Back of the Book — August 28, 2021

It's Thursday night, September 2, 2021, 23:31, and I have updated this Web page somewhat. I have a little more updating to do on this page and then it'll be done. The original top of this page follows the arrow. We talked about COVID-19, and Pickles of the North told us about a lot of the quackery involved with it these days, as well as very similar quackery involved with some past pandemics. R. Paul told about an Arkansas jail that's pushing what may be a dangerous, and pretty definitely ineffective, drug to prevent Covid-19 and to treat it. The inmates are the targets for this bit of quackery. R. Paul also talked about August 1971, when Bobby Fischer and Jimmy Darrin didn't know they were in the same elevator together. He also talked about demonstrations 50 years ago, including one that turned into a police riot on Long Island. We also said goodbye to the Middle Third of 2021. I plan to update this Web page with more of what we did on this program, so check back for those updates.

You can now listen to this program on the official WBAI Archive.

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 on this Web site. I'm a member of that committee because I'm the WBAI LSB Treasurer.

The next WBAI LSB meeting is scheduled to be held on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, it will probably be held as a teleconference meeting, as the 25 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, August 11, 2021.

The LSB meeting was sort of the usual.

Before the meeting I had put out a written Treasurer's Report for all to read.

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. For some time I was unable to post archive blurbs, then I could, and then I couldn't again. You can take a look at it and see if I've been able to post anything on it lately. There are still some limitations, but I am assured that I can plug in the archive blurbs that were lost in the latest upgrade.

This is a link to the latest version of the official WBAI archive. The archiving software appears to have been at least partially fixed. To get to the archive of this program you can use the usual method: 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 only this Back of the Book program. Management has fixed some problems that we'd been having with the archives.

For programs before March 23, 2019, we're all out of luck. The changes that took place once WBAI Management took control of the WBAI archives seems to have wiped out all access to anything before that date in March. You'll have to click on the same drop-down menu as above, which says Display, and find Specify Date, it's the second choice from the top. You are then given a little pop-up calendar and you can choose the date of the program there. Then click GO and you'll see a list of programs that aired on that date. For those previous programs you can get the audio, but nothing else, since I can't post anything to those pages anymore. Yeah, it looks like they'll have some alternating program's name prominently there, but if you have the right date it'll be our program. Good luck.

Since the General Manager has banned Sidney Smith from WBAI he's not alternating with us on the air. As of November 2020, Back of the Book airs weekly.

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?

snake oil  advertisement
Plenty Of This is Being Sold

Pickles of the North here. I've been looking at the National Institutes of Health's Web site. There's a lot of well researched information there about all kinds of medical studies and clinical trials, past, ongoing, and those being planned. Since the pandemic was declared, I've been mainly reading up on COVID-19. Knowledge is power, right, and also there is ongoing turmoil in my family between the willingly vaccinated, the grudgingly vaccinated and the anti-vaccination pro-aromatherapy proponents.

There was an article on PubMed Central, which is a, Free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature at the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Library of Medicine (NIH/NLM). It was written by a lawyer named Ian Freckelton in July of 2020, and its entitled COVID-19: Fear, quackery, false representations and the law. In it he writes:

Fear, anxiety and even paranoia can proliferate during a pandemic. Such conditions, even when subclinical, tend to be a product of personal and predispositional factors, as well as shared cultural influences, including religious, literary, film, and gaming, all of which can lead to emotional and less than rational responses. They can render people vulnerable to engage in implausible conspiracy theories about the causes of illness and governmental responses to it. They can also lead people to give credence to simplistic and unscientific misrepresentations about medications and devices which are claimed to prevent, treat or cure disease. In turn such vulnerability creates predatory opportunities for the unscrupulous.

He also writes about remedies people took during prior pandemics, like castor oil, bronchial inhalers and an electric battery and quinine, booze (still popular, and in its methyl form killing people during our 21st Century pandemic), different kinds of food, and something called a Carbolic (phenol) Smoke Ball, which you squeezed with your hands and inhaled. Yikes! All this during the Russian Flu pandemic which happened from 1889, to 1892. The approximate death toll for this Russian Flu pandemic was one million people.

During the 1918 Flu pandemic, at the time called the Spanish Flu, people took things used for malaria, heart ailments and other conditions: quinine again, digitalis, aspirin, also deadly poisons like strychnine. And more booze mixed into toxic concoctions or just in overdose amounts. Or quinine lozenges up the butt and carbolic soap to scrub away both the germs and your skin. And a eucalyptus oil based product still being rubbed on chests today. Here are the 1918 Flu infection and death toll numbers from the National Archives website: The virus infected roughly 500 million people, one-third of the world's population, and caused 50 million deaths worldwide (double the number of deaths in World War I).

Regulation for cures and preventives had barely begun at that time, so people who may have survived influenza died of their preventive measures or from their choice of cure.

Which brings us to today's COVID-19 pandemic. Over 213 million people infected worldwide and over 4½ million deaths, so far; both numbers are certainly under counts and still growing. Over 5 trillion doses of vaccine administered. One of our dear friend's wrote to me and said, that although she was reticent, she felt it was her civic duty to get vaccinated to keep others and herself safer. This was in response to my telling her about my family conflict. I agree with her completely, it's a civic duty that protects those who are too young to be vaccinated or the immunocompromised.

