This Week In History. Week Of March 8, 2011 In News, Pop Culture, Tech, Trends, Music, TV Guide & More.

This Week In Pop & News History. A Complete Look At The Week Of March 8, 2011.

Compiled By Gary West @ mrpopculture.com and  www.mrpophistory.com

In The News –

Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi hammered rebels with rocket barrages and airstrikes Tuesday, trying to check their advance out of the opposition-held east of Libya toward the capital Tripoli. At least 26 were wounded, some of them seriously. On another front, government forces were reportedly battering down resistance in the closest rebel-held city to Tripoli, Zawiya. A government official claimed Gadhafi loyalists had recaptured the city, but some residents reported that rebels still held the city’s main square amid a heavy barrage of residential areas. The city was sealed off and phone lines have been cut, making it impossible to verify the account.

America’s population center is edging away from the Midwest, pulled by Hispanic growth in the Southwest, according to census figures. The historic shift is changing the nation’s politics and even the traditional notion of the country’s heartland — long the symbol of mainstream American beliefs and culture. The West is now home to the four fastest-growing states — Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Idaho — and has surpassed the Midwest in population, according to 2010 figures. California and Texas added to the southwestern population tilt, making up more than one-fourth of the nation’s total gains since 2000.

A suicide bomber struck a funeral attended by anti-Taliban militiamen in northwestern Pakistan on Wednesday, killing at least 36 mourners and wounding more than 100 in the deadliest militant attack in the country this year. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility. The blast near the city of Peshawar was not far from the tribally administered regions bordering Afghanistan where militants are at their strongest. The area struck is home to several tribal armies that battle the Pakistani branches of the Taliban with the government’s encouragement.

Forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi struck an oil pipeline and oil storage facility Wednesday as they pounded rebels with artillery and gunfire in at least two major cities, killing four people, officials said. Gadhafi appeared to be keeping up the momentum he has seized in recent days in his fight against rebels trying to move on the capital, Tripoli, from territory they hold in eastern Libya.

Space shuttle Discovery zoomed back to Earth for the last time Wednesday to wrap up a long flying career. The world’s most-traveled spaceship was due to return to Earth — for the last time ever — three minutes before noon. The crew of six fired the braking rockets in late morning, putting Discovery on track for a Florida touchdown. It was Discovery’s final fiery ride through the atmosphere. NASA’s oldest shuttle has flown 39 missions over nearly 27 years. It’s being retired after this voyage

Illinois abolished the death penalty Wednesday (March 9) more than a decade after the state imposed a moratorium on executions out of concern that innocent people could be put to death by a justice system that had wrongly condemned 13 men.

Gov. Pat Quinn also commuted the sentences of all 15 inmates remaining on death row. They will now serve life in prison with no hope of parole. State lawmakers voted in January to abandon capital punishment, and Quinn spent two months reflecting on the issue, speaking with prosecutors, crime victims’ families, death penalty opponents and religious leaders. He called it the “most difficult decision” he has made as governor.

It could take a week — and the smell could get pretty bad — before crews manage to scoop and vacuum up tons of dead sardines from a Southern California marina. Net-wielding crews in rowboats and firefighting vessels began work Wednesday, hoping to remove the estimated one million fish before they rot and possibly poison remaining sea life in the harbor. The cleanup came after the enormous school of sardines apparently suffocated in the confines of King Harbor, possibly while seeking shelter from a predator or simply becoming lost near a breakwater late Monday.

Oil prices tumbled 3 percent Thursday, as economists warned that the recent surge in fuel prices will eventually hurt the fragile economic recovery. So far fuel prices haven’t slowed consumption, but economist Michael Lynch said drivers and businesses may start cutting back, if oil remains above the $100 per barrel level. The jump in oil has already pushed the average price of gasoline up by 46 cents a gallon this year, just as some workers who were laid off during the recession return to a daily commute.

Bulletin – (Friday March11) A massive earthquakes strikes about 80 miles off the Northeast coast of Japan. The magnitude-8.9 offshore quake unleashed a 23-foot (seven-meter) tsunami and was followed for hours by more than 50 aftershocks, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0. A tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes on record slammed Japan’s eastern coast Friday, killing hundreds of people as it swept away ships, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control. Hours later, the tsunami hit Hawaii but did not cause major damage. Warnings blanketed the Pacific, putting areas on alert as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West coast. In northeastern Japan, the area around a nuclear power plant was evacuated after the reactor’s cooling system failed. “The earthquake has caused major damage in broad areas in northern Japan,” Prime Minister Naoto Kan said at a news conference.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker succeeded Friday in taking away nearly all collective bargaining rights from the vast majority of the state’s public employees, quietly capping weeks of contentious debate and delivering an epic defeat to the labor movement with a private bill signing. The bill forces state workers to pay more for their pensions and health care benefits, which is estimated to save Wisconsin $30 million to help pay down a $137 million budget shortfall projected by July 1. The higher payments for state workers will take effect over the coming weeks.

Shoppers snapped up new cars, clothing and electronics in February, pushing retail sales up for the eighth straight month. Retail sales rose 1 percent last month, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Part of the gain reflected higher prices for gasoline. Still, excluding sales at gas stations, retail sales rose a solid 0.9 percent

A tour bus returning from a casino at daybreak scraped along an interstate guard rail, tipped on its side and slammed into a pole that sheared it nearly end to end, leaving a jumble of bodies and twisted metal along Interstate 95. Fourteen passengers were killed. The bus had just reached the outskirts of New York City on a journey from the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut when the crash happened. The driver told police he lost control trying to avoid a swerving tractor-trailer. As many as 20 passengers were treated at area hospitals. Seven were in critical condition, according to police. Several were in surgery later in the day. The crash happened at 5:35 a.m., with some of the 31 passengers still asleep. The bus scraped along the guard rail for 300 feet, toppled and crashed into the support pole for a highway sign indicating the exit for the Hutchinson Parkway.

