Back of the Book — October 11, 2014

It's Friday night, October 24, 2014, 23:39, and I've updated this Web page with a bit about our birthday party for WBAI's Maxwell J. Schmid. Previously I'd updated it with a link to the archive of this radio program. The archives I've been sending people to for years may be dead, but there is an archive. See below. More updates to come. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ Oh boy! Not only do we get to pitch tonight but we also get to play shuttle bus roulette in order to get to the CCNY studios! Justice for Uncle Sidney! We will cram as much actual radio program as we can into this program tonight, but we must pitch. WBAI is still in serious financial shape. We hope you'll all help us to raise some money for the station. I will update this Web page as soon as I can.

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, November 12, 2014, at 7:00 PM at a location to be announced.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, October 8, 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 Cino room.”

We had an LSB meeting this past Wednesday night. We got to the budget and actually passed it! We had some pretty poor rulings from the Chair. And then we had an executive session where the LSB, “... discussed a confidential personnel matter.”

I actually got to give a Treasurer's Report at this meeting! The Chair had mixed it up with the General Manager's Report, and I did an eight minute version of a report. Better than nothing, I suppose. As usual I put out a written Treasurer's Report for all to read.

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.

Here is WBAI's current Internet stream. The stream does appear to be working at this time.

WBAI is archiving the programs! Unfortunately, the regular archives appear to be down right now. They appear to have been down for more than a week! There is another archive, but I don't know how to get an archive blurb up there. Try this page and see if you can find the archive of this radio program. Or, if you don't want to root about through a great many listings on a rather unorganized Web page, just click this link to get the official archive, sans blurb.

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.

Bring Back Uncle Sidney!

Our friend, fellow WBAI producer and Saddle Pal Uncle Sidney Smith has been banned from WBAI by General Manager Berthold Reimers. The General Manager will not say why. He won't even tell Sidney why he's banned! This is grossly unfair to Sidney. Why did Berthold ban Sidney?

There's a posting here about it. More to come.


This is another pitching program. We raised next to nothing the last time we pitched. There is now an interim Program Director at WBAI looking to see what programs give evidence of having listeners. I hope we raise some money for the station this time.

So for this WBAI Fall 'thon, 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.

If you want to pledge to the program via the Web it's best to do so while we're on the air, you need to go here and pick the amount you want to donate, then click on “Add to cart,” and then be sure to pick Back of the Book as the favorite show from the drop down menu. Otherwise your pledge won't be counted towards the program.

WBAI is fighting for its life right now, and the amount of money raised in this 'thon will be crucial for the station's survival.

USB flash drive
These Could Be A Problem Soon

As we reported on a previous program, a weakness was claimed for USB flash drives, and in fact anything that could plug into a USB port. And then the possibility to exploit this vulnerability in anything that could plug into the ubiquitous connectors was demonstrated at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

The author of that presentation at the Black Hat security conference, Karsten Nohl, kept the important details about the code required to exploit this vulnerability quiet. Well, this past fortnight, at a hacker conference in Louisville, Kentucky two of his co-authors, Adam Caudill and Brandon Wilson demonstrated their ability to affect USB firmware in the same way. But they have published the code for anyone to use! I am not linking to that site, but the story about it is here. This is really bad stuff. Now we are not going to be able to trust anything with a USB data port on it. And nearly everything has a USB data port on it.

It is possible that someone or some group had hit upon this vulnerability before the researchers named above did. One guy has told the story that sounds an awful lot like what this USB firmware malware attack must be like. The problems he experienced began four years ago. His story could be the story for all of us in the future. Computing functionality and networks could really be demolished by something like this.

The late Zelda, the turkey
Zelda, Gone But Not Forgotten

Zelda, the Battery Park wild turkey was hit by a car and killed near Pier 11 last week.

We'd gone on about Zelda on the air more than once. We used to report whether or not we'd seen her on our usual walks through Battery Park after the program, back when WBAI was located at 120 Wall St. Ironically, Pier 11 is right across South Street from WBAI's old headquarters.

Zelda had been parading around at Battery Park for about 11 years.

Yeah, there's a hell of a lot going on in the world, but it is sad to see a creature that had become sort of an institution die. Well, she lived wild and she died wild.

Too bad we will not see Zelda again.

Maxwell J. Schmid
Maxwell Worships R. Paul

So we celebrated the birthday of our own Maxwell J. Schmid a week ago. Yeah, he's an old fart now, all right.

We had a little get together with our fellow Saddle Pal, and Pickles of the North's fellow Saddle Gal Ratgirl of the West, at a diner and we all celebrated and ate too much.

Yeah, a good time was had by all. R. Paul even had a cookie after this shindig.

So merry birthday to Maxwell!

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.