Back of the Book — January 3, 2015

It's Friday night, January 16, 2015, 21:30, and I've updated this Web page with a bit about our transit adventures on the morning of this radio program, and with a bit that puts those transit problems into perspective. I've also shown that we got to some mail on this program. I'm hoping to get more updates in here soon. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ Well, this radio program looks like it's gotten into another year. How much of that year it'll last for is anyone's guess. Given that there's an audit of Pacifica being done by the Attorney General's Office of the State of California there could be something more than the usual dysfunctional crap happening in a certain radio network this year. We are really planning to get to the mail on this program, and we have quite a backlog of it. We also plan to get to the below topics and more. 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, January 14, 2014, at 7:00 PM at a location to be announced.

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

The LSB held elections. This year's officers are the same as last year's officers. I was elected Treasurer again.

There was no Treasurer's Report at this meeting. 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! WBAI has permanently switched to a new archive Web page. I appear to have succeeded in getting an archive blurb posted to that official archive page.

There are two ways to get to the archive, you can 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, try clicking on this link to get to the place in the archives where this program is listed, and which includes a description of this program and the link to the audio archive itself.. Since the General Manager has banned Sidney Smith from WBAI there's no telling what's on in the alternate week's time slot anymore.

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 and constitutes abuse of Staff. Why did Berthold ban Sidney?

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

The wheelchair that was set on fire
The Wheelchair That Was Set on Fire

On the air we talked about having had quite a time traveling to CCNY for this program. And we sure did. But that was only part of our transit adventures that morning.

We were rolling through Brooklyn on the IRT, heading to WBAI's studios at CCNY, when the train stopped and some young guys came running from the car ahead of ours and began talking excitedly to their friends. Then the Conductor announced that we were halted because a homeless man had set his wheelchair on fire in that car.

We were stopped at Clark St. for quite a while, and I got out to see what was happening. I saw a guy sitting pretty much alone in that car, and under his seat was something that had small flames coming up from it, and there was a lot of smoke coming from whatever was burning, too.

As I said, the flames were small, maybe an inch or so high, not threatening to engulf anything, but they were putting out quite the volume of acrid smoke. Almost everyone evacuated that car, the Conductor didn't have to tell them to get out.

We waited at Clark St. for quite a time, and then the police came. They pretty soon threw the thing that was burning out onto the platform, and it was indeed a wheelchair. The rubber or plastic tires on it was what had been burning. I took the photograph on this page right after one of the young guys had used his bottled water to douse the flames, you can see a small puddle on the left. The platform had enough acrid smoke that it was troubling to breathe there.

The police shortly thereafter escorted the guy who'd set his wheelchair on fire out of the subway car, having to almost carry him. Yeah, he looked out of it.

And so our train was late, we missed the usual connection to a #1 train and at that hour of a Saturday morning missing a train means a long wait for the next one. We were not pleased with our trip to the WBAI studios at CCNY that morning.

Well, that was going. Coming home we figured we'd get on a train and get home in the usual hour and a half or so. Not this time.

We got on a train at 135th St. and headed downtown. The trip was the usual one — until we got to Times Square.

We were in the first car, at Times Square we heard the motorman talking to the dispatcher. They mentioned an injured passenger at Wall St. Uh oh. There was some more talk as we waited at Times Square. And then we heard the dispatcher telling the motorman to discharge the passengers. The motorman came on and mentioned a “sick passenger,” as opposed to an injured one, and told us all to get off the train. And we all did.

Pickles of the North and I assessed the situation. We figured that with a discharge and an injured passenger there was the potential for a quite long delay. We figured that maybe it'd be better if we went to another line, since we were at Times Square, and rode to a station in Brooklyn where we could catch a bus home.

We walked around in the huge Times Square subway terminal and got on a BMT train that was to head into Brooklyn. We had to wait a while for that train to leave because Times Square is its terminus.

So we got to roll along, and cross the Manhattan Bridge, which brings back memories for me of going to high school on the BMT 50 or more years ago.

We got into Brooklyn and were getting towards where we had planned to catch a bus home, when we stopped and a lot of people got on, amid announcements from the platform. Turns out that the local service was not happening. I didn't hear the announcement well and got Pickles and myself off the train too early. We had to wait for another train to come by and resume our trip in the direction we wanted to go. And it was quite the long wait.

Well, after quite a while we caught another train and went on. A ways down the line we saw other trains, and they were stuck on the local tracks. They had passengers on them. We knew that some of those trains had been there when we'd gotten off our train at the wrong station. We even saw one train off loading passengers from the last car, which was the only part of that train which was in a station. And then, as we slowly proceeded, we saw some MTA workers clustered around a signal, which may have tripped the brakes on a train. In any event this was apparently the problem that was halting the southbound BMT at that point.

We proceeded on to the next express stop, and got over to the Manhattan bound platform, where we had to catch a train that would make local stops. As we pulled in we saw the local train we needed to catch closing its doors and pulling out. We waited on that platform for quite some time.

Eventually a local train came and we got to the stop we needed. I was amazed that our MetroCards were not charged extra. I was sure that it had taken us more than two hours to get there. As it turns out we'd made it onto the bus with one minute to spare.

We rode the bus and took a short walk home after that.

As difficult a transit morning as we'd had we were reminded that it can always get worse. After we'd been home for an hour or so I read about a young woman who had been killed by a #3 train at the 125th St. station not so long after we'd passed through that station. I wonder if in fact they shut down the IRT owing to that incident, and not something at Wall St? Or were there two serious incidents on the IRT involving passengers that morning?

Either way, our transit travails of that morning look pretty small now.

mail! (23K)

We managed to get through a lot of the mail backlog on this program. We really should do this more often. As we get through the mail it becomes more likely that if you send us some E-mail we'll get to it some time soon.

The California Attorney General's Office has notified Pacifica Management that the Attorney General is going to conduct an audit of Pacifica. They have asked for a bunch of documents. What I know about all of this is on this Web page. No telling how this will end up.

Psst! Wanna buy some hot Technetium? I may still have an atom or two of it left in my system.

I think I've related on the air that I've had what I think are some bouts of pretty bothersome indigestion lately. I told the doctor about it, and doctors like to be safe with this sort of report. So, over this past fortnight I've had an echocardiogram and then ten days later a myocardial perfusion scan. It was not a pleasant experience. They shot me up with some chemical that directly stressed my heart. I'll talk about it on the air.

Pickles of the North with her old man.
Pickles of the North With Her Father on Boxing Day

Pickles of the North went north this past fortnight and hung out with her parents and other relatives on Isaac Newton's Birthday. She'll tell you all about it.

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 alternated with us until Management unfairly removed him for no reason, 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 © 2015, R. Paul Martin.