Worth noting. I normally don’t pay much attention to pop music in this column, but I couldn’t help noting that the British singer Adele’s 21 was the best-selling album in the United States for the second consecutive year, according to 2012 sales figures released by Nielsen SoundScan on Thursday. It’s the first time an album has ever topped sales two years in a row. Adele sold 4.4 million copies of the album in 2012 after selling 5.8 million in 2011. She crossed the 10 million threshold in November, putting her in a category occupied by only a couple of dozen artists in music history. In case you’re interested, Gotye scored the year’s top-selling song with “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and the sales were completely digital—the song was downloaded a record 6.8 million times. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” was next at 6.5 million. Both songs are the first to cross the 6 million digital sales mark. Forty-one songs crossed the 2 million-download mark, helping drive digital and overall sales to a record high.
Oops. Bruce Cochrane was the man of the moment a year ago. The North Carolina businessman sat with the first lady during the president’s State of the Union address. He was part of a widely publicized meeting with President Obama to discuss how to create jobs. Yesterday, Cochrane’s Lincolnton Furniture Company abruptly closed. A spokesman for the company said sales had not materialized as expected for the new furniture company, due in part to the slow economy.
Soho masses. The leader of Catholics in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, has ordered a church in central London to stop providing special masses for openly gay congregants. The so-called “Soho Masses” were set up six years ago by a group of openly gay Catholics and sympathetic priests. The decision is a significant win for conservatives in the Catholic Church. Archbishop Nichols’ order comes at a time when the Catholic Church is standing strong for traditional marriage following moves in Britain and France to allow same-sex “marriage.” Shortly before Christmas the Pope Benedict XVI used two speeches to take a strong stand for traditional morality. The speeches came as the U.K., the United States, and other countries consider legislation that would legalize so-called “same-sex marriage.”
Adoption credit extended. When fiscal cliff legislation passed earlier this week, one of the tax breaks that got extended was the $10,000 per year adoption tax credit. The provision also makes the tax credit permanent. “In years past, the adoption tax credit was extended on a yearly or semi-annual basis, making a less secure benefit for adopting families,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of Issues Analysis for CitizenLink. “The change to permanent status is key for making adoption possible for the more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster care, and the millions of children worldwide who need a family of their own.” The tax credit applies to all adoptions—domestic and international. UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children annual report said that in 2011 there were 153 million orphans worldwide.