Tami Sabo, were informed in your Aug. 31 cover article (Medium, by Linda Sickler), sees dead people. She and her friend can also clairvoyantly locate missing folks, chat with angels, and channel ancient entities.
Heres a new concept you might want to consider next time you write about such gifted folks: evidence. Wheres the slightest shred of proof they can accomplish these astonishing deeds?
Did you talk to any of the police departments this woman has allegedly helped? Have any impartial observers ever attested to their psychic talents?
In fact, no one, tested under proper conditions that preclude cheating, has ever evinced psychic abilities. Never. Several skeptical organizations -- most notably James Randis -- have long offered immense sums of money to anyone who can pass such a test.
A celebrated magician, who can easily duplicate the psychic communitys seemingly miraculous feats, Randi will give $1 million to anyone who can pass. Hundreds have tried; no one has even made it beyond the preliminary rounds.
Several universities, for decades, have tested thousands of volunteers for paranormal powers -- ESP, remote viewing, etc. The results? Nada. Zip.
Who, then, are these psychics? Some are transparently charlatans, criminals who prey off the gullibility of folks, notably the poor. They tend to end up on Larry King, who never met a faker he didnt like.
Many more -- including, I suspect, the women you profiled -- genuinely believe they have powers. But theyve never had their abilities tested under controlled conditions, and they dont have a clue about our mortal capacity for self-deception (especially what psychologists call confirmation bias, the type of selective thinking that looks for what confirms our beliefs, while ignoring or undervaluing whatever contradicts them).
If our psychics are unwilling to take tests, or subject themselves to prodding in a university lab, there are other places where they should shine: casinos.
Heres a challenge, then, to Tami, Samantha, or any of their talented friends. Go to a casino. If you have any abilities whatsoever beyond what could be expected by chance, you should fairly quickly rack up, say, $100,000.
Dont feel right about using your abilities to make money? Donate the money to Hurricane Katrinas victims, or to children suffering from leukemia.
Dont feel like doing that? The only conclusions we can draw, Im afraid, are that (1) its really too much trouble for you to drive a bit in order to raise huge sums of money for suffering people, or (2) you really have no powers.
Im no psychic, but I think I know the answer to that one.
Connect Savannah, meanwhile, should use some real-world common sense before publishing nonsense. Talk to police officers about psychic contributions to cases. (A veteran detective once remarked to me when I was a reporter, I wish it were that easy. We put that stuff into the circular file.)
And ask yourself a few questions: Why dont casinos bother banning psychics? And why didnt we hear psychics on Sept. 10 warning about Sept. 11, or telling the folks in Indonesia last Christmas to head for higher ground? If they can foretell the future, surely that makes them grossly morally culpable.
Unquestioned assertions are the bane of contemporary journalism, from the White House pressroom to the chattering twits of cabledom. Dont add to the problem.
CAR FREE DAY IS SEPT. 22
We are extremely heartened by the responses to the oil boycott letter from two weeks ago. We agree with Mr. Boyle and Mr. Skeene that a one-day gasoline boycott would have a nearly impalpable effect. The question becomes, what can we do that will make some impact?
We are currently planning the Savannah celebration of International Car Free Day, an event which honors human power and those noble individuals who deny the internal combustion engine. Car Free Day is September 22, and we will be spreading the word and encouraging people to experiment with not driving on that day.
The Celebration will be September 23 and 24, and will center around an exercise in peaceful assembly featuring bicycles, skateboards, pedestrians, and a few surprises.
We invite Mr. Skeene, Mr. Boyle, Mr. Edwards, and anyone else who is interested in helping or participating to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org/.
Tim Faught, Stephen Horcha, and the Car Free Savannahians
CONSERVE, DON'T BOYCOTT
In a recent issue of Connect Savannah I read that people plan on having a one day boycott of gasoline in order to ease gas prices back down. This will simply not work.
But I have heard of one idea that may work. For the rest of this year, dont purchase any gasoline from the two biggest oil companies (which now are one), Exxon and Mobil. If they are not selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their prices. If they reduce their prices, the other companies will have to follow suit.
However for this method to work it would need to reach millions. While that would be great, its not likely to happen.
What is more likely is the simple conservation of gas. Use less and youll spend less at the pump. Also when buying that next car remember, having one child does not mean you need an SUV, moms. Hybrid cars are being
manufactured by more companies than ever.
Finally, remember this one thing: Out of all the Western world we pay less
than many nations for gas. Japan pays $4.24, Ireland $4.78, France pays $5.54, while the United Kingdom pays $5.79, and lastly topping it off is the Netherlands paying a whopping $6.48 a gallon.
Thats just a few. Remember that the U.S. still has it pretty good.
It would help to get a proper perspective if the cuts were to be presented as a percentage of the agency’s total budget. It would also be fair to note what the city’s contribution will be after the proposed cuts.
'Unlike the article implied, the HSMC is not a division, department or entity of the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MPC). The HSMC holds meetings in the MPC’s conference room and is staffed by MPC staff but it is a Commission created by, appointed by and reports to City Council.'