Web links related to the Back of the Book program of July 26, 2010

It's Sunday night, August 8, 2010, 20:15, and this Web page is finished. I've written more about the topics we covered on this program. WBAI has changed the way we are to view the archives. So I've modified the link to the archive of this program. I've also put in a link to a listener's Web page of photographs. And we did get through some of the mail on this program. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ Jeez, we're still having a heat wave! We plan to get to a number of topics, and maybe try to get through some mail as well, on this program.

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

The next “regular” WBAI LSB meeting will be held on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 legal or not it seems that it will be held on Thursday, July 29, 2010, at 7:00 PM, at 388 Atlantic Avenue, between Bond and Hoyt Streets. The official announcement from the LSB Chair says, “Agenda will include a report from the interim Program Director Tony Bates, and discussion of programming, and a report from new interim General Manager Berthold Reimers. There will be an Executive Session following the Public meeting.”

The June 9, 2010, LSB meeting once again saw faction operatives being disruptive during the meeting. Here's a little bit about what happened at that meeting. One of the low lights of the meeting happened at the end when faction operatives slandered a woman who is active in WBAI governance. When that woman got up during the Public comment segment of the meeting to refute the lies Sara Flounders, a member of the “Secretariat” for the so-called Workers World Party, disrupted the meeting and shouted so that the woman couldn't be heard. The faction can't handle the truth.

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. And you can see the status of the streams at any time by clicking here. The stream was working at 7:38 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 this program any time for the next couple of months. You may need to scroll up one line to see the audio archive. Let me know if you find this feature useful.

If you want to listen to any part of the WBAI archive click here to go right to the archives. 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.

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.

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!

One year ago there was a Pacifica National Board meeting going on in New York. 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.

The Executive Director of Pacifica, Arlene Engleheart, appointed another new interim General Manager of WBAI on June 24. So far there's been a Staff meeting to introduce Berthold Reimers as the new iGM, but Pacifica Management has not issued anything in writing yet. When they do I'll post a link to it.

The 2010, Pacifica election cycle has begun. A National Election Supervisor has been hired, she is Renee Asteria. The official Web site is here.

The 2010 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.

This election is crucial for the survival of WBAI and Pacifica. The Sixth WBAI LSB, which will be created by this election, will last for two full years. WBAI and Pacifica are in a precarious position right now as current interim 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 where you register to get a nomination package is here.

On our next program, on August 8, Back of the Book will be participating in the WBAI 2010, Summer 'thon.

WBAI always runs into a financial crunch every Summer and we hope that you'll help us out again. There is hope for WBAI now that some important changes have been made. The Summer 'thon needs to make money so we can stay afloat to the end of our fiscal year.

We hope that you'll pledge to WBAI while Back of the Book is on the air in the wee hours of August 8.

If you listen to the radio program on tape or via the archives you probably won't be able to pledge during the program, but you can send us a check ahead of time. A regular one year membership is $25. If you want to send more than $25 that would be great. So, if you can, please send a check made payable to “Pacifica/WBAI” and send it to:

R. Paul Martin
120 Wall St. 10th floor
New York, NY 10005

And we hope that everyone who listens pledges or sends in a check.

I should also point out that we'll need help answering the phones. In order to answer the phones you'll have to get into the building. The building Management 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 about the tragic case of DeFarra Gaymon, president and C.E.O. of Credit Union of Atlanta, married, father of four, who was shot and killed by an unnamed police officer in Newark New Jersey's Branch Brook Park on Friday night, July 16th.

The police officer who shot Mr. Gaymon said that he'd been on patrol in the park and had observed Mr. Gaymon masturbating. He said that Mr. Gaymon had approached him and propositioned him for sex. The police officer's report continued that when he tried to arrest Mr. Gaymon a wild melee erupted and that after a chase he'd cornered Mr. Gaymon and that Mr. Gaymon had attacked him at which point he shot him. Mr. Gaymon, 48, died of his chest wound some hours later at University Hospital in Newark.

The police officer also went to the hospital where he was sedated and was not asked to account for the shooting until days afterward.

We'll never hear Mr. Gaymon's side of this story. His family issued a statement that says, in part, “We are absolutely convinced that the officer’s statement is a contemptible lie, and the Essex County prosecutor should be ashamed of presenting this statement to the public prior to the completion of a thorough investigation. While we do not know the details regarding the other shootings, in this case, we know that the police killed an innocent man, with no history of or disposition toward violence.”

The facts we know are that Mr. Gaymon was in Branch Brook Park that night, having come up to Newark from Atlanta to attend his 30th high school reunion, that he was shot and killed, that an unnamed police officer has said that he shot Mr. Gaymon.