Tokyo’s usually bustling central districts were deserted on Saturday after the country’s worst earthquake and a tsunami devastated the north of the country, and the few in bars and restaurants were glued to television coverage of the disaster. An explosion at a nuclear power plant near the earthquake zone and news of a radiation leak caused the most worry, but thousands also swamped the Internet to tell loved ones they were safe after phone lines went down. At least 1,700 people were killed or missing, media said, and thousands of homes were flattened as a huge deluge of sea water swept inland in the north of Japan after the quake, engulfing roads, farmland and villages.

The world moved a step closer to a decision on imposing a no-fly zone over Libya but Moammar Gadhafi was swiftly advancing Saturday on the poorly equipped and loosely organized rebels who have seized much of the country. Gadhafi’s forces pushed the front line miles deeper into rebel territory and violence erupted at the front door of the opposition stronghold in eastern Libya, where an Al-Jazeera cameraman slain in an ambush became the first journalist killed in the nearly monthlong conflict. In Cairo, the Arab League asked the U.N. Security Council to impose a no-fly zone to protect the rebels, increasing pressure on the U.S. and other Western powers to take action that most have expressed deep reservations about.

The estimated death toll from Japan’s disasters climbed past 10,000 Sunday as authorities raced to combat the threat of multiple nuclear reactor meltdowns and hundreds of thousands of people struggled to find food and water. The prime minister said it was the nation’s worst crisis since World War II.

Nuclear plant operators worked frantically to try to keep temperatures down in several reactors crippled by the earthquake and tsunami, wrecking at least two by dumping sea water into them in last-ditch efforts to avoid meltdowns. Officials warned of a second explosion but said it would not pose a health threat.

Moammar Gadhafi’s forces swept rebel fighters out of a key oil town and into the desert Sunday with searing waves of artillery fire and airstrikes, extending their rapid advance on the poorly equipped and loosely organized fighters. The United States, meanwhile, was sending its top diplomat to make contact with Gadhafi opponents in Paris, as it and other world powers considered trying to ground his air force with a no-fly zone that carries many of its own risks.

Passing – Owsley “Bear” Stanley, a 1960s counterculture icon and prolific LSD producer who worked with The Grateful Dead, has died. He was 76. Stanley died Saturday after a car he was driving swerved off a highway and hit trees down an embanked near Mareeba in Queensland, Australia.His wife, Sheila, was treated for minor injuries from the crash. One of the pioneers of California’s drug culture, Stanley produced an estimated pound of pure LSD, or roughly 5 million “trips” of normal potency of the hallucinogenic drug in the mid-1960s while at the University of California at Berkeley.

Technology –

Crisis mappers wasted no time responding: In under 2.5 hours Google launched its person finder app, which was also used when New Zealand’s 6.3 quake struck last month, and a local developer in Tokyo, Shu Sigashi, a member of the OpenStreetMap Foundation in Japan, quickly put up a localized Ushahidi crisis platform. Crisis mapping’s reach only goes as far as it is utilized, so the key now is getting the word out that online tools are available to help report the missing. Google’s person finder app is already rapidly increasing in usage. Within a couple hours 2,000 reports had been logged. If you type in the name, “Yoshi,” in Google’s app, results come up that indicate whether people with that name have been reported as alive or missing.

The 2nd incarnation of the iPad — the gadget that’s become practically synonymous with tablet computing — goes on sale Friday. The first iPad debuted less than a year ago in April and surprised some analysts by becoming a runaway hit. The company sold 14.8 million iPads worldwide in the first nine months the device was available. Analysts forecast Apple will sell about 30 million tablets this year. The iPad 2 will be faster, lighter and include a gyroscope, a feature that will enhance gaming options. It will have front and rear-facing cameras designed for video chatting. Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the new tablet at the beginning of the month. “It’s an all-new design,” he said, adding the new iPad will be “dramatically faster” than its predecessor. Like the popular iPhone, the iPad 2 will include a gyroscope, a feature that will enhance gaming options. Changes to the processor that powers the device could also dramatically propel the iPad as a game-playing device. Jobs said the new iPad will have the same price structure as the current one — ranging from $499 to $829.

Facebook announced two new safety features Thursday in conjunction with a White House summit on bullying. A new reporting tool will let Facebook users, including teens and younger users, to privately report troubling content not just to the site itself but to parents, teachers and others in their support system. And an improved Safety Center, due out in the next few weeks, will provide educational videos, articles and other content created by bullying experts to help adults address the problem.

Radio news –

NPR chief executive Vivian Schiller resigned Wednesday, just one day after conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe released a video showing an NPR executive slamming Republicans and the Tea party movement during a hidden-camera sting operation. “The Board accepted Vivian’s resignation with understanding, genuine regret and great respect for her leadership of NPR these past two years,” said Dave Edwards, chairman of NPR’s Board of Directors, in a statement. Joyce Slocum, the network’s senior vice president of legal affairs and general counsel, will be appointed interim CEO.

Entertainment news –

Lady Gaga’s‘s deal to sell a special edition of her upcoming album at Target is now out of range. A representative for the singer said Wednesday the two sides “came to a mutual decision to end their overall exclusive partnership a few weeks ago.” Last month, it was announced that Target would be selling a deluxe edition of the album, to be released May 23, with bonus content. But gay advocates were concerned about the partnership, citing Target’s donations to a political candidate who was against gay marriage. Gaga told Billboard that her relationship with the retail giant was tied to their “reform,” supporting the gay community and making up for past “mistakes.”

British rock star Eric Clapton raised $2.15 million at a New York auction of 75 guitars and 55 amplifiers on Wednesday, more than triple the pre-sale expectations, auctioneers Bonhams said on Thursday.The proceeds from the sale at which every lot found a buyer will go to the 65-year-old guitar legend’s Crossroads Center drug and alcohol treatment facility in the Caribbean. The auction total without the buyer’s premium was around $1.8 million, and the sale also included instruments donated by Clapton’s musician friends Jeff Beck, J.J. Cale and Joe Bonamassa. Among the top lots was a 1948 Gibson L-5P, which had been expected to fetch $20-30,000 but raised $82,960. A 2005 Zemaitis S22BP 3S, estimated at $12-18,000, sold for $75,640. The top amp of the sale was a pair of 1997 Fender Twin Amps, estimated at $9-12,000, which sold for $42,700.

