In the end, Earl wasn't even as bad as some of the no-name nor'easters that pound New England from time to time. The storm, far less intense than feared, brushed past the Northeast and dumped heavy, wind-driven rain on Cape Cod cottages and fishing villages, but caused little damage. It left clear, blue skies in its wake, the perfect start to the Labor Day weekend.
A healthy economy needs bustling Main Streets and a thriving middle class even more than a healthy stock market, President Barack Obama said as he reaffirmed his commitment to work hard for America's hardworking men and women. In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama on Saturday outlined what he's done to help the middle class, a group he says has been squeezed the most during the recession. He touted efforts to create jobs, make college more affordable, help the middle class build retirement nest eggs, cut taxes on these families and stop health insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions. Labor Day is about more than grilling food and spending time with family and friends, Obama said.
Burger King Holdings Inc., the nation's perennially No. 2 hamburger chain, said Thursday that it is selling itself to little-known private equity firm 3G Capital in a deal valued at $3.26 billion. Its shares soared to an 18-month high.
God did not create the universe and the "Big Bang" was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics, the eminent British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking argues in a new book. In "The Grand Design," co-authored with U.S. physicist Leonard Mlodinow, Hlawking says a new series of theories made a creator of the universe redundant, according to the Times newspaper which published extracts on Thursday. "Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," Hawking writes.
Environmentalists on Saturday praised Burger King's decision to stop buying palm oil from an Indonesian company accused of destroying rainforests. The U.S. hamburger chain giant — which recently sealed a deal to sell itself for $3.26 billion to 3G Capital — said Friday that it was canceling its contract with PT Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology over concerns it had not adopted sustainable farming practices.
A claim by Arizona’s governor that rising violence along the U.S.-Mexico border has led to headless bodies turning up in the desert came back to haunt her during a stammering debate performance in which she failed to back it up. Gov. Jan Brewer, who gained national attention defending the state’s tough new immigration law and warning of increasing border bloodshed, has spent the time since the gubernatorial candidates' debate earlier this week trying to repair the damage done from her cringe-worthy contest against underdog challenger Terry Goddard.
Two boats capsize in one weekend on Congo's vast rivers have left 70 people dead and 200 others feared dead in unrelated incidents that were both characterized by heavily loaded boats operated with few safety measures, officials said Sunday.
Investigators looking into what went wrong in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill are a step closer to answers now that a key piece of evidence is secure aboard a ship. Engineers took 29 1/2 hours to lift the 50-foot, 300-ton blowout preventer from a mile beneath the sea. The five-story high device breached the water's surface at 6:54 p.m. CDT, and looked largely intact with black stains on the yellow metal. FBI agents were among the 137 people aboard the Helix Q4000 vessel, taking photos and video of the device. They will escort it back to a NASA facility in Louisiana for analysis.
Afghanistan's Taliban said on Sunday they would attempt to disrupt elections this month and warned Afghans to boycott the vote, the first explicit threat against the poll by the hardline Islamists. The threat came just a day after Afghan President Hamid Karzai said he would soon announce members of a peace council to pursue talks with the Taliban, another step in his plan for reconciliation with the insurgents.
More News - September 1, 2010 -
Torrential rains from a tropical depression caused landslides that have killed at least 38 people in Guatemala — some of them rescuers trying to save people already buried under a wall of mud.
President Obama is asking Congress to approve at least $50 billion in long-term spending in the nation's roads, railways and runways in a pre-election effort to show he's trying to stimulate the sputtering economy.The infrastructure spending is part of a package of targeted proposals the White House announced on Monday. With November's elections for control of Congress approaching, Obama planned to discuss the proposal later Monday at a Labor Day event in Milwaukee.
Protests in Pakistan, al-Qaida warnings, skittish Muslim tourists: France's plan to do away with burqa-style veils is already reverberating far beyond its borders.
A bill to outlaw face veils, aimed at upholding French republican values, is expected to win Senate approval this month. If it passes this key hurdle, French diplomats will face a tough task ensuring the ban doesn't alienate governments, deter devout foreign shoppers loaded with cash, or provoke Islamist terrorists.
