Web links related to the Back of the Book program of November 2, 2009

It's Sunday evening, November 15, 2009 18:42, and I've updated this page with more about some of the topics as well as more information about the current screwed up election. I'd previously updated this page with the location of the next LSB meeting and the news about the final extension of the election deadline. Here's the original top of this page ⇒ Oh, it's the Day of the Dead today, and we're in a radio station that we're trying to keep from dying. Check back for updates.

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of many of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do, and I've recently updated this stuff a tiny bit.

There was a sudden Town Hall meeting held on Monday, April 13, 2009, at 7:00 PM at The Fortune Society, 630 Riverside Drive at 140th St. in Manhattan. Here's a flyer that was passed out at the event.

The next regular WBAI LSB meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, November 11, 2009, at 7:00 PM, at the Judson Memorial Church Assembly Room, 239 Thompson Street (just south of Washington Square Park, between W. 3rd & W. 4th St.), in Manhattan.

There was a regular meeting of the WBAI LSB held on Wednesday, October 14, 2009, at 7:00 PM, at the Judson Memorial Church Assembly Room, 239 Thompson Street (just south of Washington Square Park, between W. 3rd & W. 4th St.), in Manhattan.

Some of the FoBs came out for this meeting and disrupted it a bit, but the LSB persevered and we got some business done.

The LSB voted for the members of the Management Search Committee, and the votes will be tabulated at some point soon. The faction doesn't want new Management, of course, they want their old pal who was destroying WBAI to finish the job.

The 2009, WBAI LSB elections are under way at Pacifica. This meeting was another example of the FoBs trying to regain a majority on the LSB and the PNB in an effort to reinstall their faction boss and turn back the clock for WBAI and Pacifica, which would of course result in the destruction of both, which may be exactly their goal.

At its January 21, 2009, meeting the LSB voted to hold its meetings on the second Wednesday of every month and/or the last Thursday of that month, subject to change by the LSB, which gives us the following schedule:

All of these meetings are set to begin at 7:00 PM.

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 10:26 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 the archives have seen 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!

The 2009 Local Station Board Elections Have Begun!

The Local Station Board (LSB) is the primary governance body for WBAI. When meeting as delegates the LSB members elect the Directors of the Pacifica National Board, which is the governance body for the entire Pacifica Foundation. The Pacifica Foundation owns WBAI.

Here is the official time table for this crucial election.

If you have not gotten your ballot yet you need to contact the Local Election Supervisor, Ethan Young, about that immediately! You can call him at 212-209-2828, and you should definitely E-mail him at election@wbai.org.

This election is crucial for the survival of WBAI and Pacifica. WBAI and Pacifica are in a precarious position right now as current Management attempts to reverse the death spiral that the station and the network have been in for years. If some bunch of chuckleheads gets a majority on the WBAI LSB they'll be able to change the composition of the Pacifica National Board and revert to corrupt, incompetent and malfeasant Management, they might even sell WBAI.

We need decent people on the WBAI LSB who will be interested in preserving the station, not in selling it or running it into the ground. I hope that the listeners will educate themselves about the candidates and vote for good ones.

The official Web page containing the list of candidates and their statements is here. You'll have to scroll down the list to find the WBAI candidates.

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) met in New York City from Friday July 23, to Sunday July 26, 2009.

The meeting was held at the Beekman Towers Hotel, 3 Mitchell Place, in Manhattan, a couple of blocks north of the United Nations.

There's an election going on in Pacifica, so there were a few candidates attending and speaking during the public comment sessions. Some disrupted the meeting.

Here's the Web page I did about this PNB meeting and the amazing things that went on at it.

And the PNB has also met in Houston from Friday October 9th, through Sunday October 11th. The official audio archive of that meeting is here. It was not disrupted as the New York meeting was, although some of the same miscreants got out there to say stupid things.

Well, we raised only $870 on the last program when we were pitching, so we'll see what happens as a result of that. If you pledged please pay your pledge soon, the station really needs the money.

Meanwhile we're able to do a regular radio program tonight, but we are being required to pitch to the Web site a bit. If you want to pledge you can click here and be sure to choose “Back of the Book” from the favorite show menu.

For quite a while there have been questions about why some solar flares create huge problems on Earth, like disrupted communications, and other don't do anything.

Some scientists seem to have finally found out why the effects of solar flares on terrestrial electromagnetics is so variable.

On the last program we talked about how I'd gotten my seasonal flu shot, but we'd been unable to get one for Pickles of the North because we'd just stood in front of the clinic door until someone told us that we had to register her first and so we were a minute late.

Well, with the President of the United States declaring a national emergency over the H1N1 Swine Flu we figured that we'd better get what we could, even though the seasonal flu vaccine doesn't help against the Swine flu.

So after the previous program we didn't go home, we went to the clinic and waited for a couple of hours and finally got Pickles her seasonal flu vaccine shot.

Meanwhile lots of other people refuse to get any shots at all. When the Swine Flu vaccine was offered free to school children fully 50% of parents of New York City school children didn't sign the consent form! Around the nation 40% refused to let their kids get vaccinated.

