Early MTV-Made Bands/Artists… MTV Was Responsible For The Success Of… Pop Culture History.

Mr. Pop History – Everyone seems to know that Duran Duran was the first to exploit the possibilities of video, music and getting on MTV. So, for the first few years of MTV – who were the others in pop history? My list includes Madonna, Stray Cats, Culture Club, Janet Jackson, Paula Abdul and Milli Vanilli.

Gary West of www.mrpopculture.com  and  www.mrpophistory.com

This Week In History. News, pop culture, trends, TV guide, music. A complete look at the week of November 1, 2010.

This Week In Pop History. A complete look at the week of November 1, 2010

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

In The News -

Iraq’s dwindling Christian community was grieving and afraid on Monday after militants seized a Baghdad church during evening Mass, held the congregation hostage and triggered a raid by Iraqi security forces. The bloodbath left at least 52 people killed and 67 wounded — nearly everyone inside.

BP lifted its estimate of the likely cost of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill to $40 billion on Tuesday, denting profits, but its underlying performance beat all expectations on higher refining margins and a lower tax rate. BP, the world’s biggest non-government controlled oil company by production last year, said delays in capping its blown-out well prompted the increased charge for ending the leak, cleaning up the damage and compensating those affected.

Bombs exploded at the Swiss and Russian embassies in Athens on Tuesday and police found suspect packages at two other embassies in a wave of parcel bomb attacks in the Greek capital. Police linked the attacks to Greek leftist guerrillas. Small bomb and gas canister attacks have been frequent in Greece since 2008 when the police killing of a teenager sparked the country’s worst riots in decades.

South Korea said Tuesday (Nov. 2) it would build a massive offshore wind farm off the west coast by 2019 to develop new sources of renewable energy and help wind turbine exporters. Under the 9.2 trillion won (8.2 billion dollars) project, companies such as Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering plan to build 500 turbines, the Knowledge Economy Ministry said in a statement. The wind farm, to be built near the southwestern counties of Buan and Yeonggwang, will generate about 2,500 megawatts of electricity, it said.

Elections –

The Republicans retake the house 240-185 as the Democrats retain the senate at 51-46. Republicans picked up at least 60 House seats, far more than the 39 they needed for a majority that would elevate John Boehner to House speaker and put Republicans in charge of House committees. It is the biggest shift in power since Democrats lost 75 House seats in 1948. Conservative grass roots activists associated with the Tea Party movement shook up the Republican Party earlier this year when they toppled some incumbents deemed not conservative  enough and replaced them with less experienced, more ideological candidates. Tea Party favorites won in Florida, Utah and Kentucky, ensuring an influx of conservative views in the staid chamber. But the movement may have prevented Republicans from winning the Senate, as voters rejected Tea Party-backed candidates in Nevada, Delaware and West Virginia. The Dems had a few bright spots – Joe Manchin winning the Senate race in West Virginia, Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown prevailing in California, Harry Reid hanging on in Nevada. Election stats were amazing. Some 50 Democrat incumbents are gone! John Boehner in Picture.

A chastened President Barack Obama signaled a willingness to compromise with Republicans on tax cuts and energy policy Wednesday, one day after his party lost control of the House and suffered deep Senate losses in midterm elections. Obama ruefully called the Republican victories “a shellacking” and acknowledged that his own connection with the public had frayed.

Emboldened by a commanding House majority and Senate gains, Republican leaders vowed Wednesday to roll back the size of government and, in time, the nation’s sweeping health care law. President Barack Obama, reflective after his party’s drubbing, accepted blame for failing to deliver the economic security Americans demand while saying of his health overhaul: “This was the right thing to do.” He called the election a “shellacking.” After two years with fellow Democrats leading Congress, Obama now must deal for the rest of his term with the jarring reality of Republican control of the House, a diminished Democratic majority in the Senate and a new flock of lawmakers sworn to downsize government at every chance.

Rebuked by voters, President Obama is turning overseas, heading to Asia for 10 days of diplomacy, tourism and dealmaking that could boost the battered chief executive and highlight his political skills on the world stage. First stop – India, then a sojourn through India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan aimed at highlighting America’s increasing engagement with Asia.

A Yemen-based al-Qaida group is claiming responsibility for the international mail bomb plot uncovered late last week as well as the crash of a United Parcel Service cargo plane in September. A week after authorities intercepted packages in Dubai and England that were bound for the U.S., Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula issued a message Friday saying it will continue to strike American and Western interests. They specifically said they would target civilian and cargo aircraft.

Hurricane Tomas flooded the earthquake-shattered remains of a Haitian town on Friday, forcing families who had already lost their homes in one disaster to flee another. In the country’s capital, quake refugees resisted calls to abandon flimsy tarp and tent camps.

Indonesia – A surge of searing gas raced down the sides of Mount Merapi on Friday, smothering houses, cattle and villagers in its path. The death toll after the volcano’s largest eruption in a century soared to 122. The worst hit village of Bronggang lay nine miles (15 kilometers) from the fiery crater, just on the perimeter of the government-delineated “danger zone.” Crumpled roofs, charred carcasses of cattle and broken chairs — all layered in white ash and soot — dotted the smoldering landscape.

President Obama announced a host of new trade deals with India supporting tens of thousands of U.S. jobs Saturday as he began a 10-day trip through Asia on a determinedly domestic note. Intent on demonstrating his attention to the sluggish U.S. economy even while overseas, Obama, also told a meeting of U.S. and Indian executives that the U.S. would relax some export regulations that have complicated trade between America and this fast-growing country of 1.2 billion people.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Congress should act quickly, before new members take their seats, to repeal the miltary’s plan on gays serving openly in the military.

Iraq’s political rivals reached a breakthrough power-sharing deal in which Nuri al-Maliki, a Shiite, retains the premiership, a spokesman said on Sunday, exactly eight months after inconclusive elections. The deal was between the National Alliance, which represents the main Shiite parties, and the Kurdish coalition, while Iraqiya’s support hinged on its agreement over the posts of speaker and president.

A French nun who was considered the world’s oldest person died Thursday on the Caribbean island of St. Barthelemy at the age of 114, the French government said. Eugenie Blanchard, who friends called “Sweets” because of her kindness, died at around 3 a.m. at Bruyn Hospital, where she had lived in the geriatric ward since 1980, said hospital director Pierre Nuty.

After 14 years of serving the Big Island, financially strapped Japan Airlines has ended flights between Tokyo and Kona International Airport. The last passengers arriving from Narita International Airport to Kona Friday were greeted with lei and live Hawaiian music, the Big Island Visitors Bureau said.

Sports –

Cowboys sucking eggs this season – After the Cowboys’ 35-17 home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, owner Jerry Jones spoke to the media in a state of confusion. “I’m embarrassed,” Jones said. “Of course I am. And to every fan, I should have and do take the ultimate, ultimate responsibility. I do. That’s the way we’re structured. That’s the way I run it. There’s no question that I have the plan and executing it to have the best players and the best coaching that we can have. I’m dumbfounded that we are 1-7.”

The San Francisco Giants win the World Series in a 4-0 sweep against the Texas Rangers.

Passing – Former Reds and Tiger Manager: Sparky Anderson passes away at the age of 76 due to complications of dementia.

Passing – Three time world surfing champ Andy Irons (32).

Technology –

Priceline.com has introduced a new feature that makes it easier to find the hotel freebie of your dreams. “Increasingly freebies are becoming a staple for hotels of almost any star level to differentiate themselves, especially in this economy,” said Priceline spokesman Brian Ek. “What we’re finding is that consumers are looking for freebies and they value them, in some cases as much or more than a really good rate.” Priceline has listed hotels with freebies before, but until now, “there wasn’t a way to conveniently see who was offering what in a macro sense. You could not easily compare,” Ek said. The new feature assembles freebies “in a searchable way, so that a visitor to the site could mine our hotel database to see what’s available.”

