Holy crap, major shakeup at the JREF

DJ Grothe is out, and the Los Angeles office is closed.

In order to achieve cost-savings and greater efficiency, the Los Angeles office of the JREF has closed effective September 1, 2014. All operations have been moved to Falls Church, Virginia.

DJ Grothe is no longer with the JREF. James Randi has taken over as acting President.

This restructuring is part of an enhanced educational agenda aimed at inspiring an investigative spirit in a new generation of critical thinkers by engaging children and their parents, as well as educators and the general public, in how to think about the many extraordinary claims we hear every day.

More: they’re cutting the JREF forums loose.

The time for change has come. The long-running JREF online Forum at forums.randi.org is soon to head off on its own. 

JREF staff is in the midst of arranging a transition to a new owner. Various people are currently working to preserve the integrity of the forum content to the greatest extent possible with the privacy concerns of users in mind.

Well, that was abrupt. There is no hint about what the board is thinking, or what direction they’re planning to take, other than that vague “enhanced educational agenda”.

I’d make a joke about them only engaging in this drama for the traffic and attention, but this is a rather serious change in direction for them. I hope we’ll be seeing a new and better JREF. One positive hint is that Adam Savage joined the board this past summer, and that may be part of the change in focus.


Here’s one obvious reason:

JREF Revenue: 2011: $1.56M, 2012: $1.29M, 2013: $887.5K.

They’re down to 60% of their 2011 revenue. That’s a good reason to change directions.

It’s Labor Day!

And here to celebrate unions and labor is…an incoherent union-hating Republican. Watch Sarah Palin strain to be cute and bubbly and enthusiastic about socialist ideas — you can just see her brain breaking as she tries to paint a happy conservative face on progressive ideals.

Man, I’ve been cruelly slamming you with painful videos this morning, haven’t I? I should stop. I think I’ll go work with my fish for a while.


Good idea in the comments: here’s an antidote.

Did you know teaching is a skill?

It really is. I will readily confess that the professoriate doesn’t give it much appreciation either — we’re all just tossed straight into the classroom with negligible preparation — but at least we’ve got a kind of Darwinian mode going on to weed out the worst. Jonnny Scaramanga has a guest post from someone who was subjected to Christian fundamentalist education. It’s ugly.

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“What I really admire about you black folk…”

If you ever find yourself using that line, thinking it excuses you from accusations of racism, stop. Just stop. Think about what you are doing: you are taking a diverse group of people, categorizing them by the color of their skin, and are about to make a sweeping generalization about all of them.

You know what that is? It’s racism.

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Bugs Bunny has a little integrity

The old Warner Bros. cartoons have become increasingly painful to watch — so much racism, so much sexism. So what do you do? Throw the old classics in the trash? Pretend entertainment has always been fair and egalitarian? Warner Bros. is preceding the old cartoons with a disclaimer.

The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were common in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the Warner Bros. view of today's society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.

The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were common in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the Warner Bros. view of today’s society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.

That’s an appropriate response, but I think I’d still rather not watch some of those efforts from the 1940s at all.

Another curiosity

I was just drinking some “vitamin water,” and noticed on the label that it says it is “naturally sweetened.”

I suddenly have a craving for something that is unnaturally sweetened. Can anyone tell me where to score some?

Can I also get that without any chemicals in it?