Bad news from Election Day: Houston citizens fall prey to right-wing fearmongering and repeal a non-discrimination ordinance. Those who really believed the fever-dreams of right-wing scare groups -- that non-discrimination ordinances don't protect gays from getting fired for being gay so much as they "allow men to dress as women and enter restrooms and prey on children" -- need to get a clue. And in turn, non-discrimination proponents need to stop being so thinky-think about every damn thing.
IRS audit finds that Coca-Cola owes some $3 billion more in taxes, thanks to its practice of transferring profits offshore. And the Tea Party goes up in arms, saying that poor, poor Coca-Cola actually pays more of its taxes than a lot of other corporations (though, ah, they still don't pay the actual corporate tax rate) and the IRS should stop picking on poor, poor corporations just trying to create jobs. OK, I'm kidding -- they haven't done that. But give them time.
"Ever wished your phone could automaticaly reply to your email messages?" asks Cade Metz at Wired. Short answer: no. Long answer: hell no! But Google is developing something called "Smart Reply," which would scan the content of your emails and present you with canned replies you can deploy. Using the term "AI" to describe what Smart Reply does, it turns out, is a bit hysterical -- Smart Reply is less likely to let Google (or some AI bot) take over your email account than to become the butt of jokes the way autocorrect has.
Kelly Phillips Erb, writing at Forbes, describes why we should have the IRS conduct tax collection services rather than privatize them, as Republicans in Congress have been trying to do for years. Whether you're a fan of the IRS or not, private tax collectors have done their job very badly, at considerable cost to the taxpayer, private tax collectors don't have the same mandate to protect your private data, and their very existence creates more opportunities for scammers to take your money. That's why we oversee our government, folks -- we have far less control over private entities.
Ho hum, pro-charter school foundation realizes its "top-down approach...does not adequately address the needs and desires of parents, local advocacy groups and community groups," so now they're shifting tactics -- to "building an active coalition of supporters" and "cultivating local advocacy partners." In short, they're moving from trying to impose their will on people to trying to get people to "buy in" to the will they're trying to impose on them. Sadly, this kind of thing does help bad people get their way -- but only if good people don't speak up.
Finally, this video from a New Hampshire townhall, in which New Jersey Governor Chris Christie advocates a treatment approach to drug addiction instead of a punitive one, is all the rage on the internets right now, and for good reason: he does a great job articulating his point, in a frank but not aggressive manner. It's not like this is a new position he's taking, either. I hope he can reach a few right-wingers this way, and maybe even help turn them back into actual conservatives.