This Week in History – News, Pop Culture, Technology, Trends, Music. A complete look at the week of February 22, 2011.
Compiled By Gary West @ mrpopculture.com and www.mrpophistory.com
In The News
Four Murdered By Pirates – A pirate fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a U.S. Navy destroyer shadowing a hijacked yacht with four Americans. Then gunfire erupted, the military said. U.S. special forces rushed to the yacht only to find the four Americans fatally wounded. The experienced yacht enthusiasts from California and Washington are the first Americans killed by Somali pirates since the start of attacks off East Africa several years ago. One of the American couples on board had been sailing around the world since 2004 handing out Bibles. Their deaths appear to underscore an increasingly brutal and aggressive shift pirates have been showing toward hostages.
Deadly New Zealand Earthquake – Search teams using dogs, heavy cranes and earth movers worked through dawn Wednesday in one of New Zealand’s largest cities, trying frantically to find survivors amid the crumbled concrete, twisted metal and huge mounds of brick left by a powerful earthquake. But they fear that the death toll — at least 148 — and about 50 are still missing, ranking the disaster among the island nation’s worst earthquakes in 80 years.
A defiant Moammar Gadhafi vowed to fight to his “last drop of blood” and roared at supporters to strike back against Libyan protesters to defend his embattled regime Tuesday, signaling an escalation of the crackdown that has thrown the capital into scenes of mayhem, wild shooting and bodies in the streets.
Militiamen loyal to Moammar Gadhafi clamped down in Tripoli, but cracks in his regime spread elsewhere across the nation, as the protest-fueled rebellion controlling much of eastern Libya claimed new gains closer to the capital. Two pilots let their warplane crash in the desert, parachuting to safety, rather than bomb an opposition-held city.
Border agents said Wednesday they arrested an unusually large group of illegal immigrants crossing through the western Arizona desert in what authorities said is proof that increased border technology is working. Border Patrol surveillance video operators Friday morning spotted a group of more than 100 people walking just north of the Mexico border about 15 miles west of Lukeville, Ariz., Agent Eric Cantu said. When agents responded, Cantu said they were able to arrest 22 people but the rest of the group scattered.
President Barack Obama ordered his administration on Wednesday to stop defending the constitutionality of a federal law that bans recognition of gay marriage, a policy reversal that could have major implications for the rights and benefits of gay couples and reignite an emotional debate for the 2012 presidential campaign.
Obama still is “grappling” with his personal views on whether gays should be allowed to marry but has long opposed the federal law as unnecessary and unfair, said spokesman Jay Carney.
General Motors posted fourth-quarter earnings slightly above expectations and its first full-year profit since 2004. Profit for all of 2010 was $4.7 billion, achieved after the company slashed costs and debt in a 2009 bankruptcy financed by the Obama administration.
Trend – Wisconsin and unions are big news – and a major trend is occurring – some 16 states (including Wisconsin) are going to war with unions. At issue in the U.S. are the collective-bargaining rights of unionized public employees. States facing budget shortfalls and high debt payments want to curtail workers’ collective-bargaining ability to in part gain flexibility in dealing with financial crises. Protesters in Wisconsin have found plenty of support and will be joined in solidarity Saturday by protests in every state capital. 16 states have proposed legislation similar to the bill cleared for vote last Wednesday by Wisconsin’s Republican legislators, which would strip public-sector union workers of the right to bargain collectively about any on-the-job issue besides wages.
Discovery, the world’s most traveled spaceship, thundered into orbit for the final time Thursday, heading toward the International Space Station on a journey that marks the beginning of the end of the shuttle era. The six astronauts on board, all experienced space fliers, were thrilled to be on their way after a delay of nearly four months for fuel tank repairs. But it puts Discovery on the cusp of retirement when it returns in 11 days and eventually heads to a museum. It was Discovery’s 39th launch and the 133rd shuttle mission overall.
