Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks about the state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act at a press conference on March 31, 2015. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Corporations continue to speak out against the recently passed Indiana "religious freedom" law and others like it being considered around the country, calling them "bad for business" and discriminatory.
In a statement posted on the website for the Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday, companies including American Airlines, Apple, Levi Strauss, Microsoft, Orbitz, Symantec and Wells Fargo decried the law, and others like it around the country. Also on Tuesday, Arkansas' state legislature passed a similar bill.
"These state laws set a dangerous precedent that stifles investment and economic growth by jeopardizing a state's status as a welcoming place for employees to live and thrive, undermining the success of a business at large," the statement reads.
"While these bills won't alter our commitment to equality in the workplace, this legislation sends the wrong message about the states in which we operate and threatens our core corporate commitment to respect all individuals."
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- IRS-related phone scams are no joke, the agency's Commissioner John Koskinen said Tuesday.
Scammers continue to use tricks to take advantage of American taxpayers, an IRS release says, including the use of fake names, bogus IRS badge numbers and altered caller ID numbers. "This is no April Fool's joke," Koskinen said. "Everyone should be on the lookout for threatening calls from people faking IRS phone numbers and demands for immediate payment."
Any such call, he noted, is a scam. The IRS reiterates its warning to taxpayers that it will never call to demand immediate payment, will not call without having first mailed a bill, will always offer the opportunity to question or appeal taxes they say you owe, and will never require use of specific payment for taxes.
Anyone who believes they have been targeted by such a phone scam is advised to call the Federal Trade Commission and/or the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After Wall Street posted sizable gains on Monday, the markets came back to earth on Tuesday despite some positive news on housing and consumer outlook.
The Dow Jones Industrial dropped 200.19 to end the session at 17,776.12.
The Nasdaq dipped to 4,900.89, down 46.55 on the day, while the S&P 500 posted 18.35 in losses to a close of 2,067.89.
The newest data from the Standard and Poor's/Case Shiller Index showed home prices rose 4.6 percent in January as compared to the year before. Also on Tuesday, the Conference Board's consumer confidence survey showed increased confidence from January to February.
Twitter, Inc.(NEW YORK) -- With the advent of live video streaming apps, it's now easier than ever to life-cast to your social media followers or even build a legion of fans online.
While having the technology at your fingertips is enticing, not everyone wants to be a reality star.
Here's a look at three of the biggest live video apps and what they have to offer -- including which one will pay you for just being yourself:
It's easy to gain a global audience on Periscope, the app that Twitter released last week.
Broadcasts from around the world are featured on the home screen of the app showing off everything from a Friday night party to a dog doing tricks to a walk down the street in Vienna.
Users have the option of choosing to push a link to their Twitter followers, allowing them to tune into the live stream.
Periscope differentiates itself by offering broadcasters the chance to let viewers replay their stream when it is complete.
Audience love is also a huge aspect of the Periscope app, which allows viewers to tap the screen and send hearts to the broadcaster, letting them know they appreciate what they're doing.
It's already gained a large celebrity following, including actor Aaron Paul, astronaut Chris Hadfield and magician David Blaine, who are now able to go live to their fans whenever they want.
The darling of South by Southwest 2015 is only around a month old but has been overshadowed in the past week with the launch of Twitter's Periscope.
What differentiates Meerkat from the other services is its ephemeral nature -- think of it as Snapchat but for live video.
When you're done broadcasting, no one can ever watch your video again, making it ideal for people who don't want a large video footprint to live on online.
(The broadcaster does get the option to save the video to their private camera roll.)
The lively community includes broadcasters who do everything from sleeping on camera to singing, to hosting their own show while they're at their day job.
Tayser Abuhamdeh, from Brooklyn, New York, who goes by the name Mr. Cashier, has gained a loyal following and a paycheck from his show on YouNow. He chats with his fans on the live broadcast in between serving customers.
YouNow CEO Adi Sideman told ABC News that top broadcasters can earn $500 and $15,000 per month, allowing some of them to even make it their full-time job.
The pay is determined by viewers, the level of audience interaction and digital "gifts" that are sent from fans to performers.
