I’ve got no problem with the teachers packing rods and heaters but in all fairness the parents should have the final say because it is their kids who have the potential to face death or injury because of this program.
AOC burning brightly, for the time being at least
AOC is currently the flavor of the month, in demand because she is a loose cannon who can stir the pot and is a very colorful character.
But she’s also alienating a lot of her fellow Democrats in the process by hogging all the headlines and sucking all the air out of the room.
Remember David Hogg? it wasn’t so long ago that he was a media darling, the flavor of the month.
Now you rarely hear him mentioned
The Right Wing Militias at the Border justified?
- There has been a lot of talk on social media forums regarding the various right-wing militias mobilizing to head to Texas and confront the migrant Caravan currently winding its way North.
While proponents of such claim such a presence is necessary to prevent murders, robberies and rapes by a hungry and desperate invading Force others question the need for such an operation considering the President Donald J Trump is sending upward of 15k trained and equipped battle ready troops to take on this Caravan.
The question arises, is this “patriotism” or merely adventurism by white males of the right-wing persuasion who have time on their hands.
One way to look at it, copied from an OP spied on a social media forum.
“And you’re saying Reg that Donald J Trump’s small army of active duty combat trained military are not going to be able to handle a couple of handful of broke and hungry and unarmed largely women and children and prevent them from going on robbery and murder and rape rampages throughout Texas.
Well that explains why we’re getting our butts kicked in Afghanistan I guess.
Maybe these right-wing militias should consider service over there too if they are the “Patriots” they claim to be.
Oh, but that’s different you say, those people in Afghanistan shoot back.”
Needless to say this OP does not necessarily represent the Viewpoint of this page.
It is merely offered for educational purposes and presents one point of view on this issue.
Film is coming back in a big way, but is it right for you? A Carl Denham commentary
Carl Denham’s “Advanced Techniques for the Universal Selfie” part two
Today we have Carl Denham back on the Lifestyles Desk with another installment of his informal series we’re now tagging “Advanced Techniques for the Universal Selfie”.
Today Carl offers various exciting and proven techniques to help the four eyed “Selfie” addict avoid those ugly reflections that often ruin their mugs.
If there’s one thing that makes your average photographer eat their liver it’s being tasked with photographing an individual who wears glasses.
Any time you have bright strongly sourced light, you have to consider the real possibility that the light source be reflected in the lenses of the eyewear worn by your subject (or yourself) and back to your camera or smart phone.
If this is a problem for highly skilled professional photographers it’s a nightmare for the committed “Selfie” addict, with multiple thousands of otherwise excellent efforts ruined every day.
As with everything in life when we have a problem in order to find a solution we must first understand that problem.
As this graphic demonstrates, it’s all a question of angles. Light follows a completely predictable path from source to subject to camera lens just like a ball follows a completely predictable path on the pool table when you ride the nine.
And it is that predictability that allows the professional photographer to avoid the bugaboo of glare by simple adjustments in the relationship between light source, subject and camera.
Now I say “simple”. Simple perhaps for the professional photographer who has control over all the elements of his shooting environment.
But not so simple for the “Selfie” King and Queen who often has no control at all and may be dealing with drunken if not outright hostile friends.
So let’s explore the options.
The most obvious solution is for the subject (be it you or others) is to remove the offending glasses.
That might be fine for somebody who alternates between contacts and analog glasses but maybe not for others.
Very often if somebody wears glasses full time that eyewear can be as much a part of their visual identity as the nose on their face.
Very often when asked to remove the glasses ( the subject be someone else or yourself) no one will be happy with the picture because it’s not going to look like the person as the world has come to know them.
That applies even when the person is ourselves.
So we reject that option out of hand.
The second option is to rearrange the relationship between the subject, the light source and the camera.
As we see in the accompanying photographs this can be quite an effective technique when it comes to avoiding reflections from eyewear. But this option is not without problems of it’s own.
It can be a royal pain to move cameras and lights around, especially if the setup revolves around more than one light source.
And arranging lights to avoid reflections may not give you the results you would like.
And of course if you’re shooting film which more of us are doing these days you won’t have the instant feedback of digital so you won’t even know if your adjustments are effective for days or weeks.
And finally this is time consuming and with the slap ‘n’ tickle nature of the “Selfie” time is not your friend here.
There is a another option that is much quicker, a trick the pros often use. Simply tilt the glasses on the head so the lenses are angled downwards.
Properly done the reflections will not hit the camera lens.