Footage of Lindsay Lohan trying on a necklace that a jewelry store later reported stolen is scheduled to be aired Tuesday. “Entertainment Tonight” promoted the video during a segment on Monday’s show. Lohan is seen smiling as she enters the Venice jewelry store Kamofie & Co. The store reported that Lohan took a $2,500 necklace without permission, and prosecutors have charged her with felony grand theft. The video’s release comes days before the “Mean Girls” star returns to court. On Thursday, her attorney is scheduled to tell a judge whether the actress will fight the case or take a plea bargain that carries a guaranteed jail sentence.

Popular sitcoms All That, Clarissa Explains It All, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, Rugrats, Rocketpower, Salute Your Shorts, The Amanda Show and Kenan & Kel will be added to a block of programming on TeenNick called “The ’90s Are All That!” Nickelodeon announced on Thursday. “There is an entire generation of young people who literally grew up on these great 1990s series,” TeenNick General Manager Keith Dawkins said. “TeenNick … is the perfect place to reconnect these shows to their original fans and introduce them to younger viewers for the very first time.”

Citing “irreconcilable differences,” Tony Danza has filed for divorce from Tracy, his wife of 24 years. The Who’s the Boss star, 60, and Tracy have two daughters: Katherine, 24, and Emily, 17.

Charlie Sheen says his dismissal from “Two and a Half Man” was “unconscionable.” The 45-year-old actor lashed out at his former CBS and Warner Bros. Television bosses on his live Internet show, “Sheen’s Korner,” on Tuesday, the day after Warner Bros. said his services on “Two and a Half Men” had been terminated. At the beginning of his prepared remarks, which lasted about 10 minutes, Sheen added that he believes that Monday’s decision was also illegal.

Charlie Sheen is suing Warner Bros. Television and the executive producer of ‘Two and a Half Men’ for $100 million. The lawsuit filed Thursday alleges production was halted on the CBS sitcom to punish Sheen.

The criminal cases of Hollywood star Mel Gibson and his former girlfriend ended on Friday when a judge sentenced him to probation for hitting her and prosecutors declined to charge her with blackmail. Gibson, 55, pleaded no contest to a charge of domestic violence against Oksana Grigorieva, the mother of his baby daughter. He received three years’ probation, was ordered to spend one year in counseling, perform 16 hours of community service and pay fines and court costs. The stoic Gibson, dressed in a dark suit and open-collared shirt during a brief proceeding in a Los Angeles courtroom, received no jail time as part of his plea, which is the equivalent of admitting guilt under California law.

Charlie Sheen is hitting the road and taking his antics to the stage! The former “Two and a Half Men” star announced plans for “Charlie Sheen LIVE: My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not An Option Show.” The tour kicks off in Detroit on April 2 and continues in Chicago on April 3. Just two dates have been announced so far and tickets are scheduled to go on sale on Saturday. “I’m going on the road. LIVE. Will there be surprises? Will there be guests? Will there be mayhem? Will you ask questions? Will you laugh? Will you scream? Will you know the truth? WILL THERE BE MORE?!?!,” a description of the show reads on Ticketmaster’s website. “This IS where you will hear the REAL story from the Warlock. Bring it. I dare you to keep up with me.”

Richard Hatch  – The first Survivor winner, who is currently appearing on Celebrity Apprentice, was supposed to re-file his 2000 and 2001 taxes to pay what he owed, but failed to do so. Hatch will serve a nine-month sentence. “As far as I can tell, you’ve made no effort to put any money into the government’s coffers,” U.S. District Court Judge William Smith said. Hatch previously spent three years in prison after failing to pay taxes on the $1 million he won on Survivor. He was released in 2009.

Charlie Sheen says  tickets are gone for his pair of live appearances next month. The outspoken actor has tweeted: “Fastball; Detroit/Chicago sold out in minutes… Thanks to Sheen’s Cadre..!”

No details about the show have been disclosed, but it’s being billed as “Charlie Sheen Live: My Violent Torpedo of Truth.” Sheen spokesman Larry Solters confirmed Sunday the April 2 and 3 appearances are sold out. Sheen announced the show last week to his more than 2 million Twitter followers, calling it “the REAL story.”

Comic Gilbert Gottfried will no longer be the voice of the Aflac duck — effective immediately. The insurance company fired Gottfried, 56, on Monday after he made a slew of jokes via Twitter about the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.

Music news –

British singer and drummer Phil Collins has used his personal website to announce his retirement in a bid to clarify recent speculation over his career. In a post titled “Breaking News,” the London-born multiple Grammy award winner said he wanted to explain his reasons “for calling it a day” in response to articles claiming he was quitting the music business. “Many of the articles printed over the last few months have ended up painting a picture of me that is more than a little distorted,” Collins, 60, explained in the message posted Monday. He said he is stopping music so he can be a full time father to his two young sons “on a daily basis” – not because of bad reviews, bad press or because he doesn’t “feel loved.”

Former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr, who played on the band’s first two influential albums and was one of the last people to see singer Layne Staley alive, has been found dead in a Salt Lake City home. Starr, who was 44, was arrested earlier this month in Salt Lake City and found to be in possession of six Xanax pills and six Opana painkillers.

Neil Diamond, Alice Cooper, Darlene Love and Tom Waits were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with Dr. John and Leon Russell. Diamond, 70, is well known for his song “Sweet Caroline,” inspired by Caroline Kennedy and now used as the Boston Red Sox anthem. Cooper (real name: Vincent Furnier) is known for his band’s hard rock hits “Eighteen” and “School’s Out.” 