Leading video game publisher and developer NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. announced today that PAC-MAN Party has gone gold for Wii. Set in a birthday party theme, PAC-MAN stars in this new venture packed with dozens of mini-games, challenges and surprises. Utilizing the Wii Remote, the game’s easy to pick-up-and-play controls will have players using their skills and reflexes to compete against one another as they move about unique virtual game boards. With something for everyone in the family, PAC-MAN Party will be packed with non-stop action when it is available throughout North America on November 16, 2010.

Known as three-dimensional telepresence, executives may not be able to beam a full three-dimensional image of themselves across the world just yet but researchers are a step closer to 3-D real-time images, an advance in holographic technology that could make video conferencing far more lifelike. Nasser Peyghambarian of the University of Arizona and colleagues said on Wednesday their new holographic technology can project a near 360-degree image to another location that updates every two seconds. The earliest use of the technology could be in movies, given the popularity of 3-D films such as “Avatar.”

Android smartphone market share trails iPhone market share by a scant 9 percentage points in a recent study from analysis giant Nielsen. According to statistics on overall U.S. market share, Android is the single fastest-growing mobile platform. By contrast, Apple’s iOS shows an ever-so-slight decline. Other operating systems, including BlackBerry and Windows Mobile, show sharp declines over the past quarter. Still, BlackBerry is the top mobile OS by the numbers, with around 30 percent of the total market share.

Facebook begins offering coupons from various retailers, including a promotion from Gap which will give away 10,000 pairs of jeans. Mobile users can access the partner deals on their smartphones, go to the store and show the virtual coupon to the clerk. Facebook said it is launching a test version of the feature, called Deals, with more than 20 companies, including the Gap, McDonalds, 24 Hour Fitness, American Eagle Outfitters and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a chain of movie theaters that serves food and drinks


Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the Minnesota woman who has been fighting the recording industry over 24 songs she illegally downloaded and shared online four years ago, has lost another round in court. A jury in Minneapolis decided today that she was liable for $1.5 million in copyright infringement damages to Capitol Records, or $62,500 for each song she illegally shared in April 2006. The Recording Industry Association of America–the trade group that represents the four major music labels–applauded the verdict.

Entertainment –

Taylor Swift, 20, signed a deal to create her very own signature scent with Elizabeth Arden, the company behind the fragrances of Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, Elizabeth Taylor and Usher “I have always loved how fragrance can shape a memory the way certain scents remind you of events and people that are imprinted in your thoughts,” Swift said in a statement.

A U.S. teen was crowned Miss World 2010. Alexandria Mills was named the winner in this year’s competition. The 18-year-old from Lexington, Ky., became the third ever U.S. contestant to take the title in the pageant’s history. Second place went to Emma Wareus of Botswana. Adriana Vasini of Venezuela came in third.

Director Ron Howard says he will not cut a joke using the word “gay” from his new film, The Dilemma. The joke was deemed insensitive by GLAAD and subsequently removed from the film’s trailer two weeks ago. In the clip, Vince Vaughn, who plays an automotive consultant, says, “Ladies and gentleman, electric cars are gay.” “I believe in sensitivity but not censorship. I feel that our film is taking additional heat as an emblem for many movies and TV shows that preceded it that have even more provocative characterizations and language,” said Howard.

Filmmaker George Hickenlooper has died at age 47, just before the premiere of his new film “Casino Jack” at the Starz Denver Film Festival, the Denver Post newspaper reported on Saturday.

Fergie has been named a Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine. As a result of the honor, the triple threat is being featured on three different covers for the mag’s 20th anniversary of its Women of the Year Awards.

Justin Bieber has written his first book. “So, the reason I decided to write this book at such a young age is because there is so much stuff on the Internet that is misconstrued and a lot of people have [written] stuff about me and it’s just not right,” It’s called “First Step 2 Forever: My Story.”

Charlie Sheen has filed for divorce from his third wife, Brooke Mueller Sheen. He is seeking joint custody of the former couples’ twins while Brooke Sheen filed her own petition for divorce, seeking sole custody and spousal support.

Randy Travis and his wife divorce after 19 years of marriage.

Passing – Charlie O’ Donnell – heard as the announcer on “Wheel of Fortune” and other game shows of the past. He began his career as a top-40 DJ when AM radio was king. He was 78. His other gameshow announcing credits include: “The Dating Game,” “Everybody’s Talking,” “The Gong Show,” “The Guinness Game,” “Hot Potato,” “The Joker’s Wild,” “Let’s Go Back,” “Monopoly,” “The Newlywed Game,” “The Parent Game,” “Stompers,” “Tic Tac Dough,” “To Tell The Truth,” “Trivia Trap,” “Wedding Party,” “The Wizard of Odds” and “Wordplay.” Do you remember half of those?

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, marking a climax to a drawn-out restructuring for the storied Hollywood studio that controls the James Bond films and made “The Wizard of Oz.” The Chapter 11 filing follows last week’s vote by creditors to support a “prepackaged” bankruptcy in which MGM will shed more than $4 billion of debt and hand control to its secured lenders. Management would be assumed by Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, who run the Spyglass Entertainment film company. MGM filed for protection from creditors after striking an agreement with Carl Icahn, one of its largest debtholders, to win the billionaire’s support for a restructuring.

Update – The reason Miley Cyrus’’ parents are splitting after 17 years of marriage: Mom Tish had an affair with rocker Bret Michaels. When Billy Ray learned of it – as well as at least one other fling – he filed for divorce Oct. 27.


Passing – Jill Clayburgh, the sophisticated Hollywood and Broadway actress known for portrayals of empowered women in a career spanning five decades, highlighted by her Oscar-nominated role of a divorcee exploring life after marriage in the 1978 film “An Unmarried Woman,” has died. She was 66.

Music news –

Taylor Swift fans have spoken — more than a million times. The country-pop superstar sold more than 1 million copies of her new album “Speak Now” to debut at the top of the Billboard album chart this week. Billboard.com said Wednesday that it’s the biggest debut since 50 Cent’s “The Massacre” five years ago.

On the heels of the news that Miley Cyrus’’ parents – Billy Ray and Tish – were divorcing, Miley also finds herself a single gal, again. Miley and her on-again/off-again beau, Liam Hemsworth, have split again.

Lady Gaga took home three prizes at the MTV Europe Music Awards for best pop artist, best female singer and best song for her single “Bad Romance.”

Lil Wayne checks in with the officials in Yuma County, Ariz., to begin a three-year stint of unsupervised probation for a drug conviction. Yuma County chief probation officer Steve Hardy says the 28-year-old rapper’s case is being transferred to his home state of Florida. For the next three years, he must avoid drugs and alcohol and not commit any new crimes, among other conditions. Real name is Dwayne Carter Jr., he was released from a New York jail Thursday after serving eight months in a gun case.

Television news –

The Oprah Winfrey Network announces three shows – starring Ryan and Tatum O’Neal, Naomi and Wynonna Judd and Carson Kressley. The three shows —Ryan and Tatum: The O’Neals, The Judds and Carson-Nation — will premiere in 2011. The O’Neals will focus on the father and daughter actors as they try to reconcile after a 25-year estrangement. The Judds will follow the Grammy-winning country music duo as they prepare for their first tour together in 10 years. Carson-Nation centers on the former Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fashion and design expert as he travels through the country to give makeovers to residents of small towns.

AMC’s new zombie drama The Walking Dead debuted to 5.3 million viewers, the largest audience for any original series on the network.

For the second year in a row, ABC will air a Thanksgiving special with Beyonce. Beyonce’s I Am… World Tour will feature a compilation of performances, backstage moments and life on her tour. Jay-Z, the 29-year-old Grammy winner’s husband, and Kanye West are slated to make guest appearances.

