Date: 11/06/16 Start Time: 10:08 A.M. Adjournment: 11:28 A.M. Announcements: * Eric speaking on History of Freethought in WI on December 4th meeting * Winter Solstice Party hosted by Board member Kevin Bruce at his home in Wind Lake - Date TBD but most likely on Sunday, December 18th * January: Board of Directors election will take place - One position remains open, Kevin's is up for election, and a new Secretary will be appointed * Partnered with FFRF to put up a sign from Thanksgiving - New Years at the County Courthouse, discussed where to place our second metal sign that could not be used at CC Old Business: * Monthly SWiFT Meetings at Chase Bank every 1st Sunday of the Month unless otherwise noted * All Meetings listed on Meetup.com * 3rd Thursday of the month SWiFT Social will be held at Bennys on 27th Street this month * Weekly Wednesday Brunch at Maxfield's * Friday morning Fitness Walk & Talk at Greenfield Park while weather permits New Business: * Looked at the mail received in P.O. Box, including some crank mail and a book called "Divine Hate" which will remain in the SWiFT Library * December 4th meeting will be less formal, with food & drink provided. Mythicists and other area Humanist and Atheist groups to be invited * Kevin Bruce interested in planning a Podcast series - content and creators TBD (contact for more information) * Discussed what SWiFT can do small-scale as far as community outreach to build clout within Milwaukee and WI, which can facilitate planning toward a SWiFT Conference * Discussed potential beneficiaries of SWiFT community outreach, including The Guest House, Ronald McDonald House, and others * Discussed bringing in revenue by purchasing a billboard around the holidays Motions: * November 13th, 9 A.M.: Meeting at Chase Bank to discuss ways to help local charities during the holiday season i.e., beneficiaries, promoting SWiFT, or drive * Need assistance with web design to spruce up the SWiFT Website * Deciding to join FFRF as a local chapter Misc: * Freethought conference hosted by UW-Madison (free) - Date TBD, though likely between February - April * FFRF Con in October 2017 * American Atheists Con during Oct 24th Solar Eclipse in S. Carolina * AHA Con in May 2017 * Discussed October Mythicist Milwaukee Conference
SWiFT Monthly Meeting
Location: Chase Bank Cudahy
Time Start: 11:15am
Time End: 12:15pm
There will be a bowling party on Aug. 14. It will take place at JB’s on 41. The cost is $20 per person, and the price includes shoe rental, pizza, soda, and 2 hours of bowling. Check out meetup.com for more info.
Summer Solstice party was a great success.
The Friday Walk and Talk takes place at Greenfield Park on Friday mornings. Members of all fitness levels are encouraged to participate.
Third Thursday Socials take place at 6pm at the St. Francis Brewery. There is a large group of SWiFT members that attend and all are welcome to join in on the conversation.
After the meeting, there will be a SWISS meeting at Vada’s house. It’s a freethinkers meeting. The meetings will take place on the 2nd Sunday every month. There will be a play area for kids. Currently, they are planning a trip to the Zoo. Shelley Segal will be at the Halloween party. Check out meetup for more info.
This month’s guest speaker was Steve Web from Planned Parenthood. Steve gave an introduction to himself by sharing what it was like to be a liberal and a feminist in Alabama. He described the different aspects of Planned Parenthood, from the Planned Parenthood Federation, to the C4 (political advocacy) and C3 (medical) initiatives. In Wisconsin, the funding has been cut for PP so they have to rely on services and donations. PP provides important medical services.
The 20 week Ban. Most women get their first ultrasound at 20 weeks. There are many cases where an abortion needs to happen after 20 weeks, such as a stillborn or birth defects. These are decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor, not a politician. There is no scientific evidence that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks, but their argument has gotten momentum. To combat this, we need to train and educate people on the actual facts and how these laws are hurtful and regressive to women’s rights. Become a volunteer, become an advocate, vote, protest, donate.
SWiFT Monthly Meeting
Location: Chase Bank, Cudahy
Start Time: 11:15am
End Time: 12:38pm
Rob has stepped down as Co-president of SWiFT and will be taking a larger role with Mythicist Milwaukee. We appreciated all that he has contributed to the group. With the possibilities of new leadership, the focus of the group is malleable and will continue to grow.
Vada has started a new group called SWISS (Southeast Wisconsin Shethinkers).
Kurt talked about the recent surgery he went through for his back, and instead of praying for it to get better, he sought a doctor’s help who could give him a logical explanation for his pain and solutions to relieve that pain.
The new 4th member of the board will be John Phillips. John comes from a finance background and will be a great asset to our group. Since the co-president position is open, the board will be appointing a new one.
The Summer solstice party will happen this month, Saturday the 20th. More info is on the meet up page. Idle Isle Park in Muskego WI. Meet up at the pirate ship pontoon boat at the lake.
We have a lot of ways to get connected to swift. Website, email, facebook, twitter, meetup, podcasts, phone (414) 465-2804
Guest speaker Sam Grover, who is an Attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), gave a speech entitled, “The importance of the atheist voice: being an open atheist and activist.” Sam gave an introduction to FFRF. FFRF is an advocate for separation of state and church, and they work to educate the public on freethought. Free copies of “Freethought Today” were available at the meeting. On the front page of this month’s newsletter, there was an article about how the Oklahoma attorney general was mad that FFRF sent a letter to schools letting them know they cannot hand out bibles in school. There are schools throughout the south that continue to teach creationism even though the supreme court has ruled against creationists twice. This is especially a problem in Louisianna. This continues, in part, from freethinkers not being vocal enough. In Warren, MI, there was a prayer station in the city hall. There was an application sent in to have a reason station, which was denied. Douglas Marshall came to FFRF and so they sued and won in February and now there is a reason station in that city hall. It is important to be vocal in causes that matter to you.
Sam gave some national examples of instances where schools were over-stepping their boundaries when it comes to promoting religion. Jessica Alquist, high school student from RI, protested a prayer banner in her school in 2012, which the school district refused to remove, so FFRF sued and ultimately won. For her, suing was the beginning. She received death threats and was scorched in the media and had to have police escort to school. But she changed the conversation in her community and let others know in the community that freethought is alive.
FFRF needs members. 3500 complaints received and there are only 5 staff attorneys. There are more people questioning the government’s promotion of religion more than ever before and so FFRF is very busy.
Pew Research asked why people changed their opinions on gay marriage, and most frequently they stated that they knew someone who was gay. If freethinkers come out and demonstrate that it’s ok to be atheist or agnostic and that you value reason over dogma, the idea may become more normalized. There is a shift toward secularism. Among the young (ages 18-29), one in three have no religious affiliation, although atheists and agnostics are much lower (about 8%). There isn’t much of a reason for this gap, other than the term “atheist” has stigma.
In Manotowoc, there was a poster that stated “A night to protect her character” for prom in the public school from a church to promote abstinence. There was a complaint and a counter to put up a poster that a women is worth more than her chastity, which was denied. There was a petition and the local news media took it up and the conversation was changed in her school due to her activism. Sam Grover gave more local examples of public schools promoting religion to emphasize how prevalent these cases are and how important it is to be active. Contact FFRF email@example.com let them know about any complaints about schools (or government) who participate in religious promotion. It’s important that everyone is vocal and represent freethought to let others know that we are here.
It takes an incredible amount of courage to stand up for freethought, but those that can stand up in front of strangers and fight for what they believe in, those are the people who can facilitate change. Use facts and legislation to help defend positions and make it personal, say how it has affected you. FFRF can give a voice to those who are too afraid to speak for themselves.
Eric Hildeman gave a presentation on this podcast, the Sacred Cow Wursthouse. He gave a mini-show on what he talks about on his podcast, with jokes, current events, and secular issues. There was a documentary made about James Randi that might become a future SWiFT screening event. Sacredhousewursthouse.podomatic.com
SWiFT Weekly Meeting
Time Start: 5:08pm
End Time: 7:16pm
For the 501 (c)(3) conversion for SWiFT. Ted had taken what Karl had written for the bylaws and changed some of the wording. Ted reviewed a few of the changes.
Suzanne stated that there will be one day of truce among the local groups. Today’s meeting must be done in a respectful order.
Rob stated that this is the first of the SWiFT weekly meetings. These meetings are taking place to help grow SWiFT and to allow members to become more engaged and set goals. This will allow active members to brainstorm new ideas to help expand SWiFT. It will take place every Sunday from 5-7pm. This time is set aside to only discuss SWiFT-related topics.
The Solstice party needs help. It is a potluck. Ted will coordinate events and food (so that no one brings a duplicate dish) and make sure that Nancy gets the correct permits for having the party. We need someone to bring plates, cups, drinks. Suzanne will work with Adam to schedule activities. Signs and music would be helpful.
Skepticon is coming up. There is a meet-up group for this event. It’s in Chicago. SWiFT members can coordinate rides.
James Kirk Wall will be at the next monthly meeting.
We had agreed on meeting at Bucketworks. There should be a proposal submitted to the board for approval since there is money involved. A breakdown of costs along with a copy of the Bucketworks agreement should submitted. We could have an informal meeting to discuss this proposal within one month. The only way it would be rejected is if the cost is prohibitive.
We discussed to what level SWiFT would be able to dedicate to working with the other local groups. FAM was created to form an alliance of the local groups, but FAM has seemingly fell apart due to conflicts. There has been some objection with associating with Mythicist Milwaukee. It was stated by Karl that Kurt feels as though that MM is not an atheist organization, although the MM organizers do not agree with that opinion. We need to determine what our focused goals are and see if they are aligned with MM. Karl stated we have no objections to working with MM, but we don’t want to be in their shadow nor ride on the coattails of their success. We need to create our own brand that is more community focused rather than educational. It’s a place to get together and discuss ideas. We want recognition as SWiFT as a separate entity separate from MM. We need to be clear of our assets and impose a more structured business-like environment. Sean said that there were accusations that MM has stolen SWiFT members or taking money, which he stated was unfounded. Vada had said that she had stated this, but said she has retracted that statement. Sean stated he doesn’t have a problem working with swift, but the issue is with working with Vada.
Vada addressed the group. She will be speaking at Skepticon on the issue of women, secularism, and sexism and there was a concern among group members that she might say something that may portray the group in a bad light or misrepresent the group. Vada says feels as though there were times that she has faced discrimination, that she was not allowed to talk, and that her ideas were dismissed because of her gender.
