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Old 2nd September 2014, 06:45 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
I'm not sure that the million is technically an asset of the JREF. Doesn't it belong to Rick Adams, but it's under a bond or some such instrument that says it will be paid if someone passed the MDC?
It's listed on the 990 as an asset of the JREF. It is encumbered in that AFAIK under the terms of the donation it can only be used to pay off an MDC winner, but the income goes to the JREF and not to Rick Adams.

ETA: Page 11, line 28 of the 2013 990; it is listed as a "temporarily restricted" asset.

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Old 2nd September 2014, 06:50 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
I'm not sure that the million is technically an asset of the JREF. Doesn't it belong to Rick Adams, but it's under a bond or some such instrument that says it will be paid if someone passed the MDC?
The 990 filings indicate it is a (restricted) asset of the JREF.

Also, it looks like in 2013 JR took a pretty big drop in compensation too (down from 250K to high 190sK), while DJ was about the same at about 100K.

Originally Posted by Bob001 View Post
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 2nd September 2014, 06:54 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
That doesn't answer my question. Without the expertise of DJ and Thomas, who is left that knows how to line everything up to make a major conference happen?
I have no idea.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 07:19 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
That doesn't answer my question. Without the expertise of DJ and Thomas, who is left that knows how to line everything up to make a major conference happen?

For that matter, why believe that the board still wants TAM to happen? It's difficult to see how it supports training young students.
What about it do you think requires expertise? I think it was at the last one I was involved in that they hired a stage manager, if that's what you mean.

For venue type things, they have all the contracts with South Point from the last few years.

Outside of that, it's really just budget and scheduling. Hell, for six and seven, I was in charge of booking almost all the speakers, and I hadn't the foggiest what I was doing.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 07:26 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by jhunter1163 View Post
It's listed on the 990 as an asset of the JREF. It is encumbered in that AFAIK under the terms of the donation it can only be used to pay off an MDC winner, but the income goes to the JREF and not to Rick Adams.

ETA: Page 11, line 28 of the 2013 990; it is listed as a "temporarily restricted" asset.
Fair enough, I stand corrected.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 07:27 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
What about it do you think requires expertise? I think it was at the last one I was involved in that they hired a stage manager, if that's what you mean.

For venue type things, they have all the contracts with South Point from the last few years.

Outside of that, it's really just budget and scheduling. Hell, for six and seven, I was in charge of booking almost all the speakers, and I hadn't the foggiest what I was doing.
Given your recent trip to the UK, you must admit that some expertise is required to put on a successful conference.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 07:29 AM   #87
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LA JREF office closes, D.J. Grothe no longer with the JREF

Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
What about it do you think requires expertise?

Ok, point taken. Expertise is the wrong word. Experience, then. You must know how much can go wrong in the planning phases. One time the con I was working for had a speaker demand that another speaker be disinvited, for example. Thrice we've had speakers bail at the last minute, most recently on the day she was scheduled to speak.

Just getting everyone on the same page was a massive chore, not to mention the sponsors. Thank god I've a day job.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 07:46 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Given your recent trip to the UK, you must admit that some expertise is required to put on a successful conference.
Oh sure - but that's the type of expertise you get by looking at a piece of paper detailing last year's TAM. With the UK, the problem was that the organizer believed that if he had all of these celebs there, tons of people would buy tickets and he would be able to pay 39 separate presenters their (sometimes rather high) fees. It didn't play out, though. He needed 900 tickets sold to pay everyone, and only 200 advance ones did sell.

Since there was no organization behind the con (like the JREF is behind TAM) there was nowhere else to pull money from.

Whoever takes over will have years and years of data illustrating the cost of TAM, including travel expenses for speakers, printing costs, venue costs, honorariums, etc. They can just say to South Point "give us the same setup as last year".

Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
Ok, point taken. Expertise is the wrong word. Experience, then. You must know how much can go wrong in the planning phases. One time the con I was working for had a speaker demand that another speaker be disinvited, for example. Thrice we've had speakers bail at the last minute, most recently on the day she was scheduled to speak.

Just getting everyone on the same page was a massive chore, not to mention the sponsors. Thank god I've a day job.
Sure - don't get me wrong, there are lots of things that can blow up in one's face. The live MDC event is one of mine, and the first time I tried to include it on the TAM program was at 5.5 - not 6 (which is the first one where I actually did make it happen, if I'm remembering the numbers right). The guy at 5.5 just never showed. The entire time he said he was coming - even had a flight confirmation. I thought there was no way on earth he wasn't going to be there. And then he wasn't (thanks, James Dawson, I still remember your damn name).

I can't remember if my next attempt at live MDC was at DragonCon, or if me pulling off the real one was in the interim, but the person didn't show up for the DragonCon one, either.