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and conservative media critic Bernie Goldberg slammed MSNBC on Wednesday for having the network’s top liberal hosts and commentators lead election night coverage. Goldberg praised CNN and Fox News for having nonpartisan anchors give results, with commentators on the right and left providing analysis. But he said  MSNBC “jumped the shark” with its team, which included Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O’Donnell and Eugene Robinson in the studio, along with Ed Schultz in Las Vegas.

Passing – Storm Chaser Matt Hughs. Storm chasing is now an extreme sport!

MSNBC has suspended “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann Friday after the it was learned he donated to three Democratic candidates. He had given the maximum individual donation of $2,400 to three candidates in this week’s elections. Olbermann, in a statement to Politico, said that he “did not privately or publicly encourage anyone else to donate to these campaigns nor to any others in this election or any previous ones.” Also, Olbermann said he had not “previously donated to any political campaign at any level.”

Hip Wednesday night television (TV Squad)

8:00 to 9:00
ABC: ‘The Middle’ and ‘Better With You’
CBS: ‘Survivor: Nicaragua’
CW: ‘America’s Next Top Model’
NBC: ‘Undercovers’
PBS: ‘Secrets of the Dead’* — Season 10
Cartoon Network: ‘Dude, What Would Happen?’ and ‘Destroy Build Destroy’
DisneyXD: ‘The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’
G4: ‘Campus PD’ and ‘That’s Tough’
Logo: ‘Bump!’

9:00 to 10:00
ABC: ‘Modern Family’ and ‘Cougar Town’
CBS: ‘Criminal Minds’
CW: ‘Hellcats’
NBC: ‘Law & Order: SVU’
PBS: ‘Circus’* — (120 minutes)
A&E: ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ — 9:30 start
BBC America: ‘I’d Do Anything’* — (120 minutes)
Bio: ‘Biography’ — Focus on all of the ‘Star Trek’ captains
DIRECTV The 101 Network: ‘Friday Night Lights’
Discovery: ‘MythBusters’
DisneyXD: ‘Naruto: Shippuden’
DIY: ’10 Grand in Your Hand’
History: ‘Marijuana: A Chronic History’ — (120 minutes)
ID: ‘The Will: Family Secrets Revealed’*
NatGeo: ‘Border Wars’
NatGeo WILD: ‘My Dog Ate What?’*
Showtime: ‘Inside the NFL’
SyFy: ‘Ghost Hunters’
Travel: ‘Man v. Food Presents Carnivore Chronicles’
truTV: ‘Most Shocking’

10:00 to 11:00
ABC: ‘In the Spotlight With Robin Roberts: All Access Nashville’
CBS: ‘The Defenders’
NBC: ‘Law & Order: Los Angeles’
A&E: ‘Steven Seagal Lawman’ — Two episodes
Animal Planet: ‘I Shouldn’t Be Alive’
Bravo: ‘Top Chef: Just Desserts’
Cooking Channel: ‘Bitchin Kitchen’ — 10:30 start
Comedy Central: ‘South Park’ and ‘Ugly Americans’
DIRECTV: ‘Mutual Friends’*
Discovery: ‘Storm Chasers’
Discovery Health: ‘My Deadly Appetite’
DIY: ‘Disaster House’ — 10:30 start
E!: ‘What’s Eating You’
Food Network: ‘Tailgate Warriors With Guy Fieri’
FX: ‘Terriers’
ID: ‘Who the Bleep Did I Marry’**
MTV: ‘The Challenge: Cutthroat’
Science Channel: ‘Sci Fi Science’
Showtime: ‘Inside NASCAR’
Spike: ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and ‘Blue Mountain State’ — ‘Blue Mountain’ starts at 10:55
SyFy: ‘Hollywood Treasure’ — Two episodes
TBS: ‘Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns’
TLC: ‘LA Ink’**
Travel: ‘Food Wars’
truTV: ‘Black Gold’
TV Land: ‘Harry Loves Lisa’
VH1: ‘I Love Money’

11:00 to Midnight
Style: ‘Clean House Comes Clean’ — Two episodes
VH1: ‘Real and Chance: The Legend Hunters’

‘Charlie Rose’ (PBS): TBA
‘The Mo’Nique Show’ (BET): Beverly Bond; Iyanla Vanzant; performance by Chrisette Michele
‘The Daily Show’ (Comedy Central): Chris Wallace
‘Chelsea Lately’ (E!): Emily Procter (PHOTO)
‘Lopez Tonight’ (TBS): William Shatner; Atticus Shaffer; performance by Soulja Boy

‘Late Show With David Letterman’ (CBS): Tina Fey; performance by Brad Paisley

‘The Tonight Show’ (NBC): James Franco; Meghan McCain; performance by Far East Movement
‘The Colbert Report’ (Comedy Central): Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin

‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ (ABC): Danny McBride; performance by Huey Lewis
‘Tavis Smiley’ (PBS): Recap of the midterm elections

‘The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson’ (CBS): Louis Black; Jayma Mays; performance by Dr. Dog
‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’ (NBC): Zach Galifianakis; director Danny Boyle; performance by Kid Cudi

‘Last Call With Carson Daly’ (NBC): Craig Robinson; performance by Built to Spill

Hot Hits This Week In 2010 –

We R Who We R – Ke$ha

Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars

Like a G6 – Far East Movement fea. Cataracs & Dev

Only Girl (In The World) – Rihanna

DJ Got us Fallin’ In Love – Usher fea. Pitbull

Just A Dream – Nelly

Bottoms Up – Trey Songz fea. Nicki Minaj

Raise Your Glass – P!nk

Dynamite – Taio Cruz

Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

Whip My Hair – Willow

Animal – Neo Trees

Club Can’t Handle Me – Flo Rida fea. David Guetta

Deuces – Chris Brown fea. Tyga & Kevin McCall

Love The Way You Lie – Eminem fea. Rihanna

Sparks Fly – Taylor Swift

Monster – Kanye West fea. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Bon Iver & Nicki Minaj

Please Don’t Go – Mike Posner

Mine – Taylor Swift

Right Above It – Lil Wayne fea. Drake

F**k You (Forget You) – Cee Lo Green

If I Die Young – The Band Perry

No Hands – Waks Flocka Flame fea. Roscoe Dash & Wal

Check it Out – will.i.am & Nick Minaj

Top Video Games –

Fable III (X360)

Fallout: New Vegas (X360) (PS2)

Star Wars: The Force Unleased… (X360 PS3)

Just Dance 2 (Wii)

Medal of Honor (X360)

Wii Sports Resort

Wii Sports

Rock Band 3 (X360)

At the movies –

Megamind (1st week $47.65 million)

Due Date (1st week $33.5 million)

For Colored Girls (1st week $20 million)



Paranormal Activity 2

Jackass 3D



The Social Network

When Was The Original “Star Trek” At Its Height In Popularity? Pop Culture Triva

Mr. Pop History – As we all know, the original NBC run was between 1966 and 1969 – then, it was off the air. But something happened in syndication, where all 79 original episodes could be seen. The audience kept building and building. “Trekkies” loved it and began buying merchandise and Star Trek “conventions” began popping up. By 1977, the show was more popular than ever – seen on 160 stations here and 120 stations in other countries. It was about this time that Paramount began taking a second look. A Star Trek movie was being considered and (creator) Gene Roddenberry was taking feelers from the likes of ABC and CBS to continue the series.

Gary West – www.mrpopculture.com and www.mrpophistory.com

When Did “Nickelodeon” add “Nick Jr?” Pop Culture History Trivia.

Mr. Pop History – Nickelodeon added its “Nick Jr.” morning block – designed specifically for pre-schoolers – back in 1994 with shows such as “Allegra’s Window” and “Gullah Gullah Island.” That genre was then, the province of PBS, and the folks at Nick saw a commercial opportunity. It was a good move. They’ve made some money off of Nick Jr.

Interestingly – they also began adding “tween” shows early evening about that same time. One of them “The Secret World of Alex Mack” became popular for the channel.

