Dateline: Week Of July 1, 2011 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn was released without bail on Friday(July1) after a dramatic court hearing where the sexual assault case against him appeared to shift in his favor. Strauss-Kahn, who smiled as he walked out of court, still faces felony charges of attempted rape and sexual assault over the alleged attack on a hotel maid in New York. His lawyers said they will seek to have the charges dismissed but the judge said prosecutors were continuing to investigate.
A day after stepping down as CIA director, Leon Panetta was sworn in Friday as secretary of defense. He began settling into the job by telling members of the military and their families they are "at the top of my agenda." He was meeting later with his civilian staff and then with the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. He planned to have lunch with Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs. A spokesman, Doug Wilson, said Panetta intends to work at maintaining close relations with the military at all levels.
Minnesota Government Shutdown - Minnesota lawmakers headed home for a long holiday weekend, bracing for likely public anger as some of them meet constituents for the first time since a failure to reach a budget agreement forced a government shutdown.The reception they get starting Saturday, and during 4th of July parades around the state, could go a long way toward determining how long the shutdown lasts. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP leaders had no plans for new talks before Tuesday, five full days after the shutdown started. Minnesota's second shutdown in six years was striking much deeper than a partial 2005 shutdown. It took state parks and rest stops off line, closed horse tracks and made it impossible to get a fishing license. But it also was hitting the state's most vulnerable, ending reading services for the blind, silencing a help line for the elderly and stopping child care subsidies for the poor.
The outgoing U.S. commander in Afghanistan marked his last Fourth of July in uniform by speaking to American troops during a re-enlistment ceremony in the south of the country. Gen. David Petraeus, who was recently confirmed as the next director of the CIA, told the 235 troops re-enlisting in Kandahar province that they have achieved progress on the battlefield but that "much work remains" to be done in Afghanistan. "You raised your right hand and said 'Send me,' and today you raised your right hand again and said 'Send me again, if needed,'" he told the soldiers on America's 235th birthday.
Newly confirmed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta marked his first Fourth of July by making calls to troops serving abroad, the Defense Department said Monday.
Six forward-deployed U.S. service members began their Independence Day with telephone calls from Panetta, who reached out to convey his thanks and support for their service, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Doug Wilson said. Panetta, who was sworn in as the nation's 23rd defense secretary on Friday, spoke by phone with service members deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Bahrain. The six individuals, representative of America's men and women in uniform who are away from their families, come from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Army National Guard.
Panetta told them how proud he was of their service and emphasized his commitment to fight for them and their families as they are fighting for their country, Wilson said. He told them he looks forward to meeting them during his travels as secretary.
A Florida jury has acquitted Casey Anthony of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee. Anthony began crying when the jury's verdict was read Tuesday after more than 10 hours of deliberations. She hugged her attorney afterward, and a prosecutor shook his head in disbelief. She could have received a death sentence if she had been convicted of first-degree murder. She was found guilty of lying to investigators. Judge Belvin Perry will sentence her Thursday. She could receive up to a year in jail for each count.
President Barack Obama kicked off his first Twitter town hall with — what else? — a tweet. Using a laptop set up on a podium in the East Room of the White House, Obama typed this message: "In order to reduce the deficit, what costs would you cut and what investments would you keep?" The tweet set the tone for the town hall focused on jobs and the economy, and hosted by Twitter, the social media service. The White House sees social media as an opportunity for the president to interact with Americans directly, particularly the younger and more tech-savvy part of the electorate, as his re-election campaign ramps up.
The Obama administration must stop enforcing the ban that prevents gay men and women from serving openly in the U.S. military, a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday. President Barack Obama last year signed a landmark law repealing the policy that forced gays to keep their sexual orientation secret if they want to be in the military. The Pentagon has been in the process of writing rules for the new policy.
A female grizzly bear attacked and killed a man who encountered the bruin and her cubs while he was hiking with his wife on Wednesday in Yellowstone National Park, park officials said. The fatal mauling occurred about a mile and a half from the start of the Wapiti Lake trail, and another group of hikers nearby heard the victim's wife crying out for help and used a cell phone to call park rangers for assistance. A National Park Service statement said the couple had inadvertently surprised the mother grizzly and her cubs, and in "an attempt to defend a perceived threat to her cubs, the bear attacked and fatally wounded the man."
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee signed into law a bill that would require voters to show identification at the polls in 2012, with a photo required before casting a ballot in 2014, his office announced on Wednesday. "Having reflected a great deal on the issue, I believe that requiring identification at the polling place is a reasonable request to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our elections," Chafee, an Independent, said in a statement.
