Web links related to the Back of the Book program of September 22, 2008

It's Sunday afternoon, October 5, 2008 15:16, and I've finished updating this Web page with more about what we did on the air, with a link to a reporter's story on the recent LSB meeting, the tally total and a link to an event that Pickles of the North talked about. Oh, jeez, we're pitching again! Didn't we just do this a couple of months ago? Well, yes, but there's no way around it; we need to raise enough money to pay the bills and if we can't get through the next few months the station will cease to exist, and we can't fight to improve the place if the place isn't here anymore. So we'll be begging for money, and we hope that a lot of our listeners will call in pledges.

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

At the most recent regular meeting of the WBAI LSB on Wednesday, September 17th, at 7:00 PM there was no motion setting the date of the next LSB meeting. So we don't know when we'll be meeting next. I'll post the information when it becomes available.

The first meeting of the WBAI LSB this month was held on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008, in the Assembly Room of the Judson Memorial Church, just south of Washington Square Park.

We elected a new Secretary, Gail Blasie. She's not a member of the WBAI LSB but the bylaws allow non-members to serve as Secretary.

We postponed a whole lot of things, but we did pass a motion regarding excused absences in committees. And then we went into a committee of the whole to discuss the budget. Oh, these are interesting financial times for WBAI.

The second meeting of the WBAI LSB this month was held on Wednesday, September 17th, 2008, in a meeting room at the Broadway Housing Communities (at the Dorothy Day Houses), 583 Riverside Drive between 135th & 136th Streets in Manhattan. This was actually the second venue for this meeting. The first turned out to be not wheelchair accessible so it had to be changed at the last minute.

We finally got to the budget at this meeting. But of course this couldn't be a meeting that simply focussed on the budget.

The faction currently somewhat in charge at the radio station had started agitating a few days before the meeting, sending out press releases and E-mail spam, as well as initiating a telemarketing campaign consisting of a recorded message from one LSB member telling people that the current majority on the WBAI LSB was out to fire the Program Director. Their E-mail said in part, “On Wed., Sept. 17, the WBAI Local Station Board will consider a motion to abolish the position of Program Director, held by Bernard White -- in essence, a political purge.”

Of course this was a lie. What was on the agenda was the approval of the WBAI FY09 budget, which was absolutely essential for the survival of WBAI. There was no motion about abolishing the position of Program Director.

Now at various times people have said that this ought to be done, but it was not a motion at this meeting. When it's been brought up in the past the faction that's sort of currently in charge at the station didn't make a big telemarketing push to get people to come to the meetings. But this time they did, when there was a crucial budget motion pending. Given their push I suppose we should refer to them as the “Friends of Bernard” from now on, FoB for short.

So we had a whole bunch of people, some of them crazy, many of the belligerent, showing up at this meeting all fired up about something that wasn't scheduled to happen. Many of these people carried signs that decried the “purge” and called LSB members who weren't part of the FoB mob racists.

So the agenda got moved around and after a while the end time for the meeting was set at 10:00 PM from the original 9:30 PM. The problem there was that at 9:30 PM I, as Treasurer, had to get on a conference call with the Pacifica Foundation's National Finance Committee and report on what WBAI had done regarding the budget. And then that National Finance Committee would have to vote on what to send to the Pacifica National Board, which would meet in less than 48 hours.

The WBAI Finance Committee, which I Chair, had brought some motions that proposed that WBAI's FY09 budget allow for some increased income based on previous years' experience. These requests had originally been made by WBAI's General Manager Anthony Riddle. Mr. Riddle and I had argued for these proposals at more than one meeting of the National Finance Committee and had been rebuffed. So the attempt was made to have the LSB put its weight behind the recommendations.

Nobody on the LSB opposed these measures, but the FoB crowd had to do their version of political theater in that relatively small room. So we had LSB members and some of the audience members vying for the title of most supportive of the current Program Director, even though he wasn't on the agenda.