Gary West – www.mrpopculture.com  and  www.mrpophistory.com

What Were The Top Music (For Purchase) Websites… In 1999? Pop Culture History.

Mr. Pop History – Back then, there were no such things as downloads, so music sites were really retail stores that shipped CD’s and tapes. But – it’s a good question and a little fascinating. 1999 was also the year this site began as www.pophistorynow.

Of the top 20 retail websites – two were music. One was CDNow.com (1.2 million unique visitors) and the other was Columbiahouse.com (with 432 thousand unique visitors).

The top retail websites in 1999 (just in case you wanted to know) were:

Amazon.co with about 4.5 million unique visitors
EBay.com with about 4 million unique visitors
EToys.com with 1.8 million unique visitors
Shopping.aol.com with 1.5 unique visitors
Toysrus.com with 1.5 unique visitors
Store.yahoo.com with 1.2 unique visitors

Gary West – www.mrpopculture.com  and  www.mrpophistory.com

This Week In History. News, Pop Culture, Trends. A Complete Look At The Week Of January 15, 2011.

This Week In News, Trends And Pop History. Week Of January 15, 2011

Compiled by Gary West of www.mrpopculture.com  and  www.mrpophistory.com

In The News –

As if states did not have enough on their plates getting their shaky finances in order, a new bill is coming due — from the federal government, which will charge them $1.3 billion in interest this fall on the billions they have borrowed from Washington to pay unemployment benefits during the downturn.

The interest cost, which has been looming in plain sight without attracting much attention, represents only a sliver of the huge deficits most states will have to grapple with this year. But it comes as states are already cutting services, laying off employees and raising taxes. And it heralds a larger reckoning that many states will have to face before long: what to do about the $41 billion they have borrowed from the federal government to help them pay benefits to millions of unemployed people, a debt that federal officials say could rise to $80 billion.

Johnson and Johnson said it is recalling nearly 47 million packages of Tylenol, Sudafed and other nonprescription drugs manufactured at a Pennsylvania facility that has already been subject to a series of massive recalls, battering the company’s household brand.  The latest recall affects certain lots of Tylenol, Benadryl and Sudafed products because of insufficient cleaning procedures, though the company does not believe that quality was impacted. The company also recalled certain lots of Rolaids tablets because they do not include certain labeling information.

President Barack Obama says he’s ready to work with lawmakers in both parties in a “spirit of common cause” to address major issues as Congress gets back to business after the Arizona shooting that brought legislative debate to a virtual standstill. “We carry on because we have to,” Obama said in his radio and Internet address Saturday. “After all, this is still a time of great challenges for us to solve.” He cited the need to create more jobs, strengthen the economy and reduce deficits — all issues, he said, that can be tackled in a “spirit of common cause with members of Congress from both parties.”

A top official in the Tunisian coastal city of Mahdia says the prison director there freed about 1,000 inmates following a deadly rebellion. The official says soldiers at the prison opened fire on the inmates after they rebelled Saturday, setting fire to mattresses and other objects. The official estimates that five people were killed. The official said the prison director then decided to open the prison gates to prevent further bloodshed. He was speaking on condition of anonymity out of security fears.

A car veered into oncoming lane of the Pacific Coast Highway, setting off a “very violent” 10-vehicle pileup that left three people dead and three others injured Saturday, authorities said. The famed roadway was packed with beach traffic on the summer-like day when two vehicle collided in the initial crash, then eight more became entangled in the wreckage, Newport Beach police Lt. Bill Hartford said. Three adults from two vehicles were declared dead at the scene and three others were taken to hospitals with injuries, one of them critical.

Apple Inc. founder and CEO Steve Jobs sent a note Monday to employees saying he’s taking a medical leave of absence so he can focus on his health. He says he will continue as CEO and be involved in major decisions but has asked chief operating officer Tim Cook to be responsible for all day-to-day operations.

At least 40 people were killed Tuesday when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of people waiting to apply for jobs with the police, officials said, in the latest strike against Iraqi security recruits. Police said the bomber joined a crowd of about 100 recruits outside the police station in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, some 80 miles north of Baghdad.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday ordered a government-wide review of regulations with the goal of eliminating those that hurt job creation and make the economy less competitive. Obama took action after unveiling his plan in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal in which he said some rules have placed “unreasonable burdens on business — burdens that have stifled innovation and have had a chilling effect on growth and jobs.”

Afghan police said some 40 Taliban insurgents had surrendered Tuesday after a military operation in the increasingly violent north, but the hardline Islamist group said the fighters were imposters.

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from opponents of same-sex marriage who want to overturn the District of Columbia’s gay marriage law. The court did not comment Tuesday in turning away a challenge from a Maryland pastor and others who are trying to get a measure on the ballot to allow Washingtonians to vote on a measure that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in the United States on Tuesday for a four-day state visit peppered by U.S. complaints about Beijing’s currency policies but sweetened by some $8.5 billion in business deals. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner weighed in on the dispute over the level of the yuan hours before Hu flew in, while the White House urged China to take more steps to allow its currency to strengthen.

A major 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked a remote area of southwestern Pakistan early Wednesday, shaking many parts of the country and causing tremors as far away as India and the United Arab Emirates. The quake was centered in Baluchistan province, the country’s most sparsely populated area, said the United States Geological Service, occurring at 1:30 a.m. local time at a depth of some 50 miles (84 kilometers.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told a church crowd just moments into his new administration that those who have not accepted Jesus as their savior are not his brothers and sisters, shocking some critics who questioned Tuesday whether he can be fair to non-Christians. “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother,” Bentley said.

Swiftly honoring a campaign pledge, newly empowered Republicans pushed legislation to repeal the nation’s year-old health care overhaul through the House Wednesday night, brushing aside implacable opposition in the Senate and a veto threat from President Barack Obama. The 245-189 vote was largely along party lines, and cleared the way for the second phase of the “repeal and replace” promise that victorious Republicans made to the voters last fall. GOP officials said that in the coming months, congressional committees will propose changes to the existing legislation, calling for elimination of a requirement for individuals to purchase coverage, for example, and recommending curbs on medical malpractice lawsuits.

Federal agents dealt another major blow to New York’s five Mafia crime families by arresting more than 100 suspected mobsters throughout the Northeast on charges including murder, extortion and narcotics trafficking. The FBI said most of the arrests were made Thursday morning. Many were in Brooklyn, but they also occurred throughout New York City and in New Jersey and New England. The takedown was the result of multiple investigations. Federal probes aided by mob turncoats have decimated the families’ ranks in recent years and have resulted in lengthy prison terms for several leaders. On Friday, a federal judge in Brooklyn sentenced John “Sonny” Franzese, 93, to eight years in prison for extorting Manhattan strip clubs and a pizzeria on Long Island.

A shootout erupted in Miami as a task force of law enforcement officers served a homicide warrant Thursday, killing two police officers and the suspect, authorities said. Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez said the first officer had been shot once and died at the scene. The second officer, who was shot several times, was taken to a hospital and later died, Alvarez said. The officers and suspect were not immediately identified. Alvarez said a squad of Miami-Dade police officers — who are part of the career criminal unit of the warrants division — was serving a homicide warrant from the city of Miami when there was a confrontation

Eric Schmidt, a technology veteran brought in as Google Inc.’s “adult supervision” a decade ago, is relinquishing the CEO job to Larry Page, one of the prodigies who co-founded the company behind the Internet’s dominant gateway. The surprise shake-up announced Thursday appears to be driven by Schmidt’s desire to tackle other challenges as much as Page’s personal ambition.

Chinese President Hu Jintao took his political roadshow to the U.S. heartland on Friday, visiting Chicago to highlight business and cultural ties between the world’s two largest economies.

