Back of the Book — February 18, 2023

This Web page is prepared, as usual, before the program airs. Last week the program we recorded was not aired. The wrong audio file was queued up at WBAI, and the previous week's program was aired for a second week in a row. We are hoping that nothing similar happens this time. We reintroduced a segment from years ago on this program. Let is know if you like it. We talked about some amateur cryptographers deciphering the code that Mary Queen of Scots had used in the 16th Century to try and plat against her sister Elizabeth I of England. More to come, so check back for updates, which we really want to do.

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 regular LSB meeting will be held on Wednesday March 8, 2023, at 7:00 PM on ZOOM, even though ZOOM compromises privacy and security. This meeting will be held as a teleconference meeting, as the 42 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, February 8, and we had been supposed to hold hold elections for committee members of the Pacifica national Board's committees. Well, that didn't quite happen. The LSB meeting turned into quite a mess. An LSB member who is notorious for making incoherent or overly complicated motions outdid herself this time. She wanted to pass a motion saying that the WBAI LSB opposed the proposed sale of the KPFK building in Los Angeles. But she couldn't say that, she presented this motion that was all over the place, quoted a gigantic motion that the KPFK LSB had passed and which she seemed to maybe want the WBAI LSB to endorse, except that she skipped parts of it, and she obscured the part of the motion that said anything about exactly what the WBAI LSB was actually doing with regard to this motion.

People who knew that this LSB member had this tendency to make very fouled-up motions had put the motion in the lower part of the agenda for this meeting. The motion-maker wanted it put up very high on the agenda. We went through the parliamentary procedure for this and there was a tie vote, but then the Chair voted to put the incoherent motion in the higher spot on the agenda!

So we took this motion up early in the meeting. I objected because the motion was such a mess that it would be impossible to even know what exactly the WBAI LSB would be doing if the motion were to pass, but the Chair chose to start calling me names. So the seriously defective motion, which had been scheduled to take up 15 minutes on the agenda was debated for the next hour and a half. It became the only real business that the LSB dealt with that night. A total waste of time.

Pacifica is in financial straits. Pacifica Management and the Pacifica National Board decided to sell that building because KPFK has been cratering financially, They've been doing even worse than WBAI, and the building is bigger than they need. I made the point at this meeting that it might come down to a choice between selling the KPFK building or selling WBAI's license. Still the so-called Justice & Unity Campaign faction on the LSB voted for it. I voted against it and others did too. Luckily, the motion eventually failed.

The next day we found that some of the people pushing this motion, including one member of the WBAI LSB and another person who used to be on the LSB and who wants to get back on the LSB, had joined a lawsuit that had been filed by some other people in Pacifica that is trying to force Pacifica to not sell that building and the lawsuit also tried to get a temporary restraining order installing runners-up on the LSBs. The last time we had a wholesale influx of runners-up on the LSBs in Pacifica it was a disaster. I am hearing that the temporary restraining order was denied, but it all goes to court next month. So this lawsuit is costing Pacifica even more money. Some people want to make sure that the firing squad forms a perfect circle before they open fire.

This past week a LSB member resigned from the LSB.

Before the February 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?

old radio
We Got On This Week

Program note: Last week our program that we'd prepared did not air. Somehow that program got switched with the previous week's program. We're sorry that happened. We're really sorry that happened. We're declaring this our 125th pandemic program because what we'd prepared last week was a fully prepared program that. while it will never air intact. is going to contribute some parts to this program. Sometimes WBAI can be disappointing, sometimes it can be maddening, and that's not just for listeners but also for producers. That program that didn't air last week should have aired the day before Life Day, which is something R. Paul celebrates every year. Here's a link to the program where I talked about it on the WBAI archives.

West Virginia Trans Flag
The Bigots Legislated Against Trans Kids

On the last program we talked about a bill called HB 2007 in the West Virginia House that would ban gender-affirming care for youth in the state. Well, the bill passed with an 84-10 vote. All of the Republicans in the West Virginia House voted for it, and one Democrat did as well. This bills will now go on to the West Virginia Senate.

