Web links related to the Back of the Book program of August 21, 2000

This time it really is Friday 8/25/2000 02:03:34 and as far as I can tell, I'm more awake this time than I was yesterday when I posted what I thought was the final version of it. I've added a link to an Australian web site relevant to the DeCSS debacle. I believe that this web page is finished at long last. I had some free speech issues to talk about on the program. We also had some good news for the horseshoe crabs. I got through a bit of the mail backlog, and I did at least make a dent in it. I've made an ancillary page to this one because I figured that many people wouldn't want to be bothered with my long winded digression about how some naval things got their names, e.g. why a submarine is called a boat. Let me know if putting stuff like that on a separate page works for you. And remember, the next program will be Back of the Book's 14th anniversary!

You might want to look at the Pacifica Theft Page to find out what Pacifica Management is up to these days.

As of 7:30 last night we were getting Web cast by porus dot com, so this program is probably being Web cast.

Among the First Amendment issues that we're talking about tonight is the one that involves Ralph Nader's Green Party presidential candidacy. You've probably seen his TV commercial where he contrasts his position to those of the “major party” candidates and then uses the punchline “priceless” at the end.

Well, this is a parody of a MasterCard commercial. MasterCard has filed suit against Nader's campaign and is claiming that Nader's campaign ad impinged upon its trademark and copyright of its commercials. Of course this is really about the suppression of political speech. Relevant is that MasterCard has been pumping money into the Republican Party and Nader has a Credit Card Bill of Rights as part of his platform.

Nader ought to win this one, but I suspect that the real idea behind the lawsuit is that MasterCard is going to try to use it to drain the treasury of the Green Party. MasterCard is sort of making a negative donation to Nader's campaign.

In an environmental move that I was very glad to read about, a law has been passed to protect the horseshoe crabs of Delaware Bay. The short sighted fishermen of Virginia have been, “strip mining horseshoe crabs,” according to Daniel P. Beard, vice president of the National Audubon Society. This law should help the horseshoe crab population to rebound from what may have been it's most trying assault in the last 450 million years.

The French are trying to impose their laws on the American dot com company Yahoo! Yahoo! is running auctions, not very original, I know. Some of those auctions involve what's called Nazi memorabilia. So a couple of groups have sued Yahoo! for doing this. Now the French version of Yahoo! doesn't carry these items, so the French groups want the real Yahoo!, the one in America, to stop allowing people to auction off these types of articles on its Web site, or prevent French people from seeing them. They got a Paris judge to order Yahoo! to pay fines to these two groups for having violated a French law!

Now E-bay has had people protesting such auctions on its site, but E-bay doesn't have assets in France. Judge Jean-Jacques Gomez of the Superior Court of Paris has been the cat's paw for harassing Yahoo! and also the thin end of the wedge for the attempted balkanization of the World Wide Web. He's held off on imposing further, heavy fines on California based Yahoo! for violating a French law and has instead formed a three man panel to figure out a way to “dissuade and render impossible” French people on the Web from seeing those parts of the Yahoo! site. This, of course, is ridiculous.

Yahoo! has made the obvious point that it's an American company operating in America and that it's California based Web servers are not subject to French law but are protected by the American First Amendment. Judge Gomez dismisses this obvious truth saying that Yahoo! auctions are “an offense to the nation's collective memory.” I think that what he really means is that the French are offended about being reminded that they haven't won a war in 150 years, and in that one they needed the Brits to carry a lot of the load.

Besides the absurdity of a French law, which is in opposition to the U.S. Constitution, being applied against something that's happening in California there's also the fact that the Web is indeed world wide. Lots of governments want to limit people's access to sites that they don't like. This French attempt is just the same thing under the guise of anti-racism.

The three man panel is supposed to give this imbecile Judge Gomez their decision by November 6th. If he keeps up this anti First Amendment crap I think that the rest of us on the Web who are in favor of free speech should have some sort of sustained action against Judge Gomez and maybe even the French government itself.

In another free speech case an American court has ruled in favor of the wealthy and politically connected Motion Picture Association of America in the case involving DeCSS, the software that allows people using Linux and who are outside the United States to access DVD disks that they own. The defendants, who include Eric Corley (Emmanuel Goldstein) of WBAI's Off the Hook program, say they will appeal this decision.

Not only has the judge ruled that Corley can't make the software available on his Web site, but he can't even link to sites that do have it. This latter detail is definitely a violation of the First Amendment. The entire World Wide Web is linked to itself. If there's just one link to a site that has the DeCSS software then all the other sites on the web are linked to it through other sites. This ruling needs to be overturned. Too bad that the MPAA spent so much money on a copy prevention system that doesn't work, but the rest of us shouldn't have to suffer because of it.