Thousands marched on government buildings and clashed with security forces in cities across Iraq on Friday (Feb.25) in the largest and most violent anti-government protests here since political unrest began spreading in the Arab world several weeks ago. In two northern Iraqi cities, security forces trying to push back crowds opened fire, killing six demonstrators. In the capital of Baghdad, demonstrators knocked down blast walls, threw rocks and scuffled with club-wielding troops. The protests, billed as a “Day of Rage, were fueled by anger over corruption, chronic unemployment and shoddy public services.
Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly took the first significant action on their plan to strip collective bargaining rights from most public workers, abruptly passing the measure early Friday morning (Feb.25) before sleep-deprived Democrats realized what was happening. The vote ended three straight days of punishing debate in the Assembly. But the political standoff over the bill — and the monumental protests at the state Capitol against it — appear far from over. The Assembly’s vote sent the bill on to the Senate, but minority Democrats in that house have fled to Illinois to prevent a vote. No one knows when they will return from hiding. Republicans who control the chamber sent state troopers out looking for them at their homes on Thursday, but they turned up nothing.
Ratcheting up the pressure, President Barack Obama on Saturday said Moammar Gadhafi has lost his legitimacy to rule and urged the Libyan leader to leave power immediately.It was the first time Obama has called for Gadhafi to step down, coming after days of bloodshed in Libya. Gadhafi has vowed to fight to the end to maintain his four-decade grip on power in the North African country.
Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff said in a magazine interview published Sunday (Feb.27) that new regulatory reform enacted after the recent national financial crisis is laughable and that the federal government is a Ponzi scheme. “The whole new regulatory reform is a joke,” Madoff said during a telephone interview with New York magazine in which he discussed his disdain for the financial industry and for its regulators.
Passing – Frank Buckles, the last surviving U.S. veteran of World War I, has died. He was 110. Buckles, who also survived being a civilian POW in the Philippines in World War II, died peacefully of natural causes early Sunday at his home in Charles Town, biographer and family spokesman David DeJonge said in a statement. Buckles turned 110 on Feb. 1 and had been advocating for a national memorial honoring veterans of World War I in Washington, D.C.
International pressure on Moammar Gadhafi to end his crackdown on opponents escalated Monday as his loyalists closed in on rebel-held cities closest to the capital. The U.S. moved naval and air forces closer to Libya and said all options were open, including the use of warplanes to patrol the North African nation’s skies and protect Libyans threatened by their leader.
Meets with governors - In a concession over his divisive health care overhaul, President Barack Obama offered Monday to let unhappy states design alternative plans as long as they fulfill the goals of his landmark law. Addressing the nation’s governors, Obama also challenged state chiefs who have sought to balance their budgets through weakening unions and curbing employees’ benefits, telling them that they should not demonize workers.
Joe Torre is back in baseball as Major League Baseball’s executive vice president for baseball operations. The 70-year-old Torre will oversee major league operations, on-field discipline, umpiring and other areas. He’ll also be one of baseball’s representatives to general managers and field managers. Joe Torre won four World Series titles for the Yankees during a 29-year career as a manager. He retired after last season following three years with the Dodgers. He played parts of 18 seasons in the majors including a stint with the NY Mets.
Passing – Baseball Hall of Famer Duke Snider died Sunday morning at the Valle Vista Convalescent Hospital in Escondido, Calif.. He was 84. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1980 after an 18-year major league career in which he hit 407 home runs.
Radio News –
On his radio show Tuesday, Glenn Beck made what he has now called “one of the worst analogies of all time” when he compared Reform Judaism to Islamic Extremism. The reaction was swift, with the Anti-Defamation League saying the comments belied Beck’s “bigoted ignorance” Today, in a lengthy comment that opened his show, Beck said he agreed and that “ignorant” is a “perfect description for what [he] said.” Beck made the apology at the top of his show as he said it’s always important to lead with your mistakes so as to “guard your credibility.” He explained that he was speaking off of some information that he had heard (or misheard) from someone the day before, however the onus was entirely on him. “I’ve always told you to do your own homework,” he said. “And, in this case, I didn’t do enough homework.”