But still not the ideal solution as the glasses can easily look askew.
So what’s left?
What will work for us, quick and dirty and with minimal effort?
Perhaps the Bible can provide some inspiration:
“If your eye offend thee pluck it out.”
Now one saying we should pluck out eyes, but we CAN “pluck out” the lenses of eyewear thus remove the offending elements.
A procedure easily accomplished by some thumb pressure properly applied.
And as we see in this comparison photograph of Dorothy the Plastic Head, removing the lenses from our eyewear is an extremely effective method to avoid glare and reflections.
In fact without the lenses glare and reflections are impossible.
But like they say there’s no free lunch.
If you remove the lenses from your “real” glasses you may not be able to put them back.
Therefore I do not recommend that.
What I DO recommend is that all four-eyed “Selfie” addicts invest in one or more “burner” frames and remove the lenses from them.
For about $7 currently the “Selfie” addict should be able to find frames that match their own more or less.
I found serviceable frames two for $14 at Amazon.
I found several more at Zanni even cheaper and now carry a variety in my standard “Selfie” kit, always available and close at hand and thus always loaded for bear.
One final advantage of lens less frames, without the distortion of interceding glass, the eyes can really pop and as the Bible said:
“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.”
So it is when the “eyes have it” with “Selfies” too.
A Carl Denham brand commentary
Coming up on the Politics of Reason, Carl Denham and the Universal “Selfie” continues
Coming soon, hot “Selfie” techniques for people with glasses.
Carl Denham on the Lifestyle Desk offers advanced tools and techniques guaranteed to avoid reflections and glare and bring out the beauty of the eyes without resorting to technical tricks and photoshop.
A Carl Denham brand commentary
Sexual Adventurism and the Young Men of Today
Statistics from credible sources prove that between two and ten percent of reported rape are false.
The fact that up to 10% of all reported rapes are false is not an insignificant number to the youngsters who are among those 10%.
Reasonable people might put these numbers in perspective this way.
If 2% to 10% of the inmates on death row were innocent when they will put to death society probably would not be so cavalier and dismissive about throwing that number around (unless a member of the base of Donald J Trump of course).
And that aside.
We’re not just talking about rape when we are talking about the danger of alledged predatory women making false reports of a sexual nature.
We are talking the whole range of accusations of a sexual nature that can destroy a person’s life.
Brett Kavanaugh was never accused of rape for example but had he not been a man of influence, had he been Joe Lunch Bucket, the charge of attempted rape without evidence would have been enough to ruin his life even if he never saw the inside of a court of law.
Those who discount the reality that false charges exist in such numbers are comfortable with trading the lives of a certain number of young men if it means the realization of a larger goal.
We see this same concept in military adventurism.
Military leaders routinely accept the fact that a certain number of warriors and civilians are going to die in order to realize military objectives both large and small.
I believe the term is “collateral damage”.
Maybe that’s fine in the military but is it necessary in civilian life to sacrifice a percentage of our youngsters for the “greater good”?
Maybe Society will ultimately accept that ruining the lives of up to 10% of our young men is fair compensation for a system where charges of sexual inappropriateness require no evidence before we find the individual guilty.
Society may make that judgement reasonable people may say it’s not necessary to ruin those lives at all.
Reasonable people may say we CAN punish the guilty AND agree that does not preclude young men from taking the reasonable precautions necessary to protect themselves from the false charges that credible sources claim are generated by anywhere from 2% to 10% of the female population bringing those charges.
What the men and women of reason would say is that we should teach our youth to vet the people (male or female) they allow into their lives and/or interact with in a potentially explosive sexual situation.
Prior to the easy availability of birth control and abortion our young people were taught by loving parents to look beyond their hormones and to be proactive what it came to protecting themselves from individuals that had the potential to be a destructive force in their lives.
It was an easy lesson to teach back then since unwanted pregnancies with life destroying effects would be the price of failure.
It is not so easy today when there is no longer the stigma nor condemnation to having children out of wedlock nor to terminating a pregnancy should should the baby be unwanted.
But it is a lesson that can still be taught.
If young men were taught to choose the people in their lives carefully, let their heads and not their hormones rule their actions when interacting with the opposite sex and to document their interactions to the extent that technology and Common Sense allows then both young men and young women can live their lives to a ripe old age and never fear that false charges from their past will bring the sounds of Jack Boots on their doorstep.