American Idol” judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler will give this year’s crop of contestants a few pointers when they take to the stage to perform later this season. The “On The Floor” singer and Steven – with his band Aerosmith – will perform on the hit FOX series. “I thought it was a big secret. I guess the cat’s out of the bag!” Steven told Access on Monday night at PaleyFest 2011.

Top Albums This Week In 2011 –

21 – Adele

Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons

Late Nights & Early Mornings – Marsha Ambrosius

Never Say Never: The Remixes – Justin Bieber

NOW 37

My World 2.0 – Justin Bieber

Going Out In Style – Dropkick Murphys

Doo-Wops & Hooligans – Bruno Mars

Greatest Hits… So Far!!! – P!nk

Loud – Rihanna

Town Line – Aaron Lewis

Recovery – Eminem

Pink Friday – Nicki Minaj

Blessed – Lucinda Williams

Hundred More Years – Francesca Battistelli

Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

Speak Now – Taylor Swift

Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

Burlesque – soundtrack

Lungs – Florence + The Machine

Spring Break 3 – Luke Bryan

You Get What You Give – Zac Brown Band

Love Letter – R. Kelly

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West

At the movies this week –

Battle: Los Angeles (1st week $35.5 million)

Rango

Red Riding Hood (1st week $14 million)

The Adjustment Bureau

Mars Needs Moms ((1st week $6.9 million)

Beastly

Hall Pass

Just Go With It

Gnomeo & Juliet

The King’s Speech

Unknown

Hip Wednesday night TV (TV Squad)
7PM

Cartoon Network: ‘Sym-Bionic Titan’

8:00

CBS: ‘Survivor’
NBC: ‘Minute to Win It’
FOX: ‘American Idol’
The CW: ‘America’s Next Top Model’
G4: ‘Campus PD’
Nicktoons: ‘Dragon Ball Z Kai’

8:30

Food Network: ‘Throwdown With Bobby Flay’

9:00

The CW: ‘Shedding for the Wedding’
TBS: ‘Are We There Yet?’ (two episodes)
A&E: ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’
Syfy: ‘Ghost Hunters’
History Channel: ‘Underwater Universe’ (two episodes)
TruTV: ‘Operation Repo’
Disney XD: ‘Naruto: Shippuden’
Current: ‘Hooked on Danger’ (two episodes)
Showtime: ‘Inside NASCAR’

9:30

ABC: ‘Mr. Sunshine’
Discovery: ‘Sons of Guns’

10:00

ABC: ‘Off the Map’
CBS: ‘Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior’
FX: ‘Justified’
Bravo: ‘Top Chef’
Syfy: ‘Face Off’
MTV: ‘The Real World’ (season premiere)
TV Land: ‘Hot in Cleveland’
TLC: ‘Hoarding: Buried Alive’
Spike: ’1,000 Ways to Die’

10:30

TV Land: ‘Retired at 35′
Spike: ‘Charlie Sheen’s Winningest Moments’

Late-Night Talk Shows

11:00

PBS: ‘Charlie Rose’: TBA
TBS: ‘Conan’: Pee-Wee Herman, Shane Mauss and Edmund Morris
Comedy Central: ‘The Daily Show’: Aaron Eckhart
E!: ‘Chelsea Lately’: Nick de Vos
BET: ‘The Mo’Nique Show’: Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Candic Kumai and Aloe Blacc

11:30

Comedy Central: ‘The Colbert Report’: David Brooks

11:35

ABC: ‘Nightline’: TBA
CBS: ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’: Snooki, Judah Friedlander and Bryan Ferry (repeat)
NBC: ‘The Tonight Show’: Michael Douglas, Julie Scardina and the Randy Rogers Band (repeat)

Midnight

ABC: ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live: Jamie Foxx and Sarah Shahi (repeat)
PBS: ‘Tavis Smiley’: David Brooks and Lupe Fiasco
TBS: ‘Lopez Tonight’: Jerry O’Connell, Curtis Stone and Lupe Fiasco

12:35

CBS: ‘The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson’: Trace Adkins and Windell Middlebrooks
NBC: ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’: Adam Sandler, Aziz Ansari and Mike Gordon (repeat)

1:35

NBC: ‘Last Call With Carson Daly’: Diplo, Laurie Ann Gibson and Alberta Cross (repeat)

This Week In History. News, Pop Culture, Entertainment, Technology. A Complete Look At The Week Of February 1, 2011

Compiled By Gary West @ mrpopculture.com

Week of February 1, 2011

In The News –

Jordan’s King Abdullah II fired his government Tuesday (Feb.1) in the wake of street protests and asked an ex-prime minister to form a new Cabinet, ordering him to launch immediate political reforms.The dismissal follows several large protests across Jordan_ inspired by similar demonstrations in Tunisia and Egypt — calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Samir Rifai, who is blamed for a rise in fuel and food prices and slowed political reforms.

Red light cameras are helping drivers remember that red means stop and are saving lives, according to a new study out Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The study concludes that the cameras have reduced the rate of fatal crashes by 24 percent in 14 large cities that introduced red light cameras between 1996 and 2004. “Red light cameras are working,” said institute President Adrian Lund. “There are hundreds of people who are alive because some communities had the courage to use this method of enforcement.”

Syrians are organizing campaigns on Facebook and Twitter that call for a “day of rage” in Damascus this week, taking inspiration from Egypt and Tunisia in using social networking sites to rally their followers for sweeping political reforms. Like Egypt and Tunisia, Syria suffers from corruption, poverty and unemployment. All three nations have seen subsidy cuts on staples like bread and oil. Syria’s authoritarian president has resisted calls for political freedoms and jailed critics of his regime.

More than a quarter-million people flooded Cairo’s main square Tuesday (Feb.1) in a stunning and jubilant array of young and old, urban poor and middle class professionals, mounting by far the largest protest yet in a week of unrelenting demands for President Hosni Mubarak to leave after nearly 30 years in power. The crowds — determined but peaceful — filled Tahrir, or Liberation, Square and spilled into nearby streets, among them people defying a government transportation shutdown to make their way from rural provinces.