Lately, Google’s been taking heat for the suddenly nebulous quality and reliability of its search results. In response, the company reaffirmed its commitment to enhance its search mechanisms, and rolled out a handful of small and sutle changes. Yesterday, however, Google announced that it’s making a “big algorithmic change” — one that its users will actually be able to notice. The update, which reportedly affects 11.8-percent of all queries, is designed to prioritize high-quality results, while reducing rankings for low-quality sites. In other words, your Google searches will now turn up more original, in-depth results and less content-farm runoff.
Ipad2 to be released next week.”Come see what 2011 will be the year of.”
Entertainment news –
It’s reported that former homeless voice-over talent Ted Williams will begin shooting his own reality show in two weeks: “Second Chances At Life.”
A judge told Lindsay Lohan on Wednesday he would sentence her to jail if she accepted a plea deal from prosecutors to avoid trial for allegedly stealing a $2,500 necklace from an upscale jewelry store.
Marries – Kelsey Grammer, 56, wed girlfriend Kayte Walsh Friday at NYC’s Longacre Theater. Grammer and British flight attendant Walsh, 29, exchanged vows on the stage — covered with white candles — where the actor just wrapped his Tony-nominated run in the Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles.
83rd Annual Academy Awards (held Sunday night Feb.28)… some winners…
1. Best Picture: “The King’s Speech.”
2. Actor: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech.”
3. Actress: Natalie Portman, “Black Swan.”
4. Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, “The Fighter.”
5. Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter.”
6. Directing: Tom Hooper, “The King’s Speech.”
7. Foreign Language Film: “In a Better World,” Denmark.
8. Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network.”
9. Original Screenplay: David Seidler, “The King’s Speech.”
10. Animated Feature Film: “Toy Story 3.”
11. Original Score: “The Social Network,” Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
12. Original Song: “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3,” Randy Newman
Television News –
“American Idol” contestants are in Las Vegas for “Beatles” night! This week!
Oprah Winfrey says she feels “terrific” about the end of her daytime show and the future of her new cable network, OWN. “We’re building, night by night by night. What everyone told me about the cable business is the way you do cable is you start with a couple of shows, people are used to repeats,” Winfrey told The Hollywood Reporter. “Oprah viewers were not!”
Larry King – The King of Comedy? – The veteran TV interviewer, who left his “Larry King Live” CNN show after 25 years in December, is launching a series of one man comedy shows in April about his life and work called “Larry King: Standing Up,” producers said on Tuesday. King, 77, will give fans “a hilarious and insightful look” at his life both behind and in front of the cameras. The one-night-only shows will cover his life growing up as a street-smart kid in Brooklyn to tales from his career as the man who interviewed presidents, generals and celebrities.
American Idol will offer online voting for the first time, Fox announced Thursday. Online voting begins immediately after the first performance show on Tuesday. Fans will be required to log in through their Facebook accounts to access the voting page and can cast up to 50 online votes for that evening’s performances.
American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez cries, “I Don’t Want To Do This Anymore” after sending Chris Medina, a fan-favorite contestant – packing. AI is down to the top 24 contestants.
Just hours after Charlie Sheen went on a radio rampage, blasting his bosses at the television show, CBS issued a statement on behalf of the network and “…Men’s” production company, announcing they were pulling the show from production of new episodes. “Based on the totality of Charlie Sheen’s statements, conduct and condition, CBS and Warner Bros. Television have decided to discontinue production of ‘Two and a Half Men’ for the remainder of the season,” CBS said in a statement late Thursday night. Sheen called into a nationally syndicated radio show on Thursday and unleashed a shocking rant in which he attacked Alcoholics Anonymous and his hit CBS show. “I was told if I went on the attack, they would cancel the show and all that and so I’m just sort of seeing if they’re telling the truth or not,” Charlie claimed to host Alex Jones in an interview for his radio show, “The Alex Jones Show,” on Thursday, referring to his CBS bosses.
