Back of the Book — January 8, 2022

So here's our second program of 2022, and it's been 22 months since we were able to do a live radio program on WBAI. We covered the pandemic, the new year and a little bit about the Blizzard of '88. There's not a lot left to put on this page, but time is running out and I'd better get this Web page posted and really try to get it finished later. Check back for 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, 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. This meetings will be held as a teleconference meeting, 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.

There was a WBAI LSB meeting held on Tuesday January 4, 2022, but it was in executive session to discuss personnel matters, so you weren't be able to hear it.

The results are in and these are the 2022, officers of the WBAI LSB:

Chair - DeeDee Halleck
Vice-Chair - Michael D.D. White
Secretary - John Hoffman
Treasurer - R. Paul Martin

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?

SARS-CoV-2 virus
The Numbers Are Up Again

According to the Johns-Hopkins Web site COVID-19 cases in the whole world reached 302,076,852 on Friday, and global deaths reached 5,478,004. In America the number of cases as of Friday was 59,098,496 and the death toll in America was 835,994, so 10,683 people have died of COVID-19 in America since our last program one week ago. This week's death rate is back up again as compared to last week's program.

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.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the new year is showing the omicron variant causing a vertical spike in COVID-19 cases. He also said, What we are hoping is you reach a peak, and the cases come down rather quickly. This is what seems to have happened in South Africa. The big danger of the omicron variant is that it's in a lot more people all of a sudden and that makes it more likely to mutate into something worse than the omicron variant. What if this surge produces a virus that's as infectious as the omicron variant and as deadly, or deadlier, than the delta variant?

A conspiracy nut and podcaster named Doug Kuzma who aggressively opposed vaccines has died of COVID-19 after attending a so-called superspreader conference called the ReAwaken America Rally in Dallas, Texas. Other morons attending this disease-promoting event were Alex Jones, Eric Trump and Michael Flynn.

Days later Kuzma was sick. He told people that his chronic bronchitis was acting up. When someone suggested that he get tested for COVID-19 Kuzma replied, You must have lost your mind, so they can kill me, and try and give me the jab! Kuzma said, I'll die at the house before I go to the hospital. He was found unconscious at home on December 24, and was rushed to a hospital where he was put on a ventilator and then he died days later.

This character did his anti-vaxxer podcast out of something called FROG News. FROG stands for Fully Rely on God. One of his pals at FROG said his final photo showed him with a refill of ivermectin. The FROG crowd has been spreading disinformation about COVID-19 and they also maintain that Trump won the 2020, election. Kuzma wasn't the only attendee at the Dallas rally to get sick, some of the others have claimed that they were attacked with a biological weapon.

Merry New Year 2022!

So Mayor DeBlasio had his Times Square New Year's celebration with a limit of only 15,000 people who were all required to have been vaccinated and were supposed to all wear masks. We saw a tiny bit of that Time Square action on TV, and we didn't see all that many people wearing masks. The ones who got on TV were just about all maskless, and that included the cops who were working the event. I don't know if it's at all possible to figure out how many people caught COVID-19 from that event.

The Polar Bear Club had their usual New Year's Day plunge into the water at Coney Island on January 1. And one guy had what's being described as a cardiac episode. Yeah a sudden immersion in really cold water can cause a shock to the system. They had EMTs there and he looked like he was doing okay as they loaded him into the ambulance.

CNN got trolled on their New Year's Eve broadcast by people on Twitter, or maybe from just one real Twitter user, sending greetings from names like Ben Dover, Seymour Butts and some others like Anita Blackman and Mike Oxlong which I'm not sure I could say on the radio without risking an unpleasant reaction from the FCC. This stuff just always happens. I remember when Johnny Carson used to have audience members fill out cards to ask him questions when he was doing the Tonight Show and on one show he got a card signed by Ben Dover once. He was aware of it and that one just slipped through. Real Comics tend to recognize that sort of thing faster than news people and some others do.

There's this buoy-shaped tourist attraction at the southernmost tip of Key West, Florida. It marks the farthest south you can go in the continental United States. According to the Key West Police Department at around 3 AM on New Year's Day, some guys who had been taking photographs of themselves next to it, and next to a discarded Xmas tree, set the tree on fire and scorched the fake buoy. I think it's made out of concrete or steel so only the paint was really affected by the tree burning against it. Meanwhile in New York City two guys got into a fistfight at W. 34th St. and Eighth Ave. At about half past midnight and one guy stabbed the other, for the year's first stabbing here. Around eight hours later a woman was stabbed to death in Queens and become the city's first reported homicide of 2022.

New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are a couple of the times during the year when people seem more likely to go a little bit nuts.

The blizzard of 1888, in Brooklyn
Park Slope in the Blizzard of '88

In the hours before this radio program was recorded we had the first snow storm of 2022. The accumulation was a few inches, and it inconvenienced motorists. Since R. Paul and Pickles are bunkered up against the pandemic the snow storm wasn't that big a deal at the Martin Manse.

Pickles of the North talked about Winter weather and snow. She read from a book about weather regarding the infamous Blizzard of '88 which affected a lot of the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada. Ships at sea were lost, hundreds of people died, and New York City was famously paralyzed by close to 40 inches of snow over a two day period. Drifting snow in the high winds, the blizzard was called The Great White Hurricane at the time, reportedly piled up snow drifts that were 30 to 40 feet high. The highest drift was recorded in Gravesend, in the independent city of Brooklyn at 52 feet.

The fact that nothing could easily move through the streets of New York and Brooklyn, Greater New York was still 10 years in the future, served as a powerful motivation for the city to start building the subway system.

Pickles of the North talked about her grandmother walking around in rural Canada wearing snow shoes in the 1950s. R. Paul's grandfathers were both small children for the Blizzard of '88. R. Paul talked about big snowfalls in the '50s which resulted in snow forts and snowballs at the B-67 bus in Brooklyn. He also related a story about a particularly well built snow wall on Carroll Street in Park Slope. There was also the story of an infant R. Paul being pulled through a bit snow storm on a sled in Prospect Park by his parents, until a cop yelled at them to get out of the park because the blizzard that year was dangerous for an infant to be in.

We talked about how different it was to be in a serious blizzard in a world where there were very few phones, where a lot of places didn't have electricity yet and where anything heavy had to be moved by horses. A snow storm in 2022, doesn't give a person anywhere near as much to complain about as such a storm did in the late 19th Century.

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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WBAI related links

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The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2022, R. Paul Martin.