The Dow Jones industrial average has closed above 12,000 for the first time in 2 1/2 years — yet another sign that the economy is extending its recovery from the recession.

President Barack Obama appeared on Tuesday to have persuaded his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, to take a middle course of promising to step aside later this year. It was unclear if that would satisfy the hundreds of thousands of protesters who gathered across Egypt to call on Mubarak to immediately relinquish power.

A massive storm billed as the worst in decades barreled toward the northeast Wednesday (Feb.2), leaving vast swaths from Chicago to New York paralyzed by snow and ice, stranding hundreds of motorists all night and shuttering airports and schools. Chicago had 19.5 inches of snow, ranking the storm the third-largest on record to hit the city with still more possible. As much as 1 1/2 feet fell in Missouri, more than a foot dropped on northern Indiana and southeast Kansas, and Oklahoma saw up to a foot.

The United States criticized the government of President Hosni Mubarak and condemned violence in Egypt’s capital as clashes between protesters and pro-government supporters demonstrated there would be no easy resolution to the unrest destabilizing America’s closest ally in the Arab world. A day after President Barack Obama pressed Mubarak to loosen his grip on power immediately, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the U.S. “deplores and condemns the violence that is taking place in Egypt.”

The Republicans effort to sink the Democrats’ health care overhaul fails. The repeal effort sank along party lines, 51-47 as expected. But in the process, Republicans forced Democrats on the record in favor of President Barack Obama’s signature overhaul and launched what they described as a two-year effort to discredit it in the lead-up to a bid for a second term.

Republicans now controlling the House promised Thursday to slash domestic agencies’ budgets by almost 20 percent for the coming year, the first salvo in what’s sure to be a bruising battle over their drive to cut spending to where it was before President Barack Obama took office.

Tens of thousands packed central Cairo Friday(Feb.4), waving flags and singing the national anthem, emboldened in their campaign to oust President Hosni Mubarak after they repelled pro-regime attackers in two days of bloody street fights. The U.S. was pressing Egypt for an immediate start to democratic transition, including a proposal for Mubarak to step down immediately.

Mark Kelly, astronaut husband of wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, will keep his seat on the space shuttle Endeavour’s final flight in April – a mission he will also command. Kelly had been debating whether to go through with the mission or stay by his wife’s side as she recovers. Giffords was shot in the head Jan. 8 at a constituent meeting at a Tucson, Ariz., grocery store. Since Jan. 21, she has been undergoing rehab at a hospital in Houston.

The top leadership body of Egypt’s ruling party resigned Saturday, including the president’s son, but the regime appeared to be digging in its heels, calculating that it can ride out street demonstrations and keep President Hosni Mubarak in office. The ruling party leaders who resigned included the country’s most powerful political figures — and its most unpopular among many Egyptians. The move may have been aimed at convincing protesters in the streets that the regime is sincere in implementing democratic reforms they demand.

Seamstresses, set designers and musicians watched in tears as firefighters struggled to control a blaze that raged through warehouses holding many of the elaborate costumes and floats they had assembled for this year’s samba parade. With just a month left before the March 6 start of the competition, there is no way to fully replace them.

Egypt’s vice president met a broad representation of major opposition groups for the first time Sunday and offered new concessions including freedom of the press, release of those detained since anti-government protests began nearly two weeks ago and the eventual lifting of the country’s hated emergency laws.  Two of the groups that attended the meeting said this was only a first step in a dialogue which has yet to meet their central demand — the immediate ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

Authorities in northeast Ohio say a shooting at a fraternity house just north of the Youngstown State University campus killed one student and injured 11 people, including six students. Youngstown police Lt. Franklin Palmer says the shooting happened during a party early Sunday and no arrests have been made, but police have at least one suspect.

An Iranian court held closed-door proceedings Sunday to begin the espionage trial of three Americans – two in custody and one freed on bail – whose 18-month detention has been the subject of impassioned family appeals and backdoor outreach by Washington through an Arab ally in the Gulf. Iran’s state-run Press TV reported that not guilty pleas were submitted to the court by their attorney, but gave no other details. Details of the nearly five-hour hearing were not made public and it was unclear whether the two Americans in Iranian custody – Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal – were present in the Revolutionary Court, which deals with state security cases like those of people arrested in the violent aftermath of Iran’s disputed election in 2009.

President Barack Obama is telling business leaders that despite some strong disagreements, “we can and must work together.” Obama spoke Monday (Feb.7) morning at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is so close to the White House that Obama was able to walk across the street to make his comments. His appearance comes as Obama aims to smooth his relations with corporate leaders and persuade major businesses to spend their cash, expand hiring and promote economic growth.

Rio de Janeiro’s world-famed Carnival went up in flames Monday for thousands of people who spent nearly a year preparing for the spectacular event.

Technology -

First iPad newspaper launched – News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and a gaggle of tech and media chroniclers gathered Wednesday (Feb.2) at the Guggenheim Museum in New York for a first look at the debut edition of The Daily, News Corp.’s experimental iPad “newspaper.” Apple has sold 14.8 million iPads since its tablet hit the market in April. Murdoch said he expects the tablet audience to grow to more than 50 million within the next year. “The Daily” will cost about $40 a year.

According to a new Cisco forecast, in just four years two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video. How will wireless carriers keep up with this demand? The major providers are pinning their hopes on 4G wireless networks, which they say will be able to handle greater data loads.

AOL has announced that it plans to buy the Huffington Post for $315 million. Arianna Huffington will become editor in chief of all of AOL’s content sites, including TechCrunch  and Engadget. According to Arianna’s memo to site contributors, nothing will be different except “more people reading what you wrote.

Sports –

The NBA fined the New York Knicks $200,000 and team scout Rodney Heard $20,000 on Thursday for conducting illegal draft workouts. The league ruled that Heard, the Knicks’ director of East scouting, violated rules restricting contact between teams and players eligible for the draft in May 2007 and May 2010. Under the rules at that time, players were not eligible to be worked out for teams before the NBA’s predraft camp in May.

