Web links related to the Back of the Book program of February 22, 2010

All right it's Sunday afternoon, March 21, 2010, 17:55, and this Web page is finished at last. It was active for much longer than usual, since we were preempted on March 8th. I've updated this page with more about what we did on the air and I'd previously updated the tally totals and the reminder about our being preempted on March 8th. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ We did well enough on the last program that we're back. We'll be pitching again, so I hope that folks can pledge to the program so we can continue to come back. We have a new way for folks to contribute now, too.

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.

Back of the Book Preempted March 8

The program is preempted on March 8th, for WBAI's Intergalactic Galz Day Special. All programming is preempted for 24 hours on this date.

This is an annual event that the station has every March 8th, and it just happens to fall on a day when Back of the Book is among those programs preempted this year.

Preemptions are just a part of broadcasting, and as far as we know we'll be back on the air for our next regularly scheduled program on March 22nd.

We hope you'll all join us on March 22nd, for that program. We plan to have some personal reminiscences, some science, and we'll talk about a fellow producer who has passed away.

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 will be held on Thursday, February 25, 2010, at 7:00 PM at The Soho Gallery of Digital Art, 138 Sullivan Street, between Prince St. and Houston St. in Manhattan. The LSB meeting will start in open session, and then “will go into Executive Session to discuss critical matters pertaining to personnel, proprietary information in the auditor's report (much but not all of this report is available to the public -- it is the parts that are not available that we will discuss) -- and financial information obtained on a privileged or confidential basis that may compromise the legitimate business interest of the Foundation.”

The second regular meeting of the Fifth WBAI LSB was held on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, at 7:00 PM, at 388 Atlantic Ave. in downtown Brooklyn, New York.

At this meeting the independent members of the LSB were less scattered, and not all of the faction operatives showed up.

There was a Delegates' Assembly first. And at that meeting the WBAI Directors for 2010, were elected. They are Jennifer Jager, Alex Steinberg, Kathy Davis (Staff) and Nia Bediako (faction operative).

At the previous meeting the faction had succeeded in preventing Staff representative Delphine Blue from taking her seat. But the Pacifica National Board took up the issue and ruled that Delphine was in fact entitled to represent Staff on this LSB and at the Delegates' Assembly.

The FoBs disrupted the meeting, of course, and grumbled about the PNB deciding that Delphine blue was to be seated, instead of a faction operative from two years ago who isn't even Staff anymore.

This night's meetings will go down in history, literally. A reporter and photographer from the New York Times were there. The reporter was supposed to be doing an article on WBAI's 50th anniversary as a Pacifica radio station. But the craziness of the Delegates' Assembly and LSB meeting just caught his attention more than half a century of alternative radio broadcasting did. That article is here.

The article has a couple of photographs in it, and Pickles of the North and I are in the background in one. The other photograph shows faction operatives voting, one of whom seems intent on showing how nuts she is.

The reporter did talk about some of the past accomplishments of WBAI, but his main focus was on the meetings and the crazy stuff that happened at them. I think that the most comical exchange he quoted was this one between LSB Chair Mitchel Cohen and nutty faction operative Lisa V. Davis, “Lisa, you are out of order.” “Point of order, Mitch — this is nothing but a fascist dictatorship!” The FoBs don't begin to realize how nuts they sound. Unfortunately when election time comes around they're handled by their leaders so that their so called Justice and Unity Campaign slate sounds almost sane.

The faction was still trying to waste time by putting a motion to run “important matters” brought to the LSB past the incarcerated Lynne Stewart. They would have her voting by proxy, and that would violate the bylaws. They don't care, they just want to keep the LSB from doing anything. And it's really so cynical of the FoBs to exploit Ms. Stewart's situation like this.

And then we got around to a motion to rescind the election of the Treasurer. At the previous meeting the faction had gotten its choice in as Treasurer because they'd been able to keep one non-faction Staff member from voting and had dragged the meeting on for so long that another member had had to leave before the votes were cast. Previous notice was given at that meeting that the motion to rescind would be brought.

The faction objected, refusing to acknowledge the fact that just two years ago they had set the precedent for doing this sort of thing. They'd removed a non-faction member who'd gotten elected Vice Chair then. They have one set of rules for themselves and another for everyone else.

The motion to rescind passed. And there was an immediate election for Treasurer.

So the candidates got to speak. The faction's candidate got up and spoke about being a CPA. And everyone listened. Then I, as a candidate, got up to speak and the faction started to disrupt. Former Program director Bernard White came to the meeting. He didn't say anything, he let his FoBs act out on his behalf. And while I tried to say why I should be Treasurer, things like wanting realistic budgets, not the fantasy budgets my opponent in this election had supported when he'd been Treasurer for more than 3 years, Mimi Rosenberg, sitting next to Bernard White, wouldn't stop hollering. She really has gone off the deep end.