It seems that it's not just the French who are interested in imposing their tortured legal rulings on the citizens of other countries. The Australian site 2600.org.au has been sent a letter by the MPAA demanding that they comply with the ruling of the ignorant Judge Kaplan! The 2600 Australia continues to link to a site that provides DeCSS. The Australians are thumbing their noses at the pigs from the MPAA and they say they're going to keep on fighting any attempts to stop them from linking.

So everyone on the submarine Kursk has died. This tragedy is just part of the obscene attempt by the Russians to pose as a super power when they're no longer in a position to be one. They can't maintain their naval vessels, they can't retain sailors and they can't keep competent people and equipment around to rescue submariners if they get into trouble. Russia is a poseur on the world's stage.

As I said on the air, the former Communists still don't get the idea of being accountable for their actions, or inactions. The statements issued by the naval and political authorities during this entire harrowing series of events have been bland, vague, without feeling and in general inhuman. No American politician who wanted to keep his elected position would dare stay on vacation for five days while his/her young sailors were trapped in a situation like that. The Russians are still largely operating out of a Soviet mentality. I doubt that most of the bureaucracy can feel for another human being. So it's not a surprise that they acted in the despicable way they did for the entire duration of this crisis.

They even tried to say that a foreign submarine had collided with the Kursk and caused her to sink. This, of course was just a ploy to get people angry at some foreign power, probably America, and so deflect attention away from the naval officers and politicians who did nothing until it was too late. The Russians had said that they saw another large “object” lying near the Kursk. They tried to make it seem that this was a foreign submarine that had collided with it. Oddly, when they sent a ship in to really look for it they found nothing at all. They also claimed that they had sighted an emergency buoy from this foreign submarine, but that also seems to have mysteriously disappeared. Smoke and mirrors may work on the Russian populace, used to knuckling under to the lies of the Central Committee, but everyone else in the world is disgusted with them.

On the program I went on for a while about how torpedos and destroyers got their names and why submarines are called boats. If you want to read about that stuff it's here.

Speaking of Russians who are all wet, The Russian Orthodox Church has canonized Czar Nicholas II and his family. This means they have made them all instant saints.

To me, this illustrates the essential corruption of superstition. Czar Nicholas II (1868-1918) was a murderer. Not only did he run a repressive regime, but he was brutal in his repression of mere reformers. In January 1905, thousands of Russians marched peacefully to the the Czar's palace in St. Petersburg, to present petitions asking for reforms in the country. Well, Saint Nicholas II had them shot down! Thousands died in the two largest massacres that occurred.

Nicholas II also got himself into the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05. His military was so corrupt, and based on status and privilege rather than merit, that his soldiers' and sailors' lives were just thrown away.

Probably his biggest act of murder was to be one of the monarchs who started World War I. To make it worse, he sent most of his troops to the front without rifles. They were supposed to pick up the rifles of fallen comrades, and it turned out that there were a lot of fallen comrades.

Of course we all know that because of the revolution of 1917, Nicholas abdicated. When the Bolsheviks took power they removed him and his family to Yekaterinburg, where they were handed over to the Ural Soviet. In July 1918, the Commies brought Nicholas, his wife, children and servants to the basement of the house of an engineer named Ipatyev and murdered them all. In 1998, the skeletal remains of the family, except for Czarevitch Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria whose remains were not found, were buried in the cemetery of the Fortress of Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg.

The politics behind this is that the Russian Orthodox Church would like to have the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile rejoin it. The Russian Orthodox Church in Exile made Nicholas II a saint years ago. So if the former Commies want to bring them back into the fold they have to canonize this blundering murderer Nicholas II. What next, St. Stalin?

I did get some mail reading in. I'll only put up the E-mail though. Someone has asked me to put up the paper mail as well, but I think that's a bit much. Some of it is handwritten and it's not going to translate well at all.

The following listener didn't like the program's web page. I'm glad he liked the program enough to listen to it, but if he didn't like that program's page I wonder what he'll feel about this one's page?

Subject: Lidtened to your showearly morning 5/29
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 02:59:26 EDT
From: Jay
To: rpm@glib.com


I am a fellow insomniac who has just gotten the Time Warner monkey off my back and trying to kink this AOL barnacle off my cyber-ass. So I am listening to the radio more and you're on it (which you know).

I am in complete agreement on the SCI fi Vs fantasy thing.

I was kind of bored by your web page, I can see how useful it is if I miss one of your shows. Can you point me to parts of the site which might occupy the attention deficit disorder addled brain.

Keep up the skepticism.


