Week In Review – July 8, 2011 In News, Pop Culture, Entertainment, Tech News & More.
Compiled By GaryWest @ www.mrpopculture.com
In The News -
Hiring slowed to a near-standstill last month. U.S. employers added the fewest jobs in nine months and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent. The economy generated only 18,000 net jobs in June, the Labor Department said Friday. And the number of jobs added in May was revised down to 25,000.
The latest report offered stark evidence that the recovery will be painfully slow. It also raised doubts that the economy will rebound in the second half of the year after hitting a spring slump.
The space shuttle Atlantis soared into the heavens and the history books Friday (July 8), kicking off the last-ever mission of NASA’s storied shuttle program. Despite a bleak forecast of thunderstorms and clouds, the shuttle beat the weather in a stunning midday launch, sailing into the sky on one final voyage. The countdown toward liftoff took a dramatic pause at T minus 31 seconds while ground crews verified that a vent arm at the top of the shuttle was fully retracted. NASA was quickly able to push on toward liftoff.
In the wake of Friday’s woeful jobs numbers, President Obama acknowledged that “we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do” before the economy is working for Americans again. “The economy as a whole just isn’t producing nearly enough jobs for everybody who’s looking,” Obama said in prepared comments in the White House Rose Garden. He cited “tough headwinds” that are exerting a drag on the economy, including natural disasters, high gas prices, economic turmoil in Europe, and state and local government budget cuts.
Passing – Former First Lady Betty Ford. She was 93. (Mr. Pop Culture Video) Betty Ford said things that first ladies just don’t say, even today. And 1970s America loved her for it. According to Mrs. Ford, her young adult children probably had smoked marijuana — and if she were their age, she’d try it, too. She told “60 Minutes” she wouldn’t be surprised to learn that her youngest, 18-year-old Susan, was in a sexual relationship (an embarrassed Susan issued a denial).
South Sudanese citizens, international dignitaries and the world’s newest president are convening in the new country capital of Juba to celebrate the birth of a nation. South Sudan became the world’s newest country Saturday with a raucous street celebration at midnight. Dignitaries including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell will watch under a blazing sun as South Sudan President Salva Kiir hosts a noon-hour ceremony.
ABC News has hired the young woman, now 23, who was famously kidnapped for a harrowing nine months in 2002 and 2003, as a paid contributor. Drawing on her traumatic past, Smart will “help our viewers better understand missing person stories from someone with the perspective to know what a family experiences when a loved one goes missing,” an ABC spokeswoman said.
President Barack Obama has ordered the suspension of $800 million in aid to the Pakistani military, his chief of staff said Sunday, as part of what experts say is a tougher line with a critical U.S. partner in the fight against terrorism. Top aide William Daley described the U.S. relationship with Pakistan as “difficult” and said it must be made “to work over time.” But he added that until “we get through that difficulty, we’ll hold back some of the money that the American taxpayers are committed to give” Pakistan.
Amid ongoing negotiations with President Obama over raising the debt ceiling, House Republican leaders responded to Obama’s Call Monday for compromise by saying that their openness to raising the debt ceiling at all is sacrifice enough. “A vote to increase the debt limit in this country is an existential question for a fiscal conservative,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Monday. “These votes aren’t easy. …What I don’t think that the White House understands is how difficult it is for fiscal conservatives to say they’re going to vote for a debt ceiling increase.”
President Hamid Karzai’s half brother, the most powerful man in southern Afghanistan and a lightning rod for criticism of corruption in the government, was assassinated Tuesday by a close associate. His death leaves a dangerous power vacuum in the south just as the government has begun peace talks with insurgents ahead of a U.S. withdrawal. Ahmed Wali Karzai, the head of the Kandahar provincial council, was shot to death while receiving guests at his home in Kandahar, the capital of the province that was the birthplace of the Taliban movement and was the site of a recent U.S.-led offensive.
Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul made a surprise announcement Tuesday that he will not seek re-election to Congress, spelling an end to a nearly 24-year House career amid his third run for president.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that the central bank is prepared to provide additional stimulus if the current U.S. economic lull persists. Delivering his twice-a-year economic report to Congress, Bernanke laid out three options the central bank would consider. One possibility, he said, was another round of Treasury bond buying. That would make the third such effort since 2009.
Cuts Off Penis – A Southern California woman was in jail Wednesday after allegedly drugging her husband, cutting off his penis, throwing it into the garbage disposal and turning it on, Orange County police said. Catherine Kieu Becker put a drug or poison in her husband’s dinner Monday evening to make him sleepy, according to the initial police investigation. “The victim went to lie down and he woke up tied to the bed with his wife tugging his clothes off,” police said. “The suspect grabbed the victim’s penis and cut it off.” Becker told police he “deserved it” when they arrived at the scene after she called 911, the police report said. The couple is going through a divorce.
Baseball Record – The Yankees’ Derek Jeter gets to 3,000 major league career hits! (Mr. Pop Video)
Tech News –
A Minnesota hacker that prosecutors described as a “depraved criminal” was handed an 18-year prison term Tuesday for unleashing a vendetta of cyberterror that turned his neighbors’ lives into a living nightmare. Barry Ardolf, 46, repeatedly hacked into his next-door neighbors’ Wi-Fi network in 2009, and used it to try and frame them for child pornography, sexual harassment, various kinds of professional misconduct and to send threatening e-mail to politicians, including Vice President Joe Biden. His motive was to get back at his new neighbors after they told the police he’d kissed their 4-year-old son on the lips.
Pandora, the Internet radio station, announced Tuesday it has reached 100 million listeners. According to a news release on Pandora’s blog, 36 million of those consumers are “monthly active users.” It also said that in the past six months, Pandora has upped its market share of radio listening from 2.3% to 3.6%. Pandora will celebrate this milestone with a flashy — and Flash-free — redesign. Tech-news site Mashable reports it will be available to those 100 million users during the next few weeks, with subscribers to Pandora One — a premium, paid service with no ads and higher-quality audio — getting access first.
Google has announced its plans to launch a Google eBooks-optimized e-reader on July 17. Called the iriver Story HD, the e-book reader is designed to give users easy access to the 3 million free titles Google holds in addition to a few hundred thousand paid titles, with a price and design that is very similar to Amazon’s Kindle. The Story HD appears to be an evolution of iriver’s Story e-reader from 2009, a model that was praised for its wide support of e-book formats. The Story HD has a similar design that includes a QWERTY keyboard, though this edition has plated gold accents on the keys and frame.
(Mr. Pop Culture Video) Netflix Raises Prices – U.S. customers of the DVD-by-mail and Web-streaming service are storming the Internet to protest Netflix’s plan to increase the prices of its most popular packages. “The changes you guys have made in the last 4-6 months have turned me from a serious Netflix Geek into considering cancellation. It’s a damn shame,” wrote a customer named Justin Block, one of almost 6,000 commenters on its blog. Netflix’s Facebook page attracted more than 28,000 comments as of Wednesday morning, most of them critical of the move. And thousands of consumers were voicing complaints under #DearNetflix on Twitter.
It’s official. “Dallas” is returning. TNT confirmed that the reboot of the famed 1980s primetime soap opera has been given the green light to shoot a 10-episode series, which will premiere next summer.
(Mr. Pop Culture Video) Newsman Harry Smith is leaving CBS News after 25 years to jump to NBC. NBC said Friday that an official announcement of his new job at the network will come Monday. Smith had two separate stints as an anchor for CBS’ morning news show, totaling 17 years on the early riser beat. He was abruptly taken off that job at the end of last year when CBS decided on wholesale changes to the perpetually third-rated broadcast.
