Web links related to the Back of the Book program of February 5, 2001

So it's Thursday morning, 2/15/2001 08:30:01, and this page is done. I added a couple of things and got a balky link to work, turned out someone forgot to renew his domain name. It's been a bumpy week, folks. WBAI Management has banned another producer and other things are going on as well. I talked about some free speech issues, although I couldn't talk about WBAI because we have a gag rule back in effect. I also talked a little bit about the trip to Las Vegas that Pickles of the North and I took and got through as much of the mail backlog as I could.

You can keep up on the current WBAI crisis and the overall Pacifica crisis on my Pacifica Theft page.

So WBAI General Manager Utrice Leid has reinstituted the “gag rule” on all producers at WBAI. This makes things more difficult.

Additionally, when I went in for the program I found a new memo and a form to fill out. WBAI Management now wants a bunch of personal information on us and photo ID. There's a lot of concern over what this is about and over who's going to control this information. Some WBAI producers are worried about identity theft happening because of WBAI Management's handling of this data.

FLASH! As I'm preparing this page news has come in that Pacifica and its new lawyers at Epstein, Becker & Green are trying to shut down the listener Web site WBAI.NET. Here are the details on it.

The usual WBAI Web cast has been down for more than a week now, but our colleagues from Off the Hook may have an alternate web cast going. At 9:09 PM last night it was working, so good luck.

I've talked on the air before about the MPAA and the DeCSS controversy. I'm glad to report that the ISP and web host Verio is standing up to the MPAA and refusing to remove a Web site that carries DeCSS. The web site that has it is Cryptome.

Child pornography is a big buzz word these days. You may remember some years ago when a great many people were getting arrested for child molestation. In the end, those cases mostly tended to fall apart, when they were fought. In many cases, however, people simply got overwhelmed by overzealous or corrupt prosecutors, and in some cases people were treated unfairly and were wrongly convicted. There are now laws, such as the Child Pornography Protection Act, that allow for the prosecution of people who make or possess fake images that could be called child pornography. The Supreme Court, taking a break from illegally picking its own President, is about to deal with a case regarding digital images. I think that these laws are a clear violation of the First Amendment because these images are not real! A digital image or a pencil and paper drawing of something can be works of the imagination. This sort of prohibition, if allowed to stand, would require the demolition of a lot of those religious art works with naked babies shown as angels. And then they'll come after written works of fiction.

I went on about a similar subject on a previous program. The controversy then was about some Calvin Klein ads. So maybe some idiot will want to arrest my parents for taking those photographs!

Some years ago there were a whole bunch of “child molestation” cases. One of the worst was that of Margaret Kelly Michaels, a young woman who was railroaded into prison on false accusations of 115 counts of child molestation. Her rights were violated left and right and the New Jersey courts and prosecutors had a field day vilifying her and violating every right she had. Luckily, she eventually got out of jail, but only after serving eight years in prison for something that it was obvious she did not do. Others have suffered similar fates.

All we need is the combination of the witch hunt of the '80s and the stupid kiddie porn law of the '90s and the entire First Amendment is going to be toast.

I talked about the trip that Pickles of the North and I took to Las Vegas last week. What a place.

I'm going to be talking about it in more detail on the next program, so there will be more on that Web page.

So we did get to some mail on the program. One piece was from Al Sullivan, who has a new book out. Al produces the Scrap Paper Review when not writing for newspapers.

Of course I'm behind on reading the mail on the air, so this next one has now more of a historical viewpoint than anything current.

Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 23:59:00 -0500
From: jaykay
To: rpm@glib.com

Hi R. Paul,

I agree with you...Palm County FL should hold another election in order to make this election a democratically fair one. Below is joke (???) I found in my e-mail. I think you would enjoy this one.




Governor Jeb Bush announced that Florida will now instill an “addition method” of counting in all elections.

“From now on,”Mr. Bush said, “we will discard all mathematical operations in the vote counting procedure with the exception of addition.”

According to this system, if someone votes for a candidate, then that candidate will receive one vote added to his total. “We think this type of system will soon catch on all over the country,” a local politician said.

The new system will permanently replace the former one, a system of subtracting, dividing, and eenie-meenie-minee-moe.

The decision to use this innovative method of counting has come about in light of the recent presidential election dilemma.
“I'm so excited” Election Committee Official Robin Torres admitted. “I'll never have to use my psychic telepathy to determine how people voted again!”

Next we have an e-mail from Barry, who figures he's found a way to force me to type in his letter here. Well, it's not going to work that way. The New York Times piece he's referring to is no longer available for free on their site, so I'll just summarize it and say that it's about people in New York being able to get their names on a list of people who do not want to be bothered by those annoying telemarketers. This is being done by the New York State Consumer Protection Board.

Subject: My Letter
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 19:33:42 EST
From: Barry
To: rpm@glib.com

Hi. I recently mailed you an article about the Consumer Protection Board's new do-not-call telemarketing registry. I bet you got it. I bet you think you don't have to mention it on your website because its not an email. Well, I'm way ahead of you buddy! Now you HAVE to mention it because I'm referring to it in an email. I don't even have to go into the details here. It wouldn't make sence for you to post this letter on your website without referring to the physical article I sent you. HA HA! Big radio man, computer expert thinks he can sensor MY physical letters? I am Barry. I will not be sensored!

Anyway, don't dried apples remind you of white mens' ear lobes? Not the health food store kind -- I mean the kind preserved with sulfer dioxide.

Well, Barry needs to use his spell checker on his missives here. I don't know what he's talking about with ear lobes.

Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 02:02:55 EST
From: Sharon, the Wicked Witch of the East (Side)
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul,
Maybe by the time you get to this, the results will be in. You're right about the paper ballots (and Palm Beach, Florida, is not exactly a depressed area, they can afford better technology). More to the point, it's obvious the government has a vested interest in making sure people don't vote -- hence the cumbersome and confusing system we now have. Machines break down, the process is conducted by well-meaning but often very stupid amateurs designated by the only two official parties, and most chaotic of all is registration. This is totally unnecessary. When it wants to, the government can track down all adults who are citizens and have not been convicted of a felony, in order to conscript them for jury duty. It could easily keep track of voters the same way. But that might lead to more people voting, which might lead to more democracy, which might even lead to better candidates. I don't think I could use a paper ballot -- generally I have to vote with one hand and hold my nose with the other.

It takes two weeks to count the votes in India, where a billion people live in frequently remote areas and vote with paper ballots in much greater numbers than we do. It shouldn't take that long here. Of course, it's purely coincidental that one candidate's brother happens to be governor of the state in question. Isn't it?

Regards from
Sharon, the Wicked Witch of the East (Side)

There are a lot of issues that we can't talk about on the air at WBAI. But there is an Internet list called “Free Pacifica!” which you can subscribe to, and these issues are discussed there. If you subscribe to it you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

If you want to subscribe to the “Free Pacifica!” list just click on this link and follow the instructions, and you'll be subscribed. Could open your eyes a little bit.

The above list has occasionally produced a high volume of E-mail because of the attention that these issues have drawn. If you would prefer to subscribe to a low volume list that only provides announcements of events related to these issues then subscribe to the FreePac mailing list.

My voice mail number at WBAI is 212-209-2996. Leave a message.

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

Free Pacifica Web site

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The contents of this Web page and subsequent Web pages on this site are copyright © 2001, R. Paul Martin