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Tags D.J. Grothe , jref

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Old 1st September 2014, 01:56 PM   #1
hardindr
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LA JREF office closes, D.J. Grothe no longer with the JREF

I was very surprised to hear this. Not sure what to make of it all...

http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/...ce-closed.html
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Old 1st September 2014, 02:05 PM   #2
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Just read that on Facebook. I note this page has been updated. Only James Randi is on it. http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/staff.html. The financial position must be pretty bad if Randi is the only staff member. There used to be five names on that list. That is apart from Sharon Hill who is still not mentioned on the page I linked.
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Old 1st September 2014, 02:17 PM   #3
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Do not like.

DJ has done an incredible job. He really made TAM a great event, actively including diverse speakers and injecting fresh new programming.

This news makes me worry about his work being undone. And I was already a little worried about Savage being added to the board—only for his friendship with Skepchicks and seeming obliviousness to the problematic/poisonous SJW faction of skepticism.

Will Skepchicks return to TAM, now?

Hopefully not. But I imagine they and FTB are already writing their celebratory drama blog posts...
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Old 1st September 2014, 02:48 PM   #4
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Wow! I hope the last person out of the foundation remembers to turn the lights off.
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Old 1st September 2014, 02:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ztarr View Post
DJ has done an incredible job. He really made TAM a great event, actively including diverse speakers and injecting fresh new programming.
TAM was a great event before DJ and hopefully will continue to be in the future.
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Old 1st September 2014, 02:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ztarr View Post
Do not like.

DJ has done an incredible job. He really made TAM a great event, actively including diverse speakers and injecting fresh new programming.
When DJ took over the entire JREF staff was gone within a year. Those that replaced them did not stick around long. That should tell you something.
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Old 1st September 2014, 03:07 PM   #7
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I hope this is good news. I would like nothing more than to resume my admiration of James Randi that DJ Grothe destroyed so completely. Maybe attending a TAM again might be kind of fun, too! I missed both.
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Old 1st September 2014, 03:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Ztarr View Post
Will Skepchicks return to TAM, now?

Hopefully not. But I imagine they and FTB are already writing their celebratory drama blog posts...
Sara, is that you?

But seriously, though, you can almost hear the social justice legions clamouring with joy and trying to figure out whom to target next.
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Old 1st September 2014, 03:28 PM   #9
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Hmmm. I hope this is for the better. Not much else I can say for now.
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Old 1st September 2014, 04:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Ztarr View Post
Do not like.

DJ has done an incredible job. He really made TAM a great event, actively including diverse speakers and injecting fresh new programming.
TAM was a great event before DJ was ever involved with the JREF. Whether it will continue to be one is up to the JREF.

Quote:
This news makes me worry about his work being undone. And I was already a little worried about Savage being added to the board—only for his friendship with Skepchicks and seeming obliviousness to the problematic/poisonous SJW faction of skepticism.

Will Skepchicks return to TAM, now?

Hopefully not. But I imagine they and FTB are already writing their celebratory drama blog posts...
I find it amusing that the only thing you really care about is the opinions of people you don't like.
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Old 1st September 2014, 04:56 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Ztarr View Post
DJ has done an incredible job. He really made TAM a great event, actively including diverse speakers and injecting fresh new programming.
Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
TAM was a great event before DJ and hopefully will continue to be in the future.
I should clarify that TAM was great before DJ and continued to be while he was there. In fact, TAM XII (2014) was among the best.
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Old 1st September 2014, 06:15 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
Just read that on Facebook. I note this page has been updated. Only James Randi is on it. http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/staff.html. The financial position must be pretty bad if Randi is the only staff member. There used to be five names on that list. That is apart from Sharon Hill who is still not mentioned on the page I linked.
IIRC, recent financials have been under 1M each year, and dropping. Randi's salary was around 250K per year, and DJ's was around 100K.

With the change in direction (whatever that is), I suspect they decided that 100K can be used much better elsewhere.
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Old 1st September 2014, 06:20 PM   #13
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Nice article on Randi published yesterday in the Miami Herald, and featured on JREF home page. I wonder why the lengthy piece by Glenn Garvin contains no mention of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF).

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/08/3...VNNfU0.twitter
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Old 1st September 2014, 06:21 PM   #14
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I hope everything is okay, and the JREF continues on in a great way.
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Old 1st September 2014, 07:40 PM   #15
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Here's my prediction on TAM: the JREF will make a deal with Michael Schermer. Schermer will organize TAM next year "for" the JREF and take half of any money raised for the Skeptics Society. Eventually it will be a joint event and when the inevitable happens with The Amazing One TAM will become a 100% Skeptics Society event.
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Old 1st September 2014, 07:43 PM   #16
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No.
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Old 1st September 2014, 07:51 PM   #17
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Certainly, I hope the best for the JREF...but it really seems that things are going downhill. Staff changes have been too frequent, which will severely disrupt long-term planning and organization. And I think that some recent policies, as well as reactions of senior members of the JREF to certain situations, have served to damage the organization's reputation, and isolate it somewhat from other individuals and organizations within the skeptical community.