Leaving behind the rancor of Washington where he was pressed on human rights and currency policy, Hu was feted by the Chicago elite at a gala dinner in U.S. President Barack Obama’s hometown. He was to wrap up his four-day U.S. state visit with stops at a local school and a business exhibition. Analysts said Hu’s trip had gone smoothly enough to help set a better tone to the relationship after a flare-up in tensions last year over issues such as trade, North Korea and Internet censorship.

Sports –

Football playoff – It’ll be the Green Bay Packers vs. The Chicago Bears and the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the New York Jets!

Technology –

Confirming reports that have swirled for weeks, Facebook said Friday that it has raised $1.5 billion from Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies. The investment gives the company a valuation of around $50 billion.The company also confirmed that it plans to begin filing public financial reports by April 2012 — a move likely to coincide with an IPO.

The Apple App store surpasses 10 billion downloads!

Viral Video For This Week – Shows a lady texting but not noticing she’s about to fall into a fountain. Her name is Cathy Cruz Marrero – and the incident happened at the mall where she worked.

Entertainment News – A publicist for the 42-year-old actor confirms that Owen Wilson and girlfriend Jade Duell welcomed a baby boy in Hawaii on Friday. The child, named Ford Linton Wilson, weighed in at 6 pounds, 13 ounces.

Zsa Zsa Gabor smiled and ate ice cream on Saturday, a day after doctors amputated much of the actress’ leg to fight a gangrene infection that could have killed her, her husband said.

Passing – British actress Susannah York. She was 72.

Veteran broadcaster Regis Philbin says he’s retiring from his weekday talk show. Regis, 79, made the announcement at the start of Tuesday morning’s “Live With Regis and Kelly,” which he has hosted for a quarter-century, most recently sharing hosting duties with Kelly Ripa. Philbin said he would be stepping down from the show around the end of the summer, but he didn’t specify a departure date.

“Amercan Idol” returns for 10th Season. Television’s top show returned Wednesday with a makeover for its 10th season on Fox. Cowell, everyone’s favorite villain, is gone as a judge. So are Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres, replaced with the star power of Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. Original judge Randy Jackson remains.The first, two-hour episode accentuated the positive, an indication that producers are setting a different tone.

Michael Jackson’s estate is seeking the shutdown of a website that is selling a book written by the singer’s mother and has released music attributed to the late superstar. The singer’s estate sued businessman Howard Mann, who operates the website jacksonsecretvault, on Thursday, claiming both are infringing on copyrights and pose unfair competition.The website features a book of Katherine Jackson’s recollections of her son and released a remix of a Jackson song shortly before the release of a posthumous album last year.

Mexican pop singer Kalimba has been arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents in El Paso, Texas, for immigration violations.A judge in Mexico’s Caribbean state of Quintana Roo had issued an arrest warrant against the singer. Prosecutors allege Kalimba raped a 17-year-old girl at a hotel in the state capital of Chetumal on Dec. 19. Kalimba has denied the accusations in a case that has received front-page coverage in Mexican newspapers. The singer’s full name is Kalimba Kadjaly Marichal Ibar. He is 28. He formerly performed with the group OV7.

Jimmy Kimmel Live – will move up its start time by five minutes, ABC announced Thursday. Beginning Feb. 4, the late-night talk show will begin at midnight instead of 12:05 a.m. ET. The move trims Nightline, which begins at 11:35 p.m. ET, to 25 minutes from 30 minutes.

Featured in Poster – In a new campaign for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), teen singing sensation Justin Bieber is lending his voice to help encourage people to give needy animals a good home. “It’s really important that people adopt,” the Biebs said in a release. “I really encourage going out to an animal shelter or a place where you can get a dog who has been abandoned or doesn’t have a home.”

Influential film critic Roger Ebert is showing off a new look ahead of his return to television, wearing a prosthetic chin to mask damage to his face from thyroid cancer. Last year, magazine Esquire profiled the Pulitzer-prize winning Chicago Sun-Times critic and published a picture revealing the effects of drastic surgeries on his jaw since his diagnosis with thyroid cancer in 2002.

The Golden Globes Are Held This Week. Here are the movie winners:

Motion pictures

Picture, drama: “The Social Network”

Picture, musical or comedy: “The Kids Are All Right”

Actor, drama: Colin Firth, “The King’s Speech”

Actress, drama: Natalie Portman, ” Black Swan”

Director: David Fincher, “The Social Network”

Actor, musical or comedy: Paul Giamatti, “Barney’s Version”

Actress, musical or comedy: Annette Bening, “The Kids Are All Right”

Supporting actor: Christian Bale, “The Fighter”

Supporting actress: Melissa Leo, “The Fighter”

Foreign language: “In a Better World,” Denmark

Animated film: “Toy Story 3″

Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, “The Social Network

George Clooney said he contracted malaria during a trip to Sudan earlier this month, but is now fully cured. Clooney, 49, a frequent visitor to the war-torn nation, was helping draw attention to a historic referendum on independence for residents of the mainly Christian south.

Keith Olbermann returned from one last commercial break on “Countdown” to tell viewers it was his last broadcast, and read a James Thurber short story in a three-minute exit statement. Simultaneously, MSNBC e-mailed a statement that “MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract.” The network thanked him and said, “we wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Parents Television Council Scores a Win – “PTC thanks General Motors for swiftly responding to PTC members’ concerns about Chevy Volt advertisements” PTC President Tim Winter said in a statement. “MTV admitted placing the Chevy commercial on Skins in error. GM also stated that MTV had apologized for its error. Every single advertiser who sponsored the premiere episode of Skins is not only endorsing, but glorifying teen drug and alcohol abuse, not to mention a plethora of baseless sexual content.”

Music news –

Passing – Don Kirshner – an integral part of the history of rock n’ roll. Nevins-Kirshner publishing, which resided in the Brill Building, was responsible for such artists as Neil Sedaka, Carole King, Shangri-las, Neil Diamond, Drifters, Monkees, Archies and this is just a small sample. Under Don Kirshner’s leadership, the Brill Building had an incredible group of talented writers such as Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman, Ellie Greenwich, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller that wrote tons of hit records especially between 1959-1970.

Britney Spears’ “Hold It Against Me” debuts at #1 on the national charts. The singer’s latest hit, which debuted at number one in 19 other countries, is the biggest first week track number for a female artist, breaking a record previously held by Taylor Swift. She’s also only the second artist ever – behind Mariah Carey — to have two consecutive number ones on the Billboard chart (her catchy hit “3″ raced to the top in October 2009).

Hot hits this week –

Hold It Against Me – Britney Spears

Firework – Katy Perry

Grenade – Bruno Mrs

Black and Yellow – Wiz Khalifa

What’s My Name? – Rihanna fea. Drake

We R Who We R – Ke$ha

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

Raise Your Glass – P!nk

Just The Way You Are – Bruno Mars

The Time (Dirty Bit) – The Black Eyed Peas

Only Girl (In The World) – Rihanna

6 Foot 7 Foot – Lil Wayne Fea. Cory Gunz

What The Hell- Avril Lavigne

Yeah 3X – Chris Brown

No Hands – Waka Flocka Flame fea. Roscoe Dash & Wal

Stereo Love – Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina

Rocketer – Far East Movement fea. Ryan Tedder

Coming Home – Diddy – Dirty Money fea. Skylar Grey

Dynamite – Taio Cruz

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

F**k You (Forget You)

Just A Dream – Nelly

H*A*M* – Kanye West & Jay-Z

Bottoms Up – Trey Songz fea. Nicki Minaj

DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love – Usher fea. Pitbull

At the movies:

True Grit

Little Fockers

Season of the Witch (1st week $10.612 million)

TRON: Legacy

Black Swan

Country Strong

The Fighter

Yogi Bear

The King’s Speech


The Chronicles of Narmia: THe Voyage of the Dawn Trader

Gulliver’s Travels

Wednesday Night TV (TV Squad)

