Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Shadow of a Doubt - May 2014

The Monthly Calendar of the National Capital Area Skeptics
  • May 10 Special Event: NCAS SkepTour 2014, DC 
  • May 14 Drinking Skeptically in MD and VA!
  • Board of Directors Election Results
  • Amazon Smile
  • Torn From Today's Headlines: President Clinton Discusses UFOs, the Roswell Incident, and Area 51
  • Shadow Light
  • Skeptic Line Number
  • Time to Renew?

NCAS Special Event

NCAS SkepTour 2014
Washington, DC

Chip & Grace Denman and Scott Snell

Saturday, May 10, 1:30pm - 3:00pm
Walking tour meets in front of The National Theatre
1321 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC [map] [directions]
(Metro Center or Federal Triangle Metro stations)
FREE admission – Everyone welcome, members and non-members

The National Capital Area Skeptics has been compiling "A Skeptic's Guide to the National Capital Area," featuring landmarks of scientific, pseudo-scientific, and cultural significance to skeptics.  Following the success of the inaugural NCAS SkepTour* in May 2013, new sites have been added and a walking tour route established for the 2014 edition.  On Saturday, May 10, join us as we stroll by locations corresponding to famous, infamous, and just plain weird goings-on in the nation's capital, including:

-Where Houdini escaped from a straitjacket while suspended upside down 100 feet in the air

-Where six former members of Congress spent several days considering – and finally attesting to – "overwhelming scientific evidence" that UFOs may be extraterrestrial craft

-Where U.S. Marshals raided the founding church of a pseudo-scientific cult, seizing literature and ritualistic electronic devices

The two-mile route will start in front of The National Theatre (1321 Pennsylvania Ave NW).  Look for the NCAS "skeptical eye" logo.

In case of bad weather, the walking tour will be rescheduled.  Please check ncas.org for last-minute information.

RSVP to SkepTour@ncas.org so we can know that everyone has arrived before we begin the tour.

* (Note: NCAS SkepTour is not affiliated with College of Curiosity Field Trips, formerly known as "SkepTours," a project of College of Curiosity.)

Board of Directors Election
Results of the recent NCAS member vote on candidates for the board of directors have been tabulated. Re-elected and incumbent members are: Nelson Davis Jr, Chip Denman, Grace Denman, Bing Garthright, Brian Gregory, Curtis Haymore, Kevin Jennings, Beth Kingsley, J. D. Mack, Melissa Pollak, Mya Riemer, Walter F. Rowe, Robert Sheehan, Scott Snell, Jamy Ian Swiss, and Marv Zelkowitz. At its next meeting, the board will select its officers.

In October 2013, Amazon launched the AmazonSmile Foundation, which allows customers to support their favorite charitable organizations when shopping at Amazon.com, at no added cost.  The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the customer's designated 501(c)(3) public charitable organization. NCAS has registered as a participating organization. Please consider designating NCAS as your supported charity when shopping at smile.amazon.com.

For more information:

Torn From Today's Headlines
By Scott Snell
President Clinton Discusses UFOs, the Roswell Incident, and Area 51
Appearing on ABC-TV's Jimmy Kimmel Live! on April 2nd former President Bill Clinton was asked whether he had demanded to see "all the classified files on the UFOs" during his time in office.  Clinton responded, "Sort of."

"...First, I had people go look at the records on Area 51 to make sure there was no alien down there...But there are no aliens there."

"...At the beginning of my second term, we had the [50th] anniversary of Roswell...so I had all the Roswell papers reviewed--everything."  Kimmel then asked, "If you saw that there were aliens there, would you tell us?"  Clinton replied, "Yeah," to cheers from the audience.

Later, Clinton added, "If we were visited someday I wouldn't be surprised...I just hope that it's not like Independence Day, the movie."  "...Maybe the only way to unite us in this incredibly divided world of ours...Think of how all the differences among people on Earth would seem small if we felt threatened by a space invader."