I'm speaking as an outsider, and am not privy to everything that's going on there...but certainly, at least from the outside perspective, things seem to have been on a rather consistent downward trend.
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Old 1st September 2014, 07:52 PM   #18
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And what does it say that in almost six hours there have only been 17 and (now 18)
posts on what is maybe the most important JREF related post in years? The lack of interest is palpable.
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Old 1st September 2014, 07:57 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by TsarBomba View Post
And what does it say that in almost six hours there have only been 17 and (now 18)
posts on what is maybe the most important JREF related post in years? The lack of interest is palpable.
Given that the Forum-that-used-to-be-the-"JREF-Forum" has been booted to the curb by the selfsame JREF, in what way is the soap opera of internal tsuris "important"?
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Old 1st September 2014, 08:01 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Slowvehicle View Post
Given that the Forum-that-used-to-be-the-"JREF-Forum" has been booted to the curb by the selfsame JREF, in what way is the soap opera of internal tsuris "important"?
I believe you have made my point for me.
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Old 1st September 2014, 08:12 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by TsarBomba View Post
And what does it say that in almost six hours there have only been 17 and (now 18)
posts on what is maybe the most important JREF related post in years? The lack of interest is palpable.
In all fairness, this is one of the smaller subforums and a lot of people may not read it as it updates infrequently.
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Old 1st September 2014, 08:12 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by TsarBomba View Post
I believe you have made my point for me.
Thank you for that cogent, lucid, and fruitful explanation as to why I should be interested in the thrashings of an organization of which I am not a part, and which has no interest in me.

No, seriously. Thanks.
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Old 1st September 2014, 08:21 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by TsarBomba View Post
Here's my prediction on TAM: the JREF will make a deal with Michael Schermer. Schermer will organize TAM next year "for" the JREF and take half of any money raised for the Skeptics Society. Eventually it will be a joint event and when the inevitable happens with The Amazing One TAM will become a 100% Skeptics Society event.
Is that a bad thing? I went to a Shermer conference in 2004 at CalTech. It was well run, although only one day, IIRC.
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Old 1st September 2014, 08:26 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by TsarBomba View Post
Here's my prediction on TAM: the JREF will make a deal with Michael Schermer. Schermer will organize TAM next year "for" the JREF and take half of any money raised for the Skeptics Society. Eventually it will be a joint event and when the inevitable happens with The Amazing One TAM will become a 100% Skeptics Society event.
Safe prediction. It's already a joint event co-sponsored by Shermer's Skeptic Society the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, since 2010.

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Old 1st September 2014, 08:35 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Safe prediction. It's already a joint event co-sponsored by Shermer's Skeptic Society the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, since 2010.
Where are you seeing that?
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Old 1st September 2014, 08:37 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
Where are you seeing that?
My source was the The Amaz!ng Meeting article at Wikipedia. They cite:

http://www.csicop.org/specialarticle...mazing_meeting

Not correct?

ETA: And the horses mouth: http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/...sor-tam8-.html

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Old 1st September 2014, 08:42 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
My source was the The Amaz!ng Meeting article at Wikipedia. They cite:

http://www.csicop.org/specialarticle...mazing_meeting

Not correct?
Oh - yeah, that doesn't mean it was a joint event. They were just sponsors. Was I even still there in 2010? I don't recall. But no, to my knowledge, TAM has never been a joint event with anyone, and nothing on the TAM site indicates that's changed.
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Old 1st September 2014, 08:47 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Denver View Post
IIRC, recent financials have been under 1M each year, and dropping. Randi's salary was around 250K per year, and DJ's was around 100K.

With the change in direction (whatever that is), I suspect they decided that 100K can be used much better elsewhere.
These are the JREF's (publicly available) federal tax forms for the last three years. Could someone with some tax and accounting experience assess what they say about the state of the JREF's finances? It looks like it holds assets in the neighborhood of $2 million (not a bad neighborhood for a small non-profit), takes in revenue of more than $1 million a year (spending most of it), and has few liabilities.
http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990...201312_990.pdf
http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990...201212_990.pdf
http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990...201112_990.pdf
http://990finder.foundationcenter.or...y=&action=Find
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Old 1st September 2014, 08:48 PM   #29
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From talking to various people involved, I was led to believe that the Skeptic Society was a little more than a "sponsor". Although I (or the people who told me that) could be mistaken.
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Old 1st September 2014, 08:48 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
Oh - yeah, that doesn't mean it was a joint event. They were just sponsors.
OK. Is that an important distinction? Seems to me that providing money, promotion and speakers is pretty close to joint. If the distinction is that JREF had final say in the program, then I wouldn't think that's too relevant to how current changes might affect the near future of TAM. Seems to me those two other organizations have enough inside knowledge of TAM to be capable of taking it over or bigger role, even if they aren't currently "joint", whatever that means.

I should point out that I don't necessarily see TAM falling apart due to any changes. The latest TAMs don't seem to be falling apart (not that I've gotten to see them firsthand).

