Category: Pop culture

G.J.’s 3rd Annual Gay Pride Parade Bigger and Better Than Ever

Grand Junction's 3rd Annual Gay Pride Parade, Sunday, May 17, 2015

ONE BIG PARTY — Grand Junction’s 3rd Annual Gay Pride Parade, Sunday, May 17, 2015

Grand Junction’s Third Annual Colorado West Pride Parade was more impressive than ever this year, with more sponsors and floats than in previous years, and a bigger crowd of spectators on Main Street.  The weather was perfect for the event, with a temperature in the 70s, intermittent cloud cover, just a faint breeze and no rain.

Why Stop at Renaming North Ave.? Grand Junction Needs a Modern Moniker

Grand Junction is plagued by a host of bad nicknames

Grand Junction is plagued by a host of bad nicknames

Note – Owing to City Council’s now-official change of name of North Ave. to University Ave. in 2017, I am re-posting this blog from 2015.

In a March 24, 2015 editorial, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel argues that “North Avenue needs a modern moniker.” The article cites the town’s extensive modernization and expansion since it’s founding many years ago, and extensive capital improvements, like the airport and interstate highway, as reasons to rename North Avenue to University Avenue — the most frequently suggested new name for the street.

Changing the name of North Avenue is a fine idea, but it’s thinking small.

Re-Naming is On a Roll, But What Will Really Work to Remove Grand Junction’s Negative Baggage?

We need to take collective big deep breath, go a big step further and rename the entire city.

Lots of local features have been renamed in the past few years. We’ve re-named Walker Field Airport, Mesa State College and F Road, all with no ill effects. The new names have even proven to be marked improvements over the old names, eliminating confusion and better representing the amenities they point to.

But let’s face it, folks. Grand Junction has plenty of negative baggage. This is reflected in the slew of pejorative nicknames our area has earned: “Grand Junktown,” “Gland Function,” “Spun Junction,” “Meth Junction,” “Tweakerville,” to name a few. Moreover, our town has given rise to a disproportionate number of dysfunctional institutions, embarrassing political scandals and politicians.

The “Little Free Library” Movement Comes to Grand Junction

Little Free Library box at 14th Street and Texas Ave.

Little Free Library box at 14th Street and Texas Ave.

LittleParkLibrary

Little Free Library on Little Park Road

In 2009, Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a small box in the shape of a one room schoolhouse, filled it with books and mounted it on a post in his front yard with a sign that said “FREE BOOKS. Take a book, leave a book.”  People in his neighborhood loved it, and so did his family and friends. Soon other Wisconsinites started putting up little free libraries in their own neighborhoods. The trend soon expanded to other states and countries around the world, and in a few short years the “Little Free Library” movement was born. Bol originally put up his free library box to promote reading for children, literacy for adults and to help people see the value of libraries in general.

The Weird World of Adult Babies

 

Adult baby bouncer

Adult baby bouncer

After a friend in another country expressed an interest in importing and selling American-made baby items, I agreed to do some research on popular brands, to find out which were made in the U.S. and what they sell for here. While doing so, I stumbled upon something very, very odd.

First I found adult-sized pacifiers for sale on EBay. Then adult-sized baby bottles. Then adult-sized, deluxe baby cribs. I even found an adult-sized baby bouncer.

Okay, this was weird, I thought. So I looked into the phenomenon a little further.

I discovered that there is a small subset of people who engage in paraphilic infantilism, or behavior called “adult baby syndrome.” These people enjoy regressing to an infantile state. They love wearing diapers and plastic pants, drinking from baby bottles, dressing in baby clothes like onesies or frilly dresses, and doing things like sitting in oversized high chairs or cribs and eating baby food. They like to be held and rocked or taken to the zoo, and generally be treated like infants or small children.

Adult baby crib for sale at BabyApparels.com, which makes furniture for adult babies

Adult baby crib for sale at BabyApparels.com, which makes furniture for adult babies

Yes, it’s true.

