First Internet Radio Station Live Concert. Pop Culture Radio Media History.

Radio station concert events go all the way back… In early rock ‘n roll days – Alan Freed presided over many radio station tie-in concerts with WJW Cleveland and later WINS, NY. Hundreds and hundreds, perhaps thousand of local radio stations and personalities – tied to a particular concert event through these years.

And now, it’s finally happened. Internet radio presents its first concert event. True, it is Clear Channel and its top star – Ryan Seacrest – but hey, it’s a first. This came out last week – but it’s the first time in pop culture history that an Internet radio station is out front in a concert event:

Ryan Seacrest will host a two-day music festival in Las Vegas, featuring Lady Gaga, Coldplay, The Black Eyed Peas () and Bruno Mars among others. The iHeartRadio Music Festival, put on by Clear Channel Radio, will take place at the MGM Grand. Scheduled for Sept. 23-24, it will also be streamed online and on all Clear Channel radio stations. ‘This is a once in a generation gathering of artists and fans from all over the country for a true, must-see music event,’ Seacrest said in announcing the event.

Gary West – mrpopculture.com

Week of March 15, 2011. A Complete Look At News, Pop Culture, Trends, Tech, Entertertainment, Music, TV Guide & More.

This Week In News, Pop Culture, Trends, Tech, Hollywood, TV Guide & More.

The Week of March 15, 2011

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


In The News –

Japan’s central bank pumped billions more into the financial system Tuesday to quell fears that the country’s banks could be overwhelmed by the impact of the massive earthquake and tsunami. Stocks slumped for a second day as a nuclear crisis escalated. Two cash injections totaling 8 trillion yen ($98 billion) came a day after the Bank of Japan fed a record 15 trillion yen ($184 billion) into money markets and eased monetary policy to support the economy in the aftermath of Friday’s 9.0 magnitude quake that has killed thousands. The injections have helped stabilize currency markets. But stock markets dived for a second day as investors unloaded assets amid escalating worries of a nuclear crisis.

Bahrain declared martial law on Tuesday as it struggles to quell an uprising by the island’s Shi’ite Muslim majority that has drawn in troops from fellow Sunni-ruled neighbor Saudi Arabia. The three-month state of emergency will hand wholesale power to Bahrain’s security forces, which are dominated by the country’s Sunni Muslim elite, stoking sectarian tensions in one of the Gulf’s most politically volatile nations.

Europe is considering “stress testing” its nuclear power stations to check they can cope with crises, while its energy chief on Tuesday even raised the prospect of a nuclear-free future. The developments mark a dramatic turnaround for a continent that had been considering a partial nuclear revival until this week, when Japan’s nuclear accident highlighted how quickly events can run out of control — and not only after an earthquake.

Moammar Gadhafi’s forces struck the rebellion’s heartland with airstrikes, missiles and artillery on Tuesday, trying for the first time to take back a city that serves as a crucial gateway for the band of fighters who threatened his four-decade hold on power. Rebels rushed to the front and sent up two rickety airplanes to bomb government ships, as mosques broadcast pleas for help defending the city. The pro-Gadhafi forces surprised rebels with attacks on two sides of the city of Ajdabiya, and the opposition was outgunned.

Dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant forced Japan to order 140,000 people to seal themselves indoors Tuesday after an explosion and a fire dramatically escalated the crisis spawned by a deadly tsunami. In a nationally televised statement, Prime Minister Naoto Kan said radiation had spread from the four stricken reactors of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant along Japan’s northeastern coast. The region was shattered by Friday’s 9.0-magnitude earthquake and the ensuing tsunami that is believed to have killed more than 10,000 people, plunged millions into misery and pummeled the world’s third-largest economy.

Australia advised its citizens in Japan on Wednesday to consider leaving Tokyo and earthquake-affected areas, joining a growing number of governments and businesses telling their people it may be safer elsewhere.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in a travel advice update that Australians with no need to be in the area should think about leaving but added that the decision had nothing to do with the threat of nuclear contamination from a damaged nuclear power plant.

Producer prices surged in February at their fastest pace in 1-1/2 years, pointing to a build-up in inflation pressures from soaring food and energy costs. In another reminder on Wednesday of the headwinds facing the economy, the Commerce Department said groundbreaking activity for new homes posted the biggest drop in 27 years with permits for future building reaching a record low. The reports came a day after the Federal Reserve said it expected the upward inflation pressure from commodities to prove transitory but that it was keeping a watchful eye.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that it plans to remove about 500 unapproved prescription cough, cold, and allergy medicines from pharmacy shelves.These drugs have not been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness, and they may be riskier to take than approved over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that treat these same conditions, agency officials explained. “This action is necessary to protect consumers from the potential risks posed by unapproved drugs, because we don’t know what’s in them, whether they work properly or how they are made,” Deborah M. Autor, director of the agency’s Office of Compliance at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said during a morning news conference.

Newspaper advertising in the U.S. has sunk to a 25-year low as marketing budgets followed readers to the Internet, where advertising is far cheaper than what publishers have been able to command in print. Advertisers spent $25.8 billion on newspapers’ print and digital editions last year, according to figures released Tuesday by the Newspaper Association of America. That’s the lowest amount since 1985 when total newspaper advertising stood at $25.2 billion. After adjusting for inflation, newspaper advertising now stands at about the same level as nearly 50 years ago. In 1962, newspaper advertising totaled $3.7 billion, which translates to about $26 billion today.

Japan tried high-pressure water cannons, fire trucks and even helicopters that dropped batches of seawater in increasingly frantic attempts Thursday to cool an overheated nuclear complex as U.S. officials warned the situation was deteriorating. The top U.S. nuclear regulatory official gave a far bleaker assessment of the crisis than the Japanese, and the U.S. ambassador warned U.S. citizens within 50 miles (80 kilometers) of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant on the northeast coast to leave the area or at least remain indoors.

U.S. life expectancy has hit another all-time high, rising above 78 years. The estimate of 78 years and 2 months is for a baby born in 2009, and comes from a preliminary report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 2.4 million people died in the United States in 2009 — roughly 36,000 fewer deaths than the year before.

Deaths were down for a range of causes, from heart disease to homicide, so experts don’t believe there’s one simple explanation for the increase in life expectancy. Better medical treatment, vaccination campaigns and public health measures against smoking are believed to be having an impact.

Libya declared an immediate cease-fire Friday, trying to fend off international military intervention after the U.N. authorized a no-fly zone and “all necessary measures” to prevent the regime from striking its own people. A rebel spokesman said Moammar Gadhafi’s forces were still shelling two cities. The United States said a cease-fire announcement was insufficient, calling on the regime to pull back from eastern Libya, where the once-confident rebels this week found themselves facing an overpowering force using rockets, artillery, tanks, warplanes.

U.S. sales of Diet Coke overtook those of Pepsi-Cola for the first time in 2010, making the diet soda the No. 2 carbonated soft drink in the country behind Coca-Cola, industry data are expected to confirm Thursday. Occupying the top two rankings would mark a historic win for Coca-Cola) in its decades-old rivalry with PepsiCo Inc. which has seen its market share slip in recent years and is trying to retool its marketing. The two companies have fought over the past decade to win market share from one another as cola sales overall have dropped.

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.

Anti-aircraft fire has erupted in the Libyan capital, with volleys of tracer fire arching into the air, marking the start of a second night of allied strikes on the country.

There is no immediate word on the targets in the new round of strikes. The heavy chatter of anti-aircraft defenses began soon after nightfall. The U.S. military says the first air assault by the U.S. and its allies the night before — including airstrikes by long-range bombers and a shower of Tomahawk cruise missiles — was successful, though it did not fully eliminate the threat from Libyan air defenses.

