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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Melissa Leo Drops F-bomb Oscar Acceptance Speech Best Supporting Actress

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Melissa Leo drops the F-bomb in Oscar acceptance speech

By Liz Kelly 

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02/27/2011
Well, there may not be a best actress Oscar curse, but there is now officially a cursing best supporting actress.
Melissa Leo, who won for her role in "The Fighter," was so overcome by her win that she dropped the F bomb during her acceptance speech. Which may just be a first for the Academy Awards. And in the press room after stepping off stage, Leo admitted the Kodak Theater and a live broadcast was probably not the appropriate venue for the f-bomb.
"Those words, I apologize to anyone they offend," said Leo, as tweeted by our own Jen Chaney. "There is a great deal of the English language in my vernacular."

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Government Shutdown Averted ? UPDATE: NO GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN - YES on Entitlement Reform, John Boehner to Deliver Speech Tonight

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John Boehner: NO on Shutdown; YES on Entitlement Reform

February 27, 2011blogs.abcnews.com
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ABC's Jonathan Karl reports: In a speech to the National Association of Religious Broadcasters Sunday night in Nashville, Speaker of the House John Boehner will address “the moral responsibility” to cut spending, reduce the deficit, avoid a government shutdown and also address spending on entitlements, such as Social Security and Medicare.
The speech comes just two days after House Republicans have proposed a new spending bill that appeared more likely than the previous bill to garner support from Democrats in the Senate and avoid a government shutdown. The government is set to shut down at the end of Friday March 4 if lawmakers cannot agree on a way to extend federal funding before then.
The Speaker’s press office has released excerpts of the speech Boehner will deliver tonight. There are two notable things here:  1) Boehner promises the Republican budget for 2012 will “specifically deal with entitlement reform” (something the Republican leadership, so far, has avoided); and, 2) unlike former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is now saying the 1995/96 shutdown was a good thing, Boehner insists he wants to avoid one. 
“This is very simple:  Americans want the government to stay open, and they want it to spend less money,”  Boehner will say.
His entitlement reform promise comes with a whack at the White House: “To not address entitlement programs, as is the case with the budget the president has put forward, would be an economic and moral failure,” Boehner says. “By acting now, we can fulfill the mission of health and retirement security for all Americans without making changes for those in or near retirement.  And we can keep the promises we have made to our children.”

 On government and internet:
“Our new majority in the House is committed to using every tool at our disposal to fight a government takeover of the Internet.  Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, has pledged, in his words, to be ‘a dog to the Frisbee on this issue.’  … Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon, a former broadcaster himself, has introduced a congressional resolution of disapproval to reverse the FCC’s net neutrality rules.  I’m pleased to report the House will act on this measure as early as next month.”

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“their house” 600 Protesters Allowed to Stay in Capitol UPDATE: Wisconsin Showdown Sunday Night ? State Officials Readies to Clear Capitol of Protesters

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About 600 protesters will be allowed to stay in Capitol


PATRICIA SIMMS and GENA KITTNER | Wisconsin State Journal
Sunday, February 27, 2011 5:30 pm

Protesters proved Sunday the Capitol was “their house” as up to 600 remained without incident and were not arrested as they had been expecting. Shortly before 7 p.m., police announced protesters who remained in the Capitol would be allowed to spend the night.
“If you’re here, you can stay,” Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said. Protesters will be limited to the ground floor, while crews continue with an “extensive cleaning” tonight.
“I have felt the sting of hatred so deep that it almost ripped my soul in half,” protester Damon Terrell said as he addressed the crowd Sunday. “Those that feel that same anger, that would be torn apart by that same hatred of their fellow man, try one thing for me. Don’t do it. Be stronger than yourself. Rise above your own emotions.”
Shortly after a 4 p.m. deadline to clear the Capitol, state officials said there would be no forcible removal of protesters inside.
“A decision has been made to do what they’ve been doing all week long, and that is to do everything to keep things peaceful and keep people safe,” said Peg Schmidt, spokeswoman for the police command in the Capitol. “There’s not going to be any forcible removal.”
But officials would still like to clear the building so that it can be cleaned.
“We are still looking for voluntary compliance and for people to leave because we believe the cleaning operation is important,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt said the plan is to open the Capitol again at 8 a.m., but cleaning will be going on throughout the day.
“There’s been incredible cooperation all along of everybody who’s been here.”
As the deadline for leaving the building approached, rally organizers told protesters who would be willing to be arrested as an act of civil disobedience to move to the first floor of the Capitol. Those who wanted to leave were directed to the ground floor and the State Street entrance.
Speakers said it was important to remain nonviolent.
READ MORE  
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Associated Press
Sunday, February 27, 2011
4:45 pm

About 200 protesters have left the Wisconsin Capitol, but many more have remained behind in defiance of a 4 p.m. deadline.
Protesters who wanted to peacefully resist the order to vacate the building were told to move to higher floors. Those who left were told to assemble on the ground floor.
Capitol police have been watching the protests, and an Associated Press reporter has not seen them arrest anyone.
Protesters have been sleeping inside the Capitol since Feb. 15. They are fighting Republican Gov. Scott Walker's sweeping anti-union legislation. Walker says the legislation is needed for the state to balance its budget.

