Embattled Grand Junction, Colorado City-Councilor-Elect Rick Brainard
On Tuesday, April 3, Rick Brainard, Vice President of Business Development at West Star Aviation in Grand Junction, Colorado was celebrating his election to City Council. On Saturday, April 6, he was arrested, put in a yellow jumpsuit and thrown in jail on charges of third degree assault after he admitted to police that he pushed, shoved, and struck his live-in girlfriend in the face. In his police affidavit, Brainard first denied the altercation, then said he had to strike his girlfriend because she “needed to shut her mouth.” That admission has inflamed citizens and last week a hundred people rallied at City Hall demanding Mr. Brainard not take office. Sitting Grand Junction City Council members have sent Mr. Brainard a letter to asking him not to assume office amid his legal flap, saying the case is embarrassing the City. The City is legally powerless to keep Brainard from taking his seat on Council, and despite the public pressure, Brainard has vowed to assume his seat on Council. If he does, citizens have vowed to start a recall effort. The City Clerk estimates a recall would cost the City about $45,000. In the meantime, the matter has gotten coverage across the U.S., including in Denver, San Francisco and Seattle, and an online petition demanding Mr. Brainard’s resignation, titled “Woman-Beating Councilmember Must Go,” has gone viral. As of 3:00 p.m. Sunday, April 21 the petition had 13,731 signatures and the number is growing at the rate of several thousand more a day. Even worse for Mr. Brainard, his mugshot now appears on MugShots.com.
A woman attends the rally at Grand Junction City Hall to protest Richard Brainard taking office. Brainard has admitted he struck his live-in girlfriend to get her to “shut her mouth.”
About 100 citizens of Grand Junction, Colorado rallied outside City Hall today to protest city councilman-elect Richard Brainard’s stated intent to assume office in early May. Linda Moran of the Latimer House organized the rally. Latimer House provides shelter for battered women. Brainard was arrested last weekend after admitting to police that he struck his live-in girlfriend. City Councilman Jim Doody spoke at the rally, saying Mr. Brainard had already highly embarrassed the city and that citizens are rightly concerned about Brainard’s behavior. Doody announced that he and fellow councilmember Bennett Boeschenstein plan to write a letter, which they will submit to the rest of Council, asking Brainard not to assume office. The crowd cheered and applauded. Doody warned, however, that Brainard, who has been duly elected, could assume office if he wanted to. Several citizens who spoke said they had voted for Brainard and were now sorry they had. One woman, with three children in tow, said the first thing she teaches her children is not to hit other people, ever. Brainard initially lied to the police after they arrived at his residence early Saturday morning, and denied a physical altercation with his girlfriend. He later admitted to grabbing, pushing and slapping her. A non-redacted version of the police report says “Rick stated that he slapped (girlfriend) because she needed to ‘shut her mouth,” saying she said something so offensive to him “that he had to slap her.” It was also announced at today’s rally that a group of state-approved domestic violence treatment providers from across the western slope have issued a statement asking Brainard not to take office. Brainard’s next court appearance is May 6, the same day he is scheduled to be sworn into office. Brainard’s lawyer has asked the court to waive the requirement that Brainard attend his court status conference May 6, as well as all future hearings, due to conflicts with his “employment.”
Mugshot of Grand Junction City Councilman-elect Rick Brainard
Richard Brainard, one of the newest members of Grand Junction, Colorado, City Council, was arrested early on the morning of April 6 on charges of third-degree assault and harassment after he allegedly got into a physical altercation with his live-in girlfriend. Brainard was just elected to City Council last Tuesday, April 2. Brainard’s girlfriend, Cindy Franzen, told police she dated Brainard for eight months and moved in with him last November. She said a physical altercation occurred in the bedroom, over text messages Brainard received on his phone from his former girlfriend. Franzen says Brainard pushed her into a dresser several times and pulled her hair, and grabbed her face and arms. She said Brainard later hit her in the face with what she believes was an open hand. It is unclear what the alleged incident means for his membership on Grand Junction City Council. He is Vice President of business development for West Star Aviation, Inc., in Grand Junction, and belongs to the G.J. Chamber of Commerce Board. He was also endorsed by the Grand Junction newspaper, the Daily Sentinel.
