Dateline: Week Of March 1, 2012 In News, Pop Culture, Tech News & Fascinating Facts
In The News -
In a win for Democrats, the Senate voted Thursday to table an amendment permitting employers and insurers to opt out of provisions in President Obama's health care proposal on moral or religious grounds. The Senate voted 51-48 to kill the amendment, which was offered by Senate Republican Minority Leader Roy Blunt of Missouri as an add-on to the transportation funding bill. Blunt and fellow Republicans cast the amendment as a fight to protect First Amendment rights (which include the freedom of religion.) Prior to the vote, Blunt argued that the language should be deemed noncontroversial by his colleagues, stating on the Senate floor that every member of the Senate, barring some of the most recently elected members, "have voted for bills that have this language in them."
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., says he and his investigators have evidence that President Obama's birth certificate is a forgery. He also raised questions about the authenticity of Obama's selective service registration, though critics quickly accused him of pandering for votes. "We believe probable cause exists indicating that forgery and fraud may have been committed, not only in President Obama's long-form birth certificate, but more disturbing evidence suggests that another fraud may have been committed regarding his selected service registration card," Arpaio, 79, said at a press conference. "Based on all of the evidence presented and investigated I cannot in good faith report to you that these documents are authentic.
Passing - Andrew Breitbart, the outspoken conservative writer, activist and website operator, has died unexpectedly in Los Angeles, where he lived with a wife and four young children. He was 43. Breitbart used the Internet to ignite political scandal and expose what he saw as media bias, even if he sometimes had to edit the facts to do it. In a new media age, he argued that anyone with a laptop could reshape public discourse, and his takedown of Weiner established him as a conservative media hero. He relished public combat with liberals — a YouTube clip last month shows him bellowing at Occupy Wall Street protesters, "Stop raping people, you freaks!" Yet conservatives and tea party activists who loved him saw a crusader against corrupt politicians and what he called the hopelessly liberal "old media guard."
A presidential election expected to return Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin produced reports of widespread violations Sunday, including "carousel voting" in which busloads of voters are driven around to cast ballots multiple times. Putin, who was president in 2000-2008, is all but certain to easily defeat his four challengers. But if credible evidence of vote manipulation emerges, it would call into question the legitimacy of his win and bolster the determination of opposition forces to continue the unprecedented wave of protests that arose in December.
The ratings agency Moody's downgraded Greece to the lowest rating on its bond scale late Friday, following a deal with private investors that would see them ultimately lose an estimated 70 percent of their holdings in Greek debt. Moody's lowered Greece's sovereign rating to C from Ca, arguing that the risk of default remains high even a bond-swap deal with banks and other private investors, due to be completed this month, is successful. It said it would "re-assess the credit risk profile" after Greece issues the new bonds.
Hundreds of people stood shoulder to shoulder along the street on a cold, windy Saturday morning to honor one of three teenagers killed in a high school shooting. The service in Chardon for 16-year-old Daniel Parmertor is the first of the three funerals. Services for 16-year-old Demetrius Hewlinand 17-year-old Russell King Jr. will be held next week. Parmertor's family said they planned to bury him with his first paycheck — still unopened — from his new job at a bowling alley, The Plain Dealer reports.
Excessive Speculation in the oil futures market may be costing you 15 percent or more at the gas pump and playing a "significant" role in rising gasoline prices, according to a joint letter from 68 members of Congress that ABC News has obtained. The joint letter, which cites a recently updated report by the St. Louis Federal Reserve titled "Speculation in the Oil Market," urges immediate action by the Commodity Futures Trading Commissionto install caps on the biggest traders on Wall Street, preventing them from controlling unusually large positions in the oil futures trading market.
Tuesday - The Dow tanked at the beginning of the day and continued sliding downward, closing at 12,759, a drop of more than 200 points. "It's more based on what's going on globally," wealth strategist Mark Martiak told the press. The drop did happen just after China announced that it was lowering its growth forecast significantly, partially because of the ongoing financial unrest in Greece and the rest of Europe.
