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Dragged into the 21st Century: Mobile Deposit

I’ve read about making deposits with your smartphone for a few years now. With my last credit union app update — several months ago I think — I gained the ability to do mobile deposit. But I still resisted. It just seemed weird that I could take photos of my checks to the bank. Something just didn’t feel right.

Then I went through a two week stretch of really, really intending to make to the bank to make a few deposits. But I keep forgetting to go after work. By last Friday I was ready to give it a try. While I could find the mobile deposit agreement, I couldn’t find the function itself, but an e-mail to the credit union cleared that up. During my lunch on Monday I got out my two checks, endorsed them and fired up my banking app. I went to “mobile deposit” and it was really straightforward. All I had to do was:

  • Type in the amount of the check.
  • Take a picture of the front of the check with the signature to the right.
  • Take a picture of the back of the check with my endorsement to the right. There was even a shaded spot where my endorsement was supposed to fit.
  • Hit the submit button.

I got e-mails telling me the checks were received and then more e-mails letting me know the checks had been successfully added to my account. After a specified waiting time I don’t have in front of me, I should destroy the physical checks.

The whole process made me feel bad about being so resistant. I’m definitely going to use this method from now on. Though if my credit union was still next door to me, I might still take checks over.

Marriage Equality – Will it Mean End of Modern Republican Coalition? Make it Easier to Fight Big Business?

I’m hardly the first to bring this up, but reactions to the Obergefell v. Hodges decision making marriage equality the law of the land seem to me to have the potential to fracture the Republican Party.

While many Republicans, most notably EVERY Republican seeking their party’s Presidential nomination are beating their breasts and talking Constitutional amendments and/or Supreme Court impeachments, Congress is not taking the step of passing a Constitutional amendment to send to the states. In fact, Senator Majority leader Mitch McConnell had this to say on 7/1/2015:

“It isn’t going to pass. It’s one thing to talk about a constitutional amendment,” he said. “We’ve only done that 27 times in the history of our country. It’s not going to pass.”

Part of this is bowing to reality. Under Article V of the US Constitution you need a 2/3 vote in both houses to pass an Amendment. With 44 Democrats in the Senate, this will not happen. But if enough Democrats could be arm-twisted,  three-fourths of the states would need to ratify it. Prior to Obergefell eleven states (22%)  enacted marriage equality through legislation or by initiative, so even if an amendment got through Congress, it would be unlikely to be ratified by enough states to make it law.

On the other hand, Republicans in Congress have only been too happy to attempt repeal of the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare over fifty times, despite the fact that such things were dead in the Senate and at the White House. So why not push on something popular with primary voters?

Thanks to an amicus (friend of the court) brief by 379 corporations back in March 2015, I think we know the answer. Big business, the bread and butter of the Republican Party, supports marriage equality. Despite grumblings from the rank and file, Republican leaders in Congress and in the Party generally are not going to stand up to their funders and try to roll back marriage equality.

Why did major corporations care about marriage equality? Flexibility for the employer, according to a copy of the brief obtained by the Huffington Post:

“Employers are better served by a uniform marriage rule that gives equal dignity to employee relationships,” reads the brief, filed by global law firm Morgan Lewis. “Allowing same-sex couples to marry improves employee morale and productivity, reduces uncertainty, and removes the wasteful administrative burdens imposed by the current disparity of state law treatment.”

Essentially, keeping track of the paperwork for same-sex couples cut into profits, so it had to go. While they could have gotten consistency by advocating for “traditional marriage” they saw that as a losing battle owing to previous court battles and growing popular support for marriage equality. So they threw their outsized, corporate personhood behind marriage equality.

In doing so, they threw social conservatives under the bus. Then backed it over. Social conservatives don’t even have a realistic option to boycott the corporations who sold out their cause. If they did so, they’d have to give up most of their communications and transportation options and shun a great deal of food in the marketplace.

What will they do? Will they be like progressives in the Democratic Party who stay despite Democratic support for so many things progressives can’t stand – security theater, surveillance, secret trade treaties and so on? Or have they become so angry that they’ll break out of the Republican Party altogether to form some sort of Christian Conservative/”Back to God” movement? Would that movement turn anti-corporate and join progressives in bringing down corporate personhood?

Or will social conservatives become exhausted and stay home? I have no clear ideas but find it hard that social conservatives will simply bow their knees to their party’s corporate masters. What do you think will happen?


Scotus Blog.  Obergefell v. Hodges  – http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/obergefell-v-hodges/

Carney, Jordain. McConnell: Congress can’t roll back gay marriage decision. Politico, July 01, 2015, – http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/246637-mcconnell-congress-cant-roll-back-gay-marriage-decision

Cornwall, Daniel. Constitution Monday: Changing the Constitution – https://alaskanlibrarian.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/constitution-monday-changing-our-constitution/

US House. Congressional Profile – http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/cong.aspx

Wikipedia. Same Sex Marriage Laws in the United States – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Same-sex_marriage_in_the_United_States#States_and_territories_that_fully_licensed.2Frecognized_same-sex_marriage

Berman, Russell. Why Republicans Are Voting to Repeal Obamacare—Again. The Atlantic – http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/02/why-republicans-are-voting-to-repeal-obamacare-again/385105/

Kaufman, Alexander C. Here Are The 379 Companies Urging The Supreme Court To Support Same-Sex Marriage. Huffington Post – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/05/marriage-equality-amicus_n_6808260.html

Bogage, Jacob. Companies celebrate the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling. Washington Post – http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/06/26/companies-celebrate-the-supreme-courts-same-sex-marriage-ruling/

Quirk, Mary Beth. America’s Biggest Companies React To SCOTUS’ Same-Sex Marriage Ruling. Consumerist. – http://consumerist.com/2015/06/26/americas-biggest-companies-react-to-scotus-same-sex-marriage-ruling/

Day 8: Fireworks and Phones


A short post from my phone so I can claim Day 8 of “Write Every Day.”