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
This 1987 Brown & Williamson marketing memo recommends a theme for an advertising campaign to sell a new brand of cigarettes to young adult, blue-collar males who are stuck in boring, repetitive union jobs. A disdainful concept of the blue collar worker pervades the piece, and forms a theme that is repeated throughout.
The proposal reads:
“Roger Rhu…is depicted as the outdoorsman. The fresh-water fisherman of mid-America and the prototypical blue-collar, larder-enhancing sport hunter. Primary images show him on location in the early morning, backgrounded by chums. Accompanied by hounds, sometimes in, on or near his old ‘pick up,’ in the mist or midst of primeval America, readying for, or resting after, pursuit of his quarry.”
When not in the field, “Roger Rhu” would tie flies, clean his weapons, pan-fry steelheads (fish) and “show the taxidermists a thing or two.”
A photo of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legion of Christ, circa 2004. He was revealed to have molested underage seminarians and fathered three children with two women. He died in 2008, and was never prosecuted.
A lawsuit in Rhode Island brought by the niece of a wealthy, deceased widow has cracked open thousands of previously secret documents of the Legion of Christ, a disgraced Roman Catholic order of priests and young men studying to enter the priesthood. The lawsuit charges that the Legion of Christ unduly influenced a wealthy banker’s widow named Gabriel Mee, who died in 2008 at the age of 96, to alter her trust and will to bequeath $30 million to the Legion, while the Legion withheld from Ms. Mee information that the order’s founder, the Reverend Marcial Maciel Degollado, had sexually abused underage seminarians and secretly fathered three children by two women. The documents in the case were under seal until The Associated Press, the New York Times, the National Catholic Reporter and the Providence Journal petitioned the court to have them unsealed, saying they were in the public interest. A Rhode Island Superior Court judge agreed, and ordered the documents released to the public. Pope John Paul II praised and supported Rev. Maciel through the years, calling Maciel an “efficacious guide to youth,” even after 1998, when Maciel was formally accused of sexually abusing Legion seminarians. Pope Benedict, who is retiring from the papacy this month, continued the coverup until he finally pushed Maciel to retire “to a private life of penance and prayer” in May of 2006. Pope Benedict failed to involve legal authorities in the Maciel case, nor did Benedict acknowledge Maciel’s sexual transgressions or his victims. The Legion of Christ only officially acknowledged Father Maciel’s sexual transgressions on March, 25, 2010, when the order issued a formal communique’ titled, “Regarding the current circumstances of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement.” The Legion of Christ has branches all over the world and is still operating.
The book secularists plan to give away at Orange County, Florida high schools when they get their date to distribute literature from the school district
An Orange County, Florida school district allowed the Christian group World Changers of Central Florida to distribute Bibles to high school students at eleven area high schools on January 16, 2012, by placing the books on tables near the school’s lunchroom. Orange County secularists who were offended by the overt advertisement for Christianity on public school grounds has asked the school district to change its policy to disallow distribution of religious materials on school grounds. If the school district refuses to change the policy, members of American Atheists and Central Florida Freethought Community say they will ask the school district for a date on which they can distribute information to students about atheism and humanism in the same manner. World Changers’ mission is to promote prayer in public schools and push to have creationism taught in public schools.
Breast Cancer Awareness month comes around every October, a now-familiar time when pink ribbons adorn department stores, grocery stores, gas stations, shopping malls and many other places. But this particular big “awareness” push may have reached its peak and maxed out its usefulness. By now most everyone is aware of breasts and breast cancer, but ignorance still abounds in other cancer areas. For example, people are still woefully unaware that lung cancer kills twice as many women each year than breast cancer. More women every year in the U.S. die from lung cancer than from breast, uterine, and ovarian cancers combined. In 2009 alone, 31,000 more women died of lung cancer than breast cancer. So why aren’t there aren’t any ribbons, rubber bracelets, theme-colored products, corporate promotions, colored car magnets, festivals or fundraisers to make people aware of lung cancer’s devastating toll, or to support lung cancer victims or raise money for a cure?
