Web links related to the Back of the Book program of February 19, 2001

It's Sunday afternoon, 2/25/2001 15:09:37. Well, I pitched on the program, in the midst of the current crisis. These pitching shifts always mess up the program. I didn't get to talk about our trip to Las Vegas, but I'll try again on the next program. I covered a few topics, including a disturbing one from Pacifica Management, and I even got though one E-mail from the mail backlog; I think this Web page is done at last.

Here is the latest on the theft of Pacifica.

Here's my take on the current crisis.

It should be noted that the Pacifica Foundation gets a 17¼% cut off the top of all donations. Currently there are three lawsuits against the Pacifica National Board over their illegal operations. If you donate to WBAI tonight maybe you should consider evening the odds and giving the lawsuits the same 17¼% that Pacifica Management will use against them.

The usual WBAI Web cast has been down for more than three weeks now, so I guess it's history. However, our colleagues from Off the Hook probably have an alternate web cast going. At 8:36 PM last night it was working, so good luck.

As can be seen from looking through past programs, I tend to cover First Amendment issues and issues of free speech in cyberspace, which includes attempts by companies to silence Web sites they don't like. As you also probably know by now there's a “gag rule” that's been imposed on all of us at WBAI. So it was a bit challenging for me to cover the latest of these issues, the one where the Pacifica foundation, which owns WBAI, is trying to shut down the Web sites of listeners who are critical of Pacifica Management. I think I managed to communicate this story without violating the gag rule, however.

Of course Pacifica Management isn't the only crowd trying to get at critics. A company called Rural/Metro Corp. is trying to get the identities of some people who said things they don't like on line. This company is subpoenaing Yahoo!, which has shown itself to be cowardly in such issues recently in an effort to get these folks' identities. The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) and the Public Citizen Litigation Group is helping them in court. EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said, “Powerful entities are learning that they can use the courts to silence their critics. When individuals choose to participate in a public debate anonymously, they should not have to worry that their identities will be divulged to anyone who doesn't like what they have to say.” This is one of those battlefields on the legal edge of the Internet these days. It's a very important fight, in my opinion.

I'm very glad that the new Kansas Board of Education has now declared that evolution will again be a topic for students in that state.

Well, the verdict is in and we humans aren't running on nearly as many genes as we'd thought.

There's going to be a ton of information coming out of this news. Among other things, the deciphering of the human genome will mean that a human will be cloned at some point. I know that there are those who are very much against this, but there are also those who want it and it's going to happen and there's no stopping it. In fact an old friend of mine is campaigning for it.

Of course outright nuts are also attracted to the idea of cloning people. They're usually clueless about what a clone really is and think a clone is some sort of reincarnation trick.

Another thing that's interesting about our relatively few genes is that it means that we're much more related to other life forms on Earth than some may have previously suspected. This got pointed up a few years ago when it was discovered that one of the human genes that may play a role in obesity and diabetes is exactly the same as a gene in the worm C. elegans, which last shared an ancestor with human beings some 800 million years ago!

Because of pitching I didn't get to everything I'd wanted to get to on the program. I did, however, squeeze in one E-mail from a listener. and this one is from the long time listener whom I used to hang out with a few years ago. I always referred to her as “A woman named Cyn”. It's always good to hear from her, even though she can't listen to the program directly anymore.

Subject: It's me again.
Date: Sat, 18 Nov 2000 19:14:47 CST
From: "A woman named Cyn"
To: rpm@glib.com

I'm back. I thought I would write to you again even though I no longer have net access. I am at Sandiego state university typing this. I have just moved to Carlsbad, Ca.(actually I'm on the line between Encinitas and Carlsbad)as of last week. When I came here in April, I spent 5 weeks at the Optimum Health Institute. I spent my hard earned cash so that I could attend and eat nothing but raw food. That was in Lemon Grove which is a town east of here. I then lived in a storage closet of a 90 year old woman named Geneva for 2 months. I was not very comfortable. I put all my belongings in storage when I first came out here. The move out here was very eventful as my car broke down before I even got out of Texas. Loaded up with all my belongings, it died on me near Van horn. Yes, I said Van Horn, nowheresville where the time zone changes. There is not another town for many miles and it sucked. My car was towed 150 miles to El Paso(which is the closest town over 5000 people)Anyway, I eventually made it out here, attended the institute and moved 3 times. That takes me up to last week. Hopefully I won't be moving again for a while. I have a nice room in a home and it even has a cool view of the mountains. The coastline is really close also and it is just a beautiful area. I can hardly believe it. I did go to LA last week and it was nice but I did not pick up the Pacifica station. I went to the museum of radio/tv and that was very nice. I looked at the tv archives and found much documentary stuff. Very cool. It is on the border of West Hollywood and Bev Hills. They spent lots of cash on this place. It is kind of classy. I may go again. I also went to Santa Monica and toured the tourist areas. Very nice also. I am looking for another job and hope you are surviving back there as well. I know thinking about income is very taxing for you. You already have enough to do. I am going to check out your web site again and did like the tidbit about the grandma who was selling juniors' organs. It made me think of all the egg selling that is going on. Have you ever discussed that on back of the book? It is a very complex topic-fertility,egg swapping,etc..There is even a fertility lobby, but I personally do not think any of this is ethical much less moral. Why must everyone procreate! I met a girl here who was thinking of donating her eggs for $5,000. But of course, I talked her out of it and gave her many examples of why I thought the fertility industry was dangerous. I will become the anti-fertility lobby! YEah. A chip off the old tired activist block. Say hi to your listeners for me(tell them to hold on to their eggs or I will have to speak to them too)I hope you are staying warm there and not working too hard and getting out of the house some. Oh,yeah-the girl that was going to sell her eggs is named Liz and I told her about your website and she really liked it and your pics.Well, I have to go now. Take care and I will mail you again...Peace.......Cyn.....P.S. RpMartin for President!

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

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official 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