Some members have complained that Vada is targeting SWiFT and MM for accusations of misogyny. Vada stated that her speech for Skepticon did not mention SWiFT or MM by name. The board needs to decide whether what Vada says represents swift viewpoints. The fear is that Vada will state something that is counter to swift’s beliefs. There was a question on whether SWiFT would need to issue a formal statement to Skepticon that Vada is not associated with SWiFT and her opinions may not align with SWiFT members. Vada will have to submit her speech to swift for review so that we know if we need to write a disclosure. Karl stated that he believes there was some sabotage with this topic.
Sean said that he doesn’t want to work with disruptive people and he feels that Vada is the root cause. He does not want to associate himself with Vada, and if Vada is even a member of SWiFT, MM wants nothing to do with the SWiFT organization. Karl said that we cannot just kick out Vada out of the SWiFT membership without clear evidence that she violated SWiFT’s principles. There are allegations against Vada that have not been formally addressed. Vada could be found in violation of SWiFT’s principles but we need evidence. She may be in violation from harassment. Vada has a meet up on the Atheist Community of Milwaukee page and there was a discussion of whether or not it is an entity of SWiFT. Sean has decided that MM will not be affiliated with SWiFT is Vada is involved. There was a discussion if there should be recourse that a harassment policy should be generated to resolve issues like this before they become detrimental to the group.
Ted reassured the group that this would be addressed and that these serious issues will be taken care of. We do not currently have a disruptive member policy and how to remove members who are being disruptive. It is up to us to create a policy on how to remove members and having a system in place when these problems arise.
There was a discussion on the necessity and role of the board. The membership of the board is by election, unless a vacated seat is open, in which case the board can assign a board member for the shortest term. The board is meant to oversee the finances and overarching goals. The officers are meant to put things into action.
Ted stated that the bowling party has been postponed until August. We are open to venues. JB’s on 41 is good and Falcon Bowl. For the summer solstice party, we don’t have a specific budget, so we will keep costs to a minimum and give receipts to Jim.
The fate of FAM was discussed. The meet up page was set up to attract atheists in the area.
Brian gave a presentation. He stated that these groups (the groups encompasses currently by FAM) are created to serve a purpose, to attract like-minded people. The groups are a way for the community to be involved and no group is better than another since their objectives are different. Each group has different things to offer. Each group should stick to what they are good at. But each group is equally important. There should be a discussion on how we want to structure the local groups- formal alliance, informal affiliates, separate entities. Most people agreed that formal alliances would be the best way to proceed; to build close relationships while building each group individual. There was a discussion on what the goal of FAM is. Karl and Sean felt that each group should focus on their own group and not worry about marketing an umbrella group that might be confusing. We need to find a way to remove this confusion on what FAM’s job is. It would be beneficial to discuss how we are affiliated with other groups and if FAM would continue to be a part of it. We need to be able to communicate quickly and efficiently with each other.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
Podcasts cost $30 per month to use Bucketworks. Swift meets the first Sunday with monthly meetings, but if you would like to be more active, come every Sunday at 1pm (podcasts start at 2pm) to discuss new ideas and help organize events. All are welcome to join in on these weekly public meetings and actively engage in the movement.
Yesterday was the FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation) tour. There were some musical performances, high tea, and the unveiling of their new “Mr. Darwin” life-size wax figure of Charles Darwin. About a dozen SWiFT members went to this event.
We need a local representative who can work with FFRF who is on-call to document and gather evidence (such as taking photos and recording testimony) of any violations of church and state on behalf of FFRF. They are interested in only in governmental violations that can be taken on at the national level. If you are interested in this position, please contact Rob or Ted.
We are not on the secular directory listing. There are a lot of secular groups in the Chicago area (about 30), which would be good resources to reach out to.
We need a membership chairman and other officers to help grow SWiFT. If you have a particular interest or expertise, or if you would like to help with an existing unfilled position, please talk to a officer on how you can help out.
You can make donations directly on the SWiFT website (swiftnow.org) to help offset costs. We need to raise $30 per month to pay for Bucketworks, as well as other activities. Members are encouraged to check with the treasurer (Jim Reilly) sure dues are up to date. Dues are $20 per year.
Currently, we are an incorporated Wisconsin non-profit group and we are still working on becoming a 501(c)(3). Cost for registering as a non-profit is $700, but it may be waived, although there is no guarantee that we will get it. We should fund-raise this amount just in case we do not get it waived. We should know in a few months whether or not we have been granted the 501(c)(3) status. We still need to get together financials to submit.
We need to set up both a charity and fund-raising sector in our group. We may need to set up a trust fund for donations. On May 21-22, the local radio station (Dave and Carol) will be running a fund-raiser for Children’s Hospital. We would like to collect donations for this. The idea was tabled for now. It was agreed that we should also focus on education and perhaps hold off on spending our limited resources. We can use some data analysis to decide what might work best and come up with some new ideas. We should focus on things that may increase our public perception and help educate the local community. We have donated to the Hunger Task Force in the past.
The Mythinformation Conference was held last month. There were brochures, t-shirts, and other merchandise at the table. We are looking for more local resources for printing our merchandise. There are other local conferences that we should be tabling at, such as Fighting Bob Fest in Baraboo and the FFRF conference. We should work on improving our booths appearance and merchandise. There are costs associated with tabling, so we need to develop a strategy to make sure we aren’t losing money or failing to attract new people to the organization.
There are many upcoming meet-ups through our group, the Atheist Community of Milwaukee/ Freethinkers Alliance Milwaukee on meetup.com. The newest meet-up is the Fitness Walk and Talk, which takes place every Friday. There is no cost, it’s a lot of fun, and a great opportunity meet up with like-minded people. There’s also Skeptics in the Pub, Blasphemous Bowling (which will start back up soon), Highway Clean-up, and other events. There will be a one-night bowling party at JB’s (cost will be between $10-20). The Solstice Party will take place Sat. June 20. It will be a potluck again this year at Idle Isle Park in Muskego. There is a cost for parking. We need someone to help organize drinks, grilling, plates, cups, etc. There will be pontoon boats, games, food, and great conversation. The Hortons will be hosting a party in July. Check the meet-up page for more information about upcoming events.
James Kirk Wall will be coming to our next monthly meeting to talk to the group (Sunday June 7). He also spoke at the Mythinformation Conference. There will be a video of the conference available on Youtube shortly. There was a great response to the conference. Over 100 people came and it was a great success. There are plans to have another Mythinformation Conference next year.
There are rumors of another Reason Rally in D.C. hosted by American Atheists.
Renew membership for $20. Get a free e-mail account with membership along with voting opportunities.
The meet-up page was taken over by SWiFT about 7-8 years ago with the name of the Atheists Community of Milwaukee. We have allowed the local atheists groups to utilize our meet-up page. Someone on Facebook created an Atheist Community of Milwaukee page. He doesn’t want to give up the name and we have no reason to try to take it away. We may want to create an alliance and change the name of our Atheists Community of Milwaukee meet-up to Atheists Community of Milwaukee/ Freethought Alliance of Milwaukee to help reduce confusion. Some problems is that we have our highway clean up sign as Atheist Community of Milwaukee and some people like having the term atheist in the title as it gets more attention and is direct to the point. When other local groups become more established, we can charge for the use of the meet-up page in order to offset our costs (about $140 year).
The Mythinformation Conference is $30 and will take place at the Riverside Holiday Inn (Hampton and 43) on April 25 at 10:30 am. Guest speakers include Hemant Mehta, James Kirk Wall, (he will be at the SWiFT meeting in June), and Richard Carrier. We need to support this conference. This is an important conference as it is the first secular conference in Milwaukee. The VIP after party includes food and drinks for an additional $30. There will be a lot of presentations such as colloquial myths, historicity of Jesus, skepticism and objectivity, and defending reason and logic against people who believe in superstition. There is an interview online with Richard Carrier hosted by the Mythicists. Sunday at Bucketworks at 5pm (in the Grand Avenue Mall) is where the podcasts and preparation for the conference and is open to everyone.
`We have an opportunity to move our meetings to Bucketworks since we are already paying for the space for the podcasts. The space is available 24/7 and there is more equipment, free street parking on Sundays, couches, and a more comfortable atmosphere. There was a motion to move the first Sunday Meetings to Bucketworks starting in June. The majority vote agreed to move it.
FFRF recently completed a renovation. We asked if we could tour the new facility and listen to Dan Barker play. FFRF tour has been scheduled for May 3, 2015. We would meet at Brookfield Square Mall (bus stop, by the food courts) at 9am and carpool there. We would meet at the Hall at 10am for some snacks and the tour. The tour ends at 1pm. We could move the meeting to Freethought Hall. Details will be on the meet-up page.
We made a challenge to the local bishop to a debate. The local news didn’t take up the news story. There was an idea to let the local Kenosha paper write an article next time. We shouldn’t let challenges brought to our attention to go unnoticed. We could find a local priest to who would be willing to debate a freethinker. We could start a petition on bringing out state officials to clearly state their beliefs rather than waffling and pandering to constituents. It will be put on to MoveOn.org. We need more involvement in our community.
We need ideas for fund raising. Consider donating money to SWiFT to help offset costs, which can be done online. Once we are a non-profit, every donation will be tax deductible. We will be doing a booth at the Mythinformation conference ($125). We have the flying spaghetti monster wooden yard signs, all hand made by a local artisan (BZ Woodworks) ($15 Small, $20 Medium, $30 Large). It can be put in the lawn or hung on a wall. We could do some sweatshirts, t-shirts, and buttons with our logo.
We may want to change our logo. It has been the same for a long time. We are running a contest to come up with a new logo and the winner getting a free one year membership. Hand-drawn logos can be refined by one of our members.
Highway clean-ups will start soon. Look on the meetup page for details, possibly late May.
Summer Solstice Party June 20 in Muskego Idle Isle Park. There will be a lot of family-friendly activities such as grilling out, pontoon boat rides, drinks, swimming, and some sports.
July 18 there will be a BBQ at Jason and Janet’s place. Information to follow on the meetup.
There was an ordinance to not allow discrimination against atheists in Madison
May 17 is the baby shower for Kevin and his wife. Swift members are invited. Ask Kevin for details.
