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Skeeter Barnes

Skeeter Barnes's Journal
Skeeter Barnes's Journal
March 4, 2017

Bit of an update. Got a new lens: AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR

I am surprised how close I had to get for decent bird shots. Still had to crop a whole lot to get a pic like this Eastern Bluebird.

[IMG]~original[/IMG] 1/1000 sec. f/6.3 300mm ISO 250

The auto focus is almost instant. Definitely faster than the DX 18-140 kit lens I have. It feels like it's as light or maybe even lighter.

In the little bit of experience I have so far, I'd say 300mm is just the beginning of the zoom range you will need for birds and perhaps other wildlife and that is with the crop sensor DX cameras! After I get the DX 16-80, I'd like to get the AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR.

The birds are a blast to watch. If anybody has a critique or tips for me or wants to post their own pics, go ahead. I'd like to hear what you think and see your long zoom wildlife shots.

January 2, 2017

Just a pic of the cat from today.

I took a lot of pics of her looking away before she finally looked at the camera.

December 25, 2016

Short Hike To A Waterfall (newbie shots) Updated with new pics from 1/15/17

I got a book about hiking waterfalls in TN this past summer. Just now getting around to visiting the first one on the list, Jackson Falls located on the Natchez Trace Parkway.

I'm still new to taking pictures and I don't really know anything about Lightroom or any of that stuff so these are jpg pretty much straight from the camera, a Sony RX100 mk2.

Some are lightened or darkened a bit in the basic photo editing program I view my pictures in. One of them I fooled with the "warmth" slider a bit. I have learned enough to use the full manual mode in some of these and take a long(ish) exposure of the falling water that I think came out pretty good.



May not look like much bout you could hear the falling water from the parking lot. I'd like to come back after we've had a lot of rain.


The water slides down a steep rocky slope seen in the upper right hand corner.


I used a $7 tabletop tripod & 2 second shutter delay to hold the camera steady for this one.


The creek empties into the Duck River about 1/4 mile off in the distance.


This was a neat little trip. It's steep coming back up the sidewalk but not too bad. I'm way out of shape and made it up fine.

August 29, 2016

XB1 & PS4 gamers: If you have never played Resident Evil 4,

a new HD remaster of this masterpiece of a game releases on August 30 for $20. RE4 is hands down one of the best games ever made. Highly recommended if you haven't played it!


January 4, 2016

Statement by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller on Electronic Cigarettes

December 23, 2015
Statement by Attorney General Tom Miller on Electronic Cigarettes

Miller: “The harm of the combustible cigarette is dramatically greater than the harm of the e-cigarette”

“The harm of the combustible cigarette is dramatically greater than the harm of the e-cigarette. The combustible cigarette is by far the most harmful consumer product known to mankind, killing 480,000 people each year in the United States alone. This is largely due to the many deadly toxins created and released by the combustion. A panel of experts estimates that the e-cigarette is 95 percent less harmful. Some push back on this study, in part questioning the ability to put an exact number on it. Another estimate is 90-98 percent less harmful. But whatever number is correct, e-cigarettes are dramatically less harmful than combustible cigarettes.

“There has been an effort to say that combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes are equally harmful, that their companies are equally evil, and that they should be strongly regulated the same way. This view is incorrect, but it has gotten significant traction. Polling indicates that 32 percent of Americans believe that combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes are equally harmful. This means that as many as 13 million adult smokers believe them to be equally harmful, and are very unlikely to switch when switching may save their lives. People making misstatements about e-cigarettes have the best of intentions—to keep kids from being addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes. But adults misleading kids to get them to do what we want has always been a failed strategy.

“There also is a misconception about the prevalence of teen e-cigarette smoking. According to the National Youth Tobacco Survey, 13 percent of American high school students smoked an e-cigarette once or more in the last 30 days. This includes regular use and experimental use. As the figure is repeated, the number 13 percent is used without that qualification. After a few repetitions, people then tend to assume that 13 percent are regular users. However, regular use—if defined by usage in 20 or more days in the last 30 days—is actually 2 percent. The numbers should be seen together—13 percent used e-cigarettes once or more in the last 30 days; two percent have used an e-cigarette 20 or more days in the last 30 days.”

August 25, 2015

The Plague of American Authoritarianism

Rather than forcing a populace to adhere to a particular state ideology, the general public in the United States is largely depoliticized through the influence of corporations over schools, higher education, and other cultural apparatuses. The deadening of public values, civic consciousness, and critical citizenship are also the result of the work of anti-public intellectuals representing right-wing ideological and financial interests, a powerful corporate controlled media that are largely center-right, and a market-driven public pedagogy that reduces the obligations of citizenship to the endless consumption and discarding of commodities. In addition, a pedagogy of historical, social, and racial amnesia is constructed and circulated through a highly popular celebrity culture and its counterpart in corporate-driven news, television, radio, and entertainment to produce a culture of stupidity, censorship, and diversionary spectacles.

The protean forces for creating an authoritarian state are in full play in the United States and extend far beyond the shadow of a debased and corrupt politics. A set of complex forces working in tandem is slowly, insidiously eroding the very foundations of a civic and democratic culture. Some of the most glaring issues are massive unemployment; a rotting infrastructure; the defunding of vital public services; the dismantling of the social safety net; expanding levels of poverty, especially for children; and an imprisonment binge largely targeting poor minorities of color. At the same time, a reign of lawlessness is overtaking the United States as police violence and state terrorism result in the killing of an increasing number of black men, women, and young people. But such a list barely scratches the surface. Institutions that were once designed to serve the public good now wage war against all things public. For instance, we have witnessed in the last thirty years the restructuring of public education as either a source of profit for corporations or an updated version of control modeled after prison culture coupled with an increasing culture of lying, cruelty, and corruption.