A wind-whipped wildfire sent flames roaring through a rugged canyon in the Colorado foothills, forcing about 3,000 people to flee the area and destroying dozens of homes — some that belonged to the firefighters themselves, authorities said Tuesday. Fire officials were assessing the extent of the damage and planned to release details at a morning news conference. The blaze broke out Monday morning in Four Mile Canyon northwest of Boulder and rapidly spread across 5 1/2 square miles or 3,500 acres. Erratic 45-mph gusts sometimes sent the fire in two directions at once.
Tropical Storm Hermine rolled into south Texas early Tuesday (September 7), bringing heavy rains and strong winds to an area battered by Hurricane Alex earlier this summer. Several counties also had to deal with tornado warnings. Hermine left all but one block of Raymondville, about 20 miles off the Texas coast, without electricity and ripped roofs off several buildings.
An explosion ripped through a major Mexican refinery operated by state oil company Pemex on Tuesday, and rescue workers said at least five people were seriously injured. Local media in northern Mexico initially reported that seven people had died in the explosion at Pemex's Cadeyreta complex. Pemex could not confirm the deaths, and an emergency services official told local radio that nobody had been killed.
A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows Republicans have a 49 percent to 40 percent advantage among likely voters, which would probably be enough for them to grab back control of the House of Representatives. All 435 House seats are up for grabs along with 37 of the 100 Senate seats in the November 2 election.
A Christian minister vowed Tuesday to go ahead with plans to burn copies of the Quran to protest the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks despite warnings from the White House and the top U.S. general in Afghanistan that doing so would endanger American troops overseas. Pastor Terry Jones of the Dove World Outreach Center said he understands the government's concerns, but plans to go forward with the burning this Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the attacks.
At least two dozen fires raged across large sections of Detroit Tuesday night as winds knocked over power lines and fanned flames. “There’s no fire bug here,” Detroit Fire Department Capt. Steve Varnas told the Detroit Free Press as he surveyed the damage from a blaze in the area of Van Dyke and 7 Mile that had claimed at least 17 structures. “Throughout the whole city, the same thing is happening: Wires down everywhere.”
Sports News - September 1, 2010 -
The Heisman Trophy Trust is expected to strip former University of Southern California star running back Reggie Bush of college football’s top honor by the end of September, sources told Yahoo! Sports. Bush would become the first player in the 75-year history of the award to have the trophy taken away. The NCAA found major violations in the Trojans’ football program in June and levied serious sanctions against the school.
Technology News September 1, 2010 -
Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced a revamped Apple TV device, a new iPod line, an iTunes social network and updates to the operating system for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad at Apple's highly anticipated product launch event on Wednesday (September 1). Apple TV, which hasn't sold well and which Jobs has referred to as a "hobby," got a major revision. The new device is a quarter the size of the current model, fits in the palm of your hand, and sells for just $99 -- much less than the $229 of the current model. Our users want Hollywood movies and TV shows, cheaper; they don't want amateur hour," Jobs said. "They don't want another computer. They don't want to manage storage. They want it to be silent, cool and small."Jobs promised that the device would have the largest library of movies in the world available for rental on the first day of purchase. As for TV shows, Apple was able to strike a deal with Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and News Corp.'s Fox for TV shows, but Jobs said he believes more networks will soon follow suit. "We think the rest of the studios will see the light and get on board pretty fast," Jobs said. The new Apple TV will also be able to connect to users' Netflix accounts, YouTube, and Flickr. The device can link to users' home computers as well, so they can play their iTunes music and video libraries over Wi-Fi.
More Apple This Week - Three new iPods were announced: an iPod Shuffle that ditches the previous no-button style in returning to a more classic look; a smaller iPod Nano that now has a touch screen but can no longer play video; and a thinner iPod Touch that has most of the features first introduced on the iPhone 4. The new iPods will be available next week. • Apple announced iTunes 10, available immediately, which comes with a new logo and a social music service called Ping that lets you see what your friends are listening to and make comments and recommendations.
