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Dateline: Week Of February 8, 2011 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts

In The News -

president obama news february 8, 2011President Barack Obama is calling for a six-year, $53 billion investment in high-speed rail, as he seeks to use infrastructure spending to jumpstart job creation. An initial $8 billion investment will be part of the budget plan Obama is set to release Monday. If Congress approves the plan, the money would go toward developing or improving trains that travel up to 250 miles per hour, and connecting existing rail lines to new projects. The White House wouldn't say where the money for the rest of the program would come from, though it's likely Obama would seek funding in future budgets or transportation bills.

A young leader of Egypt's anti-government protesters, newly released from detention, joined a massive crowd of hundreds of thousands in Cairo's Tahrir Square for the first time Tuesday, greeted by cheers, whistling and thunderous applause when he declared: "We will not abandon our demand and that is the departure of the regime." Wael Ghonim, the 30-year-old Google Inc. marketing manager who was a key organizer of the online campaign that sparked the first protest on Jan. 25 to demand the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. Straight from his release from 12 days of detention, Ghonim gave an emotionally charged television interview Monday night where he sobbed over those who have been killed in two weeks of clashes.

Employers posted fewer job openings in December, the second straight month of declines. That's a sign hiring is still weak even as the economy is gaining strength. The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers advertised nearly 3.1 million jobs that month, a drop of almost 140,000 from November. That's the lowest total since September.

Passing - J. Paul Getty III, the troubled grandson of one of the world's richest men who lost an ear in a grisly kidnapping as a teenager and suffered a devastating stroke as a young man, has died. He was 54. His son, actor Balthazar Getty, confirmed that his father had died last Saturday at his Buckinghamshire estate northwest of London surrounded by his family. The cause of death was not disclosed, but Getty had been gravely ill for some time.

A second powerful blizzard in a week roared through parts of the nation’s midsection on Wednesday, bringing biting winds and dumping a foot of snow on areas still digging out from last week's major storm.The storm that rolled into Oklahoma on Tuesday had dropped about a foot of snow by Wednesday morning in Bartlesville, about 50 miles north of Tulsa, and another 9 inches across the state line in Siloam Springs, Ark., said Michael Lacy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tulsa. He said strong winds created blizzard conditions that limited visibility and made travel hazardous. Heavy snow was reported in parts of Kansas and Texas.

A natural gas explosion rocked a downtown (Allentown, PA) neighborhood overnight, leveling two houses and spawning fires that burned for hours through an entire row of neighboring homes. One person was killed, and at least five others were unaccounted for Thursday.

President Barack Obama wants nearly all Americans to have access to speedy wireless services. He's promoting that plan in a small city in Michigan that's becoming a model for how the Internet can bring prosperity to far-flung places. Obama on Thursday heads to Marquette, Mich., a university and tourism town of 20,000 overlooking Lake Superior that cherishes both its geographical remoteness and technological savvy.

Egypt's powerful military tried to defuse outrage over President Hosni Mubarak's refusal to step down, assuring it would guarantee promised reforms. But hundreds of thousands only grew angrier, deluging squares in at least three major cities Friday and marching on presidential palaces and the state TV building, key symbols of the authoritarian regime. A day after handing most of his powers to his vice president, Mubarak flew to the Sinai resort of Sham el-Sheikh, some 250 miles away from the turmoil. He has a palace there where he often lives and works during the winter.

Fireworks burst over Tahrir Square and Egypt exploded with joy and tears of relief after pro-democracy protesters brought down President Hosni Mubarak with a momentous march on his palaces and state TV. Mubarak, who until the end seemed unable to grasp the depth of resentment over his three decades of authoritarian rule, finally resigned Friday and handed power to the military.

House Republicans called for cuts in hundreds of programs across the face of government Friday night in a $61 billion savings package toughened at the last minute at the demand of tea party-backed conservatives. From education to job training, the environment and nutrition, few domestic programs were left untouched — and some were eliminated — in the measure, which is expected to reach the floor for a vote next week.