Because lungs just aren’t as effective as selling crap for marketers, that’s why.
A U.S. District Court court ruled in November that Hobby Lobby, a private, for-profit, national arts-and-crafts supply store chain owned by a Christian family, cannot be exempted from a government requirement that its employees’ health insurance plan cover 100% of the cost for emergency contraceptives. Hobby Lobby’s owners, who are conservative Christians, challenged a provision of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) that requires businesses provide employees with no-cost birth control through their health insurance plans. U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton of the Western District Court in Oklahoma ruled November 19 that privately-owned companies are secular, for-profit enterprises, and as such are not entitled to the the same religious rights as the individual members of the family that owns them. The Green family, owners of Hobby Lobby, have vowed to defy the Court’s ruling, and to continue to block their employees’ access to free contraception through their health insurance plans.
In his religious zeal, David Green, the owner of Hobby Lobby, is missing the point. The law entitles him and his family to their own beliefs, but Hobby Lobby’s claim that the Affordable Care Act’s contraception requirements infringe on his own personal religious liberty makes no sense.
Mormon women are taught to dress modestly: shoulders must be covered, dresses/skirts must reach the knees, and only one set of earrings at a time is permitted (“positioned in the usual place on the ears”)
A group of devout Mormon women are encouraging other Mormon women to engage in a radical act on Sunday, December 16, 2012: wearing pants to church. A movement of faithful female Mormons have organized a feminist group within the church called “All Enlisted” which has decleared December 16 “Wear Pants to Church Day” as a way to openly challenge a host of gender inequalities within the Mormon church. Event organizer Stephanie Lauritzen describes some of the inequities women face within the Latter Day Saints (LDS) church: men’s voices are more prominent than women’s in meetings, leadership positions and decision-making bodies; many prominent positions besides the priesthood — like school presidencies and mission leaders — are given only to men; women can occasionally do the same work as men, but are given different, more demeaning titles (like “Sister” vs. “President”), and only men are allowed to handle church finances. Lauritzen points out that women’s primary value within the church is linked to being a wife and mother instead of being a “child of God.” A fuller list of Mormon gender inequalities can be seen here.
September, 2007 full page MoveOn.org ad run in the New York Times
On September 10, 2007 MoveOn.org ran a full page ad in the New York Times charging General David Petraeus with “cooking the books for the White House.” The ad was in response to a report Petraeus issued to Congress about the situation in Iraq in which he concluded that the government’s surge strategy had worked and violence in Iraq was decreasing. MoveOn.org disputed Petraeus’ account of the situation in Iraq. Some members of Congress immediately jumped to Genral Petraeus’ defense. Republican John Cornyn of Texas introduced an amendment to “strongly condemn personal attacks on the honor and integrity of General Petraeus.” All 49 Republican senators and 22 Democratic senators voted for the amendment. Barack Obama, then a senator, refused to vote, calling the amendment “a stunt” and saying he abstained in order to register his “protest against these empty politics.” Multiple reports currently reveal that to reduce detection while communicating with each other, Petraeus and his mistress used a trick long used by terrorists to avoid detection when communicating through email: they established a shared GMail account, then composed messages to each other and stored them in the “Drafts” folder, where each could read them without having to transmit them. In having his affair, General Petraeus violated the trust of his wife of 38 years, Holly, who gained respect for battling against the financial sector’s abuses against military families, like illegal foreclosures and abusive lending practices.
Mitt Romney was a deeply flawed, inadequate and unpopular candidate from the beginning, who went on to offend almost every demographic group in the country.
