Web links related to the Back of the Book non-program of September 17, 2001
It's Sunday night 9/23/2001 20:38:29 and I think this page is done. I've added some links and a new photograph. What can one say? Owing to the devastating events of September 11th, WBAI was still off the air because our building at 120 Wall St. was still without power on September 17. So Back of the Book did not air that night. This is certainly an odd Web page for me, and I'm calling this a non-program page. Since I've updated it there's a mix of tenses on the page, as usual. I think this page is done. I'm hoping that Back of the Book will air next week.
Here is the latest on the theft of Pacifica.
Here's my take on the current WBAI and Pacifica crisis.
There have been some developments in the listener lawsuits, as well.
Some listeners are convinced that only open elections will provide a long range cure for the Pacifica Crisis. Here's an election proposal.
The Earth keeps turning no matter what people do. The Autumnal Equinox will occur on Saturday, September 22, 2001, at 7:05 PM (EDT). For more click here.
I'd been up all night and on Tuesday morning I was going to take a little nap before we did something else. I don't remember what we were going to do anymore. I messed around on the computer for an hour or two after I was supposed to have taken my nap. So I finally stopped the computer junk and was about to take the nap when I went into the kitchen to give Pickles of the North a kiss before my nap. She was baking and said that it appeared that a building near the Empire State Building was on fire, she was watching our old, defective TV with the sound off. I looked and said that it was one of the World Trade Towers that had smoke coming from it. We turned on the sound and they said that a small plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers.
We rushed into the bedroom and turned on the TV set that doesn't lose the picture all the time. I noted, from the better picture, that there was an actual hole in the side of the North Tower.
We watched it all for a while and then I said, “Hey, there's another plane, it's low,” and of course that was the second plane that crashed into the South Tower. At the time, however, the TV commentators were just saying that there had been another explosion on Tower #1.
We immediately lost the signal. Later on, in tapes that got played over and over again, I saw that when the second plane crashed the antenna tower on the North Tower pitched off center a bit, leaned over. That's what left those of us who don't have cable in the dark.
Channel 2 (WCBS-TV) had an emergency transmitter on the Empire State Building. So they were back on the air pretty soon. I remember that years ago when all of the TV stations in New York City moved their antennas from the Empire State Building to the Twin Towers (actually, the North Tower) WCBS had some beef with the World Trade Center, and so they didn't move. In fact it was years before they moved, which is probably why they still had a working backup facility in Empire on Tuesday morning.
We found Channel 2 back on after a while and later in the day Channel 21, WLIW from long island, dumped its regular programming and switched back and forth between the BBC World Service and NBC.
While we watched both towers burning I remembered that years ago I had spoken on a program about the possibility of one of the Twin Towers getting hit by an aircraft, as had happened to the Empire State Building in 1945. I've been of the opinion for many years that neither of the Twin Towers could take such a catastrophe without breaking in half. I know that the original architects had claimed that the Twin Towers were built to withstand a hit from a Boeing 707, but I was skeptical. Also, the Boeing 747 and the McDonnel-Douglas DC-9 were in operation before the Twin Towers and the rest of the World Trade Center were done being built. These are much larger aircraft than an old 707.
I'd thought that a plane crash might topple the part of the building above the point of impact, but I didn't think it would pancake the entire building down into the sub-basement. There's an engineering school that's published their theory, based on the known architecture of the Twin Towers and their observation of what happened, of why and how the Twin Towers collapsed as they did. It certainly seems detailed.
We watched the whole thing on TV. We even found that Channel 7 was being carried by Channel 68, which is usually just selling junk. We couldn't stop watching. My nap was completely forgotten and I couldn't sleep for a day or two, even though I was very tired when it all started.
Pickles of the North needed some comforting through all of this. I saw my first domestic plane crash on December 16, 1960, in what was then the worst plane crash, in terms of loss of life, in history. The second aircraft I saw crash was a military chopper that went over me and then was shot down. Of course this World Trade Center disaster was much bigger.
To add to everything, Pickles of the North's parents were on a plane at the time of the attacks. They were supposed to go on a vacation where they'd fly up to Alaska. What bad timing! There was quite a bit of concern for a few hours until her parents checked in from Green Bay, Wisconsin where their plane had been grounded, along with all of the other aircraft in the United States.
We watched all of lower Manhattan disappear under a cloud of smoke and dust. The plume from the World Trade Center disaster stayed to the west of us for most of the day. But late in the afternoon the wind shifted slightly and the plume came over our Brooklyn neighborhood. It stank. There was still enough particulate matter to trigger an asthmatic attack for Pickles of the North. The most bizarre thing was watching 8½ by 11 inch paper falling around the neighborhood, and hundreds of feet up in the plume we could see a lot of this paper, probably some company's printer or copier paper stash. Here and there a piece of blackened ash could be seen falling as well.
The next day we walked out and of course on Flatbush Ave. the tops of the Twin Towers were no longer visible, just a tall column of smoke and dust. Over the years I'd gotten so used to seeing those Twin Towers from great distances.