The largest full moon in more than 18 years – a so-called “supermoon” – did not disappoint eager skywatchers around the world Saturday when it rose, big and bright, into Earth’s night sky. The full moon of March was 221,565 miles (356,575 kilometers) on Saturday, March 19 just 50 minutes after it hit its full phase, making it the biggest and brightest full moon since 1993. The “supermoon” phenomenon occurred because the moon was in its full phase and just 50 minutes past perigee – the point of its orbit that brings it closer to Earth.This year’s biggest full moon also gained notoriety after erroneous claims that it would spark waves of natural disasters around the world.

Leading Republican Sarah Palin toured Jerusalem’s Western Wall on Sunday as she began a two-day, private visit to Israel. She also planned on meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during her first trip to the Jewish state to discuss key issues facing the U.S. ally. Palin, a 2008 vice presidential candidate, is a potential White House contender in 2012 and a leading light in the fiscally conservative Tea Party movement.

The nuclear crisis in Japan, while severe, appears to be stabilizing and does not warrant any immediate changes in U.S. nuclear plants, a top U.S. nuclear official said Monday. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s executive director for operations, Bill Borchardt, said officials have “a high degree of confidence” that operations at the 104 nuclear reactors in 31 states are safe. He said inspectors at each of the plants have redoubled efforts to guard against any safety breaches.

Buyers emerged on Monday in U.S. stocks, enticed by the biggest proposed merger of the year, though crises in Japan, the Middle East and North Africa meant market volatility would continue. The bulls have held the upper hand for three days, as the S&P 500 has put together its best three-day run since early December. Dow component AT&T (T.N) rose 1.1 percent after the company announced plans to buy Deutsche Telekom’s (DTEGn.DE) T-Mobile USA and refocused investor attention on attractive company valuations.

Golfer and notorious cheater Tiger Woods has taken another swing at dating, this time with 22-year-old Alyse Lahti Johnston.Woods, who was struck with heavy criticism last year after news broke of his numerous high profile extra-marital affairs, divorced Swedish model Elin Nordegren in August. In November 2009, Woods raised some eyebrows after he plowed his 2009 Cadillac Escalade into a fire hydrant and a tree at 2:30 a.m., leading many to speculate he’d gotten into an argument with then-wife Nordegren about his unfaithful behavior.

Technology –

They come not just for the balmy weather or the Tex-Mex food but for South by Southwest, a collection of conferences and festivals that’s considered one of the most influential happenings on the annual cultural calendar. Abbreviated as SXSW — and nicknamed “South by” by festival veterans — the 24-year-old conference kicks off Friday and runs through March 20. The three-headed event encompasses separate festivals for film, music and interactive technology and has helped launch everything from Twitter to Broken Social Scene.

It’s where hipster culture meets geek culture, and where internet entrepreneurs are treated like rock stars SXSW first kicked off in 1987 as the place where relatively unknown bands played gigs with hopes of attracting the attention of critics, talent scouts or big-time musicians seeking an opening act for their tours. Conference organizers integrated film and technology segments in 1994 as a “multimedia” event, and a year later, the separate South by Southwest Interactive was formed.

Nintendo 3DS, a glasses-free 3-D handheld video game system, arrives March 27 for $249.99.  Nintendo hopes it will make the strongest case yet for 3-D special effects affordability and relevance.

But calling it a gaming console may be the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American public. Gaming, it turns out, might be among the least of the system’s capabilities. The device will also deliver an array of other fully-connected entertainment experiences, according to Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime at the 2011 Game Developers Conference.  From 3-D movies to TV shows, digital music to augmented reality applications, the company is clearly assigning tremendous importance to non-gaming applications.

Though they won’t say it directly, Nintendo clearly plans to make the system a Trojan horse for the larger world of 3-D multimedia. This should scare the competition.

Recently, Google announced that the Android version of its Google Maps app now automatically routes users around traffic when providing directions. According to the Google Blog, Google Maps navigation previously “would choose whichever route was fastest, without taking current traffic conditions into account. It would also generate additional alternate directions, such as the shortest route or one that uses highways instead of side roads. “[Now], our routing algorithms will also apply our knowledge of current and historical traffic to select the fastest route from those alternates. That means that navigation will automatically guide you along the best route given the current traffic conditions.”

Sports –

Atlanta Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar has lost an eye after he was struck in the face by a line drive while watching a spring training game. Braves general manager Frank Wren said Wednesday that doctors were unable to save Salazar’s left eye after the accident March 9. The former major league player is otherwise recovering from his injuries and expects to manage Lynchburg of the Class A Carolina League this season. The 54-year-old Salazar was standing against the railing on the top step of the dugout during a game between the Braves and St. Louis Cardinals when Brian McCann fouled a ball in his direction. Salazar was unable to get out of the way.

Entertainment news –

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.

Ashton Kutcher, president of pop culture for the popchips snack food company, launched a search back in February for a vice president of pop culture. The gig sounded pretty good: For a salary of $50,000, the VP’s duties included working with popchips and Kutcher to create digital content, take part in popchips’ social media channels and serve as popchips’ on-location reporter at three culture events. And the winner has just been announced: It’s Diane Mizota. One of her biggest claims to fame is that she appeared in Austin Powers in Goldmember, along with Carrie Ann Inaba. She also is host of the GSN series Bingo.

Teen sensation Justin Bieber is immortalized in wax at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London and New York. So, what does Justin think of his new wax figure? Plus, which stars’ wax figure would he like his wax figure to be next to?

Mel Gibson was booked and released at El Segundo Police Department on Wednesday night as part of his sentence for the misdemeanor battery case resulting from an alleged January 2010 incident with his then-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, Access Hollywood has confirmed.

Charlie Sheen’s “Torpedo of Truth” live tour will explode onto 12 more stages across the United States and into Canada, as reports surfaced on Thursday of sold-out shows at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. “Fastballs keep coming. 12 more shows on sale Sat.,” Sheen tweeted. The new shows for the tour, dubbed “Charlie Sheen’s Violent Torpedo of Truth Defeat Is Not an Option,” are also listed on sales website

Billy Ray Cyrus revealed he has withdrawn his request to divorce his wife, Tish. “I’ve dropped the divorce,” Billy Ray said on the show, which taped on Thursday. “I wanted to put my family back together.”

Jennifer Lopez’ new song, “Invading My Mind,” has invaded the Internet.

The American Idol judge’s new track has leaked online The song, from her upcoming Island Def Jam album “Love?,” follows “On the Floor,” which features Pitbull. “Invading My Mind” is all about Lopez, though, and is a high energy, super-dance-y track.

Wyclef Jean has been released from the hospital after being treated for a gunshot wound to his hand. Jean, 41, was shot in the hand after 11 p.m. Saturday in Delmas — a city just outside Port-au-Prince — according to Joe Mignon, the senior program director for Jean’s Yele Foundation. He offered no further details.

Music news –

Passing – Rapper and music producer Nate Dogg, a prominent figure in the world of hip-hop, has died at the age of 41, the Hollywood Reporter wrote Wednesday without giving a cause of death. Best known for his 1994 hit “Regulate,” Nate Dogg — a longtime friend and collaborator of rap legends Snoop Dogg and the late Tupac Shakur — died late Tuesday, the trade newspaper wrote. It quoted a tweet from Snoop Dogg lamenting the death of his friend. “We lost a true legend n hip hop n rnb. One of my best friends n a brother to me since 1986,” the rap megastar wrote on this Twitter microblog posting.