I think that this is a part of what I guess we could all the new ignorance. And it's fueled, in part, by a failure to assess risk, and by quackery.

Opponents of vaccination have cited the fact that there were deaths from the Swine flu vaccine that was distributed in 1976. About forty million doses of the Swine Flu vaccine were given out in 1976. If 400 people died in 1976, from the defective vaccine that amounts to 1 chance of dying in 100,000 or a 0.001% chance back then. So far there have been 858,958 confirmed cases of Swine Flu worldwide, and 8,286 deaths from it, about a 1% chance of dying if you catch Swine Flu. In the United States there have been 77,574 confirmed cases of Swine flu and 1,911 deaths among those people, just under 2½%. The chances of getting seriously ill or dying from the 2009, version of the Swine flu are conservatively about 1 in 100, or about 1%. So if you're unfortunate enough to catch the 2009, Swine flu you're maybe a thousand times more likely to die from the virus than you are from the vaccine. And so far there have been no reported problems at all with the 2009, vaccine!

Among those 1,911 deaths in the United States attributed to the 2009, Swine Flu the CDC reports that, “Since April 2009, CDC has received reports of 156 laboratory-confirmed pediatric 2009 H1N1 deaths ....” And half the parents of school age children in New York City are refusing to let their kids get vaccinated.

A perhaps more insidious block to people getting their H1N1 vaccinations is the widespread quackery of various cures that charlatans are putting out. Lots of snake oil is being sold to gullible people. And some are even using the scare tactics about the current Swine flu vaccine as a vehicle to promulgate their denial of the validity of the germ theory of disease. Some do it to support their sales, others are just total crackpots.

Crackpots can kill you. We saw this happen recently when some guru set his followers out in the Arizona desert for 36 hours without food or water and then, after what was described as a “light breakfast” he put them in a sweat lodge that was built using plastic tarpaulins to really keep the heat intense and keep fresh air out. As a result two participants died and 18 others were hospitalized. The deaths at that sweat lodge and the probable deaths among the many children not vaccinated against the H1N1 Swine Flu virus stem from the same sorts of delusional thinking. Is what the late Carl Sagan called the “Demon Haunted World” making a comeback?

We also plan to talk about some experiments that show that Einstein's Theory of Relativity is still going strong. More about that here.

Soupy Sales

In the fortnight before this program aired comedian Soupy Sales died. He was 83.

I first saw Soupy Sales when one New York TV station started to patch in a feed of his TV program from WXYZ-TV in Detroit, Michigan on Saturday afternoons. It was odd to me that they'd put something from Detroit on a New York channel, but I liked what I saw.

R. Paul, Ratgirl and Soupy
R. Paul, Ratgirl of the West and Soupy Sales

The Soupy Sales Show was just crazy. If you didn't know better you'd swear that Soupy was always trying to get to a particular bit on the show but he was never able to get to it because of all the interruptions. Of course the interruptions were the show. It was anarchic and not like other kids' shows. I don't remember just how old I was when I first saw the show on that feed from Detroit, but I was old enough that most kids' TV shows didn't appeal to me. I saw that there were parts of Soupy Sales' show that were not aimed at younger children. It was hardly intellectual stuff, but it wasn't bland either.

He had a cast of characters on the program that included Pookie the Lion, who was a hand puppet in a window frame. Pookie always insulted Soupy. Other main characters included White Fang and Black Tooth who were supposed to be giant dogs, and on the program they were just long, furry sleeves on the arms of an actor who was on a ladder so that the arms would come from above Soupy. That same actor did both of the dogs' incomprehensible voices.

The feed from Detroit was not always there and then, after a number of Saturday afternoons, it was gone. Years later when The Soupy Sales Show started originating from Channel 5 in New York City I got to see it on a regular basis. The show was still nuts.

Soupy Sales became most noted for the pie throwing that went on during the show, he estimated that 20,000 pies had been thrown on his program. But I found things like his “Soupy Sez” segment more interesting. That segment usually featured some play on words or a joke. The more subtle stuff was what I found interesting, even when it was embedded in total chaos.

The Soupy Sales Show went off TV after a while and Soupy did radio for a few years. I don't think I ever heard him doing his radio program.

Max and Soupy Sales
WBAI's own Maxwell J. Schmid and Soupy Sales

Pickles of the North and I actually met Soupy Sales a few years ago when we were attending the Friends of Old Time Radio convention in New Jersey. Soupy Sales was one of the guests. He'd experienced some serious health problems by then and he needed help in order to move around. In the photograph that I'm in you can see a can of whipped cream in a pie plate, symbolizing the slapstick prop that he became famous for. I was able to tell him that I really enjoyed his TV shows.

In the other photograph you can see our own Maxwell J. Schmid with Soupy. I think that Soupy had come over to the table to kibbitz.

In subsequent years Soupy Sales' health declined, and he just couldn't get around anymore. Soupy Sales died at New York City hospice, he is survived by his wife and two sons.

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. UPDATE: The bleepin' blue board has had to add a step for folks to get onto it because it's under attack by spambots. When you click on the above link you may be asked for a username and password. Type in Username: poster Password: enternow

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 © 2009, R. Paul Martin.