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JREF Swift Blog
Swift, named for Jonathan Swift, is the JREF's daily blog, featuring content from James Randi, the JREF staff, and other featured authors.

Sanjay Gupta Unfit? PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

guptaJim Todd, asks us to consider that Sanjay Gupta, medical rock star of the media, may not be the best choice for Surgeon General:

CNN reports that Sanjay Gupta, who has actively promoted facilitated communication as a valid and useful communication method, is being considered for United States Surgeon General.

This is indeed a concern. Randi and others have railed for years against the nonsense that is facilitated communication, or FC, which involves a practitioner grabbing the hand of a non-communicative patient, and "facilitating" their pointing out words to make sentences.

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R.I.P. Senator Pell PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

claibornepellThe media has not been very kind to the memory of former U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, who died last week in his 91st year. They recalled his odd obsession with UFOs, "remote viewing," ESP, "backward masking," and the spoonbender Uri Geller - who he firmly believed had psychic powers. 

I trust that they will remember the student grant program that bears his name, and which helped so many students to obtain educations that might otherwise have been lost to them.

Pell's interest in ESP was so important to him that he assigned a Senate staffer to keep him posted on the subject. In 1987, Pell invited Uri Geller to Washington to put out "good vibrations" to Premier Mikhail Gorbachev. The New York Times obituary noted:

Mr. Pell's eccentricities and his ability to laugh at himself endeared him to colleagues and constituents.

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Your Insurance Rates Just Went Up PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Harriet Hall   

This article about insurance payments for Reiki appeared on a Reiki website.

A major concern among Reiki practitioners has been the inability to bill client's insurance companies for treatments. However, today there are avenues available to the practitioner. A nurse who practices Reiki and wishes to bill an insurance company for a treatment may use the diagnostic code 1.8 - Energy Field Disturbance. The diagnostic code may only be used by nurses and is recognized by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association. The bill should be accompanied with a separate sheet setting forth the assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation. This information may be found in the Official Newsletter of the American Holistic Nurse's Association (Vol. 15-No. 4, April 1995)

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In The News PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by James Randi   

Critics of John Travolta's church, the Church of Scientology, are claiming that his 16-year-old son Jett was autistic and was not given the proper diagnosis and/or treatments because Scientology disapproves of psychiatric and drug treatment of autism, also rejecting psychiatry as a pseudoscience. Jett died last week while on holiday with his parents, apparently from a fall in the hotel bathroom. In 2007, Ocala, Florida, restaurant manager Tim Kenny, the father of an autistic child himself, and who committed suicide in March of last year at age 41, said he'd asked Travolta what special treatment Jett was getting:

As one autistic child's father to another, I asked him if he was doing anything special in terms of therapy for Jett. Travolta responded, "Well, we involve him in the arts"... Scientology is keeping him from acknowledging his son's autism. They see it as a weakness.

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Dowsing for Everything PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   

We've encountered an endless line of dowsers eager to show their "abilities" to dowse for water, people, gold, explosives, graves.. and in one case, the ability to dowse for a circle drawn in chalk. There are number of different techniques, but so far, all of these claims have had one thing in common: they haven't stood up to the Million Dollar Challenge. That is to say, when exposed to the light of a controlled experiment, they fail. 

Despite this, many people and the media continue to think of dowsing as a real phenomenon. A search of Google News shows dozens of hits in the news for dowsing. Most are the same old thing, but this Evansville (Indiana) Courier and Press report about Duane Walker caught my attention.

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