In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, Howard Stern shares details about the end of his 21-year marriage to first wife Alison. “My marriage ending blew my mind,” the Sirius radio star, 57, revealed. “I was upset that I failed and let down my family, my kids, my ex-wife. It was all very painful.”While no topic was off-limits for guests on his radio show, Stern admits he kept his own personal problems buried. But feeling like a “detached robot,” he started going to therapy. “I was totally neurotic…I knew things weren’t right, and I said, ‘Gee, where am I going to get some answers?’ I had never been a guy to turn to religion but then as my marriage was coming to an end, I needed help to explain it to my children and make sense of it all…Because once you are a divorced guy, being a father is a whole different thing.”

Passing – Country music pioneer Ferlin Husky has died at age 85. He sold more than 20 million records, mostly in the ’50s and early ’60s, with hits including “Wings of a Dove” and “gone.” (March 17)

Passing – British musician Jet Harris, who played bass guitar in Cliff Richard’s band The Shadows, has died aged 71, British media reported on Friday. Terence Harris, nicknamed “Jet” because he was one of the fastest runners in his school, was introduced to Richard in 1958, and his website credits him with coming up with the name The Shadows.”Jet was exactly what the Shadows and I needed — a backbone holding our sound together,” Richard said in a statement. “Jet, the bass player, will always be an integral part of British rock’n'roll history. Losing him is sad — but the great memories will stay with me. Rock on, Jet.” With The Shadows, Harris enjoyed a string of hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s including “High Class Baby,” the chart-topping “Apache” and “Guitar Tango.” His last recording with the band was “Wonderful Land” in 1962, which also made it to number one in the British charts. After leaving the group, Harris teamed up with former Shadows bandmate Tony Meehan and again reached number one with “Diamonds” in 1963.

Bryan Adams is now enshrined in concrete. The Canadian singer, songwriter, guitarist, bassist and producer got his Hollywood Walk of Fame star Monday in front of the Musicians Institute. His hits included “Cut Like a Knife,” “Summer of ’69,” “Run to You,” and “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.”

Hot hits this week –

F**k You (Forget You) – Cee Lo Green

Born This Way – Lady Gaga

S&M – Rihanna

E.T. – Katy Perry fea. Kanye West

On The Floor – Jennifer Lopez fea. Pitbull

Grenade – Bruno Mars

F**kin Perfect

Till the World Ends – Britney Spears

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

Blow – Ke$ha

Look At Me Now –

Chris Brown fea. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes

Coming Home – Diddy – Dirty Money fea. Skylar Grey

Firework – Katy Perry

Hey Baby (Drop It To The Floor) – Pitbull

Moment 4 Life – Nicki Minaj fea. Drake

I Need A Doctor – Dr. Dre fea. Eminem & Skylar Grey

Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri

What The Hell – Avril Lavigne

More – Usher

Just Can’t Get Enough – The Black Eyed Peas

6 Foot 7 Foot – Lil Wayne fea. Cory Gunz

Landslide – Glee Cast fea. Gwyneth paltrow

Pretty Girl Rock- Keri Hilson

Rollin In The Deep – Adele

At the movies this week

Limitless (1st week $19 million)

Rango

Battle: Los Angeles

The Lincoln Lawyer (1st $13.4 million)

Paul – (1st week $13.1 million)

Red Riding Hood

The Adjustment Bureau

Mars Needs Moms

Beastly

Hall Pass

Gnomeo & Juliet

Hip Thursday night TV (TV Squad)

7PM

Discovery: ‘Out of the Wild: Venezuela’

7:45

IFC: ‘The Grid’

8:00

ABC: ‘Wipeout’
NBC: ‘Community’
FOX: ‘American Idol’
ESPN: ‘Winter X Games: Europe’
Nicktoons: ‘Dragon Ball Z Kai’

8:30

NBC: ‘Perfect Couples’

9:00

ABC: ‘Private Practice’
FOX: ‘Bones’
Discovery: ‘Man vs. Wild’
Bravo: ‘Kathy Griffin: 50 & Not Pregnant’
HGTV: ‘Selling New York’
Spike: ‘TNA Wrestling’

9:30

NBC: ‘Parks and Recreation’

10:00

NBC: ’30 Rock’
USA: ‘Fairly Legal’
FX: ‘Archer’
MTV: ‘Jersey Shore’
Food Network: ‘Ice Brigade’
HGTV: ‘House Hunters’
A&E: ‘Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force’ (two episodes)

10:30

NBC: ‘Outsourced’
HGTV: ‘House Hunters International’

Midnight

Cartoon Network: ‘Eagleheart’

Late-Night Talk Shows

11:00

PBS: ‘Charlie Rose’: Jonathan Schell on the future of nuclear power
TBS: ‘Conan’: Larry King, Shaun White, and Iron & Wine (repeat)
Comedy Central: ‘The Daily Show’: Howard Stern (repeat)
E!: ‘Chelsea Lately’: Rihanna (repeat)
BET: ‘The Mo’Nique Show’: Tisha Campbell-Martin, Keith David and Lloyd

11:30

Comedy Central: ‘The Colbert Report’: Dan Sinker (repeat)

11:35

ABC: ‘Nightline’: TBA
CBS: ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’: Tim McGraw, Shaq and Keri Hilson (repeat)
NBC: ‘The Tonight Show’: Rainn Wilson and Serj Tankian

Midnight

ABC: ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live: Matthew McConaughey, Jena Malone and Young Dubliners
PBS: ‘Tavis Smiley’: Clive Davis and Lawrence Goldstone
TBS: ‘Lopez Tonight’: Cameron Diaz, Jason Priestley, Luke Perry and Greg Fitzsimmons (repeat)

12:35

CBS: ‘The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson’: Mila Kunis and Geechy Guy (repeat)
NBC: ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’: Howard Stern, Penn & Teller, and Leon Russell

1:35

NBC: ‘Last Call With Carson Daly’: Gale Ann Hurd, Mia Morett and Caitlin Moe

Top TV –

1. American Idol” (Wednesday) FOX
2. American Idol” (Thursday) FOX
3. The Mentalist CBS
4. NCIS: Los Angeles CBS
5. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS
6. NCIS CBS
7. The Big Bang Theory CBS
8. Glee FOX
9. CSI: Miami CBS
10. Undercover Boss CBS
11. Blue Bloods CBS
12. Secret Millionaire ABC
13. House FOX
14. Survivor: Redemption Island CBS
15. CSI: NY CBS
16. Bones FOX
17. 60 Minutes CBS
18. Two and a Half Men CBS
19. The Bachelor ABC
20. Harry’s Law NBC

This Week In History. News, Pop Culture, Trends, Music, Technology. A Complete Look At The Week Of March 1, 2011.

A Complete Look At The Week Of March 1, 2011.

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

In The News -

Republicans controlling the House are moving quickly to pass stopgap legislation to avoid a partial shutdown of the government when temporary funding runs out Friday. Tuesday’s measure would keep the government running for two weeks to buy time for the Republican House, the Democratic Senate and the Obama White House to try to reach agreement on longer-term legislation to fund the government through the end of the budget year. It’s a relatively mild volley in a party-defining spending battle that promises to go on for months or years.

The central Arkansas town of Greenbrier has been plagued for months by hundreds of small earthquakes, and after being woken up by the largest quake to hit the state in 35 years, residents said Monday they’re unsettled by the increasing severity and lack of warning. The U.S. Geological Survey recorded the 4.7 magnitude quake at 11 p.m. Sunday, centered just northeast of Greenbrier, about 40 miles north of Little Rock. It was the largest of more than 800 quakes to strike the area since September in what is now being called the Guy-Greenbrier earthquake swarm.

TRIPOLI, Libya – Residents of the rebel-held city closest to Libya’s capital passed out sweets and cold drinks to fighters Tuesday and celebrated with a victory march after they managed to repel an overnight attack by forces loyal to longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi. Pro-Gadhafi forces also were repelled as they tried to retake two other opposition-held cities: Misrata, Libya’s third-largest city 125 miles (200 kilometers) east of Tripoli, and Zintan, 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of the Libyan capital.