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Opponents to the governor's bill to eliminate collective bargaining rights for many state workers protest outside of the state Capitol in Madison, Wis., Saturday, Feb. 26, 2011. Union supporters are on 12th day of protests at the Capitol. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)
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Wisconsin readies to clear Capitol of protesters

 Associated Press
Sunday, February 27, 2011
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Taylor Tengwall spent the last seven nights sleeping inside Wisconsin's Capitol building alongside thousands of fellow pro-union protesters, and he was hoping state officials would relent on their decision to clear the building for the night starting Sunday.
"I have faith I will not have to leave," said Tengwall, an earnest 21-year-old from Duluth, Minn., who was sporting a few days' growth of stubble, a wrinkled T-shirt, sweat pants and socks.
With Republican Gov. Scott Walker's bill to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights stuck in a legislative stalemate, some of the protesters who made the Capitol their home over the past two weeks hinted that they might not go easily when police begin clearing the building at 4 p.m.
"We will not leave," read a hand-printed sign taped up next to one sleeping bag. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO sent out a press release Sunday predicting hundreds of protesters would risk peaceful arrest.
The Department of Administration said the Capitol is in bad need of cleaning after 13 days of 24-hour occupation. Protesters have not trashed the building, but it has taken on the funky locker room aroma of body odor, sweaty feet and deodorant.
Tengwall _ who said he dropped out of school for the semester and came to Madison "to protect my country from a despotic government" _ said his top priority was that things remain peaceful. He said he's seen enormous good will and respect built up between the demonstrators and law enforcement officers keeping watch.
"One act of violence could put out this fire we've started," Tengwall said.
Luke Bassuener, a 31-year-old art teacher in Madison, has slept in the Capitol for nine nights. He said prior plans would keep him out of the Capitol at 4 p.m. Sunday, but he has every intention of sleeping there again.
"They said we won't be able to have sleeping bags anymore," Bassuener said. "So I'll sleep under my jacket."
Saturday's estimated crowd of more than 70,000 demonstrators was the largest since protesters moved into the Capitol on Feb. 15. And pro-union crowds gathered in cities across the country in a show of support for Wisconsin's public workers.
In a Sunday interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Walker said the lengthy protests haven't eroded his resolve to push forward with his legislative agenda and to end collective bargaining rights for most public workers.
"Year after year, governors and legislators before us have kicked the can down the road. We can't do that. We're broke. It's about time someone stood up and told the truth in our state and said here's our problem, here's the solution and let's do this," he said.
Walker argues that the Republican-backed bill now stalled in the state Senate would help close a projected $3.6 billion deficit in the 2011-13 budget, and that freeing local governments from collective bargaining would give them the necessary flexibility to deal with deep budget cuts.
Democratic lawmakers and union supporters are incensed by the bill, particularly because it would strip nearly all public workers of their right to collectively bargain on benefits and working conditions. Leaders of Wisconsin's largest public workers' unions have capitulated to Walker's demands for their members to cover more of their pension and health care benefits, and contend that his attack on collective bargaining is meant to undermine unions and the Democratic Party base.
The bill stalled in the state Senate when its 14 Democratic members fled the state, depriving it of a quorum by a single vote. Walker said Sunday that he expects some of those Democratic lawmakers to return to the state capital soon.
Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, reached by phone Sunday in Illinois, said he and his colleagues have no plans to return.
Wisconsin's standoff is being closely watched by pro- and anti-union groups in other states, including Ohio, where several thousand people rallied Saturday in the capital Columbus against a similar bill. Indiana Democrats successfully blocked a Republican bill last week that would have prohibited union membership from being a condition of employment.
Large crowds of teachers, firefighters and public workers also gathered for rallies _ holding American flags, wearing pro-union clothing and holding signs _ in other capital cities including Denver, Topeka, Kan.; Harrisburg, Pa.; and Olympia, Wash. The cross-country rallies were part of a campaign by the liberal online group MoveOn.org, and some attracted counter-protests, though the pro-union rallies were larger.

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Madison Rally Crowd 70,000 To 120,000

 Police in Madison, Wisconsin say it is the largest demonstration they have seen in their city. Estimates of the crowd size for the workers rights rally ranged from 70,000 to 120,000. The rally was sparked by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker attempt to take away collective bargaining from public workers.
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How to test the change UPDATE: Google Changes Algorithm Users Go Elsewhere Site Rankings Drop

Websites to Google: 'You're killing our business!'

By David Goldman

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Google made one of the biggest changes ever to its search results this week, which immediately had a noticeable effect on many Web properties that rely on the world's biggest search engine to drive traffic to their sites.
The major tweak aims to move better quality content to the top of Google's search rankings. The changes will affect 12% Google's results, the company said in a blog post late Thursday.
"Our goal is simple: to give users the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible," said Gabriel Stricker, Google spokesman. "This requires constant tuning of our algorithms, as new content -- both good and bad -- comes online all the time. Recently we've heard from our users that they want to see fewer low quality sites in our results."
Typically, Google's algorithm changes are so subtle that few people notice them. But these most recent changes could be seen immediately.


