Back of the Book — May 7, 2022

Here are some of the topics we covered on this program. We were both really bothered by the leaked Supreme Court draft ruling. The pandemic is definitely still with us. Maybe the piece about the search for a new standard for the second will prove a non-stressful but interesting topic. I plan to update this Web page. So you could 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 that you can listen to and maybe even participate in will be held on Wednesday May 11, 2022, at 7 PM on ZOOM, even though ZOOM compromises privacy and security. This meeting will be held as a teleconference meeting, as the 35 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The next WBAI LSB meeting will be held in executive session on Monday April 25, 2022. My report out is that the meeting was a total waste of time.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, April 13, 2022. We had more elections for PNB committees. We'll see how those come out. There was some posturing, and some talk about the reality of the financial situation, which not everyone wanted to be quite so frank.

Before the April 13, 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?

Roe v Wade overturned
Reproductive Rights to be Overturned

We talked about the SCOTUS leak that became public last Monday. In the first draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito dated February 2022, Alito argues that abortion is not a right because such a right has no basis in the Constitution's text or in our nation's history, and that, Roe was egregiously wrong from the start, and his opinion concluded that, We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The draft opinion lists Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett as joining Alito in this decision. We knew that this was coming.

Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett lied to the Senate. We knew they were lying. Senator Susan Collins of Maine was saying that she believed them. I was wondering if she really was that stupid, and now she's saying that she won't agree to vote for the bill to make abortion legal in America on a nationwide scale that the Democrats are bringing up. Okay, that settles that, she's just disingenuous.

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski was also saying that she'd believed the three Trump appointees when they indicated that they weren't there to overturn Roe. Well, we'll see what she does next. Maybe she really was that stupid.

This is apparently not the first leak of information from the Supreme Court, despite that being claimed by some. The Republicans have seized upon the leak as the thing to be outraged about. I've read that the original, final ruling on Roe v. Wade in 1973, had been leaked to a news magazine. I'm sure that there have been others in the past, some of which did not end up informing the general public. The idea that this leak damages the credibility of the Supreme Court is quite the fiction. The right-wing majority of the Supreme Court has totally destroyed the credibility of the court already. Some right-wing jerk named Grant Stinchfield has a cable show on which he said, I find it suspect that the first leak coming out of the Supreme Court in history comes shortly after Judge Jackson is confirmed, she would be my first suspect when it comes to the leak because Ketanji Brown Jackson is a radical left-wing activist. What a jerk. Apparently this guy doesn't know that Associate Justice-elect Ketanji Brown Jackson is not yet on the Supreme Court. She wouldn't have seen that draft opinion, so she couldn't have leaked it. Is this jerk Stinchfield just ignorant of the fact that she's not on the court yet, or is he ignorant of how the court works? Oh maybe he's just really, really stupid.

I think that all of this is a symptom of the United States of America falling apart.

I think that this ruling has the potential to start an actual second Civil War in America. It's probably started already. According to a January Gallup poll 48% of Americans say abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances, 32% say it should be legal under any circumstances, and 19% say it should be illegal in all circumstances. According to a January poll from CNN, 69% of Americans want to keep Roe v. Wade intact, while 30% want the ruling completely overturned. A Pew Research poll conducted in March found 61% of U.S. adults believe abortion should be legal in most cases, while 37% said abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. Republican presidents have appointed most of the Supreme Court, while the popular vote has gone to the Democratic presidential candidate in most elections over the past couple of decades. The Supreme Court now caters to a small minority of the American population. This cant go on forever.

ukraine_flag (1K)
They Fight On

We talked about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It looks like Mariupol is going to fall to the Russian invaders soon. The Russians continue to target apartment buildings with ballistic missiles in an apparent effort to show that they are the world's premier terrorists.

A rumor is spreading that the United States is feeding information to the Ukrainian military that has helped them to kill about a dozen Russian generals. Certainly the United States is giving Ukrainian forces intelligence information that is helping them to fight the invaders. If the American intel is directly helping them to kill the Russian generals I have to say that I would look at that as payback. So Putin was maybe paying to have American soldiers in Afghanistan killed, and maybe now America is handing out information that's helping to get Russian generals killed. Yeah, American grunts for Russian generals. Okay. This may not end here, of course.

Reports are that the Russians are stealing everything they can get their hands on, including what's in museums.

Some people are saying that we shouldn't be helping the Ukrainians at all, even to the point of ignoring the invasion and the atrocities and war crimes being committed by the Russians, because there are far right-wing groups involved in the fighting on the side of Ukraine. I have to disagree. On the one hand who can't bring themselves speak out against what the Russians are doing to the people of Ukraine? On the other you have the fact that a large power is just invading a neighboring country on the basis that it owns that country anyway, and that it's not a country in the first place. You can't let Putin get away with that. When the Nazis of the Third Reich , along with their allies the Commies of the Soviet Union, invaded Poland in 1939, other countries in the world finally began to fight them, even though Poland was no great place either, with its own long standing dictatorship and with Poland having participated with the Third Reich in grabbing a piece of Czechoslovakia in 1938. If Putin isn't stopped he'll go after more territory.

stop_watch (33K)
Seconds Count

Time is of the essence. And on the planet Earth the basis for defining time is the second. The International Bureau of Weights and Measures regulates the seven base units that govern time, length, mass, electrical current, temperature, the intensity of light and the amount of a substance. As technology has changed the measures have been improved.

In 2018, they approved new definitions for the kilogram (mass), ampere (current), kelvin (temperature) and mole (amount of substance). Now, with the exception of the mole, all of the standards are subservient to one other standard: time, the unit of which is the second. The meter, the official unit of length on this planet, is now defined as the distance light travels in a vacuum during one 299,792,458th of a second. The new definition of the kilogram, the official unit of mass, rests on the second too. How scientists get to that is really weird. I recall reading a certain book in the '80s, that said that all units in the book would be expressed in centimeters. And they proceeded to show how this was done and then expressed the mass of the Sun in centimeters. It was too deep for me, but that's what they can do.

A physicist who is the president of the the International Bureau of Weights and Measures' consultative committee for time and frequency, Noël C. Dimarcq said, All the units now are not autonomous units, but they are all depending on the second. And the scientists are now setting about changing the official definition of the second which they hope to get formal approval for by 2030. Currently, the second is defined by atomic clocks. The cesium 133 atom is bombarded by microwaves and it resonates at the frequency of 9,192,631,770 ticks per second. The cesium 133 clock was something that was done in 1957. Well, we need something a bit more precise now. Optical atomic clocks are the new answer to time keeping. Instead of a pokey old microwave they use visible light, which is at a much higher frequency than microwaves are. There are various kinds of these clocks, which are called optical clocks. Scientists are figuring out which one should be the new time standard.

There are three optical clocks in Boulder, Colorado, where the National Institute of Standards and Technology, called NIST, is located. That's the place where I go to set my computer clock. Getting the optical clocks set up to redefine the second is not going to be easy. The clocks are so sensitive that they can be affected by a lot of things. In 2015, physicists at NIST found that the seconds were measuring slightly differently across the clocks, which were in various labs. They had to appeal to General Relativity to find out why. It turned out that the clocks were not at exactly the same level. A clock that was half an inch higher than another ran at a faster rate. Can they get the new standard second established by 2030?

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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