Web links related to the Back of the Book program of December 23, 2002

It's Sunday afternoon 1/5/2003 17:41:40 and this page is done. I got to all of the stuff below plus some other items on this program. I didn't get through much of the mail, but I did some. This was the last program for 2002, so I did a little retrospective — of 1952. Don't worry about some parts of the page below having been written at different times, just enjoy.

Here is the latest on the saga of Pacifica. There was yet another big meeting of the interim Pacifica National Board December 6-8, in Washington, D.C. It finally decided to kick the so called “Constituency Model” to the curb.

Here's the WBAI schedule. Don't blame me if it's not accurate, I didn't make it up I'm only relaying it. Here's a schedule made by a listener who has Web links for various programs and producers.

Our colleagues from Off the Hook now have both a RealAudio streaming web cast operating, and a new MP3 stream both of which were working at about 9:19 PM last night. The MP3 feed is now the preferred feed.

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.

Well, the so called “Constituency Model” of Pacifica Foundation governance got defeated at the last big interim Pacifica National Board meeting two weeks ago, but the WBAI local Advisory Board doesn't seem to get it. I've dubbed the scheme they're trying to force on people the “Dracula Model” because it's politically undead.

If you want to know more about this WBAI LAB meeting you can get a synopsis from a posting on the Pacifica Forum, it also has links to audio of that meeting.

The New York State legislature has at long last passed a gay rights law. I was in on the beginning of this legislation and I plan to talk about it a bit tonight.

I didn't get to the world of 50 years ago as much as I'd wanted on this program. I figure everyone is doing a review of the year 2002, and so I decided to do a review of the year 1952.

I'm using a book my parents had, it was one of the very few books in the house when I was a child. It is The Unicorn Book of 1952. As I recall from my early youth my parents had entered some contest that this company was running and either you had to buy this book in order to enter the contest, or else my parents got the hint that it would enhance your chances in the contest if they did so. Of course my parents never won that, or any other, contest, but they kept trying for three years. So I have annual books like this for 1952, 1953 and 1954. They're pretty much tabloid compilations with photographs and uninspired writing. But they do remind one of the goings on half a century ago.

Due to other matters taking up a lot of time, I only got to cover one story from the 1952, book on this program. That was the story of young clothing salesman Arnold Shuster. Mr. Shuster rose from obscurity to fame on February 18, 1952, by recognizing the famous bank robber Willie “The Actor” Sutton (1901-1980) as he was buying a battery for his car. Sutton had been on the lam since his most recent jailbreak in 1947. Sutton's most recent bank robbery had been in New York in 1950, and had netted him $63,000, a very serious amount of money in those days. A good sized house in Brooklyn sold for around $15,000 then.

Arnold Shuster told two cops on patrol that he'd seen the infamous Sutton and they didn't believe him. But when they went and looked they found the bank robber/jailbreak expert right where Shuster had reported him.

Sutton was arrested, and was convicted of the New York bank robbery on April 1. Unfortunately, Mr. Shuster never got to see Sutton get convicted. He was assassinated, shot down on a Brooklyn street, on March 8.

I recall Willie Sutton being on TV some time in the '60s or '70s, and being treated as something of a celebrity. He had been released from his last prison term in 1969. On TV Sutton repeated the famous quote falsely attributed to him that he robbed banks “Because that's where the money is,” and he got to tell about his escapes from various prisons. No one mentioned good citizen Shuster.

In fact after his 1952, conviction, which was his final one, Sutton wrote a book in cooperation with a newspaperman called I, Willie Sutton. It was reprinted in 1993. Sutton boasted about never having used his gun in bank robberies. Of course he could not have personally wielded the gun that killed Mr. Shuster, but it's hardly likely that Shuster's murder was a mere coincidence, given Sutton's thick network of connections to the underworld, which included safe houses and other assistance to criminals who were on the lam.

So the Willie Sutton legend lives on, but this incident brings to light something that gets swept under the rug. Beneath the affable public persona Willie Sutton was still a nasty, murderous criminal.

Such was some of life in Brooklyn 50 years ago.

The Internet is under attack again, from domestic and foreign forces.

We got through some of the mail on the air, but much of it was snail mail. Below we present the only E-mail we got to on the program. I believe our correspondent is referring to something I said on my Back of the Book Web page.

Subject: Flabbergastingly
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002 01:14:56 -0500
From: Michael
To: rpm@glib.com

R Paul

Although your meaning is plain, I do not believe "Flabbergastingly" is a word-until now!

Michael from the People's Republic of ... River Vale, NJ

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to 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.

Another 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. With that warning in mind, you can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too, although you'll have to deal with Yahoo! to do so.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. This one has a great many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary board that's just totally out of hand.

The “Goodlight” Web based message board has expanded to cover all Pacifica stations.

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 and subsequent Web pages on this site are copyright © 2003, R. Paul Martin