Though Clinton's remarks drew considerable news media coverage the following day, he had actually expressed similar views in greater depth many years before, during the last few minutes of a 90-minute interview at the CLSA (Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia) Investor Forum on September 12, 2005 in Hong Kong:

"I had so many people in my own administration that were convinced that Roswell was a fraud but this place in Nevada [Area 51] was really serious, that there was an alien artifact there. So I actually sent somebody there to figure it out. And it was actually just a secret defense installation, alas, doing boring work that we didn't want anybody else to see."

"The Roswell thing, I think, really was an illusion. I don't think it happened. I mean I think there are rational explanations and I did attempt to find out if there were any secret government documents that revealed things. If there were, they were concealed from me too. And if there were, well I wouldn't be the first American president that underlings have lied to, or that career bureaucrats have waited out. But there may be some career person sitting around somewhere, hiding these dark secrets, even from elected presidents. But if so, they successfully eluded me…and I'm almost embarrassed to tell you I did try to find out."

Author's Comments:

Clinton doesn't say who investigated Area 51 on his behalf.  Possibly it was John Podesta, his Chief of Staff (and who previously served in other White House roles for the Clinton Administration), who is also well-known for calling on the U.S. government to reveal all it knows about UFOs.  (See the January 2014 Shadow of a Doubt http://www.ncas.org/2014/01/shadow-of-doubt-january-2014.html)

Clinton's queries regarding the 1947 "Roswell Incident" are presumably separate from the General Accounting Office/U.S. Air Force investigation (producing reports in 1994 and 1997), which was initiated at the request of New Mexico Congressman Steven Schiff.

Clinton's speculations that the nations of Earth would unite against an extraterrestrial invader are similar to views expressed by General Douglas MacArthur in 1955 and 1962.

Clinton discusses UFOs with Jimmy Kimmel:

Transcript of Clinton's 2005 interview in Hong Kong:

Video excerpt of the Hong Kong interview segment regarding UFOs:

Snopes article containing genuine MacArthur quotes about a united Earth:

Shadow Light
Some members and contacts of NCAS receive a postal notification of this and every new monthly Shadow of a Doubt.  The Shadow Light postcard announces the monthly lecture and highlights of the electronic Shadow of a Doubt, which is available online at ncas.org/shadow. NCAS thereby reduces Shadow production and postage costs.  To further reduce costs, members and contacts can opt out of postal notification altogether, while continuing to receive Shadow of a Doubt via e-mail.  To opt out, send us an e-mail at ncas@ncas.org.

Drinking Skeptically in MD and VA!

On Wednesday, May 14 at 7:00 p.m., please join fellow NCASers at either of our simultaneous DC-area Drinking Skeptically events:
                                    Skeptically Bottle Cap LogoBack to Usual Location: Jackie's Sidebar
8081 Georgia Avenue (entrance on Sligo Avenue) in Silver Spring, MD

The Front Page Arlington
Rear patio / National Science Foundation atrium
4201 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA
                               across from Ballston Common Mall
                               (703) 248-9990

The February 2011 issue of Washingtonian magazine features the Sidebar on its cover, for a story on the best bars in the DC area.  (And you'll find the area's best hot dogs there, according to the June 2012 issue.)

Drinking Skeptically is an informal social event designed to promote fellowship and networking among skeptics, critical-thinkers, and like-minded individuals. There's no cover charge and all are welcome. Don't drink? Don't let that stop you from joining us! Some of the world's most famous skeptics are teetotalers, and we are happy to have you! Remember that drinking skeptically means drinking responsibly. If there's one thing science has taught us, it's the effects of alcohol on the human body.

Skeptic Line Number
As of March 2013, NCAS has switched telephone numbers, from 301-587-3827 to 240-670-NCAS (6227).

Time to Renew?
Be sure to check your renewal date above your postal address on the Shadow Light postcard. Send any queries to ncas@ncas.org.  Use the online membership form to renew.