While most adults revile being treated like a child and would find it utterly humiliating, there are some people for whom it is a much sought-after lifestyle, and one they seek to create for themselves. Here is a fairly tasteful YouTube video that takes a look inside the lives a handful people who engage in this very odd behavior.

Paraphilic infantilists call themselves ABs for “Adult Babies.” While some apparently derive some sexual gratification from the behavior, for the most part adult baby behavior is not linked to pedophilia, because pedophilia is not a baby behavior, and these folks seek to both behave and be treated like babies.

An adult male wearing Sissy Baby clothing

An adult male wearing Sissy Baby clothing

There are also subsets of AB behavior types within the larger behavior class. For example, some adults are fine with being and acting like adults, but just love to wear diapers. They may wear diapers under their regular adult street clothes or just lounge around in them at home. These people call themselves Diaper Lovers, or DLs for short. “Sissy Babies” are either male or female adults who enjoy wearing the kind of frilly clothes that people dress little girls in, like way-too-short dresses with lacy underpants. Adult baby diaper lovers are called AB/DLs. As more people who engage in this behavior try to find each other online, more AB/DL sites are appearing, like DailyDiapers.com, DiaperMates.com and even a dating site for adult babies and diaper lovers called ABDLMatch.com.

An adult baby bottle for sale on EBay

An adult baby bottle for sale on EBay

Some professional fetishists make very good money providing safe places where infantilists can indulge in this behavior. These pros hire themselves out as self-styled mommies, daddies or nannies. In Chicago, one professional fetishist, “Mommy Madeline,” has many days on her online calendar that are booked solid at $300/hour, and she takes her payment in the form of donations. Mommy Madeline charges $1,400 for 8 hours and $6,000 to indulge an adult baby for a solid week. The “donation” includes meals, drinks, supplies and “up to one disposable diaper change per hour,” with no limit to cloth diaper changes.

Very little research has been done into the root causes of paraphilic infantilism, partly because the behavior is so rare. Also, few adult babies tend to disclose their behavior or seek counseling for it, or even view themselves as having a medical condition of any kind. Some think the behavior may be linked to stress reduction or transvestitism. Another theory holds that infantilism is an identity disorder centered purely on the self.

In any case, infantilists are increasingly reaching out to each other and finding each other online. As they do, other people, like EBay merchants and Mommy Madeline, are profiting financially from the syndrome by providing the necessary paraphernalia or arranging situations in which people can freely indulge their adult baby urges.

The Mysterious Talking Hill off South Camp Road

Hill-All

For about five years, an unknown person has been climbing a slippery hill high on the Redlands and scratching brief messages into the greenish bentonite, and turning the hill into an ersatz billboard. The hill is just to the north of the intersection of Monument Road and South Camp Road. The messages are always in capital letters. They change frequently and consists of just four letters. It’s no easy task to make them, either. The letters are probably at least 10-12 feet tall. The messages are usually timely, too. At Mother’s Day, the hill says “MOM.” Near Father’s Day, it says “DAD.” Near the full moon it will say “MOON.” Other times, it has said “HELO,” or is just some cryptic anagram that leaves viewers scratching their heads. At the moment it says “XMAS.” If you stand near the northeast corner of Monument Road and South Camp Road and look towards the bentonite hills to the northwest, you can see it. Look for a greenish hill located between two higher, red-striated peaks. Check out what it says.

Want to take some bets on what it might say next? My guess is it might soon say “2015.”

Culture Shift: Grand Junction Embraces Gay Pride Events

Parade participants ready a float in the 2014 Grand Junction Gay Pride Parade May 18

Parade participants ready a float in the 2014 Grand Junction Gay Pride Parade May 18

The most overlooked and historic story in Grand Junction this week is the area’s burgeoning gay scene and the growing prominence of the area’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) population.

This year Gay Pride week brought an extended celebration of gender diversity to this formerly staid town, where previously people preferred to quietly sweep such culture under the rug.

Not any more.

Saturday, May 17 brought a gender-bending drag queen show to the Mesa Theater on Main Street, complete with a laser light show, throbbing techno music, Cirque-de-Soleil-style dancers atop lit towers and rambunctious performances by hilarious drag entertainers from Denver, Salt Lake and Provo.