In both the 5.5 case and the DragonCon case, we had a discussion about the MDC instead. And, for the DragonCon one, we brought along a full dowsing test setup for audience participation.

But this is easy stuff - you just speak to your workshop leaders and say "We'd like to also have you at the ready to participate in the general program". A very good percentage of even the audience at TAM is involved in some kind of formal critical thinking, so failing absolutely everything else, you could just point into the audience and say "Now let's hear from you!"

I can't imagine that whoever takes over running TAM is going to have zero experience in events. Keep in mind that just in the past few years the functional leader of the JREF changed from Randi to Jeff to Phil to DJ and nothing has burst into flames.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 07:52 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
I can't imagine that whoever takes over running TAM is going to have zero experience in events.
I suppose we'll wait and see who that turns out to be.

Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
Keep in mind that just in the past few years the functional leader of the JREF changed from Randi to Jeff to Phil to DJ and nothing has burst into flames.

The Crown Victoria we took on our honeymoon never burst into flames for many years. Until, one day, it did.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 08:07 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by d4m10n View Post
The Crown Victoria we took on our honeymoon never burst into flames for many years. Until, one day, it did.
Well, until TAM bursts into flames, we'll continue to enjoy it.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 08:13 AM   #91
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It will be interesting to see if TAM continues.

I went to TAM 4 because JREF held special significance for me; but I will likely not attend a dedicated conference put on by other skeptic organizations that I do not belong to and/or interact with at all. I would much prefer something like Dragon Con - where there's a set of skeptic-related talks and activities inside a much larger event that also appeals to other interests of mine.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 08:16 AM   #92
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This is so strange, I'd always assumed the whole thing would keep going forever with Randy at the head, perhaps "present but not voting" à la Jeremy Bentham.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 09:58 AM   #93
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How many staff are left at JREF? I am always concerned when the head of an organization is in his mid-80's, with no obvious replacement on the horizon.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 10:02 AM   #94
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Old 2nd September 2014, 10:15 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by WillyWonka View Post
How many staff are left at JREF? I am always concerned when the head of an organization is in his mid-80's, with no obvious replacement on the horizon.
0, if you don't count Randi (who is a board member).
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Old 2nd September 2014, 02:15 PM   #96
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Originally Posted by Blue Mountain View Post
From what I can see George Hrab is still active in the skeptical community. He's been on SGU podcast and has been an MC at (I think) TAM in the past year.

My understanding from listening to Skepticality (co-hosted by Derek and Swoopy) is that Swoopy is studying full-time at university and simply does not have the time assist in the production of the podcast.

If you have different information, you're welcome to present it.
They both continue niche roles, largely motivated (IMO) by social considerations. On the wider public front they have beaten a retreat.

Hrab is on the record (on his podcast) as saying that he has come under considerable pressure to fall into line but that he intends to avoid the current skeptical colouring - Geologic will reflect his music interests and simple atheism. There is a Facebook screen grab on the pit where he shares his real thoughts on PZ and Rebecca. My point is that far from accelerating his influence in A/S he is carefully folding his wings and offering a lower target profile.

Derek interviewed Swoopy for a zero ending anniversary episode of Skepticality recently. She made it clear that she had no interest in returning to the podcast and referenced the existing problems as context. She didn't elaborate 'which' side bemused her most. A once shining and enthusiastic proponent of A/S has winked out to her wider audience.

Tl;dr - both Hrab and Swoopy have publicly recoiled due to the schism with obvious impact on their profile growth.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 03:51 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Brive1987 View Post
They both continue niche roles, largely motivated (IMO) by social considerations. On the wider public front they have beaten a retreat.

Hrab is on the record (on his podcast) as saying that he has come under considerable pressure to fall into line but that he intends to avoid the current skeptical colouring - Geologic will reflect his music interests and simple atheism. There is a Facebook screen grab on the pit where he shares his real thoughts on PZ and Rebecca. My point is that far from accelerating his influence in A/S he is carefully folding his wings and offering a lower target profile.

Derek interviewed Swoopy for a zero ending anniversary episode of Skepticality recently. She made it clear that she had no interest in returning to the podcast and referenced the existing problems as context. She didn't elaborate 'which' side bemused her most. A once shining and enthusiastic proponent of A/S has winked out to her wider audience.

Tl;dr - both Hrab and Swoopy have publicly recoiled due to the schism with obvious impact on their profile growth.
And what are those?
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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:06 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
And what are those?
http://nobodygetsoffended.wordpress....e-george-hrab/

While George referenced this exchange in an angry monolog on the podcast, feel free to be as skeptical as you wish re the specific content. Still it is what it is.

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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:27 PM   #99
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This forum has not degenerated into a belligerent voice of sexism.