In a Nov. 7 article titled “Five ways the mainstream media tipped the scales in favor of Obama,” Rich Noyes of Fox News thrashes the major media as the sole cause Obama’s victory. Noyes faults the networks for reporting on the gaffes Romney made during his trip to Europe. He points to Mother Jones’ reporting of the sensational “47%” video in which Romney denigrated millions of Americans who don’t pay income taxes, saying the “networks hyped it as a sensational sex scandal.” Noyes whines that the major news networks failed to report on Obama’s “You didn’t build that” comment, when in reality the networks engaged in appropriate journalism by refusing to take that remark out of context like the Republicans insisted on doing. Noyes complains that Romney was “pounded with partisan fact-checking,” when the media was forced many times to correct errors and mis-statements Romney frequently made, including his bizarre repetition of an easily-verfiable geographical error he repeated no fewer than five times during the campaign that “Syria is Iran’s route to the sea.” Noyes also faults the debate moderators, the lack of clarity over what happened in Benghazi and reporting on the state of the economy for Romney’s defeat. He faults everyone but the GOP itself.
Former Arizona state senator Kyrsten Sinema made history November 6 when she became the first openly atheist female ever to be elected to Congress. Sinema, 36, replaces Rep. Pete Stark of California as the only other openly atheist person ever to have served in Congress. Stark, who will turn 80 this year, represented a district near San Jose, California. While holding office in 2007, he went public in about his lack of belief in God. In spite of this admission, he won re-election twice, making huge in-roads for non-believers’ representation in Congress. Stark’s coming out about his lack of belief in God helped paved the way for Sinema’s election. Sinema will represent Arizona’s 9th Congressional district, which includes parts of Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Chandler, Tempe and Paradise Valley. Sinema, a former Mormon, is also openly bisexual. While Stark was elected to office prior to admitting he was an atheist, Sinema is the first candidate ever in U.S. history to run openly as a non-theist and get elected.
Americans may be on the brink of electing Mitt Romney as their first Mormon president, but so far, Romney has refused to talk about his faith, preferring to leave people in the dark about it. Judging by the popularity of our recent blog about Romney’s Mormon underwear, though, Americans seem to be eager for more information about Mormon beliefs and practices. So what DO Mormons believe? Mr. Romney may not tell you, but we will. To get you started, here are a few Mormon beliefs Mr. Romney might prefer you didn’t know:
4) Mormons baptize dead people. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormon Church) explains this by saying “The validity of a baptism for the dead depends on the deceased person accepting it and choosing to follow the Savior while residing in the spirit world.” Some famous dead people Mormons have baptized include Anne Frank, Hitler, Lady Diana, Mohandas Ghandi, Pope John Paul II and Barack Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham.
5) Mormons believe that before Armageddon (which, remember, must occur before the second coming of Christ) two countries called “Gog” and “Magog” will battle each other ferciously over the country of Israel. One will be for Israel and the other against it. Mormons believe that God will descend to break up the fight and that afterwards “beasts and fowls” will “eat the flesh and drink the blood of the fallen ones.” Christ will come again after the battle.
6) Black people were banned from the Mormon priesthood until the LDS church reversed that doctrine (pdf) in 1978.
Mitt Romney’s former company, Bain Capital, may refuse to make public the clients it has served, but now previously-secret tobacco industry documents reveal Bain & Company worked closely with cigarette makers British American Tobacco, Philip Morris and Gallaher, to help them expand their markets and become more profitable at the expense of global public health. Bain helped British American Tobacco (BAT) crack open the cigarette market in Russia and transform it into a lucrative business at a time when American tobacco companies were under pressure at home and smoking rates in the U.S. were decreasing. By 1993, during the time when Bain worked with cigarette makers, the dangers of smoking were well established. The 1964 Surgeon General’s report had announced that cigarettes caused cancer. In 1988 the U.S. government warned that nicotine was addictive in a similar manner as heroin and cocaine. In 1989 the Surgeon General announced that most people begin smoking as children and one in every six Americans was dying from smoking. In 1993 the EPA rated secondhand tobacco smoke a Group A Human Carcinogen — the same rating the agency gives to asbestos, radon gas and vinyl chloride. Romney took over Bain in 1990 and stayed until 1995, when this crucial public health information about smoking was public. When Romney took over Bain, the company was in financial distress and seeking new clients. One of the first new clients Bain signed during that time was Philip Morris (PM). Little more than a month after Romney took over, Bain signed a six month contract with Philip Morris estimated to be worth $1 million.
