Back of the Book — July 19, 2014

It's Thursday morning, July 31, 2014, 10:18, and I've updated this Web page with the story of our trip to the station for this program, more about Flight MH17, and some photographs of the back area of the studio space at CCNY, along with a question about the WBAI computers. I should do more updates soon. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ Oh, High Summer should be nicer than this. I don't mean the weather, I mean the things people are doing. We plan to cover the below topics and more on tonight's program. What else we cover may depend on what we find out when we get to the radio station. Check back for updates.

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

I have also posted a whole lot of the minutes of the Pacifica National Finance Committee. I'm a member of that committee because I'm the WBAI LSB Treasurer.

The next WBAI LSB meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 13, 2014, at 7:00 PM at a location to be announced.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, July 9, 2014, at 7:00 PM at The Theater for the New City, at 155 1st Ave. between East 9th and East 10th Sts. on the lower east side of Manhattan. Yes, we met in “the Community Space room.”

The meeting started nearly an hour late, and I was the one who showed up and made the quorum. People had planned to argue over that hardly readable 46 page “melding” of every one of the “sustainability plans,” and their “notated,” bloviations again. I think it was good that we didn't even get to that.

As is unfortunately so often the case the LSB did not get to a Treasurer's Report at this meeting, but I put out a written Treasurer's Report for all to read.

Maybe because the meeting started so late, maybe because one faction operative has been shooting her mouth off saying things about people not coming to the May meeting, there was a lot more discussion about the “excused absences” portion of the meeting, where the LSB routinely excuses the absence of everyone who hasn't attended. And then we voted and not all of the faction operatives got excused this time. If you have three unexcused absences in a row you're off the LSB. I suspect that mostly the actions at this LSB meeting were just people venting.

At a previous meeting the WBAI LSB voted to hold its regular 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.

Because WBAI was forced out of its studios by the flood waters' destruction of the building's electrical system we still have this alternate, temporary stream for the radio station! I do not know how long this emergency stream will be up for. If this stream isn't working let me know.

WBAI has put up a stream for the Apple iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. So if you have one of those devices you might try the link out. And let us know how it works for you one way or the other. That way the folks implementing it can iron out any kinks in the system.

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. There is also another version of the archive here.

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.

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 Saturday Morning With the Radio On 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 Manhattan the weekend of October 1-3, 2010. The audio has been posted for the first day of the meeting, the second day of the meeting and the third day of the meeting.

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) met in Washington, D.C. February 7-10, 2014. The big news is that they have mandated that there be no negotiations with the four candidates for the PSOA for 60 days.

Given that the PNB has had a change in its membership that has affected the balance of power, this postponement of any negotiations may actually be a ploy by the people who want to sell WBAI to make that sale more likely. It is possible that a PSOA would allow WBAI to come back after a few years, but it would also not result in a big cash influx to the rest of Pacifica, and that is what some people at other Pacifica stations want. Well, things are pretty much up in the air with WBAI right now.

You can listen to the public parts of the quarterly PNB meeting by clicking on the below links:

The Friday session
The Saturday session
The Sunday session
The Monday session

Chaos and fighting continues on the PNB and at the Pacifica National Office a number of workers have quit their jobs in disgust. The people who want to sell off WBAI started on their destructive path with the firing of the Executive Director at a critical time. The Executive Director, Summer Reese, said she had a contract with Pacifica and that the PNB can't just violate that and fire her the way that they did. So the Executive Director barricaded herself and the National Office workers in the National Office along with some supporters. Yeah, Pacifica got some great publicity from all of this.

The disputed Executive Director issued a press release giving her side of this episode. Here is her press release. Luckily for the Pacifica stations Ms. Reese worked to get the CPB filings done by the March 14, deadline despite having been fired the day before. Had she not done this work Pacifica, and all of its radio stations, would have been ineligible for CPB funds, which have been a significant part of every station's budget.

UPDATE: There have been lawsuits filed, and judgments rendered in the cases brought by the minority PNB members against the actions of the majority PNB Directors. I'll keep this running battle updated on the appropriate Web page.

Where we were stuck for 20 minutes
The Sad Saga of Our Trip to the Studio

We got in late for this program. The MTA once again surprised us with some service changes that had not been posted on the Web site.

We'd left for this program at 2:45 AM, a full 2¼ hours before air time. We caught a train, and got to 96th St. at 4:11 AM. The count down clock showed that the next train should have shown up at about 4:22 AM. So that was just fine. With that schedule we should have gotten in to WBAI's studio at CCNY about 15 to 20 minutes before air time.

Pickles waiting for the train at 168 St.
Pickles Despairing of Getting on the Air on Time

And then there was the announcement. The recorded voice came over the the 96th St. station's crappy subway public address system. It seemed like the system was a hell of a lot louder than usual.

The announcement said that the #1 train, which we have to take to CCNY, would run express between 96th St. and 135th St. because of track maintenance. None of this had been listed among the service announcements on the MTA Web site.

We were surprised to hear this announcement, but we figured that when the announcement had said 135th St. they'd meant 137th St., which was the stop we were going to on the #1 train.

Any number of times in the past there have been service changes on the IRT in the wee hours when we're traveling on it where 137th St. was the last regular stop before the MTA had put on shuttle buses, or did some other thing related to service adjustments.

So the train came in, and we figured it would stop at 137th St. and we'd get up to the studio in plenty of time. It didn't work out that way.