Apple this week launched Ping, a new social network that runs within the iTunes software. Apple hopes the new service will solve the "Discovery" problem -- with so much music out there, how do you find new artists you might like? Many say it falls short of that goal.
Sony updated its line of e-readers, a move that brought a touchscreen to its cheapest version but also hiked its price by almost $30. The revamp tweaks the design of all three devices -- the Pocket, Touch and Daily Edition -- to make them smaller and lighter. But the real changes are in the technology updates.
Microsoft will be offering up a new Xbox 360 wireless controller starting this fall that features an adjustable directional-control pad (D-pad). With a twist of the wrist, the D-pad goes from flat to a raised plus controller.Hryb said the design was in response to many gamers who didn't like the feel of the Xbox’s current D-pad. Engineers came up with a solution that was designed to give options for those who wanted a better feel, he said.
IPad competitors coming - Beginning this fall (with several new devices launching at IFA Berlin last week) and stretching through next year (with the Consumer Electronics Show in early January), there are going to be far more consumer touch-screen tablets to choose from. And not just from small niche manufacturers. They include The Samsung Galaxy Tab and the The Toshiba Folio.
Interesting - Galen Kipe hasn't smoked a cigarette in more than three months.He couldn't kick his habit of 17 years with nicotine patches or gum. He finally put away his Marlboro menthols for good by swapping them for electronic cigarettes, which look like the real thing and give him his nicotine fix but do not contain tobacco. "It's the closest thing to what I was doing before," the 34-year-old steelworker from Asheboro, N.C., said. "I'm still getting the nicotine, but I don't feel like I'm getting any kind of bad side effects. It can't be any worse than actual cigarettes."
Entertainment News - September 1, 2010 -
Appearing on Dave Letterman’s CBS show (Aug 31) – Michael Douglas is battling stage-four throat cancer with a rigorous prescription of chemotherapy and radiation. Yet, there he was on television Tuesday night, talking to David Letterman about his disease in a very candid interview on "Late Night." Appearing gaunt, but remarkably healthy under the circumstances (his silver, tousled hair added a lively element of style to his appearance), the 65-year-old movie star was upbeat, honest, and good-spirited during his "Late Show" appearance. Letterman told Douglas he'd "never looked better." Unfortunately – Michael is going to need a lot of luck. Stage 4 cancer is often a kiss of death.
Paris Hilton was banned Wednesday from two Wynn resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, and her boyfriend was dismissed as a nightclub partner following their arrests in a vehicle that police said reeked of marijuana. Cy Waits was "separated" from his job after less than a week as top managing partner of the Tryst Nightclub at Wynn and XS The Nightclub at Encore.
Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is "furious" that doctors failed to diagnose her husband, actor Michael Douglas's throat cancer earlier, she said in an interview published Thursday. But Douglas himself, who this week revealed that his cancer was more advanced than previously thought, vowed to overcome the disease, telling People magazine: "I'll beat this."
Hollywood fixture Zsa Zsa Gabor, whose health has been failing in recent months since she fell and broke her hip, has returned home after being hospitalized this week, her spokesman said on Thursday. The 93-year-old actress remains in a great deal of pain from being bedridden for around seven weeks, said spokesman John Blanchette.
Dies - Standup comic Robert Schimmel, a frequent guest on Howard Stern’s's radio show, has died after suffering serious injuries in a car accident. He was 60. Schimmel was a passenger Thursday in a car driven by his 19-year-old daughter Aliyah. Bragman says Aliyah Schimmel swerved to avoid another car and the vehicle she was driving rolled to the side of the freeway. Bragman says she is hospitalized in stable condition.
Passing - The Dutch painter Corneille, co-founder of the avant-garde Cobra movement, died on Sunday at the age of 88, the Dutch Cobra museum said on Sunday. The Dutch news agency NOS said he had died in France, where he lived and worked.