8:00 to 9:00
ABC: ‘The Middle’ and ‘Better With You’
CBS: ‘Live to Dance’
FOX: ‘American Idol’* — (120 minutes)
NBC: ‘Minute to Win It’
PBS: ‘NOVA scienceNow’*
Discovery: ‘MythBusters: Supersized Special’
G4: ‘Campus PD’
OWN: ‘Mystery Diagnosis’

The rest of the schedule and the late night talk shows after the jump.
9:00 to 10:00
ABC: ‘Modern Family’ and ‘Cougar Town’
CBS: ‘Criminal Minds’
NBC: ‘Chase’
A&E: ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’
BBC America: ‘Modern Monarchy: Here & There’ — 9:30 start
DisneyXD: ‘Naruto: Shippuden’
DIY: ’10 Grand in Your Hand’ — 9:30 start
HGTV: ‘Disaster DIY’
Planet Green: ‘Last Woman Standing’
SyFy: ‘Ghost Hunters International’
TBS: ‘Tyler Perry’s House of Payne’ — Two episodes
TLC: ‘My Strange Addiction’
Travel: ‘Man v. Food: Carnivore Chronicles’

10:00 to 11:00
ABC: ‘Off the Map’
CBS: ‘Blue Bloods’#
NBC: ‘Law & Order: SVU’
A&E: ‘Storage Wars’ — 10:30 start
Animal Planet: ‘I Shouldn’t Be Alive’
Bravo: ‘Top Chef: All-Stars’ — (75 minutes)
CNBC: ‘American Greed’
Food Network: ‘Restaurant: Impossible’*
ID: ‘James Ellroy’s LA: City of Demons’*
MTV: ‘I Used to be Fat’
NatGeo: ‘Wild Justice’
OWN: ‘Miracle Detectives’
TBS: ‘Are We There Yet?’ — Two episodes
TLC: ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’
truTV: ‘Disorder in the Court’
TV Land: ‘Hot in Cleveland’* and ‘Retired at 35′*
VH1: ‘Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew’**

‘Piers Morgan Tonight’* (CNN): Condoleezza Rice

‘Charlie Rose’ (PBS): George Shultz
‘The Mo’Nique Show’ (BET): Debbie Allen; Vannessa Bell Calloway; performance by Soulja Boy (repeat)
‘The Daily Show’ (Comedy Central): Paul Clemens
‘Chelsea Lately’ (E!): Ginnifer Goodwin
‘Conan’ (TBS): Natalie Portman; Chris Pratt; performance by Keyshia Cole

‘Late Show With David Letterman’ (CBS): Martin Short; performance by Darius Rucker
‘The Tonight Show’ (NBC): Amy Poehler; Mike ‘The Situation’ Sorrentino; performance by Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
‘The Colbert Report’ (Comedy Central): Ron Reagan Jr.

‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ (ABC): Don Rickles; Wilmer Valderrama; performance by New Politics
‘Tavis Smiley’ (PBS): The discussion continues on America’s next chapter
‘Lopez Tonight’ (TBS): Cameron Diaz; Greg Fitz

‘The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson’ (CBS): Emily Deschanel; comedian Rich Fulcher
‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’ (NBC): Betty White; Stephan Merchant; performance by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti

‘Last Call With Carson Daly’ (NBC): Rob Coddry; Jay Electronica; performance by Alberta Cross (repeat)

Top TV

1. AFC Divisional Playoff Post-Game Show” (Sunday) CBS
2. NFL Playoff: Green Bay vs. Atlanta FOX
4. NCIS: Los Angeles CBS
5. 60 Minutes CBS
6. Golden Globe Awards NBC
7. AFC Divisional Playoff Post-Game” (Saturday) CBS
8. Undercover Boss CBS
9. The Good Wife CBS
10. Grey’s Anatomy ABC
11. Modern Family ABC
12. CSI: Miami CBS
13. Wipeout” (Thursday) ABC
14. The Big Bang Theory CBS
15. The Mentalist CBS
16. Two and a Half Men CBS
17. Desperate Housewives ABC
18. (Bleep) My Dad Says CBS
19. The Middle ABC
20. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS

This Week In History. News Trends And Pop Culture. A Complete Look At November 22, 2010

The Week Of November 22, 2010

Compiled by Gary West of www.mrpopculture.com   and     www.mrpophistory.com

Ireland’s banks will be pruned down, merged or sold as part of a massive EU-IMF bailout taking shape, the government said as a shellshocked nation came to grips with its failure to protect and revive its banks. Crucially, some experts say the rescue may have come too late to save the next weak link, Portugal, from a similar fate. Ireland’s crisis also appears likely to force the early departure of its deeply unpopular government, calling into doubt the credibility of Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s four-year austerity plans.
GREYMOUTH, New Zealand – Hopes waned Monday for the survival of 29 New Zealand coal miners who have been trapped for three days underground, where the presence of explosive gases has prevented a rescue. Family members expressed frustration with the pace of the response as officials acknowledged for the first time it may be too late to save the miners, who have not been heard from since a massive explosion ripped through the Pike River Mine on the country’s South Island on Friday.
Cambodia’s prime minister says more than 300 people have been killed in a stampede in the capital. Thousands of Cambodians were celebrating a water festival on an island in a river in the capital Monday night when the press of the crowd caused some to panic. In the chaos, some tried to flee over a bridge, and many fell over its sides into the water. The area was littered with hundreds of injured. Prime Minister Hun Sen has made several live broadcasts Monday night. In his latest one, he said that 339 people had been killed and 329 injured.
A man already imprisoned for attacking two women was found guilty Monday of murdering Washington intern Chandra Levy back in 2001, bringing legal resolution to a murder mystery that took down a congressman and drew the nation’s rapt attention a decade ago. Ingmar Guandique was convicted of first-degree murder for attacking Levy while she exercised in Washington’s Rock Creek Park in May 2001. Her disappearance made headlines when she was romantically linked to then-Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif. Condit was once a suspect, but police no longer believe he was involved.
North and South Korea exchanged artillery fire Tuesday after the North shelled an island near their disputed sea border, killing at least two South Korean marines, setting dozens of buildings ablaze and sending civilians fleeing for shelter. The clash, which put South Korea’s military on high alert, was one of the rivals’ most dramatic confrontations since the Korean War ended, and one of the few to put civilians at risk, though no nonmilitary deaths were immediately reported. Sixteen South Korean soldiers and three civilians were injured and the extent of casualties on the northern side was unknown.

In a seismic shift on one of the most profound — and profoundly contentious — Roman Catholic teachings, the Vatican said Tuesday that condoms are the lesser of two evils when used to curb the spread of AIDS, even if their use prevents a pregnancy. The position was an acknowledgment that the church’s long-held anti-birth control stance against condoms doesn’t justify putting lives at risk.
Barack Obama performed an annual rite of presidents on Wednesday, pardoning a pair of turkeys on Thanksgiving eve and cracking jokes about the competition that brought them to his famous doorstep.”For the record, let me say that it feels pretty good to stop at least one shellacking this November,” Obama said in the White House Rose Garden, where he was flanked by daughters Malia and Sasha. A “shellacking” is how Obama described the beating Democrats suffered in elections earlier this month; the party lost control of the House and saw its Senate majority trimmed by six seats. The president wished America’s families, including many buffeted by the economic slump, a safe and happy holiday. He also thanked the men and women of the U.S. military for serving “bravely and selflessly” in places far away from home.
North Korea warned Friday that U.S.-South Korean plans for military maneuvers put the peninsula on the brink of war, and appeared to launch its own artillery drills within sight of an island it showered with a deadly barrage this week.The fresh artillery blasts were especially defiant because they came as the U.S. commander in South Korea, Gen. Walter Sharp, toured the South Korean Island to survey damage from Tuesday’s hail of North Korean artillery fire that killed four people.
Bargain shoppers, braving rain or frigid weather, crowded the nation’s stores in the wee hours of the night to get their hands on deals from TVs to toys on Black Friday. Early signs pointed to bigger crowds at many stores including Best Buy, Sears, and Toys R Us for the traditional start to the holiday shopping season. In an encouraging sign for retailers and for the economy, more shoppers appeared to be buying for themselves than last year, when such indulgences were limited. Lengthened hours that pushed some store openings into Thanksgiving also appeared to pay off.

