April 3, 2015

Christians can never go wrong by loving others

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

Glenn MolletteChristians around the world celebrate Holy week, Good Friday and Easter. This is the Christian holiday. Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.

Intimidated, scared, crazy followers of Jesus were filled with courage and new hope as they saw and touched Jesus after his resurrection. Those young frightened men suddenly became world changers and were willing to die for what they had experienced. The hope they promoted and wrote about is still impacting billions of people on the planet today who follow Christ and the Bible.

Jesus never discriminated. He reached out to a woman, about to be stoned because of adultery, and saved her life. He reached out to a despised tax collector, lepers and drank a little wine with a celebrating wedding party. Jesus embraced people and that was one of the reasons many hated him.

Christians never go wrong by loving and embracing others. This is all part of being a Christian and celebrating Easter. On the same token people should respect other's beliefs. If one does not want to eat pork then we should respect that. If someone prefers the Catholic Church over the Baptist Church then let it be.

Since America is being tolerant and recognizing LGBT people, they need to be tolerant in return. Life is a two-way street. It's not all for one. I am totally opposed to discrimination and believe in equal rights for all. However, no one is going to ask a Muslim tee shirt designer to design a tee shirt that depicts Mohammed in a negative way.

A Priest should never be asked to perform a wedding ceremony of two men or two women, as I believe most priests would object. A photographer is placed into a somewhat intimate position with his or her subject and should not be expected to take pictures if the photographer opposes. Simply understand and go somewhere else.

LGBT individuals should have the same civil rights as everyone else. However, the civil rights of one group should not eclipse the civil rights of another group simply because their views are not the same.

Christians should also have the same civil rights as everyone else. No one in this country should have to live in fear of the other. An Indiana pizza shop shutting down because of a young girl's opinion about catering pizza to a gay wedding is just crazy.

Easter is about victory and celebration. Jesus came out of the grave. Christians came out of hiding and there were courage and boldness. This is not the time for Christians or any law-abiding person to live behind closed doors in fear and trembling.

Dr. Glenn Mollette is a syndicated American columnist and author of American Issues, Every American Has An Opinion and ten other books. He is read in all 50 states. The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily representative of any other group, organization or this publication.

DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Click here to learn how to submit your commentary, opinion, letter to the editor or response to this piece.


February 11, 2015

Abraham Lincoln oversaw an unnecessary war

by Jared Labell, Guest Commentator

As Republicans gather for their annual dinner celebrations honoring the birth of the sixteenth president of these United States, it would serve the public well to reassess the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, a politician who still commands overwhelming bipartisan praise two-hundred and six years after his birth. More notably, today's birthday celebrations take place just prior to the one-hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Civil War - an unnecessary war that Lincoln oversaw, resulting in the deaths of 850,000 of his countrymen. His quest for Union has had long-lasting implications for the succeeding centuries and its affects are still felt today.

Jared Labell
Detailed in the book Colonization After Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement, co-authored by Phil Magness of George Mason University and Sebastian Page of Oxford University, there is an aspect of "Honest" Abe's political maneuvering that is seriously understated by just about everyone on the political spectrum: Lincoln was a longtime proponent of colonizing freed black slaves abroad, previous to and during the war, and up until his assassination.

Colonization, the policy of resettling African American slaves as free individuals in lands outside of the country, was one of many approaches actually pursued by the Lincoln Administration to resolve the problem of slavery. Some advocates of colonization supported such measures of voluntary or forced emigration due to their own notions of white supremacism; while others were well-intentioned, but flawed abolitionists who believed that only the removal of this long oppressed subset of the population could resolve the slavery question and stabilize the country. Different plans for colonization at times considered locations in Central America and the West Indies for establishing colonies of freedmen.

Besides the authors' exhaustive study of the extensive and nuanced politics of colonization and Lincoln's proposals, Magness additionally notes that Lincoln most likely began his interest in colonization policy by the 1840s, following in the footsteps of his political mentor, Henry Clay. Lincoln was part of the Illinois state colonization society and by 1856 he also joined its national contingent, the American Colonization Society, as evidenced by Lincoln's subscription and payment of membership dues to the organization.

It is quite clear that the reverence for a martyred politician has taken precedence over historical facts, but further inquiry and study of history will assist in redefining political discourse. We are still living with the ramifications of substantial violations of the Constitution from a century and half prior, but perhaps learning our history will better prepare our future.

In years past, Taxpayer Education Foundation (TEF) has published commentary regarding various aspects of the Lincoln Administration and the 1861-1865 War Between the States, including: Rain on the Lincoln Parade, parts I and II; Illinois and Lincoln Set the Bar for Political Sleaze, parts I and II; Lincoln's Unpopular War, parts I and II; and Lincoln Brutalized the Country and Shredded the Constitution.

