Back of the Book — April 29, 2023

We related a program note about the sad story of what happened when we'd tried to get the previous program posted. We also talked about the Supreme Court decision that effectively postponed a decision about Mifepristone until next year. And then there was a lovely fungus story. We talked about more topics than we have posted about here, but they'll have to wait till I get time to write about them on this Web page. It's almost air time. 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 LSB meeting will be held on Wednesday May 10, 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 44 previous public meetings were because of the pandemic.

The WBAI LSB met on Wednesday, April 12. It wasn't that bad a meeting. Another brand new member, who had replaced one more member who'd resigned, showed up after having not done so for several meetings. The routine item of excusing absences was again made to take longer than necessary by another new member who is now apparently going to make a big deal about excusing absences at every meeting. The LSB voted to create a Management Evaluation Committee; nominations were held and voting for the candidates is underway. The Community Advisory Board made a report at his meeting and apparently its members said that producers should not be able to boycott listeners when they call in. It sounds like they want to be able to call into a program nod talk to their heart's content and the producer would be obligated to let them do as they please. Crazy stuff. Another request from those Community Advisory Board members was that WBAI should tell everyone how to have a show on WBAI with a detailed point by point explanation of the process. Yeah, some of them really want to get on the air. I gave a Treasurer's Report and the written version is here.

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?

Mifepristone in court
SCOTUS Punts Mifepristone

We always mention that this program is pre-recorded on Friday evening for airing at 5:00 AM on Saturday morning, and so what happens between the time of the recording and when you hear it can't be a part of the Saturday morning program. This was underscored by the Supreme Court ruling late last Friday on the fate of Mifepristone, aka RU-486. They've mostly turned things back to the status quo ante and sent the case back to the right-wing Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It all started because a Christian anti-abortion group went to a Trump-appointed federal judge named Matthew Kacsmaryk to get him to ban Mifepristone by saying that the FDA didn't approve it correctly more than 20 years ago. So now there probably won't be a ruling until next year.

Former Vice President Mike Pence has announced that he thinks Mifepristone is not safe and should be banned entirely. Yeah, sure he cares about safety. That statement is really just a way for him to be anti-choice for women without acknowledging it.

microsoft_monster_attacks_computer (22K)
The Microsoft Monster

Program note: Microsoft sabotaged the upload of our April 22, program. You may have noticed that the sound of the April 22, 2023, program was not quite up to the usual standards. The reason was that when we had been about to upload the audio file 20 minutes before the deadline we found that it was going to take two hours to get the file posted!

This had happened when I'd gone to upload the April 15, program a week earlier. I had tried several times to get the file posted on my machine and it was obvious that it would just take too long. After two hours of uploading no one would be at WBAI anymore to download the file and put it in the queue to be aired. The solution that time had been to use Pickles of he North's computer. I copied the audio file onto her computer and uploaded it easily. It took the usual 15 minutes to post, instead of two hours.

After that I'd rebooted my computer and I ran a fast check for malware. No malware was detected.

Last week I'd figured that the problem had been some passing thing on my computer and I tried to upload the file for that week as usual. I got the notice that the upload would take two hours again! I had a few choice words for that. I copied the file to Pickles' computer right away. I started the upload and her computer now said that it was going to take two hours. Actually it had initially said that it was to take three hours, but it settled down to two hours. I was beside myself. I tried various things but nothing worked. In the end I made an .MP3 file of the program instead of the much larger pulse code modulated .WAV file and even that much smaller file took about half an hour or more to get posted. A .WAV file is going to have much higher quality audio than an .MP3 file of the same source. So that's why last week's program didn't have the usual sound quality.

All the time this was going on I was anticipating seeing a screen suddenly show up telling me that my computer had just been hijacked by some ransomware gang. After the file was posted I ran scans on both computers. Then I began the hunt to figure out what was wrong with both of our computers. After quite a bit of searching I found out that other people were having this exact same problem and it had been determined that Microsoft, which makes Windows 10, which is the operating system that I use, had done one of its stealthy updates and Microsoft had forced the updating of the drivers for my Network Interface Card (NIC). Luckily, people had found the solution to this problem days before I'd started searching for the what to do about it, and that solution was pretty easy. I had to go in and disable the drivers for my NIC. That made the system fall back on the generic drivers that come with Windows 10, and they hadn't been poisoned.

I am not pleased with Microsoft these days.

A tree fungus
A Tree Fungus

At a Michigan paper mill 93 workers came down with blastomycosis, which is a fungal disease that is caused by a fungus that is usually found in rotting wood. Of course a paper mill is going to be using wood pulp to make the paper. About a dozen of those workers who were infected had to be hospitalized.

In some ways it can be so easy to catch things like this. The fungus is not contagious; it isn't generally passed from one human being to another, although if it's infecting someone's skin it's slightly possible for them to pass it to someone else by intimate contact. The infection had to have been caught right from the fungal spores that had gotten released from the fungus in the wood that was being pulverized at the mill. Something like this isn't going to turn into a pandemic, but you never know what might cause you harm. And what did the people who run that mill do with the infected wood?

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.

And now you can even reach me on Twitter Twitter logo

WBAI related links

A WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site

Back to the Back of the Book page

Back to my home page.

The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2023, R. Paul Martin.