It's possible that the police officer's story is true. If Mr. Gaymon was in the closet and had been discovered and was threatened with an arrest that would out him he could have panicked and just freaked out. I've seen closeted gay men freak out at the prospect of being outed. I told the story of Diego Vinales a man who had been arrested in a police raid on a gay bar named The Snake Pit in March 1970. Mr. Vinales was an Argentine national and was so freaked out at the prospect of being deported back to Argentina as a homosexual that when he was crammed into a room with the 166 other arrestees he took the opportunity to squeeze through the 2nd floor window of the infamous 6th Precinct and jumped. He was impaled on a 14 inch long spike of the iron, picket fence that surrounded the precinct house. He was lucky in that the spike just missed all of his vital organs. A photograph in The Daily News showed him still impaled on the fence, the long spike sticking out of his back. They had to saw off the spike to get him to St. Vincent's Hospital. Mr. Vinales was lucky to have survived.

It's also possible that the family was right and that Mr. Gaymon was not doing anything in that park. It's also possible that a police officer decided to kill someone whom he presumed was a gay man that night.

The truth may lie somewhere between the opposing positions of the family and the unnamed police officer. We will most likely never know.

It does show how dangerous things can get in some gay cruising areas late at night. I recall cops “raiding” the trucks down on Washington St. in the early '70s with guns drawn. I, and others, could have gotten shot then. Luckily we were all nimble enough to get the hell out of there.

Meanwhile Mr. Gaymon is dead, his wife widowed, his children without their father. The family is asking the FBI to look into the case, citing the many unanswered questions.

The case of Shirley Sherrod is full of lessons to be learned. Ms. Sherrod is the Agriculture Department official who was asked to resign this past fortnight after an edited video of a speech she gave was posted on the right wing Web site of one Andrew Breitbart, a Tea Party Republican blogger.

Ms. Sherrod had made a speech in which she'd talked about her racial attitudes towards white farmers at a time when she was seeing black farmers lose their farms. The video that was posted had been edited to make it seem as if she had acted on her initial racial biases.

Fox News and other right wing media outlets picked up on the edited video and flogged it like mad. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asked for her resignation over the incident. She resigned. The NAACP applauded the decision.

And then the truth came out. In fact the full video shows her talking about how she overcame those racial biases and did her job and saved the farm of the white farmer in question. Secretary Vilsack apologized and asked her to come back, and President Obama said it was all a mistake, The NAACP reversed course on the issue, all were embarrassed.

The lessons here are: everyone can have racist feelings. Racist feelings can be overcome. People need to check their facts before acting on what they think they know. Beware of Tea Party hacks who will post lying, edited videos!

These are all important lessons to be learned.

We talked a little bit about the human microbiome on this program, and what amounts to a poop transplant that may have saved a woman's life!

There was an article in the Science Times about a doctor who had a patient who was actually dying from diarrhea. Her intestines were infested with Clostridium difficile, a bacterium that's not at all nice to our guts. Dr. Alexander Khoruts couldn't help her with conventional treatments. She'd lost 60 pounds and was in a wheelchair with only months to live. So he took a small stool sample from her husband, mixed it with some saline solution and gave her an enema with it.

In a day the diarrhea stopped. The woman started getting better and the Clostridium difficile infection went away and has not returned in the two years since the procedure was tried.

Yeah, the procedure is not called a poop transplant. It's really called bacteriotherapy or fecal transplantation.

That article then went on to talk about the huge number of micro-organisms that share our bodies. We're like a continent or a small world for bacteria and other one celled creatures. In fact it is thought by some that only one tenth of the cells in our bodies are our own. The other 90% are bacterial!

Without these microbes we couldn't digest some of our food, the skin on the insides of our elbows wouldn't be as flexible as it needs to be, and flatulence jokes would not be so universally appealing.

Scientists are attempting to find out more about these other residents of our bodies in the Human Microbiome Project. Their first attempts have found tend of thousands of genes in these microbes that have never been seen before. The medical benefits of these studies are potentially tremendous.

We also talked a little bit about what is being reported as the largest star ever discovered. If it's real then this star exceeds the largest mass that theory says a star can be. We plan on looking into this more on a future program.

Coney Island Boardwalk in a rain storm Torrential rain and wind storm on the Coney Island Boardwalk, July 13, 2010

So on Tuesday, July 13, 2010, Pickles of the North and I had some stuff we had to do down by Coney Island. When we were done that afternoon we went for a walk on the Boardwalk there. No sooner did we get on the Boardwalk than a torrential downpour hit us, with a soaking rain and very high winds.

I had been taking some photographs of a merely wet Boardwalk with a little rain coming down when this fierce storm hit. It was sort of like a rain squall that lasted a lot longer than those usually do. So since I was already risking our digital camera I decided to take a photograph of it from under my small umbrella. Even facing into the nearly horizontal high winds my umbrella nearly got destroyed by the wind and rain hitting it. We got soaked from about the knees down, and the rest of us just got a bit wet. The camera came through it all right though.

I am thinking that I should set aside a special section of this Web site for stuff about Coney Island.

During the reading of listener mail one correspondent asked that we post a link to his page of photography. So here's a link to pajamacat's Web page. Hey, looks like pretty good stuff there.

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 © 2010, R. Paul Martin.