R&B singer Rihanna cut short a Dallas concert on Friday after a fire broke out near the stage, the artist said in a post on Twitter, and video of the incident showed sparks falling down from above. “DALLAS!!! We set the stage on FYAH TONIGHT!!! LITERALLY!!!” Rihanna wrote on Twitter. “I was havin so much fun wit yall too!!! I gotta come back man!!!” Videos posted on YouTube of the incident showed a light above the stage appear to catch fire, sending sparks spraying down toward the stage at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Passing – Rod Gril – lead voice for the 1960’s hit-making group, “The Grass Roots.” Gril died from injuries received a month ago after he fell. He was 67.
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 Monday.
Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley will team up for the fourth straight year to co-host the Country Music Awards live from Nashville. “Hosting the CMA Awards the past three years has been an incredible experience — I love it,” Underwood, who has won five CMAs, said in a statement. “I’m so honored to be asked back with my friend, Brad.”
Some 14.78 million people watched Diane Sawyer’s’s Sunday interview with Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped, raped and held prisoner for 18 years, in a special two-hour edition of Primetime the biggest summer viewership for a newsmagazine in seven years. The California woman’s story is a compellingly harrowing tale: Just 11 when she was taken by Phillip and Nancy Garrido, she repeatedly was abused and gave birth to two children as a result of rape. Now 31, she has written a memoir titled A Stolen Life that’s being published Tuesday by Simon & Schuster. (The couple who abducted her were recently sentenced to life in prison.)
On Monday night’s Late Show, David Letterman addressed the break-in of the Ed Sullivan Theater – where the show is produced. Letterman’s “Top Ten Excuses of the Guy Who Broke into the Sullivan Theatre” poked fun at 22-year-old James Whittemore, who’s accused of smashing the glass doors and breaking into the midtown Manhattan theater. Whittemore has his own excuse: he was drunk and doesn’t remember the incident. His lawyer says he “certainly didn’t plan” the $5,000 worth of damage he inflicted on the theater, according to CBS News. Whittemore was arraigned Monday on burglary and criminal mischief charges.
Brad Pitt – The Oscar-nominated actor, is narrating an opening segment of the 82nd All-Star Game, airing Tuesday night on Fox. MLB says in a statement Pitt and the segment will celebrate baseball stars from the past and present. The 47-year-old actor stars as former baseball player and current Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane in the upcoming film “Moneyball,” out in September.
Passing – (Mr. Pop Culture Video) Sherwood Schwartz. He was 94. Schwartz was a veteran comedy writer when he created two of TV’s best-remembered sitcoms in the 1960s. Over the years, they have inspired parodies, spinoffs and countless stand-up comedy jokes. “Gilligan’s Island” featured a hummable theme song telling how a boatload of seven characters, including a professor and a movie star, wound up stranded on an island. Bob Denver played Gilligan, the assistant skipper. “The Brady Bunch” featured Florence Henderson as a widow with three daughters who marries a widower with three sons. A bigscreen version, “The Brady Bunch Movie,” was a surprise box-office hit in 1995.
At the movies this week –
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Horrible Bosses (1st week $28.3 million)
Zookeeper (1st week $20 million)
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Midnight In Paris
Top albums this week:
4 – Beyonce
21 – Adele
When The Sun Goes Down – Selena Gomez & The Scene (Mr. Pop Culture Video)
Finally Famous – Big Sean
My Kinda Party – Jason Aldean
The Light of the Sun – Jill Scott
Dream With Me – Jackie Evancho
American Idol Season 10 – Scotty McCreery
Born This Way – Lady Gaga
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Rave On: Buddy Holly – Various Artists
Planet Pit – Pitbull
Gold Cobra – Limp Bizkit
Taking Back Sunday – Taking Back Sunday
Loaded: The Best Of Blake Shelton
The Harrow & The Harvest – Gillian Welch
This Is Country Music – Brad Paisley
Sigh No More – Mumford & Sons
Weekend At Burnies – Curre$y
American Idol Season 10 – Lauren Alainia