Back of the Book — December 18, 2021

We covered the below topics and more on this program. We talked about current events, ancient history, the Winter Solstice and the current pandemic, among other things. There will be a small amount of updating done to this Web page fairly soon, so check back for the 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 January 4, 2022, but it will be in executive session to discuss personnel matters, so you won't be able to hear it. The next WBAI LSB meeting that you will be able to hear the thrilling details of will be held on January 12, 2022, at 7 PM on ZOOM, even though ZOOM compromises privacy and security. We're supposed to elect WBAI's Directors to the Pacifica National Board at that meeting and we'll see what else comes up at it. These meetings will be held as teleconference meetings, as the 31 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, December 8, 2021, in an odd mix of the 11th and 12th LSBs. There was a Delegates Assembly meeting, and it happened right before the LSB meeting. A majority of the WBAI LSB had voted last month to hold the Delegates Assembly meeting before the LSB meeting in order to allow the members of the 11th WBAI LSB to vote on four amendments to the Pacifica Foundation bylaws that had been presented. I questioned why it had to be done this way. I said during the November meeting that this would put the legitimacy of those bylaws amendments in jeopardy because the time for the LSB meeting was the same as the time for this Delegates Assembly. The vote on handling the Delegates Assembly this way was 10 for, 3 against and 4 abstentions. I was one of those who voted No. The time for the start of the WBAI LSB meeting was changed by a couple of people to 7:30 PM and then to 8:00 PM. I think that we could have allowed the members of the 12th WBAI LSB, which consists mostly the same members as the 11th LSB, to vote on the bylaws amendments. I guess that the LSB members in favor of all of the bylaws amendments had counted votes and decided that they'd do better with the 11th LSB members than with the 12th LSB members. The bylaws needed to get 13 votes each to pass, and they got that. I voted for some of them, and I voted against some, and I abstained on one that I believed was out of order. Turns out the one bylaws amendment I'd said was out or order was indeed out of order, but maybe not for the reason that I'd cited.

So at the first meeting of the 12th WBAI LSB, which started seconds after the ending of the Delegates Assembly meeting, we elected the offers of the LSB for the next year. The Chair and Vice-Chair of the LSB will be elected via some company that will send out virtual ballots and count the votes. So it will be some weeks, I think, before we know who got elected to those offices. But no one contested the Secretary office, and so Mr. John Hoffman was elected Secretary by acclamation because no one else was nominated to run for that office. He's not a voting member of the LSB, but the bylaws allow for the offices of Secretary and Treasurer of the LSB to be held by people who are not voting members. And I got reelected Treasurer because I also ran unopposed.

Before the December 8, 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, so we have the following schedule:

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?

An angry tornado
Historic Tornado

As we say on every one of these pre-recorded programs, if something happens between the time when we record the program on Friday afternoon and when you hear it on Saturday morning we just aren't going to be able to talk about it on this program.

That happened again with our last program. The big storm that produced what they're calling historic tornado activity in the midwest broke out after we'd posted the program. The storm produced a line of tornadoes that went through several states and some were quite severe. One big tornado traveled for over 200 miles through four states. The small town of Afield, Kentucky was pretty much wiped out. A significant percentage of the people who lived there, something like 10%, died from injuries sustained from the big tornado. Overall, the current death toll from this set of tornadoes was 88 at the time we recorded this program.

We can't say for certain that this furious set of storms was the result of global warming and climate change, but it sure does look like it to me. Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Deanne Criswell said, The effects we are seeing of climate change are the crisis of our generation. We're taking a lot of efforts at FEMA to work with communities to help reduce the impacts that we're seeing from these severe weather events and help to develop systemwide projects that can help protect communities. This set of storms and tornadoes would have been a big deal in the Spring when ordinary tornadoes usually shown up, but this thing happened in mid-December. In this program I recalled talking about storms and winds getting stronger years ago. I was talking about global warming and how the air gets warmer from the air molecules having more kinetic energy and so wiggling faster and colliding with each other more energeticly. I then speculated that this kinetic energy didn't only have to be chaotic, it could result in a mass of air moving in one direction, and so winds and storms would get more energetic.