Aside from the partner program that allows designated broadcasters to earn money from their shows, YouNow also offers user engagement tools that let broadcasters poll their audience about what they want to see next.
Amazon(NEW YORK) -- Amazon is bringing its one-click ordering system to everyday life with the introduction of the Amazon Dash button.
While the thought of pressing a "Tide" button on your washer to re-order more detergent may seem like an early April Fool's Day joke, Amazon said the service is real and will be rolled out to Prime members on an invitation-only basis.
The buttons will be branded with some of the most common household products made by participating brands, letting users easily re-order Huggies diapers to Gillette Fusion razor blades.
Each Dash button comes with adhesive so it can be stuck in a convenient place for when it's time to reorder. The buttons only respond to a single press, meaning that you won't have to worry about any trigger-happy kids accidentally ordering 50 rolls of paper towels.
The battery-powered buttons work by connecting to a home Wi-Fi network. Users then use their Amazon app to set up their buttons and what they want to order (for instance, what size of diapers). From there, all they have to do is press the branded button for the product they want to re-order.
After a Dash alert has been sent, Amazon will send a notice to the buyer's phone making it easy to cancel if they want to change their order.
If the customer presses the button when they are running low, the goods will then be delivered to them just in time so they never run out of a particular household product.
Amazon Dash buttons will be free for Prime members but will be rolled out on an invitation-only basis.
Bryan Mitchell/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The announcement that Tesla Motors will unveil a new game-changing product category next month that isn't a car has sent imaginations running wild.
CEO Elon Musk teased the April 30 announcement in a tweet on Monday, only offering the clue that he would not be showing off a new car.
He added that both the press and Tesla owners would be invited to the unveiling -- sparking the possibility that the new product could perhaps work with existing Tesla vehicles.
Karl Brauer, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, told ABC News that Tesla's multi-billion dollar Gigafactory in Nevada to build lithium ion batteries could be a key clue to the company's plans.
"We need the ability to store energy when it’s bountiful and use it when it isn't bountiful," Brauer said. "If somebody can come up with a system to time shift energy storage, that would have a lot of potential and go far beyond the automotive industry."
He said he believes Tesla's new product will likely be a battery for the home or something that could be retrofitted to existing Tesla vehicles, allowing them to get an even greater range.
Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told ABC News that a battery to power the home is a possibility -- especially since Tesla has previously said it has been working on a stationary battery.
Like Tesla's premium cars, Moorhead said he believes the hypothetical home charging system wouldn't be affordable to the masses, at least until 2020 when the company revs up production at its gigafactory.
"I think with the scarcity of battery technology, I don’t think it will be very affordable," he said. "Once they get their factory up and running I am expecting to see more mainstream pricing on anything they produce."
It's also worth noting Musk is chairman of SolarCity, a company that provides solar power to homes, schools and businesses.
A Tesla motorcycle is another idea that has been discussed.
Brauer said "anything is possible" but he thinks Musk "would probably not want to spend a lot of time and resources on a niche product."
"He’s going to start chasing more higher volume solutions," Brauer said.
After Musk's tweet on Monday, the news subsequently caused Tesla's stock to jump 3 percent in the afternoon. The CEO fired back at critics earlier this month who said he used Twitter to move Tesla's stock price, writing that the short term spike "obviously does no good for Tesla or me."
He added: "Neither I nor the company are selling shares. Even if we were, I wouldn't do this. It would be wrong. Our long term results are what matter."
Google Maps(NEW YORK) -- Pac-Man has invaded Google Maps just in time for April Fool's Day.
The classic arcade character will traverse the streets in some of the world's most iconic places, moving away from the dastardly ghosts with every key stroke.
Players can access the game on desktop and mobile devices by pulling up an area of Google Maps with a lot of roads. From there, they can click the Pac-Man icon and start playing.
After five lives have been used, it's game over and players can choose to share their score and play again.
It's not the first time Google has built an "Easter egg" into Google Maps. Last year, the search engine giant gave everyone the chance to catch 151 hidden Pokemon for the chance to become Google's "Pokemon Master."
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MENLO PARK, Calif.) -- Apple has its space ship-like campus. Google has its dream of constructing movable buildings. And Facebook -- well it has a warehouse.