SWiFT Monthly Meeting
Start Time: 11:07am
End Time: 1:17pm
Freethought Festival in Madison is taking place on March 13-15. The trip to Freethought Hall can take place on Sunday, March 15 or March 22 with lunch/ brunch and a discussion with Dan Barker. March 22nd was the date the group decided on. We needed to decide whether to drive ourselves or take a bus. The cost of the bus would be between $600- $700. A sign up sheet will be put together to see how many people are interested. Car pooling may be the most practical way due to the time constraint. Information will be put on the meet up and the website.
Video: Tim Minchin’s “Storm”
Mr. Chris Larsen, a Wisconsin State Senator, talked to the group. He discussed the upcoming $68 billion budget proposal. This week, there will be a full breakdown by the budget committee. Gov. Walker has also added legislation into this budget. Mr. Larsen has made a list of 10 of the worst things in this budget. There are some concerning shifts of power from the public to the state, such as UW funding, budget freezes and cuts, vouchers receiving more funding, and a lot of funding going towards people who funded Gov. Walker’s campaign. Gov. Walker is not planning on long-term, only pageantry and and campaigning for the next position (ie President). He tends to make only short term plans with no follow-up to those plans, which might not be good long-term. The underfunding of education is very concerning and may drive people away and cause problems down the road. We need to have more long-term planning. He discussed a pilot program called “Higher Ed, lower debt” which would allow students to refinance/ transfer debt to state and allow them to write off the debt on their taxes. It would encourage people to stay after graduation. College debt is crippling the economy. We are actually spending more than we ever have and borrowing more and the revenues have decreased.
Mr. Jonathan Brostoff, the District Director for Mr. Larsen, also spoke to the group. Mr. Larsen had great speech on “Right to work” which can be seen on Wisconsin eye (wiseye.org). Gov. Walker is trying to ignore it and not discuss it at this time. It is important to hold representatives accountable and voice opinions. The representatives should be more afraid of it’s constituents than the Koch brothers. Write letters to newspapers, do a podcast, contact your legislator, be active. Word of mouth is much more important than bulk mailers.
There have been some modifications to the bylaws to incorporate SWiFT. We are still short a publicity director and board member. We need people who are dedicated to the movement and would like to be more active in SWiFT.
Introduction of new guests.
We have a complete list of due paying members. Dues are $20 a year. With this donation, you will get an email address, access to members-only content on the SWiFT website, and the ability to vote. The dues go to the website, meet-up page, and post office box. We will also be investing in a SWiFT radio show (as determined by the board members).
We need to do some fund-raising. We will do another billboard fund-raiser later this year. We would like to set up a find-raising committee.
Booth for Mythicist Conference- Mythinformation. April 25. We need to get together merchandise to sell at the booth and fliers. Mandisa Thomas, the Black Nonbelievers president, will be there to talk about her group. You can buy tickets early online.
American Atheists convention is April 3-5 in Memphis, TN.
Archbishop Jerome Lesecki debate- Kevin had the idea to challenge him to a debate regarding the church’s spending and we can use the Mythinformation conference as the venue for the debate. There are many people who would be willing to debate this leader. The group voted on whether or not SWiFT should be a part of the challenge. The majority voted to go ahead with this idea.
Compassion and Choices. John talked to the group about a family member who had succumbed to lung cancer and how he didn’t have any end of life choices other than daily morphine doses. There has been some interest in people being given the choice to end their life when other options have been exhausted. John suggested that we may want to help out this organization and help bring the topic up in to the forefront. This organization will be speaking next Sunday, 3/8/2015 at 1:30pm at the Universalist Church.
SWiFT meeting for an introduction to Bucketworks on 3/15/2015 at 1pm (161 W. Wisconsin Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53203).
There was another atheist group meeting in Milwaukee called the Atheist Community of Milwaukee.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
Time Start: 11:05am
Time End: 12:40pm
Video Clip: College Humor “What if all athletes were atheists”
One board member position is available, so talk to the board members if you have an interest in running a board position.
Introductions to the group and its members and guests.
Mythinformation Conference on April 25, 2015. See their website for tickets and more information.
SWiFT is looking to bring a freethinking group to schools as part of our community outreach initiative to educate the southeastern WI about what freethinking is and bring freethought to the open. Have an after school activities with volunteers. We are looking for two SWiFT members to gather on a weekday afternoon/ evening for one or two days per month. Each partner should engage in areas that they live in and discuss with students freethought-related topics. We should also reach out to college groups to help with this initiative. We can advertise these outreach programs at schools and businesses. Please use the sign up sheet if you are interested.
Chris Larson (D) is our state senator and he will be attending our next meeting (Sunday March 1st) to give a talk and he will be taking questions. Hemant Mehta has been invited to our April meeting. James Kurt Wall will also be invited.
There wsa a discussion on organizing a trip to Freethought Hall in Madison. They have done a huge remodel of the building. Most likely it will consist of a lecture, lunch, and tour of the new facility. We will organize transportation out to Madison. Date will be posted on the SWiFT website.
On March 13-15, 2015 there will be the 4th annual Freethought Festival in Madison hosted by AHA.
Internationalskeptics.com have a global list of all the freethinking conventions coming up in the next year.
There was a donation of a scaffold for booths from Kurt Bocksenbaum. We need a design for the backdrop. It can be used for tabling at events.
Homework assignment- Find meeting spaces that may serve as an alternate that may be closer to people. The corner of Highway 43 and 894 is the approximate center. We are looking for a facility that is open on Sundays and preferably free.
Website is going through a facelift. The hosting service allows for us to do a lot more than we are currently utilizing, such as blogs, other sites, and e-mails.
Podcasts. Mythicists have been able to bring in some great guests, Eric’s Sacred Cow Wursthouse has added some humor, Rob’s podcast has been a great success. The Mythicists have created a new studio for the podcasts with brand new equipment to give us more control and allow for all the shows to broadcast in tandem. We can contribute to the cost it took to make this new studio instead of paying a monthly fee to utilize this studio. There is a lot of work and time that goes into creating a good show. Having quality guests on the show broadens the audience. Pre-recorded podcasts that don’t need a live audience can be uploaded at anytime onto the network. We need more people contributing to the podcasts to increase the quality of the broadcasts and more organization. A decision has not yet been made as to whether SWiFT will help sponsor the new studio or to pay a monthly fee.
Kevin would like to challenge the archdiocese to a debate to raise awareness on church spending.
At the end of the meeting, the group broke up into committees to discuss fund-raising and podcasts.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
Start time: 11:23am
End time: 1:02pm
Winter solstice party was a huge success. Over 30 people showed up to St. Francis Brewery.
SWiFT socials are at the St. Francis Brewery, 3rd Thursday every month at 6pm (3825 South Kinnickinnic Avenue, St. Francis, WI 53235).
Myth Information Conference (sponsored by Mythicist Milwaukee) will be taking place on Saturday, April 25 at the Holiday Inn Milwaukee Riverfront (4700 North Port Washington Road, Milwaukee, WI 53212) on Port Washington and Hampton Ave. Speakers include Richard Carrier, James Kirk Wall, and Hemant Mehta. After the event, there will be drinks afterwards with speakers and conference goers. SWiFT may table, as well as AHA, SSA, and FFRF. Looking for sponsorship from groups and businesses. Rob Moore is going to emcee the event. Tickets are available on the Milwaukee Mythicists website (www.mythicistmilwaukee.com). Tickets are $30 for conference and $60 for conference and afterparty (includes food and drinks).
There will be closed ballots (anonymous, written ballots) for contested elections and open ballots (signified by raised hands by members) for non-contested elections. Voting is open only to due-paying members in good standing. Positions that are available: Board of directors (4), Co-President (2),
Secretary (1), Treasurer (1), and Publicist (1).
Four board of directors positions are available for four-year positions. One chair becomes available every year. All positions are equal. It will be up to the board to decide who’s seat will be up for re-election next year. The board will decide how discretionary funds will be spent and will help manage SWiFT to help grow a freethought community in the area along with other duties described in the bylaws. Candidate who ran were Karl Foster, Kurt Bocksenbaum, Kevin Bruce, and Jared Luening. All four candidates gave brief speeches before the election. There was a motion to have open elections, and it was voted to leave the election for the board of directors open. All candidates were elected by majority vote.
Co-President elections were contested, so the election ballots were closed. The duties of the co-presidents will be coordinate and run member meetings and speak on behalf of SWiFT members along with other duties described in the bylaws. There were two positions available and three candidates running. The candidates were Vada Luening, Rob Moore, and Theodore Shellhamer. All three candidates gave a brief speech before the election. The winners of the election for Co-President were Rob Moore and Theodore Shellhamer by a majority vote.
Secretary must take meeting minutes for monthly meetings and board meetings along with other duties described in the bylaws. Angela Olson was re-elected to the position of secretary by a majority vote.
Treasurer must take care of mailings and accounts and keep up to date on the membership lists along with other duties described in the bylaws. Jim Reilly was elected to the position of Treasurer by a majority vote.
Publicist must take care of advertising all local events and reach out to community along with other duties described in the bylaws. No candidates for this position. This position remains open.
Iamdamienjones.com Damien talked about growing the group and urged the group to focus and organize. Sean discussed the possibility for creating a studio for the podcasts.
Trip to FFRF is still in the works for possibly around April, 2015.
Walt Stein gave a presentation of the demographic center for SWiFT members. The epicenter is found near 894 and hwy 43, which would give an average drive of 8 miles for members. Possible alternative venues in banks would be Bank Mutual in Greenfield and US Bank on Layton in Milwaukee.
Start time: 11:10am
End time: 12:01pm
In preparation for the 501 (c) (3), some new bylaws need to be implemented. Elections will begin in January 2015, and positions will be held starting each calendar year. Due-paying members are allowed to vote. There are new chair positions available. Candidates who are interested in running should inform the group of their intentions of running. Board members will meet three times annually. Responsibility of the new board members will be to sign checks, verify expenditures, and making sure everything is in order. They don’t run meetings or need to reach out to public (that is the co-director’s duties).
Winter solstice party. There was a suggestion to incorporate the annual winter solstice party with the third Thursday meeting at 6-9pm at St. Francis Brewery on December 18. The restaurant has a great theme and good food and drinks.
Donations are being accepted via our website through paypal. Members can pay dues online as well. SWiFT membership fees go toward meetings, field trips, parties, maintaining the website and meetup.com. SWiFT is a replacement for many people who have lost touch with their religious community and want to regain that sense of community with freethinkers. We have monthly meetings, solstice parties, meet-up page, and dues go to this.