How to test the change:
The IP address 64.233.179.104 displays Google search results as they would have appeared before the recent algorithm change, according to several webmasters posting to the WebmasterWorld.com forum.
Google would not confirm that IP address uses the older algorithm, but comparing searches of trending topics on google.com with searches using the special Google IP address reveals how the search engine now seems to be favoring certain content.
The changes appear to be affecting so-called "content farms" the most, which are websites that amass content based on the most-searched terms of the day. Demand Media, AOL, Mahalo and the Huffington Post have all been accused of such tactics, including a notable "story" from HuffPo about the Super Bowl that Slate.com media critic Jack Shafer called "the greatest example of SEO whoring of all time."
Tests using trending topics show Google's tweaks in action.
The current top Google result for a search of Charlie Sheen rant target "Haim Levine" is a New York Daily News page, followed by a story from gossipcop.com. The old algorithm would have featured two Huffington Post stories at the top, with the New York Daily News story not appearing appear until the second results page.
A controversial decision: Any change to Google's algorithm is a zero-sum game. Some websites win, some lose.
Comments from site operators lit up on the WebmasterWorld.com forum starting on Wednesday. Many webmasters complained that traffic to their sites dropped dramatically overnight, and others expressed concern that they can't adapt quickly enough to Google's changes to its algorithm.
"Why is it that every single time the search engine result page starts to stabilize and sales return, Google has to throw a monkey wrench in the system again?" asked commenter backdraft7. "Hey Google, this is not fun anymore - YOU'RE KILLING OUR BUSINESSES!"
"My God. I just lost 40% of my traffic from Google today," said commenter DickBaker. "Referrals from Yahoo, Bing, direct sources, and other sources are the same, but Google dropped like a rock."
There are many legitimate ways content creators optimize their sites to rise to the top of Google's results. But Google has been cracking down on what it regards as inappropriate attempts to do so: The company recently penalized Overstock.com and JC Penney in its search results after the companies were found to have set up fake websites that linked to their own, causing Google's algorithm to rank them higher.
When it comes to site content, the lines get very fuzzy. Operators like Demand Media (DMD) -- which now has a market valuation of $1.9 billion, more than the New York Times Co. is worth -- sit right on the ever-shifting boundaries.
"Sites of this type have always been controversial," said Daniel Ruby, research director at Chitika, Inc. a search advertising analytics company. "On one hand, they often do produce extremely informative, well-written articles. On the other hand, they put out countless articles on a daily basis, and some claim they exist only to generate the top result on as many keywords as possible."
Demand put out a very carefully worded response to Google's changes.
"As might be expected, a content library as diverse as ours saw some content go up and some go down in Google search results," Larry Fitzgibbon, the company's executive vice president of media and operations, wrote in a blog post. "It's impossible to speculate how these or any changes made by Google impact any online business in the long term -- but at this point in time, we haven't seen a material net impact."
So will Google's changes have a lasting effect on search quality? Perhaps. But it's an arms race: Any time the company adjusts its algorithms, those determined to beat them immediately adjust.

READ MORE

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Site Rankings Drop as Google Changes Algorithm

February 26, 2011

In an attempt to thwart content farms, Google has changed its search algorithm. As sites across the board suffer, the media wonders why they did it.
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BY STEPHANIE STOUFFER

You're watching multisource business news analysis from Newsy

If you’ve seen some changes in your Google searches recently, you weren’t imagining it. Google made some big changes to its algorithms.  The search engine giant is trying to push up high quality content and according to CNET, declared war on content farms.

Tech analysts are saying right now it might be too soon to tell the extent of the changes, but Google says in a blog post that close to 12% of searches will be effected. For those websites that will ultimately be pushed down in search rankings -- those so-called content farms -- Google says, it’s just the way it works.

“We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites. It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down. Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem.”

Content farms like eHow that publish content and links from other sites to increase Google rankings are said to be the target of the changes. But other companies are being affected. More than 500 angry site owners have spoken out in a forum on WebMasterWorld. 

FalsePositive writes “I was hit with a 50% traffic drop. I built my business from the ground up, and now it's demolished.”
And FredOPC says, “Our rankings generally dropped 5-20 positions across the board. What has replaced us is larger sites with general information, rather than the niche, detailed information we provide.”

A writer for TechCrunch is convinced this change isn’t just for better search results. He argues this could be a PR move and Google’s way of saying they’re still on top in the search game.

“There’s a feeling that Google’s algorithm is falling further and further behind ... It’s an arms race, and Google is losing that arms race … Google hides behind their mighty and mysterious search algorithm. If good search was as easy as analyzing simple clicks of a mouse on a web page, all the magic could vaporize.”

And CNET agrees -- pointing out the role Facebook has in this battle of the tech companies.

