Back of the Book — April 23, 2016

It's Saturday morning, May 7, 2016, 02:31, and I have updated this Web page with the promised links to the Tor browser and the Gnu Privacy Guard Web sites. I've updated the part about reading the mail, since we did that on this program. More to come. The original top of this page follows the arrow. ⇒ It's another big rush to get out of here. Slim Web page this time, but I'll flesh it out. I have also updated the last two programs' Web pages. I'll update this one pretty soon too, I think.

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.

The official audio archive for the previous radio program, on April 9, 2016, was severely compromised. The audio was too low to be easily heard, it's at about -46dB, for those of you who are familiar with these things. I have constructed an archive from my own air check. I have boosted the audio up to where you can hear it and I've done some noise reduction to take out the hum that accompanied the program. So click on this link and you'll be brought to a Web page where you can listen to this program.

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.

It has come out over the past fortnight that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have had a back door to all BlackBerry devices for years! We plan to talk about this development, and of course it also relates to the FBI v. Apple and other encryption controversies that we've been following on this program.

To pile on the security/privacy problems people have, it has come out that Signalling System No. 7 (SS7), which is used for most of the world's mobile phones to set up phone calls, get numbers dialed and other functions of the ubiquitous mobile devices, has a big vulnerability in it. If someone knows how to exploit the flaw in SS7 they can listen to, and record, all of your phone call, track your whereabouts, even if you have GPS turned off on your phone, or if you have no GPS function on your phone. They can also access all of the data on your smartphone.

What crucial piece of information do they need in order to accomplish this total take over of your mobile device? The phone number of the device. On 60 Minutes last weekend they had a guy from Germany who took over a mobile phone of a congressman and do all of this stuff. It wasn't the congressman's regular phone, 60 Minutes had given it to him for the purposes of demonstrating the extent of this vulnerability. So from Berlin, Germany this guy was able to snoop on the Congressman's phone activities in California, USA. Yeah, we'll talk about this on the program.

On this program I said I'd post some links to things that can help folks to maintain their privacy. Here are two things everyone should at least know about.

The Tor Browser allows you to avoid a lot of snooping. Developed by the United States government years ago it has metamorphosed into a a 501(c)3 not for profit enterprise that puts out the browser. You can get more information and download the browser here.

Something else everyone should at least know about is GPG, full name Gnu Privacy Guard. This software allows you to encrypt and/or sign files, E-mails and just about anything digital. Here is a link to the Gnu Privacy Guard Web site. There is a bit of a learning curve to GPG, but it's worth it, and you can get help in various places.


We did indeed get to reading some mail on this radio program. We're going to try to read some more on the next program as well, even though we'll be pitching then.

Spring flower.
Oh, It's Flower Photograph Time Again

Yeah, it's mid-Spring and the flowers are blooming all over the place. I can't resist taking snapshots of the damned things. This one was down next to the Coney Island Boardwalk. And there's one right next to it ready to burst out into the big, wide world too.

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.