J. Randolf Fuller brand commentary
– 30 –
“Bernie did not have the black vote and it is questionable if Bernie could have gotten the black vote”
Reasonable unbiased observers would agree the Bernie Bots are lazy and intellectually and emotionally crippled by their sense of entitlement.
In 2016 Bernie Sanders and his Bots walked in at the 11th Hour demanding that the people who have sacrificed their time and money for the Democratic Party for years, that the people who have done all the heavy lifting, just step aside and get the hell out-of-the-way and turn the organization over to Bernie.
Any reasonable observer would agree that was an unrealistic expectation.
Of course people are going to fight tooth and nail for the organization they built when they see people who never lifted a finger on behalf of that organization in the past and clearly have no intention of lifting a finger in the future pushing them aside.
Reasonable people will ask
“After all what have the Bots or Bernie himself done SINCE the 2016 election to support or try to strengthen the Democratic Party?”
And reasonable people will answer “Absolutely nothing.”
As far as Bernie winning the election there’s absolutely no evidence beyond the delusion of his Bots that victory would have been a done deal.
But there is much evidence to the contrary.
We know for certain that Bernie Sanders didn’t win the primaries.
And the Democratic Party cannot win without the Black Vote.
Bernie did not have the black vote and it is questionable if Bernie could have gotten the black vote.
We need to remember that there were strong and reasonable suspicions of a racist element among Bernie’s young white base which would surely have
been exposed had Donald been the nominee.
And reasonable people would also point out that it is the height of arrogance to assume that Hillary Clinton’s base was going to welcome a Bernie Sanders candidacy with open arms.
They may not have gone to the extent that the Bots did and vote for Donald J Trump but they damn sure could have (and many would have) stayed home on Election Day.
Further evidence of Bernie’s vulnerability can be found in the various primaries this year where the candidates Bernie has supported have not been entirely successful.
While his minions have won a couple of high-profile contests, his kind has failed miserably in others which puts the lie to the contention that the Bernie Sanders philosophies are universally popular on the national level.
That is not to say Bernie Sanders “could” not have beaten Donald Trump.
After all Hillary Clinton ran an incredibly incompetent campaign, allowing her arrogance to color her judgment and her friendship with Huma Mahmood Abedin to take precedence over the welfare of the people of the United States of America.
Bernie may well have been able to run a more effective campaign.
Then again he may not have.
After all Bernie is not a man without crippling arrogance himself.
And he is an individual that was never vetted to the extent that Hillary Clinton had been.
We may well have found that Bernie had considerable dirt under his fingernails once the campaign heated up and America took a closer look at the man and his family.
The fact is just as Hillary Clinton was a candidate with considerable baggage Bernie Sanders has baggage of his own.
Regardless of what Bernie’s Bots may wish no reasonable unbiased observer would ever say that a Bernie Sanders victory would have been in the bag in 2016.
As the old saying goes “If wishes were horses beggars would ride” and we rarely see beggars riding.
J. Randolph Fuller brand commentary
“Dianne Feinstein’s tactics have radicalized Kavanaugh and weaponized him as a warrior for the right”
The votes are in and Brett Kavanaugh will assume his position on the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
Whatever kind of Justice he may have been before this confirmation process started America can rest assured that Dianne Feinstein’s tactics have radicalized Kavanaugh and weaponized him as a warrior for the right.
Credible sources agree that as a Justice Kavanaugh has been moved much father to the right then he would have had the confirmation process be uneventful.
Punishment and vengeance will be the Hallmark of Kavanaugh’s service you bet.
Dianne Feinstein aimed high but in the end she had neither the means nor the will to succeed, and her flawed tactics ultimately will cost this country dearly.
But that is all water under the bridge right now.
The man is on the bench and the male right-wing community is going into the midterms energized like they not been since 2016.
We can rest assured they will vote, every man Jack and Jackie of them.
So what are liberals to do? What would be the most effective strategy to assure any chance of victory in the midterms especially given the excellent economy under Donald J Trump?
Up until this time it’s been an Open Secret that the only REAL issue in this election has been the impeachment of President of the United States Donald J. Trump.
This was never discussed openly by members of the Democratic Leadership because it was rightly recognized that such talk would serve to motivate Donald’s base. It had the very real potential to “awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve” of Admiral Yamamoto fame (though he may not have said that ).
Pre-Kavanaugh that was the right call, just as it was proper to silence loose cannons in the Democratic party such as Maxine Waters who continuously played the “Impeachment Card” to the delight of Donald J Trump an his political connections
and handlers at Fox News.