The #1 train technically went express, but this only meant that it was skipping most of its usual stops. It crept along very slowly. The possibility that the young man who was passed out drunk and sleeping across three or four seats directly opposite from us might start vomiting stopped being a distraction as we watched the 137th St. stop slowly crawl past the train's window. And after a while the #1 train stopped at 145th St. So the announcement had gotten the name of the stop wrong, it was 145th St., not 135th St., but this didn't help us at that point.

We rapidly wondered if we should try to get out and walk down to the CCNY stop. But as we wondered, weighing the risks of wandering around in an area we'd never been in before at about quarter to five on a Saturday morning, the doors closed and that was that.

So we rode the train to 168th St. where we could switch over to a downtown #1 train and get to 137th St. that way. As our train entered the station we saw a #1 train entering from the other direction, there was no way to catch it, and the count down clock there said that the next one would be along in 20 minutes.

So we waited that full 20 minutes. You can see Pickles of the North in the photograph obviously not pleased with what was going on.

At 5:00 AM when we were supposed to be hitting the air we were waiting around at the 168th St. station for the downtown #1 train. We got on the air late, and we're sorry for that. Thanks to Simon Loekle who filled in for us while we were rushing to get there.

The Malaysian Airlines plane that was shot down
The Plane That Was Shot Down
photo credit: Alan Wilson
Vladimir Putin metamorphosing into Adolph Hitler
We're seeing The Consequences of Vladimir Putin's Ambition

We did talk a bit about the tragic loss of life that resulted from the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. Yeah, it got shot down, despite what some are saying. And the rocket was most probably fired from the area held by the Russian proxy “rebels” who are there to do Validimir Putin's bidding. Putin's own media flaks are grinding out disinformation about how the government of the Ukraine shot it down, but the proof that it was Putin's drunken proxies who did it is piling up.

So another 298 innocent people have died as a consequence of Putin's attempt to re-establish the Russian Empire of the Czars.

Yeah, the world needs to do something about Putin and his supporters and their attempts to destabilize western Asia and eastern Europe. We're hearing talk of more sanctions on Putin and his pals. I do hope that happens, and I do hope that his attempt to engulf Ukraine, and probably some other small nation states, is thwarted.

The Kremlin's house organ, “Russia Today” has been pushing the fiction that the Ukraine government shot down Flight MH17. For one correspondent of “Russia Today” that was the straw that broke the camel's back. Sara Firth, a London-based reporter for “Russia Today” has resigned. She talks about it here.

We've had more to say about Putin's invasion of Ukraine and the parallels between what he's doing now and what Hitler was doing in 1938, on previous programs, you can view postings about that here, and here, and here.

We did talk a little bit about the Israeli-Gaza War that's going on right now. While any number of people at WBAI have clearly chosen a side to support in this conflict, we have not. Armed hostilities between Israel and the Hamas dominated Gaza Strip did not start in the past couple of weeks, they've been going on for years. What's happening now is part of a larger war. And that's the way I view it. I don't much like either side in this conflict, and both are killing non-combatants. I do not see a real peace settlement coming any time soon, and I don't think that the two sides in this current conflict feel any desire to stop what they're doing. So this war will continue. Tragic, but that's human nature.

And we plan to talk about a man who was killed on Staten Island, apparently by police action.

WBAI computers unplugged
One of Our Computers Used to be Plugged in Here

So we came to WBAI's studios at CCNY this Saturday morning, and we found that there were no computers in the back area. Everything was unplugged. We found some cables here and there, but no computers at all.

The computers in the WBAI studio were there, I'm glad to say.

All of the computers are gone.
The Other Computers Are Also Gone

Here's a photograph of the back area at CCNY. WBAI does not broadcast from this unfinished room, but a lot of WBAI's stuff was moved here after the station had to leave 120 Wall St.

All of the former WBAI News Department computers used to be back here. After things were moved to this area early in 2013, the people in the News Department quickly decided that this environment was not conducive to their news gathering activities and they each started working from home, so it's been a bit like a ghost town back there for just about the entire time that WBAI has been using the CCNY studio.

Last August the entire WBAI News Department, along with almost all of the other Paid Staff at WBAI, were laid off.

While the News Department was no longer around to use that space, the computers back there were still used by quite a few WBAI producers to prepare programs, write up archive blurbs right after a program, and for other uses as well.

So, what's the story with WBAI's computers? What happened to them? WBAI Management hasn't said a word about it yet.

And here we are in High Summer. And we'll enter what I call mid-Summer on this coming Tuesday, July 22, 2014, at 12:03 PM. And the exact minute of mid-Summer for 2014, will occur on Thursday, August 7, 2014, 2:40 AM. More on that sort of thing here.

Pickles of the North with the Astroland Rocket
Pickles is Glad to See the Astroland Rocket Again

We've actually been to Coney Island more than once over this past fortnight. We saw, and photographed, the Astroland rocket, which has been brought back to Coney Island, after having been stored outdoors on Staten Island by New York City. The rocket got damaged by Superstorm Sandy. It's missing the tip of its nose now.

We'll see if we can fit in anything about our little adventures there.

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even though the gag rule was lifted in 2002. 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.

One popular list the “NewPacifica” mailing list. Founded October 31, 2000, this list is sometimes lively and as of mid-2011, has 687 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 Saturday Morning With the Radio On alternates with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

We like to stay interactive with our listeners. Here are the various options for you to get in touch with us.

You can also send me E-mail.

And now you can even reach me on Twitter Twitter logo

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 © 2014, R. Paul Martin.