In a Sunday, August 19 interview on the “Jaco Report” on St. Louis’ Fox Channel, House Rep. Todd Akin, the tea party Republican running against incumbent Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, was asked whether he would support a woman’s right to have an abortion in the case of rape. Referring to pregnancy resulting from rape, Akin responded, “From what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape,” he continued, “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.” Akin’s outrageous statement revealed not only his extreme lack of knowledge about basic human biology, but also an incredibly callous attitude towards women. His comments immediately drew outrage from a national audience. Akin tried to take back his comments shortly after the interview by issuing a statement that said, in part, “In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year.” Akin’s biosketch on his campaign website says he has an engineering degree and a Master of Divinity Degree from a theological seminary, and his children are home-schooled. His campaign website credits solely God for helping him win his primary election. Akin did not explain in the interview what he believes constitutes a “legitimate rape.” Rep. Akin teamed up with House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) last year to try to redefine the term “rape” in a federal bill. The bill sought to change the term “rape” to “forcible rape” in a bill regarding Medicaid funding, to try to further restrict women’s access to abortions in the event they are raped.
This article was updated at 6:56 p.m. MDT, August 20, 2012
Attendees listen to a talk about the Patriot Act at the first annual Colorado Secular Conference held at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
Colorado’s first annual Secular Conference kicked off today in one of the most conservative and deeply religious areas of the state: Grand Junction. Mesa County, where the conference was held, is the second most conservative county in the state, after El Paso County (Colorado Springs), home of Focus on the Family and the Air Force Academy, with its iconic Cadet Chapel. About 120 people from around Colorado and many other states spent the day in the second floor ballroom of Colorado Mesa University’s Student Center discussing the future of the secular movement in Colorado and the U.S. The conference opened with a discussion involving the entire group about the goals secular citizens hope to accomplish by organizing and becoming a political force in Colorado. Attendees shared stories about the discrimination and stigma they have suffered as a result of their lack of religiosity. Several speakers pointed out that non-religious citizens now comprise fully 19 percent of the U.S. population, yet have little to no representation in government or policy matters. Kelly Damerow, Research and Advocacy Manager for the Secular Coalition for America, who traveled to the conference from Washington, D.C., discussed the threats that ongoing religious extremism pose, like attempts to restrict the types of health care that can legally be delivered, loopholes exempting religious people from having to comply with laws and regulations that govern the rest of society, and efforts to enact “personhood” amendments that elevate the rights of fetuses over the rights of the women carrying them. A new statewide secular lobbying group, the Colorado Secular Coalition, was officially created at the meeting, bringing a resounding round of applause from attendees. A speaker from the American Civil Liberties Union enlightened the crowd about how the 12 year-old Patriot Act has eroded citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. Afternoon speakers gave attendees tips for creating new secular groups in their schools and hometowns. The conference will conclude tomorrow, on Sunday, after more talks, a tour of the Colorado National Monument and western Colorado’s wine country. The conference was organized by Humanists Doing Good, a secular group in Fruita, Colorado, a town of about 13,000 people located ten miles west of Grand Junction. The conference was free to all attendees, and will be an annual event.
RushOutOfMissoula.com, the grassroots effort to push Rush Limbaugh off the air in Missoula, Montana, reports making “fabulous headway” this week in their effort. Six more advertisers have opted to pull their advertising from Limbaugh’s show on KGVO radio in just the last week, bringing the total of businesses shunning his show in Missoula to 41. “They made a good decision, but only because we made our voices heard,” said Dave Chrismon, who organized RushOutOfMissoula.com. Some of the remaining local advertisers include Adair Jewelers, Bagels on Broadway, The BBQ Pit and Big Sky Glass, Montana Republican Party/Denny Rehberg for Senate and Montana Pro Life Coalition. National advertisers include Allegiant Airlines, Blackjack Pizza, and MaxMuscle.