These commentaries cover a range of topics; from motivations and supposed justifications for the war, to the shrewd machinations of the early Chicago Political Machine that helped Lincoln obtain the nomination in 1860, as well as examining notable opposition to the war and the numerous instances that the Constitution was violated in pursuit of forcibly maintaining the Union.

The nearly forgotten story of Abraham Lincoln's long held interest in colonization is yet another development in the ongoing discussion of his administration and the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States. Although Lincoln was among the more tolerant of the colonization enthusiasts, this policy cannot be assessed in a vacuum, as Lincoln simultaneously allowed four loyal slave states - Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri - to remain in the Union alongside chattel slavery.

Lincoln continued to send escaped slaves back to their masters in the South and instituted conscription for the first time in America, merely another form of slavery. All of these considerations underline the fact that Lincoln's priority was not liberating individuals, as often claimed. The preservation of the State was held sacred above all else, including the liberty of the enslaved, the conscripted, and that of the hundreds of thousands who would be sacrificed for Lincoln's quest to preserve the Union.


DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Click here to learn how to submit your commentary, opinion, letter to the editor or response to this piece.


Crazy people should never have guns

by Glenn Mollette, Guest Commentator

Crazy people should never have guns, knives or anything that could potentially harm another. A crazy person will find a way to inflict injury or cause death.

Eddie Ray Routh who murdered American hero Chris Kyle and Kyle's friend Chad Littlefield at a firing range proves my point again.

This is one of the tragedies of the year. Two intelligent, knowledgeable men, one who had survived horrific Middle East combat situations, were snuffed out of this life by a crazy man like Routh.

About an hour and a half into the drive, Chris Kyle was sitting in the driver's seat and he sent a text to Chad Littlefield who was sitting right next to him. He texts, "This dude is straight-up nuts," according to defense attorney Tim Moore from the Texas trial that is occurring. Moore said, "Chad Littlefield texts Chris Kyle back, "He's right behind me Watch my six,"(military lingo for watch my back). From this we have some insight into what Kris Kyle was thinking at the time.

According to Erath County District Attorney Alan Nash, Routh used two guns and shot Kyle five times in the back and side and once in the side of the head, using a 45-caliber pistol. He then shot Littlefield with a 9 mm pistol, four times in the back, once in the hand, once in the face and once in the head. A different 45-caliber pistol with all it's rounds fired was found on the ground near Kyle's head, " Kyle had shot all the bullets in his gun when he was shot in the back," said Nash, referring to the fact Kyle had just fired at a target.

I own guns. I believe in the right to bear arms. I would shoot anyone trying to break into my house and harm my family. However, I do not want to be around crazy people with guns. Guns are never bad. People holding the guns make them either safe or deadly.

Do not try to rehabilitate a sick person by handing that person a gun or a knife or anything that might give them a window of opportunity to hurt themselves, you or anyone else. Mentally sick people can be helped many ways but giving them guns, knives or bombs is never the answer.

I saw the movie American Sniper. I believe Kris Kyle is a hero. I believe his death is a tragedy. The sad end of his life reminds us that we cannot help everybody. Some people can only be helped by medical professionals over a long period of time and then not always.

Glenn Mollette is the author of American Issues: Every American Has An Opinion. He is also the author of other books including Fitness Is A Mind Game, The Adventures of Russell Walter and Spiritual Chocolate: Inspirational Delights for the Heart. You can hear him each Sunday night on XM radio 131 at 8 EST. Follow Glenn Mollette on Facebook here.


DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of PhotoNews Media. We welcome comments and views from our readers. Click here to learn how to submit your commentary, opinion, letter to the editor or response to this piece.


July 28, 2014

Wedding vendors counter negative online comments with non-disparagement clauses

by Clark Brooks

The devil is in the details; read your wedding contract carefully, especially the fine print. Before seal the deal with that wedding planner who had great reviews on two or three websites or that photographer who rocked your world with their stunning photography, you might want take a real close look at some of the terms, conditions and yes, penalties hidden in their service agreement.

With their online persona exposed to the world, more and more wedding vendors are including language to their service agreement that will forbid you to post negative comments and reviews about the inferior service they may have provided. Any comments you post could subject you to fines or a lawsuit for thousands of dollars.

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Photographers, reception halls, mobile disc jockeys and cake designers are following in the footsteps of other independent professionals by adding "Non-Disparagement" clauses to their service contracts. The sole purpose of this clause is to keep clients from damaging, warranted or not, their business reputation online.

