Web links related to the Back of the Book program of October 22, 2007

It's Friday morning, 10/26/2007 07:28 and this Web page has been updated, and I think it's done now. We're pitching tonight! Please do call in, the number's below, and pledge some money to help us keep WBAI on the air Of course in a pitching program there's no telling what's going to happen. So we may or may not get to everything below, and we might get to some other stuff entirely. Yeah, these on-air fund raising events are just so conducive to a structured radio program.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of many of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do.

And the faction currently in charge has finally let us know when the next LSB meeting is. It's scheduled for October 31, at 7:00 PM, and days later they have finally let us know that it will be held at Local 1199's Bread & Roses Art Gallery, at 310 West 43rd St. between 8th & 9th Avenues, in Manhattan. A LSB meeting on Halloween? Are they nuts? Or are they just devoid of lives?

The September 25th, 2007, WBAI LSB meeting was another toxic one. The faction currently in charge finally passed their fantasy budget at this meeting. It got rejected by the PNB days later.

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.

WBAI has an official Web stream of what's on the air at any time! You can go here and pick which type of stream you want! If this stream isn't working let me know. It was working all right last night.

WBAI is archiving the programs! Just go here and you'll be able to listen to the program any time for the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, Back of the Book is not one of the programs that you can download, you can only listen to it on line. But maybe someone will change that at some point. NOTE: The archives have not always been behaved properly. We can't guarantee their condition. If this Back of the Book program isn't archived I'll post an archive myself.

I'm glad to announce that with a new person doing the archives Back of the Book and Carrier Wave are properly named in the archive. Of course I'd recommend that you just listen to both programs in this time slot!

We're pitching on this program!

We hope that you'll pledge to WBAI while Back of the Book is on the air.

A regular one year membership is $25. But there are some premiums available for larger donations. Just ask about the available premiums when you call in.

We hope that everyone who listens pledges by calling 1-212-209-2950 during the program! And if you think we don't really need the dough just listen to what the Chief Financial Officer of Pacifica has to say.

Update: We raised $1,265 for WBAI on this program. Our secret weapon was having Pickles of the North tap dancing on the air. Where else would you get live tap dancing on the radio in the middle of the night?

Thanks to everyone who pledged and to everyone who worked to keep things moving in the tally room. And for those who pledged and who are expecting a bill, please remember to pay your pledge! Fulfillment is what really pays the bills for the radio station.

We've been told for decades that the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, a pair of nearby galaxies, were satellites of our own Milky Way galaxy.

Well, some new research seems to blow that idea out of the water!

We also talked about the recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association about a bacteria strain called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, pronounced “mersa.” The authors of the report estimate that there were 94,360 patients in the United States who were infected with MRSA in 2005, and of those they estimate that 18,650 died! They said that they couldn't tell if MRSA killed those people or if it merely accelerated their deaths.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an overview of MRSA on their Web site.

A lot of the reason why this particular germ is spreading so widely is that some hospital workers, as well as a lot of folks in the general population, are not washing their hands as often or as thoroughly as necessary. It's also a pretty robust germ. It can last for a while on surfaces, and it could even be communicated to a patient in a hospital if that patient is brushed by a doctor's lab coat that has MRSA on it. Mostly it seems to get into hospital patients by being transported from infected patients to uninfected patients on the unwashed hands of hospital workers.

I think that MRSA is a germ that's getting such a strong, and deadly, foothold largely because of a change in attitude over the past 60 years or so.

The germ theory of disease was developed in the 1860s and 1870s. The scientists who figured out that microbes might be able to cause illness in people found that good hygiene, especially washing hands, was a big factor in preventing many germs from infecting the human body.

So for the decades between the 1870s and the late 1940s the washing of hands was a strictly enforced procedure in hospitals, and many schools, because people had seen that it made a big difference.

And then came the discovery of antibiotics in the 1940s. By the 1950s people were starting to get a different attitude towards many disease germs. People saw that if you got some infection it could be “cured” by an injection of an antibiotic or a regime antibiotic pills. So prevention through hand washing started to be seen as not really necessary.

Flash forward and for the entire second half of the 20th Century antibiotics got misused and antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria evolved. So now, in the early 21st Century we find ourselves in a situation where a lot of the population doesn't get the idea that you need to do a lot of hand washing, etc. in order to prevent infections and the antibiotics are no longer working on some germs.

It's a case of society at large knowing exactly what to do to prevent infection but not doing it. It's an example of society at large mimicking the quirks of individual people. And in some cases it's a fatal quirk.

There's been some confusion by some about the number of members that WBAI has. The members are those of you who have donated at least $25 to the radio station, or done 3 or more hours of work for the radio station, over the past year. Here are the number of ballots sent out for the past two elections and the number which will be sent out this election, along with a number from WBAI Management.

WBAI Membership
Ballots sent out in 200420,873
Ballots sent out in 200616,404
Ballots to be sent out in 200715,519
WBAI iGM's reported statement of members14,571

I do not know why there's a difference of 948 listener members between the WBAI iGM's count and the number of ballots that the National and Local Election Supervisors are going to send out. And of course this number does not include Staff.

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.

Our very own Uncle Sidney Smith, whose program Carrier Wave alternates with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

My voice mail number at WBAI is 212-209-2996. Leave a message.

You can also send me E-mail.

WBAI related links

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

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The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2007, R. Paul Martin.