More Egypt - The ruling military pledged Saturday (Feb.12) to eventually hand power to an elected civilian government and reassured allies that Egypt will abide by its peace treaty with Israel after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, as it outlined the first cautious steps in a promised transition to greater democracy.

A man accused of going on a bloody 28-hour rampage through New York City was expected to appear in court Sunday, a day after he was tackled on a subway train by police.Maksim Gelman, 23, was to be arraigned in Brooklyn Criminal Court in the deaths of four people, including his stepfather, a female acquaintance and her mother, and a complete stranger he ran over with a car, prosecutors said. The violent spree started just after 5 a.m. Friday, when police say Gelman snapped during an argument over the use of his mother's Lexus sedan. His stepfather, Aleksandr Kuznetsov, intervened and was stabbed to death at their apartment in Brooklyn. Police found the 54-year-old's body in his home. His mother was uninjured. Later that morning, Gelman turned up at the home of a 20-year-old acquaintance, Yelena Bulchenko, and stabbed to death her mother, 56-year-old Anna Bulchenko. When Yelena arrived home at about 4 p.m., she found her mother dead in a pool of blood and called 911. But Gelman was waiting for her there, chased her outside and stabbed her 11 times, authorities said.

Thousands of Algerians defied a government ban on protests and a massive deployment of riot police to march in the capital Saturday, demanding democratic reforms a day after similar protests toppled Egypt's authoritarian leader. Heavily armed police tried to seal off Algiers, blocking streets, lining up along the march route and setting up barricades outside the city to try to stop busloads of demonstrators from reaching the capital.

Salvador Dali's "Portrait de Paul Eluard" set a world record at Sotheby's auction house in London Thursday when it was sold for more than 13 million pounds (21.6 million dollars, 15.8 million euros). An anonymous bidder paid 13.4 million pounds for the 1929 masterpiece, the most ever for a Surrealist work at auction, breaking a record set in London only last night for a Dali piece at auction.

Clothing prices are expected to rise about 10 percent in coming months, with the biggest increases coming in the second half of the year, said Burt Flickinger III president of Strategic Resource Group. Cotton has more than doubled in price over the past year, hitting all-time highs. The price of other synthetic fabrics has jumped roughly 50 percent as demand for alternatives and blends has risen.

President Barack Obama sent Congress a $3.73 trillion budget Monday (Feb.14) that holds out the prospect of eventually bringing deficits under control through spending cuts and tax increases. But the fiscal blueprint largely ignores his own deficit commission's view that the nation is imperiled unless huge entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare are slashed. Obama called his new budget one of "tough choices and sacrifices," but most of those cuts would be held off until after the next presidential election. Overall, Obama proposed trimming the deficits by $1.1 trillion over a decade. The administration is projecting that the deficit will hit an all-time high of $1.65 trillion this year and then drop sharply to $1.1 trillion.

Sports News February 8, 2011 -

Alexei Ramirex would love nothing more than to spend the rest of his career with the Chicago White Sox. Consider this a big step. The shortstop and the team finalized a new contract that adds $32.5 million over four years through 2015. Chicago exercised Ramirez's $2.75 million option for 2011 in December. The agreement announced Thursday adds salaries of $5 million in 2012, $7 million in 2013, $9.5 million in 2014 and $10 million in 2015. The White Sox have a $10 million option for 2016 with a $1 million buyout.

After repeated clashes with star point guard Deron Williams, Jerry Sloan steps down immediately after 23 seasons leading the Utah Jazz.

