Derek Rogers ran into the JREF crew at the recent CFI World Congress in DC. He had an interesting answer to the question "What should you do when Syvlia Browne comes to town?" Derek and his friends at the Skeptics and Secularists of Atlantic Canada decided to attend. He gives us this very interesting, if somewhat disheartening report:
Sylvia Browne is well-known to readers of Swift. Like all professional mediums, she makes a living on the grief, pain and desperation of people who are usually blissfully ignorant of cold reading, Barnum statements and the tendency of the human mind to see what it wants to see. The best way to combat ignorance is through education and when Sylvia announced that she would be coming to Halifax, Nova Scotia as part of her latest tour – a farewell tour, apparently (let's hope she's not like Cher) – the Skeptics and Secularists of Atlantic Canada decided to give her audience some information that could save them future heartache and empty wallets.
Due to popular demand, I'd like to announce the return of the "Randigram." This weekly e-mail newsletter will keep you up to date with the latest JREF News, Randi Speaks videos, and Swift articles written by JREF associates.
This notice appeared on Craigslist, where stranger things have not often shown up. It purports to be a casting call... I ask you to read it, and make comments on how the beleaguered "world-renown" medium would be able to come up with any details about the subject victim...
CASTING: TALK TO THE DEAD - FREE PSYCHIC READING
WOULD YOU LIKE TO COMMUNICATE WITH THE OTHER SIDE?
UPDATE:According to the LA Times, the sentencing has been pushed back until June 11th. Maybe some sanity will settle out by then.
Randi takes a different tone this time as a recent letter has shown that his adopted country is sometimes less than compassionate. Are politics more important than people? Maybe, but it shouldn't be that way.
From Randi -
Understand this: I heartily endorse and accept marijuana use for medical purposes; research has clearly shown that it works efficiently in that role, and brings comfort and relief to the suffering. As a result of this stated conditional acceptance, I have been approached by those who advocate general use of the substance on the same level that tobacco enjoys. Generally, this makes sense to me, except that if its use were to bring with it the same dreadful health penalties that accompany tobacco, I would be reluctant to accept that. I am not a drug user, I have never even been inebriated. That is my personal choice, and I feel that other persons should also enjoy freedom of choice, even if taxes are imposed on that freedom in order to legislate it; I don’t want out-of-control drivers threatening my safety, for example.
The Amaz!ng Meeting will be even more amazing this year when we invite you, the JREF's fantastic supporters, to take the stage and show the audience that you've got talent oozing out of your eyeballs!
On Saturday, 11 July 2009, join us for the very first talent show ever held at TAM - The Ham Party. Either apply to be part of the talent by e-mailing Alison Smith and AB Kovacs, or register for $15 as part of your TAM registration package to participate in this fun event. We'll also be selling tickets at the door, so if you can't register in advance, don't worry!
There will be a cash bar on-hand to suit your party needs or calm your nerves, and rumor has it that JREF staff may even take the stage to showcase their own talents.
The entire event will be hosted by George Hrab, so you'll be getting a concert as well!
There are only ten spaces available for talent, so apply now! The top three winners (chosen by Applause-O-Meter) will be awarded wonderful prizes. Applications will only be accepted until May 1st, so hurry!
Remember: You must e-mail both Alison (Alison@randi.org) and A (firstname.lastname@example.org) for consideration.