So at 9:30 I went out on the terrace of this place and I was able to get the National Finance Committee to delay the consideration of the WBAI budget. While I was out there I could see and hear chaos from inside the meeting room. The FoB mob was screaming and yelling and being threatening. It was like a throwback to the LSB meetings of 2004, when some of these same people behaved threateningly towards LSB members and used violence at meetings.

Eventually I brought the motions, which passed the LSB easily, from the LSB to the National Finance Committee. And the National Finance Committee voted all of them down and passed another motion that recommended tighter control of WBAI's budget.

After the LSB meeting finally adjourned I ended up pacing back and forth on the sidewalk on Riverside Drive doing this teleconference meeting on a cell phone borrowed from another member of the LSB.

Well, this weekend the Pacifica National Board met and restored the provisions that the LSB had proposed.

The bottom line is that WBAI now has a very tight budget to live up to and that budget is going to be monitored for compliance on a monthly basis. And what was the FoB bruhaha really about? Well, I suspect that it's the opening of their campaign for the 2009, LSB elections which will be ongoing a year from now.

Update: A reporter was at the September 17, 2008, WBAI LSB meeting and he's given his take on all of this here.

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. The stream was working at 9:43 PM 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 months. When you first go to the Web page you'll only see the WBAI programs for the past 7 days. If you want to see older programs you can click on one of the “See ALL Shows” buttons.

Back of the Book is now one of the programs that you can download, as well as listen to on line.

I'm glad to announce that with a new person doing the archives there have been some positive changes. In the table on that Web page Back of the Book and Carrier Wave are both in the Show column. The “Date and Category” column shows the date of the program. After the program I go in and write the details of the program and say which program it is. Of course I'd recommend that you just listen to both programs in this time slot!

We are pitching on this radio program! If you can please call 1-212-209-2950 during the radio program and pledge some amount of money to help keep Back of the Book on WBAI and help keep WBAI on the air.

Update: Well, we pitched like crazy on this radio program and in the end we had a tally of $1,040. Thanks to all who pledged and thanks to the folks in the Tally Room who took the pledges!

Well, this fortnight we got to see the Large Hadron Collider come on line at CERN. And then it got wrecked! Super cooled Helium leaked out of one part and the magnets over heated and melted some connections. Now they have to slowly re-heat an entire section of the collider and then repair things and then cool it all down again before they can start to run anymore protons through it. Well, nobody said that discovering new things about the universe was going to be easy.

And of course we talked about the proposed bailout of the various banks and similar financial companies that have suddenly gone bankrupt or close to it. As I said on the air, if this had been a bridge that was built this badly, and failed, engineers or construction people would have gone to jail.

And while I seriously dislike the bailout stuff I have to say that we learned from the events of about 79 years ago that leaving “the market” to deal with these sorts of failures is not a good idea. Herbert Hoover did that, and as a result we had the Great Depression. Franklin Delano Roosevelt started creating government jobs programs and ways of saving the remaining, and failing, banks in America in 1933, with his New Deal. And that at least started a turaround.

Hey, I guess that George W. Bush can claim now that during his administration welfare was increased to levels higher than it had ever been before. Of course it was welfare for stock brokers, investment bankers and purveyors of fraudulent mortgages, but I'm sure that the idiot Bush is proud anyway.

Meanwhile there are homeless people in this country. How many of them could be housed for life with the amount of money being thrown at those who've already blown a trillion dollars? I bet all of the homeless people in america could be permanently housed for that money.

Well, I hope that at least this will end the stupid comments one hears from time to time about some of these bankers and financial bombasts being geniuses. Obviously, as financiers, they're not even competent.

Some folks are concerned that an international treaty designed to crack down on copyright violations could result in some serious violations of its own.

There was a small earthquake in Austria and a World War II bomb went off.

Pickles of the North here. A listener wrote in to tell us about an interesting, free scientific event that takes place at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory on Saturday, October 4. It's their yearly open house and information about it can be found at http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/events/open-house. For those who want to see the official program of this Open House click here.

We made note of the fact that the autumnal Equinox was going to occur mere hours after this radio program, at 11:44 AM (ET). For more on the dates of the seasons, and sub-season, look here.

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 © 2008, R. Paul Martin.