Nearly a year after the magnitude-9.0 quake that pummeled Japan, construction of the world's tallest tower, the Tokyo Sky Tree, is now complete. Builder Obayashi, which recently announced plans for a , declared the Sky Tree complete ahead of a ceremony . While the world's tallest man-made structure remains the Burj Khalifa in Dubai at 829 meters (2,720 feet), the Sky Tree tops the list of the at 634 meters (2,080 feet). It's 34 meters taller than the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China, and nearly twice the height of its predecessor, Tokyo Tower (333 meters). Operated by Tobu Railways and a consortium of media companies, the Sky Tree will serve as a digital terrestrial broadcasting center for Tokyo and the surrounding Kanto region.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday bluntly accused Republican White House hopefuls of recklessly "beating the drums of war" against Iran for political gain while ignoring the potential human costs of such a conflict. "Some of these folks have a lot of bluster and a lot of big talk," he said scornfully at his first White House press conference of 2012, but "those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities. They're not commander in chief." "The one thing that we have not done is: We haven't launched a war. If some of these folks think that it's time to launch a war, they should say so. And they should explain to the American people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be," he said. "Everything else is just talk."
Super Tuesday Results - Republicans in 10 states weighed in on the GOP presidential nomination race in its busiest day yet. Mitt Romney won six states, Rick Santorum clinched three and Newt Gingrich prevailed in one. And along the way, clues were gleaned from the results about the path ahead.
Fascinating Facts March 1, 2012 -
Sharon Simmons, a 55-year-old grandmother, is as slim and toned as a woman half her age, and she's preparing to go head-to-head with women even younger when she auditions to become a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader in May. "I don't see a number," she said, regarding her age. "If I do, it's just a number. It's not that I can't keep up with [younger women] in the physical part of the training."
A wealthy New York woman is facing criminal charges after being accused of keeping an illegal immigrant as an indentured servant and forcing her to live in a closet for nearly six years. Documents posted on the Smoking Gun allege that Annie George, 39, and her now-deceased husband, Mathai Kolath George, hired an illegal immigrant from the Indian state of Kerala. The immigrant, identified only as "V.M.," was promised about $1,000 a month in wages to live in the family's 34-room, 30,000-square-foot home, known as Llenroc mansion, which houses a helicopter pad, 15 fireplaces, marble flooring, 24-karat gold gilded ceilings and a glass elevator. V.M. was tasked with taking care of the Georges' four young children, along with performing household duties in the mansion located about 20 miles north of Albany.
The photographer who took the iconic picture of John F. Kennedy Jr. saluting his father's coffin during the slain president's 1963 funeral has died. Stan Stearns, 76, died Friday at a hospice in Harwood, Md. His son, Jay Stearns, said the cause was cancer. Stearns was assigned to cover John F. Kennedy's funeral on Nov. 25, 1963, as a photographer for United Press International. He would later describe standing outside the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington and being squeezed into a roped off area with 70 other photographers.
January ranked as the fourth-warmest for the 48 U.S. states on record since 1895. December, too, was above average, although not as significantly. The final analysis for February is not yet in, but weather watchers expect last month to rank above average temperature-wise as well.
Radio News –
Ever eager to provoke, Rush Limbaugh has now succeeded into drawing the White House into a skirmish. The spark: Limbaugh telling his talk show fans that a law student was a "slut" for her testimony to Congress about the need for birth control coverage. On Friday, two days after Limbaugh's tirade, President Barack Obama called student Sandra Fluke to commend her willingness to speak out and share her dismay over the slur. The White House termed Limbaugh's remarks "reprehensible," and the criticism was echoed by Democratic members of Congress, women's groups, and the administration and faculty at Georgetown University, the Roman Catholic school in Washington that Fluke attends.
