Back of the Book — March 26, 2016

It's Friday night, April 22, 2016, 19:44, and I have updated this Web page. It is finished. I've added a link to the tor browser. We did not read any mail on this program. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ We have plans to cover the below topics and more on this program, we may even get to some mail.

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.

It's hard to tell when the next LSB meeting will actually be held.

The WBAI LSB was to have met on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, at 7:00 PM at the ARC Central Harlem Senior Center, 120 West 140th St., New York, NY 10030, between Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. in Manhattan.

The elections happened right before the meeting was scheduled to begin, and then I was assaulted by the Chair, and can there be a legitimate meeting when people have been driven out by violence?

As usual I put out a written Treasurer's Report for all to read that morning.

Some years ago the WBAI LSB voted to hold its regular meetings on the second Wednesday of every 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. We can no longer tell if the stream is working without testing every possible stream. Good luck.

WBAI is archiving the programs! WBAI has permanently switched to yet another new archive Web page! This one is more baffling than the previous one. We have to put archive blurb copy in before the program airs. The person in charge of the WBAI Web site says, “If you fail to create a playlist, your show may not show up in the archives at all.” So we made an archive blurb long before the program.

This is a link to the latest version of the official WBAI archive To get to this program you'll have to click on the drop-down menu, which says “Display,” and find Back of the Book on that menu. We're pretty early in the list, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Once you find the program name click “GO” and you'll see a list of programs, most of which are Back of the Book programs. I will see if this can be made easier to get to, but they've only recently implemented this new page and I haven't had time to see what I can do with it. Good luck.

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 Washington, D.C. February 7-10, 2014. The big news from that meeting was that they mandated that there be no negotiations with the four candidates for the PSOA for 60 days. And this initiative appears to be dead, for the moment.

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.

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.

manning_nys_vnvp_2010-07-12 (48K)
Robert Manning's Listing on the New York Viet Nam Memorial

Robert Manning was the kid who sat in front of me in class for the last three years of high school. He was always joking around.

After high school I never saw him again. One day when I was looking around on-line for something totally unrelated to him I came across an obituary for his mother. That obituary said that her only child, Robert Manning, had died in Viet Nam.

I researched this, and I found that this obituary was referring to the Robert Manning who'd sat in front of me in high school.

The graphic is a part of a photograph I took of his name on the wall at the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza in downtown Manhattan.

Robert Manning died on March 24, 1969, as the result of an explosive device that was detonated near him. I don't have any more details than that. So it was 47 years ago this past Thursday that he was killed. I'll remember him on the air during this program. I was in country at that time. I was just luckier than he was.

cellebrite_purchase_order_2016-03-21 (41K)
Is This a Smoking Purchase Order?

There have been some new developments in the FBI v. Apple case. I talked about this case on a previous program.

It is being reported that a “third party” has come forward to volunteer to help the FBI crack Apple's encryption on that smartphone that the FBI has been trying to get into.

The speculation is that this third party is a company called Cellebrite, which is based in Israel, and has a subsidiary in America. But is this just speculation predicated on someone finding a purchase order from the FBI to that company on-line? The purchase order is reproduced above.

And can they break the Apple protections that keep the FBI from performing a brute force attack on the phone? Those are the questions.

I've said before that this case is really about the FBI and other parts of the government wanting to make all companies put back doors in their products' security. That's not good for any of us.

And the government is looking at WhatsApp because they will provide instant messaging and phone calls that are end to end encrypted, arguably a better setup than what Apple provides. Apple is also rumored to be looking to harden their encryption security so that it's actually serious. I've said before that Apple's encryption security is not all that great, the keys are tiny and there are ways around it, because Apple didn't bother to plug the holes.

Hey, when will people start to use Tor for things like this? The government is not going to intimidate the rest of the world into giving up their privacy. And then there's Telegram, offered by a guy from Russia who is now pretty much a stateless person, as he wanders around the world keeping away from the Russians and the Americans. There are options for privacy, but people need to learn how to use them.

One option that is good to know about is the Tor browser. It allows the possibility of avoiding a lot of snooping on your browsing activities. Go here to learn more about the Tor browser.