Lest you think organizers had to go out of town to find such entertainers, that wasn’t the case. The show featured a performance by a home-grown, local drag troupe, The CDS Drag, with performers Jem Holiday, Donatella Mysecrets and Stella Rae.

Sunday, May 18 brought the Second Annual Gay Pride Parade and street festival. Heidi Hess, the western slope grassroots organizer for One Colorado, which works to secure and protect equality and opportunity for LGBT people and their families, reports that the size of the parade nearly tripled this year.

Jumpin’ Without Jesus: Get Air at the Silo to Open Soon in Grand Junction

The old Mesa Feed building on south 7th Street in LoJo is being rebuilt into a climbing and trampoline amusement park.

The old Mesa Feed building on south 7th Street in LoJo is being rebuilt into a climbing and trampoline amusement park.

A controversy arose in Grand Junction last month after a parent complained about a video shown to Grand Mesa Middle School students that promoted Fellowship Church’s new youth indoctrination center, “4640.” The video boasted that 4640 had a foam pit, a ledge swing, a “spider jump center” and a delicious food court “filled with more junk food than you can imagine.” The only problem was that kids going to 4640 get pressured to become Christian.

But Fellowship Church is about to get some secular competition for the minds and bodies of local recreation-starved youth.

A trampoline and climbing amusement park called Get Air at the Silo is getting ready to open in the old Mesa Feed building at 715 S. 7th Street in LoJo (lower downtown Grand Junction). Word is the silo on the property is getting remade into a climbing course.

Attractions will include a foam pit, a series of pit trampolines that allow people to jump like rabbits from one to the next, dodge ball, gymnastics training, “Extreme Air Training,” an angled trampoline you can run up to do flips, “air jam basketball” (a tramp for slam-dunking basketballs into a hoop), a course for smaller kids and a snack and party room. The facility will be equipped with delayed-view recording cameras and a giant, flat-screen monitor that lets patrons and their friends review their jumps.

The facility is a franchise of Get Air Management, which operates large trampoline parks worldwide. Get Air has parks in Tucson, AZ, Kennewick, WA, Temecula, CA, Huntington Beach, CA, Kaysville, UT, Nicholasville, KY, Poway, CA, and has more parks set to open this summer in Oregon, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Washington and Maine.

A similar Get Air facility in Tucson, AZ charges $10 for one hour of jumping, but some cities in California charge up to $14/hour.  The facility will be available for parties, and passes will be available. For the fee, patrons can jump all they want with zero pressure to become Christian.

Get Air Management requires users to sign legal waivers regarding injury and follow specific safety rules. Users of recreation facilities like foam pits and trampolines, whether they are in secular or religious facilities, need to be aware of the potential for serious injury from these activities. 

Get Air Silo is located at 715 S. 7th Street in Grand Junction, near the Daily Sentinel building.

Petition Asks Grand Junction Mayor Sam Susuras to Step Down

Mayor Sam Susuras, who was never elected to office, is the target of a petition asking him to step down.

Mayor Sam Susuras, who was never elected to office, is the target of a petition asking him to step down.