Music news –
Diana Ross will deliver her first television performance in four years when she’s a guest on Oprah later this month. The former Supremes singer will perform her hit “I’m Coming Out,” and sit down with the talk-show host for her first interview with all of her five children and her grandson on the Feb. 25 episode.
Lady Gaga first conquered Twitter – nabbing more followers than anyone else – and now the singer has broken a record on iTunes. The singer’s first single off her new album, “Born This Way,” has become the fastest-selling single ever on the popular music download service, selling more than one million downloads in just five days, Apple announced.
Lady Gaga returned to New York City on Monday night wowing a sold-out Madison Square Garden full of Little Monsters! “New York City, did you guys come to party tonight?” she asked fans after making her entrance. “The Monster Ball will set you free.” The Grammy-winning singer taped the first of two concerts, which will be used for her upcoming HBO special on May 7. “My name is Lady Gaga, and I was born and raised in the unbreakable streets of New York City,” she reportedly told the crowd. “Thank you so much. Tonight, I want you to forget all of your insecurities because I didn’t used to be brave but you have made me brave, Little Monsters.”
Justin Bieber has a 17th birthday coming up (March 1)- and he’s as hot as ever. His movie, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, has grossed $51,237,000 in its first two weekends; he’s on the cover of the current issue of Rolling Stone; and now his hit EP Never Say Never: The Remixes enters The Billboard 200 (album charts) at #1. It’s Bieber’s second #1 album, following last year’s My World 2.0. Only three other artists in chart history have landed a pair of #1 albums before their 17th birthdays. Miley Cyrus had her second #1 album (counting Hannah Montana) when she was 14 and seven months. LeAnn secured her second when she was 15. Nick Jonas of Jonas Brothers had his second when he was 16 and nine months. All four of Bieber’s albums are listed in the top 40 this week. My World 2.0 drops from #3 to #8. My Worlds Acoustic drops from #10 to #18. My World jumps from #39 to #31. Billboard’s Keith Caulfield reports that Bieber is the first artist to put four albums in the top 40 simultaneously since Garth Brooks in January 1993.
Eminem might have lost out on his bid for the Grammy’s Album of the Year, but that hasn’t weakened his following one bit. The rapper continued his recent siege on social networks and digital media by officially overtaking Lady Gaga as the most “liked” artist on Facebook. With over 28,883,000 “likes” at press time, Eminem has narrowly surpassed Lady Gaga’s “like” tally of 28,872,000, and with Em averaging over a half-million “likes” a week according to FameCount, the rapper will only widen the gap between himself and Gaga.
Music Industry At A Glance… In the U.S., music sales peaked in 1999 at about $14.6 billion (at list prices). In 2009, sales were at $7.78 billion, 53% of the peak. But if you account for inflation, sales are only at 40% of the peak. 2010 numbers haven’t been released yet, but my bet is that they come in at about $6.5 billion. Several CDs recently made #1 on the Billboard charts by selling the least amount of albums in a week ever necessary to make the top position. Although there are many reasons why music sales have deteriorated (fragmentation of the market, aging of baby boomers, piracy, lack of radio support, competition for free time, the economy, labels run by accountants instead of music people, etc.), the biggest is that the move to virtual media has also meant a move away from the album and back to the single. The single worked in the 1950′s and early 60′s because artists used to go into a studio and record three tracks in a few hours. But today, when the big artists fool around for a year and record, mix and master with different engineers and frequently different producers in different studios, the economics simply don’t work.