French fashion house Dior said on Tuesday (March1) it is firing John Galliano after complaints were lodged with police that their star designer made offensive and anti-Semitic comments. Dior said it decided to start procedures to fire Galliano after seeing a video clip that purportedly shows the designer shouting abuse at people in a Paris bar.

A Government Accountability report finds that the federal government wastes billions of federal dollars on duplicative spending in its byzantine bureaucracy. The Wall Street Journal explains: The agency found 82 federal programs to improve teacher quality; 80 to help disadvantaged people with transportation; 47 for job training and employment; and 56 to help people understand finances, according to a draft of the report reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.Other findings: There are 15 agencies enforcing food safety laws, 80 programs to boost the economy and 20 programs to help the homeless.

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the First Amendment protects fundamentalist church members who mount anti-gay protests outside military funerals, despite the pain they cause grieving families. The court voted 8-1 in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan. The decision upheld an appeals court ruling that threw out a $5 million judgment to the father of a dead Marine who sued church members after they picketed his son’s funeral. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion for the court. Justice Samuel Alito dissented. Roberts said free speech rights in the First Amendment shield the funeral protesters, noting that they obeyed police directions and were 1,000 feet from the church.

Opponents of Moammar Gadhafi repelled an attack by the Libyan leader’s forces trying to retake a key coastal oil installation in a topsy-turvy battle Wednesday in which shells splashed in the Mediterranean and a warplane bombed a beach where rebel fighters were charging over the dunes. At least six people were killed in the fighting. The assault on the Brega oil port was the first major regime counteroffensive against the opposition-held eastern half of Libya, where the population backed by mutinous army units rose up and drove out Gadhafi’s rule over the past two weeks.

The suspect in the slaying of two U.S. airmen at Frankfurt airport has confessed to targeting American military members, a German security official said Thursday as investigators probed what they considered a possible act of Islamic terrorism. Hesse state Interior Minister Boris Rhein told reporters in Wiesbaden that the suspect, identified as a 21-year-old ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, was apparently radicalized over the last few weeks. Relatives in northern Kosovo identified him as Arid Uka, whose family has been living in Germany for 40 years. The suspect opened fire on a U.S. Air Force bus carrying 15 airmen based in the Lakenheath airfield in eastern England from Frankfurt to Ramstein Air Base, the Air Force said. From there, the airmen were to deploy to Afghanistan.

Employers hired in February at the fastest pace in almost a year, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent — a nearly two-year low. The economy added a net 192,000 jobs. Factories, professional and business services, education and health care were among the sectors that hired. Retailers, though, trimmed jobs. State and local governments, squeezed by budget gaps, slashed 30,000 jobs, the most since November. Federal government was flat.

Moammar Gadhafi loyalists swept into the opposition-held city closest to Tripoli on Saturday, tightening security around the regime-held capital. To the east, rebel forces captured a key oil port as the country veered toward civil war.The contrasting fortunes of the two warring sides suggest that the conflict in Libya could last for weeks and maybe months, with neither side mustering enough military power to decisively defeat the other. The government is fighting fiercely to maintain its hold in Tripoli and surrounding areas and the rebels are pushing their front westward from their eastern stronghold.

DNA confirmed that a man arrested Friday in Connecticut is the East Coast Rapist suspected of terrorizing women with sexual assaults from Virginia to Rhode Island over 12 years, police said Saturday. Lt. Julie Johnson said DNA was collected and subsequently matched by the state police forensic lab confirming 39-year-old Aaron Thomas was the East Coast Rapist.

President Obama said Saturday he has already met Republicans halfway in the on-going budget dispute and is “prepared to do more” in an effort to responsibly cut spending and avoid a government shutdown later this month. temporary two-budget that kept the trains running expires on March 18 as Republicans and Democrats wrangle over how much to trim from a longer-term plan that would fund government operations through Sept. 30, the close of the 2011 fiscal year. “We’ve got to step up our game,” Obama said in his weekly address. “We can’t do business two weeks at a time… We’ve got to keep that momentum going.”

Repeated airstrikes by Libyan warplanes on Monday (March7) illustrated the edge Moammar Gadhafi holds in his fight against rebel forces marching toward the capital: He controls the air. After pleading from the uprising’s leaders, Britain and France began drafting a U.N. resolution for a no-fly zone in Libya that could balance the scales. President Barack Obama warned that the U.S. and its NATO allies are still considering military options to stop what he called “unacceptable” violence by Gadhafi’s regime. NATO decided to boost flights of AWACs surveillance planes over Libya from 10 to 24 hours a day, the U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder said.

Libyan helicopter gunships strafed opposition fighters as forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi pounded them with artillery and rockets Sunday, dramatically escalating a counteroffensive to halt the rapid advance of rebels toward the capital, Tripoli.

Another scene of heavy fighting was the city of Misrata, 120 miles (200 kilometers) east of Tripoli, where a doctor told The Associated Press 20 people were killed and 100 wounded. Residents said pro-Gadhafi troops punched into the city with mortars and tanks but were pushed out five hours later by rebel forces. The rebel commanders intentionally opened the way for government tanks to enter the city, then surrounded them and attacked with anti-aircraft guns and mortars, said Abdel Fatah al-Misrati, one of the rebels.

President Barack Obama reversed course Monday and ordered a resumption of military trials for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, making his once ironclad promise to close the isolated prison look even more distant. Guantanamo has been a major political and national security headache for the president since he took office promising to close the prison within a year, a deadline that came and went without him ever setting a new one. Obama made the change with clear reluctance, bowing to the reality that Congress’ vehement opposition to trying detainees on U.S. soil leaves them nowhere else to go. The president emphasized his preference for trials in federal civilian courts, and his administration blamed congressional meddling for closing off that avenue.

Oil prices continued to set new post-recession highs Monday as forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi pounded rebels near a key oil port in Libya. It’s unclear how long the country’s oil exports will be cut off, and traders prepared for a worst-case scenario in which world supplies would be under pressure for months. Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery gained $1.02 to settle at $105.44 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price almost hit $107 per barrel earlier in electronic trading, the highest level since Sept. 26, 2008.

Southwest Airlines Co. has joined a sweeping increase of $10 in the price of many domestic round-trip airfares, citing the need to offset high fuel prices. Southwest’s action over the weekend may have ensured success for a price hike by major airlines that seemed to be faltering. Southwest carries more U.S. passengers than any airline and wields great influence over prices.

Lite News – The daughter of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has signed with William Morrow to publish “Not Afraid of Life,” to come out this summer. Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, announced Tuesday that the memoir would provide “an inside look at her life.” “Bristol gives readers an intimate behind-the-scenes look at her life for the first time, from growing up in Alaska to coming of age amid the media and political frenzy surrounding her mother’s political rise; from becoming a single mother while still a teenager to coping as her relationship with her baby’s father crumbled publicly — not once, but twice,” according to Morrow.

Technology –

Apple finally introduced the iPad 2 during its media event in San Francisco this week and gave us a preview of what’s to come in iOS 4.3. including streaming media and JavaScript performance improvements as well as adding FaceTime to the iPad 2 and Personal Hotspot to the GSM iPhone 4.

Right now, the three leading types of smartphones are running nearly neck-and-neck in the U.S., although Google’s Android models may be inching ahead. Data from Nielsen shows that slightly more U.S. consumers are buying Android phones than any other type of smartphone. Currently Android holds 29% of the US smartphone market; while the iPhone and BlackBerry hold 27% each. But wait: Android is an operating system, and there’s considerable diversity among the manufacturers, models, features, and general user experience available in that category. Under the “Android” label you’ll find everything from the high-end Motorola Droid Pro and the HTC Evo 4G to the lower-tech Samsung Intercept. Also, Android sytem updates get rolled out unevenly to various Android devices.