The photographs above were taken in July of 2000, when I was really taking a photograph of 120 Wall St., the building that WBAI occupies. 120 Wall St. is the building on the waterfront, it has 8 setbacks. The photograph on the left was taken in the late '80s. I was on a walk through Brooklyn and was pretty far south on Flatbush Ave. and decided that the fact that the World Trade Towers were visible from there was worth a photograph. Yeah, they're fuzzy, but that's the only shot of them from Flatbush Ave. that I have.
Besides the enormous loss of life, greater than that of the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, we New Yorkers have also lost a piece of our skyline, probably the most prominent piece.
It is a psychic wound for us to look at Manhattan now and not see the Twin Towers looming above everything. I wonder if we'll ever get used to it. We'll certainly never forget the events of last Tuesday.
Some WBAI listeners are of the opinion that what's needed now are vigils and calls for peace. I just disagree. What's needed now is action to stop these creeps from doing this again. They're not going to stop on their own and so they must be stopped. To me this is not a police action. The usurper in the White House has said it's war, and mostly it is. In a war you don't just have a perpetrator, you have an enemy and that enemy must be killed, captured or destroyed. Of course this is a different kind of war. We can't just indiscriminately bomb something like all of Afghanistan. It has already been noted that in order to bomb Afghanistan back into the stone age would require only one or two hand grenades. The creeps who committed this mass murder must be identified and dealt with specifically. But they must be dealt with and their organization(s) destroyed. It looks like we're going to be living in a new world for a while at least.
Of course one of the things that we all must strive for is an avoidance of jingoism and bias based on race or belief system. Neither foreigners, persons of a certain ethnicity nor practitioners of Mohammed's religion should be persecuted because of these heinous acts any more than Irish-Americans or Roman Catholics should have been persecuted for the heinous act of Timothy McVeigh. To do so would hand the creeps who did this their greatest victory. We'd end up just like them!
The photograph below was taken from a rooftop in the East Village by a friend, it is copyright © 2001, Joanne Dittersdorf.
Another concern is the assault on civil liberties that has already begun to happen. Most people are sheep and a poll has been announced that purports to show that most Americans are willing to give up some of our hard won civil rights in order to bathe in the delusion of safety. New York State has passed some new laws which will erode civil liberties. We can only hope that the courts strike these assaults down before they do damage.
And of course the usurper in the White House has already named a Republican Governor to a new Cabinet position with the Third Reich sounding name of Office of Homeland Security. This sounds like a right wing wet dream, but it's a nightmare for the rest of us. While we have to kill, capture or destroy the enemy we also have to make sure that there's something in America to defend. If we let our civil liberties go we may as well all move to Russia or Afghanistan.
It's a bad time, and nothing may ever be the same was as it was again in some of our lifetimes. But we have to persevere and we have to do what we can to keep the United States of America from becoming a police state.
The TV coverage I'm seeing has not made much mention of George W. (he is not the President) Bush having left his wife in harm's way at the White House while he went and hid under a mountain, leaving Dick Cheney to openly run things. Of course this was not acceptable, and so they had to call the Bush jerk back to Washington, D.C. to reinstitute the facade.
And just in case anyone thought that morons on the level of the creeps who took part in the attack on Tuesday were of necessity foreigners, our own home grown proto-terrorists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson have seized the opportunity provided by the smoking ruins and scattered body parts to grind an old ax.
In an interview on Thursday, September 13, Jerry Falwell, interviewed by Robertson, said, among other things, that regarding the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. .... the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way - all of them who have tried to secularize America - I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'” To which Pat Robertson replied, “Well, I totally concur....”
Of course these two idiots would love to be the Taliban themselves! Their goal is to have religious police roaming America dishing out punishment to those who don't do things exactly as Jerry and Pat would like to see them done. The only difference is that Falwell and Robertson's superstition is slightly different from the one the Taliban have and the American people have successfully prevented these two religious bigots from gaining the power they'd need.
There are a lot of issues that we can't talk about on the air at WBAI. But there is an Internet list called “Free Pacifica!” which you can subscribe to, and these issues are discussed there. If you subscribe to it you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.
If you want to subscribe to the “Free Pacifica!” list just click on this link and follow the instructions, and you'll be subscribed. Could open your eyes a little bit.
The above list has occasionally produced a high volume of E-mail because of the attention that these issues have drawn. If you would prefer to subscribe to a low volume list that only provides announcements of events related to these issues then subscribe to the FreePac mailing list.
Another list that's sprung up is the “NewPacifica” mailing list. This one is very lively and currently includes over 400 subscribers coast to coast. Being lively, of course, it sometimes also gets a bit nasty. All sorts of things are happening on this list. With that warning in mind, you can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too, although you'll have to deal with Yahoo! to do so.
There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. This one has a great many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary board that's just totally out of hand.
The “Goodlight” Web based message board has expanded to cover all Pacifica stations.
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The contents of this Web page and subsequent Web pages on this site are copyright © 2001, R. Paul Martin