Jeff Guyer penned an article on the DIY Photography website describing a meeting with a potential client, a bride seeking his services for her upcoming wedding. A former attorney, Guyer was shocked when she showed him a contract from another photographer that stated:

"Client further agrees that they will not disparage Photographer, or post any negative comments, reviews, feedback, complaints, insults, or other counter-productive content about Photographer or services provided in any online forum, chat room, or message board, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and The Knot."

In this day and age of online reviews, one can bet their sweet bippy that any company or service provider that includes this language in their contract either has had issues in the past or expects them in the future. A vendor that is attentive, provides gold standard service and takes pride in their reputation will likely omit such language from their contractual agreements.

Before signing a vendor contract, look for the words confidentiality, non-review, non-disparagement. If you find these words, read the paragraph carefully. You might want to do additional research on the vendor before making a commitment to use their services.

"Before you sign, start by asking the potential vendor to remove it. At this point, the terms of contract are negotiable. After you sign it, you could be on the hook for a large payout, expensive legal fees or the inability to post honest reviews of the service you receive."
In some cases, vendors are just looking for a legal means and deterrent to justifiably protect their online reputation from the rants of the occasional revenge-seeking, hard to please species of bridezillas known exist.

If search long and hard enough with Google, you will find multiple cases of wedding vendors, in addition to cosmetic surgeons, building contractors, watch repair shops, dentists and websites zealously pursuing former clients for damages upwards of $10,000 or more.

When a vendor or business owner resolves to go after a client for breaching the clause, it is known as "Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation", or SLAPP in the legal arena. The goal is to burden the offending client with court and legal fees forcing them into submission. Some vendors will be satisfied when the client to remove the offending post or modifies it to their liking. Others service providers may very well use the clause as an additional revenue stream by collecting a substantial fine which is usually buried in the fine print.

Illinois and 29 other states have anti-SLAPP legislation on the books that makes it easier for judges to dismiss cases against brides who speak up. According to Digital Trends, the Supreme Court has made several favorable rulings to slap SLAPP cases down.

There are some things you can do if run across this language in your contract.

Before you sign, start by asking the potential vendor to remove it. At this point, the terms of contract are negotiable. After you sign it, you could be on the hook for a large payout, expensive legal fees or the inability to post honest reviews of the service you receive. Have the vendor produce a fresh contract without the offensive clause in it to sign.

If the vendor hesitates or refuses to strike the sentences from our agreement, common sense suggests - especially in the case of a once in a lifetime event like a wedding, the most significant day in your life - you might want to reconsider your decision to rely on that vendor.

While chances are everything will workout just peachy, you will probably have less to fear if you are working with a business offering services for seven years or longer. It would be a good idea to solicit comments within a Facebook wedding group or fan page catering to local brides for wedding supplies and services.

If this is a vendor you really want to provide services to you and your guests, you can ignore the clause and sign the agreement.

Can you still post an other than honest review of your experience using that vendor? The answer to that question is it depends. When in doubt, consult a lawyer in your state if it is really important for readers to know how poorly you were treated or that the vendor provided. He or she can suggest various ways to communicate your negative experience properly.

While only a few cases have gone through the court system, settling the issue in court is highly complex and the outcome, depending on the jurisdiction your case is filed, is highly unpredictable at this point. If you have an endless supply of cash in your purse - likely not considering the money you spent on the wedding, reception and honeymoon - and confine your comments to the truth, it might be worth it to warn other brides of the pitfalls or poor service you were provided.

When it comes to writing a review, websites like Digital Trends, Offbeat Bride and Forbes offer some thoughts on the matter.

The mutual caution is to avoid defaming the vendor. You must be 100% factual in any statement you make. Documenting problems at the time they occur either via collaborating statements, photos/video or audio will go along way in protecting your review. Making false statements, facts known or that can be proven not true, will get you in hot water.

Second, offer opinions. Make it clear at the beginning or end of the post that you are stating your opinion. Keep them subjective and honest. Avoid long rants and hyperbolas.

Do not make accusations. Making allegations on a person's character or that they committed a criminal offense will get you in hot water pretty quick. Avoid name-calling and threats as well.

With a membership well over 14,00, we posted a message on the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International group page on Facebook asking photographers if they included non-review or non-disparagement language in their contracts and if so why they added it. As of today, we have yet to receive a comment from professionals who are members of the online community.

March 9, 2012

DJ Rad-Rock wants your party to be a good time

by Clark Brooks

Back in the early 1980s, Conrad Hayes owned a lot of records. A self-described collector of the grooved plastic discs etched with music, he enjoyed dancing and liked the idea of getting other people out on the dance floor to have a good time. It was during that time he decided he would use music to bring joy into the lives of others as a deejay.