petition is circulating on Change.org asking Grand Junction Mayor Sam Susuras to step down from office immediately. Mr. Susuras became mayor after being appointed to fill a City Council seat in 2010. In 2013, he was chosen as mayor by a minority of three out of seven council members after council made sure the mayoral vote was taken on a day when two council members were absent. Mayor Susuras’ three newly-elected allies on City Council (called “chambermades” for their insider political affiliation with the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce) all voted for him, and then construed a vote of three out of five as a majority, instead of delaying the vote until all seven council members could be in attendance. Mr. Susuras further angered Grand Junction citizens in spring, 2013 after he supported City Councilman Rick Brainard staying on Council. Brainard was arrested for assaulting his girlfriend just four days after he was elected. Brainard outraged citizens when he told police he had to hit his girlfriend because she “needed to shut her mouth.” Mr. Susuras was the only member of Council to openly defend Brainard. Brainard eventually pled guilty to the assault, and was forced out of office in July, 2013 by a grassroots citizen uprising determined to remove him from office. Susuras annoyed Grand Junction citizens again after he blocked an election to replace deceased council member Harry Butler, who died of natural causes on June 2, 2013. Susuras insisted Council appoint a new council member to replace Butler instead of allowing citizens to elect their own council member. Council ended up appointing a man who had a DUI arrest on his record for driving with a blood alcohol content that was twice the normal limit.  Most recently, Susuras referred to members of the G.J. Airport Board who have drawn an FBI investigation for fraud as “visionaries,” and advocated continuing to lie to the federal government about a new building under construction at the airport in order to keep federal funds given to build it. Former airport director Rex Tippets, who was fired amid the fraud investigation, had illicitly portrayed the new building as a terminal, when it is actually a new administration building. The government would help pay to build a new terminal building, but not an administration building. The petition states, “Mr. Susuras, we are outraged, horrified and thoroughly embarrassed by your actions on Council, and we no longer want you as our representative. Please take this vote of ‘no confidence’ to heart and step down from Council immediately.”

Denver County Fair Adds New Category: Marijuana

Poster advertising the 2014 Denver County Fair

Poster advertising the 2014 Denver County Fair

In November, 2012, by a vote of 55 to 44 percent, Colorado approved Amendment 64, which legalized recreational use of marijuana. As a result, Colorado is now hosting a booming new pot industry, and this year the Denver County Fair will include a new agricultural category: marijuana. Nine newly-added contests will include judging for highest quality pot plants (done on appearance, not on THC content, and through the submission of photos only), best marijuana-infused brownies and savory foods, best handmade bongs and roach clips, and clothing and fabrics made from hemp. There will also be a joint-rolling competition, done with oregano.

Denver County’s first fair was held in 2011, and with its new-age urban chic culture and little agriculture within its borders, it departs from the typical county fair in notable ways. One of these differences is it’s mission. The Denver County Fair bills itself as 21st century place to share ideas and creativity, celebrate diversity, local culture and intellect. (Yes, intellect at a county fair.) Besides marijuana judging, events include a best tattoo contest, a sopapilla toss, a speed texting competition, a human chicken contest, a Geek Pavilion, speed knitting, the “Corpses and Crowns” Zombie Beauty Pageant, trick pigs, pie on a stick, an X-Treme pancake breakfast with a choice of over 60 different toppings like artichokes and gummy worms. There’s even a drag queen contest.

The National Cannabis Industry Association recently reported that Colorado’s new recreational cannabis industry made “well over $5 million in sales in the first five days” of its operation in January, 2014. The financial boon for the state is leaving marijuana purveyors stuffing their mattresses full of cash, since banks refuse to deal with marijuana-related businesses out of concern that processing money from marijuana sales could put them at risk of incurring federal charges of drug racketeering, since marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.

On Google Earth, Illinois Church Looks Like a Penis

The Christian Science Society of Dixon, Illinois building as seen on Google Earth.

The Christian Science Society of Dixon, Illinois building as seen on Google Earth.

When people search for the Christian Science Society’s building in Dixon, Illinois on Google Earth, they’re in for a little surprise. When viewed from the heavens, the building looks like a large brown penis. The church group explains that the building was designed to spare the large oak tree growing in front of it instead of cutting it down, and that the building is energy efficient because of all the south-facing windows.  The church’s motto is “Rising up.” The congregation has a sense of humor, though. They “photoshopped” the Google Earth picture to place a giant fig leaf over their building. Still, when directing people to a map of how to get to their congregation, they use Bing.