“With pressure from the 'social search' trend fueled by Facebook's success and from search rival Bing inching up in market share, this decision may be more pressing for Google than it appears at first glance.”

But AdWeek says Google is just simply recognizing a problem and figuring out a way to fix it.

“Google is finally admitting it's got a quality problem, and the Web giant is doing something about it. Essentially, it's dropping the hammer on content farms.”


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Oscars Best Picture Parodies Acted Out by Children Goes Web Viral 'AOL Kids Act Out'

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Best Picture: Oscars According to Kids

February 27, 2011

BY JENNIFER MECKLES
ANCHOR: JENNIFER MECKLES
Your'e watching multisource entertainment video news analysis from Newsy.

For all you movie buffs out there -- what is the only thing better than watching the Oscars? How about watching adorable kids re-enact the nominees?
THE KING'S SPEECH: (AOL)
“Repeat after me. She sells...”
“Shshshshshe sells”
“She sells”
“Shhhhshhhsh”
“You’ll never be a good king in time for World War II!”


AOL's series “The Kids Act Out” created a parody for five of the Best Picture nominations. These pint-sized actors playing out Oscar roles have gone viral.
BLACK SWAN: (AOL)
“I think I’m going crazy!”

A writer for TIME really liked
the Social Network parody,  saying these characters best fit their role:

“Unlike the original movie, where adults act like children, AOL's version... features children acting like adults acting like children... This video is serious proof that kids just make everything better.”
SOCIAL NETWORK: (AOL)
“Mark, we were best friends!”
“Were!”
“Admit it!”
“You stole it!"
“I disagree!”
“Pay us!”
“Facebook changed the world!”
“We were best friends!”
“Great snappy dialogue.”


The best part of that video? Mashable says its all in the delivery:

“...[Social Network’s] Aaron Sorkin’s dialogue is given a whole new dimension when uttered by a cast of folks who haven’t quite nailed the intricacies of enunciation yet.”

And about that enunciation -- see how well the Fighter kids nail the Boston accent:

THE FIGHTER (AOL)
“One day you will be like your big brother.”
“Dickey, get away from him!"
“Stay outta this Charlene!”
“You-ah noo-aat family!”
[Unintelligible Boston Accents]
“Stop, I just want to fight!”


The Washington Post reaches out to the Academy -- urging it to consider the clips before making the big decision:

“Academy voters: Do not -- I repeat, do not -- decide which film deserves the Oscar for Best Picture until you watch the videos... Because you haven't fully processed the meaning behind the nominated films until you've seen them summarized in clips... that star little kids.”

… Like in this parody of 127 hours, where a mini James Franco sums up the whole movie in just one line:

127 HOURSE: (AOL)
"This is gonna be gross.”

Creative Loafing said:
“Smilestimes for at least a week.”

And MovieFone is just happy to have a viral video that doesn’t drive us all crazy.
“This adorable Internet trend is one we hope never fades out.... If you ask us, these super-cute little ones give tremendous, maybe even Oscar-worthy, performances.”
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Girl Scout Cookie Sales Barred at Founder's Home Savannah GA violation of city ordinance

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Cookie sales barred at Girl Scouts founder's home


Feb 27, 2011

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SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- Girl Scouts are no longer able to sell their famous cookies outside the historic Savannah home of the woman who founded the organization almost a century ago.
A complaint last year ended the longtime practice of selling the cookies on the public sidewalk outside the home of Juliette Gordon Low at the busy intersection of Bull Street and Oglethorpe Avenue. Peddling on a public sidewalk is a violation of city ordinance. One city alderman said he thinks the city should consider a temporary exception for cookie season.
The city's zoning administrator, Randolph Scott, said he investigated the matter and tried to find a solution. He said he called for a survey, hoping there would be some private space between the home and the sidewalk. He said there wasn't any.
Scott said they also looked at allowing the Scouts to sell from a small courtyard on the side of the house, but fire marshals told the Scouts they would block an exit route. The home is a National Historic Landmark open for tours.
"I know it doesn't look good," Scott told The Savannah Morning News. "However, other businesses won't care if it's the Girl Scouts or March of Dimes. They're going to say, 'Why can't I sit out front and solicit business?'"
City Alderman Van Johnson said he thinks the city council should consider a variance to allow temporary sales during cookie season, which usually happens in the first few months of the year.
"Juliette Low brings thousands of tourists from around the country. Juliette Low is known for Girl Scouts, and Girl Scouts are known for cookies," Johnson said. "Let's be reasonable. Let them sell their cookies."
Scouts have since started selling near some other high-traffic intersections. Girls used to be able to sell about 250 boxes in three hours outside the Low home, said Jan McKinney, who heads product sales for the Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia.
But she says it's important that the girls learn the larger lesson of the change. She says the cookie sales are intended to teach the girls money management, public speaking, customer service and business ethics.
"We try to teach them that in business you have to adjust to things that happen, adapt to the market and follow the law," she said. "It's a real-world experience."
The executive director of the Low house, Fran Harold, said tourists loved buying cookies from the girls at the home.
"It's kind of sad for the girls, too," she said. "There's nothing cuter than some little Brownie Girl Scout selling cookies on the sidewalk in front of the Juliette Low house."
Low founded the Girl Scouts in Savannah in March 1912 after meeting Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts and the Girl Guides, and helped expand the organization worldwide.

