Web links related to the Back of the Book program of April 2, 2001

So it's Sunday morning 4/8/2001 08:27:10 and I think I've finished this page. I covered a couple of scientific issues on the program and I also got through a decent amount of the mail backlog. The mail is now in the same century as the rest of us are! WBAI crisis stuff is dragging on everybody at the station, and I'm no exception. So unless there's some important addition to make to this page it's done at last. Hope you all tune in for the next program.

Here is the latest on the theft of Pacifica.

Here's my take on the current WBAI and Pacifica crisis.

And remember, there's still a gag rule at WBAI.

The usual WBAI Web cast has been down for more than two months now, it's history. However, our colleagues from Off the Hook probably have an alternate web cast going. At 10:19 PM last night it was working, so good luck.

That idiot George W. Bush, the usurper in the White House, has reneged on an agreement to sign an international treaty that was designed to at least slow down the global warming phenomenon.

Of course Bush, who is not really the President, is owned more by big oil interests than by any other power brokerage or business sector. They see a higher profit margin in the way that things have always been done in the past and do not want to lose some of that profit margin to measures which would be helpful to the cause of slowing down the global warming phenomenon. Naturally, their animate property in the form of George W. Bush was only too glad to give them a rapid return on their investments in him.

But you have to ask, don't these big oil interests have children and grandchildren? Global warming will not have that big an effect on those of us who are already middle aged or older, but in 50 or 60 years it's going to cause a lot of problems if nothing is done to mitigate its effects. Not only will the climate be noticeably hotter by then but the sea levels will rise significantly. Coastal cities, like New York City may well lose entire sections to the encroaching sea. Young children of today will be middle aged, and will have an expectation of quite a lot of life ahead of them in another half century. So I really can't see why the people who own Bush want to visit the effects of global warming on their progeny.

I also spoke of going to Coney Island in the Winter and the fact that things are changing down there due to the new, minor league baseball facility being built there. Unfortunately, one of the landmark businesses of Coney Island, Philip's Candy, is a victim of this new development. Pickles of the North is especially displeased at the closing of this quaint, little store. I think I'd rather have the home made candy store than the baseball business. We could always get some candy at Philip's during the Winter visits, but what's that baseball “stadium” going to do when the season's passed?

So the human family tree got a bit bushier, if not thornier, during the last fortnight when the discovery of a new hominid fossil in Africa was announced. Named Kenyanthropus platyops, it looks like this one may well be an ancestor of ours. Due to the huge amount of publicity accompanying the discovery of the Australopithecine fossil commonly referred to as “Lucy” a lot of people think that the Australopithecines of her species are our direct ancestors. In fact, this has been a highly questionable idea from the very beginning.

I went on a little bit about a scientist named Dr. Jack Ng's idea that the new Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) could be used to detect what's called “quantum foam”. This is sometimes also called “vacuum energy” because it's the only thing that's actually present in a really hard vacuum. Of course matter and energy are equivalent, which is the point of Einstein's famous equation E=MC2 and the energy of the quantum foam can spontaneously generate extremely tiny bits of unstable matter which usually decay right back into energy again. It'll be interesting to see if the LIGO project, which is trying to detect gravity waves, another legacy of Albert Einstein, can detect the quantum foam as Dr. Ng suggests. Of course detecting gravity waves is a dicey endeavor in and of itself.

And of course we did get to some of the mail on the program. Some of these E-mails relate to the Midnight Coup at WBAI in late December. I couldn't read some of these E-Mails on the air in their entirety because of the gag rule, but they can't stop me from presenting everything said in those E-mails on my own Web site.

Subject: Slammed by the shockwave, New Years greetings
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 2000 23:02:22 -0500 (EST)
From: Patricia
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul,

This morning I was supposed to leave for six days in the Albany area to visit friends, a group of depressed individuals with many problems such as chronic loneliness, impending eviction and an angry little boy who occasionally acts out. I visit to be a good listener and to offer support. Each time I am about to leave I experience a period during which the part of my consciousness which wants to prioritize doing what's best for my own mental health and stability rebels and I am filled with intense anger which I then must overcome.

It was in the midst of this anger that I turned on WBAI this morning and heard what the National Board had done, aided and abetted apparently by Utrice. Even know I have been equipped with sufficient information to prepare me for this eventuality on an intellectual level, emotionally it has hit me hard. My first reaction was to run away. I turned off my boom box and went back to sleep. All day I have felt too hopeless to get on the train and go down to join those gathered outside 120 Wall. I felt as I rarely feel about demonstrations: why go stand outside in the freezing cold? what good will it do? When I went outside to buy something to eat it was as if I was watching busy people walking around in an alternate universe in which business was going on as usual? It had nothing to do with me and I certainly had nothing to do with it. I feel as if I am in shock. Though it is not cold in my room, every so often I start to shake. I am still finding it hard to stay awake. I have turned off the phone and so far have not called anyone, even the woman whom I was supposed to have visited today. You are the first person I have contacted since our piece of the world imploded.

Writing often helps me calm down and get myself together. I hope it has a positive effect this time and that you won't mind being the recipient of the letter.

