Good morning and welcome to Fresh Intelligence, our roundup of the stories, ideas, and memes you’ll be talking about today. In this edition we mourn Eagles guitarist Glenn Frey, Chris Christie is pro-crispito, Ted Cruz channels Janet Jackson, the Academy responds to the Oscars’ lack of diversity, and we check in with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commemorations across the country. Here’s the rundown for Tuesday, January 19.
Winter is well and truly here. Frigid temperatures continue in the Midwest, heavy rains are expected across the South, and New York will try to enjoy a relatively mild day before a storm later in the week threatens to bring a significant amount of snow. [Weather]
Founding Eagle Dies at 67
Glenn Frey, a founding member of rock band the Eagles, died in New York City yesterday of complications from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia. He was 67. Frey wrote the lyrics for many of band’s hit songs, including the inescapable “Hotel California,” and had a cameo as a rock-and-roll smuggler on Miami Vice.
EARLY AND OFTEN
Stuck in Pander-Mode, Chris Christie Forgets Children Can’t Vote
New Jersey governor Chris Christie was in top form at a town-hall meeting in Iowa yesterday, responding to a child’s question about healthy school lunches with, “I don’t care what you’re eating for lunch every day, I really don’t.” He then doubled down, reminding school children throughout the country that if their parents pack them a healthy lunch, they can still “throw it out.”
Trump Reads Bible, Possibly for First Time
At an appearance at Liberty University yesterday, Donald Trump tried to shore up support among Evangelical voters by fearmongering about other religions, misquoting the Bible, and promising to save Christmas. We’ll leave our Christmas-saving to Tim Allen, thank you very much.
U.K. Embraces Time-Wasting Political Debates
A debate raged — that’s not quite right. What’s the British parliamentary equivalent of raged? Fussed? — in the British Parliament yesterday over a petition banning Donald Trump from entering the country because of his perceived hate speech. The debate is mostly symbolic, as it is well-known Trump finds other cultures gross, and if elected would not visit them. [CNN]
It’s Ted — Senator Cruz If You’re Nasty
In a response to recent attacks from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz tweeted Janet Jackson’s hit 1986 music video “Nasty” to his 728,000 followers. Later he attacked Trump for basically being a Democrat. In fairness, his strategy of YouTube-ing the word “nasty” and tweeting whatever came up could have gone much worse. [MSNBC]
THE STREET, THE VALLEY
Facebook in Talks to Make Future Terrible
Facebook-owned messaging app Whatsapp has announced it will scrap its one-dollar annual fee and make the service totally free to all users. Lest you think Whatsapp is acting out of the kindness of the heart it does not have, the announcement also said the company is experimenting with charging businesses for the ability to
directly contact annoy potential customers using the service. [Reuters]
Apple, Samsung, and Sony Named in Child-Labor Report
An Amnesty International report on mining practices in the Democratic Republic of Congo accused major technology companies including Apple, Samsung, and Sony of profiting from child labor in sourcing cobalt for their lithium-ion batteries. Child labor is commonplace in the DRC’s cobalt mines. [BBC]
Nightrider Era Inches Closer
An announcement yesterday confirms BMW is developing a cloud-based digital assistant that will be rolled out in the next few months. Soon your car will be able to find a restaurant, make reservations, and provide directions, among other services. The company is actively seeking partners to develop other apps; fingers crossed for a David Cronenberg–inspired dating app. [Bloomberg]
Calls for Oscar Boycott Grow, Academy Answers
Controversy continues to plague this year’s Oscar nominations. For the second time in as many years, each of the nominees in all four acting categories were white. In posts on social media both actress Jada Pinkett Smith and filmmaker Spike Lee announced they would boycott the ceremony, and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs responded promising improvements in the diversity of its membership. [LAT]
RNC Ditches NBC for Being Too Mean
The Republican National Committee has severed all ties with NBC, probably because it’s still upset that CNBC’s moderators didn’t stick to easy questions. The pre–“Super Tuesday” debate in Texas was supposed to be hosted by the network but will now air on CNN.
MLK Spirit Alive and Well
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was commemorated with marches and rallies across the country, like this one in Seattle. In the Bay Area, Blacks Lives Matter activists shut down traffic on the Bay Bridge for about 45 minutes, and 25 people were arrested. [NBC Bay Area]
The long-standing rumors that Tyrese built an entire private Benihana-style restaurant in his backyard have been confirmed by Aziz Ansari, who Instagrammed his experience eating there last night. Enjoy the most jealousy-inducing, happy-making clip on the web right now.
OTHER LOCAL NEWS
Proof: Big Macs Better Than Heroin
A man reportedly paid for his meal at a La Porte, Indiana, McDonald’s with cash and a small bag of heroin. Police were called, but the peckish drug-user fled the scene and remains unidentified. The incident, which was clearly an accident, has local newscasters and police baffled and disturbed because drugs. [NBC Chicago]
Love, Peace, and Unity Encounter Depressing Reality
A “love, peace, and unity” concert in Falls Church, Virginia, ended in bloodshed yesterday after someone fired as many as 15 shots into a crowd of 100 people. Miraculously only three people were hit, and all suffered non-life-threatening injuries. [WJLA]
Scott Walker to Deliver Wisconsin State of State Address
Though it will almost certainly lack the fireworks of 2011’s speech, in which Walker announced his intention to repeal collective bargaining for most public workers, the annual presentation is always worth watching. You just never know whose rights are going to be threatened next. [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
It’s Tax Day for Control Freaks
Today is the first day you can file your taxes — though you almost certainly won’t. Very few people will have the information necessary to file this early — mostly the jobless. Here we go again, Obama giving special treatment to the unemployed.