Parishioners Worship Aphid Excrement Falling from Tree

Fresno parishioners worship beneath an aphid-infested tree in front of their church (Photo credit: WPTV)

Fresno parishioners worship beneath an aphid-infested tree in front of their church (Photo credit: WPTV)

Parishioners of St. Johns Cathedral in Fresno, California started worshipping a crape myrtle tree in front of their church after someone who stood underneath the tree for shade felt droplets falling from it. A growing group of worshippers from the church believes that the droplets coming from the tree are “tears of God,” and are a miracle. St. Johns parishioner Maria Ybarra told WPTV News  that “When you say ‘glory be to God in Jesus name,’ the tree starts throwing out more water.” But local arborist Jon Reelhorn explains that the droplets coming from the tree are the excrement of aphids that have infested the tree and that are sucking its sap. He noted that the aphid excrement, called “honeydew,” gets so heavy in the summertime that it literally drips off the tree. He pointed out that the same thing happening at another tree across the street. That explanation didn’t throw any water on Ms. Ybarra’s enthusiasm for the phenomenon, however, and she continues to believe the bug excrement is divine. She said to WPTV, “I can tell you looking at it from a scientific standpoint and a spiritual standpoint, it is the work of God manifesting here on earth,” Ybarra said.

Source: KPTV Channel 5, Fresno, California (NBC affiliate), August 10, 2013

In The UK, Street Parties to Celebrate Thatcher’s Death

After the April 8 announcement that former United Kingdom Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had died, thousands of UK citizens poured out to spontaneous street parties to celebrate her death. A crowd of about 3,000 people gathered in the rain in Trafalgar Square to a celebrate Thatcher’s demise. Partiers chanted “Maggie, Maggie, Maggie! Dead! Dead! Dead!” Some swigged from big  plastic bottles of milk to commemorate Thatcher’s abolishing a program that provided free milk to school children. Her decision to end the milk subsidy earned her the nickname “Thatcher the Milk Snatcher.” Trafalgar Square revelers drank, blew bubbles, sang and danced in a conga line in celebration of Thatcher’s demise. People in Brixton, South London, also turned out to a street party where participants carried signs saying “Rejoice!” and popped champaign bottles. A website, IsThatcherDeadYet.co.uk, now has a huge word “YES” on it and has gotten 235,396 “likes” on FaceBook. In addition to spontaneous street parties, a campaign is underway in the UK to get as many people as possible to download the song “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead” from the movie “The Wizard of Oz” to make it the week’s the top-selling track and push it to number one on the UK music charts. The effort seems to be working. By Friday, April 12, Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead had hit number one in the UK ITunes store and rose to number three on the official UK charts. All this put BBC radio is a tough spot, since the radio station usually broadcasts a Top 40 countdown program on Sunday afternoons, in which it plays every song from number 40 on down in its entirety.

Anti-Tobacco Activist Patrick Reynolds’ Epic Fail

A concept drawing of Patrick Reynolds' cartoon "Buck Dromedarian," a "Deep Space Camel" aimed at helping prevent youth smoking while making the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company look like a good guy.

Anti-tobacco activist Patrick Reynolds’ concept drawing of “Buck Dromedarian,” the “Deep Space Camel” character, from his pitch to the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.

On November 2, 1995 prominent anti-tobacco activist Patrick Cleveland Reynolds, the grandson of Richard Joshua Reynolds, Jr. (founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company) presented this creative but shockingly misguided public relations proposal to the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (RJR) as a way to help the cigarette maker build goodwill with the public while presumably padding his own pocket. The proposal, which Patrick eponymously titled “Project PR,” suggested that RJR use a set of cartoon characters that Patrick had created to teach kids not to smoke.  The characters, “Buck Dromedarian and the Deep Space Camels” were half-human, half-camel space aliens who hailed from the planet Dromedarius in the galaxy Humpus. Patrick helpfully suggested that, if RJR desired, Buck could even interact with RJR’s Joe Camel character in ads promoting the cartoons.  Patrick suggested RJR license his characters for use on products that would appeal to children, like toys, music videos, trading cards, stuffed animals, T-shirts, video games, films, a TV series and live appearances. Patrick even proposed that RJR send him (yes, himself, Patrick) on a world tour featuring himself in live appearances at shopping malls and schools in the U.S., Europe and the Far East. Patrick further proposed that he himself be featured in the cartoon, interacting with his space camels.