Sports –

Danica Patrick finished fourth in Saturday’s Nationwide race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, becoming the highest finishing woman in any of NASCAR’s to three series.”We just had a good car, that’s all I can say. That’s what makes a difference in these things,” said Patrick. “I know I haven’t had the best results, especially in NASCAR, but we’re getting them now.” Patrick had a pretty fast car throughout the entire race and only went a lap down because of the way that green-flag pit stops had cycled. She was able to get that lap back because of a cluster of cautions in the last half of the race. (Previously, Patrick had gone laps down because of a lack of speed, not bad luck).

Entertainment News –

Best Supporting Actress winner Melissa Leo may have made jaws drop at last Sunday’s Academy Awards when she let the F-bomb fly during her acceptance speech, but The Fighter star says it was never her intention to shock and awe. “I really don’t mean to offend, and [the Oscars were] probably a very inappropriate place to use that particular word,” Leo, 50, told reporters backstage after accepting her trophy.

Passing – Filmmaker Gary Winick, who directed flicks like the Jennifer Garnervehicle 13 Going on 30, died Sunday at age 49. “He was suffering from brain cancer for quite some time, and it ultimately metastasized throughout his body,” his manager Rosalie Swedlin, said.

Passing – “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” movie star Jane Russell, who became a controversial Hollywood sex symbol, died on Monday at the age of 89, her family said. Russell, best known as the buxom star of 1940s and 1950s movie, died of respiratory failure at her home in Santa Maria, central California, her family said.

Christina Aguilera was arrested early Tuesday morning in West Hollywood — along with her boyfriend, Matthew Rutler. The “Not Myself Tonight” singer was arrested at 2:45 a.m. and booked on a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication. Aguilera is in the process of being released on $250 bail.

On the heels of his client’s week of media rants bashing everyone from AA to CBS, Charlie Sheen’s long-term publicist Stan Rosenfield says he’s no longer working for the troubled actor.”I have worked with Charlie Sheen for a long time and I care about him very much,” said Rosenfield.  “However, at this time, I’m unable to work effectively as his publicist and have respectfully resigned.”

While his professional life is in turmoil, Charlie Sheen says life at home with his “goddesses” is “perfect.” “It’s perfect. It’s awesome. Every day is just filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books,” Sheen told ABC News. “We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it’s scary. People say it’s lonely at the top, but I sure like the view. … These are the women that I love that have completed the three parts of my heart.” Sheen lives with his two 24-year-old girlfriends — or as he calls them “goddesses” — Natalie Kenly, a nanny and graphic designer, and Rachel Oberlin, a porn star. Nicknaming himself the “Wedge,” Sheen called Hugh Hefner an “amateur.”

Christina Aguilera has signed on to be a coach on NBC’s upcoming singing reality competition, “The Voice.” The news comes just a day after Aguilera was arrested for public intoxication, but not charged.

Just one day after launching his Twitter account, Charlie has already crossed the 1 million followers mark.

Justin Bieber apologized on Wednesday for angrily hoisting his middle finger at paparazzi who buzzed the squeaky-clean pop star and his girlfriend after his birthday dinner in Los Angeles. The fracas occurred on Tuesday evening when Bieber and Disney starlet Selena Gomez left an Italian restaurant where they had celebrated his 17th birthday. A grim Bieber made the spontaneous gesture after he took the wheel of their vehicle and Gomez shielded her face. It was a rare outburst by the pop sensation.

Justin Bieber’s hair is officially the stuff of legend: His hair clippings have sold for more than $40,000 on eBay. After the 17-year-old pop sensation chopped off some of his famous locks, he brought the clippings to the “Ellen” show. Host Ellen DeGeneres put them on eBay. When the bidding ended, the clippings went for $40,668. The proceeds are being donated to The Gentle Barn, which rescues neglected and abused animals and uses them to help disadvantaged kids. Bieber’s magic touch continues. He’s got two albums in the top five on the U.S. album chart this week, and his movie, “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (3-D),” has grossed almost $70 million at the box office since its release last month.

Don’t hold it against her! Britney Spears gave an interview in the current issue of V Magazine talking about her new album “Femme Fatale,” life in the spotlight and what’s been on her iPod lately. “I think ‘Femme Fatale’ speaks for itself,” Britney said, noting that she spent almost two years recording it. “I think it’s the best album I have ever made.” According to Britney, “Femme Fatale” is a “fierce dance record” to play while getting ready for a night on the town. “It’s definitely my edgiest and most mature sound yet,” she said.

He can’t stop… he won’t stop… and he’s taking the Diddy train all the way to “American Idol.” Sean “Diddy” Combs is heading to the hit FOX reality singing competition, where he’ll perform his latest single, “Coming Home,” as well as mentor the contestants in the ways of “swagger,” courtesy of his signature clothing line, Sean John.

Miley Cyrus said she misses her hit Disney show. The teen star stopped by “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” on Thursday and dished about her upcoming hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live.” ”I’m super stoked, we’ve been rehearsing all day, It’s been fun,” Miley told Jimmy. “I love seeing you do funny stuff. I miss the ‘Hannah Montana’ days,” Jimmy told the actress.

Lady Gaga  made YouTube sensation Maria Aragon the happiest Little Monster in the world last night! The singer made good on her promise to duet with the 10-year-old and brought her onstage during her show on Thursday night in Toronto.

Its reveled that Mike Myers secretly wed his girlfriend, Kelly Tisdale, last fall. The couple was “married in a private ceremony and celebrated with family and friends,” his rep told the magazine. Myers, 47, and Tisdale have been dating since he split from his wife of 12 years, Robin Ruzan, in 2006.

Passing - Frank Alesia, a character actor in the beach party movies of the 1960s and a director of “Captain Kangaroo,” died February 27 of natural causes at his home in Carlsbad, California. He was 65.Alesia came to Hollywood from Chicago in 1964 and was one of the last character actors to work under the studio system. His film appearances included “Riot on the Sunset Strip” (1967) and some of the beach films that starred Frankie Avalon and/or Annette Funicello, including “Bikini Beach” (1964), “Pajama Party” (1964) and “Beach Blanket Bingo” (1965).

Scream” actor David Arquette was involved in a car crash on Friday and taken to a hospital, but was “okay and is getting treatment,” his spokeswoman said. Arquette, 39, the estranged husband of former “Friends” star Courteney Cox, was driving in the West Hollywood community of Los Angeles when his car smashed into another automobile. Arquette and Cox announced a trial separation in October after 11 years of marriage. In January Arquette spent a month in rehab, reportedly for alcohol issues and depression.

Her new romance with Glee’s Chord Overstreet isn’t the only thing giving Taylor Swift reason to celebrate. Swift, 21, just nabbed her 7th No. 1 record with the hit “Back to December.” On top of that, her album Speak Now got certified platinum for the third time. Currently in the midst of a World Tour, Swift leaves Asia and heads to Brussels to kick of a slew of European dates on Sunday.

Tyler Perry ‘s For Colored Girls topped the 42nd NAACP Image Awards with three trophies, including Best Picture.The film also took home the director and supporting actress awards Friday for Perry and Kimberly Elise, respectively. Perry had a great night overall: His TV series, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne won Best Comedy Series, while his other show, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns earned Best Actor in a Comedy Series honors for star David Mann. Halley Berry snagged Best Actress for her work in the drama Frankie & Alice, which also won Best Independent Film. Denzel Washington (The Book of Eli) and Samuel L Jackson (Mother and Child) won the lead and supporting actor prizes, respectively.