The billboard is located on 14th st. and St. Paul Ave. Rob worked closely with David Silverman and the American Atheists to get this done. Rob found someone to put up the billboard after two others rejected the billboard. We were on every major news stations in Milwaukee, in chicago, UWM, and madison, shared in blogs. The billboard has SWiFT and American Atheist’s logos and has a girl making out a letter to Santa which reads, “Dear Santa, All I want for Christmas is to skip church! I’m too old for fairytales.” SWiFT has gotten some negative feedback (as well as hate mail and death threats). Some comments were that SWiFT should have spent the money other places, however, SWiFT has done donations to Children’s hospital, Food banks, and highway cleanups. We need to remind these people that we also do a lot of good. We want other non-believers to come and help us with our community and be around other like-minded people. The billboard is bringing in a lot of momentum to the movement. Start thinking about next year’s billboard and come up with multiple ad campaigns and ideas of mediums such as buses, facebook posts, billboards, etc. We can also do it for other holidays or if there is something controversial happening locally that might garner some publicity.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson will be in town on Wednesday night. Vada has two extra tickets for $40 each.
National organizations wanting to work with us. SWiFT is a local organization. We are affiliated with lots of national groups which can give additional support and resources. The American Humanist Association has sent us a lot of literature about their organization and magazines (The Humanist), Free Mind newspaper and bumper stickers. They are the oldest freethought group in the United States. Consider making tax-deductible donations to freethinking groups. Council for Secular Humanism, Atheist Alliance, FFRF, more groups available on the website.
The radio. We need volunteers more than ever. SWiFT is in the public eye. We run three separate podcasts that we need volunteers to talk on the show. RiverWestRadio.com. The podcasts have had a lot of great guests like Seth Andrews, Richard Carrier, Lawrence Krauss, David Silverman, Hemant Mehta (SP). Eric Hildeman is taking over the SWiFT radio at 4pm and you can listen to Rob with Kraft at 5pm on Saturdays. You can call or tweet (@Swifreethinkers) during the live show. Sunday at 7pm is Mythicists. Wrjn.com, bambuser.com. Sign up on meetup.com for SWiFT activities under the Atheist Community of Milwaukee.
Westboro Baptist Church is a hate group that do ridiculous protests (publicity hounds). Many people are doing counter-protests to them. They are coming to Milwaukee to protest a school tomorrow in Kenosha 7- 7:30 at Bradford HS and then go to Marquette at 9am. And at the arch dioceses at noon. More info available at the meet-up page. Had one today at St. Josaphats. We can not engage in fighting- only holding signs and passing out earbuds. Film it. Wear atheist gear. Send us ideas for signs.
Stay active. Share facebook posts, comment on news articles, and help get the word out that there is a strong atheist community in Milwaukee.
Mythicists are looking into crowd funding and they need more volunteers. Event/ convention in April 25, 2015 to bring together freethinkers.
Sign put up in courthouse, for the fourth year, with separation of church and state in conjunction with FFRF. Please notify SWiFT if you see that it has been vandalized
Time begin: 11:08am
Time end: 11:45am
Halloween party was a success! Lots of donations made to the Hunger Task Force. David Silverman cam dressed as a clergyman.
Dinner with David Silverman went well. There were 8 people in attendance at St. Francis Brewery.
Billboard donations are being accepted. The billboard is meant to be a catalyst for discussion. We will keep members up to date on the donation via our facebook page.
The third Thursday night get togethers will be moved from the Spring Garden Restaurant to the St. Francis Brewery on Kinickinic and Howard starting in December.
Support American Atheists- tax deductible donations with member perks.
We are looking in to getting a donation button for the website (like paypal) so it is easier to accept donations.
SWiFT is offically incorporated as a non-profit 501 (c) (3)!
Podcasts have changed. Mythicist Milwaukee are no longer on Alan Eisenbergs program. KRAFT is on at 5pm on Saturdays. SWiFT is on at 8pm on Saturdays, and Mythicists are on at 7pm on Sundays. Mythicists have been able to get many great names on their show, including Lawrence Krauss, Annie Lord-Gaylor, and David Silverman. Podscasts can be found on RiverWestRadio.com.
Twitter accounts to follow: @mythicistMKE, @Robanero, @Swifreethinkers
SWiFT is currently looking for a venue for the annual winter solstice party.
Highway Clean-up was a success. 8 people came to help clean up the highway. This was the last clean-up of the year.
August 3, 2014
End: 11:30 am
Vada will be hosting a screening of “Unbeliever’s” at her house.
Vada will be meeting with David Silverman in Detroit. Planning a conference- possibly advertising with billboards. Also looking in to fundraisers.
Swift gaining radio exposure. They are also looking for participants to join them for the radio show.
Ted would like to start an atheist bowling league. Contact Ted Shellhamer for more information.
By-laws will need updating for 501(c)(3) classification. Karl expanded on this and talked about costs and exemptions. Filing with the state of Wisconsin should be free, but the federal application fee is around $750. There may be waivers available.
Vada’s Halloween party is 3 months away and Vada will need a lot of help to prepare for it. The theme for this years’ party is Heroes vs Villains.
For the last highway clean-up, only three people came. A date needs to be set for the next clean-up, possibly on a day that the Packers don’t play or where there is an evening game.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
May 4, 2014
Co-director: Vada Luening was nominated by Jack and seconded by Kurt. Vote: Majority approval.
Co-director: Karl Foster was nominated by Kurt and seconded by Jack. Vote: Majority approval.
Secretary: Angie Olson was nominated by Linda and seconded by Kurt. Vote: Majority approval.
Treasurer: Ted Shellhamer was nominated for treasurer. Vote: Majority approval.
Web Master: Kurt Bocksenbaum was nominated by Vada and seconded by Jack. Vote: Majority approval.
Publicity Chair: Open position
Membership Chair: Position absorbed by Treasurer (Ted Shellhamer).
Program Director: Rob Moore was nominated by Jack and seconded by Ted. Vote: Majority approval.
Kurt urged members to consider joining national organizations and to support groups that align with one’s ideals.
SWiFT has a meet-up group. Any SWiFT member can create an outing for the group. It does not have to be free-thought related, just an activity that you would like to invite other free-thinkers to. SWiFT also has other resources, like a facebook page, an atheist nexus page, swiftnow.org website and a yahoo group. Sunday July 13 will be the next Highway clean-up. The meet up place is at the PNC bank parking lot in Pewaukee.
The summer solstice party will take place on Saturday, June 21st at 1pm at Idle Isle. Nancy Brunette will be organizing the event along with Vada. This is a family event, open to all ages. Bring a dish to pass.
Jack gave a movie review for the film “Obsession,” which he said portrayed the most radical version of Muslims with no discussion as to why they are radical or what specific criticisms the group has. He said it was not very balanced and seemed like anti-Islamic propaganda. Two thumbs down.
The Freethought Alliance of Milwaukee (FAM) will have their first meeting on May 18 at noon at Bucketworks in Milwaukee. Anyone with media contacts should share this event. Mythicist Milwaukee, SWiFT, KRAFT, Sunday Assembly, the Secular Coalition, SSA and others will be there. There will be a workshop to brainstorm new ideas for the next FAM event, along with speakers and presentations.
Sign up for a freethought bowling team with Ted Shellhamer.
The next SWiFT meeting will be on Sunday, June 1st at 11am.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
April 6, 2014
Elections will take place at the next monthly meeting in May. Kurt and Jack are stepping down as co-directors. Members section of the SWiFT website has bylaws and descriptions of positions, meeting minutes. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get access. Must be a due-paying member to run and vote.
Highway clean-up scheduled for April, 27 at 10am.
April 11-12 is the Freethought Festival at UW-Madison, sponsored by FFRF.
Camp Quest founder Edwin Kagin passed away on March 27, 2014.Cosmos remake with Neil deGrasse Tyson is on Sunday nights on Fox and National Geographic.
Guest speaker Russ Schafer-Landau, department chair of philosphy at UW-Madison, gave a speech on moral relativism.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
March 2, 2014
Treasurer’s Report: $1324.14
March 9- New Cosmos on Fox and National Geographic premiers.
Freethought Festival April 11-12 in Madison sponsored by FFRF.
Russ Schafer-Landau from UWM will be giving a talk on Moral Realism at the next SWiFT meeting in April.
KRAFT (Kenosha and Racine area freethinkers group) will be having their monthly meetings every third Sunday at the Chancery. See the meetup group or facebook for more information.
Shelley Segal is offering a personal house party for $893 USD to promote her new album. Vada will work on setting up this event.
Elections will be held in May. Co-directors positions are available. Announcements of who will be running will be done in April.
It was mentioned that May would be a good time to do the Highway clean-up in Pewaukee. Date and time TBD.
There was a discussion on the passing and subsequent vetoing on discrimination against patrons at businesses based on religious conflicts.
There was a discussion on historical religious figures and how people become myths and the similarities amongst religions.
There was a brief discussion on the loss of faith and the lack of rituals or support for people when they make the conscious decision to leave a religious group.
A guest mentioned that they felt that the group was not open to freethinkers who may be on the fence or have conflicting beliefs.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
February 2, 2014
Treasurer’s Report: $1245.79
No sign in sheet, but 18 people attended the meeting
Mythicist Milwaukee will be screening their documentary “Night Journey to Hamtramck- An Exploration of the Muslim Call to Prayer in America” on Thursday, March 6 at 9:30pm at the Times Cinema in Wauwatosa.
There was a discussion on FFRF, which included finding a way to bring up the Wisconsin voucher issue to FFRF (we also talked about bringing it up to change.org, the ACLU, and AU- American’s United), having SWiFT become a chapter member of FFRF, going on a trip Madison to see the new building after it is completed, and we talked about bringing in speakers from FFRF.
There was a discussion on Camp Timberly and the CAAAD program- an alternative program for at-risk public school students that occurs at a church.
A UW-Whitewater student gave an introduction to the new SSA organization a Whitewater, with a brief discussion of control in the Inglesia ni Cristo church.
We talked about evolution and how humans followed the evolutionary path just as animals and plants did and how evolution can be observed in nature.
There was also an emphasis on support of non-believers to create a better sense of community to help replace religious communities
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
January 5, 2014
The SWiFT solstice party was a success with about 35 in attendance.
The next highway clean-up should take place early spring, either April or May.
Karl proposed bringing in a speaker from UW-Madison to give a talk on moral realism. The speaker is slated for Sunday, February 16 at 11am at the Chase Bank location in Cudahy.