And feminism has absolutely nothing to do with the recent goings-on at JREF, and little if anything to do with the state of skepticism in general.

What is it with some people?

ETA: As to the OP, I've never been much of a fan of DJ, frankly. But I have to feel for anyone who loses their job, especially a well-paying one in which your responsibility is to promote the cause of skepticism. Really a dream gig for a lot of people.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:35 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by hardindr View Post
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
Not me.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:36 PM   #101
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Originally Posted by The Central Scrutinizer View Post
TAM was a great event before DJ and hopefully will continue to be in the future.
This ^

In my opinion, the best TAM years were pre-DJ.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:37 PM   #102
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Originally Posted by Stellafane View Post
This forum has not degenerated into a belligerent voice of sexism.

And feminism has absolutely nothing to do with the recent goings-on at JREF, and little if anything to do with the state of skepticism in general.

What is it with some people?
You appear to possess info about the specifics of DJs ignominious bundling from his office ...

Re "feminism has ... little if anything to do with the state of skepticism in general" I suspect you need to be more specific about what you mean.

Certainly SJ Feminism has impacted TAM and 'brand Dawkins' quite apart from 'brand Shermer' et al.

And before Damion jumps in - type "Michael Shermer" into Google, The fifth entry I got was Michael Shermer: Rapist or Sleaze?
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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:39 PM   #103
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Originally Posted by Doubt View Post
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.
A fair observation. I had conversations with numerous people years ago about my misgivings once I started to see such a high turnover with the JREF staff. Something like that should be a big red flag.

Of course, to be fair, I'm not sure how much of that is directly attributable to DJ. From what I understand, the JREF Board has been somewhat dysfunctional in recent years, so I have a hard time seeing how that could not influence things.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:45 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by Stellafane View Post
And feminism has absolutely nothing to do with the recent goings-on at JREF, and little if anything to do with the state of skepticism in general.

What is it with some people?
They are in "blame-Rebecca" or "blame feminism" or "blame SJW-ism" or whatever mode. Like a broken record, they only play one tune

From what I've seen of the financial disclosures for the JREF in recent years (via discussion on the JREFugees Facebook page), I'm thinking that money was probably the biggest factor in these recent moves.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:47 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Brive1987 View Post
You appear to possess info about the specifics of DJs ignominious bundling from his office ...

Certainly SJ Feminism has impacted TAM and 'brand Dawkins' quite apart from 'brand Shermer' et al.
You do realize that you're contradicting yourself in making these statements, right?

Unless you have some actual evidence to back up your implication that DJ lost his job due to SJW-ism?
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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:49 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Brive1987 View Post
You appear to possess info about the specifics of DJs ignominious bundling from his office ...
What I possess is zero evidence that feminism was involved. If you think it was and have such evidence, feel free to present it.

Quote:
...Re "feminism has ... little if anything to do with the state of skepticism in general" I suspect you need to be more specific about what you mean.
What I mean is that feminism has had little negative impact on the overall cause of skepticism, except perhaps in the minds of those few who view the world through an exceedingly narrow filter.

Quote:
...Certainly SJ Feminism has impacted TAM and 'brand Dawkins' quite apart from 'brand Shermer' et al.
I think it's more accurate to say it's their own behaviors have affected their respective brands. I'm no feminist (I'm not even female), but I believe both Drs. Dawkins and Shermer are red-letter jerks.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:50 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
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?
That is interesting.

I'm imagining that there are some pretty sore feelings over this parting of ways.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:55 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by Brive1987 View Post
http://nobodygetsoffended.wordpress....e-george-hrab/

While George referenced this exchange in an angry monolog on the podcast, feel free to be as skeptical as you wish re the specific content. Still it is what it is.
That was one of the dumber things I've ever read.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:57 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by MattusMaximus View Post
That is interesting.

I'm imagining that there are some pretty sore feelings over this parting of ways.


Not to read too much into it, but the gist of the message seemed to be "we're dumping DJ as part of our ongoing effort to actually educate people." Whether or not that's the actual intended message, it does seem that whoever wrote that announcement didn't exactly bend over backwards to ensure DJ didn't have any hard feelings.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 04:59 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by RemieV View Post
That was one of the dumber things I've ever read.
The guy talking to George is certifiable.

So is George for responding.

Still you wanted to know George's position on PZ et al.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 05:09 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by MattusMaximus View Post
You do realize that you're contradicting yourself in making these statements, right?

Unless you have some actual evidence to back up your implication that DJ lost his job due to SJW-ism?
I'm sorry. Where did I say that DJ was fired due to feminism?

I was responding to someone else's claim that they knew what wasn't involved in the decision process.

What I did say was that "Certainly SJ Feminism has impacted TAM and 'brand Dawkins' quite apart from 'brand Shermer' et al." Again a response to a vacuous claim that feminism had made no impact on the landscape.

