Web links related to the Back of the Book program of January 8, 2011

It's Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 16:55, and it's taken way too long, but this Web page is finished at last! Below is some of the stuff we covered on this program, and some photographs from after the last program. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ Oh, this is our first radio program of 2011. We're still adjusting to this new time slot. We have plans to cover a number of things on this program.

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

The regular WBAI LSB meeting that was to have been held on Wednesday, January 12, 2011, was cancelled. Instead there was a Delegates' Assembly teleconference on that date.

There was a regular LSB meeting on Wednesday, December 8, 2010, the Sixth WBAI LSB was seated. The former Program Director is on this LSB, and he had sent out robo-calls telling his faithful to attend this meeting. Given his publicity campaign, and how long he was dominating WBAI's air, the turnout wasn't impressive. They disrupted though. We got to the elections but then there arose a dispute over the election of the Chair. The faction didn't want a re-vote, and their claque disrupted the meeting. So the meeting ended, but then the faction operatives held a little tea party meeting of their own. If they think they can get away with forming a rump LSB they are in for a surprise. The Chair of the LSB was physically assaulted at one point by a faction operative.

At a previous meeting the WBAI 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 1:39 AM this morning. The station has a 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. Or to see only the two shows in this time slot click here. The archives of our programs in our previous time slot are here.

For legal reasons, WBAI stopped making podcasts available as of June 28, 2010.

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

In the table on the archive 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!

Last year there was a Pacifica National Board meeting held 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, 2009. 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 Pacifica National Board (PNB) met in Manhattan the weekend of October 1-3, 2010. I guess those of us who didn't attend will hear about what happened at it some day.

The Executive Director of Pacifica, Arlene Englehardt, 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.

We've Sort of Moved

Back of the Book has been moved to this time slot. We'll see how this move works.

The interim Program Director has issued notice of program changes. The evolving, relevant documents are below. We are hearing from other producers who have been told they are being moved to other time slots and having their time cut in half. One producer has been told he's off the air entirely and another producer has decided that he would rather resign than be treated in a way that he can't abide.

Some producers are lobbying heavily to retain their current time slots, and some have lobbied to get better time slots amid the chaos of this sudden program shakeup. One producer got moved, accepted it, and then got pushed out of the new time slot by another producer who had publicly quit and then successfully lobbied the interim Program Director, with the aid of four supporters, for a better time slot. The producer who got pushed out has quit WBAI.

We got a call on our answering machine from WBAI interim Program Director Tony Bates at 5:17 in the afternoon on November 1st. He said that the grid was changing and that Back of the Book would be affected. When I called back at 7:15 that evening I got his voice mail and the voice mail was full so I couldn't leave a message.

I called the interim Program Director about this again the next day. He told me that he was moving Back of the Book to 5:00 AM on Saturdays! And in this new time slot the program is only one hour long. Let's just say that we are not jumping for joy about this change in the program. It's quite a change for us, and for our listeners. And, yes, Uncle Sidney has moved his program Carrier Wave, or whatever he's calling it lately, to this same time slot and will continue alternating with us.

Here are the latest documents from Management about the programming shakeup:

Management's Original FormatsWeb Friendly Formats
First letter from WBAI ManagementFirst letter from WBAI Management
Second letter from WBAI ManagementSecond letter from WBAI Management
The new WBAI program gridThe new WBAI program grid
 The new WBAI program grid in HTML format
 Updated schedule as of 11/15/10
 Updated schedule as of 1/5/11

In the grid I do not know whose picture that is to the right of the data. Even now I don't know that these program changes are fully settled.

Of course I've had something to say about all of this. I sent this out as an E-mail on November 11th. If we don't get more listeners soon WBAI will cease to exist.

The MTA is in the process of herding us all into doing what they want. The discount for buying several rides on a MetroCard has been reduced. And with that the MTA has made it so that you need to buy a $35.75 MetroCard if you don't want to have money left over on it after you've had your rides.

The “bonus” for buying enough rides on a MetroCard has been reduced to 7% and that only kicks in after you've paid at least $10.00 for the MetroCard.

In addition a single ride will cost us $2.50 instead of $2.25. And starting later in 2011, we'll be charged $1.00 extra for a new MetroCard!