I'm wondering if your feelings are in any way, similar to mine. I hope you feel more intact, less battered. I will be thinking of you and am very disapointed to have to miss your program tomorrow night as I probably, despite my strongest inclinations, will leave for Albany early in the morning. As absurd as the words and their meaning sound to me right now, I want to wish you and Pickles Of The North a happy New Year. At least may we all have a healthy, and as the Salvadoran and probably other Central American revolutionaries used to say, a combative year 2000. Venceremos!

Your listener and sister combatant,

Subject: WBAI Crisis
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2000 00:01:22 -0500
From: Leslie
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul,

I have been a listener of BAI since the 1960's (I was born 1954).

What would you suggest the best way is to (financially) support the current struggle to keep WBAI a locally controlled, free speech outlet? There are so many factions at this point in the BAI family that it would be hard, in a word or two, to say who it is, that I support. But it's easy to say what I oppose---national board take over of the various Pacifica outlets! So if I wanted to support you and the others you are alined with, where would I send the money?

Thanks (and good luck in your struggle), Leslie

(PS If you think the answer to this question warrants it, you could put it up on your web site. If you do, please e-mail me and direct me to the page where you put the information---or if there is another site with the information which you endorse, direct me there) Thanks, again

The question of what to do about donations to the station is a hotly debated one. When I pitched on the February 19th program I did my usual pitching in terms of “informed consent.” There are a number of things to be considered in terms of the consequences of giving or not giving money to WBAI at this time.

Subject: WBAI - Its worth - Our future
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2000 19:26:18 EST
From: RZutrax
To: rpm@glib.com

R.Paul, me & the gang here at UndergroundTRAX in Hoboken, the only retirement community for the terminally hip that is also a music store (YOU try composing an EBay ad for a David Peel CD!!!) are more than a little concerned 'bout 'BAI. I mean Christmas is important, but FREE SPEECH let's us tell EVEN CRAZIER STORIES than el Nazarino's. So, jump back, Nazz, and YOU tell us the true gospel as soon as you are able. Happy & healthy to you & yours. So, don't pass any wooden kidney stones and we'll be there for you in the new year.

Best Regards, RayZ & Harris at UndergroundTRAX

Alan sent us a graphical card via E-mail, however it appears to be copyrighted material and the graphic is also a bit large to be presented on this page. So here's the text portion of the message. It relates to the fact that the North Pole melted in 2000.

Subject: Merry Toastmass, from Santa
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2000 12:01:18 -0500
From: Alan
To: rpm@glib.com

Merry Toastmass

The North Pole is really
getting warm,

Subject: Happy New Year
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2000 11:03:56 -0500
From: Frank Language
To: rpm@glib.com

Hey, man: that was on crazy show you aired Sunday night. I certainly hope it's not the last show you can do like that

Things look pretty dire for the station, and I'm planning to attend as many of the vigils as I can, starting with the one this evening, and I hope we can turn this thing around. Maybe I'll see you there.

In any case, I'll keep listening for you on BAI, and keep the faith. Santa brought me a sports Walkman this year, so I can listen to BAI all the time now.

(“Who is Frank Language and why is he offensive?”)
“Why do they call it tourist season if you can't shoot 'em?”

Seth is a regular listener, correspondent and donor to Back of the Book and WBAI. He sent me some stationery stuff as a gift late last year and that's part of what's referenced in the E-mail below. I've seen those red/blue double ended wood cased pencils and I even still have one. I know that as late as the 1980s, teachers were still using them to make up homework and test papers. They must still be sold, mustn't they? Actually, after I typed that comment I looked around and I couldn't find this type of pencil on the Web anywhere! Maybe Seth's got something here! As for what to call Pickles of the North, I have to leave that one up to her!

Subject: Re: Thanks a lot!
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2000 15:58:48 EST
From: Seth
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear RPM--

I'm glad you like the pencil/stationary stuff. Speaking of double-ended pencils, I recall that stationary stores often used to sell a double-ended wood pencil, where one side was red and the other side was blue. Could this have been for text editing? Ever see one these days?--I haven't for years.

The copy of the book on the history of the pencil that was available at the Center's book sale is no longer there. Do you want me to keep on the lookout for another copy?

Regards to Pickles Of The North. I hear that the staff of the White House refers to the President with the acronym “POTUS” (for President Of The United States), as in the Secret Service saying: “The POTUS is moving to the helicopeter. Please ready the security detail......” Miight Pickles Of The North be henceforth referred to as “POTN?”

Best regards in the New Year,

Alan's back with another graphical piece, this time for New Year's. And with this e-mail the backlog has caught up with the present century!