Rush In Trouble With Sponsors - Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh apologized Saturday to a Georgetown University law student he had branded a "slut" and "prostitute" after fellow Republicans as well as Democrats criticized him and seven advertisers left his program. "My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir," Limbaugh said on his website. "I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices." Why the apology? – At least seven sponsors pulled their ads fromLimbaugh’s show:
ProFlowers said Sunday on its Facebook page that it has suspended advertising on Limbaugh's program because his comments about Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke "went beyond political discourse to a personal attack and do not reflect our values as a company."
Talk show host Rush Limbaugh sought to reassure listeners Wednesday after the tally of local and national companies that have pulled their advertisements from his time slot topped 40, insisting that the show will go on and that the program is not losing revenue from the exodus. At last count, 42 advertisers, two radio stations and two musicians have closed the door on Limbaugh following incendiary comments he made last week about a Georgetown law student who testified before Congress in favor of having birth control covered under insurance plans. Despite the apology, which Fluke said she did not think "changes anything," customers and listeners have taken to social media to inundate advertisers, stations and sponsors of Limbaugh's show with calls to boycott Limbaugh.
Limbaugh told his listeners today that "everything's cool," noting that many of the advertisers that have yanked their support are local and thus have little if any impact on the show's revenues. "Nobody is losing money here, including us, in all this," Limbaugh said on his radio show Wednesday. "[The advertisers] are not canceling the business on our stations. They're just saying they don't want their spots to appear in my show. We don't get any revenue from 'em anyway. The whole effort is to dispirit you."
Passing – Legendary radio programmer/manager Steve Rivers. . RIVERS had an amazing career, and had programmed such iconic stations as WAPE/JACKSONVILLE, KOPA/PHOENIX, KMEL/SAN FRANCISCO, WZOU, and WXKS/BOSTON, KIIS-FM/LOS ANGELES, and KBKS/SEATTLE, which was his last programming assignment. He'd also held corporate posts as CBS RADIO VP/Programming, RADIO CENTRAL Sr. VP/Founding Partner, AM/FM Chief Programming Officer, as well as heading up programming efforts for CHANCELLOR MEDIA, EVERGREEN MEDIA, and PYRAMID BROADCASTING under RICHIE BALSBAUGH.
Technology News March 1, 2012 – Old Twitter Tweets Being Sold To Marketers - Twitter has decided to make it easier for these companies to mine billions of messages for valuable marketing data. The company will open its archives and sell its old tweets.One of Twitter's new customers, DataSift, has formed an alliance with the social network to get access to tweets going back to January 2010. "Twitter has really become an incredibly valuable information source," said Rob Bailey, DataSift's CEO. "There are a flood of companies wanting to get more use from it."
YELP - San Francisco-based a ratings and reviews site, priced its IPO late Thursday at $15 per share. Shares jumped to $24.50 in mid-morning trading, valuing Yelp at $1.46 billion. Yelp sold 7.1 million shares in the offering on the New York Stock Exchange, so the company will raise about $106.5 million in the IPO.
YouTube Trend – Kids posting Youtube videos asking – ?Am I pretty, Am I ugly?” mostly by young girls.
Michael Jackson's entire back catalogue, including an unreleased collaboration with Will.I.AM, has been stolen by hackers. The Sony Music archive has been infiltrated by cyber-crooks, who have illegally downloaded more than 50,000 digital files. Record company bosses paid $250 million (£156 million) to Jackson's estate in 2010 for the catalogue, including unheard material from studio sessions when the superstar recorded Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad. A source tells Britain's Sunday Times, "Everything Sony purchased from the Michael Jackson estate was compromised. "It caused them to check their systems and they found the breach. There was a degree of sophistication. Sony identified the weakness and plugged the gap."
Sports News March 1, 2012 -
A tearful Peyton Manning announced the end of his 14-year career with the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, but said he plans to be playing in the NFL again. In a press conference with Colts owner Jim Irsay, the four-time NFL Most Valuable Player said circumstances had brought his time with the Colts to an end, despite both the wishes of him and Irsay that things could have worked out differently. “It wasn’t his decision. It wasn’t my decision. Circumstances kind of dictated it,” Manning said.