Passing – Suze Rotolo, Bob Dylan’s longtime girlfriend during his fledgling days as a Greenwich Village folk singer and the woman who appears alongside him on the famous cover of “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan,” – at her home in Manhattan following a long illness, Rolling Stone reports. Rotolo was 67. In addition to forever being captured on the Don Hunstein-photographed “Freewheelin’ ” cover, Rotolo’s three-year relationship with Dylan, from 1961 to 1964, also inspired him to write three of his early love songs, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” “Tomorrow is a Long Time,” and “Boots of Spanish Leather
Top albums this week in 2011 –
Never Say Never: The Remixes – Justin Bieber
Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons
Doo-Wops & Hooigans – Bruno Mars
Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
Recovery – Eminem
Loud – Rihanna
2011 Grammy Nominees
My World 2.0 – Justin Bieber
The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
Pink Friday – Nicki Minaj
Greatest Hits… So Far!!! – P!nk
The People’s Key – Bright Eyes
My Kinda Party – Jason Aldean
My Worlds Acoustic – Justin Bieber
Aftermath – Hillsong United
Love Letter – R. Kelly
Lungs – Florence + The Machine
The Lady Killer – Cee Lo Green
You Get What You Give – Zac Brown Band
The Fame – Lady Gaga
Brothers – The Black Keys
I Am Not A Human Being – Lil Wayne
Revolution – Miranda Lambert
Top movies this week –
Hall Pass (1st week – $13.5 million)
Gnomeo & Juliet
I Am Number Four
Just Go With It
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never: The Director’s Fan Cut
Big Momas: Like Father, Like Son
The King’s Speech
Drive Angry 3D (1st week $5.1million)
Hip Monday night television (TV Squad)
ABC: ‘The Bachelor’
CBS: ‘How I Met Your Mother’
The CW: ’90210′
PBS: ‘Antiques Roadshow’
Disney XD: ‘Zeke and Luther’
Cartoon Network: ‘MAD’
CBS: ‘Mad Love’
Food Network: ‘Kid in a Candy Store’
Cartoon Network: ‘Regular Show’
NBC: ‘The Cape’
FOX: ‘The Chicago Code’
The CW: ‘Gossip Girl’
PBS: ‘American Experience’
ABC Family: ‘Greek’
USA: ‘WWE Monday Night RAW’
Syfy: ‘Being Human’
ESPN2: ’2011 BNP Paribas Showdown: Pete Sampras vs. Andre Agassi’
Food Network: ‘Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives’
Travel Channel: ‘Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations’ (season premiere)
BBC America: ‘Top Gear’
TLC: ‘Cake Boss’
Biography: ‘Shatner’s Raw Nerve’ (two episodes)
Oxygen: ‘The Bad Girls Club: Flo Gets Married’
CBS: ‘Mike & Molly’
TLC: ‘Outrageous Kid Parties’
NBC: ‘Harry’s Law’
TLC: ’19 Kids and Counting’
Bravo: ‘Bethenny Ever After’
E!: ‘Fashion Police’
Late-Night Talk Shows
PBS: ‘Charlie Rose’: Mike Huckabee and Nassim Nicholas Taleb
TBS: ‘Conan’: Marisa Tomei, Harland Williams, and Fritz & the Tantrums
Comedy Central: ‘The Daily Show’: Howard Stern
E!: ‘Chelsea Lately’: Adele
BET: ‘The Mo’Nique Show’: Delroy Lindo, Coco Crisp and Kandi Burress
Comedy Central: ‘The Colbert Report’: Michael Scheur
ABC: ‘Nightline’: TBA
CBS: ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’: Brian Williams, Trey Parker, Matt Stone and the Zac Brown Band
NBC: ‘The Tonight Show’: Christina Applegate, John Fulton and Michael Fulton
ABC: ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live: Bill Maher and Esperanza Spalding
PBS: ‘Tavis Smiley’: Charles Ferguson
TBS: ‘Lopez Tonight’: Owen Wilson, Aly Michalka and Terry Fator
CBS: ‘The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson’: Isaac Mizrahi and Patton Oswalt
NBC: ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’: Topher Grace, Jim Gaffigan and Glasser
NBC: ‘Last Call With Carson Daly’: Nate Corddry, Troupe Vertigo and Off (repeat)