R. Paul Martin's GAA membership card
My First Night of Issue GAA Card

I talked about an anniversary that occurred exactly 46 years ago tonight. I went to my first meeting of the Gay Activists Alliance (GAA).

Oh, that certainly changed my life. I spent the rest of the '70s in GAA, and then went on to do more gay activism, and eventually I became a member of the WBAI Gay Men's Collective.

Although I first went to GAA on the night of March 26, 1970, I did not become a member until April 16, 2070. You had to have attended three meetings in a row and having done that I decided to wait an extra week to make sure that I actually wanted to join something.

The membership cards were an afterthought and were not brought out until May of 1970. Mine was a first night of issue card, but I got to the meeting late and so got a much higher number than would have been the case if I'd not been late. But I suppose that membership card #33 is pretty good for an organization that had thousands of people go through it over the years. In the end I spent almost 10 years as a GAA member, longer than anyone else.

The card is signed by then Secretary of GAA Arnie Kantrowitz and President Jim Owles. I've written a little bit about this stuff, and this card, in a previous program's Web page.

Yeah, going to that GAA meeting 46 years ago certainly did change my life, all right. Hell, the odds are that I would never have met my wife if I hadn't gone to that meeting.

Oh, This Dreary Thing

We talked about some scams that are currently happening where people get a pre-recorded phone call from a guy who says that you're in deep trouble with the U.S. Treasury Dept. and that if you don't call them right away at a phone number they give that you will be considered to be avoiding some legal action. Well, we played it on the air, and I've posted a copy a copy here on this Web site, too. So if you get one of these scam phone calls don't get scared, just realize it's a scam. I suspect that they change their phone numbers all the time because the phone number they give out today gets shut down tomorrow.

Click here to listen to the scam phone message. The link goes to another page because it's more convenient to code that page than to get the audio going on this page.

Loop of a roller coaster ride.
Will A Path Be Made Under This?

Pickles of the North talked about what we're calling “Eminent Domain Way,” but which the New York City Parks Dept. seems intent on calling “Wonder Wheel Way.”

It turns out that this is part of a land deal swap whereby a large tract of land that is currently serving as a parking lot for the baseball field that's down by the Coney Island Boardwalk will be swapped for land that will form a pathway from the old Parachute Jump to the Wonder Wheel. There is already a small bit of land between Stillwell Ave. and W. 12 St. that bears the name “Wonder Wheel Way” and the city is saying that this project is just an extension of that. More like an extension of dirty dealings.

Unfortunately, this eminent domain land grab will involve the destruction of the Ghost Hole ride that's been in Coney Island for years.

The reason for all of this is so that developers can erect large condo buildings on the land that was formerly a parking lot. There is apparently a law that doesn't allow Parks Dept. land to be simply sold to private enterprises, so they're swapping it out so that the Parks Dept. gets as compensation this unnecessary pathway that goes between the Parachute Jump and the Wonder Wheel and the developers can get that land they covet.

The photograph shows what appears to be one part of this extension of “Wonder Wheel Way.” It has to go under the current version of the Thunderbolt roller coaster. I suppose that they'll have to build a tunnel or something over this part of the path so that anything falling from above doesn't hit people walking below that loop of the roller coaster. Still, this seems unsafe to us.

This is a totally unnecessary tearing up of land in the Coney Island amusement area and will result in the destruction of one of the rides.Wow, thanks Mayor DeBlasio!

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 open list is the 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. The bleepin' blue board had to add a step for folks to get onto it because it was 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

UPDATE: In of June 2012, I ended up having to salvage the bleepin' blue board, and so I'm the moderator on it now.

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 used to alternate with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

Sidney is also posting occasional podcasts these days at the Web site he's established.

One formerly popular mailing list is the “NewPacifica” mailing list. Founded October 31, 2000, this list has been moribund for a couple of years due to de facto censorship by the group owner. As of early 2015, it has 693 subscribers coast to coast, but postings on it are very infrequent now.

Back in the day it sometimes also got a bit nasty. All sorts of things used to happen on this list and official announcements were 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.

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 © 2016, R. Paul Martin.