Meanwhile that right-wing idiot Alex Jones is saying that government weather machines created those tornadoes. He is quoted as saying, They just think you're stupid and they don't want you knowing they are doing all of this. Well, by now, with his having to dissemble in the face of multiple lawsuits over his lies about the people, including small children, being murdered at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, and his loss of a number of lawsuits over his false and defamatory claims I guess the people who believe him really are stupid.

The omicron variant with a flag and fangs.
Now This Thing Shows Up

According to the Johns-Hopkins Web site COVID-19 cases in the whole world reached 273,535,833 on Friday, and global deaths reached 5,343,273. In America the number of cases as of Friday was 50,616,347 and the death toll in America was 805,254, so 9,203 people have died of COVID-19 in America since our last program one week ago. That's pretty close to the previous week's number of dead from this disease.

By the time this program airs on Saturday morning all of those figures we quoted will be higher of course. This was all mostly preventable.

So this past week we passed the 800,000 dead mark in America. This level of mortality had been predicted months ago, but some people thought that was exaggeration. A year ago, on the December 19, 2020, program, we announced the death roll in America as being 312,219. We were impressed by the big number then. So in the past year 493,035 people have died of COVID-19 in America. And for most of 2021, we've had vaccines to fight the virus. The U.S. still has the highest official COVID death toll in the world. Tuesday night President Biden Tweeted, As we mark 800,000 American deaths due to COVID-19, we must remember all those we have lost — and pray for their loved ones, especially during this holiday season, Please, get vaccinated and get your booster.

It had looked like we were getting the upper hand on the pandemic by late Summer. Then the delta variant, along with vaccine refuseniks, led to a fourth wave of deaths beginning in early August. And now the daily test positivity rate has gone to 8%, and New York has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in a single day.

I don't know if the omicron variant is partly responsible for this new surge, and that's what it looks like - a new surge, but tests are showing that the still new omicron variant is five times more likely to reinfect someone who's already had it than the highly infectious delta variant. And researchers are currently split over whether or not the omicron variant produces a less severe form of COVID-19.

And now a Columbia University study says that the omicron variant of COVID-19 is markedly resistant to existing vaccines and antibody treatments. They're saying that even booster shots may provide only modest protection against infection.

And now it's being found that 1% of people 65 and older in America have already died of COVID-19. And at least three-quarters of the 805,000+ people who've died of COVID-19 have been elderly according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's possible that comorbidities are the reason for that statistic, but we don't know yet. Well, I'm surely concerned. If the omicron variant can punch trough my booster vaccination I'm in serious trouble, and so are a lot of you.

Stonehenge on the Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice will occur on Tuesday December 21, 2021, at one minute to eleven o'clock in the morning, that's 10:59 AM (ET). I have a chart of the seasons and sub-seasons on this Web site. The days will be getting longer, and I'll appreciate that.

The Next Generation Space Telescope
Will It Be All Right?

The new space telescope is set to launch on Friday, December 24. It had been scheduled to launch from the site at French Guiana on Tuesday, but NASA put the launch date off by another two days. Maybe that will be the final delay before it gets launched. They had a piece about this space telescope on 60 Minutes this past Sunday evening. They mostly talked about the science a little bit, it's expense and the delays and about how everything has to go perfectly for it to set up. They did not address the controversy about it being named after a homophobe. I wish they'd rename it.

This space telescope will discover new things in the universe, if it can get fully deployed and work. I'm hoping that all goes well, and that by some time next year we're seeing new discoveries from this enormous and complex device.

I noted on this program that it was 50 years ago this past Tuesday, December 14, 1971, that the Suffolk County cops broke my nose.

We did pitch on this program as a part of the EMERGENCY TOWER FUND DRIVE that's going on at WBAI at this time.

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.

We like to stay interactive with our listeners. Here are the various options for you to get in touch with us.

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