Girl Scouts of the USA: http://www.girlscouts.org/
Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace: http://www.juliettegordonlowbirthplace.org/

Information from: Savannah Morning News, http://www.savannahnow.com
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'Gnomeo and Juliet' Box Office Winner Oscar Weekend VIDEO REVIEW

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'Gnomeo & Juliet' wins box office on Oscar weekend


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Feb 27, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) -- Wherefore art thou, Gnomeo? Atop the box office, that's where.
Walt Disney's "Gnomeo & Juliet," an animated 3-D twist on "Romeo and Juliet," took in $14.2 million in its third week of release, leading the box office on Oscar weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. In a lighthearted, G-rated version of the Shakespeare drama, the film uses garden gnomes in roles usually reserved for heavyweights of the stage.
It was a surprising upset win for "Gnomeo," which bested underperforming debuts from Owen Wilson and Nic Cage.
The Farrelly brothers' R-rated comedy "Hall Pass" earned $13.4 million for Warner Bros. Cage's 3-D action film "Drive Angry" took in just $5.1 million for Summit Entertainment.
The Liam Neeson thriller "Unknown" earned $12.4 million in its second weekend of release, bringing its cumulative total to a solid $42.8 million for Warner Bros.
In its third week of release, Paramount's 3-D Justin Bieber concert documentary, "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," took in $9.2 million. To boost repeat business from die-hard Bieber fans, the film was re-edited by director Jon Chu in a "fan cut," made using suggestions from the teen pop star's rabid following.
But the weekend belonged to "Gnomeo," which didn't take no. 1 until this weekend. "Gnomeo," whose lead characters are voiced by James McAvoy and Emily Blunt, has now earned a total of $75.1 million.
"It is one of those wonderful little benefits that you don't see coming," said Chuck Viane, head of distribution at Disney.
Viane credited the unlikely success of the film to good word-of-mouth, the lack of family film competition in the marketplace and that a G-rated film built on afternoon moviegoing need worry less about audiences staying home Sunday night for the Academy Awards.
"When most people are sitting down to watch the Oscars, we will have had the vast majority of our business," said Viane.
Academy Awards weekend is historically a weak moviegoing time, though some moviegoers use the chance to catch up on Oscar-nominated films still in theaters. The best picture favorite "The King's Speech," from the Weinstein Co., saw its grosses jump 17 percent over last weekend's. It added $7.6 million in its 14th week of release to boost its total to $114.5 million.
Results were poor for Cage's "Drive Angry," which follows the weak debut of his "Season of the Witch" in January. That film opened to $10.6 million. The heavily promoted "Hall Pass," which stars Wilson and Jason Sudeikis, also underperformed.
"It's a tough weekend because you don't really have a full Sunday," said Dan Fellman, head of distribution at Warner Bros. "It's very difficult to project on Academy Sunday."
Hollywood.com analyst Paul Dergarabedian, however, notes: "Kids don't care about the Oscars. They just want to go to the movies."
Though the unexpected success of "Gnomeo" is good for the moviegoing business, it was still a down weekend for Hollywood, with the total box-office less than the corresponding weekend last year. That has been a common theme in 2011. Grosses are down 21 percent from last year.
"As the industry celebrates its best of last year, we're definitely still in this box-office malaise," said Dergarabedian.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to 

Hollywood.com. Final figures will be released Tuesday.
1. "Gnomeo & Juliet," $14.2 million.
2. "Hall Pass," $13.4 million.
3. "Unknown," $12.4 million.
4. "Just Go With It," $11.1 million.
5. "I Am Number Four," $11 million.
6. "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," $9.2 million.
7. "The King's Speech," $7.6 million.
8. "Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son," $7.6 million.
9. "Drive Angry," $5.1 million.
10. "True Grit," $1.9 million.


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Season Over for Cardinals ? Adam Wainwright's Injury: Can St. Louis Cards take the hit

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Adam Wainwright's Injury: Doom for the Cardinals?

February 27, 2011

Now that Cardinals star pitcher Adam Wainwright transitions to the injured list, can St. Louis take the hit?
 Y BARBARA MANINGAT
Anchor: Austin Kim

You're watching multisource sports news analysis from Newsy


Spirits of St. Louis Cardinals fans are flying LOW, now that star pitcher Adam Wainwright is officially out for the 2011 season. That’s got the blogosphere and some baseball fanatics in a panic, wondering -- what to do without Wainwright!

He’s going to need Tommy John surgery -- basically, a reconstruction of ligaments in the elbow that will force this top-ranked big-league to ride the pine for 12-18 months.
(Video from MLB)

So how are they going to fill the rotation? Fox Sports analysts say budget restrictions will keep the owners looking internally.