"I know people want to have a good time. It's a special moment in peoples lives and I like being a part of that special moment, "Hayes said, who started spinning records more than 28 years ago. "I feel blessed that they would choose me to be a part of a special time in their lives."

His mobile entertainment business, Rad-Rock Ltd. Promotions, provides high-energy, affordable priced music entertainment for wedding receptions and other special events.

Up until the late 70s most deejays would segue from one song to the next with a vocal introduction of the song or dedication of some sort from one guest to another, however Hayes quickly adopted the popular party style of New York and Chicago deejays and began mixing. Back in the day, mixing was the art of seamlessly transitioning from one song to another or creating extended versions of a popular dance song. The kings and queens of the art form were known as mixmasters, gifted spinners who used two turntables to perform techniques like beat matching, scratching, echoes, layering and repeats - now just a push of a button in a computer program today - to keep bodies on the dance floor jumping, bumping and grinding on the dance floor all night long, as Lionel Ritchie used to sing.

Back then deejays had needed a performance name. With the help of his girlfriend at the time, dictionary and some brainstorming, the first idea that was up for review was "Rambunctious Rad".

"I thought it was terrible," Hayes chuckled at his girlfriend's suggestion. After careful consideration and a few other derivations, he settled on the name Rad-Rock. "I tried it out at a Valentine's Day party. I billed myself as DJ Rad-Rock and it stuck."

Hayes was one the early pioneers (as well as the author of this article who was known as Cocoa B) back in the early to mid-eighties whose master and mega mixes were weekly features on in the Champaign-Urbana community radio stations. WLRW, WEFT and other stations whose target market segment were 18-30 year-olds, played cassette tapes supplied by him and other local mixmasters on Saturday or Sunday evening shows. In addition to spinning at University of Illinois black Greek parties, he spun records at Tritos Uptown, Bradley's and other clubs that have come and gone in the last quarter of a century.

"Talk to someone who has your best interest at heart. I can honestly say that there are some people in our market who think about what works for them opposed to what works for the client."
Today, in addition to providing music entertainment for wedding receptions, Hayes also offers entertainment packages for school dances, reunions, corporate functions, fraternity and sorority parties and athletic events such as 5K races. One of the things that he takes pride in is his immense music collection assembled over the last three decades. If there is electrical power available, Hayes can provide anything from the bumping beats of dance, hip hop or rap to the soothing light rock or jazz dinner music.

"That's one of the things I really take a lot of pride in. I have music from the 1930s, all the way up to today," said Hayes about his music collection. Obscure country music, chart toppers from the international pop music scene, or the latest club hit, Hayes has it to spin. "Any music genre that people would like to have for their particular event, I have access to and able to provide it."

On top of having a diverse music library and well over a quarter of a century of experience, Hayes points back to his days of spinning in nightclubs that separates his entertainment services from the rest of the competition in the area.

"I think that keeping the energy going for a long period of time is something special that I bring to my events."

When it comes to booking a wedding deejay to entertain guest at your reception, Hayes offers a few tips to brides shopping for a deejay.

"Talk to someone who has your best interest at heart. I can honestly say that there are some people in our market who think about what works for them opposed to what works for the client," he advises. While most entertainment companies have a set price list, Hayes prefers a personalized touch to help clients stay within their budget. "I am all about what the client wants. Whatever the client wants, if I can provide it, I will at that cost."

Next, look for someone who is personable. Get to know the personality who will be basically in charge of your reception. You really want someone who gets along well with the people, able to fulfill your needs and provide the music they desire he explained.

Another good reason to put your wedding reception or corporate entertainment in the hands of DJ Rad-Rock is he believes in redundancy. Like the old military saying, "two is one, one is none, three gets the job done", Hayes carries a backup piece of equipment and wire for every backup piece of gear he hauls to every gig. He regaled tales of changing out speakers, turntables, fuses and wires without missing a beat.

Unlike some of his competitors, he doesn't believe in 'nickel and dimming' clients for services and recommends brides avoid those who provide entertainment services that do.

"I have a complete package that I bring to all of my shows," Hayes explained. He does not charge by the light, by the number of speakers or turntables - if you are old enough to remember what those were or seen them on Wikipedia. Rather than use a base price with add-ons, he strives to work with each and every client to bring them the best entertainment in a complete package - sound system, lights and music - within the budget the client has for their event. "It is all-inclusive for a rate that works for them."

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You can learn more about Rad-Rock Ltd Promotions at http://www.djradrock.net. Follow DJ Rad-Rock on Face book at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rad-Rock-Ltd-Promotions/117504608377677