Music News September 1, 2010 -
Grammy-winning rapper T.I., who is still on probation after spending time behind bars on gun charges, was arrested along with his wife on drug charges after police smelled alleged marijuana coming from their car, authorities said. The Wednesday night arrests for possession of a controlled substance occurred in West Hollywood during a traffic stop, Los Angeles sheriff's deputy Mark Pope told The Associated Press.
Rap and rock will collide once again — this time in a video game. Fans of the hit game "Rock Band" will get a chance to jam to some hip-hop, thanks to Snoop Dogg. He's the first rap artist to be featured in the video game, which already has songs from top artists like Jimi Hendrix, the Who, AC/DC and Green Day. Eight Snoop Dogg tracks will appear in the "Rock Band" music store. The game will be released Tuesday.
Television News - September 1, 2010 -
Kara DioGuardi is officially out at “American Idol.” After months of speculation, Fox announced Friday that the songwriter who joined the Fox singing competition's judging panel during its eighth season in 2009 was stepping down from her role as a judge. DioGuardi's exit follows the departures of judges Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeners.DioGuardi said in a statement that it felt like "the best time to leave 'Idol.'"
Bristol Palin said she didn't think twice before waltzing into "Dancing with the Stars," though she's barely danced in her life. In an appearance Friday on NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," the 19-year-old daughter of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she learned about the invitation through a text message and signed within a week to appear on the new season starting Sept. 20. Leno asked if she had gone to her high school prom. Palin replied "No, I was pregnant!"
Late Night Ratings Down - As part of a downward trend across all of late-night TV, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno has hit a record low among the desirable adults-18-to-49 demographic, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Since the end of the standing broadcast season in May, Leno is averaging 3.8 million viewers a night. Even though that's a 12 percent boost in viewers from Conan O'Brien's Tonight a year ago, it's down 23 percent in the demo. Leno is, however, beating The Late Show with David Letterman by 22 percent in both measures.
“Jump The Shark” - More than thirty years after The Fonz' infamous water ski trick on Happy Days, the phrase "jump the shark" is among the most dreaded to hear in the TV industry. But back in 1977, series writers including Fred Fox Jr. simply thought the stunt would be a good way to utilize actor Henry Winkler’s's real-life water ski skills. The moment has since gone on to join the pop cultural zeitgeist -- and put a name to some of TV's worst moments Fox still contends Happy Days was far from past its prime when The Fonz jumped the shark. That happened to be the 91st Happy Days episode and a total of 164 were made.
A&E renews Steven Segal’s “Lawman.” Lawman scored the best ratings ever for an A&E series launch when it premiered to 3.4 million viewers last December. The reality show follows the 58-year-old action star on duty as a reserve deputy sheriff in Jefferson Parish, La.
ABC News President Westin Resigns, David Westin tells colleagues via e-mail that, "there are some other things I want to do professionally — things that I can't explore while fulfilling my responsibilities here." He has agreed to remain at ABC News until a successor is named. While the announcement came suddenly, news industry insiders heard that ABC recently hired an executive search firm to scout out replacements for Westin, who said he told his bosses last month that he wanted out.
MDA Telethon - Despite the struggling economy, officials with the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon say contributions and pledges from this year's Labor Day event totaled $58.9 million. The amount was down from nearly $60.5 million last year and a record $65 million in 2008. But Lewis says he's heartened by Americans' ability to help others in need even when they're struggling financially. The 45th annual telethon originated for the fifth consecutive year from the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas and reached some 40 million viewers through 170 television stations.
Passing – David Dortort - creator of the long-running Western “Bonanza.” He was 93.
