Web links related to the Back of the Book program of March 29, 2004

It's Sunday night 4/11/2004 21:06:49 and this Web page is finished. Of course we covered the sad news of the death of former WBAI producer Paul Williams, and we covered the other topics below. We got through some of the mail and the E-mail we read on the air is presented here. Some sad memories in this program.

The Pacifica Foundation, which owns WBAI and four other radio stations, has started to re-make itself. WBAI has already had its first Local Station Board meeting. The next WBAI LSB meeting will be held this Thursday, April 1, 2004, starting at 6:30 PM at Goddard Riverside Community Center at 88th street and Columbus Ave. in Manhattan. This meeting will include Public Comment and is wheelchair accessible. The public is invited to attend, and you can even record the proceedings if you want.

WBAI now has a program schedule up on its Web site. The site has gotten many of the individual program pages together to provide links and such, so check it out.

Our colleagues from Off the Hook now have both a RealAudio streaming web cast operating, and a new MP3 stream both of which were working at 9:35 PM last night. The MP3 feed is now the preferred feed.

The Pacifica Foundation, which owns WBAI, has revamped its Web site and now has something called the Pacifica Lounge where you can post messages about Pacifica, WBAI and other Pacifica radio stations. This may be a good thing, and of course there are other, long term fora in which to participate.

WBAI also has a forum on its Web site now. You have to register to post messages, but anyone may read the messages.

Paul Williams

The day before this program we learned that former WBAI producer Paul Williams had died. He died of a heart attack while on a train in Mexico. Paul had lived in Mexico for about a year and a half.

Paul and I had not been friendly after some of his actions on behalf of the “Utrician Faction” during the civil war that raged at WBAI from December 22, 2000, to January 2002. A lot of friendships fell during that period. I'm sad to hear of his passing.

Probably his highest profile activity on WBAI was his production of the program UFO Desk, which wasn't actually a part of WBAI's program schedule. UFO Desk aired within Sidney Smith's program Carrier Wave, which alternates with Back of the Book.

Paul could be a frustrating guy sometimes. Part of the frustration was that Paul approached this UFO stuff very credulously. He had on people who routinely made bizarre or ridiculous claims and he didn't challenge them, or he sometimes didn't know that they were seriously deluded people or were just flim flamming him.

Paul believed people and took them at their word. He was quite gullible sometimes, and that's what got him tangled up in all of those wild tales of people claiming to have been abducted by space aliens and similar nuttiness. In some instances I would come on a week later and refute some of the more outrageous claims by some of his guests.

One time an actual con man got his hooks temporarily into Paul. In this case Paul did see what was happening after a bit and cancelled the second program with the con man. We exchanged E-mails about it all and Paul was glad I'd helped get him more information about the guy in the end.

Paul's desire to believe in something and be accepted unfortunately made him an easy target for Utrice Leid when she took over WBAI in December 2000. Paul's gullibility allowed him to be manipulated and he did some things with which I very strongly disagreed. After some months we just weren't friends anymore. Unfortunately this rift never healed as Paul was forced out of WBAI when the faction currently in charge took over in January 2002.

The last time I spoke to Paul was in the spring of 2001, to offer my condolences on the death of his son. It's sad that another WBAI person has died.

Paul Williams is survived by his former significant other Susan and their daughter.

Jan Berry of Jan & Dean fame died on Sunday.

We're coming up to the 25th anniversary of the Three Mile Island disaster. But it turns out that there was an even larger meltdown in July 1959!

Ever have to fork over ID because some cop just wants it? Ever wonder about the legality of this demand that is often abused just to harass people? Well, it's a question before the Supreme Court now.

“Cold fusion” or “desktop fusion” is back in the news again.

Some scientists have asked the U.S. Energy Department to take another look at the cold fusion claims originally made by Dr. B. Stanley Pons and Dr. Martin Fleischmann back in 1989. They think they have better evidence now. And Dr. James F. Decker, Deputy Director of the Science office in the Energy Department has consented to have some scientists of his choosing listen to some presentations on the subject to see if there really is anything new is this area, which got discredited when Pons and Fleischmann went to the media with claims they couldn't then back up with reproducible science.

In an experimental suite that sounds at least a little more credible than the old Pons and Fleischmann claims some other scientists are claiming to have made progress in the area of what they call “desktop fusion” or “sonofusion” to differentiate it from the above referenced discredited “cold fusion.”

Originally announced in March 2002, in the journal Science these scientists are claiming to have caused fusion by using ultrasound to collapse bubbles in water with such force that fusion occurs. I don't know if it's real or not, but they're certainly handling the topic better than their predecessors did.

Jury Duty Notice

So just to make me feel truly special some bureaucrats have saddled me with jury duty starting at 8:30 this morning. I'm going to get no sleep at all and just when I should be starting to sleep I'm going to have to be reporting to jury duty in downtown Brooklyn.

I suppose this is better than my most recent jury duty in 2002, which required that I go to Long Island in February and stand around in a snow storm waiting for a bus that took an hour or so to show up. Yeah, Long Island is for people who drive cars, all right.

The announcement on the machine I had to call said that the time between jury duty stints is only two years. How the hell do they go through the entire population of Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island in only two years?