Portugal adopted a raft of debt-reducing austerity measures Friday, which the government claimed would be enough to restore market confidence in its public finances without resorting to a bailout. Portugal adopted a raft of debt-reducing austerity measures Friday, which the government claimed would be enough to restore market confidence in its public finances without resorting to a bailout.
Portugal’s high debt and low growth have alarmed investors, fueling speculation it may be the next European country to need a bailout after Greece and Ireland. Although it does not have a major debt sale until January, analysts say investors will not be reassured until its public finances are shored up by Europe’s emergency fund.
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up at an Afghan police headquarters Saturday, killing 12 officers in an area along the Pakistan border that still sees heavy Taliban attacks even as NATO pours in more troops and resources. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in eastern Paktika province, which has long been a refuge for Islamist extremists from around the world. It is one of the most violent areas of Afghanistan, where NATO and Afghan forces fight daily against the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based Taliban faction closely tied to al-Qaida

A Somali-born teenager plotted “a spectacular show” of terrorism for months, saying he didn’t mind that children would die if he bombed a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, according to a law-enforcement official and court documents. He never got the chance. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested Friday in downtown Portland after using a cell phone to try to detonate what he thought were explosives in a van, prosecutors said. It turned out to be a dummy bomb put together by FBI agents.
European Union nations agreed to give euro67.5 billion ($89.4 billion) in bailout loans to Ireland on Sunday to help it weather the cost of its massive banking crisis, and sketched out new rules for future emergencies in an effort to restore faith in the euro currency. The rescue deal, approved by finance ministers at an emergency meeting in Brussels, means two of the eurozone’s 16 nations have now come to depend on foreign help and underscores Europe’s struggle to contain its spreading debut crisis. The fear is that with Greece and now Ireland shored up, speculative traders will target the bloc’s other weak fiscal links, particularly Portugal.
WikiLeaks – Hundreds of thousands of State Department documents leaked Sunday revealed a hidden world of backstage international diplomacy, divulging candid comments from world leaders and detailing occasional U.S. pressure tactics aimed at hot spots in Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea. The classified diplomatic cables released by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks and reported on by news organizations in the United States and Europe provided often unflattering assessments of foreign leaders, ranging from U.S. allies such as Germany and Italy to other nations like Libya, Iran and Afghanistan.
Patrols around mosques and other Islamic sites in Portland have been stepped up as Muslim leaders expressed fears of retribution, days after a Somali-American man was accused of trying to blow up a van full of explosives during the city’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The move followed a fire Sunday at the Islamic center in Corvallis, a college town about 75 miles southwest of Portland, where suspect Mohamed Osman Mohamud occasionally worshipped, prompting an FBI arson investigation and concern about the potential for more retaliation. Mohamud, 19, was being held on charges of plotting to carry out a terror attack Friday on a crowd of thousands at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday afternoon.
President Barack Obama announced a pay freeze for 2 million federal employees Monday and warned the American public that the move is the first of many difficult decisions that must be made to slash the nation’s mounting deficits. “The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by the employees of the federal government,”Obama said.
A Pentagon study that argues that gay troops could serve openly without hurting the military’s ability to fight is expected to re-ignite debate this month on Capitol Hill over repealing the 17-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Officials familiar with the 10-month study’s results have said a clear majority of respondents don’t care if gays serve openly, with 70 percent predicting that lifting the ban would have positive, mixed or no results. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the findings hadn’t been released.
The State Department severed its computer files from the government’s classified network, officials said Tuesday, as U.S. and world leaders tried to clean up from the embarrassing leak that spilled America’s sensitive documents onto screens around the globe. By temporarily pulling the plug, the U.S. significantly reduced the number of government employees who can read important diplomatic messages. It was an extraordinary hunkering down, prompted by the disclosure of hundreds of thousands of those messages this week by WikiLeaks, the self-styled whistleblower organization.

Technology –
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

Music news –
Keith Urban is trying to make his fans and his family happy this summer. The multi-platinum country star is hitting the road June 16 on a 44-city arena tour in the U.S. with a schedule that gives him time to be with his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, and their 2-year-old daughter, Sunday Rose. “The thing is with balance, it’s never achieved. It’s just maintained,” Urban said of his family and career demands. “It’s maintained based on Nic’s and my ability to stay present and make the adjustments as we go.”
Sports – Juan Manuel Marquez didn’t waste any time after defending his lightweight title before setting his sights on Round 3 with Manny Pacquiao. Marquez stopped Michael Katsidis in the ninth round Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, winning an all-action battle and certain candidate for Fight of the Year. Moments later, he turned his attention to settling the score with the man considered the best in the world

Entertainment news –
On Wednesday, Disney will be releasing “Tangled,” the studio’s 50th animated film. You might think that this would be cause for celebration, but from recent stories in the Los Angeles Times and New York Times, it appears that Disney Animation is in the midst of a major freak-out/reinvention. The main takeaway from these articles was that Pixar guru (and Disney Animation bigwig) John Lasseter is in the midst of reviving Disney’s slumping non-Pixar animation projects. Oh, and he’s done making movies about fairy tales and princesses. “They may come back later because someone has a fresh take on it,” Lasseter’s Disney Animation co-chief Ed Catmull said. “But have any other musicals or fairy tales lined up.” One reason is because the studio is fearful of alienating young boys, who supposedly won’t see something like last year’s “The Princess and the Frog.” The other reason, frighteningly, is that young girls consider themselves too cool to want to be princesses.
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.

Angelina Jolie is filming her directorial debut, a controversial love story between a Muslim woman and a Serbian man, in two different languages: English and the Eastern European dialect many of her actors speak. “We actually shot a full version in their native language and we shot a full version in English. We shot two complete films,” Jolie tells local outlet Vasarnapi Hirek). “I was only able to do it because the actors were so fluent in English so they were willing to work hard and do the scenes in two languages.”
George Lopez and his wife of 17 years are making their breakup official with her filing for divorce. Ann Serrano Lopez filed her petition, citing irreconcilable difference, on Tuesday in Los Angeles.The pair announced their breakup in September and said they would remain partners in a charitable foundation. They have a 14-year-old daughter, and Ann Lopez is seeking physical custody.
John Travolta and Kelly Preston will have a new guest at their Thanksgiving table. A publicist says the couple welcomed a baby boy Tuesday in Florida. They named their new son Benjamin.

An actor who once had a small part on “Ugly Betty” was charged Tuesday with stabbing his mother to death with a 3-foot sword in her home after a fight, police said. Officers responding to a call of a family dispute found 55-year-old Yannick Brea kneeling in the bathroom of her Brooklyn apartment at about 2:20 a.m. She had cuts to her head and was pronounced dead at the scene. “In a bedroom was her son … with a 3-foot sword,” Kelly said. The son, Michael Brea, 31, was arrested on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon. He was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at Kings County Hospital, and police didn’t know if he had an attorney. No phone number was listed at the address provided by police.
An Arizona judge on Wednesday denied bail for rapper DMX. keeping him jailed on charges that he violated probation by using drugs, court officials said. The 39 year-old rapper, whose real name is Earl Simmons, was arrested Thursday for probation violations that included using cocaine and Oxycontin, failing to submit to drug testing and counseling, and driving with a suspended license.
Actress Jennifer Grey won television’s “Dancing With the Stars” contest on Tuesday, while Bristol Palin, whose survival on the show sparked nationwide controversy, finished in third place. Grey, 50, who co-starred with the late Patrick Swayze in the 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing”, was named champion at the end of a two-hour broadcast and a record number of public votes. Kyle Massey, 19, a former child star on the Disney Channel show “That’s So Raven,” was runner-up and Bristol Palin – third.

