Saturday, May 26, 2012

Displaying My Photos Online

I've been looking for some good sites for sharing my photos and I've come across a couple I'm going to try out.

500px - I hadn't heard of this site until recently. There's a couple of different membership options and I'm just driving with the free one now. So far it seems relatively simple to use.

DeviantArt - I have heard of this site and perused it before. Like 500px, it's relatively easy to use so far.

I think I'll link to these sites when I upload new pics rather than hosting them directly here on the blog.

One thing that became exquisitely clear on both of these sites is that there are some damn good photographers out there and I fell almost embarrassed having my photos on the same website. I plan to keep working at it, though, and maybe some day I'll feel like I belong there.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Death Czar

Gleen Greenwald, always worth reading, has a post up about the power now being invested in John Brennan, torture cheerleader.

Now, Brennan’s power has increased even more: he’s on his way to becoming the sole arbiter of life and death, the unchecked judge, jury and executioner of whomever he wants dead (of course, when Associated Press in this report uses the words “Terrorist” or “al-Qaida operative,” what they actually mean is: a person accused by the U.S. Government, with no due process, of involvement in Terrorism):


Needless to say, all of this takes place in total secrecy, with no legal framework and no oversight of any kind. Indeed, even after they had Brennan publicly defend the CIA drone program, the Obama administration continue to insist in federal court that the program is too secretive even to confirm its existence. It’s just a tiny cadre of National Security State officials who decide, in the dark, whom they want dead, and then — once the President signs off — it is done. This is the Change with which the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate has gifted us: ”some of the officials carrying out the policy are equally leery of ‘how easy it has become to kill someone.’

This is so far from candidate-Obama's words that it's just baffling. The power of the Executive continues to grow seemingly unchecked and there seems to be no obstacles to stopping it and no future path visible to reverse it. This way lies madness.

Monday, May 21, 2012

What is the Outreach Strategy?

I often wonder what extreme Christians are thinking when they say we should do things like, "Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there... Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out… And you know what, in a few years, they'll die."

In a sermon blasting President Obama for his same-sex marriage support, Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina, offered a novel — and horrific — solution to the so-called gay scourge: build an electric fence and let "lesbians, queers and homosexuals" starve to death.

"I figured a way to get rid of all the lesbians and queers," he says in his sermon, delivered on May 13. "Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there... Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can't get out… And you know what, in a few years, they'll die."

Has Mr. Worley read a Bible? I have. A few times. I'm struggling to recall a place where Jesus talked about treating people like this. Maybe it's in some apocryphal book I'm not aware of. In my Bible, Jesus talks about loving people. He hangs out with outcasts - lepers, whores, tax collectors. I'm pretty sure he didn't advocate locking sinners up somewhere and letting them die. In fact, I'm pretty sure an idea like that runs counter to everything Jesus talked about. Again, maybe this is in a text that was accidentally and erroneously left out of the New Testament. It would be nice of Pastor Worley to share this text with the rest of us, though.

In addition to wondering where these people come up with these ideas, I wonder about their perception of the efficacy of these statements. Do they think that someone hears a message like this and thinks, "What? That's how bad homosexuality is? I had no clue. I guess I better get my act together." Do they imagine that someone hears this and thinks, "That's a church I'd feel comfortable going to. Those people aren't judgmental at all."

Look, I get that some people have honest religious convictions about issues like homosexuality and abortion. What I don't get is how people like Pastor Worley think that this is a good way to get that message across. This isn't the 18th-century anymore where nearly everyone is going to church and local pastors have a lot of control over what happens in their communities. People have enormous freedom and are bombarded with numerous messages, spiritual and secular. The bottom line is that people are going to go where they feel comfortable, where they feel welcome. Preaching that we should lock homosexuals up and let them die is unlikely to offer many outside a very small community a welcoming message whether they are LGBT or not.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Weekly Photographs

I went to Riverfront Park for these pictures. It's a great place. Two things became apparent, though. One, I really need to get some more lenses. There were a few shots I really wanted to get, but couldn't without a telephoto lens. If anyone has any spares lying around they want to get rid of, I won't say 'no.' Two, I really need to make sure I'm taking enough memory with me. I had 3 Gigs of memory, but I forgot the 2 Gb card was full. I had to cut the shoot early because of that. Ah, well. I still think I got some decent photos.

Stray Geese Strut

Geese Whisperer

The Elusive Squirrel

The "Mountain"

My niece kept pointing at the hill in the distance and saying we needed to walk to the mountain.

Swim Lessons