A judge sentenced Casey Anthony on Thursday(July7) to four years for lying to investigators but says she could go free in late July or early August because she has already served nearly three years in jail and has had good behavior. While acquitted of killing and abusing her 2-year-old daughter Caylee, Anthony was convicted of four counts of lying to detectives trying to find her daughter in July 2008. She lied to them about working at the Universal Studios theme park, about leaving her daughter with a non-existent nanny named Zanny, about leaving the girl with friends and about receiving a phone call from her. She’ll be released from jail July 13.
New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, government data showed on Thursday, but distortions associated with the holiday weekend and a government shutdown in one state made it difficult to get a clear view of the labor market. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 418,000, the Labor Department said.
A gunman opened fire in two separate Michigan homes Thursday(July7), killing seven people, including a child, before leading police on a high-speed chase through downtown Grand Rapids, authorities said. Within hours, dozens of officers with guns drawn had cordoned off a neighborhood near a small lake in the northern part of the city and shut down nearby Interstate 96. State police believed they had the man surrounded but warned residents to stay in their homes. The manhunt began after four people were found dead in one Grand Rapids home and three were found in another across town. Mayor George Heartwell said police were seeking 34-year-old Rodrick Shonte Dantzler.
Fascinating Facts/Trend - July 1, 2011 -
Flash Mobs - BAD TREND - The headlines from Chicago these days are about “flash mobs” — dozens of young thugs attacking people and cleaning out stores in broad daylight... 15 people storm a couple of city buses, making off with the passengers’ mobile phones and iPods. More than 20 young men attack a guy parking his scooter near the downtown campus of Northwestern University. “It was boom, like a swarm of insects,” the victim recalled. They took his phone
Up to 50 people storm a drugstore in the Magnificent Mile shopping district, cleaning out the shelves of merchandise, overwhelming any security that tried to respond
Similar stories of “flash mobs” — often coordinating their attacks via cell phone — come from Washington, D.C.; Venice Beach, California; Philadelphia; and St. Paul, Minn. The trend is building pace at a time when many cities are cutting back their police departments.
Tech News July 1, 2011 -
Twitter posts way up - As we reach the halfway point of 2011, users of the microblogging service now post 200 million tweets a day, Twitter announced. That's up from 65 million tweets a day a year ago. Even in little 140-character bites, that's a lot of verbiage. Twitter offers some context on this: Assuming the average tweet is 25 words, that means that "every day, the world writes the equivalent of a 10 million-page book" -- or 8,163 copies of Leo Tolstoy's epic novel "War and Peace."
A federal judge has denied Google's request to dismiss several lawsuits accusing the company of illegally collecting private information from open Wi-Fi networks. The ruling, filed in California court Wednesday, is a setback for Google as it tries to put its "Street View" debacle behind it. In May 2010, Google admitted that the cars it uses to capture images for the "Street View" map feature accidentally collected about 600 gigabytes of data from unencrypted Wi-Fi networks in more than 30 countries. Google, based in Mountain View, Calif., apologized in a blog post and called the data collection “a mistake” Google also said that it never used the data and would work to dispose of it as quickly as possible.But several lawsuits hit a few months later, accusing Google violations of state and federal wiretap laws. The complaints have been consolidated into one case seeking class-action status. In Google's motion to dismiss, the company maintained that the data collection wasn't illegal because open Wi-Fi networks are "readily accessible to the general public."
Hackers apparently broke into the FoxNews.com's Twitter feed for political news early Monday and used it to announce -- falsely -- that President Barack Obama had been assassinated. Obama was "shot twice at a Ross' restaurant in Iowa while campaigning. RIP Obama, best regards to the Obama family," read one of several Twitter messages posted on @FoxNewsPolitics early Monday. "We wish @joebiden the best of luck as our new President of the United States. In such a time of madness, there's light at the end of tunnel," the last in the series of tweets said later. An article on FoxNews.com confirmed the hack.
This week, Verizon Wireless, the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier, caps the amount of data downloads allowed under its $30-a-month wireless broadband plan; it will also unveil more costly options for users with big appetites for digital data. The changes will affect only new customers. Customers who now have unlimited data plans, or who sign with Verizon today, will be able to continue paying a flat fee for all the data they wish to download. Verizon follows the country’s number one carrier, AT&T Inc., which did away with unlimited data plans last year. The smallest of the nation’s top four cellular companies, T-Mobile USA, still offers an unlimited service, but the company dramatically slows down data transfers for heavy users - in effect, imposing a speed limit instead of a usage quota. Of the top wireless companies, only Sprint Nextel still offers unlimited data plans.