“Well, the Cardinals have immediately contacted Kevin Milwood’s agent. He’s a guy that might fit in the back end. The problem is they don’t have any money to spend. They’ve already gone beyond what their budget is. They’re not going to get any insurance money this year for Adam Wainwright getting hurt, so i think they’re going to look at options in-house first.”

Fox Sports caught up with Wainwright’s teammates, who have confidence in the current roster.

MATT HOLLIDAY: “You know, it’s a big loss for us, but I think we have the talent in this room to overcome it.”
KYLE MCCLELLAN: “If I am given the opportunity, it’s an opportunity for me to jump in and just try to do the best I can and try and help this club.”


But one National League scout told ESPN how the loss might affect the Cards’ mentality and reputation.

"When you lose a guy like this, there's a psychological devastation. He's their No. 1. He's their rock... And it even affects other teams going in to play them. Instead of saying, 'Uh-oh, we've got to face Carpenter and Wainwright in this series,' now you're going to go get two out of three and feel pretty good about it.”

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz says
it’s just the beginning of the swan dive -- and with the Cards already missing the playoffs in the last four of five seasons, they may also lose the best player in the league, Albert Pujols, in 2012.

“Losing Wainwright likely will hit the team's finances... Home attendance dropped in 2010... At that point Pujols might be more inclined to take his talents to a wealthier, more financially empowered franchise that packs enough payroll to offset injuries.”

Yep. Sounds like the death of the red birds -- but SB Nation says, check out the stats!

“...they still show up as the favorites, winning the Central 38 percent of the time and still ahead of the Brewers (33 percent) and Reds (19 percent)... So yes, it's a tough blow. But no, it's far from devastating. Based on the numbers, the Cardinals are still in pretty good shape.”

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Anger in Ireland , Irish Elections Result in Government Shakeup

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Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

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Irish Elections Result in Government Shakeup

February 27, 2011

After Ireland's hard-hitting financial meltdown, voters have decisively ousted Fianna Fail, the current governing party.

BY JEN LASK
Anchor: Jennifer Meckles

You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy

In what’s being called a historic election, Irish voters have decisively ousted the current governing party, Fianna Fail.

We’re analyzing reactions from the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ITN, and BBC.

Analysts say the results highlight the country’s anger at Fianna Fail (Fee-ah-nuh Fail), which presided over Ireland during its meltdown as a result of the global financial crisis and its own spending excesses. According to the Wall Street Journal,

“...early counting suggests the party that has dominated Irish politics throughout its 85-year history may win just 20 seats, down from the 78 seats it won in 2007... The party’s reversal in fortunes will likely leave it with just one out of 47 seats in Dublin, home to a third of the country’s population.”

According to ITN, Fianna Fail has run the country for 61 of the last 79 years, making this defeat an even greater blow.

“It looks like voters are punishing the government for the economic meltdown which forced it to seek a bailout from its fellow European Union member states. Observers say Fianna Fail will record the biggest collapse in support for any Irish party since independence from Britain in 1921.”

While the votes show the country is united in their anger with the Fianna Fail party, there is a lack of unity regarding which party will be the next ruling party. And according to CNN, Fine Gael (Fihnuh Gale) will be forming a coalition government with the Labour Party.

“Fine Gael, the main opposition, like you said, they’re set to take power, but it will be a coalition government with the Labour party. Fine Gael is center right, the Labour Party is center left, so it will be a coalition government, but it will be a very strong coalition government.”

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$ 5 A Gallon Gas by Summer, Saudi Arabia Facebook group calling for 'A Day of Rage' March 11, 2011


Bahraini protesters gather in capital Manama, February 15, 2011.
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Saudi Unrest Adds to Concern Over Oil Prices

February 27, 2011

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Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

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BY SAMANTHA MCCLENDON
Anchor: Jennifer Meckles

You're watching multisource business news analysis from Newsy

(Fox News)
“There is a real and growing concern about a possible revolt in Saudi Arabia. And that folks could be a game changer.”

A Facebook page created for Saudi Arabia calls for quote- “A Day of Rage” on March 11. The page demands the release of political prisoners, more rights for women, and more. (International Business Times)

A columnist tells Fox News about what protests in Saudi Arabia could mean for the United States.

CHARLES KRUTHAMMER: “You get a major eruption on March 11, all Hell is breaking loose because Saudi Arabia is the prize, it’s the treasure, it’s the gold at the end of the rainbow. it’s everything for the world economy. Then you have to think of Western intervention.”

Western intervention? That could be the case. Saudi Arabia is the world’s top oil producer, but as production from other oil-rich countries in the region grows more uncertain, the Saudis have stepped up to meet demand. The Sydney Morning Herald Reports...

“It is believed that the Saudi state oil company had increased its output to more than 9 million barrels per day - a rise of more than 700,000 barrels. The worsening situation in Libya has led to a loss of about 1.2 million barrels out of its 1.6 million barrels of daily output."

And a writer for USA Today explains how turmoil in Saudi Arabia could hit international pocketbooks.

“If political unrest in Libya spreads to other oil-rich countries [such as Saudi Arabia] and the ensuing chaos disrupts crude oil production, gas prices could hit $5 a gallon by peak summer driving season, industry analysts say.”