It made sense. We the voters all knew what the stakes REALLY were in these upcoming midterms and we knew enough to take any denials along those lines from party leaders with a wink and a nod.
We knew, we ALL did, that a vote for our local Democratic Representatives was nothing less and nothing more than a vote to drag Donald J. Trump kicking and screaming from the Oval Office.
Since we all knew, there was no reason to say it out loud and very good reason not to.
But has the Kavanaugh victory and the fantastic economic gains under the leadership of Donald J Trump changed that equation?
There are experts who would say “maybe so”.
Now it’s not the Republicans but the Democrats who are on the ropes, dispirited and feeling hopeless in the New Political Reality Dianne and the Bernie Bots have helped create by energizing Donald’s white base and given them reason to show up by the millions and millions come this November.
There are some who can say with some credibility that the great Blue Election Day Wave of 2018 reached its high water mark today, October 6th, in the Chambers of the United States Senate when Dianne Feinstein’s once promising tactic came crashing down around her ears.
Given the political realities we face today with the Donald Trump Economy on a roll and holding most of the cards reasonable people would agree that an argument can be made to play the “Impeachment Card ” and play it openly and aggressively.
And not just against Donald J Trump, but against Brett Kavanaugh too.
Credible political analysts will tell us that there is very little downside to playing the “Impeachment Card” at this point.
After all Donald’s white base is already energized and primed for election day and open acknowledgement and embracement of the “Impeachment Card” might serve to energize the currently dispirited and disorganized Democratic and liberal opposition as well
In short it may well come to be if the liberal community desires to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat this year the “Impeachment Card” may be the only card they have left to play.
A J Randolph Fuller brand commentary.
– 30 –
“If you take care with your Selfies today they will certainly take care of you tomorrow.”
Life is not always about politics and hating Donald J. Trump though it seems that way today.
There are some other important issues that may even be of greater consequence to the average American.
Today Carl Denham is at our Lifestyles Desk where he is opining about one of the more compelling issues of our time, the ubiquitous and ever-present “Selfie” and how this universal symbol of our age and aging can be transformed from all too often bottom drawer into a thing of at least acceptable quality.
I’ve noticed over the years that the problem with most “Selfies” is that they make even the most attractive people look much less so and some can be downright ugly.
That’s the big reason various “beauty filter” apps have been added to smart phones and the like, the smart phone in various configurations being the tool of choice for the “Selfie” generation
The problem with that technology is that increasingly while pleasing the end result can have very little in common with the original subject as far as an accurate representation of same.
Now we are seeing serious psychological distortion among otherwise sane and well-balanced folk, and frustrated “Selfie” addicts are breaking down the doors of plastic surgeons around the world demanding major facial reconstruction and dropping wads of hard-earned cash in the process in a vain attempt to force the reality of their mug to more closely match the ersatz physiognomy they are showing to the world via social media and dating apps.
Now that may be fine for the well-heeled who don’t mind pain but what about honest people of limited means who cannot afford the many thousands of dollars required for that nose job and chipmunk cheek reductions and enhancements to the eyes.
Not to mention those who would rather avoid becoming one of the many horror stories making the rounds of surgery breaking bad, with noses falling off and even the occasional fatal consequences.
Fortunately there are cheap and easy ways to improve the quality of any self-portrait, and without the need of technical tricks or gimmicks or a substantial outlay of Benjamins.
And best of all, the picture will look like YOU, so that Mr. or Ms. Right you scored on your on-line dating platform won’t necessarily bolt when they see you for the first time and in the flesh… you can put your days of hiding out in dark bars and candle lit eateries behind you forever.
There is no such thing as a free lunch of course so you will need to assemble a bit of inexpensive kit.
First out of the chute is a camera support of some sort.
As this illustration shows, this can be anything from a full size tripod to a gorilla pod that can be folded and carried in a pocket, even that “Selfie stick” you already have can be pressed into service if you spring for some rubber bands.
Next thing you need is a target. A Plastic Head like Dorothy here is the gold standard of course and can be found in great variety on Amazon for very little coin.
If you don’t want to spring for the Plastic Head ask your mother or grandmother if she will give you hers.
Women 50 and older were very big into wigs in their youth and they generally have a head or two stowed away somewhere … an attic, maybe a garage.
The advantage of the Plastic Head is that it allows a precision in both focus and framing that you cannot obtain by any other means.