Courtney Love’s settlement of a case sparked by online attacks on a fashion designer show that while Twitter posts may be short, they can also be costly. The singer has agreed to pay Dawn Simorangkir $430,000, plus interest, to settle a lawsuit the designer filed in March 2009 over comments Love made on Twitter and her MySpace blog. While the case didn’t go to a jury, First Amendment experts say it highlights the need for celebrities and average people to watch what they say online.

Sean Penn thanked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Saturday for supporting the actor’s relief organization in Haiti, saying the aid has helped its humanitarian work in distributing medicines. Chavez met with Penn at the presidential palace and praised the actor’s efforts with his J/P Haitian Relief Organization, which was founded in response to the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Neither provided details about how much financial assistance Venezuela has provided to the group.

Television news –

Turns out it really does take a rocket scientist to beat Watson, the “Jeopardy”-winning computer. U.S. Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey — a five-time champion during the trivia show’s original run 35 years ago — topped the IBM computer Monday night in a “Jeopardy”-style match of congressmen vs. machine held at a Washington hotel. Though Holt isn’t the first human to beat Watson, the victory adds to the 62-year-old Democrat’s already-impressive resume: a former State Department arms control expert and ex-leader of the federal Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Miley Cyrus has met her “Saturday Night Live” impression while lampooning a fellow teen pop star herself. Cyrus hosted “SNL” on Saturday night, leading to an inevitable face-off between the 18-year-old singer and cast member Vanessa Bayer’s parody. But Cyrus appeared on Bayer’s “The Miley Cyrus Show” not as herself, but 17-year-old Justin Bieber. Cyrus played Bieber as too hip to use Bayer’s enthusiastic “pretty cool” catch phrase. In other sketches, Cyrus also played Fergie and Lindsay Lohan. Her Lohan impression occurred during a sketch with cast members portraying Charlie Sheen as the host of a TV show called “Duh! Winning!” with Lohan, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and fashion designer John Galliano as guests.

Monday (March7) – Charlie Sheen has been fired from “Two and a Half Men.” “After careful consideration, Warner Bros. Television has terminated Charlie Sheen’s services on ‘Two and a Half Men’ effective immediately,” Warner Bros. states.“No decision’s been made on the future of the show,” a rep for Warner Bros. tells the press. Charlie Sheen responded: “This is very good news. They continue to be in breach, like so many whales. It is a big day of gladness at the Sober Valley Lodge because now I can take all of the bazillions, never have to look at whatshiscock again and I never have to put on those silly shirts for as long as this warlock exists in the terrestrial dimension,” the actor says in a statement to the press

Hot hits this week in 2011 –

Grenade – Bruno Mars

Born This Way – Lady Gaga

F**K You (Forget You) – Cee Lo Green

S&M – Rihanna

F**kin’ Perfect – P!nk

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

Firework – Katy Perry

On The Floor – Jennifer Lopez fea. pitbll

E.T. – Katy Perry fea. Kanye West

I Need a Doctor – Dr. Dre. Fea. Eminem & Skylar Grey

Hold It Against Me- Britney Spears

Blow – Ke$ha

Rolling In The Deep – Adele

Moment 4 Life –Nicki Minaj fea. Drake

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

More – Usher

Rocketeer – Far East Movement fea. Ryan Tedder

Black and Yellow – Wiz Khalifia

Coming Home – Diddy – Dirty Money fea. Skylar Grey

Down on Me – Jeremih fea. 50 Cent

What The Hell – Avril Lavigne

Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri

Look At Me Now – Chris Brown fea. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes

Never Say Never – Justin Bieber fea. Jaden Smith

At the movies this week –

Rango (1st week $38 million)

The Adjustment Bureau (1st week $20.9 million)

Beastly – (1st week $10.1 million)

Hall Pass

Gnomeo & Juliet

Unknown

The King’s Speech

Just Go With IT

I Am Number Four

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never: The Director’s Fan Cut

Take Me Home Tonight (1st week $3.5 million)

7PM

Discover: ‘Pitchmen’

8:00

ABC: ‘No Ordinary Family’
CBS: ‘NCIS’
NBC: ‘The Biggest Loser’
FOX: ‘American Idol’
The CW: ‘One Tree Hill’
MyNetwork TV: ‘Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?’ (two episodes)
Comedy Central: ‘Onion SportsDome’
OWN: ‘What Would You Do?’

After the jump, the rest of the schedule and the late-night talk shows.

9:00

ABC: ‘V’
CBS: ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’
The CW: ‘Hellcats’
Discovery: ‘Dirty Jobs’
TLC: ‘What Not to Wear’
Food Network: ‘Cupcake Wars’
Travel Channel: ‘Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern’
History Channel: ‘Only in America With Larry the Cable Guy’ (two episodes)

9:30

FOX: ‘Raising Hope’
Cooking Channel: ‘United Tastes of America’

10:00

ABC: ’20/20′: Charlie Sheen
CBS: ‘The Good Wife’
NBC: ‘Parenthood’
USA: ‘White Collar’
TNT: ‘Southland’
FX: ‘Lights Out’
Bravo: ‘Real Housewives of Miami’
Comedy Central: ‘Tosh.0′
BBC America: ‘Louis Theroux: Behind Bars’
Discovery: ‘American Treasures’
BET: ‘The Game’

10:30

BET: ‘Let’s Stay Together’

Late-Night Talk Shows

11:00

PBS: ‘Charlie Rose’: Amy Chua
TBS: ‘Conan’: Piers Morgan, Emmy Rossum and Nick Griffin
Comedy Central: ‘The Daily Show’: Ayman Safadi
E!: ‘Chelsea Lately’: Lil Jon
BET: ‘The Mo’Nique Show’: Chris Spencer, Camille Winbush and Bun B

11:30

Comedy Central: ‘The Colbert Report’: Evan Osnos

11:35

ABC: ‘Nightline’: TBA
CBS: ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’: Amanda Seyfried, B.J. Novak and the cast of ‘Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark’
NBC: ‘The Tonight Show’: Matt Damon, Betty White and Cake

Midnight

ABC: ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live: Emily Blunt, Max Irons and Aaron Lewis
PBS: ‘Tavis Smiley’: Smokey Robinson
TBS: ‘Lopez Tonight’: Cheryl Burke

12:35

CBS: ‘The Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson’: Carla Gugino and Tom Lennon
NBC: ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’: Isla Fisher, Josh Radnor and Dan St. Germain

1:35

NBC: ‘Last Call With Carson Daly’: Jason Sudekis, Elgin James and Freddie Gibbs

Week Of February 22, 2011. This Week In History, News Pop Culture, Technology, Trends And Music. A Complete Look.

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.

Sports –

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.”

Technology –

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

NOW 37

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

Unknown

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)

True Grit

The Roommate

The Eagle

Hip Monday night television (TV Squad)
8PM

ABC: ‘The Bachelor’
CBS: ‘How I Met Your Mother’
NBC: ‘Chuck’
FOX: ‘House’
The CW: ’90210′
PBS: ‘Antiques Roadshow’
Disney XD: ‘Zeke and Luther’

8:15

Cartoon Network: ‘MAD’

.

8:30

CBS: ‘Mad Love’
Food Network: ‘Kid in a Candy Store’
Cartoon Network: ‘Regular Show’

9:00

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’

9:30

CBS: ‘Mike & Molly’
TLC: ‘Outrageous Kid Parties’

10:00

ABC: ‘Castle’
NBC: ‘Harry’s Law’
TLC: ’19 Kids and Counting’
A&E: ‘Heavy’
Bravo: ‘Bethenny Ever After’
MTV: ‘Skins’
E!: ‘Fashion Police’

Late-Night Talk Shows

11:00

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

11:30

Comedy Central: ‘The Colbert Report’: Michael Scheur

11:35

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

Midnight

ABC: ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live: Bill Maher and Esperanza Spalding
PBS: ‘Tavis Smiley’: Charles Ferguson
TBS: ‘Lopez Tonight’: Owen Wilson, Aly Michalka and Terry Fator

12:35

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

1:35

NBC: ‘Last Call With Carson Daly’: Nate Corddry, Troupe Vertigo and Off (repeat)

This Week In History… One Year Ago – Week of January 8, 2010. Pop Culture.