SWiFT will be holding a Darwin Day event on Sunday, February 9th at 11am at the Chase Bank location in Cudahy. There will be music, documentaries, and refreshments for the occasion.
There was a screening of the documentary, “The God Who Wasn’t There.”
It was mentioned that Bill Nye will be debating creationist museum founder Ken Ham on February 4, 2014.
SWiFt Meeting Minutes
December 1, 2013
Start time: 11:32a
End time: 1:55pm
The Winter Solstice party is Saturday, December 21 at Vada’s house.
Guest speaker Howard Katz introduced SWiFT members to the American Humanist Association, of which he is a board member. He discussed the definition of humanism and the different AHA branches such as charities, education and legal aid, LGBT support, film festivals, affiliations with the Reason Rally, their magazine (The Humanist), Camp Quest, SSA, and their contributions to the Secular Coalition.
There was a discussion on religious displays around Christmas, especially on government property.
There was a discussion on “good” and how to define it.
Someone brought up their concern about memorials on the side of the road on public property. The signs could pose road-side hazards as people need to stop to maintain them. Most people wouldn’t try to stop it because of the high emotion involved as the motivation to put up signs in an area that might not be safe to erect signs. There could be a compromise of a time limit that signs can be left up and maintained.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
November 3, 2013
Start time: 11:07am
End time: 1:04pm
Treasurer’s Report: $1494.76 with $150 of that slated for speaker in conjunction with the Mythicists of Milwaukee.
5 people showed up to the Hwy Clean-up on Sun, Oct 20.
Vada’s Halloween party collected 201 lbs of food for donation to the Hunger Task Force. About 200 people showed came to the party.
SWiFT and Mythicists of Milwaukee will sponser guest speaker Miguel Conner (of AeonBtye Gnostic Radio) at Bucketworks in Grand Ave. Mall on Sunday Nov. 17 from noon to 2pm. Tickets are available at powerofmyth.eventbrite.com.
Vada suggested that the location of the winter solstice party be changed to her house instead of the Chase bank location. Jim Riley made a motion to vote on the topic, which was seconded. 9 member voted for moving the location to Vada’s house, and 2 members voted to keep the location at the bank.
There was a lengthy discussion on using intellectual rationale to deconvert from religion and how people use their intellect to rationalize religion or atheism.
It was mentioned that WTMJ had talked about green burials and the was a brief discussion on a green burial site in Waukesha.
Empathy in the animal kingdom was also discussed.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
October 6, 2013
Start time: 11:11am
End time: 1:12pm
Hwy Clean-up- 5 people came to the last clean-up. Next clean-up will be Sunday, Oct. 20 at 10am.
A volunteer is needed to put up the FFRF sign at the courthouse and to check back often to make sure the sign stays up.
The winter solstice party will be on Saturday, December 21 at 1pm, most likely at the chase bank location used for the meetings. Bring food and drink to pass and children are welcome to come.
Vada’s Halloween party will be Saturday, Oct. 26 at 8pm. Bring food to donate tho the Hunger Task Force.
There was a recap of the FFRF convention that took place in September. Guests included Juan Mendez, Dan Savage, Dan Barker, Shelley Segal, and the Jill and Julia show.
A December 2012 article in Free Inquirey magazine, which the Council for Human Secularism congratulated American Atheist’s 50th anniversary, prompted a discussion on need for more alliances among non-believers. Although there is much diversity amongst the “nones,” commonalities should be supported to deter infighting. There was discussion about the new pope and his more liberal perspectives causing more infighting amongst Catholics.
The Mythicists of Milwaukee would like to help sponsor a speaker specializing on the origins of myths in conjunction with SWiFT.
Richard Dawkins spoke in Chicago, which a few SWiFT members attended, with the topic focusing on how skeptics and atheists should be voting and making it known that they are important constituents to candidates.
SWiFt Meeting Minutes
September 8, 2013
Start time: 11:05am
End time: 1:05pm
Treasurer’s report: $1344.76
A donation of $250 was given to Children’s Hospital in SwiFT’s name via the WKLH fundraiser.
The highway clean-up will take place on Sunday, September 22 at 9pm.
Vada announced her Halloween party on Sat. Oct. 6. Donations of canned goods will go to the Hunger Task Force.
Jack discussed Fighting Bob Fest that took place on Sept. 7 in Madison. There were many speakers with an array of progressive topics. Members were encouraged to add events to meetup.org whenever they want to invite other SWiFT for an activity.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation will have their annual convention in Madison September 27 and 28.
The AHA lawsuit in Massachusetts regarding the possible removal of the words “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance was discussed. The lawsuit states that the current wording discriminates against non-believing students. The outcome of this lawsuit may set a precedent for other states to follow.
An addition to the SWiFT website was proposed to include links to national and local organizations that may help individuals looking for legal advice or to answer questions with regards to discrimination.
Kurt recommended reading “A King Must Die” by Mary Renault. The story takes place in ancient Greece and focuses on how bad things can happen due to belief in gods.
There was also a short discussion on the current situation in Syria, as well as Scott Walker.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
May, 5, 2013
Start time: 11:09am
End time: 1:17pm
Treasurer’s report: N/A
Kurt Bocksenbaum went through the new definitions of duties as well as the proposed changes to the new bylaws. Kurt made a motion to adopt the changes. Jack Holmes seconded the motion. Vote: Motion was approved.
Kurt Bocksenbaum announced he would run for co-director. Vote: Majority approval.
Jack Holmes announced he would run for co-director. Vote: Majority approval.
Jim Riley was nominated by Kurt for treasurer, motion was seconded. Vote: Majority approval.
Angela Olson announced she would run for secretary. Vote: Majority approval.
Linda Chapman announced she would run for membership chair. Vote: Majority approval.
Kurt announced he would run as webmaster. Vote: Majority approval.
Vada Luening announced she would run for publicity chair. Vote: Majority approval.
Karl Foster announced he would run as program director. Vote: Majority approval.
Adopt-a-highway dates and location for the highway clean-up will be posted on the website.
Children’s Hospital donation- SWiFT will donate the money collected to the WKLH radio-thon in SWiFT’s name.
Vada will look into advertising for SWiFT via facebook ads or other online mediums.
Book recommendation: “God Is Redundant” by M. Anton Mikicic. This book is available on amazon.com. It was written by SWiFT member Mark Mikicic which started as a letter to his children on his personal beliefs.
Kurt mentioned that voting was moved to a community center in Brown Deer after a clergy member refused to remove a prominently displayed picture of Jesus above a voting booth.
There was a brief discussion about the 5am Muslim call to prayer in Egypt over loudspeakers. This has been duplicated in a town in Michigan, where noise ordinances were changed to accommodate this religious practice.
The summer solstice party will be held Saturday, June 22. More info will be available on the SWiFT website.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
April 7, 2013
Start time: 11:10am
End time: 1:20pm
Treasurer’s report: $1493.96
$175 is slated for a donation to Children’s Hospital in SWiFT’s name.
Adopt-a-highway clean-up will be coming up soon. We are required to do a highway clean-up twice per year.
Two activities were suggested for the group- holding some kind of counter-protest against religious groups harassing people attending PrideFest and picketing Joyce Mayer.
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Reason Rally, video excerpts from the event were shown, including Adam Savage, Greta Christina, and Jamie Kilstein.
Next month will be voting for officer positions.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
March 3, 2013
Start time: 11:11am
End time: 1:08pm
Treasurer’s report: $1,473.96
It was mentioned that the Mythicists in Milwaukee group was having their screening on March 31, 2013.
There was a discussion of spirituality versus religion and how both of these viewpoints differ from atheism, as well as the definition of those terms.
Hatred of minorities in the US, such as atheists and gays, was discussed, especially the openness of the hatred in online forums. It is important to speak up and be vigilant against the things one feel is wrong or inaccurate. Make comments to make your voice heard.
Atheist Census- there is a website asking for people to add their name to the atheist census to get a better idea of the actual population of atheists. There are a growing number of atheists and a decline in extreme dogmatic religions.
There was also a brief discussion on the old pope exiting and who the catholic church may pick next amid the ongoing scandals.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
February 3, 2013
Start time: 11:10am
End time: 1:05pm
No treasurer’s report.
No old business to report.
Darwin Day will take place in Madison again at the college. A meet-up group will be made to see if there is any interest in it and possibly putting together a carpool.
Kurt read an article from the American Atheists magazine by Michael Spry which talked about end of the world prophecies, cult phenomena like Hale Bop, Heaven’s Gate, and Scientology. The article pointed out how these are irrational ideas, but seem to get credence because they are labeled as religion.
Mythicists in Milwaukee gave a presentation of on their new group. Their group focuses on the origins of religions and myths. They announced that they will be having a screening of the first section of Zeitgeist on March 31, 2013 at noon at Roshambo Coffee and Tea House in Milwaukee.
Discussions also focused on the Boy Scouts talking about lifting the ban on gays (although atheists are still barred from the organization) and that the Milwaukee area Catholic archdioceses was declaring bankruptcy due to legal troubles stemming from child molestation lawsuits.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
January 6, 2013
Start Time: 11:10am
Treasurer’s Report: $1168.68
Donations for the Children’s Hospital will be postponed. Anybody who wishes to make a donation should do so as soon as possible.
The Winter Solstice party took place on December 22, 2012.
Darwin Day will take place again in Madison on Sat. February 16. We may arrange a carpool if people are interested in going.
2013 Objectives for SWiFT. Kurt discussed encouraging families with children to attend meeting by incorporating a children’s room with activities for the kids. Members are encouraged to bring their kids to the next SWiFT meeting.
Kurt gave a message about minimizing ignorance in everyday life by standing up and speaking out about things that are blatantly wrong or incorrect. This can be done in a kind and positive manner. Lead by example and don’t be afraid to state that you are an atheist/ agnostic/ humanist/ freethinker, etc, when you do something positive for someone to reduce the stigma given to freethinkers. Writing letters to the editor also helps to get your ideas across.
The group had untapped resources from organizations like the Council for Secular Humanism and the American Atheists that should be looked into.
Donations- The group was encouraged to donate money to charities that interest them, such as secular humanist organizations. Any donations should be carefully researched to make sure your money is going where you want it to. Resources, like Charity Navigator, can help with this research. The Secular Coalition was mentioned as a lobbyist group that accepts donations that fights for the rights of freethinkers in Washington.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes November 4, 2012
Start Time: 11:15am
Treasurer’s Report: $1,455.96
Voting on bylaws will be postponed.
