Back of the Book — March 25, 2023

It's Monday afternoon, April 10, 2023, 12:44, and this Web page is finished. I've updated this Web page with a piece we did about a dispute over whether or not a woman could bring embryos created through in vitro fertilization to term even though her ex-husband was against it. The judge's rulings were indeed bizarre and troubling. Previously I'd updated this Web page with a link to the archive of this program and with some graphics that I hadn't been able to produce before it was time to post this Web page originally. The original top of this page follows the arrow. We talked about a variety of topics on this program, from remembering a long-ago WBAI producer who has passed away, to celebrating Spring in our traditional way, to talking about anti-LGBT+∞ bigots at home and abroad.

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 April 12, 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 43 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, March 8, and we once again tried to hold elections for committee members of the Pacifica national Board's committees. This time we managed to do it.

It was a messy meeting, but it was not as bad as the February meeting. We populated some committees. A brand new member, who had replaced a member who'd resigned, tried to get an item on the agenda which would have caused utter chaos by suspending Robert's Rules of Order for the chat function on Zoom. We had a big debate about it and that chaotic proposal got stopped. We then took up the routine item of excusing absences, which was scheduled to take at most five minutes. In the end it took up 24 minutes because the same new member wanted to not excuse some members. The Chair could have handled that better. We went though those committees that we had to populate, and we did Public Comment, and the meeting was about to end and it looked like I would once again not be able to do an oral Treasurer's Report, but people extended the end-time of the meeting to allow it. And I was almost done when my phone got disconnected! My written Treasurer's Report is on the Web page for this program at

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?

A daffodil
Free The Daffodil!

Spring is here! It got here last Monday at 5:24 PM (ET) Whooppee! I like it.

Pickles of the North took this photograph of a daffodil behind a chain link fence while she was out this week. Yeah, flowers are showing up. We have more daylight than nightdark to look at out the window now and I may even go out this week. We observed a long-standing Back of the Book tradition on this program and after we talked about the new season a little bit we played Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles. This was a pre-recorded program so we couldn't dance around during it as we used to do when we were able to do the program live. Still, it's good to have the song going out over the air to celebrate Spring at WBAI.

SARS-CoV-2 virus
A Death Uptick

The Johns-Hopkins Web site is no longer covering the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CDC Web site has the following notice posted, Maps, charts, and data provided by CDC, updates Mon-Fri by 8 pm ET. So the data on the CDC Web site is not as up to date as the John-Hopkins data used to be. It's what we have though.

The CDC Web site says that in America the number of reported cases as of Thursday night at 8 PM (ET) was 103,957,053 and the death toll in America was 1,123,613, with a death rate of 2,060 for the past week. So the weekly death rate is up by more than 300 for this past week.

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.

We reported some time back about the Department of Energy saying that with low confidence they believed that the SARS-COV-2 virus had escaped from a laboratory in Wuhan China. On the last program we heard just before we recorded the program that an international team of scientists was saying that creatures called raccoon dogs, which were being sold illegally at the market at Wuhan, China could have been carrying and shedding the virus at the end of 2019. We have since found out what a racoon dog is. It's a sort of large fox. World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged the findings at a press briefing, saying the information could potentially lead scientists to come to a consensus on the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still going on. He said, These data do not provide a definitive answer to how the pandemic began, but every piece of data is important to moving us closer to that answer. He also said that the so-called People's Republic of China could have and should have shared this data with the rest of the world three years ago. Yeah, that would have been nice.

Bill Schechner

Former WBAI producer Bill Schechner has died at 81 after a long illness. Bill Schechner had left WBAI long before I became a producer at the station a mere 41 years ago, but I met him when he gave one or two talks to the Staff, and when I talked with him for a piece he did on the founding of the WBAI Union of 1987-1999.

He did interesting programming. After WBAI he did radio at other stations and then he went into television production. He was an anchor on KPIX a San Francisco TV station where he'd worked for 18 years, and which he eventually sued for laying off older workers. He worked with Linda Ellerbee on her NBC program NBC News Overnight, and he worked at NBC for 14 years. The obituaries I'm seeing just say that he was in radio before going on to TV. No mention that he was doing his stuff at WBAI long before the TV stints.