And that brings me to something that's being presented by some family members as a better and safer alternative than the COVID-19 vaccines: aromatherapy and its Essential Oils. Essential oil was a term used by Paracelsus von Hohenheim, a Sixteenth century Swiss doctor, alchemist, and a seer. Oh brother! Well, even Newton practiced alchemy. These oils are natural selection in action, something plants produce to protect themselves by fending off bugs that want to eat them and attracting bugs that can help with pollination.

Up on PubMed you can find reports of research that has been done about the efficacy of the use of Essential Oils as a treatment for a variety of conditions. Some plant oils have known ant-viral and ant-inflammatory properties for specific conditions. Some seem to be promising but need to undergo much more rigorous, larger and more complex studies. Studies regarding Sars-Cov-2 are few and extremely preliminary. One article says as far as scientific evidence goes, they are just shreds. Based on these rudimentary findings, companies immediately started advertising that their products can prevent and cure COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration has been issuing warning letters to all companies and individuals who are making these false claims to sell their products. You can look at some of these warnings here.

One proven effect of these oils, especially the ones containing linalool, a fragrant liquid alcohol according to Merriam Webster, and pinene, one of the ingredients in turpentine, not mentioned in all of this is that they can trigger asthma attacks and bouts of rhinitis in people with allergies, and can also cause skin rashes. At least these reactions are less likely to kill you than taking plant oils for COVID-19.

Regarding the Essential Oils claims about COVID-19, there are quite a few warning letters on the FDA's website. There are a lot of scam artists who make powerful claims and say they are substantiated by science, or true believers who misinterpret preliminary research as a fate accompli proving their claims for alternative prevention and cure of COVID-19. We don't have all the numbers yet for people privileged enough to have easy access to vaccines who have been made ill or died from taking so-called preventions and cures based on false information and misinformation, chicanery, superstition and pseudoscience. It is especially troubling when so many desperate people worldwide don't yet have that same access to those vaccines and are preyed upon by proponents of false remedies. It's about as far from civic duty as you can get.

Arkansas jail and Covid-19
Quackery Forced on Inmates

R. Paul here. In Arkansas they're investigating the people who run the the Washington County Jail there for prescribing the anti-parasite drug Ivermectin as a remedy for COVID-19, despite the drug not having been approved for treating COVID-19. The Washington County Sheriff's office, which apparently runs the jail, confirmed to reporters that some inmates were in fact prescribed Ivermectin. Currently it's not even known if all the inmates who were prescribed Ivermectin had tested positive for COVID-19. A doctor named Amy Embry said that, There is an open investigation and we can't comment on it right now. Ivermectin is only approved for infestation by certain types of parasitic worms, head lice, and other skin conditions. And there are apparently different formulations for humans and for animals.

The doctor at the jail, Dr. Rob Karas, is saying that he did not force any inmates to take Ivermectin. He released a written statement that says, in part, I do not have the luxury of conducting my own clinical trial or study and am not attempting to do so, Dr. Karas' statement continued, I am on the front line of trying to prevent death and serious illness. Apparently he thinks that his front line status gives him the authority to foist, at least, this very questionable drug on inmates. Dr. Karas says that he and his family have taken Ivermectin and he reportedly recommended that the sheriff's staff take Ivermectin as a preventive measure against COVID-19. We're seeing it reported that about 88,000 prescriptions for Ivermectin have been filled in the space of two weeks, and calls to poison control centers about Ivermectin are generating a call volume that's five times higher than normal. Health officials in Arkansas and Mississippi are warning the public to especially avoid taking the Ivermectin that's made for animals.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned doctors against prescribing Ivermectin to treat COVID-19. The CDC says that no evidence supports the medicine being used for any other reason besides its manufactured intentions.

We're in late Summer now. On this program we said goodbye to August, which also means that we're saying goodbye to the Middle Third of 2021. For this Middle Third I only got out for fun once! I guess that's better than the Middle Third of 2020, when I got out not at all. Well, most of September is still Summer, and Pickles of the North pointed out that you can get some very nice days in September. We're hoping that we can get out for a fun excursion in at least one or two of those September days.

The Autumnal Equinox will occur on Wednesday afternoon September 22, 2021, at 3:21 PM (ET). You can find my list of the seasons and sub-seasons for 2021, and more, here.

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 that no longer exists was the WBAI specific Goodlight Web based message board. It was sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as the bleepin' blue board, owing to the blue background that was used on its Web pages. This one had many people posting anonymously and there was also an ancillary WBAI people board that was just totally out of hand.

In June 2012, I ended up having to salvage the bleepin' blue board, and so I was the moderator on it for its last seven years, until it got too expensive.

Sometimes we used to 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.

There used to be a number of mailing lists related to Pacifica and WBAI. Unfortunately, they were all located on Yahoo! Groups. When Yahoo! Groups was totally shut down in December 2020, all of those mailing lists ceased to exist. One year earlier their file sections and archives of E-mails, had been excised leaving only the ability to send E-mails back and forth among the members. Now it's all gone. Older Back of the Book program Web pages tell a little more about those lists.

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