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Old 1st September 2014, 09:04 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
OK. Is that an important distinction? Seems to me that providing money, promotion and speakers is pretty close to joint. If the distinction is that JREF had final say in the program, then I wouldn't think that's too relevant to how current changes might affect the near future of TAM. Seems to me those two other organizations have enough inside knowledge of TAM to be capable of taking it over or bigger role, even if they aren't currently "joint", whatever that means.

I should point out that I don't necessarily see TAM falling apart due to any changes. The latest TAMs don't seem to be falling apart (not that I've gotten to see them firsthand).
Well, again, I don't know if the JREF has something special going on with them (though really, they don't appear to from the TAM site), but I do work in the trade show/expo/conference industry still, and sponsoring (at its most basic level) just means paying to have your logo on something. Like pens that are given out in gift bags. Or on the tote bags themselves. Anyone who is exhibiting can sponsor, and it doesn't indicate a special relationship other than you paid the organization money to slap your logo on something.

Speaking at an event doesn't really indicate a special relationship, either. "Providing speakers" is the wrong term. People WANT to speak at events. And when/if they do, of course they'll promote the event too. Like... let's see, who all was it... I think it was just me and Jeff and Randi all presented at DragonCon for a couple of years. The JREF wasn't "providing" speakers. We all wanted to speak at DragonCon, and filled out applications, and were approved through their process. If the JREF had sponsored DragonCon, it would've just meant cutting them a check to have a banner hanging somewhere or whatever.
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Old 1st September 2014, 09:28 PM   #32
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I don't know if you saw my edit with the post from the Swift log. That post described the situation as TAM being sponsored by the three main US Skeptic organizations with JREF being one of them. Made it sound like they were on somewhat equal footing. But I see the original announcement in the Swift log, issue by JREF staff, described the two other organizations, not the JREF, as being sponsors. I suppose the later Swift post was a misinterpretation.
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Old 1st September 2014, 09:54 PM   #33
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So is it now obvious that the JREF is in dire straits and is looking to get rid of the Forum as soon as possible?

TAM is either a going concern in its own right, or it isn't.

It's obvious the MDC served its purpose decades ago. Keeping $1mm in a bespoke account just to debunk VFF? Really? The Challenge has long since outlived its purpose.

The Forum never really had a purpose; or if it did, that purpose died in infancy.
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Old 1st September 2014, 10:02 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
So is it now obvious that the JREF is in dire straits and is looking to get rid of the Forum as soon as possible?

TAM is either a going concern in its own right, or it isn't.
Not sure I've seen any evidence that has to be interpreted as "dire straits". Financials are posted a few posts back and they don't sound bad to me.

Getting rid of the forum could be just getting rid of a nuisance.

And despite the talk about who could take TAM over there is, as yet, no reason to think it is to be taken over. That's speculation at this point.
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Old 1st September 2014, 10:31 PM   #35
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I'm pretty sure the only reason there was an office in LA at all was because that's where DJ is. "Closing the office" just follows from him leaving. So... Yeah, I don't think it necessarily indicates the JREF is disappearing.
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Old 1st September 2014, 10:32 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Nuisance to whom? James Randi doesn't understand it and doesn't care. Who else is left at the JREF who might know enough about the Forum to be annoyed by it, except as a drain on finances?
It was a nuisance because it HAD to be updated and was going to cost and no one gives a crap about its existence.
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Old 1st September 2014, 11:26 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
It was a nuisance because it HAD to be updated and was going to cost and no one gives a crap about its existence.
Oh, the costs were going to be minimal, as we've seen. They just saved ten or twelve fold that on DJ's salary. The forums were a nuisance, like a prehensile tail would be to someone who wears button down suits all day. They just couldn't see the utility of the damned thing or what use to put it to. If I found that I was growing a prehensile tail, one option would be to have it surgically removed. The other might be to ask a spider monkey for a few tips.
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Old 1st September 2014, 11:46 PM   #38
zooterkin
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While not privy to any inside information, there's been enough rumblings for it not to be a complete surprise that DJ and the JREF have parted company. What is surprising is the wording of the announcement. Not a word of thanks for the years of service from the outgoing President? How classless can you get?

Quote:
Written by JREFAdmin
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.

Contact the JREF at:
James Randi Educational Foundation
2941 Fairview Park Drive, Suite 105
Falls Church, VA 22042
JREF@Randi.Org
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Old 1st September 2014, 11:51 PM   #39
Aepervius
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Originally Posted by Slowvehicle View Post
Given that the Forum-that-used-to-be-the-"JREF-Forum" has been booted to the curb by the selfsame JREF, in what way is the soap opera of internal tsuris "important"?
As an artist it prefers to be named the "The forum Formerly Known as JREF" .
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Old 2nd September 2014, 12:50 AM   #40
arthwollipot
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Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
Oh, the costs were going to be minimal, as we've seen. They just saved ten or twelve fold that on DJ's salary. The forums were a nuisance, like a prehensile tail would be to someone who wears button down suits all day. They just couldn't see the utility of the damned thing or what use to put it to. If I found that I was growing a prehensile tail, one option would be to have it surgically removed. The other might be to ask a spider monkey for a few tips.
Man, I'd love to have a prehensile tail. That would be so cool!
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