We remembered him on this program for both his radio and TV work and we also noted how working in radio got pretty short shrift in those obituaries. Bill Schechner will be missed.

drag queen holding Trump head on platter
Drag Story Hour Prevails in Manhattan

New York Attorney General Letitia James hosted a drag story hour at the LGBTQ Community Center on W. 13th St. in Greenwich Village last Sunday. Idiots picketed it from across the street, including one bigot in a Proud Boys sweatshirt; a much larger crowd of counter-protesters lined the sidewalk in front of the center to show their support for the event. One jerk got arrested after he had set about rattling the police barricades. The bad people did not stop this drag story hour, as they've done to some others.

pride hockey puck
Bad Russian Law Affects Pride Event

Meanwhile The Chicago Blackhawks ice hockey team will not wear Pride-themed warmup jerseys before Sunday's Pride Night game against Vancouver because of security concerns involving a Russian law that expands restrictions on activities seen as promoting LGBTQ rights in that country which is busy trying to kill all Ukrainians. Really, a Russian law is directly affecting people in America. That is amazing to me, and it's a pretty bad situation.

But it could always get worse. International human rights leaders are condemning the Ugandan legislature's passage of the 2023 Anti-Homosexuality Bill that punishes same-gender relations with a 10-year prison term. Some same-gender activities are punishable by life imprisonment or even death in the case of aggravated homosexuality which the bill says occurs if two people if the same gender who are infected with HIV have sex with each other. Attempted aggravated homosexuality carries a prison sentence of up to 14 years, and attempted homosexuality carries a 10 year sentence. In addition, Homosexuality in general could carry a life prison sentence.

Yoweri Museveni in Uganda
Yoweri Museveni: Head Ugandan Bigot

People around the world are urging Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to veto this bill.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said The passing of this discriminatory bill - probably among the worst of its kind in the world - is a deeply troubling development, he called the bill draconian and devastating and deeply disturbing. The group Human Rights Watch said that the bill would violate multiple fundamental rights guaranteed under Uganda's Constitution and international human rights instruments to which Uganda is a party. Amnesty International also condemned the legislation. President Museveni has called homosexuality a corrupting import from the West, as if homosexual behavior hasn't been going on since human beings evolved in Africa long ago. What an idiot this Museveni character is.

osteoporosis vertebral fracture
Spinal Wedge Fractures

Pickles here! I just found out I have Swiss Cheese bones, well, maybe not that bad, but I have osteoporosis, and that ain't good. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 out of 5 women and 1 out of 20 men develop osteoporosis. If your background is Caucasian or Asian you are more likely to develop this condition. Phew. Also if you are short and small, a smoker, a drinker, sedentary. We all build up our maximum bone mass by the time we are thirty and then start to lose more than we can build up from that point. Some older female athletes are in superb shape and can still develop osteoporosis. If you have a parent with it, you are more likely to develop this condition. My Mom has had it for over thirty years.

The World Health Organization's Analysis of Global Burden of Disease 2019 data states that about 1.71 billion people around the world have musculoskeletal conditions, everything from the many types of arthritis to other conditions, many caused by inflammation. The report says that low back pain is the number one contributor to disability in the world, in at least 160 countries.

I feel really fortunate that I have access to medical care so I can concentrate on improving my old age quality of life. So many people here and abroad still struggle for that right.

Note: The X-ray image is of what could happen. It is not an X-ray of Pickles' spine.

In vitro fertilization
In Vitro Fertilization

On this program we talked about a dispute between two exes. They have some frozen embryos and the ex-wife wants to have some of them implanted in her so she can give birth but her ex-husband doesn't want that. Fairfax County Virginia Circuit Court Judge Richard Gardiner agreed with the former husband and said that the embryos weren't the ex-wife's property to do with as she pleased. The ex-husband's lawyers had argued that he should not have to procreate against his wishes, which would infringe on his constitutional right to procreational autonomy. So Judge Gardiner looked into the law some more. He searched the law all the way back to before the United States Civil War that started in 1861, and changed his decision to be in favor of the ex-wife based on a 19th Century law governing the treatment of slaves. Based on that law he wrote in his decision that, As there is no prohibition on the sale of human embryos, they may be valued and sold, and thus may be considered goods or chattels.

Susan Crockin, a lawyer and scholar at Georgetown University's Kennedy Institute of Ethics said of the use of slavery laws in reaching the decision that, It's repulsive and it's morally repugnant.

Radio's Pickles of the North had a few things to say on this program about a judge declaring that a man should not be forced to procreate against his wishes, when the United States Supreme Court had ruled that women must do exactly that! Meanwhile quite a number of state legislatures have passed laws, and governors have signed such legislation into .law, that have the exact effect of forcing women to procreate against their wishes. And of course this judge's citation of a law that justified the possession of slaves in the old south makes this case even worse. What the hell so some of these judges think of while they're making these awful rulings?

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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