Clear now?

I do think DJ's sacking was handled unprofessionally (based on the communication 'plan'). And I do think the DJ JREF was a bulwark against a growing tide of SJ tomfoolery - a vestige of the old world of skepticism that attracted many of us earlier in the 2000's.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 05:23 PM   #112
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Someone here has an agenda..
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Old 2nd September 2014, 05:24 PM   #113
Brive1987
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Originally Posted by Stellafane View Post
What I possess is zero evidence that feminism was involved. If you think it was and have such evidence, feel free to present it.

What I mean is that feminism has had little negative impact on the overall cause of skepticism, except perhaps in the minds of those few who view the world through an exceedingly narrow filter.

I think it's more accurate to say it's their own behaviors have affected their respective brands. I'm no feminist (I'm not even female), but I believe both Drs. Dawkins and Shermer are red-letter jerks.
Sorry but -

"And feminism has absolutely nothing to do with the recent goings-on at JREF" <> "What I possess is zero evidence that feminism was involved."

You haven't noticed the schism? The one George and Swoopy reacted to? The one occupying Dawkin's mind recently?
"exceedingly narrow filter" - well if the shoe fits.

"I'm no feminist (I'm not even female), but ...." - stopped reading at the "b" word.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 05:39 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by Brive1987 View Post

And before Damion jumps in - type "Michael Shermer" into Google, The fifth entry I got was Michael Shermer: Rapist or Sleaze?
Which did it turn out to be?
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Old 2nd September 2014, 05:44 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by marplots View Post
Which did it turn out to be?
Neither, there was a stark lack of evidence, but somehow "skeptics" managed to attempt to crucify him anyway. And before you get all indignant about there being no nine inch nails or crosses, learn what a figure of speech is.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 05:50 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by Brive1987 View Post
This insane rant may well be one of the reasons why Geo has taken a step back.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 06:18 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
This insane rant may well be one of the reasons why Geo has taken a step back.
George is pretty clear in his email that his recoil to the FtB drama was already extant.

It's equally obvious that this guys special qualities failed to endeared him to Geo.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 07:21 PM   #118
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If we look at the refocused JREF, namely education, it is obvious that this forum does not fit this mold. As for TAM, I believe that it was Grothe's major job. So, if they decided to not continue TAM in its present form, it would make sense to lay him off.

I've read/heard somewhere that Randi wanted to expand information sharing in new ways. A few of us thought it met TAM-like conferences in other cities/countries, but, in view of the present situation, it is more likely that it means providing written materials to schools/clubs/etc, or supporting speakers at other conferences.

With regard to timing, this makes also sense. There are no reason to have him on staff if no planning is needed for the next TAM. I do not buy the theory that someone else will be doing TAM. Otherwise, there would have been a transition period, and if someone else took over, there would be cost implication such as salary.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 07:23 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by Brive1987 View Post
Sorry but -

"And feminism has absolutely nothing to do with the recent goings-on at JREF" <> "What I possess is zero evidence that feminism was involved."
You're right, actually. I shouldn't have worded it as I did. Instead, what I should have said was "And there is no evidence -- none, nada, bupkis, absolutely positively utterly not one single quark of evidence -- that feminism has anything to do with the recent goings-on at JREF, except perhaps in the minds of those who for some reason need to blame those evil feminists for everything that ever happens anywhere. And to even hint otherwise is indulging in little more than fantasy." Thanks, it's actually more accurate that way.

Quote:
..You haven't noticed the schism? The one George and Swoopy reacted to? The one occupying Dawkin's mind recently?
I've noticed some comments here and there, getting referenced repeatedly by those few who continue to obsess about such things -- while the great majority of skeptics and skeptical activities carry on unaffected, and most likely oblivious, to what amounts to little more to a handful of egotists and their acolytes yipping at each other like so many lapdogs.

Quote:
..."exceedingly narrow filter" - well if the shoe fits.
Umm...what? Is this some sort of attempt at a "I know you are but what am I" retort?

Quote:
"I'm no feminist (I'm not even female), but ...." - stopped reading at the "b" word.
Too bad, because you missed the whole point. Here, I'll repeat it for your edification: I think Drs. Shermer and Dawkins are both red-letter jerks.
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Old 2nd September 2014, 07:52 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by Stellafane View Post
Not to read too much into it, but the gist of the message seemed to be "we're dumping DJ as part of our ongoing effort to actually educate people." Whether or not that's the actual intended message, it does seem that whoever wrote that announcement didn't exactly bend over backwards to ensure DJ didn't have any hard feelings.
I thought of another concern just tonight. My concern is this: are we looking at a situation where DJ is set up as a fall guy and the apparently dysfunctional board is still in place?
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