The disadvantage of course is that you are apt not to have a plastic head with you when you need one, unless you are car tripping where an extra head can work magic avoiding fines when illegally using the HOV Lanes on your local Interstate.
And that case a little creativity will serve you well.
A plain paper bag for example can serve as an acceptable target as can an empty water bottle.
This time of year you might find a pumpkin or other fruit or vegetable that can be pressed into service, though not easily. I would not recommend using this pumpkin.
The last piece of kit is the picture taking machine.
While a dedicated camera guarantees Superior Results, more than likely all you’re going to have with you is your smart phone and that’s good enough for the average “Selfie”, at least dumbed down for posting on social media.
You will of course need a bracket so that you can mount it on your camera support. If you have a “Selfie Stick” you already have a bracket and if not they’re easily obtainable for a couple of coin.
You will also need a Self Timer app for your smart phone. This could be either free or at most a couple of coins depending on how much capability you want.
Technique is what is going to make or break your picture.
In terms of general principles exhaustive studies have demonstrated conclusively that no matter the camera, no matter the lens, no matter the settings people look their best when the camera is placed a little over 3 meters (10 feet) away from the tip of their noses.
Except with extreme wide-angle lenses 10 ft (a little over 3 meters) will give you an image without noticable distortion, especially the kind of distortion that makes many “Selfies” butt ugly by adding 5 to 10 pounds to the subject in addition to big noses and slack Jaws.
Cameras placed 10 ft (3 meters) from the subject completely negates any distortion and you are instantly ahead of the game.
Second principal. The camera should always be placed at least at eye level for skinny people and above eye level for those carrying a couple extra pounds.
Some Stellar Photographs can be taken from chin level and below but they are best left to the professionals because they rarely make people look their best in the hands of the average “Selfie” addict.
Finally there’s the question of light.
Light can make or break your portrait.
In fact it is the most critical part of the equation.
Of course we are talking about both the quality and quantity of light.
It goes without saying that you must have enough so your picture-taking device is not forced into High Gain mode. And the quality of such must emphasize the positive aspects of you and not the negatives.
Some basic rules, unless you want your “Selfie” to look like a mug shot, don’t expect the built-in flash to do much for you. They invariably suck.
And avoid light from directly above unless the raccoon or kangaroos looks appeal to you
Also avoid strong backlight … and full sun too.
A personal experience of mine illustrates the latter.
There used to be this famous actress named Cheryl Ladd ( no relation to Alan of “Shane” fame ).
Beautiful woman, her most famous role was when she played one of Charlie’s Angels probably. Her “white bikini” in “Angels in Paradise” was the stuff of legends
A number of years ago I handled photo duties during an interview with her at some farm up-country..
I don’t remember why we were there ( probably some environmental issue ) but I do remember Cheryl had several years on her since “Charlie’s Angels” and while she was still an exceptionally beautiful woman I could easily see some tiny age lines and crow’s-feet sneaking in.
Cheryl wouldn’t do the interview unless we did it in open shade. Reason being as a professional Cheryl knew that FEW men look good in full sun and women NEVER do (unless it’s a character study where you want to show the ravages of time for documentary work or whatever).
So take a tip from Cheryl. Unless it is the so-called Magic Hour right around sunrise or sunset, full sun should be avoided at all cost.
The other principle, strong backlight or a background that is much brighter than the subject will always result in substandard product.
The key is brightness balance between the subject and the background.
It’s actually better if the background is darker than the subject if you can manage that.
Disregarding the strobes these principles are encapsulated in this photograph
Use a target to frame and focus the shot.
Camera placement just over three meters ( 10 feet) from the subject, and above eye level.
Light on the subject sufficient in quantity to balance with the background.
You can see from these comparison shots of me ( Carl Denham )
that these principles apply equally be you inside or out.
Adherence to these basic principles are almost guaranteed to produce a result far superior to what your friends are able to accomplish and without the need for goofy filters and post processing tricks and gimmicks.
And most importantly without the need to spend thousands of dollars on potentially dangerous surgery that may or may not be successful in order to bring your physical appearance in line with that face you’re showing the world.
Is it worth the effort?
That of course is a personal decision but the thing to remember is that images live on the internet forever ( in theory anyway but not actually. But that’s a tale for another day).
Do you really want to be defined 5 10 20 years from now by your grand and great-grandchildren by some less than adequate pictures taken today in your prime after the ravages of age may have rendered you less attractive than you were in your youth?
That is something only the individual can answer but if you take care with your “Selfies” today they will certainly take care of you and your tomorrows.