On October 21, a representative came from Planned Parenthood to speak to the group about both Planned Parenthood and their advocacy group. For those interested, the Planned Parenthood website it PPWI.org and the advocacy group’s page is PPAWI.org.
Again, SWiFT merchandise is available on Cafe Press.
The annual Winter Solstice party was tentatively set for Saturday, December 22, 2012, at 2pm. The location will be in the same room as the monthly meetings in Chase Bank. People are encouraged to bring a dish to pass like last year.
Karl Foster gave a presentation on positive and negative atheism, and strong and weak atheism.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
October 7, 2012
Start Time: 11:12am
Tresurer’s Report: $1,455.96
Second highway cleanup was held on September 23, 2012. About 9 people showed up. It was successful and fun. It took about an hour and a half.
Fighting Bob Fest tool place on September 15, 2012. Jack gave an overview of the fest, which included speakers Tammy Baldwin, Dr. Jill Stein, and Jim Hightower.
Voting on bylaws will be next month. The current bylaws state that e-mails must be sent out 15 days prior to the election to notify members, however, Swift does not have an complete, updated list of members, so the new proposal for the bylaws will state that there will be a posting in a conspicuous area, such as the Swift website and group webpages.
Planned Parenthood has been invited to speak at a Swift meeting to educate the group on what they do. It was decided to hold a special meeting on October 21, 2012 at 11am at the usual meeting place (Chase bank community room). Kurt also mentioned inviting the ACLU to talk about the topic of death and dying to the group.
Al Sorenson wrote a letter to the editor which was published in the Racine Journal Times on Sept. 30, 2012. The letter was read and Swift members were encouraged to write their own letters to the editor if they feel passionate about an article and wish to share their thoughts.
Swift merchandise is now available via Cafe Press (cafepress.com/swiftshop). Totebags, shirts, coffee mugs and more are available with the Swift logo. There is also a link to the cafe press website on the official Swift website.
The Importance of Voting. In light of the upcoming presidential election, it was mentioned that the next president may decide on a new member of the Supreme Court, a point which is often overlooked. It is important to keep this idea in mind when voting. On this topic, a video of Eddie Tabash’s speech given at the 2008 American Atheists Convention in Minneapolis, MN was played.
Karl asked the group if he should continue the philosophy meetings given the low attendance. We discussed ways to increase attendance- marketing, location, and topics. It was agreed that he should continue to reach out with his meetings.
A brief discussion was also held on how to deal with co-workers who make irrational statements.
SWiFT Meeting Minutes
September 9, 2012
Start Time: 11:11am
Tresurer’s Report: $1,430.96; $175 of which is slated for donation to Children’s Hospital. It was proposed for SWiFT to add to the donation, rounding to the next nearest $100. Anyone wishing to add to the donation must do so before the October meeting.
The 11th annual Fighting Bob Fest will take place on Saturday, September 15 at the Madison Alliance Center in Madison, WI.
Adopt-A-Highway clean-up will (tentatively) be held on Sunday, September 23rd from 10am to noon. We will meet at a coffee shop in Pewaukee on 164 and Capitol (190). Details will be posted on the meet up page on meetup.org.
New and Old Business:
Discussed having more formal monthly meetings, with discussions to be carried out only after all business is attended to.
The last elections were found to be too lax according to some. A change of bylaws was discussed to add a new position of Election Chairman. There was a discussion of whether this new position was necessary because there are already open chair positions that have yet to be filled (Publicity Chairman and Program Chairman are still vacant offices). The notion of Election Chairman was temporarily dropped. Other changes were also discussed. Anyone interested in running in the May election must declare this in April so that the group knows who is running prior to the elections. Detailed descriptions were added to each officer position given. These changes will be voted on at the next meeting.
As a reminder, SWiFT members have access to the bylaws through the SWiFT website (swiftnow.org), but they need to register first as well as e-mail Kurt Bocksenbaum (Kbocksenbaum@swiftnow.org) to let him know who you are and that you have registered. The Yahoo group also has the bylaws, registering through the yahoo SWiFT group and sending an e-mail to Carol (email@example.com). Hard copies will be available from Kurt upon request.
FFRF- SWiFT will hopefully be able to get Dan Barker or Annie Laurie to come speak before the November elections on the topic: separation of church and state. Hemmet, the friendly atheist, was also mentioned as a possible speaker.
To help grow SWiFT, members are encouraged to bring a friend to the next meeting.
Separation of Church and State- Thomas Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists (Jan. 1, 1802) “Wall of separation between church and state.”
Discussed how this separation (or lack thereof) can affect schools, both public and private.
SWiFT Meeting Notes June 3, 2012
Official Annual Business Meeting
$1,600 plus dollars
AAA Annual Convention/Meeting: Labor Day Weekend; Denver
Genie Scott, 2012Richard Dawkins Award Recipient
Co-directors: Kurt Bocksenbaum and Jack Holmes
Treasurer: Jim Riley
Secretary: Angela Olson
Membership chairman: Linda Chapman
No candidates volunteered for Publicity Chairman or Program Chairman
Summer solstice Picnic: June 23 at Idle Isle Park; 1 PM to ? (Park is a “no-pets” park). SWiFT will provide soda, water, charcoal, ice. Any volunteer early birds are invited to help hold tables/shelter.
Rain Date: June 24
September Meeting: September 9, 2012
Disappointment was expressed that election protocol was less formal than expected.
Interest was expressed in procuring additional SWiFT-logo hats/clothes. Café Press was mentioned as a possible (additional) source.
Reason Rally DVD should be available soon.
Lively discussion on the topic of cognitive dissonance followed. Compartmentalizing, bifurcation
Karl & Susan expressed possible interest in presenting a program on a topic of their individual choice.
SWiFT Meeting Notes May 7, 2011
Kurt and Jack reported on investigating meeting site options. So far no different venue has been found which equals the positive factors at Chase Bank. As a result of their report, a MOTION was made, seconded and passed:
Starting June 5 SWiFT meetings will be held in the same location, Chase Bank Cudahy, but will be held on Sundays at 11 AM
Treasury Report: Assets in Landmark Credit Union $1094.83
The results of 2011 SWiFT elections:
Jack & Kurt will continue as co-directors.
Jim Reilly will serve as treasurer
Gayle Kitchen will serve as recording secretary
Carol will serve as membership/communication chairperson
A trip to Landmark will be necessary to add Jim Reilly as a signatory to the SWiFT bank account.
A progress report was given regarding Mark’s book which is available via amazon.com
Kurt reported on his recent experiences with the violations of separation of church/state. Kurt witnessed at his polling place in the last election: a paper/cardboard cross taped up on the wall. He wrote a reported the obvious violation to the Brown Deer authorities and received assurance it would not happen again. Unfortunately not as successful were attempts by Kurt and others to influence the Milwaukee County Airport proposal for a chapel to be built on airport property for a monthly rental of $1.00 using artifacts saved from the St. Steven Catholic Church which used to exist on property the airport now occupies.
Nancy presented her suggestions for a Solstice potluck at the park on Little Muskego lake at 1 PM June 25. There are rest rooms, fire pits, picnic tables and a shelter. She will check to see if a shelter reservation is necessary and make (a) boat(s) available. She suggested folks bring their own PFDs if they have them.
Chris Race asked for time to present his ideas on atheist tactics. He was invited to attend and present at the June 5 meeting.
SWiFT Meeting Notes: April 3, 2011
Carol was out at the United Coalition for Reason gathering in Madison. She will give us a report at the may meeting.
Swift officially has a phone number. the number will be used as a place to have the latest information on meetings and events. It will also serve as place for people to leave a message for SWiFT. The phone number is through Google Voice and is 414-465-8666. We are still working out the details about how we are going to be monitoring it.
it was agreed that the top priority for SWiFT is to find a new venue for our monthly meetings and to change the time and date. Sunday mornings and Monday evenings will be tried first. We are also encouraging people to arrange and to participate in more events. The Thursday social at the Spring Garden will continue to take place and the Monday discussion group is temporarily on hold, but will be reinstated over the summer.
We had a lively discussion about the David Eller versus Sam Harris debate4 taking place. This will be revisited at the next meeting.
The may meeting will be election time. Carol has stated she will not be seeking re-election as secretary and treasurer. The officers we will be electing will be:
Program, Membership, and Publicity chairmen are currently not filled at this time and will not be voted on at the 2011 elections.
SWiFT Meeting Notes: February 6, 2011
Kurt & Jack made announcements concerning meeting format. They suggest returning to the old format and invited folks with concerns to contact them directly.
A new social/book discussion event to be held on the last Monday of the month. The first meeting will be February 28 at 7 PM at Borders Book Store, 8705 North Port Washington Road, Fox Pointe, downstairs in the coffee area.
SWiFT members were encouraged to consider creating and hosting events/socials.
Web Report: There were 7500 visitors in November (200/day). There are functions available to visitors and special functions available to members which require registration.
Kurt intends integrating the different forum options—facebook, yahoogroup, web site forum, MeetUp. Anyone having difficulty accessing web site options should contact Kurt. Chris offered to help with face book.
On behalf of SWiFT Kurt has been investigating phone options. A phone is necessary to meet FFRF affiliation requirements and will facilitate communication with public, the media, and members. A hot line with recorded messages can be created to handle such situations as severe weather and other details. Kurt suggested setting up a phone line on his family plan with a sim card. In addition to a set up fee of approximately $35, the cost would be $10/month and could be canceled at any time.
Kurt made a motion to set up such a phone line on his family plan for SWiFT to be administered by SWiFT officers, cost to Kurt to be reimbursed by SWiFT. Jack seconded the motion.
During discussion it was suggested that the motion be amended to include empowering Kurt to investigate the google phone ap, compare features and determine the best option so that SWiFT would have a phone by March meeting.
Both the original motion and the amendment passed.
A motion was made and seconded that SWiFT dues be raised to $20/year and that a $10 option be available to seniors, students and those with low-income. The motion carried.
It was announced that SWiFT would have a summer solstice party. Nancy offered to host at her lake home. Jack and Kurt will meet with her to coordinate details.
Future field trip opportunities:
*Skokie Ethical Humanist Society; date T.B.A.
*Darwin Day, Madison, Jim & Jim leaving Mayfair Mall at 7:15 AM, February 12. Jim Reilly’s cell phone: 414-617-0551
Jim Stoke reported that visitors Matt and Andrew attended the January social at Spring Garden. They left no contact information with Jim.