Losing Streak Snapped - Nearly two months after it started innocently, the Cavaliers stopped their NBA-record skid at 26 games Friday night with a 126-119 win in overtime against the Los Angeles Clippers, who did all they could to extend Cleveland's winter misery

Technology News February 8, 2011 -

guitar hero says goodbyeGoodbye Guitar Hero! - The company behind "Guitar Hero" said Wednesday (Feb. 9) that it is pulling the plug on one of the most influential video game titles of the new century. Activision Blizzard Inc., which also produces the "Call of Duty" series, is ending the "Guitar Hero" franchise after a run of more than five years. The move follows Viacom Inc.'s decision in November to sell its money-losing unit behind the "Rock Band" video games. Harmonix was sold to an investment firm for an undisclosed sum. Harmonix, incidentally, was behind the first “Guitar Hero” game. Game industry analysts have long lamented the "weakness in the music genre," as they call it — that is, the inability of game makers to drum up demand for the products after an initial surge in popularity in the mid-2000s. Music games are often more expensive than your typical shoot-'em-up game because they require guitars, microphones and other musical equipment. While extra songs can be purchased for download, this hasn't been enough to keep the games profitable.

Verizon and Apple stores across the country opened their doors at 7 a.m (Feb.10) local time to sell the iPhone 4, which for the first time is available on a U.S. wireless network not named AT&T). In contrast to the lines of thousands that turned out in June in June for the iPhone 4's release, the Verizon iPhone got off to a quieter start. The line of waiting buyers held just eight people 15 minutes before it went on sale at Apple's flagship New York City store near Central Park.

TouchTab Tablet Debuts (iPad competitor) - Hewlett-Packard showed the fruits of its acquisition of Palm on Wednesday. The technology giant demonstrated a new tablet device and two new smartphones, as well as disclosing plans to bring its webOS software to computers and printers. All three gadgets run a new version of webOS, the software that Palm began developing five years ago. HP is designing these products to work wirelessly together.

At a cell phone show in Barcelona - Alcatel-Lucent will be demonstrating its "lightRadio cube," a cellular antenna about the size and shape of a Rubik's cube, vastly smaller than the ironing-board-sized antennas that now decorate cell towers. The cube was developed at the famous Bell Labs in New Jersey, birthplace of many other inventions when it was AT&T's research center. The small antennas are designed to make big cell towers go away. The cube, Sweldens said, can make the notion of a conventional cell tower "go away." Alcatel-Lucent will start trials of the cube with carriers in September. The company hopes to make it commercially available next year. For cell phone companies, the benefits of dividing their networks into smaller "cells," each one served by something like the cube antenna, go far beyond esthetics. Smaller cells mean vastly higher capacity for calls and data traffic. Instead of having all phones within a mile or two connect to the same cell tower, the traffic could be divided between several smaller cells, so there's less competition for the cell tower's attention.

Entertainment News February 8, 2011 -

simon cowell offers five million$5 million! - Why did Simon Cowell and the producers of Fox's The X Factor decide to offer contestants the biggest grand prize on television? To make everybody a little nervous, Cowell says. By putting up that kind of prize money, it's a massive, massive risk. But it's also an incredible incentive," Cowell told reporters Monday of the decision to offer the winning X Factor act a $5 million recording contract. "I think it puts everybody, rightly, under an enormous amount of pressure. I didn't want to go into this show without a feeling a certain amount of pressure, because with pressure, you've got to find a star.

Michael Moore has crunched the numbers and concluded he is owed millions of dollars more for his film "Fahrenheit 9/11." The documentary filmmaker sued financiers Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein in Los Angeles on Monday, claiming the brothers have used creative accounting to keep Moore from receiving more than $2.7 million for the 2004 documentary.

Lindsay Lohan arrives at the Los Angeles International Airport Superior Court on Wednesday (Feb. 9) afternoon, where she is expected to enter her plea to a charge of felony grand theft over an alleged stolen necklace.