Week of January 8, 2010

Police have identified the body of a woman found in a burning trash bin in North Miami earlier this week. Playboy model Paula Sladewski, 26, went missing after traveling from California to go to the Lady Gaga concert at the Fontainbleau on New Year’s Eve with her boyfriend. Some time over the weekend, the couple got into an argument, according to the Miami New Times, and Sladewski, a native of Michigan, stormed off never to be seen alive again. The body was found on NE 130th just off Archer Road on Sunday in an empty bin.

College football- Alabama rules! That defense knocked Texas quarterback Colt McCoy out of the BCS title game early Thursday night, then made a big play to save the win late and restore glory to Bear Bryant’s football factory with a 37-21 victory for the Crimson Tide’s first national title since 1992. “We back,” said Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, the offensive MVP.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the investigation of a bomb plot against New York City. FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko says Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay were arrested early Friday in New York. The FBI says the arrests were part of “an ongoing investigation.” The charges were not immediately detailed.

President Barack Obama on Saturday renewed his pitch for final congressional passage of a U.S. healthcare overhaul and promised Americans they will begin reaping the benefits soon after he signs a bill into law. As Obama’s fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Senate struggle to merge their healthcare bills into one, the president used his weekly radio address to try to ease lingering public doubts over his top legislative priority. The president stepped back into the center of the healthcare debate after being preoccupied for much of his first week back from vacation in Hawaii with fallout over the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner.
A man believed to have breached security to bid his girlfriend goodbye, triggering the shutdown of a busy Newark Airport terminal that led to snarled flights worldwide, was arrested in New Jersey and faces a trespassing charge and a fine of up to $500, punishment a senator says should be much harsher. Haisong Jiang, 28, of Piscataway was taken into custody at 7:30 p.m. Friday at his home, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said. He was questioned at the airport by Port Authority police, who arrested him, and released shortly after midnight.

A powerful offshore earthquake rattled communities in far northern California, cutting power to thousands of customers, causing minor damage to homes and businesses and forcing many people to seek treatment for cuts and bruises from falling debris. The 6.5 magnitude temblor hit at about 4:27 p.m. PST Saturday and was centered in the Pacific about 22 miles west of Ferndale, but was felt as far south as Capitola in central California and as far north as central Oregon, the U.S. Geological Survey said. In Eureka, about 240 miles north of San Francisco, residents of an apartment building were evacuated, and an office building and two other commercial structures were declared unsafe for occupancy, according to Humboldt County spokesman Phil Smith-Hanes.

Prominent Democrats defended Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid after a new book revealed racial remarks he made about Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign. In a private conversation reported in the book, Reid described Obama as a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

A nuclear physics professor who publicly backed Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi in the disputed June presidential election was killed Tuesday when a remote-controlled bomb rigged to a motorcycle blew up outside his home. State media identified the victim as Masoud Ali Mohammadi, 50, a professor at Tehran University, which has been at the center of recent protests by student opposition supporters. Before the election, pro-reform Web sites published Ali Mohammadi’s name among a list of 240 Tehran University teachers who supported Mousavi.
An earthquake hit the impoverished country of Haiti. A hospital and other buildings collapsed and people were screaming for help.
The earthquake had a magnitude of 7 and was centered about 10 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed a short time later by two powerful aftershocks of magnitude 5.9 and 5.5. The death toll could be tens of thousands and beyond.

U.S. officials are laying out a massive military response to the Haiti earthquake, saying that ships, helicopters, transport planes and a 2,000-member Marine unit are either on the way or likely to begin moving soon. Gen. Douglas Fraser, head of U.S. Southern Command, said Wednesday that one of the U.S. Navy’s large amphibious ships will likely head to Haiti with a Marine expeditionary unit aboard. Fraser said other U.S. military forces are on alert, including a brigade, which includes about 3,500 troops.

Sarah Palin is joining Fox News where she’ll be a commentator.

Simon Cowell is leaving “American Idol” after this next season. He’s producing X-Factor” – a hit in Britain which is coming to Fox-TV – in which, he’ll also appear.

Mark McGwire finally came clean, admitting he used steroids when he broke Baseball’s Home run record in 1998. McGwire said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Monday that he used steroids on and off for nearly a decade. “I wish I had never touched steroids,” McGwire said in a statement. “It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”

Miley Cyrus is leaving “Hannah Montana” as enough episodes will be shot until her contract expires in 2011.

Jay Leno is back at 11:35p – but will Conan follow? Leno’s prime time show ends in early February. But wait, O’Brien says he’s rejecting NBC’s attempt to move “The Tonight Show” ” to a post-midnight slot to accommodate Jay Leno’s return to late-night. In a statement Tuesday, O’Brien says that NBC has given him a scant seven months to try to establish himself as host of “Tonight.”

Backstreet Boy AJ Mclean is making it official. McLean, 32, proposed to his girlfriend Rochelle Deanna Karidis while performing solo in Las Vegas.

The economic slump has prices for Super Bowl commercial time falling for only the second time in its history, but it is still the most expensive on television. TNS Media Intelligence saidthat 30-second commercials during next month’s Super Bowl on CBS are selling for between $2.5 million and $2.8 million. That’s a drop from last year, when ads averaged $3 million on NBC.

“American Idol” season 9 begins – with auditions in Boston. Victoria Beckham was this season’s first guest judge (Ellen Degeneres won’t appear until the Hollywood rounds). As always – Simon Cowell had the most quips.

R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass, who was one of the most electric and successful figures in music until a car crash 28 years ago left him in a wheelchair, has died of colon cancer. He was 59. Pendergrass died in suburban Philadelphia, where he had been hospitalized for months. The singer’s son, Teddy Pendergrass II, said his father underwent colon cancer surgery eight months ago and had “a difficult recovery.”

George Clooney is the latest celebrity to plead for help in raising funds for the Haitian earthquake relief effort — the actor will host a U.S. telethon later this month. The Up in the Air star has reportedly partnered with MTV to host the show next Friday. Clooney is urging his famous pals to appear on the telethon to aid in fundraising. The actor’s pal Brad Pitt and partner Angelina Jolie have already donated $1 million to Doctors Without Borders and Haitian singer Wyclef Jean has also urged support for earthquake survivors through his Yele Haiti charity. Stars including Ben Stiller, Jessica Alba, Shakira, Oprah Winfrey and Chris Martin have also called for people to lend their support to those left homeless after Tuesday’s disaster.

Hot hits this week –
Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
Tik Tok – Ke$ha
Replay – Iyaz
Empire of the State – Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
Sexy Chick – David Guetta and Akon
Down – Jay Sean fea. Lil’ Wayne
Fireflies – Owl City
Watcha Say – Jason Derulo
Party in the U.S.A. – Miley Cyrus
I Gotta Feeling – Black Eyed Peas
BedRock – Young Money fea. Lloyd
Do You Remember – Jean Sean fea. Sean Paul, Lil John
Meet Me Halfway – Black Eyed Peas
Paparazzi – Lady Gaga
You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift
Hard – Rihanna fea. Jeezy
3 – Britney Spears
Drop The World – Lil’ Wayne fea. Eminem
Forever – Drake fea. Lil’ Wayne Kanye West, Eminem
Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
Two Is Better Than One – Boys Like Girls fea. Taylor Swift
How Low – Ludacris
Sweet Dreams – Beyonce
Evacuate the Dance Floor – Cascada
Already Gone – Kelly Clarkson
Use Somebody – Kings of Leon
One Time – Justin Bieber
Hey, Soul Sister – Train

At the movies this week:
Avatar
Sherlock Holmes
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Speakquel
Daybreakers
It’s Complicated
Leapyear
The Blind Side
Up In The Air
Youth In Revolt
The Princess And the Frog

Mr. Pop Culture Report – July 8… … Ryan Seacrest Is Up To Something… Lower Ticket Demand Pulls Back “Idol” Tour… Hot Hits This Week.