Subject: Net radio taking over in 5 yr.?
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 19:25:33 -0400
From: Alan
To: rpm@glib.com

Hi, R. Paul

I send an email a few months ago about BAI selling out, getting 200 million dollars and making a dam good webpage WITH screaming audio/radio.

AND this, BAI could add video and images to the news and the interviews that happen on air. If it was a dam good webpage. Am i spelling dam right?

Look at this article from todays link on Alta Vista, see below.

See ya,

Net To Threaten Radio

Web audio, a curiosity five years ago, will slowly but surely displace broadcast radio five years from now, according to a senior analyst with Forrester Research Inc. (FORR). “We believe 41 percent of the U.S. population, or 188 million people, will be listening to personalized, on-demand audio, at least once a week,” Jeremy Schwartz told CBS.MarketWatch.com . By 2005, he said, devices to listen to downloaded audio files will cost around $100, and you'll be able to scatter them through your networked home and in your car. ....

I don't think that web audio is going to replace the radio we've all known all our lives, not in five years certainly. I think that radios are just very cheap and radio broadcasting is just too convenient for it all to go away in the face of $100 radios that need some sophisticated hookup to the Internet. Of course, as I said on the air, the content of a lot of radio today is just bland and repetitious and rigidly conformist. For all of its flaws, WBAI is for the most part not that, at least.

Subject: your website
Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 08:56:30 -0400
From: “Arthur”
To: rpm@glib.com

I listened to you for the first time on WBAI. But what I really like (just kidding) is your description of the Inventory Control Device (on your website). Very clear--only the schematic diagram is missing. And your reasoning on why magnetism is not involved is very convincing.

Kew Gardens, NY

Wow, a first time listener! Did he make it 19 listeners that week? Is Arthur still listening, or have I dropped back to 18 listeners again?

The graphic is there. Sometimes a part of a web page just doesn't get sent to your browser for some reason or another. In that case just reload the page and you should get it.

I'm glad he liked the program, or the Web site or something!

Next we have a missive from North American Shirley who was excited about the PBS repeat, after 21 years, of The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. LeGuin.

Subject: media alert
Date: Sat, 3 Jun 2000 13:51:40 EDT
From: North American Shirley
To: rpm@glib.com

if you like this sort of thing ...


I did watch it and I noticed that they substituted a cover for the Beatles song A Little Help From My Friends in the movie. Is that what kept it off the air for 21 years? Did they have a problem with rights to the Beatles' performance of that song? I don't know. Maybe someone will enlighten me about it.

Subject: Re: 70 Pine St.
Date: Sat, 3 Jun 2000 17:23:27 EDT
From: Seth
To: rpm@glib.com

Dear R.P.M.,

Glad to be of service. If I find anthing else about it (or 120 wall street) I'll be sure to let you know.

About not including the spire on top of the stone models of the building (at the entrance): The artistic tradition, when you have a thin & vulnerable element in a stone sculpture, is to make it out of metal: hence one occasionallly sees a sculpture of a warrior made of stone, but holding a bronze sword.

This not only makes the thin element less likely to crack off, but sometimes strengthens the symbolism of the sculpture--a technique that sculptors have sometimes used to great effect: If a stone warrior is holding a metal, sword or a stone saint is holding a cross of metal, the difference in the material highlights the significant object thay they are holding.

In the case of the 70 Pine stone building sculptures, they could have included a spire in brass, chromium, or bronze. Indeed, there may have originally been one that broke off or was removed. I'm not sure what they actually had there--one would have to look at period photographs. Unforturnately, there is no monograph on the work of the building's architects, Clinton & Russell. They were an amazingly prolific firm, producing many many office buildings from the turn-of-the-century up to the early 30's. Perhaps some enterprizing architectural historian should take them on!

'regards to P.O.T.N (Pickles Of...)

Seth's been a regular listener, correspondent and contributor to Back of the Book for years now. He's been very helpful on the details of the architecture of the 70 Pine St. building. I'm thinking of making a non-program page about that building at some point.

Subject: The Third Secret of Fatima
Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2000 12:07:03 EDT
From: North American Shirley
To: rpm@glib.com

when I used to struggle to find cover art and write that title that would "sing" for every issue of Neurology Reviews, I always knew the finished cover already existed somewhere; it was only my job to unwrap it ... we are creatures of linear time and can't step outside so the tasks are onerous but the artistry is already born and we are only discoverers ...

so with that Letter to Susan; it is written but not yet unwrapped

yes, this was whispered in my ear by a veiled figure who swiftly disppeared at a casbah hidden on a winding alley deep in an outer district of Baghdad on a steamy day when nothing was as it seemed and spirits hovered and ancient music transported and bowls of unnameable concoctions were passed from strange hands and all drank deep but one thing was clear ...

That Letter to Susan is written but not yet unwrapped

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.

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