Facebook will add Skype video chat to its pages, aiming to spice up the appeal of the world's No. 1 Internet social networking service while fending off increased competition from Google The agreement, announced by Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg at the company's Palo Alto, California, headquarters on Wednesday, deepens the company's cooperation with Microsoft Corp, which is in the process of buying Skype to build up its web presence. Zuckerberg said Facebook has hit a record 750 million users. The new service, rolling out from Wednesday, could be a huge boost for Skype, which currently has about 145 million regular users.
Sports News - July 1, 2011 -
A man attending a Texas Rangers game with his young son died after falling out of the stands and about 20 feet to the ground while trying to catch a baseball tossed his way Thursday night, the Rangers and Arlington fire officials said. Arlington Fire Department officials in a statement that another fan nearby tried unsuccessfully to grab the man to keep him from falling. They said the victim's son did not fall. "We had a very tragic accident tonight and one of our fans lost their life reaching over the rail trying to get a ball," team president Nolan Ryan said. "As an organization, and as our team members and our staff, we're very heavy-hearted about this, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family." The accident in Texas occurred in the second inning after Oakland's Conor Jackson hit a foul ball that ricocheted into left field. Josh Hamilton, the reigning AL MVP, retrieved the ball and tossed it into the stands. Replays on Oakland's television broadcast show the man reaching for the ball and apparently catching it before tumbling.
Entertainment News - July 8, 2011 –
Patricia Arquette and Thomas Jane are officially single. The couple's divorce was finalized in Los Angeles. The two, who wed in 2006, will share joint custody of their 8-year-old daughter, Harlow.
Passing - Anna Massey, the member of an acting dynasty whose roles ranged from lonely spinsters to Margaret Thatcher, has died. She was 73. Massey died Saturday after a battle with cancer, with her husband and son at her side, her agent Pippa Markham said Monday.
Lady Gaga slams critics who accuse her of "[using] the gay community to sell records." That's "one of the most ridiculous statements anyone can make about me," the 25-year-old pop star says. "I would say the top thing I think about every single day of my life, other than my fans, loving the music, and my family being healthy, is social justice and equality." Gaga (real name: Stefani Germanotta) put her money where her mouth was in a recent controversy with Target. The retailer was planning to sell a special edition of her Born This Way album, but members of the LGBT community were outraged at the deal when Target contributed thousands in cash and in-kind goods to a PAC that supported antigay candidate Tom Emmer in his failed 2010 run for governor of Minnesota. After the incident, Gaga met with the company's "entire executive staff" and shortly thereafter canceled the deal.
Comedy Central set to roast Charlie Sheen – “You could say I've been providing kindling for this Roast for a while," 45-year-old Sheen says of the special, airing Sept. 19. "It's time to light it up. It's going to be epic."
A man arrested outside Paris Hilton’s's coastal home was charged Tuesday with disobeying a court order to stay away from the socialite. Sheriff's deputies arrested James Rainford on Monday, the third-time in less than a year that the 36-year-old has been jailed for trying to meet Hilton. Rainford is expected to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon on the misdemeanor charge. He is being held on $20,000 bail and jail records do not indicate whether he has an attorney. Authorities said Rainford was arrested Monday after paparazzi who were outside Hilton's home recognized him.
Top Pop Hits - July 1, 2011 -
Rolling In The Deep – Adele
Give Me Everything- Pitbull fea. Ne-Yo, Afrojack & Nayer
PartyRockAnthem – LMFAO fea. lauren Bennett & GoonRock
Super Bass – Nicki Minaj
Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.) – Katy Perry
E.T. – Katy Perry
The Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga
Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 fea. Christina Aguilera
The Lazy Song – Bruno Mars
How To Love – Lil Wayne
The Show Goes On – Lupe Fiasco
Dirt Road Anthem – Jason Aldean
Just Can’t Get Enough – The Black Eyed Peas
Honey Bee – Blake Shelton
Tonight Tonight – Hot Chelle Rae
On The Floor – Jennifer Lopez
Don’t Wanna Go Home – Jaseon Derulo
Till The World Ends – Britney Spears
Good Life – OneRepublic
I’m On One – DJ Khaled fea. Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne
Who Says – Selena Gomez & The Scene
Motivation – Kelly Rowland fea. Lil Wayne
Look At Me Now – Chris Brown fea. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes
Knee Deep – Zac Brown Band fea. Jimmy Buffet
Roll Up – Wiz Khalifa
Top Movies - July 1, 2011 –
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (1st week $97.4 million)
Larry Crowne – (1st week $13 million)
Monte Carlo (1st week $7.6 million)
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Midnight In Paris
X-Men: First Class