The LSB voted and I was re-elected Treasurer by a vote of 13 for me. 7 for my opponent and 1 blank ballot. It's possible that the blank ballot was the result of one person who'd previously voted for my opponent being influenced by Mimi Rosenberg's antics to not vote for Mimi's choice.

After a while I gave a Treasurer's report, consisting of the latest information and incorporating the report I hadn't been able to give at the previous meeting due to the disruptions. The defeated candidate, who'd been Treasurer for the previous three weeks, was allowed to give a report too. He got up and ranted against the current WBAI Management. Of course he's ranting against them, they're saving the station and Pacifica from bankruptcy. I'm sure he was grandstanding for his faction boss like a good FoB.

Lisa V. Davis started shouting about a figure that had been in the first draft of the WBAI FY10 budget. The figure was for the net surplus in September 2009, and it was $85,000,000. The mistake had been corrected and I'd explained it in an E-mail months ago, but I explained again that no one in their right mind was going to imagine that WBAI was actually showing an eighty five million dollar surplus for a month! And I again explained that the problem had been a misplaced asterisk in the formula that had filled that cell in the spreadsheet, a typo in the very complex spreadsheet document made by Management personnel. I bet the FoBs will still bring this up for the rest of the year.

The finances are really in dire shape. If the Winter 'thons at all of the Pacifica stations don't do well then all of these meetings could be academic.

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 8:25 PM last night. They have a new Flash stream here, make sure you enable Javascript so it can work for you.

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.

As an experiment try clicking here to go right to the archive entry for this radio program. You may need to scroll up one line to see the audio archive. Let me know if you find this feature useful.

You can also go here to subscribe to the podcasts of Back of the Book and Carrier Wave.

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

NOTE: A listener reported that the archive for the January 11, 2010, program was truncated at 91 minutes. So I reported this to the person doing the archives and he fixed it right away. So the archive for this program in intact now. Thanks to Michael for fixing it so soon, and thanks to the listener for pointing it out.

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 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.

The new Executive Director of Pacifica, Arlene Engleheart, has appointed a new interim General Manager of WBAI starting February 1, 2010.

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.

It should be noted that many of the overnight programs are preempted for this 'thon. Back of the Book is on tonight because we did well enough raising money during some previous 'thons. We are on tonight because we did well enough on our February 8th, program. If you'd like to see this program continue please pledge tonight.

For those of you listening over the Internet there's a new way to contribute to Back of the Book at the WBAI Web site and have it count towards our tally. Go to the Donate To Your Favorite WBAI Show page and in the “Favorite Show” list select “Back of the Book.” The donation is handled entirely by PalPal, and if you're paranoid about WBAI having your credit card number, well only PayPal see that, WBAI doesn't. I hope we can get a bunch of folks to pledge to the program this way while we're on the air.

UPDATE: We raised $685 during this program, and an additional $80 came in via the Web site after it. Thanks to all who pledged, and thanks to the tally room crew who answered the phones for us. In addition, there may be a check that hasn't been credited to us from the previous program's pitching shift. I have to see about that. And remember to pay your pledge when you get the invoice, the station really does need the money to pay the rent!

I should also point out that every program on WBAI needs help answering the phones. In order to answer the phones you'll have to get into the building. The building Management now requires that you get your name added to a list so you can enter 120 Wall St. So if you want to volunteer to answer phones for this 'thon you should call the WBAI switchboard at 1-212-209-2800 during business hours and let the folks in charge know you want to volunteer so they can put your name on the list. We always need more folks to answer the phones so if you want to volunteer to answer the phones for another program during this 'thon the above procedure is the way to do it.

We talked on a previous program about a nurse named Anne E. Mitchell who was on trial in Texas for having blown the whistle on a doctor at the Winkler County Memorial Hospital in Kermit, Texas where she worked.

Ms. Mitchell and another nurse sent a letter to the state medical board about the unsafe medical practices of a doctor there. The doctor found out about it and had his pal the local sheriff use search warrants to find out who'd written the letter.

Ms. Mitchell and the other nurse were charged with “misuse of official information,” a felony with a penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. The two nurses were fired from the hospital shortly thereafter. The prosecutor dropped that charges against the other nurse.

Well, after a four day trial the jury was out for less than one hour before handing down a verdict of not guilty. The two nurses are going to sue all of the creeps involved in this awful affair and affront to the First Amendment.

We talked about a discovery on the island of Crete of stone tools from 130,000 years ago. The important aspect of this discovery is that it shows that humans were able to travel to places by boat much earlier than had been previously thought possible. Crete has been an island for more than five million years.

The style of the hand axes found on Crete is very old, older than humanity itself. Archaeologists are working to fully establish the dating on the stone tools.