Kurt distributed a Free Inquiry article, which will be discussed at the March meeting.
Discussion of politics: SWiFT is not a political organization, but politics affects freethought, and religion affects politics. Should SWiFT attempt to contact Governor Walker? A letter writing campaign was suggested to specifically request that the governor issue a state proclamation for a Day of Reason? Another suggestion was to address the issue of votor I.D.
The status of the law suit regarding the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer was questioned. This wiki page indicates the suit is still in progress:
The Quaker Meeting House as a meeting place was again discussed. Kurt will check on it again.
Treasury Report: After the January meeting a deposit of $130.00 was made. A payment of $22.00 for the USPS P.O. Box was made. Balance: $868.83. Check for $50. To be deposited with funds collected at February meeting
SWiFT Meeting Minutes – January 8, 2011
Treasurers report: balance 738.83; expenditure of 192.24 to hotel for Nov. event
No formal program had been planned, so spirited discussion ensured.
Recap of Tom Flynn event. James Stoke indicated the reason he did not attend: He boycotted because he wanted to go to dinner on Thursday—the day before—but it was cancelled in lieu of Flynn event. Both Jack and Jim Reilly pointed out reasons why the event should have been supported. Jim noted that the cancellation was not arbitrary, but rather was a consensus that it was not necessary to have events on two consecutive nights—folks could have met to socialize before, and some stayed afterward to have a drink.
Jack mentioned the possibility of having a SWiFT phone, and I gave my own cell to several people so they would be able to check on possible weather cancellations.
Many suggestions were made about publicity, planning, program, communication issues. purchase a DVD player or projector.Have a fund raiser to pay for it. No handicap access at Chase bank. Consider hosting booths at events such as Bastille Days. Find a new place with these considerations: free, near public transport. Tonie (a visitor—friend of Eric) suggested the LGBT facility on 3rd st. and indicated she would check on it. Also, she wanted fliers to post at MATC. Krystal wanted to have more fun events. Re: changing date, concern was expressed about competing with football. Not meeting in July and August was questioned. It was noted that the first weekend in July competes with July 4th holiday. Jim Riley suggested that the ‘metatag’ be adjusted for the SWiFT web site so it turns up when “SWiFT” is googled.
Nancy Brunette suggested having a Summer Solstice event at their lake place (Muskego).
Adjourned at 2:55 PM, and 12 went to dinner at Spring Garden.
SWiFT MINUTES: September/October 2010
September 4, 2010
James S. Stoke
Discussion centered on SWiFT’s affiliation with national groups. Discussion about FFRF affiliation requirements.
October 2, 2010
General discussion. Promoted FFRF membership and polled who was already a member. Robert Beltran told of his near-death experience kayaking in Lake Superior. First-time visitor Nancy Brunette told her own story.
Nancy Brunette (FFRF)
Carlene Ehlers (FFRF)
Jack Holmes (FFRF)
James S. Stoke (FFRF)
Carol Smith (FFRF)
June 5th, 2010
Meeting opened at 1:05.
Jane Francis, Jack Holmes, Jim Stoke, Ed Susterich, Maria Susterich, Jeff Reese, Matt Olcikas, Elizabeth Olcikas, Cheryl Bennett, and Gerard Johnson. Special guest: Larry Schmidt, local representative of the Funeral Consumers Alliance.
Letter from Kurt Bocksenbaum was read to the group.
Discussion of the September meeting resulted in agreement to have it on Labor Day weekend, September 4th.
The suggestion was made to look into becoming a member (as a group) of FFRF. Jack will look into what it would entail and what the benefits would be.
The presentation by Larry Schmidt was enlightening and entertaining. He introduced the group he represents as being a completely volunteer-run, non-profit organization that seeks to educate the public about the funeral industry. They also contract with local funeral homes (in this area they contract with Hartson Funeral Home in Hales Corners) that has special negotiated pricing available to members. Membership in the organization is a recommended donation of $15 and, in addition to that special negotiated pricing, it also entitles members to receive their newsletters and take advantage of funeral planning resources. He discussed many of the common practices used by funeral directors to increase the costs of funerals, and emphasized that everything is negotiable. He also brought up many facts about what is and is not allowed in disposing of human remains, and many of the things that most funeral directors will not tell their clients. It was a very informative discussion.
The meeting adjourned at 2:30.
May 1, 2010
Meeting called to order at 1:20 PM
Kurt Bocksenbaum, Jane Francis, Eric Hildeman, Jack Holmes, Gerard Johnson, Gayle Kitchen, Jeff Reese, Dennis Ryan, Carol Smith, James S. Stoke
Announcements: Jane reported that the June Program will be a presentation about what your funeral director won’t tell you, given by a funeral director. Kurt gave a web site report
Treasury Report: Balance as of May 1: $983.37 (deposit: $15.00 on May 3)
Business: Per the SWiFT Bylaws, election of officers takes place in May.
Elections: Kurt Bocksenbaum and Jack Holmes were nominated and elected as co-facilitators. Carol Smith was nominated and elected to serve as treasurer and secretary. Kurt was elected to continue as web master. Gayle Kitchen was nominated and elected to serve as Publicity Chairman. The other positions outlined in the Bylaws may be filled at any regular SWiFT meeting.
Amendment of Bylaws. The suggested changes that were sent to the membership and posted in the members’ section of the SWiFT web site were discussed and adopted unanimously. The amended bylaws can be accessed by way of the web site and at the SWiFT members yahoogroup. It was noted that SWiFT Bylaws do not provide a proxy voting option. Per one of the changes in the amended SWiFT Bylaws, Kurt and Jack are now to be known as Co-directors of SWiFT. The amended SWiFT Bylaws may be accessed in the members’ section of the SWiFT web site and in ‘files’ at SWiFTfirstname.lastname@example.org . Anyone who needs help accessing those venues should contact Kurt or Carol.
A lively discussion included suggestions for future SWiFT activity:
- Become involved in social justice issues. Churches have ulterior motives for providing services. SWiFT needs to participate in community outreach.
- Some options are: As a group, participate in a Habitat for Humanity; a public TV fund drive, a Thanksgiving dinner in the community at large;
- Prison outreach. Investigate options for providing library materials by way of donation, subscription.
- Create SWiFT Facebook page
- Craigs list
- Compile and provide to members a list of secular charity options
- Order and distribute more SWiFT business cards
- Create downloadable SWiFT flyer on the SWiFT web page
- Plan project in cooperation with the UWM Freethought group
- Picnics, parties, social events
Meeting Adjourned at 3:18 PM
April 3, 2010
Attendance: (15) Kurt Bocksenbaum, Dennis Ryan, Ed & Maria Susterich, Terris Bemis, Renee Webber, Tim Riddle, Anne Maki, Bev & Al Sorensoin, Jane Francis, James Stoke, Carol Smith, Jack Holmes, Gayle Kitchen
Kurt’s Web Report:
Kurt gave a comprehensive web report with hit totals and origin of hit (referred from AAI, dawkins, Oshkosh, et.al.) He encouraged forum sign-up and forum use and reminded members to avail themselves of email account. The source of our web account has triple backs up to prevent the web site from ever ‘going down. It costs $120/year.
Kurt’s report: In the future, Kurt will be having socials (barbecues) at his home and “Ask an atheist” sessions in his neighborhood, probably at free bank venues such as Chase provides. Also sessions focused on children (being-a-good person and respecting-others topics).
Kurt addressed the subject of bylaw changes to include change of officer titles, recommend a change to president/vice-president or co-president model. “We need more punch.” Al and Carol gave historical detail of origin of ‘co-facilitators,’ including “followers out front” rationale.
Kurt recommended that this year, rather than donating to any national/parent organization, that we spend our resources on SWiFT such as: (1) purchasing a pay-As-you-go cell phone. (2) essay scholarship/prize ($250.) to be offered in a large high-school venue so that when it is awarded at graduation exercise there is publicity/mention of SWiFT.
A SWiFT facebook page was suggested. Also suggested was providing a down-loadable flyer on the SWiFT website that members may download for distribution (to include group description, operating principles, etc.). Also suggested: socials/picnics at parks and tabling at fests and other reasonably priced venues. It was noted that any member may arrange such an event and publicize it (such events may be publicized by way of SWiFT’s web site, email@example.com venue, and group email).
At the May meeting, the subject of donations will be revisited, as it is every year.
SWiFT receives letters from individuals, religious nuts, and prisoners looking for literature and parties interested in letter-writing. One such inmate was Roy Brock, number GD3271, P.O. Box 1000, Houtzdale, PA 16690-1000.
It was suggested that members/friends bring literature to donate and that it be sent to inquiring inmates.
GROUP ACTIVITY: The DVD So Help Me God by Simon Cole. http://www.alivemindmedia.com/films/so-help-me-god/ http://www.amazon.com/So-Help-God-Ben-Cole/dp/B002CLKOW4
Meeting adjourned at approximately 3:15 and about 9 folks went to Spring Garden for a meal and camaraderie.
March 6, 2010
Meeting began at 1:07 PM
Treasurer’s Report $933.37 ($155 deposited in February)
Carol recognized that the statements made about FFRF’s association and support of the Secular Coalition for America at the last meeting were incorrect (out of date, as FFRF withdrew from SCA some months ago).
Jack announced he made a formal request of FFRF to explain their withdrawal from the Secular Coalition for America, but as of the meeting date FFRF had not responded.
Carol announced that SWiFT Elections were only two months away and that it was time for folks to consider what, if anything, they were capable of and willing to do. Expressing an interest and inquiring what certain jobs entail is a starting point.
Mark Machicich spoke about his book, GOD IS REDUNDANT, and indicated an excerpt would be posted on the SWiFT web site.
The bylaw amendment proposed by email in February was discussed and passed without opposition.
The SWiFT Bylaws now include the following:
CHANGES TO BYLAWS
These bylaws may be amended as follows:
a. Suggested changes or additions may be made by email by any member and sent to one of the co-facilitators;
b. The co-facilitator will then distribute suggested changes or additions to the membership through e-mail at least 15 days prior to a regularly scheduled SWiFT monthly meeting; and
c. The change as submitted will be voted on at the next Business Meeting, with a majority signaling group approval and mandating adoption.
The second half of Julia Sweeney’s monolog was viewed. Thanks to Mark from bringing his copy of LETTING GO OF GOD and his equipment.