A culture of thoughtlessness now drives the predatory formative culture that allows a range of anti-democratic tendencies to flourish—tendencies that embody a new and extreme form of lawlessness and a theater of cruelty. Civic literacy in the United States is not simply in decline, it is the object of scorn and derision. The corporate controlled media have abandoned even the pretense of holding power accountable and now primarily serve as second rate entertainment venues spouting the virtues of balance, consumerism, greed, and American exceptionalism. The seeds of extremism are everywhere. Instead of being educated, school children are handcuffed and punished for trivial infractions or simply taught how to take tests and give up on any vestige of critical thinking. Celebrity culture now works in tandem with neoliberal values to vaunt as role models individuals who represent extreme forms of solipsism and a cultivated idiocy. The war on democracy by the financial elite and other religious and political fundamentalists is intent on defunding and eliminating every public sphere that serves the public good rather than moneyed interests. A war culture now shapes every aspect of society as war-like values, a hyper-masculinity, and an aggressive militarism seeps into every major institution in the United States including the schools, the media, and local police forces. The criminal justice system has become the default structure for dealing with social problems. More and more people are considered disposable and excess because they are viewed as a drain on the wealth or offend the sensibilities of the financial elite who are rapidly consolidating class power.

What is useful about these critiques is that they acknowledge that democracy is dead in the United States and that the forces of tyranny and authoritarianism offer no apologies for their hatred of democracy and the culture of poverty, immiseration, and cruelty that they want to impose on the American people, if not the rest of the world. What they fail to acknowledge is that the anti-democratic forces at work in the new totalitarianism are not limited to the discourse of the new extremists. Totalitarianism is not merely about errant personalities. It is also about the ideological, political, cultural, and governing structures of society. These systemic forces have been building for quite some time in the United States and have been recognized by our most astute writers such as Sheldon Wolin and Chris Hedges. What is new is that they are not only out of the shadows but are enthusiastically embraced by a segment of the population and articulated in all of their fury by a number of politicians. Totalitarianism is not simply a personality disorder and is not limited to the power of a few erratic politicians; it demands and cannot survive without mass support—it is systemic, a desiring machine, a politics, a culture, and a distortion of power. And it is not limited to Republican Party extremists.

January 6, 2015

Temporary Work, Lasting Harm

Since the 2008 recession, companies have increasingly turned to temporary employees to work in factories and warehouses and on construction sites. The temp industry now employs a record 2.8 million workers.

The trend carries a human cost.

A ProPublica analysis of millions of workers’ compensation claims shows that in five states, representing more than a fifth of the U.S. population, temps face a significantly greater risk of getting injured on the job than permanent employees.

In California and Florida, two of the largest states, temps had about 50 percent greater risk of being injured on the job than non-temps. That risk was 36 percent higher in Massachusetts, 66 percent in Oregon and 72 percent in Minnesota.

December 6, 2014

Median wage of manufacturing workers declines in the U.S.

11/21/2014 10:56 AM 11/21/2014 5:24 PM

More than 600,000 U.S. manufacturing workers earn less than $9.60 an hour, and 1.5 million — or one-fourth of all manufacturing workers — make $11.91 or less, according to an analysis released Friday.

The National Employment Law Project said that manufacturing jobs — once considered the solid source of middle-class income — increasingly are paying wages that can barely support a family.

The report said that for 30 years, from 1976 to 2006, U.S. manufacturing workers were paid a median wage that was above the U.S. pay median. That manufacturing advantage peaked in the mid-1980s.

By 2013, the median manufacturing wage was 7.7 percent lower than the median U.S. wage for all public and private sector workers, according to the Census Bureau’s survey data.


At the same time, local, state and Federal governments are giving away billions in tax breaks and other incentives to these businesses who are paying their workers less and less.

February 28, 2014

TN bill would place limits on union picketing

Unions may face new restrictions when they picket, under a bill making its way through the Tennessee legislature.

House Bill 1688 would add a new misdemeanor of “mass picketing” that could be used to punish labor activists who block the entrance to a business or private residence. The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Jeremy Durham, and other supporters say the legislation would supplement laws already on the books that prohibit trespassing.

“People have the right to free speech, but they do not have the right to prevent people from going to work,” said Durham, R-Franklin. He said Tennessee unions added 31,000 members in 2013, which represents the largest percentage increase among the states last year.

“I feel like if that’s such a growing part of our economy, we need to take preemptive measures to make sure our businesses have the rights and protections they should be entitled to.”


February 9, 2014

SAFE Act advocate busted for carrying a gun in school.

Dwayne Ferguson spent more than a decade advocating for nonviolence and peace in the streets of Buffalo.

He was a well-known face in the movement for the SAFE Act, the state law that made carrying a gun on school property a felony. He was also a familiar presence in the hallways of the city’s Harvey Austin Elementary School, where he worked in the after-school program and mentored students.

No one imagined that on Thursday he would show up at the school in possession of a gun, touching off an hours-long lockdown, search and ultimately his arrest on two felony charges.

Ferguson, 52, told WGRZ-TV that he frequently carries the gun, for which he has a permit, and did not realize he had it on him when he went to the school as part of the mentoring program.


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Member since: Sat Apr 20, 2013, 09:03 PM
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