This picture was taken on July 3rd with my Samsung Galaxy 5. I was surprised to get a usable photo from a smartphone. We have come a long way.

I took four pictures and three of them came out. I would have taken more, but I was standing on a balcony and am easily startled. I quickly became nervous about dropping my phone 20 feet.

The photos were taken July 3rd because Juneau Alaska has “first in the nation” fireworks at 11:30 ish pm. They finish just after midnight on 7/4.

What’s the most surprising photo you’ve taken with a smartphone?

7/15 Pluto’s First Close-Up: What will be your #PlutoRXN (reaction)? | usra.edu

The New Horizons spacecraft will fly by Pluto and its moons July 13/14, 2015, capturing the first ever close-up images of the Pluto system. The first close-up image of Pluto will be released on July 15. What will the world think the first time we see this image? What will you think? We want to know. Simply tweet the first thought(s) that comes to your mind when you see this first, historic image of Pluto.

via Pluto’s First Close-Up: What will be your #PlutoRXN (reaction)? | What’s New.

You won’t need clear or dark skies to see the first truly close up pictures of Pluto EVER. Just check your computer on July 15th. Then share your reaction.

Pluto: The ‘Other’ Red Planet | NASA

What color is Pluto? The answer, revealed in the first maps made from New Horizons data, turns out to be shades of reddish brown. Although this is reminiscent of Mars, the cause is almost certainly very different. On Mars the coloring agent is iron oxide, commonly known as rust. On the dwarf planet Pluto, the reddish color is likely caused by hydrocarbon molecules that are formed when cosmic rays and solar ultraviolet light interact with methane in Pluto’s atmosphere and on its surface.

via Pluto: The ‘Other’ Red Planet | NASA.

New Horizons is a NASA probe launched years ago when Pluto was still the ninth planet. It will make it’s closet approach on Tuesday July 14th, but we’re already learning new things and confirming previous suspicions. Somehow I had missed that Pluto is red like Mars, but for different reasons.

I had thought to take July 14th off, but after reviewing the list of announced media activities, decided not to. No flyby images will be released that day. It looks like New Horizons will send a “I made it!” signal expected to be received around 4:15pm Alaska Time on July 14th, so I will look for that. As of this writing, flyby images are expected to be released sometime in the afternoon of the July 15th. Tune into NASA television when that happens.  I’ll let you know if I hear about a more precise time for the image release.

In terms of space exploration, I think it’s a good time to be alive.

Day 1: Celebrating Marriage Equality


My “Write Every Day” process hit a snag in June. I traveled twice. Once to Anchorage on business for a week and a vacation/American Library Association business in San Francisco. I find it hard to write from the road, so I let my streak lapse.

Today we resume with the photo above. The American Library Association Annual Conference coincided with Pride Week in San Francisco. The picture above is from a bar in San Francisco’s Mission District the day that the US Supreme Court proclaimed marriage equality the law of the land. The mood everywhere we went that night was jubilant. So many people were so happy. The mood continued throughout the weekend. It was a great place to be regardless of sexual orientation.

I felt privileged to be there and happy that the Court found that any two consenting adults could marry. I firmly believe that is the right choice in a secular society.

Try Your Hand at Balancing Alaska’s Budget

Session 5 Debrief Form (doc)
Economic Considerations with Revenue Options (PDF), Dan Robinson
Fiscal and Revenue Options (PDF), Commissioner Randy Hoffbeck
Updated! 6/7 Revenue and Expenditure Model (xlsx)
The Conversation Overiew (PDF), Bill Dann
Alaska Budget Overview (PDF), OMB Director Pat Pitney
An Introduction To Alaska Fiscal Facts and Choices (PDF), Gunnar Knapp
Potential Revenue and Fiscal Options (PDF), Revenue White Paper
Updated! 6/11 Participant List (PDF)
Conversation Schedule (PDF)
Legislative Fiscal Analyst’s Overview of the Governor’s FY2016 Request (PDF)
Lunch & Learn: Budget Overview by David Teal 3/26/15 (External Link)

via Alaska Governor Bill Walker.

Dear Alaskan Readers, I hope you will share this post far and wide. As part of Governor Walker’s Alaska’s Future’s initiative, anyone can download the Revenue and Expenditure Model spreadsheet and play around with different options in Alaska’s budget to see if you can keep the state from running out of money before 2030.

The spreadsheet allows you to make assumptions about the average price of oil, make choices about taxes and PFD earnings, and reduce spending. My only complaint is that the max cut you can give an agency is 30%. I’d prefer an option that allowed you to eliminate entire agencies if you wanted. Division level zero outs would be even better.

I tried my own hand at this. I assumed $60/barrel oil. I cut every department by 30% and tried a variety of PFD limits and taxes. I couldn’t make it work. A friend of my assumed $200/barrel oil and she couldn’t get it to work – though she didn’t share what else she did.

Can YOU keep Alaska solvent through 2030? If so, please show your work. Our state needs all the help it can get.


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