Super Bowl XLV scored with viewers, tying for the highest-rated NFL championship game according to overnight television ratings released Monday by Fox. The Green Bay Packers’ 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers earned a 47.9 market rating in 56 metered U.S. markets, an increase of 3 percent over last year’s game on CBS and tying it with Super Bowl XXI in 1987, according to News Corp’s Fox.

Music news –

Justin Bieber hits the court to headline the 2011 BBVA NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, as part of the NBA’s upcoming All-Star Weekend, on February 18 in Los Angeles.

Elton John on his friend Billy Joel and Joel’s rehap… “He’s going to hate me for this, but every time he goes to rehab they’ve been light,” the legendary singer — who went to rehab for drug and alcohol abuse in 1990 — tells the new issue of Rolling Stone, “When I went to rehab, I had to clean the floors. He goes to rehab where they have TVs.”But the Grammy-winner, 63, stresses that his words come from a caring place.

The Recording Academy is finally getting some satisfaction, with Mick Jagger’s first appearance on the Grammy stage. The Rolling Stones frontman will perform at the Feb. 13 ceremony as part of a tribute to soul great Solomon Burke, who died last year. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer opened for the Rolling Stones several times during his career comeback late in life.

Entertainment news –

Halle Berry has pulled out of a film job to prepare for a custody fight over her young daughter.A spokeswoman for the Oscar-winning actress says Berry backed out of a role in “New Year’s Eve” that was scheduled to shoot in New York this week “due to pending custody litigation involving her daughter.”

Television news –

ReelzChannel will air The Kennedys. The pickup comes nearly a month after A&E Television Networks abruptly dropped the project from its History channel — starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes as John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy, respectively — because it is “not a fit for the History brand.”

The original Ewings — Larry Hagman (J.R.), Patrick Duffy (Bobby) and Linda Gray (Sue Ellen) – have signed on to appear in the pilot reboot of “Dallas.” TNT announced the pilot of the new “Dallas” would feature the trio, who helped thrill America between 1978 and 1991, playing the high-living family from Southforth, Texas.

The red swimsuit that helped make “Charlie’s Angels” actress Farrah Fawcett a 1970s icon became part of the Smithsonian’s collection Wednesday on what would have been her 64th birthday. Fawcett’s longtime companion Ryan O’Neal presented the swimsuit and other items to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington. O’Neal said Fawcett, who died in 2009 after battling anal cancer for several years, always intended to give the suit to the museum.

Beavis and Butthead – MTV announces its once-popular cartoon about channel-surfing, heavy-metal-loving high school losers would return to the network this summer.

Actor Charlie Sheen hopes to be finished with rehab and back on the set of his top-rated TV comedy “Two and A Half Men” by the end of February. Production on the TV show, broadcast on CBS, was suspended after Sheen, 45, went into rehab at the weekend after being hospitalized following a reported 36-hour party at his home last week.

Dana Carvey returned to Saturday Night Live. Music guest was Justin Bieber.

The 16-year-old pop singer brought his million-dollar smile and “angel’s voice” to two sketches, turning both Carvey and Andy  Sambert into fans.

Hot Hits This Week In 2011 –

Grenade- Bruno Mars

Firework – Katy Perry

F**kin’ Perfect – P!nk

Black and Yello – Wiz Khalifa

Tonight (I’m Lovin’ You) – Enrique Iglesias fea. Ludacrus & DJ Frank E

Hold It Against Me – Britney Spears

Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor) – Pitbull fea. T-Pain

Rocketeer – Far East Movement

We R Who We R – Ke$ha

What’s My Name? – Rihanna

Coming Home – Diddy – Dirty Money fea. Skylar Grey

Raise Your Glass – P!nk

The Time (Dirty Bit) – The Black Eyed Peas

Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars

No Hands – Waka Flocka Flame fea. Roscoe Das and Wal

6 Foot 7 Foot – Lil Wayne fea. Cory Gunz

Yeah 3X – Chris Brown

Back to December – Taylor Swift

F**k You (Forget You) – Cee Lo Green

Stereo Love – Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina

Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri

More – Usher

Only Girl (In The World) – Rihanna

What the Hell – Avril Lavigne

Higher – Taio Cruz fea. Travie McCoy

Dynamite – Taio Cruz

At the movies this week –

The Roomate (1st week – $15 million)

Sanctum (1st week – $9.4 million)

No Strings Attached

The King’s Spech

The Green Hornet

The Rite

The Mechanic

True Grit

Black Swan

The Dilemma

The Fighter

Yogi Bear

Hip Tuesday night TV (TV Squad)

7PM

Cartoon Network: ‘Sym-Bionic Titan’

8:00

CBS: ‘Live to Dance’
NBC: ‘Minute to Win It’
FOX: ‘American Idol’
PBS: ‘Nova scienceNOW’
Travel Channel: ‘Deep Fried’
OWN: ‘Mystery Diagnosis’

8:30

Food Network: ‘Throwdown With Bobby Flay’

9:00

NBC: ‘Minute to Win It’
FOX: ‘Human Target’
DirecTV 101: ‘Friday Night Lights’
Syfy: ‘Ghost Hunters International’
Travel Channel: ‘Man vs. Food: Carnivore Chronicles’
TLC: ‘My Strange Addiction’
TruTV: ‘Operation Repo’
Showtime: ‘Inside the NFL’

9:30

ABC: ‘Cougar Town’

10:00

ABC: ‘Off the Map’
CBS: ‘Blue Bloods’
NBC: ‘Law and Order: SVU’
Bravo: ‘Top Chef’
TV Land: ‘Hot in Cleveland’
Syfy: ‘Face Off’
Spike: ‘MANswers’
ID: ‘James Ellroy’s L.A.: City of Demons’

10:30

TV Land: ‘Retired at 35′
Spike: ‘MANswers’