Update - Lindsay Lohan pleaded not guilty to felony grand theft at the Los Angeles International Airport Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon. The actress' attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, entered her plea of not guilty on the star's behalf. The prosecutor in the case asked for $20,000 bail, and asked for her current probation (in connection with her 2007 DUI misdemeanor case) to be revoked and set bail for that incident, also in the amount of $20,000, which Judge Keith L. Schwartz approved. Following the hearing, Lohan posted bail and left the courthouse without being captured on camera.

kardashian thrown offstage prince february 2011Prince throws Kim Kardashian off-stage during a performance. Howard Stern didn’t like it at all. Apparently, the much-talked-about event got Stern so worked up that he resorted to calling Prince "f----- in the head," "an arrogant a--hole" and, yes, "a scumbag" over the "humiliating" incident. "She doesn't know what to do. Apparently she's supposed to dance like a stripper for him and she just stood there not knowing what to do. He throws her off the stage because she can't read f------ Prince's mind. He's a bull---- artist. I'm done with him." Fortunately, co-host Robin Quivers offers a Kardashian reality check. "She shows up to things and leaves after 10 minutes after she's put on camera," she interjected.

Former figure skating champion Tonya Harding and her husband, Joseph Price, are expecting a son. The 40-year-old, best known for conspiring an attack on skating nemesis Nancy Kerrigan, said she is "super excited" about her first child. Harding later took up boxing and was also a regular commentator on truTV's The Smoking Gun Presents: World Dumbest.

Charlie Sheen and Brook Mueller Divorce Settlement - state that the pair get joint custody of 1-year-old twins Bob and Max with Mueller scoring primary physical custody. As stipulated, "Under no circumstances shall the child support paid by Charlie for Bob and Max be less than the child support paid by Charlie to Denise Richards for Sam and Lola." That sum would be $55,000 per month, amounting to a combined $110K in child support toward Richards and Mueller. As for Mueller, she waived her right to spousal support. But she does get a takeaway prize of $757,698.70 in addition to a $1 million share of the family home, valued at $6.4 million, that Sheen is keeping. Meanwhile, Mueller gets the Mercedes, their home in the Los Angeles neighborhood Los Feliz and $45,000 in moving expenses. Sheen gets their Four Seasons Club timeshare, which Mueller has permission to use one week out of each year.

elizabeth taylor admitted hospital february 2011Oscar-winning actress Elizabeth Taylor has been admitted to a Los Angeles hospital to treat congestive heart failure, the latest in a long history of serious medical problems. Taylor, 78, was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center earlier this week for what her publicist said on Friday was "an ongoing condition."

Passing - Betty Garrett, a comedic actress who had good times and bad in Hollywood in a 65-year show biz career, has died. She was 91.

Music News - February 8, 2011 -

She Messed Up – One of the biggest fumbles came before Super Bowl XLV — from christina aguilera superbowl performanceChristina Aguilera’s performance of the national anthem. The Grammy winner, 30, botched the lyrics, mistakenly singing "what so proudly we watched, at the twilight's last reaming" instead of "o'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming." The flub immediately caught the attention of viewers across the country and was a big topic on Twitter throughout the game.

Barbra Streisand has been tapped to perform at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards. Mike Jagger will make his first appearance as well. Also look for Arcade Fire, Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Lady gaga, Katy Perry, Miranda Lambert and Muse. Other performances include collaborations by Justin Bieber, Usher and Jaden Smith, Bruno Mars, Janelle Mone, B.o.B., Cee Lo Green and Wyneth Paltrow.

Some of music industry's biggest names -- including Paul Simon, Bette Midler, John Legend and Elton John are slated to present at the 2011 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on March 14 in NYC. The event will be televised on Fuse on Sunday, March 20 at 9 p.m. EST. Rod Zombie, The Doors' John Densmore and Lloyd Price will also be on hand to induct this year's honorees. The eight artists being inducted are Alice Cooper, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Darlene Love, Tom Waits, Jac Holzman, Art Rupe and Leon Russell.

dr dre eminem february 2011Dr. Dre and Eminem are reuniting: The duo plans to perform together at Sunday's Grammy Awards. Dre, who's nominated as a producer for Eminem’s's album Recovery, hasn't performed on live television in more than 10 years. The announcement comes on the heels of the rapper's first studio album since 1999, Detox, set to drop this spring.