World Threats says over 400 people are involved on the Facebook page, but there’s no guarantee anything will get off the ground.

“...it is unknown how many of them are actually inside Saudi Arabia. In addition, there is deep skepticism about the ability to organize such an event given the theocratic rule of the Royal Family.”. Click Here to Read More.

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Global Panic Over Oil Supplies as Chaos in Libya Continues


A Libyan oil worker walks in front of a refinery inside the Brega oil complex, in Brega east of Libya, on Saturday Feb. 26, 2011. Production at Brega has dropped by almost 90 percent amid the country's crisis because many employees have fled and few ships are coming to offload the product. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
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Libyan chaos stirs global panic over oil supplies

Associated Press
Sunday, February 27, 2011
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Libya's oil industry is in chaos _ and there's no telling when that will end.
Armed men loot equipment from oil field installations. British and German commandos execute secret raids in the Libyan desert to rescue stranded oil workers as security disintegrates rapidly in remote camps.
Libyan port workers, frightened of being caught up in Moammar Gadhafi's violent crackdown on protesters, fail to show up for work, leaving empty tankers floating around the Mediterranean Sea waiting to load crude.
And the European oil companies extracting Libya's black gold are operating in crisis mode, trying to get stranded expatriate workers out and safe amid conflicting information on how much oil is still being pumped and just where it all is.
That was just this week. The situation is not expected to get better in the near future.
No one knows whether Gadhafi or the rebels trying to oust him will end up controlling Africa's biggest oil reserves. Fears abound that Libya could turn into a fractured nation with competing armed groups ruling over rich and remote desert fields lying hundreds of miles (kilometers) apart from each other.
The chaos in Libya as it descends into virtual civil war has sent international oil prices skyrocketing despite a pledge from Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, to ramp up exports. And that volatility is likely to continue, because it could take weeks or even months for Libyan production and exports to return to normal levels, experts said.
That has sent already over-caffeinated oil traders into a frenzy that won't calm down until there's more clarity about what is happening on the ground in Libya.
The International Energy Agency reported late Friday that Libya is probably still producing about 850,000 barrels of oil daily, down from its normal capacity of 1.6 million barrels _ but acknowledged the estimate is based on "incomplete, conflicting information."
Libya produces just under 2 percent of the world's oil, but its customers are overwhelmingly European. Hardest hit by the sudden oil shortage are European refiners that receive 85 percent of Libya's exports, turning the country's highly valued crude into diesel and jet fuel.
The biggest buyers are Italy, France, Germany and Spain _ and Spain is so concerned it announced Friday that highway speed limits will be reduced in March in a desperate bid to cut fuel consumption.
The biggest problem facing oil companies and European consumers who depend on Libyan oil is a near-complete breakdown in solid information. Phones in Libya rarely work, Internet is intermittent, workers are fleeing and looters are grabbing what they can or pose a threat until order is restored.

Spain's Repsol-YPF oil company announced Tuesday it had suspended operations in Libya, only to find out a day later that the oil fields it operates with other firms were still producing 160,000 barrels of crude daily. Still, that was less than half of the 360,000 barrels produced before the crisis began.
Despite reports that production was still under way in the vast Saharan desert Amal fields, Libyans never before permitted to approach the oil fields under Gadhafi's reign showed up armed and took anything they could _ four-wheel drive vehicles, pumps, generators. One group came with a trailer and tried to remove a huge crane, said Gavin de Salis, chairman of Britain's OPS international oil field services company.
"Nobody shot anyone," De Salis. "But people were wandering around with guns saying 'Thanks, we'll take your vehicle since you're leaving anyway.'"

