Web links related to the Back of the Book program of May 28, 2001

It's Thursday afternoon, 5/31/2001 16:41:54, and I'm declaring this Web page done! Regular readers will not be thrown by the usual mix of past, present and future tenses in the text below. As I said on the air, WBAI is getting a little wackier, if that's possible. On the program I spoke about several free speech issues both here and abroad and discussed some frauds that are topical. I did get through a pile of mail on the program, and the E-mail part of that is presented below. With luck I'll be back for the next program on June 11.

Okay, so our colleagues from Off the Hook probably have a RealAudio streaming web cast going. At 9:37 PM last night it was working, so good luck. At that time the new, permanent MP3 stream was not working. I hope that at least one of them's going okay for you.

I'm glad to see that the First Amendment has come through some recent litigation allowing a book critical of Gone With the Wind. The is just one more instance of copyright holders trying to suppress free speech in the interest of keeping a franchise on a work they never created. There is a lot of this going on these days. If the copyright holders are allowed to get away with this then no one will be allowed to publish anything. I believe in copyrights, but there have to be limits!

I've spoken about the creeps calling themselves “The Taliban” before. True to their colors they are now continuing to act like a bunch of Nazis by forcing Hindus to wear yellow “badges” sewn to their clothing which identifies them as Hindus. Of course the Taliban say it's for the Hindus' own good. But the Hindus don't seem to agree. Looks like the Hindus, at least, have some sense of history.

It seems that some relatives of women murdered during the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692, are determined to get their ancestors' names officially cleared in the 21st Century. Jeez, it's about time, isn't it? Surely the politicians can take time out from accepting graft payments and grandstanding to pass a law exonerating by name those who were murdered in the name of superstition over 300 years ago, can't they? Or would some of the right wing Christians oppose that legislation? I bet that if the Taliban ever read about the Salem Witch Trials they'd approve.

Margot Adler, one of our former WBAI colleagues, is a self avowed witch and has even published a book on the subject.

In other news of organized superstition, I read part of a wire story about an artist named Alma Lopez who is having a problem because of her digital print work entitled “Our Lady,” which is on display at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

I call her work “The Bikini BVM” because many of we ex-Roman Catholics refer to the mythical Blessed Virgin Mary as “The BVM” in derision, and because others are referring to the flower covering as a bikini. In my opinion the opposition to her work is at least as much motivated by its source as by the treatment of its subject.

The BVM sure gets around a lot. Lucky thing there are folks who keep track of her itinerary.

I don't know what's going on, but some wacky stuff is getting more and more air time on WBAI. A publicity hound named Richard Hoagland has been one of the people getting this attention. His Web site makes it seem like he's a big deal with a real point. But his points fall apart, and so does his credibility, when you read a Web site that actually examines his claims.

Ironically, this is all happening at the very time that even more images are coming in from the Mars Global Surveyor showing the “Face on Mars” to be a simple, and mundane, natural geological formation. While you're there be sure to take the hike on the “Face on Mars”

There are really more interesting things to look at on Mars, and they are more interesting because they are real.

Another whack-job named, ironically, Jim Marrs has even been featured on one of the early morning drive time programs on WBAI. Guys talking about the influence of space aliens may get more listeners than WBAI has had in the past, but this wacky stuff is no substitute for programming on issues that really do affect people, or even humor that's intentional!

And of course we got through some of the mail backlog. We read some hard copy mail, but we can't put that on line. But here's the E-mail that we got to on the air.

Our first E-mail is from Fernando, who is writing a lot lately. As I said on the air, “cold fusion” was never real. At best it was an error, at worst a hoax. Here's a good piece about it from Scientific American.

Subject: a missive on cold fusion
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 16:39:29 -0500 (EST)
From: Fernando
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R.Paul,

First let me wish you a lovely St. Patrick's Day. Secondly, let me say, as I have in my previous correspondence to you, that while we may differ greatly in our social and political philosophies, I have tremendous respect for your knowledge of and interest in all things pertaining to science. This brings me to the topic which I would like to bring to your attention. I am interested in knowing your thoughts on Cold Fusion and what your thoughts are on whether or not Cold Fusion is even possible.
I have heard it said that without Cold Fusion, we have no hope of ever attaining speeds greater than the speed of light and thereby our potential for space travel is greatly limited. We can get to the moon, Mars, and maybe Venus, but all others will take years and years to get to. Is this true, R. Paul? Are we stuck to our immediate neighborhood in terms of space travel?
Sometime in the mid-nineteen-nineties, I remember my local newspaper reporting on advances in Cold Fusion being made at Princeton University. Shortly, afterwards this story was retracted and nothing further was ever said again. Did this research simply die, R. Paul?
Others who follow this topic have speculated that since Cold Fusion would inevitably result in the production of unlimited FREE energy, several international governments, in concert with the oil, gas, and nuclear industries, are conspiring to thwart any research or breakthroughs in this area. They are allegedly doing their best to squash Cold Fusion in order to preserve their markets. To this end, they try to perpetuate the idea that Cold Fusion is a physical impossiblity and all research into this field is a waste of resources. Well, R, is it? Is it a waste? I don't think that it is, but you tell me! What is going on here, R.? Do you know? I read once that Cold Fusion had been attempted in Canada. Do you know what came of it? Will we get to planets beyond Pluto? I want to go. I will listen eagerly for your reply soon. Please, R. Thank you.
Florham Park, NJ

Subject: Theme song
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2001 23:27:22 -0800
From: walden
To: rpm@glib.com

Hi, I just wanted to ask a quick question about your show. I was wondering what the intro and outro music is. It's a lot of fun.