Meeting adjourned at 3:15 and 9 folks gathered at Spring Garden for a meal afterward.
February 6, 2010
SWiFT Meeting called to order at 1:07 PM by Jack Holmes.
Attendance: Kurt Bocksenbaum, Linda Chapman, Carlene Ehlers, Richard Gleason, Jack Holmes, Gerard Johnson, Mark Michicich, Mick Reichle, Jim Reilly, Dennis Ryan, Carol Smith, Jim Stoke
Web Report: The new SWiFT website is about six months old. Tracking and analytics software revealed the following statistics:
249 Average number of daily visitors
2077 Most requests for individual pages made – November of 2009
Most people that visited the website typed in the actual address. For people that came to the website from a referring site, the ten top sites are listed below in descending order:
http://swift.humanists.net (old website)
http://www.swiftwisconsin.org (old website)
People visiting the website used the following web browsers in descending order:
Kurt will be analyzing the data to see if there are ways to improve saturation
Kurt announced his plans to complete a course of study and become certified as a Humanist Celebrant.
Kurt issued a challenge to the membership to send essays, book reports and/or photos for inclusion on the SWiFT web site, and to prepare book reports for monthly meetings.
Report of upcoming February events: Darwin Day activities in Milwaukee and Madison; Archaeology Lecture.
Field Trip: Jack reported about Skokie Ethical Culture visit made by Jack & Carol to hear Sean Fairchild, Executive Director of the Secular Coalition for America. A periodic field trip to Skokie was suggested.
New Business: Carol suggested that the SWiFT Bylaws be amended to reflect a period of time for advance notice of proposed bylaw changes. Those attending agreed that a 15 day window be proposed to the membership in the form of a bylaw amendment. Such an amendment will be announced to the membership at least 15 days prior to the March Meeting.
New and renewed memberships: Gerard Johnson, Dennis Ryan, Jim Stoke, Mr. & Mrs. Michicich, Carol Smith. Hats sold to Mark Michicich & Gerard Johnson.
The first half of Julia Sweeney’s Letting Go of God was viewed.
Meeting Adjourned 3:15PM
Spring Garden post meeting social: 9 in attendance.
January 2, 2010
Opened at 1:05
Announcements: New people welcomed & introduced to group.
Old Business: Members questioned if more info was obtained about bus signs or billboards. Need to look into with FFRF.
New Business: None.
We viewed the Book TV presentation of Richard Dawkins talking about his book, The Greatest Show on Earth, followed by discussion.
December 5, 2009
Start Time: shortly after 1 PM; adjournment, approximately 3:15 PM
Treasurer’s Report: balance $725.37 (Deposited in November $45.)
Gayle Kitchen’s opinion piece in the December 1 Journal Sentinel and comments about Salvation Army were shared. Gayle’s lyrics to the tune Holly Jolly Xmas were shared and sung.
Madison Human Light celebration will be December 23, 5 PM details on the web.
Darwin two pound coin available on eBay or from Carol
Ray Comfort’s book was the subject of a presentation by Professor Anj Petto at the UWM freethinker group meeting. He addressed Comfort’s factual errors. (Acopy of the comfort edition, signed by luminaries from Skepticon is up to $330 on eBay)
It was decided that the January meeting will be held on the first weekend for whomever is able to come, despite that January 2 is New Year’s holiday Weekend.
www.customcapsupply.com is the hat vendor, and an assortment of other items are available with the stitched logo.
Reports about FFRF convention in Seattle; Carol Smith and Ed Susterich
Carol shared her personal experiences of home hospitality and her favorite presentation, that of Dan Everett with a short reading from Don’t Sleep There Are Snakes. Ed reported on speakers and FFRF details, and shared extra copies of FREETHOUGHT TODAY, FFRF’s Private Line, speaker’s thumbnail bios, FFRF Legal Report , membership application, growth chart, holiday products, etc.
Next year’s FFRF Convention will be in Madison.
Dues collected: Mick (check $15.) Cash: Linda Chapman $15. Robert Beltran $15.
Hats sold: Mick Reichle $15. (check), AlSorenson $15 (to be deposited $75.)
Fred Steger (Fox)
James S. Stoke
John W. Webster
After adjournment a dozen people socialized at Spring Garden
November 7, 2009
Attendence: Jane F, Jack H, Kurt B, Patty G, Cobbie B, Jim R, Fred (Fox) S, Jim S, Carlene E, Jeff R, & Eric H.
Announcements: New sign-in sheets were provided and will be used at meetings, along with name tags to make recognizing each other’s names easier. All were encouraged to register on our new website, where members will have access to information not available to the general public.
Old Business: Reminder to invite speakers to meetings this year: a representative from Funeral Consumers Alliance to talk about planning secular funerals; and a liberal Roman Catholic priest to talk about his experiences and thoughts on religion. Also a reminder to check on getting a venue for Dan Barker to debate a religionist, possibly at UWM.
New Business: Talked about putting together a Human Light celebration – perhaps at the December social on the third Thursday. Opportunities to volunteer in the community were also discussed (volunteering at a homeless shelter or meal site, or collecting coats or food).
Miscellaneous: Patty G, our AAI representative and AAI VP reported on the Annual Board Meeting & Convention that she attended.
Cobbie B talked to the group about his experiences being raised a Mormon.
The meeting adjourned at 3:30.
October 3, 2009
Attendance: Carlene, Charles Gottschalk, Kurt Hildebrand, Kurt Bocksenbaum, Carol Smith, Krystal Raymond (UW Whitewater), Phauxe Kitsune, Gail Kitchen, Bev & Al Sorenson, Jim Reilly, Jim Stokes, Jack Holmes, guest.
Treasurers report: Balance as of July 29: $1196.08; balance as of September 30 $550.37. Expenditures during that time included internet domain and SWiFT caps.
Jack reported on Fighting Bob Fest, speakers, purpose, history
Patty Guzikowski has agreed to give a 2009 AAI convention report in November after which a video may be viewed. If there is interest, a report on the FFRF convention could be given by Carol in December.
Kurt: Explained vendor’s catalog (no minimum; single items may be ordered in any size/color). Cost of hats to SWiFT: $13.34 each, and it was agreed that $15 would be the price to members (18. to non members). Kurt will work on a SWiFT flyer.
Carol related an interest the Parkside people have in hosting Mikey Weinstein and their inquiring if SWiFT would be interested in co-sponsorship. Their inquiry prompted contacting Weinstein’s organization (which is not MAAF, but MRFF [Military Religious Freedom Foundation]) to see if they would address specifics of date, cost and other details. They would not. Carol’s suggestion is to research well alternative speakers if we wish to use our limited resources for honorarium purposes.
From Charles: Funeral Consumer Alliance of Milwaukee: reduced prices for members; secular funerals.
From Jane: a Catholic priest she knows
From Gayle: A liberal nun or a non-believer Chinese person she knows (topic focus to be separation of church and state)
From Kurt: Dan Barker in a larger capacity with a larger venue, perhaps structured as a debate. It was suggested that co-sponsorship with the UW student group would be advantageous and would provide UWM venue access.
From Kurt Hildebrand: a Muslim friend from India
Other suggestions: Church of Spiritual humanism; Universal Life Church
A book exchange was suggested in September.
Discussion of billboard campaigns. It was suggested that donations earmarked for a billboard fund could be solicited from members and nonmembers and that it would be a good idea to research the prospective costs. (Someone agreed to inquire—was it Al or Kurt B?)
It was announced that UW student group met and chose a name which was not available. It was suggested that Eric be contacted for details.
We need a new rubber stamp as the old one includes the old URL.
Money collected October 3
$20 Carlene (cash)
$20 Jane (cash)
$15 Jack (rec’d in mail October 6)
$15 Jim Reilly
$15 Kurt Hildebrand
Totals: Memberships $45; Caps: $70
Attendance: Jane Francis, Jack Holmes, Kurt Bocksenbaum, Jeff Reese, Eric Hildeman, Jim Stokes, Jim Reilly, Carol Smith
Action: The Bylaw Change Motion presented to the co-facilitators by Kurt Bocksenbaum was considered in the alternate-word form suggested by Carol Smith in SWiFT-NEWS of August 21, 2009 and passed without opposition:
SWiFT Membership is opened to anyone who supports SWiFT Operating Principles and Objectives and who pays annual dues, amount to be determined by majority vote at a scheduled business meeting. The treasurer will be responsible for collecting and maintaining a record of annual dues.
Webmaster position: Kurt Bocksenbaum’s efforts and position as webmaster recognized. Jane indicated Kurt was reimbursed for expenditures made on behalf of the SWiFT web site.
Kurt’s report included:
Kurt will act as interim publicist until the post is filled by someone capable and willing to serve.
The SWiFT web site is the property of SWiFT and resides in cyberspace, not on anyone’s personal computer. It has a “G” rating. Kurt is open and interested in feedback about the appearance and function of the web site. Jane and Jack will be provided a PDF file with information and instructions regarding maintenance of the web site, including detail on how to change content.
A benefit of SWiFT membership will be having an email account with SWiFTnow.org such accounts to have unlimited email, photo storage, and the capacity to import eddress lists. Members in good standing may contact Kurt about these benefits at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blogging : Members in good standing will be able to initiate posts on the SWiFT blog. Non-members will be able to respond to, but not initiate topics, upon registering with the blog.
SWiFT ‘business cards’ were distributed for use by SWiFT members.
Kurt displayed his new SWiFT baseball cap. An expenditure to cover the order of a dozen caps was authorized and the caps will be available for sale upon receipt.
Kurt agreed to provide announcement about publicity and hats for email distribution.
Keeping separate lists to reflect *members, *friends (and perhaps a combined list)
Posting SWiFT information such as bylaws and notes from meetings in venues only accessible to members.
Benefits/privileges of Membership
Membership in email@example.com
Email account with swiftnow.org eddress
Kurt’s recent LtE in the Journal Sentinel. Posting such material on the web site and the yahoogroup As resource material for others who are interested in participating in efforts to make freethought and SWiFT more visible in the community at large with the purpose of destroying the “cloak of invisibility” of freethought in general and our organization in particular.
Jeff Reese mentioned the Care2 Network. [http://www.care2.com ]
Eric Hildeman announced that there was a new student freethought organization at UWMilwaukee which will be formalizing its name and presence soon. He was unsure of the name of the faculty sponsor.
Meeting was adjourned at 3:15 PM