I hope they just send me on home this time and don't mess with me. I'm really not going to be in the mood for any of this, especially after doing a radio program that only ended at 3:00 AM. And we don't go home right away so it's not like I can grab a nap between 3:00 AM and 8:30 AM. Oh, this has the potential to be a lot less than fun.

Of course whatever happens I'll be sure to relate it all on the next Back of the Book program. If they don't put me in jail, that is.

We got to some of the mail on this program. We start out with a congratulatory E-mail from a listener.

Subject: Congratulations
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004 02:17:27 -0500
From: Lazaro
To: rpm@glib.com

Congratulations R Paul on being elected to the staff board. I just heard the list of winners announced on Radio Unameable and was pleased that your name was mentioned. Bye.


Yeah, I got elected as a Staff representative to the WBAI Local Station Board. We're actually a couple of months into this situation by now and it's quite a job. Of course i'll have more to say about it as the year wears on.

Subject: topic life and god
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004 08:39:57 EST
From: Xxlasher
To: rpm@glib.com

Hey r.p.m & pickles ..
Topic life and God
r/p , I cant seem to except the notion that there's a God up there who picks and chooses what our lives will be like before we are born.predestination,doesn't seem fair does it!! In the torah, Islam, and bible God tells us that we are all equal in his eyes, but he himself still has the right to reserve a predestined life for us, and that if we pray to him he will bless us. God sounds like some kind of unfair tyrant who blesses some of the people some of the time. Helps some of the people some of the time gives mercy to some people some of the time, and sometimes unjust to some of the people some of the time.. God, in this module seems to act at random with our lives some he picks to die from cancer some he lets live others he allows to die horrible deaths of all sorts. Some he dolts great blesses upon a small few, and great misery to a manysome people might say that it's not god's doing cause our lives are based on past karma's and past births well R/P, none of that crap matters to me.. Im skeptical of it all !!! R/P now the big questions to u is why would people worship such a being that we just established ?? , and what is your take on regarding this business about master of wisdom like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna,etc What are your views about those beings?? I often wonder if they where just mentally ill ..in my closing id like to add that I appreciate u and your effort to bring us a good show format.. bye bye
date 2/13/04...

It looks as if human beings are just prone to falling for superstitous nonsense. As for the three named gods/almost gods one, Krishna, absolutely never existed, another, Jesus H. Christ, may not have existed and the third, Buddha, I have to wonder if he'd have approved of Buddism. I'm just glad I'm not a mind slave to such superstitious nonsense.

Subject: Having a Bad Day
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 11:24:26 -0500
From: Lazaro
To: rpm@glib.com

R Paul look at his video. I am ashamed to admit that I found it very funny. Also if Cannibal did not give you the Nomo radio part of your air check I have it so I can send it to you if you need it. Bye.


Lazaro attached a copy of that video that's made the rounds of a number of TV shows where a woman accidently falls down into a basement through a trap door which she hadn't realized someone had opened. I guess I'm an old fuddy duddy, but I just don't get amused by these things. Maybe I've just fallen down or stuff like that too much in my life.

On TV they said that the woman was not hurt. I have to wonder about that. She certainly had enough of a fall that she could have gotten seriously injured or killed. But then, it does strike most people as funny. As I said, I'm an old fuddy duddy.

Subject: About Gore Vidal
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 2004 02:08:37 -0500
From: Elizabeth
To: rpm@glib.com


I just heard the wonderful news about Gore Vidal in Mike's spot on Sunday. Now, that's classy stuff!

If only, if only the station could return to such relevant programming!

I'm in the Gore Vidal Yahoo group, so I think everybody will be listening via the Internet. This is great news.


Yes, WBAI has gotten a lot of good response from folks about the Gore Vidal programs. A lot of producers are glad about it too.

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even now that the gag rule has been lifted. However, there is the Internet! There are mailing lists which you can subscribe to and Web based message boards devoted to WBAI and Pacifica issues. Many controversial WBAI/Pacifica issues are discussed on these lists.

Probably the most popular list that's sprung up is the “NewPacifica” mailing list. This one is very lively and currently includes over 400 subscribers coast to coast.

Being lively, of course, it sometimes also gets a bit nasty. All sorts of things are happening on this list and official announcements are frequently posted there.

You can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too. If you subscribe to the “NewPacifica” mailing list you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list.

There is the option to receive a “digest” version of the list, which means that a bunch of messages are bundled into one E-mail and sent to you at regular intervals, this cuts down on the number of E-mails you get from the list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

This list also has a Web based interface where you can read messages and from which you can post your own messages.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. It is sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as “the bleepin' blue board,” owing to the blue background used on its Web pages. This one has many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary “WBAI people” board that's just totally out of hand.

When the computer in Master Control is working we sometimes have live interaction with people posting on the “Goodlight Board” during the program.

And then there is the historic “Free Pacifica!” list, which has been used to help organize resistance to Pacifica Management hijackers since the mid-90s. It's become a low volume mailing list because it's been eclipsed by some of the newer, more technologically advanced, lists. Just click on this link and follow the instructions, and you'll be subscribed. This is a mailing list only, it doesn't have a digest option nor does it have a web interface.

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 are copyright © 2004, R. Paul Martin.