Even though production appears to be limping along _ with Repsol reporting that Libyan oil workers are increasingly running operations as expatriates leave _ the oil isn't getting out. The 320-mile (520-kilometer) natural gas pipeline under the Mediterranean from Libya to the Italian island of Sicily has been shut down for a week, with no guidance from its owner, the Italian energy firm Eni SpA, on when it might start pumping again.
"Most Libyan ports are closed due to bad weather, staff shortages, or production outages," the IEA reported. Ports are key because Libya's crude heads abroad on tankers.
Major container ship companies have suspended deliveries or pickups from Libyan ports with no word on when shipments might resume. Tanker ships that deliver to Europe have been told to stay more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) offshore from some Libyan ports and await information on whether they can safely dock and take on oil.
The massive oil terminal at Brega, Libya's second-largest hydrocarbon complex, was nearly deserted over the weekend, with operations scaled back almost 90 percent because employees had fled and ships were not showing up.
The Brega complex, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) west of the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, collects crude oil and gas from Libya's fields in the southeast and prepares it for export. Since the crisis began Feb. 15, however, General Manager Fathi Eissa said production had dropped from 90,000 barrels of crude a day to 11,000.
With huge spherical storage containers and reservoirs rapidly filling up with oil and natural gas and no ships to take it away, production in the southern fields has been throttled back until Brega can clear some of its capacity.
The big oil companies have been mum on how the political situation may pan out, because they want to produce oil whether Gadhafi or someone else ends up in charge, and it's not worth it for them to risk alienating any of the groups vying for power, said Mohammed El-Katiri, a Middle East analyst at the Eurasia Group risk consulting group.
In a worst-case scenario, El-Katiri predicted it could take between four to six months to for Libya's domestic unrest to ease.
"Such a scenario bodes poorly from an oil production point of view on two counts: Not only will it compromise production with Gadhafi still in power, but ongoing violence could further complicate the ability of a post-Gadhafi political order to emerge in a manner that creates a stable domestic security environment," El-Katiri said.
Repsol's chairman, Antonio Brufau, told reporters he would get his last expatriate workers out using bicycles if necessary _ and El-Katiri said oil companies won't send them back in until they know it's safe. De Salis said some expatriates could return without a functioning central government but only if local security situations improve.
Leaving oil fields deserted in Libya creates even more security problems. In Nigeria, opportunistic villagers, rebels or pirates often tap pipelines in a dangerous bid to steal fuel, leaving many killed or maimed in accidents and pipelines compromised by sabotage.
About the only positive sign for Libya's oil future is that experts believe both Gadhafi and the rebels want to restart suspended oil operations as quickly as possible because they covet Libya's oil wealth.
"For Gadhafi, the money helps because he can keep on paying his militias and mercenaries to keep them fighting and loyal," El-Katiri said.
The rebels, meanwhile, don't want to alienate Western governments that depend on Libyan oil, he said, and also need money to be strong enough "to resist attacks by Gadhafi."

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Charlie Sheen Passes Drug Test - Blood Test Results Due within 24-48 hours

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Charlie Sheen Passes Home Drug Test Given By Radar

Posted on Feb 27, 2011
www.radaronline.com
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As he insisted he would, Charlie Sheen passed a urine drug test administered in the presence of RadarOnline.com.
The Two And A Half Men star flew back from his tropical vacation in the Bahamas to Los Angeles late on Friday night determined to take a home drug test earlier than Monday, as he had previously agreed to do.
The First Check home test was used and administered before RadarOnline.com's Senior Executive Editor Dylan Howard and two producers so it could not be faked.


Radar EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Charlie Sheen Passes Radar's Drug Test - See The Proof Here


The negative result is a preliminary finding pending a further urine and blood test by a court-certified toxicology laboratory which was conducted at the star's Los Angeles mansion Saturday.
The results of that test are expected to be revealed within 24-48 hours.
Sheen, 45, returned a negative finding for First Check test, which is said to be 99% accurate, for seven illicit drugs and five prescription drugs. These include (illicit) marijuana, cocaine, opiates, methamphetamines, ecstasy, amphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP)  and (prescription) tricyclic antidepressants, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone and oxycodone.
The test can detect marijuana for up to 40 days, phencyclidine up to 14 days and cocaine, methamphetamine and ecstasy up to four days.
The test result for marijuana had a lighter 'drug line' than the control line, which according to test, doesn't mean a drug was present.
"Any line next to the word drug, no matter how dark or light, is considered a Negative Result and no further testing is required," the tester notes.
"It is possible that the intensity of the lines will vary among the drugs being tested for due to a variety of reasons such as; how diluted the urine is, the pH or protein level of the urine, or interference from a metabolite in the urine that closely resembles the drug.
"Keep in mind that no matter how faint the Drug line, it is still considered a Negative Result."
Sheen accepted RadarOnline.com's challenge to prove he is sober after being confronted with allegations he had fallen off the wagon and was again using drugs, including cocaine.
Moments before he accepted the challenge, CBS released its statement announcing it would immediately stop production of Two and a Half Men because of Sheen's "conduct and condition".
"These assholes claim they know this and we are going to prove them wrong," said the star, who earned $2 million an episode before the show was halted.
"Out of respect, Dylan Howard called me to see if this was true. I said it was not. Dylan challenged me to a urine test, I told him that if I passed it he would have to drink it!
"We both laughed and now we are going to meet ... blood, urine, whatever, we're testing it.
"I'm so confident where I am at and that these faceless names can't touch me... I know that I will pass the test and prove my detractors wrong."
The hard-partying actor added: "If they do discover my blood to be tiger blood, I hope that nobody will be shocked!"
Sheen just finished a month of at-home rehab after he was hospitalized on January 27 for what his rep said characterized as "severe abdominal pains."
Sheen had been on a 36-hour bender of cocaine and booze with adult film actresses.
The result of the drug test is a major victory for Sheen, who went on a series of rants this week, including saying he "violently hated" Chuck Lorre, the Two and a Half Men creator who made the decision to suspend the show.
Sheen called Lorre a "stupid, stupid little man and a p**sy punk that I'd never want to be like".
"That's me being polite," said Sheen, adding: "You can tell him [Lorre] one thing. I own him."
Following the controversial comments, CBS and Warner Bros. announced they had canceled the remaining season of the billion dollar television program.
"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," their statement read.

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