Passing – Leslie Nielsen, who traded in his dramatic persona for inspired bumbling as a hapless doctor in “Airplane!” and the accident-prone detective Frank Drebin in “The Naked Gun” comedies, died on Sunday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was 84.
Radio news – The radio giant Clear Channel Communications signs Ryan Seacrest to a new three-year contract worth an estimated $60 million, nearly double the value of his expiring deal with that company. Clear Channel will get more hours of his syndicated “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” show and develop a record label and concert series with him. But Robert W. Pittman, the company’s chairman of media and entertainment platforms, said the hefty raise was more reflective of Mr. Seacrest’s standing with consumers as someone who has his finger on what is cool. “He has emerged as somebody who you believe is searching through everything out there and telling you what is the very best about popular culture at that moment,” Mr. Pittman said. “He’s trusted.” In addition to his three top-rated radio shows for Clear Channel, Mr. Seacrest, 35, hosts “American Idol” for Fox, appears on a daily entertainment news program on E! and runs a television production company that is responsible for cable hits like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”
More On Doctor Laura’s Move To Satellite Radio – One of the first subjects Laura Schlessinger will tackle in depth on her new Sirius XM Radio talk show in the new year is the one that nearly derailed her. In confirming the exclusive arrangement to bring her talk show to satellite radio beginning Jan, 3, Schlessinger said Monday she intends to introduce roundtable discussions. Within the first three weeks one topic will be race relations and free speech. “Racism, bigotry and hate,” Schlessinger told the Hollywood Reporter, “what they really are, instead of the politically-inspired efforts to eliminate dissenting opinions or state facts.” The “politically correct version is what happened to me,” she said, referencing the controversy that erupted during the summer when she used the “n-word” several times during her show “The Dr, Laura Program” to illustrate her point that the term “racist” is overused. That incident led liberal activists to call for her dismissal and to encourage advertisers to yank their support. Schlessinger responded in August by announcing she’d end her syndicated show on regular terrestrial radio at year’s end.

At the movies this week –
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
Love & Other Drugs
Due Date
The Next Three Days
Morning Glory
127 Hours
Fair Game
For Colored Girls

Top albums this week –
The Gift – Susan Boyle
Loud – Rihanna
O Holy Night – Jackie Evancho
Born Free – Kid Rock
Illuminations – Josh Groban
Nothing Like This – Rascal Flatts
Get Closer – Keith Urban
Glee: The Christmas Album
5.0 – Nelly
My Kinda Party – Jason Aldean
What Separates Me From You – A Day To Remember
Now 36
Greatest Hits So Far!!! – P!nk
The Incredible Machine – Sugarland
The Promise – Bruce Springsteen
Greatest Hits – Bon Jovi
And If Our God Is For Us… Chris Tomlin
Glory In The Highest – Chris Tomlin
Live It Up – Lee DeWyze
Man On The Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
Recovery – Eminem
Merry Christmas II You – Mariah Carey
A Merry Little Christmas – Lady Antebellum

Hip Monday Night Television (TV Squad)

8:00 to 9:00
ABC: ‘Skating With the Stars’ — (120 minutes)
CW: ’90210′
NBC: ‘Chuck’ — Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton return
BET: ‘Food For Thought: Conversations With T.I.’
Cartoon Network: ‘Adventure Time,’ ‘Regular Show’ and ‘Robotomy’
DisneyXD: ‘Pair of Kings’ and ‘Zeke and Luther’
ESPN: ‘Monday Night Football’ — 8:30 start for the 49ers at the Arizona Cardinals
MTV: ‘Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood’ — A look at Hollywood during World War II.
NatGeo WILD: ‘Africa’s Great Rift’
Style: ‘Giuliana & Bill’
TLC: ‘Little People, Big World’ — Two ‘Ask the Roloffs’ segments

The rest of the schedule and the late night talk shows after the jump.

9:00 to 10:00
CW: ‘Gossip Girl’
FOX: ‘Lie to Me’
NBC: ‘The Event’
Current: ‘Vanguard’
Discovery: ‘American Chopper; Senior vs. Junior: A Family Divided’
Discovery Health: ‘Dr. G.: Medical Examiner’
Food Network: ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’
Lifetime Movie Network: ‘Unanswered Prayers’ — (120 minutes) Garth Brooks executive produced this film about a happily married man who encounters a life-altering decision when his high school crush returns to town
HBO: ‘In Treatment’ — Two episodes
ID: ‘Hardcover Mysteries’
NatGeo: ‘Restrepo: Afghan Outpost’ — (120 minutes)
NatGeo WILD: ‘Africa’s Great Rift’
TLC: ‘Cake Boss’**
USA: ‘WWE Monday Night RAW’ — (120 minutes)
VH1: ‘My Big Friggin’ Wedding’

10:00 to 11:00
ABC: ‘CMA Country Christmas’
NBC: ‘Chase’
A&E: ‘Hoarders’
Discovery: ‘Brew Masters’
E!: ‘The Soup Presents’
ID: ‘Disappeared’
Logo: ‘The A-List: New York’**
MTV: ‘The Buried Life’** — Two episodes
NatGeo WILD: ‘Africa’s Great Rift’
TLC: ‘Fabulous Cakes’
truTV: ‘Southern Fried Stings’

‘Charlie Rose’ (PBS): TBA
‘The Mo’Nique Show’ (BET): Tamara Tunie; Page Kennedy; Eric Benet
‘The Daily Show’ (Comedy Central): Judah Friedlander of ’30 Rock’
‘Chelsea Lately’ (E!): TBA
‘Conan’ (TBS): George Lopez; Chris Colfer; performance by Kid Cudi

‘Late Show With David Letterman’ (CBS): Steve Martin; Emily Deschanel; performance by Steve Martin and the Punch Brothers (repeat)
‘The Tonight Show’ (NBC): Bill Cosby; actor Atticus Shaffer
‘The Colbert Report’ (Comedy Central): Columnist Dan Savage

‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ (ABC): Ben Affleck; author David Sedaris; performance by Nicki Minaj
‘Tavis Smiley’ (PBS): The Isley Brothers’ Ron Isley
‘Lopez Tonight’ (TBS): Zachary Levi; performance by 3OH!3

‘The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson’ (CBS): Michael Sheen; musician Michael Franti
‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’ (NBC): Lewis Black; performance by Elvis Costello (repeat)

‘Last Call With Carson Daly’ (NBC): Morgan Spurlock; Buff Monster; performance by Kate Nash

Radio Programming Legend Passes. Pop Culture History.

Mr. Pop History – Ruth Meyer – one of the early pioneering top-40 radio programmers and who paved the way for women in the media – has passed away.

Ruth took radio station WMCA NY to the top of the ratings during the Beatles-era of the 1960′s, despite having the lowest wattage (and coverage area) of her immediate competitors. This was a time when women in any kind of media management were unheard of – but Ruth not only was the programming boss – she managed 7 (male) on-hair DJ’s and the total direction of the station.

More about Ruth Meyer here, in an upcoming interview with legendary NY personality Harry Harrison.

Gary West – www.mrpopculture.com    www.mrpophistory.com

Rap/Hip Hop And Loading Up Tracks With Guest Rappers – You Always See “Featuring.” Pop Culture History.

Mr. Pop History – As far as I can trace, this trend, which still continues, began with the 1990 album, “Fear of a Black Planet.” A Public Enemy album, it featured Big Daddy and Ice Cube as guests. That was over 20 years ago.

Complete solo albums in hip hop and rap are not all that common. This, because of the practice of loading up guest rappers.

Gary West – www.mrpopculture and www.mrpophistory.com