This will force people to either buy more rides on a single MetroCard or pay more because they won't get a discount. And in my experience a re-used MetroCard will fail rather frequently.

This will also motivate people to use credit cards to buy MstroCards. The MTA can track our use of the MetroCard. When you use a credit card to buy one the MTA can identify specific individuals as they track our MetroCard usage. Is it paranoid of me to feel uncomfortable about the MTA being able to track me so thoroughly?

For help in figuring out what to add to a MetroCard to make it come out with no change left over check out this MatroCard calculator.

The rent isn't the only thing that's too damned high!

For the past couple of months we've been noticing bright Venus up in the sky as we rush to the radio station to do this program. Venus and Mercury are at their brightest now. Take a look at them on a clear morning pretty soon if you can.

Unplowed Street
Two days after the storm and this Brooklyn street still isn't cleared

So we had the Boxing Day Blizzard after the last program. And that idiot Mayor Bloomberg refused to declare a show emergency! We're getting something like twenty inches to two feet of snow and he won't declare a snow emergency so that important streets can be cleared and emergency vehicles can move around. Declaring a snow emergency also means that after the emergency is over the city can get non-emergency things moving around sooner.

Pickles of the North and I had to go someplace two days after the storm was over and we found everything still paralyzed from the blizzard. Not only were streets not cleared of snow but city buses were left abandoned in the middle of some streets! It was an amazing sight.

There were drifts that were over Pickles' and my heads. Well, that's not so difficult to find, but, still, that's pretty high snow. And in places where plows had come through you couldn't get across the street because a berm of snow and ice had been piled up. What a total mess it all was. And people died because emergency vehicles couldn't get through.

And all Bloomberg could do was tell people that it was inconvenient. Yeah, maybe it was just inconvenient for a billionaire, but for the rest of us it was pretty bad and for some people it was deadly!

A tableau by Uncle Sidney
A Tableau by Uncle Sidney

After the last program, on Isaac Newton's birthday, we retired to the WBAI News Room and Uncle Sidney looked at some of his presents, which, fittingly, were brought to him by objects at rest tending to stay at rest. He'd gotten a bunch of small figures and a toy car.

So this is what he made of them on the spot. The action may not be immediately apparent, so I'll describe it all as we understood it that morning: apparently the baby Jesus is driving his sports car with a goat and the BVM on the hood. One of the Magi is riding on the trunk. He's in the process of running over a young woman while Santa Claus, a few more saints and a screaming woman look on. Carolers provide musical accompaniment. Elsewhere a couple is being menaced by a knight in armor waving a sword at them. Meanwhile a guy in a yellow sweater is running away from a musketeer who is taking careful aim at his back. Other things are going on, but they're too weird to describe. All of this is taking place in front of an old church, while a camel is coming out from the side of the church, probably having just taken a leak back there. A tow truck in the background awaits the inevitable crackup of the baby Jesus' car.

And a good time was had by most.

As we mentioned on the air Gerry Rafferty died on January 4th. He's the one singing our outtro music Baker Street.

Gerry Rafferty had a drinking problem, and after struggling with that for quite a while he died of liver failure.

We've been playing Baker Street as our outtro for the entire time this radio program has been on that air, so we're very sad to hear of Rafferty's passing. Also, the guy was my age. That gives me a bit of pause, too.

Verrazano Narrows Bridge as seen from WBAI
The Verrazano Narrows Bridge

As dawn came up after our last program on Isaac Newton's birthday the sunlight hit the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and lit everything up.

You can see that there was a bit of river traffic on the early holiday morning too. It was really cold out there, and except for the piers of the bridge everything was still in the pre-dawn twilight.

Coney Island Boardwalk in the snow.
Snowy Boardwalk at Coney Island

We've had quite the snow filled fortnight. A couple of days before this program Pickles of the North and I found ourselves wandering around on the Coney Island Boardwalk. The Parks Dept. had had enough time to shovel some narrow paths through the snow by then.

All of the Boardwalk businesses were shut down when we were there. I wonder though if one of the bars may have opened at night. I've seen those bars opened during the Winter months before.

I'm looking forward to some nice, hot days on that Boardwalk.

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 © 2011, R. Paul Martin.