11:00

SoapNet: ‘Being Erica’

Late-Night Talk Shows

11:00

PBS: ‘Charlie Rose’: Annette Bening
TBS: ‘Conan’: Kobe Bryant
Comedy Central: ‘The Daily Show’: Matthew Perry
E!: ‘Chelsea Lately’: Rachel Bilson
BET: ‘The Mo’Nique Show’: Antoine Dodson, Will Moss, Dante Lee, the Gregory Brothers and Mindless Behavior

11:30

Comedy Central: ‘The Colbert Report’: Sean Kelly

11:35

ABC: ‘Nightline’: TBA
CBS: ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’: Kate Walsh, Jim Gaffigan and Boxer Rebellion
NBC: ‘The Tonight Show’: Jesse Eisenberg, Jennifer Lawrence, and Ryan Bingham

Midnight

PBS: ‘Tavis Smiley’: Atul Gawande and Blythe Danner
TBS: ‘Lopez Tonight’: Mindy Kaling, Derek Fisher, Jasper Redd, and Arturo Sandoval

12:05AM

ABC: ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’: Josh Brolin and Tinie Tempah

12:35

CBS: ‘The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson’: Jim Parsons and Kurt Metzger
NBC: ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’: Samuel L. Jackson, Larry the Cable Guy and Phantogram

1:35

NBC: ‘Last Call With Carson Daly’: Rich Eisen, The Meltdown and Screaming Females

Top TV Shows –

1. American Idol” (Wednesday) FOX
2. American Idol” (Thursday) FOX
3. Hallmark Hall of Fame: “The Lost Valentine CBS
4. Pro Bowl: AFC vs. NFC FOX
5. NCIS CBS
6. Criminal Minds CBS
7. Blue Bloods CBS

Mr. Pop Culture Report – November 24… Face Getting A Trademark… Don’t Mess With Sheen… Cowell Loves Tyler… American Pickers Returns… This Week In History…

Facebook has received a notice of allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the trademark on the word “face” when used in the context of online chat rooms or bulletin boards. Facebook filed for this trademark in December 2005. The notice of allowance does not mean that Facebook has been granted the trademark just yet, but it’s getting really close. In the next three months, Facebook must pay a fee and file a statement of use, at which time it must prove that it is actively using the mark to provide goods or services, and then get the approval of an attorney.

Charlie Sheen has countersued Capri Anderson, claiming that the adult-film actress tried to extort him for $1 million after their encounter in a New York hotel room. “This case involves a shakedown and extortion of the internationally known actor and celebrity Charlie Sheen … by an opportunist pornographic film star and publicity-hungry scam artist,” the lawsuit states.

Former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell says he’s happy that Steven Tyler will take his place. Cowell says, “I always said it had to be someone who wasn’t better looking than me and they achieved it.” He poked fun at Tyler before collecting the Founders Awards at the International Emmy Awards in New York on Monday night. Cowell said the Aerosmith frontman seems like a nice guy, and Randy Jackson told him they were having a lot of fun.

Coming In December On History:

History presents all new episodes of “American Pickers.” Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz are once again searching the back roads, junkyards, and filled-to-the-brim barns in America for “rusty gold.” AMERICAN PICKERS, the #1 new cable series of 2010, returns for new episodes of its second season beginning Monday, December 6 at 9pm ET on HISTORY.

Traveling along with the duo, viewers will meet an assortment of American originals and watch as a patchwork of history unfolds – one treasure at a time. “We’re caretakers of treasures and the stories behind them,” says Mike.

Mr. Pop Culture Report – October 26… Madonna’s Fitness… 2 1/2 Pieces of Furniture… Jon Stewart Most Inflentual Man? – You’re Joking!… Kevin Costner Is Doing What??

Pop singer Madonna is opening a chain of fitness centers around the world to be known as Hard Candy Fitness global gyms. A partnership between Madonna, her manager and New Evolution Ventures plans to open the first gym in a posh neighborhood in Mexico City on Nov. 29. Madonna will attend the Mexico City opening. A statement by Hard Candy Fitness says gyms “will open in major cities around the world,” including 10 more locations in Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Europe and Asia. No gyms are immediately planned for the United States, but the statement noted that more locations are possible in the future.

Charlie Sheen was briefly hospitalized Tuesday after security at the Plaza Hotel called police to report he was disorderly and had broken furniture in his room, police said. His publicist blamed an allergic reaction to medication, and said the actor was discharged Tuesday evening and on his way back to Los Angeles. Another report says it straight – he was in a suite with a hooker doing cocaine. Like furniture polish -Sheene left a shine.

We now live in a world where Jon Stewart gets voted most influential man. Don’t take it from me – ask “AskMen” dot com.  OK, say it three times – Jon Stewart is the most influential man of the year…

Kevin Costner – who’s acting days are pretty much behind him – somehow – lands the hosting gig for this year’s “CMT Artist’s of the Year.” CMT as in country. Costner’s claim to country fame – well, he has a band that plays country music – Modern West. Really though – Kevin will keep good company with the likes of Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. It happens Dec. 3.

.

Mr. Pop Culture Report – August 2… The Keys To Marriage… He Hated Rock N Roll… Get Out Of Jail And Collect $200… His Anger Needs Management…

Alicia Keys marries wed Swizz Beatz. The singer, 29, who is pregnant, and the producer, 31, exchanged vows in front of close family and friends in a private home on the Mediterranean Sea. Dr. Deepak Chopra presided over the intimate ceremony, and Queen Latifah and Bono were reportedly among the guests in attendance.

Music Passing – Mitch Miller the goateed orchestra leader who asked Americans to “Sing Along With Mitch” on television and records and produced hits for Tony Bennett, Patti Page and other performers, has died at age 99. His daughter, Margaret Miller Reuther, said Monday that Miller died Saturday in Lenox Hill Hospital after a short illness. Miller was a key record executive at Columbia Records in the pre-rock ‘n’ roll era, making hits with singers Bennett, Page, Rosemary Clooney and Johnny Mathis. As a producer and arranger, Miller had misses, too, famously striking out on projects with Frank Sinatra and a young Aretha Franklin and in general scorning the rise of rock.