Good news for Carrie Underwood - she's about to save a whole lot of money on international calls! Carrie's professional hockey player hubby, Mike Fisher, was traded on Thursday from the Ottawa Senators to the Nashville Predators - nice and close to where Carrie currently lives in Tennessee!

Justin Bieber Seems To Be Everywhere – Now, Justin Bieber’s likeness gets place on the cover of MAD Magazine. From the latest Best Buy Super Bowl ad with Ozzy Osbourne to the film " Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" to hit singles online, on the air and everywhere else, the so-called Beliebers have elevated the mop-topped Canadian to dizzying heights of stardom. Now, he's about to come back to Earth: MAD magazine's longtime public face, Alfred E. Neuman — with his big ears and goofy grin — sports a Bieberesque bowl of hair on the cover of the Feb. 16 issue. The headlines: Justin Bieber: "HIS STUPID HAIR!" "HIS DUMB BOOK!" "HIS TERRIBLE MOVIE!" "HIS AWFUL MUSIC!" Bieber has already been on the cover of Vanity Fair, certainly no easy accomplishment.

New single for the Lady - Lady Gaga has returned... and she's "on the right track baby!" The singer has dropped her highly anticipated new single, "Born This Way," which was co-produced by Gaga, Fernando Garibay and DJ White Shadow. The song, which sounds vaguely similar to Madonna's "Express Yourself," was previously described by Elton John as the "new gay anthem."

tony bennett news february 2011Los Angeles - Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett and a trio of "Glee" stars led Barbra Streisand on a musical journey through her nearly 50-year career. They joined Faith Hill, Barry Manilow and Seal in launching Grammy weekend by honoring the Oscar-winning singer and actress as MusiCares Person of the Year.

Streisand, who turns 69 in April, was singled out for her musical achievements and philanthropic work.

Grammy Awards Held This Week – Some Winners:

Album Of The Year - The Suburbs -- Arcade Fire

Record Of The Year - Need You Now -- Lady Antebellum

Best Rap Album - Recovery -- Eminem

Best New Artist - Esperanza Spalding

Song Of The Year - Need You Now -- Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott, songwriters (Lady Antebellum)

Best Country Album - Need You Now -- Lady Antebellum

Best Pop Vocal Album - The Fame Monster -- Lady Gaga

Best Rock Album - The Resistance -- Muse

Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals - Hey, Soul Sister (Live) -- Train

Best Female Country Vocal Performance - The House That Built Me -- Miranda Lambert

Best Rap Song - Empire State Of Mind -- Shawn Carter, Angela Hunte, Burt Keyes, Alicia Keys, Jane't "Jnay" Sewell-Ulepic & Alexander Shuckburgh, songwriters (Sylvia Robinson, songwriter) (Jay-Z & Alicia Keys)

Best Rap Solo Performance - Not Afraid -- Eminem

Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group - On To The Next One -- Jay-Z & Swizz Beatz

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration - Empire State Of Mind" -- Jay-Z & Alicia Keys

Top Music Albums - February 8, 2011 -

Pink Friday – Nicki Minaj

ricky martin news music february 2011Musica + Alma + Sexo – Ricky Martin

Until We Have Faces – Red

Doo-Wops & Hooligans – Bruno Mars

Kidz Bop 19 – Kidz Bop Kids

Loud – Rihanna

My Kinda Party – Jason Aldean

Greatest Hits… So Far!!! – P!nk

Speak Now – Taylor Swift

Recovery – Eminem

Barton Hollow – The Civil Wars

Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons

Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

Live Forever: September 23 – Bob Marley And the Wailers

Best Night Of My Life – Jamie Foxx

2011 Grammy Nominees – Various

Love Letter – R. Kelly

My World 2.0 – Justin Bieber

The King Is Dead – The Decemberists

The Beginning – The Black Eyed Peas

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fame – Kanye West

Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

Brothers – The Black Keys

I Am Not A Human Being – Lil Wayne

Mission Bell – Amos Lee

Television News February 8, 2011 -

First Lady Michele Obama stops by the Regis and Kelly Show as part of her visit to New York marking the first anniversary of her Let's Move! Campaign to fight childhood obesity.

keith olberman new tv february 2011Keith Olberman lands a show on Current TV.