Anyhow, it's a great show and keep up the good work.

The intro is Barracuda by Heart, and the outtro is Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty. And I'm glad Walden likes the program.

I asked if people wanted to hear more of Pickles of the North on the program. Here's one answer below.

Subject: the voice of Pickles
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 08:09:39 EST
From: North American Shirley
To: rpm@glib.com

oh yes, Pickles' voice is soothing, smooth, musical, stress-relieving, beautiful; even this woman loves to hear it; thus casting my vote yes; would like to hear her more.

Subject: storm
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 09:03:11 EST
From: Ariadne
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R. Paul,
The hype about the big storm came directly from the National Weather Service, based on their computer models. I am a reporter and had to do one of those stories about the big storm coming. The extreme language about the possible severity of it was on the Mount Holly site, which covers most of our readership area. I like the National Weather Service site very much, especially the animated radar. It sure looked like disaster heading our way on the radar that weekend.

The above was about that bogus storm we got back in March, and the below card is for St. Patrick's Day, but it's expired. It worked when I got it though!

Subject: Susan sent you a Yahoo! Greeting
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2001 01:45:05 -0500
From: greetings@reply.yahoo.com
Reply-To: Susan Not From Long Island
To: rpm@glib.com

Surprise! You've just received a Yahoo! Greeting from “Susan!”

To view this greeting card, click on the following Web address at anytime within the next 60 days.


If that doesn't work, go to http://greetings.yahoo.com/pickup and copy and paste this code:



Subject: Court strikes down Arkansas sodomy law
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 09:01:47 -0800 (PST)
From: zigman
To: rpm@glib.com


March 23, 2001 - An Arkansas circuit court judge Friday declared the state's ban on consensual sex between adult, same-sex couples to be a violation of the state constitution, handing a victory to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community in Arkansas and across the nation.

Seven gay and lesbian plaintiffs, represented by the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, filed suit against Arkansas' so-called sodomy law, charging that it violates the right to equal protection clause of the Arkansas Constitution. Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge David Bogart agreed, stating, “It is consistent with this State's Constitution to hold that an adult's right to engage in consensual and noncommercial sexual activities in the privacy of that adult’s home is a matter of intimate personal concern which is at the heart of the right to privacy in Arkansas.”

Elizabeth Toledo, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said the court's ruling is important because religious conservatives who oppose civil rights for GLBT people often use states' antiquated sodomy laws as a justification for denying those rights.

“Antiquated sodomy laws are at the heart of the religious right's efforts to ostracize and denigrate the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community,” Toledo said. “We are grateful to the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and to the seven Arkansas residents who stood up and challenged this discriminatory law. Today is a wonderful day for our community in Arkansas and across the United States.”

Four states - Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri - have sodomy laws that single out gay and lesbian people, although Missouri's law has been struck down by a lower court. 13 other states have sodomy laws that outlaw some forms of both heterosexual and homosexual activity.

Subject: A missive on laws
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2001 15:28:12 -0500 (EST)
From: Fernando
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R.

As I have stated previously, you and I are incompatible in matters of politics and sociology. I do, however, have a great respect for your knowledge of all things science and with this missive I hope your expertise extends into the realm of the Law. Mine sure doesn't!!! You see, R, I live in the state of New Jersey. I have lived here all of my life (31 years as I turn 32 this October.) You mentioned on your last broadcast, that being the one on March 19, 1 a.m. est, that you owned a firearm. I too am an afficionado of weapons. I love them, Paul. I only own one gun though and that is a Browning 16 gauge shotgun my father gave me for Christmas. I have shot it only once and my uncle shot at a sea gull with it once for the sheer hell of it. He missed.

A few years ago (I believe two) I ordered a bayonette for my father from the catalog of a well-known store (The Sharper Image.) The store however responded by saying they could not fulfill my purchase as it is ILLEGAL to buy knives through the mail in my state. Is this true of the Garden State, Martin? Is it really so?

To further confuse me, this store had no problem at all in allowing me to purchase a functioning CROSSBOW from their catalog. And it included THREE bolts!!! R, what is this? Why is it illegal to purchase knives through the mail? Why are crossbows excluded? Who do I need to see about this? Sometimes I feel like I am losing my mind. The store did give me credit for the bayonette and I did purchase a device that disguises my voice when I use the phone! It's great, R.!