Lower demand – Seven shows on the American Idol Live! Tour have been canceled while others have been changed, according to a revised schedule released by tour organizer Live Nation. The tour featuring the ninth season’s top 10 singers was originally planned to end Sept. 16 in Portland, Maine, but is now scheduled to stop on Sept. 14 in Pittsburgh.

The Hollywood Reporter says Ryan Seacrest is piloting a new dance show project for E! Networks. Exact details of the untitled project have yet to be revealed, but the show will co-star Lady Gaga choreographer Laurie Ann Gibson and will revolve around choreographers and dancers in Los Angeles

Music passing – Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Moonglows member and Motown legend Harvey Fuqua died at age 80 on Tuesday in a Detroit hospital. The cause of death was “coronary problems” from an unspecified illness, according to the Motown Alumni Association.

Hot Hits This Week In 2010 –

California Gurls – Katy Perry fea. Snoop Dogg

OMG – Usher fea. will.i.am

Love The Way You Lie – Eminem fea. Rihanna

Billionaire – Travie McCoy fea. Bruno Mars

Airplanes – B.o.B. fea. Hayley Williams

Find Your Love – Drake

Your Love Is My Drug – Ke$ha

Cooler Than Me – Mike Posner

Mr. Pop Culture Report – June 23

The Droid X phone is here from Verizon. Chief among the features it promotes is a 4.3-inch screen, considerably bigger than the new iPhone’s 3.5-inch display. It also highlights the phone’s video and audio capabilities — particularly the ability to capture and show high-definition video and play digital audio. All this – one day before Apple rolls out its iPhone 4.

Lady Gaga Is A… “This woman is a jerk! I hate her,” said Jerry Sienfeld during a WFAN (NY) radio interview Monday. Seinfeld took aim at Gaga, 24, after she was famously placed in his luxury box at a recent Mets game and flipped off photographers. “I can’t believe they put her in my box, which I paid for!” griped Seinfeld. “You give people the finger and you get upgraded? Is that the world we’re living in now?” “You take one ‘A’ off that and you’ve got ‘Gag,’” he dissed, adding: “She is talented, though. I don’t know why she’s doing this stuff.”

Mr. Pop Culture Report – June 21

Popular in 2010 – Silly Bandz this year’s kiddie rage (and parents seem to love them too). They’re brightly colored silicone bands shaped like the outlines of animals, letters, princesses, and more. Kids, and a few notable parents such as Sarah Jessica Parker, stretch them out to wear like bracelets. When taken off they revert to their original shapes. Kids also trade them, count them, and fling them, which is why they’ve been banned in some schools around the country. A pack of 24 costs about $5. Robert J. Croak, the 47-year-old founder of BCP, says he has sold millions.

BP has spent $2 billion in two months of fighting its Gulf of Mexico oil spill and compensating victims, with no end in sight to the disaster or the price tag.

Tiger Cold -  Tiger Woods has now thrown away chances to win five of the past six majors, the latest coming Sunday after a disastrous closing 4-over-par 75 at the 110th United States Open.

Gaga Non Gratis – Lady Gaga - the outlandish pop singer, talked her way past security and visited the Yankees clubhouse after the team lost to the New York Mets on Friday night. The New York Post reported Sunday that Yankees co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner was upset with Lady Gaga’s antics and permanently barred her from the locker room. While in the clubhouse, she reportedly drank whiskey while wearing a bikini bottom and a pinstriped jersey that was unbuttoned to reveal her bra. Several Yankees, including Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriquez and visited with her.

Mr. Pop Culture Report – April 29…

Lady Gaga makes the Time top 100 most influential people (past year) – a list that just came out.  Besides Gaga, a number of musicians made the list, including Taylor Swift, Prince and Elton John.

And…

Lady Gaga’s former boyfriend, producer and business partner, is suing the pop star for $30.5 million, claiming he was pushed away after their failed romance. Songwriter-producer Rob Fusari’s lawsuit contends he transformed Stefani Germanotta into “Lady Gaga” and switched her rock riffs with dance beats to make her songs commercial hits. ” Lady Gaga, one of the world’s hottest recording acts, won two Grammys this year for her debut album.

Renewing one’s wedding vows is typically a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey prefer to do it a little more frequently than that — like every year! “I encourage everybody to do it. If you are happy and in love, celebrate it!” Cannon, 29, said Friday on his New York radio show, confirming that he and his pop-star wife, 40, will renew their vows — for a second time — to celebrate their second wedding anniversary.

Blasts Leno – In his first interview since quitting NBC in January, Conan O’Brien says that if the situation had been reversed, he would have gone “someplace else” rather than do what Leno had done. “He (Leno) went and took that show back and I think in a similar situation, if roles had been reversed, I know — I know me, I wouldn’t have done that,” O’Brien told “60 Minutes” in an interview to be broadcast on CBS on Sunday.

And – last year at this time – Can you believe It?…

Hugh Jackman has left his mark in Hollywood. The Australian actor had his hand and footprints cast in cement on Tuesday, in front of Hollywood’s historic Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

Elton John bids farewell to the Las Vegas Strip after five years and 241 shows at Caesars Palace — but said it won’t necessarily be a long, long time before he returns.

Top movies this week in 2009 –

Obsessed

17 Again

Fighting

The Soloist

Earth

Monsters vs. Aliens

State of Play

Hannah Montana The Movie

Fast & Furious

High Voltage

I Love You, Man

Mr. Pop Culture Report – April 21

Actor and director Leonard Nimoy (79) has announced plans to retire from acting after 60 years in the movie business. The “Star Trek” icon began his acting career in the early 1950s and rose to international stardom as Mr. Spock in the sci-fi series. He says, “I’ve been doing this professionally for 60 years. I love the idea of going out on a positive note. I’ve had a great, great time.”

Nothin’ On You – B.o.B. fea. Bruno Mars

Rude Boy – Rihanna

Hey, Soul Sister – Train

In My Head – Jason Derulo

Break Your Heart – Taio Cruz fea. Ludacris

Need You Now – Lady Antebellum

Telephone – Lady Gaga fea. Beyonce

Rocker Courtney Love is changing her name to Courtney Michelle – and that’s that. The 45-year-old, born Courtney Michelle Harrison, also added that she is “sick” of talking about her late husband, Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain. “I am not his spokesperson on Earth,” she said. “I don’t know what he’d be like now, he could be into society girls, he could be into fat girls, he could be homosexual. We don’t know, he died at 27.”

Mr. Pop Archives – This Week In 1970 –

Phil Esposito scores a three-goal hat trick against Tony Esposito, his younger brother to lead Boston to a 6-3 victory over Chicago in the opening game of their best-of-seven Stanley Cup Eastern Division final playoff series.

Pitcher Tom Seaver drives in three runs with a single and a two-run double to score his first victory of the Season as the Mets defeat the St. Louis 6-4.

Music news – Three British pop singers are picking up $9.6 million on tours of the Untied States. Tom Jones, currently regarded as the world’s highest paid male singer, is on a four-month U.S. tour. He’ll make $4.8 million. Engelbert Humperdinck is set for a nine-month tour and will share $4.8 million with British songstress Lulu.

Entertainment News

Sock-It-To-Me girl Judy Carne makes her Broadway debut in “The Boy Friend” at the Ambassador Theater.