If they really were deposited on Crete 130,000 years ago then they were from people who probably have no genetic ancestors alive now. The human species was down to under 10,000 individuals, all still living in Africa, about 74,000 years ago. If the stone tools are much older then they would have been made by pre-humans and it would be quite a revelation if they were able to construct boats that could establish an island colony.

There might be some really interesting information coming from these finds in the future.

Coney Island Boardwalk in a snow storm

Well, we've had some damned snow storms in the last fortnight. Pickles of the North and I had to go out in one of them, and we ended up down at the Boardwalk in Coney Island.

The Boardwalk is not cleared of snow by anyone, so after the snow storm of February 10th, 2010, which also forced the postponement of the WBAI LSB meeting that had been scheduled for that night, the snow was left where it lay there, and was merely disturbed by human activities.

On February 16th, we had to go someplace to do something important. We went to the Boardwalk as usual to unwind after that.

Well, the snow that day was just melting as it hit the sidewalks, if they'd been cleared of snow from the previous storm. The temperature was dropping all day and although it had started out above freezing it got to the freezing point a while before we got to the Boardwalk.

snow person on the sidewalk
A fine snow fellow on the sidewalk

While the snow was still melting on cleared sidewalks at that time the fresh snow did not melt at all when it landed on the snow that had been there for six days. So the Boardwalk was covered in new snow. It wasn't deep, but the snow it was on top of was in the four to six inch deep range. The new snow probably made the Boardwalk look a bit better, but it also hid some of the little surprises that the old snow held for anyone walking over it, like slick ice in spots or places where you could twist your ankle on some white blanketed defect in the Boardwalk itself.

Even the beach was covered with snow. We saw hundreds of gulls standing around on the snow covered beach. They were not their usual noisy, frolicking selves. An odd sight.

How to proceed was a problem because although Pickles had boots on that could grip the snow my ordinary shoes are flat on the bottom. I'd slipped in a number of places by the time we'd gotten to the Boardwalk. We puzzled over a way to walk to Stillwell Ave., and Nathan's, without me falling down. I'd taken a bad fall at the end of 2008, and I did not need another one.

At first I tried walking along the railing that separates the Boardwalk from the beach. Well, that proved to be pretty treacherous because while I could hold on to the railing the hidden snow and ice were very irregular and I was slipping a lot, and it was taking forever to walk a few feet. I was also getting my socks wet from the snow coming up over my shoes. In the end we opted to go along one of the tracks that some large vehicle had left in the snow from the previous storm. I slipped a few times on underlying ice, but I was lucky enough not to fall. And while it was slow going it was a lot faster than creeping along the railing had been.

Eventually we got to Stillwell Ave. and I had a couple of hot dogs at Nathan's.

This past Friday we were walking away from the V. A. Hospital when we spied this snowy fellow on the sidewalk. I don't know who built him, but he seemed cheerful enough, with his carrot nose and classic branching arms; he seemed to call out for a photograph. I don't think that that scarf was keeping him particularly warm though.

We entered late Winter last Thursday at 8:37 PM, when I was just getting onto a teleconference meeting of a PNB committee. I really can't wait for this Winter season to be over. It seems like it's been going on for a year already! The Vernal Equinox will occur on Saturday, March 20th, 2010, at 1:32 PM (ET), and Spring will arrive in the northern hemisphere. At long last!

For more about the dates of the seasons and sub-seasons look here.

Max and his lion marionette
Max Thinks He Has a Puppet

Pickles of the North went to the lunar new year celebration last weekend. Here's what she has to say about it, along with a couple of photographs she took.

Here is a picture of Uncle Max (aka Mr Satan) and his new pet, Fluffy Mark IV, taken last Sunday in Manhattan during Chinatown's lunar new year celebration of the Year of the Tiger, 4708.

Along with Mrs Satan and a group of dear pals, we celebrated by popping long, foil-covered tubes filled with streamers, confetti and the occasional lucky plastic parachute. We had a fine meal of Malaysian food, visited many shops and consumed quantities of sweets at a local bakery.

now the lion has Max
Now Who's In charge?!

Mostly we were crushed with the crowds watching the Lion dancers chase away the evil spirits and bring good luck to all the local businesses.

The Lions are very beautiful - we saw a red one, a pink one, a green one, and a silver one! There may have been more but there was a lot of action and sometimes it was difficult to see over the heads of the crowd.

There were wonderful high school marching bands and swell drummers. And we each got to play with Fluffy, a lion marionette, and a new tiger marionette that Mrs Satan purchased.

Every so often a little kid would run up to pet the puppets, or bring over their own to dance with ours. Everybody was dancing and oohing and aahing. It was a lovely sunny afternoon and we had a great time!

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

Back to the Back of the Book page

Back to my home page.

The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2010, R. Paul Martin.