Just a day after the Tennessee House of Representatives voted to make the Bible the state’s official book, Tennessee’s Senate killed the measure. From The Tennessean: “The Senate voted 22-9 to send the Bible to committee, effectively killing the bill.” The state’s governor was a vocal opponent of the idea and Tennessee’s Attorney General thought it would be a violation of the separation of church and state. The critics didn’t deter House lawmakers, though; they voted 55-38 to get the measure passed. Supporter Sen. Steve Southerland argued that "the Bible has great historical and cultural significance in the state of Tennessee."
Along with legal concerns, opponents of the measure said that making the Bible an official state symbol, trivialized it by putting scripture along with objects like the official state amphibian (the Tennessee cave salamander), the official state horse (the Tennessee walking horse) and the official state folk dance (the square dance). Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, who helped defeat the measure told The Tennessean, "All I know is that I hear Satan snickering. He loves this kind of mischief. You just dumb the good book down far enough to make it whatever it takes to make it a state symbol, and you're on your way to where he wants you” ... Discuss
Either things at Tidal are getting desperate or Jay-Z is just an extremely dedicated business owner. An executive at the streaming service told Business Insider that Jay-Z, Jack White and several of the other artist/owners have been calling subscribers on the phone and personally thanking them for using the service. Since launching earlier this month during a high-profile ceremony with some of music’s biggest stars, Tidal has faced some mixed reviews. It also just reportedly lost its CEO.
Lily Allen, members of Mumford & Sons and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard have publically spoken out about the streaming service, which claims to pay artists higher royalty rates than Spotify. One of the selling points for Tidal—which unlike Spotify, doesn’t offer a free tier—is that it is “artist owned.” But Marcus Mumford told The Daily Beast, “I think smaller bands should get paid more for it, too. Bigger bands have other ways of making money, so I don’t think you can complain. A band of our size shouldn’t be complaining. And when they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists.” Tidal does have at least a few fans though. The Tidal executive said one of the people Jay-Z rang up told him, “This is the best customer service call I’ve ever received!” ... Discuss
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Ryan Gosling is in talks to star in an upcoming sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner. Not a lot is known about the plot at this point, but rumors indicate that it will take place 30 years after the time of the first film, and will focus on a search for Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard. Production is set to begin next year ... Discuss
Yesterday, the new trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens basically broke the Internet, with geeked out fans around the world taking to YouTube to get a look at the JJ Abrams sequel. The brief video was especially emotional for one noted sci-fi fan, actor Matthew McConaughey. It was almost like he was watching videos of his own children of the course over their lifetimes, filmed while he was stuck battling relativity on distant planet. The dude must really like Star Wars ... Discuss
Cigarette use dropped to record lows among U.S. middle and high school students in 2014, as electronic cigarette use tripled. The Centers for Disease Control reports that cigarette use over the same period fell to 9.2 percent in 2014 from 12.7 in 2013 percent while e-cigarette use jumped to 13.4 percent from 4.5 percent. However tobacco use among high school students has increased to 24.6 percent from 22.9 percent. The data released is causing concern among tobacco control advocates fearing that the e-cigarettes will get a younger generation addicted to nicotine who may eventually switch to regular cigarettes. Director of the CDC Dr. Tom Frieden said, ”Nicotine exposure at a young age may cause lasting harm to brain development, promote addiction, and lead to sustained tobacco use.” E-cigarette proponents argue that smoking numbers dropped because young people are choosing e-cigarettes over tobacco cigarettes. Director of the Center for Smoking Cessation at Duke University Medical Center Jed Rose said, ”There is no firm conclusion that one can draw from correlational data.” Discuss
Washington was rocked by a scandal this week, when a Senate hearing, presumably about something pretty darn important, was abruptly interrupted by Sen. Pat Robert’s cell phone going off. If that’s not shocking enough, almost our entire legislative branch of government was temporarily subjected to the Frozen anthem "Let It Go". The incident raises many questions: Why didn’t a long-time lawmaker like Roberts silence his phone? Why does a 78-year-old man have a Disney song for his ringtone? Were they all too busy playing games on their phones that they didn’t even notice? ... Discuss