Entertainment News March 1, 2012 -
In light of Whitney Houston's death, a greeting card that poked fun at the late singer is not so funny anymore - at least according to Target. The greeting card, which mocked Houston's tumultuous relationship with ex-husband Bobby Brown, was recently pulled from Target stores. "Next time you think of dating the bad boy, consider Whitney Houston. That's all I'm going to say." A Target said that the card was available in stores before Houston's Feb. 11 death and has since been pulled from store shelves.
Oprah Winfrey has landed the first sitdown interview with Bobbi Kristina Brown since the passing of her mother, Whitney Houston. Bobbi Kristina will be joined by Whitney's sister-in-law/managerPatricia Houston and brother Gary Houston in the interview, which will air as a special episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter" on March 11. In the special, Oprah will speak with those closest to the superstar singer, as Bobbi Kristina, 18, shares personal memories of her mom and how she would like her to be remembered. The family will also address rumors and speculation surrounding the singer's death. Catch the interview on Sunday, March 11 at 9 PM on OWN.
American Idol Down To 13 - Smooth 21-year-old pawn shop worker Phillip Phillips of Leesburg, Ga., quirky 22-year-old nonprofit organizer Heejun Han of New York, and spunky 18-year-old country crooner Skylar Laine, from Brandon, Miss., were among the finalists revealed Thursday on the Fox singing contest. They and seven others received the most viewer votes after the 13 male semifinalists performed Tuesday and the 12 female semifinalists sang Wednesday.
Top Pop Hits March 1, 2012 -
Set Fire To The Rain – Adele
Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
We Are Young – fun. Fea. Janelle Monae
Part of Me – Katy Perry
Glad You Came – The Wanted
Turn Me On – David Guetta fea. Nicki Minaj
Good Feeling – Flo Rida
Young, Wild & Free – Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa fea. Brumo Mars
Starships – Nicki Minaj
We Found Love – Rihanna fea. Calvin Harris
So Good – B.o.B.
Sexy and I Know It – LMFAO
International Love – Pitubull fea. Chris Brown
Domino – Jessie J
Take Care – Drake fea. Rihanna
Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye Fea. Kimbra
Rack City – Tyga
The Motto – Drake fea. Lil Wayne
It Will Rain –Bruno Mars
Ass Back Home – Gym Class Heroes fea. Neon Hitch
Rolling In The Deep – Adele
Good Girl – Carrie Underwood
Top Movies March 1, 2012 -
Dr Seuss’ The Lorax (1st week $70.2 million)
Project X (1st week $21.1 million)
Act of Valor
Tyler Perry’s Good Deeds
Journey 2: The Msterious Island 3D
This Means War
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance 3D
Top Video Games March 1, 2012 -
X360 - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
PSV – Uncharted: Golden Abyss
PS3 – Twisted Meta
X360 UFC Undisputed 3
PS3 – Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3
Wii - Just Dance 3
PS3 - Asura’s Wrath
PS3 - UFC Undisputed 3
X360- Kinect Adventures!
Wii – Zumba Fitness
Top TV Shows March 1, 2012 -
1.Grammy AwardsCBS2.NCISCBS3.American Idol" (Wednesday)FOX4.American Idol" (Thursday)FOX5.The VoiceNBC6.NCIS: Los AngelesCBS7.The Big Bang TheoryCBS8.Person of InterestCBS9.The MentalistCBS10.60 MinutesCBS11.Criminal MindsCBS12.Two and a Half MenCBS13.Modern FamilyABC14.UnforgettableCBS15.Blue BloodsCBS16.2 Broke GirlsCBS17.SmashNBC18.Mike & MollyCBS19.CSI: Crime Scene InvestigationCBS20.RobCBS.