TV listings/TV Guide - September 1, 2010 -
Thursday Night TV
8:00 to 9:00
ABC: 'Big Brother'
DIY: 'This New House' and '10 Grand in Your Hand'
Food Network: 'Extreme Cuisine With Jeff Corwin' (PHOTO)
HGTV: 'My First Place' and 'My First Sale'
History: 'The Universe'
Sundance: 'The Story' -- New York teens film a movie in Uganda
9:00 to 10:00
ABC: 'Rookie Blue'
DIY: 'Family Renovation'
ID: 'Deadly Women'
Lifetime: 'Project Runway' -- 90 minutes
Science: 'Engineering Hurricanes'
Spike: 'TNA Wrestling Impact!' -- Two hours
TLC: 'American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior'
truTV: 'The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest...'-- Partiers
10:00 to 11:00
ABC: 'Nightline Prime: Secrets of Your Mind: Why We Do What We Do'
A&E: 'The Squad: Prison Police'
BBC America: 'Come Dine With Me'
Comedy Central: 'Futurama'** -- The show's 100th episode. Only took them seven years to get to that point
Cooking Channel: 'Cook Like an Iron Chef'
Current: 'That's Gay' and 'Rotten Tomatoes Movie Review Show'
Discovery Health: 'NICU'
DIY: 'Blog Cabin' and 'Run My Renovation'
Food Network: 'Ace of Cakes' and 'Family Style'
History: 'Stan Lee's Superhumans'
ID: 'Wicked Attraction'
Lifetime: 'On the Road With Austin & Santino' -- 10:30 start
MTV: 'Jersey Shore'
TLC: 'BBQ Pitmasters'
truTV: 'Top 20 Most Shocking'
We: 'Your're Wearing That?!?'
MTV: 'Jersey Shore After Hours'
SyFy: 'WCG Ultimate Gamer'
'Charlie Rose' (PBS): Rebroadcasting episode nine of Charlie's brain series (repeat)
'The Mo'Nique Show' (BET): Marc Jon Jefferies; Marques Houston (repeat)
'The Daily Show' (Comedy Central): Rod Blagojevich (repeat)
'Chelsea Lately' (E!): Mel B.
'Lopez Tonight' (TBS): (repeat)
'Late Show With David Letterman' (CBS): Will Arnett; comic Tommy Johnagin; performance by Karen Elson
'The Tonight Show' (NBC): Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth; Steve Buscemi; performance by Herbie Hancock, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks
'The Colbert Report' (Comedy Central): Author Heidi Cullen
'Jimmy Kimmel Live' (ABC): Jerry O'Connell, Carla Gugino; performance by T.I. (repeat)
'Tavis Smiley' (PBS): U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek
'The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson' (CBS): Anne Heche; comic Billy Gardell
'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' (NBC): Rachel Maddow; writer Jon Glaser; performance by Heart
'Last Call With Carson Daly' (NBC): astronaut Mike Massimino; performance by B.o.B. (repeat)
Top Pop Hits - September 1, 2010 -
Love The Way You Lie – Eminem fea. Rihanna
Dynamite – Taio Cruz
Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love – Usher fea. Pitbull
I Like It Enrique Iglesias fea. Pitbull
Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars
Mine – Taylor Swift
Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner
California Gurls – Katy Pery fea. Snoop Dogg
Take It Off – Ke$ha
Airplanes – B.o.B. fea. Hayley Williams
Magic – B.o.B. fea. Rivers Cuomo
Just A Dream – Nelly
Not Afraid – Eminem
Ridin’ Solo – Jason Derulo
Misery – Maroon 5
Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida fea. David Guetta
Billionaire – Travie McCoy fea. Bruno Mars
OMG – Usher fea. will.i.am
Right Above It – Lil Wayne fea. Drake
Erase Me – Kid Cudi fea. Kanye West
Find Your Love – Drake
Deuces – Chris Brown fea. Tyga & Kevin McCall
Hot Tottie – Usher fea. Jay-Z
Top Video Games September 1, 2010 -
Mafia II (X360) (PS3)
Madden NFL 11 (X360) (PS3)
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty (PC)
Wii Sports Resort
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
New Super Mario Bos. (Wii)
Wii Fit Plus
Top Movies September 1, 2010 -
The American (1st week $13 million)
Machete (1st week - $11.3 million)
The Last Exorcism
Going The Distance (1st week $6,885 million)
The Other Guys
Eat Pray Love
Nanny McPHee Returns.