On another matter, R, while I enjoy your broadcasts, I would enjoy it further if you would devote more time to answering your mail and edit out the repeat letter-writers when they write about nonsense. I, for one, have questions I would like answered and lately it seems I keep hearing you reply to the same three crackpots who write to you every five minutes about every obstructed gas in their bowels. Keep the channels of communication flowing, Paul! You know? This is just a thought. I hope to hear from you soon, R. Be well.

Florham Park, NJ

Those last two paragraphs above gave us some pause during the program. I think that even Fernando sees the humor of it now. It is indeed odd what they will and will not sell via the mails these days.

Oh, this next one doesn't seem to have made it onto the air. I guess it's sort of a web exclusive.

Subject: Question?!?
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2001 17:30:41 -0500
From: ~Chris~
To: rpm@glib.com


My name is Chris, I live in Kingston (Ontario) and my mom and my grandmother (who lives in Lennoxville, Quebec) are having an argument over something and I was wondering if you could help me out.

They want to know where you were born, I know it's not a big deal but I would appreciate it if you could write back as soon as possible. thanx

This next one was huge and took up way too much room to put on this page. also, it would violate the copyright of the folks who are publishing it. So I've just given a link to the issue he references.

Date: Sat, 31 Mar 2001 10:13:27 -0500
From: Alan
To: rpm@glib.com


this is a hot issue,

sun is at it's 11 yr. solar max.

we can sit all day watching the 1,000s+ of images still coming from the Jupiter orbiter Galileo.

anyone that has a Sunday off, take a look.



Subject: Lawyers gin and money...
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 00:36:24 EDT
From: DeRooCAD7
To: rpm@glib.com

Kepp your cool ... the stuff has hit the fan...

Actually, that's a paraphrase of a Warren Zevon song which our colleague Uncle Sidney Smith plays on occasion.

I think our next correspondent here doesn't understand the Internet or its structure. The Internet was here before Yahoo! and it'll be here after yahoo! is no more. Building a parallel Internet is not only a waste of effort, it would actually be impossible because the Internet would make that a part of itself anyway.

As for the privacy concerns, those are real. I know that I do not give out my Social Security Number to anyone. I suspect, however, that Walden's fears are a bit overwrought.

Subject: Parallel, Non-Corporate Universe
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 10:35:53 -0700
From: walden
To: rpm@glib.com

perhaps in 10 years or so yahoo will no longer be so friendly to dissident groups. it would be wise to be prepared for such and eventuality and build a parallel non-corporate Internet.

besides I am rather concerned about the day they manage to roll all those databases into one.. perhaps they won't be able to as a lot of people (wisely) give the corp.s BS. however someday they may force users hands by linking movements to credit card #s or one's SIN (Social Identification Number -- Security is rather Doublespeakish is it, Social Insecurity Number works out the same acronom incidentally). It is probably safest to have neither.

Incidental note if you would like to talk about privacy on the web: why the heck are SIN numbers required everywhere one goes? it says on the back of the card that no one has the right to ask for this number for the purposes for identification, that it's primary and sole intended use is to be for the social security program (bullshit).

I usually don't advocate cracking (illegal hacking) but in this case it would be rather a rather welcome blow to the big brother leviathan for some hacker to create a data corrupting virus that eats social security, credit and criminal databases --or better yet, generates “fake” people and credit numbers, or adds a few “never before seen” lines to mini-bush's criminal past. unfortunately there are probably offline backups and the NSA would probably clean things up pretty quickly.

By the way, is this considered conspiracy in some states to talk about things like this? I suppose if it is so, we should consider ourselves “gagged” under the pain of prosecution by presence of carnivore

I suppose we could mount a campaign to flood carnivore's filters by mentioning the internet equivalent of 7 things you're not supposed to say on TV (they probably all have to do with revolution, subversion, sedition and all the )

Lastly, have know any knowledge about spyware? Some shareware programs: RealNetwork’s downloader, Netscape’s Smart Download, Gozilla, PKZIP for Windows to mention a few are spyware, according to the April Computer Shopper (the article’s not on the web for some reason). In fact I'm wondering if Microsoft Word is sending out this email to some anonymous web databin as I type this up (wouldn’t put it past M$ --or any corp. to pull something like that if they could get away with it). Word has exhibited some very suspicious behavior when used to edit web pages (e.g. to pare one down for printing). If run offline, there it retrieves the information from the cache, no problem. If run online, it will attempt to download the information (again!) from the web at about half the speed of Explorer, and to add insult to injury, some kind of password prompt will pop up from servers that request it. This is probably for administrators to edit the pages directly, but one can’t help but feel some time in the future Windows we be engineered to prevent people from cutting advertisements from web pages (and masked in the language of free-trade or some other corporate jingoism no doubt).

well despite all this sci-fi nihilism, cheers, walden

PS There's been some talk on the net about Libertaria in Cyberspace

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

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