On page 13 of the proposal to RJR Patrick helpfully suggested (in the third person voice):

“Tobacco executives will not be portrayed as bad guys; if RJR prefers, those characters could be omitted from the script.  Patrick Reynolds would, given his preferences, like to put some blame in the stories on the world’s politicians for failing to stop kids from buying cigarettes. In this way, blame could be deflected to where it really belongs…”

and

“…The more open the RJR team can be, the more popular Buck comics and TV series will of course be with teens — and the more RJR will be trusted and liked as the ‘good’ tobacco company…”

Patrick Reynolds

Patrick Reynolds

Patrick presented this dubious proposal in person to Guy Blynn, RJR’s Vice President & Deputy General Counsel.  Handwritten notes on the first page, presumably by Blynn, say “Seed money: $250,000,” “Target age group? and “People in health community … think a good idea?”

This is an example of how a well-meaning but unsophisticated tobacco control advocate, acting in isolation, can over-reach.

The entire text of the proposal makes for quite entertaining reading.

Source: The Works: Project PR, by Patrick Reynolds, November 2, 1995 from the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library

 

Canadian Ad Likens “Social Smoking” to Social Farting

A new TV ad campaign by the Ontario Ministry of Health is aimed at convincing cigarette smokers who say they are just “social smokers” that they are really full-fledged smokers who need to get over their denial and quit smoking. The ad shows a nice-looking young lady sitting on her bed, chatting confidentially with an unidentified female whose back is to the camera. The young lady denies she is a farter. “It’s true that I fart,” she says demurely to the companion, “but I wouldn’t call myself a ‘farter.’ I’m a ‘social farter,’” she says.  She is then shown at a party, dancing with friends and farting. She approaches a guy at the party and flirtatiously asks him if he’d like to “go outside for a fart.” He enthusiastically agrees to go. The two go to the porch and take turns farting together in the evening air. Toward the end of the ad, on-screen text says “Social smoking is as ridiculous and social farting,” and directs viewers to the website QuitTheDenial.ca, which leads to a Facebook page that says, “…social farting? It is as ridiculous as social smoking. If you smoke, you smoke. Period. If that’s not OK with you, we’ve got the tools to help you quit.” A different ad in the same vein, “Social Nibbler,” shows a guy grabbing food off other people’s plates and denying he’s a nibbler. “I’m a social nibbler,” he insists.

Source:  Social Farter (YouTube) – Canadian Ministry of Health, published March 11, 2013

 

How Cigarettes Get Into Movies

Cigarette case promoting the movie "Big Top Pee Wee" (1988), holds 16 regular or 100 mm cigarettes. Still available at Amazon.com

Cigarette case promoting the movie “Big Top Pee Wee” (1988), holds 16 regular or 100 mm cigarettes. Still available at Amazon.com

A 412-page “movie memo” from UPP Entertainment Marketing in North Hollywood, California, dated 1990, lists feature films into which American Tobacco Company cigarettes were injected, or were attempted to be injected, into the plot, or in which cigarettes were placed as “set dressing.” Examples: “Pall Mall, Carlton and Lucky Strike cigarettes will be used as set dressing in a Mini Mart in Comstock,” “We provided LUCKY STRIKE cigarettes for Kathleen. The cigarettes have been established as her brand, and she will be smoking them throughout the film. The exposure for THE AMERICAN TOBACCO CO. should be great.”

The document lists many significant family films in which cigarettes were placed or attempted to be placed, including “Big Top Pee Wee” starring Pee Wee Herman, “Ghostbusters II” starring Dan Aykroid and Bill Murray, “Christmas Vacation” with Chevy Chase, “Look Who’s Talking Too” with Kirstie Alley and John Travolta, “Ghost,” starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze, “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, “Big” starring Tom Hanks, and many more. A memo discussing the film “Clean and Sober,” a film about a man who checks himself into a detox center, says “Lucky Strike, Pall Mall and Carlton were given for use by Charlie and many other patients in the detox center.”

America’s Biggest Terrorist Threat? “Patriotic” Americans

Chart showing the growth of militant "patriot," anti-government groups in the U.S.