The social network's team moved into its new Menlo Park, California, headquarters this week.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared an aerial photo of his team's new digs and explained why he chose a no-frills office space.
"The building itself is pretty simple and isn't fancy. That’s on purpose," Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page.
"We want our space to feel like a work in progress," he said. "When you enter our buildings, we want you to feel how much left there is to be done in our mission to connect the world."
Facebook's employees will work in a large room that Zuckerberg called "the largest open floor plan in the world," fitting thousands of workers into the space.
The open room makes it easy for groups to collaborate -- and provides some quiet nooks for meetings. While one meeting room was turned into a ball pit on opening day, it appeared to just be a short-lived prank, according to Instagram accounts of several Facebook employees.
Employees who want to take a meeting outdoors can visit the roof, which includes a nine acre park, trails and various outdoor working spaces.
"Our goal was to create the perfect engineering space for our teams to work together," Zuckerberg wrote. "We wanted our space to create the same sense of community and connection among our teams that we try to enable with our services across the world."
Cliff Lipson/CBS(NEW YORK) -- There's a new way to listen to music.
A who's who of musicians appeared at a news conference Monday to formally unveil Tidal, a music streaming service with videos and editorial content owned by the stars themselves.
"This is incredible. This is so powerful," said Alicia Keys, one of the owners of the service. "We want to create a better service and a better experience for both fans and artists."
The celebrity owners of Tidal are Keys, Win Butler and Régine Chassagne of Arcade Fire, Beyoncé, Calvin Harris, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Daft Punk, Jack White, Jason Aldean, J. Cole, Jay Z, Kanye West, deadmau5, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and Usher.
After signing a "declaration of independence," the stars made their way off the stage and a video played.
"I just thought about how crazy this is," said West in the footage. "This is the beginning of the new world."
"You tell people what they're getting, and they're gonna hear the difference," added Harris.
Tidal is available online, and is available in two different packages. Tidal Premium costs $9.99 and features standard quality sound and high definition music videos. For $10 more, users can access Tidal HiFi, which boasts lossless high fidelity sound quality, high0definition music videos. Both have editorial content.
buddingSTEM(SHORELINE, Wash.) -- Who says boys and girls can’t both like rocket ships and dinosaurs?
Shoreline, Washington, moms Jennifer Muhm and Malorie Catchpole are the co-founders of buddingSTEM, a science-themed clothing line for girls between 18 months old and 8 years old. “STEM” stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
The clothing line features dresses, leggings, t-shirts and underwear with patterns like rocket ships, trains and dinosaurs in both blue and pink or teal and gray.
“We’re not anti-princess. We’re not anti-pink. We’re not anti-girly. We just think there needs to be more than just that offered for our girls,” Muhm, 37, told ABC News.
The moms, who don’t have backgrounds in the fashion business, say the idea for buddingSTEM was born out of their own personal experiences with their girls.
Muhm, who works in public affairs, said her daughter, now 5, really wanted to be an astronaut for Halloween in 2013. But when the costume catalogs came in the mail, her daughter noticed that only boys were shown wearing the astronaut costume.
“She looked at me and said, ‘I can’t be an astronaut. They’re only for boys,’” Muhm said.
“We talked about it because we were both frustrated about it,” Catchpole, 34, an attorney, told ABC News.
Catchpole said her own daughter, now 3, is “very into trains.” But when she and her husband wanted to buy her underpants with trains on them as a gift one Christmas, they could only find boy’s underwear. Catchpole said she bought them anyway.
“I was actually at their house on Christmas and saw the boys’ underpants under the tree, and it was that moment that it kind of clicked,” Muhm said. “I said, ‘You know what, Malorie? We should make underpants with trains on them…and then we thought why just underpants: there are no dinosaurs or rocket ships on leggings or dresses for girls.”
When they were unable to find anything like it already on the market, the moms did their research and reached out to people in their networks.
Eventually they met with a textile designer, who turned their sketches into prints for fabric, and a manufacturer.
By April 2014, Muhm and Catchpole filed their business registration for buddingSTEM. They recently surpassed their initial goal on Kickstarter, raising over $45,000 to get buddingSTEM started. The buddingSTEM clothing line will be available for sale on their website in July.
