Web links related to the Back of the Book program of April 11, 2005

It's Saturday afternoon 4/16/2005 16:38:05 and this Web page is done! I said I'd get it done a lot earlier than usual in order to make up for it having been so thin on the night of the program, and so I've done that. The number of famous and infamous people who've died in this fortnight is amazing! We'll talk about some of them, plus various other things. We've plugged in the one E-mail we read below, and of course the tenses of the verbs changes here and there because this page is written at two different times. Enjoy, already!

A regularly scheduled WBAI Local Station Board meeting will be held on April 13, at 6:30 PM. at AFSCME District Council 1707, 75 Varick St., 14th Floor (just north of Canal Street), in Manhattan. Take the 1, 9, A, C, or E train to Canal St. The location is wheelchair-accessible and public comment is welcome. Please bring photo ID for access to the building.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of almost every WBAI LSB meeting so far? Well, I do. And I'll be updating it soon.

At the March 30th WBAI LSB meeting people were elected to the search committees for “interim” and “permanent” General Manager of WBAI.

I have written a statement about the constructive removal of a LSB member and sent it to the PNB, the WBAI LSB and various public mailing lists and bulletin boards.

WBAI 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. The MP3 feed is now the preferred feed. Both were operating at 11:01 PM last night.

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.

Of course we had things to say about Pope John Paul II on this program! He was a bad guy. He was anti-gay, anti-women's reproductive rights, reinvigorated the Catholic Church's ban against effective birth control and did everything he could to shift the Catholic Church even further to the right.

Of course they'll just pop in a new Pope, and his successor could be one of his acolytes who's even further to the right than he was. We'll just have to endure them, I suppose.

One interesting thing that happened during the enormous amount of Dead-Pope-On-TV programming that we got was that one American sky pilot, interviewed on Nightline, I think, was praising John Paul II and when asked about some of the really backward things he did just said that marriage for priests and women priests will be coming and there's no stopping it. So there's this interesting dichotomy of opinion among some of the hierarchy in the Roman Catholic Church.

So in the fortnight previous to this program Terri Schiavo officially died. I think that she really died fifteen years ago.

An interesting thing was seeing Jesse Jackson getting involved on the side of the parents. He's joined the Bush administration and Tom DeLay on this one.

Here again is the link to the Web site that has the New York State health proxy forms, which are legally binding in New York State. And if you're from outside of New York State it might still be interesting to look at and might give you an idea of what to put in writing for yourself. It couldn't hurt to have something in writing. It's better than being in the limbo that Terri Schiavo and/or her relatives had to endure for a decade and a half.

We also spoke about a finding at Dmanisi, in Georgia, the Georgia that's in Asia. This was the finding of the skull of a male Homo erectus who died about 1.77 million years ago.

The interesting thing about this skull is that it only had one tooth left, and the sockets of the missing teeth were overgrown with bone which means that this guy survived for at least two years with only one tooth in his head. And he is estimated to have died at about the age of 40, which was quite ancient for 1.77 million years ago!

The question has arisen of how did he survive? Did other members of the tribe help him to live? They were mostly a meat eating group and they ate pretty tough stuff. If he had the help of others then some scientists are saying that this shows that compassion was extant long ago in a species that predates ours.

Other scientists have countered that it's possible that the “old man,” as the paleoanthropologists have dubbed him, was able to survive on his own by softening up his food using stones before he swallowed it. It has been observed that chimpanzees that have lost all or almost all of their teeth have been able to survive in the wild.

So the debate is going back and forth on this. But some folks are making assumptions that are not at all in evidence.

One thing we can be pretty sure about is that the inhabitants of Dmanisi 1.77 million years ago are not our ancestors. Our species, Homo sapiens, evidently arose in Africa, maybe as long as 200,000 years ago. It is very unlikely that any of the Homo erectus from Dmanisi marched back down into Africa to merge with the Homo erectus there and get directly in our family tree.

So if this were the beginnings of compassion in the genus Homo then we sure wouldn't get ours from them. But if, as some are contending now, it was compassion that got others to help keep the old man alive then maybe it was something that was common to Homo erectus and of course we are descended from, probably, Homo ergaster which descended from some bunch of Homo erectus, albeit a long time after the ones at Dmanisi were gone.

Arthur J. Finkelstein is a right wing Republican who's been a campaign consultant for a whole bunch of Republican candidates for office. He started out as a consultant for Jesse Helms, and was credited with the campaign that got Alphonse D'Amato into office in 1980. Finkelstein is the guy who started the trend among the right wing creeps to bash opponents as “liberals.” That tactic has certainly gotten a lot of play over the past quarter of a century.

Finkelstein has also used this kind of attack campaign when working for Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel.

His support of all sorts of right wing politicians who've been very anti-gay seems pretty hypocritical now that he's married his male partner of the past 40 years in a civil ceremony in Massachusetts. Of course Finkelstein is Jewish and he's also worked on the campaigns of anti-Jewish Republican politicians including one Congressional candidate who made the fact that his opponent was Jewish a campaign issue.

Reportedly, none of the right wing politicians who've made Finkelstein rich were at the ceremony, and some appear to have been shocked to learn that Finkelstein, 59, was gay and lived with a male partner and two children they'd adopted.

So this Finkelstein guy is gay and Jewish and he helps anti-gay and anti-Jewish politicians. He also invents a campaign tactic that does huge damage to anyone who isn't on the right politically. Oh, those poor, adopted kids.

Once again my plan to play some comments left on my voice mail at the the station fell through. On the last program WBAI's Internet access was down. This time the computer in Master control wouldn't play any sound at all and when I tried to access the sound, which I've got on my Web site, the browser crashed! Maybe some day we'll get this voice mail comment stuff to work.

But we got through some of the mail on this program. We read some snail mail from folks and we only got to one E-mail, which is reproduced below. Bill has actually only CC'd me on this one, but I did read it on the air. The other E-mail address is that of our own Uncle Sidney Smith who alternates with Pickles of the North and me in the time slot. Sidney's program is called Carrier Wave.

Subject: Courtesy of Sen. Foghorn
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 17:15:14 -0500
From: Bill in Manhattan
To: redterror995@yahoo.com
CC: rpm@glib.com

Do I know any good jokes? well now, how about this --

“Mah opponent, Governor Happy Hooper, he was down at the state house the other day, his sleeves all rolled up, doing the work of the people. He was signing bills, one right after t'other. It was nice spring day. He had the window open. A leaf blew in the window. It settled there, right on his desk. AND HE DONE GONE AND SIGNED IT.”

Sidney, do you think there are 994 other people with the moniker redterror? That's pretty funny, too ...

And I'm one day late with the Irish Bull -- “Half the lies our enemies tell about us ain't true.”

Probable source of the Happy Hooper joke -- or whatever the name really was -- would be Gov. Earl Long of Louisiana.

Of course (he said modestly) my own joke about the heroic carrier pigeon carrying a huge crate of letters from Fernando to the Saddle Pals at the South Pole will get by on its own merits when the World History of Chortles gets written.

Best wishes to all in these stirring times -- Bill in Manhattan.

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.