Miley Cyrus to host “Saturday Night Live” on March 5!

TV Listings/TV Guide - February 8, 2011 -

Tuesday night television 8 PM

ABC: 'No Ordinary Family'
NBC: 'The Biggest Loser'
FOX: 'Glee'
The CW: 'One Tree Hill'
PBS: 'Pioneers of Television'
MyTV: 'Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?' (two episodes)
HGTV: 'My First Place'


Cooking Channel: 'FoodCrafters'


ABC: 'V'
CBS: 'NCIS: Los Angeles'
FOX: 'Raising Hope'
The CW: 'Hellcats'
Lifetime: 'Seriously Funny Kids' (two episodes)
Food Network: 'Cupcake Wars'
Travel Channel: 'Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern'
History Channel: 'Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy'
BBC America: 'Ramsay's Best Restaurant'
Discovery: 'Dirty Jobs'
TLC: 'What Not To Wear'


FOX: 'Traffic Light' (series premiere)
Cooking Channel: 'United Tastes of America'


ABC: 'Detroit 1-8-7'
CBS: 'The Good Wife'
NBC: 'Parenthood'
TNT: 'Southland'
USA: 'White Collar'
FX: 'Lights Out'
Lifetime: 'One Born Every Minute'
Bravo: 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'
Comedy Central: 'Tosh.0'
BBC America: 'Cherry Goes Dating'
TLC: 'Fabulous Cakes'
MTV: 'Teen Mom 2'
Spike: '1000 Ways To Die'
WE: 'A Stand-Up Mother'
BET: 'The Game'


Comedy Central: 'Onion SportsDome'
Spike: 'Three Sheets'
BET: 'Let's Stay Together'

Late-Night Talk Shows


PBS: 'Charlie Rose': Bill Gates
TBS: 'Conan': Craig Ferguson, Kevin Hart and Red
Comedy Central: 'The Daily Show': T. Boone Pickens (repeat)
E!: 'Chelsea Lately': Minka Kelly
BET: 'The Mo'Nique Show': Tyler James Williams, Stephen Stafford, Khalil with Lil Twist


Comedy Central: 'The Colbert Report': Brian Greene (repeat)


ABC: 'Nightline': TBA
CBS: 'The Late Show With David Letterman': Adam Sandler, Chris Colfer, Ty Burrell and Gang of Four
NBC: 'The Tonight Show': Javier Bardem, Paula Abdul and Merle Haggard


ABC: 'Jimmy Kimmel Live': Matthew Perry, Morena Baccarin and Pitbull
PBS: 'Tavis Smiley': Helena Bonham Carter and Hailee Steinfeld
TBS: 'Lopez Tonight': Channing Tatum, Margaret Cho and 50 Cent


CBS: 'The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson': Emily Blunt and Dr. Kara Cooney
NBC: 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon': Kevin Nealon, Timothy Olyphant and Little Big Town


NBC: 'Last Call With Carson Daly': Thomas Lennon, Makeba Riddick and Jimmy Eat World

TV Ratings - February 8, 2011 -


Super Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Green Bay



Super Bowl Post Game



Glee" special



American Idol, Wednesday






American Idol, Thursday



NCIS: Los Angeles



The Mentalist



CSI: Crime Scene Investigation



The Big Bang Theory



The Good Wife



Blue Bloods



Two and a Half Men



Grey's Anatomy



Harry's Law



S--- My Dad Says






The Bachelor



Criminal Minds



Super Bowl Great Commercials


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