“One of the things that I’m happiest about…is what I think we’ve shown our daughters,” Catchpole said. “We’re two working moms. We don’t have a background in fashion, and we saw a need and we worked hard.”
“If there is something that is not fair -- because my daughter will say that it is not fair -- you can actually start working toward doing something about it,” said Muhm.
Photos.com/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — “You gotta move" as the old blues song made famous by The Rolling Stones once advised, but Americans won't be uprooting themselves as much in 2015.
An American Express survey says that while 27.8 million people in the U.S. will move to another location this year, that represents just 12 percent of the population compared to the 16 percent who found new digs in 2014.
Obviously, this would suggest the housing market, which has been revived lately, might be slowing down, but American Express says the recovery is still going strong.
Just because more people plan on staying where they are doesn't mean they'll be sitting on their hands. The survey says that 75 percent will perform home improvement projects, up slightly from the 73 percent who did so in 2014. The average project is expected to cost $4,100, up a hundred bucks from last year.
Another thing that bodes well, at least for professional contractors, is that twenty-one percent of consumers will use their services in 2015, way up from the 15 percent from a year ago.
File photo. iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- While the idea of cave dwelling may conjure images of Fred Flintstone, one desert sculptor has created a home that rivals those above ground in architectural beauty.
Ra Paulette, a New Mexico-based artist and subject of the 2014 Oscar-nominated short documentary CaveDigger, has carved out sweeping halls and cathedral columns underground for years using a pick, wheelbarrow, and only his dog for company. Many of the caves are on private property, while others on public lands remain unmarked, unknown and uninhabited -- a happy surprise for hikers to stumble upon.
But one special hollow acts as a serene abode -- and even features electricity and running water.
Shel and Liz Neymark having been residing in their cave for the last 15 years. The home was recently profiled in Du Jour magazine.
Featuring skylights, built-in drums, bed platforms excavated into walls and beautiful carvings, the home was a labor of love on Paulette's part after Liz Neymark was diagnosed with advanced melanoma and breast cancer in 1997. Fortunately, she remains alive to this day.
Paulette could not immediately be reached by ABC News for comment. But the artist offers some explanation of his process on his website.
"When digging and excavating the caves I break down all the movements into their simplest parts and reassemble them into the most efficient patterns and strategies that will accomplish the task while maintaining bodily ease," Paulette wrote. "Like a dancer, I 'feel' the body and its movement in a conscious way."
He calls this step “the dance of digging.”
But if future homeowners are excited at the prospect of living in a cave in the style of Neymark's home, they face a good possibility of disappointment.
For the last 20 years, Paulette has been working on a project called Luminous Caves, "a cave complex illuminated by the sun through multiple tunneled windows," he describes on his site. At 65, the artist said he considers the piece his final project.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The financial markets soared on Monday following the release of encouraging data on consumer spending and home sales.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the session at 17,976.31, up 263.65 from its open.
The Nasdaq rose by 56.22 to close at 4,947.44. The S&P 500 was also up by 25.22 points to close at 2,086.24.
Consumers spent slightly more in February, following two straight monthly declines, according to newly released data. Incomes also rose, a development that economists hope will keep boosting spending in coming months.
The Commerce Department announced on Monday that consumer spending edged up by one-tenth a percent last month. Income grew a solid four-tenths of a percent in February, matching January’s rise.
Pending home sales were also much stronger than estimated in February, up 3.1 percent despite winter weather impacting a large portion of the country. Buying activity jumped in the Midwest and West, while dipping slightly in the Northeast and South.
Maureen Flaherty(SUMMERFIELD, Fla.) -- A Florida woman who purchased a $43.50 lithograph print of a dog at a Goodwill store is now auctioning off the painting for charity after learning it could be worth thousands of dollars.
Maureen Flaherty, of Summerfield, Florida, was paying for items she purchased at the grand opening of a local Goodwill store on March 19 when a lithograph print of a dog caught her eye.
"I looked over my shoulder and saw it up on the wall and asked the cashier if I could get still get that,” Flaherty, 49, told ABC News. "She and another cashier went and got it down from the wall for me.”