SARS-CoV-2 virus
2,831 Deaths in America This Past Week

According to the Johns-Hopkins Web site COVID-19 cases in the whole world reached 673,826,506 on Friday, and global deaths reached 6,861,850. In America the number of cases as of Friday was 103,100,558 and the death toll in America reached 1,117,180, so 2,831 people have died of COVID-19 in America in the last week which is about 400 fewer deaths over the past week than we'd had for the previous week and that previous week had been about 450 fewer deaths than we'd had on average for the previous couple of weeks.. The pandemic is not over. Pickles of the North and I are still keeping our masks on. We've both gotten our bivalent vaccinations. We are not among those who are saying that getting a COVID-19 infection is like getting a cold.

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.

The United States government is still saying that the pandemic emergency will be declared over on May 11. Pickles of the North told us more about that.

Chinese Communist Party balloon
A Balloon Filled With Gall

Of course we've all heard about the party balloon, thats the Chinese Communist Party balloon that was flying around over the United States last week. The party balloon finally got shot down this week. The U.S. military said they'd waited until it was over water so that it wouldn't kill or hurt anyone when I came down. Republicans attacked Biden over not shooting it down right away. Navy divers are scavenging up the pieces from the ocean floor off the coast of South Carolina. And there are a bunch of these things all over the world. The government of the so-called Peoples Republic of China protested Americas shooting down of their spy balloon. What gall! Some years ago they crashed into an American spy plane and brought it down in China, and imprisoned the crew for weeks and took the plane apart. And they have claimed half the western Pacifica Ocean as their own, and they now object because American show down a spy balloon that showed up over Montana! We should help everyone else in the world to shoot down these Chinese Communist Party balloons.

It now looks like these additional three objects that were shot down this past week were probably not spy balloons. A group called the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade says that one of their balloons is missing. Uh Oh. They're a hobby group that floats what are called pico balloons high in the atmosphere. They say that their balloon's last transmission came from about 39,000 feet above the Alaskan coast on February 10, and the balloon was headed toward the Yukon Territory. The next day an American F-22 fighter jet downed an object floating over that area at 40,000 feet.

Aviation Week magazine says that these pico balloons have a description that's an awful lot like that of the objects that have been shot down over the past few days. The magazine says that a pico balloon can cost as little as $12. Aviation Week also reports that the AIM-9X missiles being used to shoot down all of these balloons are 10-feet long and cost more than $450,000 each. And they had to use two of them to get one of the balloons that probably cost $12 or so. So. not counting the valid shoot-down of the actually foreign-power spy balloon. the United States has spent something like $1,800,000 to shoot down the toy balloons. I was wondering how cost effective this all was. And that doesn't count the cost of the jet fuel for all of the high performance fighter jets that are being used.

The Mistakes we Make

On this program we revived a segment that we used to do years ago. We read a little bit from a small book titled The Mistakes we Make, compiled and edited by Nathan Haskell Dole. This little book has a publication date of 1898, and, as you can see, the pronoun “we” in the book's title really is in lower case.

We had recorded both of these pieces for the ill-fated February 11, program. The piece about Valentine's Day would have been timely then. I decided to leave the recording as it was for this program, even though it refers to Valentine's Day as being in the future.

Here are the bits we read from it this time around. The excerpts have a light green background.

Proper names Misapplied. — .... Valentine's day is not a saint's day. Valentine comes from galantine, a lover. But as birds pair about the time of Bishop Valentine's martyrdom, February 14, that day was used as a popular time for love missives, and called Valentine.

A Star that is not a Star.
Till clombe 2 above the eastern bar
The horned moon, with one bright star
Within the nether tip.

The star mentioned in this quotation, from the third part of Coleridge's Ancient Mariner, is not a star, but a lofty lunar peak from which the light of the sun is reflected, and which may be seen sometimes on clear evenings, when the moon is in the first quarter, in the shadowed disc at some distance from the bright crescent.

2 Climbed.

We read the piece above from the little book and we talked about Valentine's Day and its origins. There were a hell of a lot of Christian martyrs named Valentine in the early first millennium. Pickles of the North talked about a ritual called Lupercalia that ancient Romans had that some think might represent the start of Valentine's Day, although Christian sky-pilot theologians deny it. Exactly whom Valentine's Day is named after is not at all clear, and it's nice that it might have nothing to do with some Christian saint.

The part about a mountain on the Moon sticking up enough to be seen with the naked eye sounds like nonsense to me. We talked about it at length on this program.

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.

You can also send me E-mail.

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WBAI related links

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