Subject: Happy New Year 1.1.2001
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2000 18:02:08 -0500
From: Alan
To: rpm@glib.com

Do you know what time it is?
Happy New Year

Subject: BAI “CRISIS”
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 17:44:12 EST
From: Don
To: rpm@glib.com

R. Paul,

Is there any where you would suggest I go to get an objective view of the current situation at BAI? I used to listen to the station maybe 10 hours a day years ago (in the time of Rosebud, Margot Adler, James Irsay, Citizen Kafka, etc.) then gradually lost interest as the station became more and more provincial in it's programming, closing its eyes to the fact that to a large portion of it's potential listenership NYC is irrelevant except that we're stuck with it as a source of TV and radio. I recently began trying to listen again after tuning in to your program several months ago and I'm confused as to what's going on. Bob Fass is running his usual propaganda program, Uncle Sydney is calling the whole thing a partisan in-fight between rival camps and won't talk about it, and some woman who sounds like “Mrs. Uppington” from the old Fibber McGee and Molly Show spent a half hour saying nothing but blaming it all on some un-named egotist this afternoon.


Well, Don, Welcome to the WBAI Civil War. If anyone's missed it I have my take on all of this posted on this Web site. It's interesting that three months have passed since the above E-mail was sent and not a whole lot has changed since then. I'm hoping that WBAI survives this current crisis, and I'm hoping that the Pacifica Foundation gets its problems and internal contradictions rectified and gets back to dealing with things in a decent way.

Have I said lately that in my opinion both factions in this civil war stink?

Next we have a missive from someone who used to listen to the program every week but who's away at college now. And, yes, the WBAI Web cast is flaky. I always note it's current status for the night of the program towards the top of every program's Web page. So folks can check in there on Sunday nights/Monday mornings to see if and where the Web cast is working.

Subject: Hello!
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2001 03:05:26 -0500 (EST)
From: Eric
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul Martin,

Hello! Happy new year!

Am back in Phila. (having been at home in the East Village over the holidays).

WBAI is not coming across on the webcast tonight.

Your website is most helpful!


- Eric

Subject: Check out Poetry Changes People
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 14:59:43 EST
From: DJpoet25
To: rpm@glib.com
Click here: Poetry Changes People Dear R. Paul, A Hippy Snoo Yar present!! Enjoy!!

Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2001 15:42:53 -0500
From: Frances
To: rpm@glib.com

I heard your program last night...I am a teacher and usually am in bed by that time on a Sunday Night...but I was fascinated by your discussion and analysis of the wBAI situation. I went on to your web site and downloaded the video with Amy Goodman trying to enter BAI and, I presume, Utrice Leid being rather rude and aloof in the background.

I have always hoped that some day I would be able to work as a volunteer for the station. I also was looking forward someday to a retirement which would allow me to hear Democracy Now! every day.

I am fearful for the next generations, because the ownership of the news media has become the purview of fewer and fewer people, most of whom have a personal financial stake in the way that “news” is presented, as well as WHAT is presented. I have long admired Amy Goodman's hard-hitting reporting...she never panders to us by reporting on insignificant, “juicy” bits, but always gets us the story of things that REALLY affect the quality of our lives. Thomas Jefferson said that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Amy made me feel confident that someone was watching for us.

I fear that the future will mean watered down “news”, less local and community coverage, as well as attitudes that favor pleasantness rather than righteous anger. I am extremely disappointed with U. leid, whom I have listened to daily for a long while. She evidently found out that walking the walk as harder than talking the talk. F


Subject: State of the Radio Nation, WBAI
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2001 21:57:47 -0800
From: Wendy
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear Paul:

It seems we are approaching a decision point: Where do we go from here?

Without Local Board input; our cause to keep WBAI from disappearing as we know it seems futile. How goes the legal suits pending?

You have a great show and I want you to know, I am one of the dozen listeners to the program!

Honestly, does anyone know how large an audience you actually have?

Best regards,

John and Wendy are long time listeners and contributors to Back of the Book and WBAI. What's going to happen next is, in my opinion, too complex for anyone to be able to figure out. There are a lot of things in motion, although the results from those things are still in the future. The three lawsuits are still pending and they are crucial. The two factions continue to crank out propaganda and the rest of us are stuck in the middle.

As for the listenership of Back of the Book, why it's 18! We have 17 listeners who listen via the radio and one who listens to the Web cast! Well, actually we have no idea how many people listen to the program, but it's a pretty small number, given the hour and the fact that the program is on bi-weekly and all. Back of the Book isn't likely to be one of those programs that gets thousands of people into the streets on my say so.

Subject: Check out Recent Engrish Discoveries
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 05:29:52 EST
From: DJpoet25
To: rpm@glib.com

Click here: Recent Engrish Discoveries Dear R. Paul, Before you got thinking I'm not being PC enough, please to be noticing as follows: Mangled English (or as we be saying, "Manglish") be coming from character (or lack thereof!) of strange Firesign Theatre people from weird 60s time till now, ok? Is what they were having their characters (and BOY, are they!--Ever!) be saying, see? Now, let me be heading backwards to where I was starting, before I go getting some crazy, you !! Be well!

Subject: Check out Engrish Drinks!
Date: Sun, 21 Jan 2001 05:31:40 EST
From: DJpoet25
To: rpm@glib.com

Click here: Engrish Drinks! Also, here is now same some more! Bye, you!

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

Back to the Back of the Book page

Back to my home page.

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