The artwork was priced at $43.50 and Flaherty says she rounded up the total to $44 as a donation to Goodwill.
When Flaherty walked out of the store carrying the 39 1/2-by-29 1/2 inch print, she says she was stopped by a local antiques dealer who told her, “You just walked out with the most valuable thing in there."
The dealer, identified by Flaherty as Jess Sturtevant of Braden River Antiques, offered to buy the print from her if she ever wanted to sell it, but Flaherty says she "just loved it" and took it home with her as planned.
“Once I was home I thought, 'Let me see why he was so interested in it,'” Flaherty told ABC News.
The print, Flaherty learned after doing her own online research, is one titled “The Brook Hill Dog" by artist Alexander Pope in 1911. Flaherty says the vintage advertising tins such as the one she purchased were distributed by Friedman, Keiler & Co. Distillers to be displayed in bars and saloons.
With the news that her $44 purchase could be worth a lot more, Flaherty got back in touch with Sturtevant of Braden River Antiques, but told him she did not want to sell the print to him. Instead, she wanted to auction the print for charity.
"I foster dogs so I had the idea that since it’s a dog print, let’s auction it off so half the funds will go to a dog fund,” Flaherty said. “The other half is going to go towards a book I’m writing on about fostering dogs."
Flaherty says Sturtevant offered to help her auction off the painting as soon as she told him of her intention. Another woman, who had previously adopted a puppy from Flaherty, offered to pay the shipping costs for the sale so that Flaherty could make it a national auction as opposed to local.
Flaherty has designated Safe Haven Animal Rescue, a local animal shelter she works closely with, to receive 50 percent of the proceeds.
“I just thought it was a gift for me to be able to get something like that,” Flaherty said of the print. “I had it in my home but I thought, ‘What more could I do with it.’”
A spokeswoman for the local Goodwill region confirmed to ABC News that Flaherty did purchase the print from the charity’s new 23,000-square-feet store, and says that it was her luck to spot it in the store.
“We teach our pricers to locate certain authors, certain designers but, with that being said, you can still find great items because we’re human and sometimes we miss things,” Kelly Davis Strausbaugh told ABC News. “We have real people doing the pricing so occasionally you’ll find these really great items."
Makenzie Ball/Twitter(DAVENPORT, Fla.) -- An 86-year-old Florida grandmother is a viral star after her granddaughter shared photos of her humorously posing in her home on Twitter.
Yolie Ball, who lives with her husband, Don, in Davenport, Florida, says her phone has been ringing off the hook since Thursday night, when her 15-year-old granddaughter, Makenzie Ball, called to tell her she was now a viral star.
“She called me last night at 7:30 and said, ‘Grandma, I’m going to tell you something,’” Ball told ABC News. “I did something and I don’t know if it’s going to be good or bad.”
What Makenzie, a high school student from Virginia, did was post photos on Twitter of her grandmother popping up in pictures taken by Ball’s daughter to be used to help sell the couple’s home.
Makenzie’s tweet, posted last Wednesday, has now been retweeted over 25,000 times.
I thought the pictures of my grandma were hilarious and I wanted to share,” Makenzie told ABC News by email. “I didn't expect them to get so popular. I thought like 40 RTs from my friends MAX.”
The photos show Ball casually sipping coffee on the lanai, poking her head out of a bedroom, reading a magazine in the living room and leaning on a kitchen counter. They were taken by the Balls’ daughter, Sandra, when she visited them from the family’s native Massachusetts last month.
The couple is trying to sell their Florida home to move closer to their other daughter in Nashville, Tennessee, and took new photos of their home for a real estate guide.
“The first picture, the one where I have my head sticking out of the bedroom door, I was going to pull back and Sandra said, ‘No, mom, stay right there,’” Ball said. “It went from there."
“She’d say, ‘Oh, lean on the counter,’ or, ‘Go sit on the lanai,’” Ball recalled. “It was just a joke. We’re always doing silly stuff.”
Ball describes herself as a “dinosaur” when it comes to technology but she did know enough to know what her granddaughter meant by Twitter when she called.
Though the response has been “overwhelming” for the retiree and her husband, it is all in good fun for the tight-knit family that includes a son, Makenzie’s dad, in addition to their two daughters.