Chart showing the growth of militant “patriot” anti-government groups in the U.S.

Forget Muslims. In 2013, America’s biggest terrorist threat is from “Patriot” groups, those radical militias and anti-government groups whose members think the federal government is conspiring to take away their guns, destroy their liberties and pave the way for a global “one-world government.” According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the only group that tracks the growth and activities of American domestic hate groups and extremists, the re-election of President Obama coupled with the president’s pursuit of gun control legislation has led to explosive growth in the number of anti-government conspiracy groups, which in turn has dramatically increased threat of domestic terrorism. The number of right wing anti-government groups in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2012, the fourth year of explosive growth in this increasingly militant sector of the U.S population. In 2012, the SPLC counted 1,360 so-called “Patriot” groups — an increase of 813 percent since just 2008. On March 5, 2013 the SPLC sent a letter to Department of Justice Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano warning of the threat. The SPLC wrote a similar letter in 1994 to then-Attorney General Janet Reno warning of a growing threat of domestic extremism.  Just six months later, Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City federal building in the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in the nation’s history at that time. SPLC reports that over the last few years, law enforcement officials have discovered and thwarted numerous terrorist plots being formed within the militia subculture, including plans to spread poisonous ricin powder, attack federal installations and murder federal judges and other government officials. The same day it sent its letter to the DOJ and Department of Homeland Security, the SPLC issued its 2012 report on the anti-government movement. The SPLC’s website also has an interactive, state-by-state map of hate groups currently existing throughout the U.S., with their names, locations and the objects of their hatred.

Main Source: Southern Poverty Law Center, Letter to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, March 5, 2013

The NFL: A Disability Factory for Young Men

The NFL showcases brutality and player collisions in its promotions, while minimizing the human toll it takes on NFL players' health and safety

The NFL showcases brutality and player collisions in its promotions, while minimizing the human toll it takes on NFL players’ health and safety

As of January 23, 2013, the National Football League (NFL) is facing 199 lawsuits filed by a total of more than 4,000 retired professional football players who suffered head injuries while playing for the NFL. In June, 2012, the lawsuits of about three thousand of those injured players were consolidated into a single Master Complaint (pdf) which charges that the NFL was negligent and committed fraud because it was “aware of the evidence and risks associated with repetitive traumatic brain injuries…but deliberately ignored and actively concealed the information” from players and others involved in NFL football. The lawsuit says that to promote the game, the NFL glorifies the brutality and ferocity of NFL football by “lauding and mythologizing the most brutal and ferocious of players and collisions,” while simultaneously fraudulently representing that getting hit and putting big hits on others is a badge of courage, and does not seriously threaten one’s health. The suit charges that to heighten this belief and further promote football,  NFL Films, a PR instrument of the NFL, creates and markets videos that focus solely on the hardest hits that occur on the fields. 

R.J. Reynolds’ Doral Trucker Program: Get a Free Smokin’ Joe Condom

TruckerSmoking

Trucker drivers have a far higher smoking rate than the general population, making them a prized target for tobacco companies.

In 1996, R.J. Reynolds noted that the smoking incidence among professional truck drivers was a whopping 76%, and sought to capitalize on that fact. The document noted below this post, “Doral Trucker Program Rolling Rolling Rolling,” lists ideas for promoting Doral cigarettes to truckers. Ideas included tying product and service giveaways into frequent fueler programs, providing a truckers with a roadside assistance program and providing purchase incentives like “Buy 1 Carton, Get a Free Truck Wash,” “Buy 2 Packs, Get a Free Hula Girl Air Freshener,” “Buy 2 packs and Get a Free Smokin’ Joe Condom.” Other promotional ideas included arranging for a date with an actress from Hee Haw (a 1960s-1970s TV variety show set a fictional rural southern county called Kornfield Kounty and featuring country music) or giving away a “rubber trucker companion doll.”

Source: Doral Trucker Program Rolling Rolling Rolling, 1996, R.J. Reynolds document collection, Legacy Tobacco Documents Library