Lindsay Lohan gets released from jail after serving 14 days of a 90-day sentence for violating her probation in a 2007 drug case. The Mean Girls star must now start a three-month rehabilitation programme, as stipulated by her sentence.Lohan, 24, was sentenced last month after she missed a string of alcohol education classes she was ordered to attend under the terms of her probation on a 2007 drink-driving charge.

Charlie Sheen pleaded guilty Monday to assault in a Christmas Day argument with his wife in exchange for the withdrawal of more serious charges. Sheen, star of “Two and a Half Men” on CBS, was sentenced to 30 days in a rehabilitation center, 30 days of probation and 36 hours of anger management. He has 30 days to report to the Promises Treatment Center in California.

Mr. Pop Culture Report – April 1…

Smartphones – What’s the real story? – A ChangeWave report indicates 30% of respondents said they would prefer to have a phone running Google’s Android operating system — a five-fold increase from six months ago and up 9 points since December. Only 29% preferred Apple’s iPhone OS X, up 1 point from December, and 13% wanted Research in Motion’s BlackBerry OS, down 5 points. Demand for Microsoft’s Windows Mobile and Palm’s Web OS remain in single digits.

Janet Jackson will guest with Oprah Winfrey to talk about her late brother- “One thing that sticks in my head is his laughter,” Janet told Oprah, recalling fondly her late brother, who passed away last June at the age of 50 of acute Propofol intoxication. “And, the last time I saw him, which was two days before my birthday (which was on May 16), at my parents’ surprise party, I was being silly, like I always did when we were kids… and he kept looking at me and just cracking up.”  Appearing on Friday’s “Oprah,” she was promoting her “Why Did I Get Married Too.”

The Sheen Machine - After seven seasons, CBS’s hit sitcom “Two and a Half Men” will be down one man after the April 9 taping, sources told PEOPLE. The reason? “Charlie’s just done,” said a set source. “And he’s quietly telling his friends he’s not coming back.” Although sources say the network hoped the star would sign a new contract for an eighth season, Sheen recently turned down the offer. “He wants to move on,” said a friend of the actor, whose contract is fulfilled after he tapes this season’s 22nd episode. “Leaving is 100 percent his idea.”

Actress and singer Jennifer Hudson took on a new role as a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers after slimming down since she gave birth more than seven months ago. The 28-year-old Hudson, who has appeared in a handful of movies since winning the best supporting actress Oscar for her debut film role in 2006′s “Dreamgirls”, says she dropped the weight in order to encourage a healthier lifestyle for her new son, David Jr. “No one recognizes me any more,” she said on television show “Good Morning America.”. “After I had the baby, I made up my mind that I wanted to go in a different direction and find a better lifestyle.”

Mr. Pop Culture Report – March 15

Goodbye Mr. Phelps - Mr. Pop Culture favorite Peter Graves dies of a heart attack at 83. Graves was the one, the only Mr. Phelps of TV’s “Mission: Impossible” during its iconic network run – 1967 into the 1970’s.

“Goodbye Love” & Goodbye Mr. DJ – Another Mr. Pop Culture favorite – Ron Lundy – one of the great NYC DJ’s has passed. Ron Lundy was 76.  Lundy’s signature greeting was “Hello Luv.”

Gaga TV – Lady Gaga is to become the latest star guest on hit TV show “Glee.” The “Poker Face” hitmaker has signed up to join the cast of the all-singing-all-dancing series following a request from show bosses. “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy says, “We reached out to Lady Gaga and she said, ‘Yes, I’d love to be a part of it.’ So we will be doing Lady Gaga this season.”

Her First Kiss On Last Song: – Miley Cyrus  and her boyfriend Liam Hemsworth in Disney’s “The Last Song.” The young lovebirds talked about kissing in front of Miley’s mom, Tish, who was the film’s executive producer. Liam says, “Her mom was watching. Her grandma was also watching, which was really funny. She was on set everyday and she’d be right at the monitor with the headphones on. … She should have been directing the film. She knew more about it than anyone.” He also admitted, “Intimacy’s always tough. I feel like it’s the hardest thing for me as an actor.” Miley – “I don’t know who had a bigger crush on him at the beginning, my mom or me. I was like, ‘No, maybe he’s just too pretty. I don’t want to be with someone who’s better looking than me. That’s like awkward.’”

Sheen Shines In Court - Charlie Sheen (Carlos Irwin Estevez) pleads not guilty in Aspen to domestic violence charges, and was scheduled for a July 21 trial stemming from a Christmas Day altercation with his wife. He was arrested Dec. 25 in the Colorado winter resort after police received a 911 call from his wife, Brooke Mueller, claiming the sitcom star had a knife and was threatening to kill her.

Mr. Pop Archives – This Week In 1972 -

Ticket scalpers were getting as much as $150 a seat and plenty of takers for David Cassidy’s sold-out Madison Square Garden Concert! Promoter Ray Delesner said Cassidy packed the 20,000-seat Garden. He’s now on his way to Houston to play two shows.

On “American Bandstand” this Saturday – Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds and Denise Lasalle.

The Grammy Awards – Held This Week In 1972 –

Record of the year – “It’s Too Late” – Carole King

Song of the year – “You’ve Got A Friend” – written by Carole King

Album of the year – “Tapestry” – Carole King

New artist – Carly Simon

Instrumental – “Theme From Shaft” – Isaac Hayes

Male pop – James Taylor for “You’ve Got A Friend”

Group/duo pop – The Carpenters for “Carpenters” album

Female pop – Carole King for “Tapestry”

Country male vocal – Jerry Reed for “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot”

Femlae country vocal – Sammi Smith for “Help Me Make It Through the Night”

R&B song – Ain’t No Sunshine” – Bill Withers