Maverick ???

It’s been a week since I posted something here, but I’m trying to write quickly as I’ve got a lot to do tonight. Tomorrow, I’m flying to California to attend the annual Community Zoe get-together of art nude photographers and models. I haven’t been able to get to this event the last couple of years, but I’m looking forward to meeting some old friends and hopefully making some new ones, too. (The photos posted here were made at past Community Zoe events. The models, from the top down, are Kat, Rei, Jessica and Joceline.)
For the past week, I’ve been busy getting my things together for the trip, but I also spent a lot of time working on my new website. I began work on it a few months ago, but I hadn’t done any work on it for quite a while. I figured that as I’m paying for it, I might as well do something with it. I accomplished a lot this week, and I’m thinking that I may be able to launch it next month if not later this one. Pretty much the only things I need to are finalize the look of the home page and then load the photos into the galleries.

Unfortunately, the latter is not a simple thing to do. Whether horizontal or vertical, the thumbnails show up as squares – so if the image is a vertical, there are white spaces on each side; if it’s a horizontal, the white spaces are above and below to create a square. I really don’t like this, so I’ve been overlaying my photos on a gray square to match the color of the gray background I’ve set up. Before I do much more of this I’ll call up to find out if there’s another alternative, but right now I don’t see one.

I probably will also need to re-scan some photos. When I scan a negative now, I scan it for 8.5 x 11 inches at 300 dpi. I then save that as an uncompressed TIFF file, and edit it down for posting. This way, I can always rework the original scan if I want. Sadly, for a lot of my early scans, I don’t seem to have saved it as a large, unedited file, so I’ll just have to scan those all over again if I want to use them.

Otherwise, I spent time this past two weeks watching some of the political conventions. I’m glad that the Democrats had their act together. I thought that Hillary made the best speech (Bill and Barack were good, too) and one wonders why Obama didn’t choose her as his running mate.

As for the other convention, I voted for Hillary in the primary and will be voting for Obama in November, but I felt that I should give some of the Republican goings-on a look out of general interest. From what I saw, a lot of it seemed to be a big exercise in hypocrisy. I missed Mitt Romney’s speech – apparently he was putting down “Eastern elitists,” conveniently forgetting that he’s an Eastern elitist himself. Rudy Giuliani, who I’ve written about before, showed himself to be the low class sleazeball that he is.

Of course, Sarah Palin was the big draw, and I watched her speech with as much interest as everybody else. She came across as personable, I suppose, but my first thoughts upon seeing and hearing about her family was that we may have the successor show to “Meet the Osbornes” in the making.

As for the remainder, I don’t think she mentioned anything about education or health care; her comment on the economy was essentially the tired old line that Democrats will raise taxes (even though independent sources confirm that Obama’s tax plan will cut taxes more than McCain’s). She spoke out against Washington politics and wasteful spending, but failed to mention that when she was mayor of her town in Alaska, she hired a Washington lobbyist to procure $27 million in Federal pork-barrel spending for her town, or that Alaska receives more earmark money per capita than any other state in the nation.

Perhaps the biggest hypocritical point was the one where she was actually correct. She said that the special interests had sunk McCain’s presidential campaign in 2000. She’s right. They did. What she didn’t say was that the one’s who did it were the Bush campaign and his Conservative Republicans backers! In other words, people like Palin and her Conservative cronies torpedoed McCain in 2000, and she has the audacity to try to make us think it was somebody else.

The idea of “somebody else” was also evident during McCain’s speech last night. The crowd applauded when he talked about how wrong things are in Washington, never seeming to admit that it’s the Conservative Republicans – that is, themselves – who’ve been running Washington for most of the last eight years and who’ve gotten us into this mess.

(I heard a McCain TV ad today. It said that an Obama administration would give us years of budget deficits and unbalanced budgets – as if the Bush administration hasn’t given us years of those things already!)

Quite honestly, it’s really sad what’s happened to McCain. Back in 2000 I would have given him serious consideration had he gotten the Republican nomination. I had a great deal of respect for him in those days when he really was a maverick. Unfortunately, that John McCain is gone, as he now seems to be in the back pocket of the Conservative wing of his party (just like the unnamed George W. Bush). Selecting his first choice for Vice President – the independently minded Joe Lieberman – would have been a maverick move.

Instead, he chose someone who’ll appeal to the Conservatives and who he hopes will win over disgruntled Hillary supporters – hardly a maverick choice. The fact that she’s been so readily embraced by the Conservative establishment proves that. He’s also changed his tune on tax cuts for the wealthy (he was against them; now he’s for them), he said he’d close down Guantanamo (but he doesn’t talk about that anymore) and so on.

John McCain had said that he’d rather lose an election in order to win the war in Iraq – but it also looks like he’s willing to sacrifice his principles in order to win that election. The brave and courageous hero who proudly held out against his captors in North Vietnam has now surrendered to the Conservatives in the Republican Party.

Like I said, that’s sad.

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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