Web links related to the Back of the Book program of February 8, 2010


It's Sunday night, February 21, 2010, 20:04, and this Web page is finished. I've posted more about what we did on this program, previously I'd updated this Web page with the information that we are on the air on February 22nd, I've also posted the information about where the next LSB meeting is, previously I'd posted more of what we did on the air, including a graphic of that blinking light in Master Control. The LSB meeting scheduled for Wednesday night was postponed due to the blizzard. I've updated this page a tiny bit to give the 'thon results. Here's the original top of this page ⇒ Oh, we really do need to raise money for the radio station tonight!

Did you know that I've got a brief synopsis of many of the WBAI LSB meetings? Well, I do, and I've recently updated this stuff a tiny bit.

There was a sudden Town Hall meeting held on Monday, April 13, 2009, at 7:00 PM at The Fortune Society, 630 Riverside Drive at 140th St. in Manhattan. Here's a flyer that was passed out at the event.

The next regular WBAI LSB meeting will be held on Thursday, February 25, 2010, at 7:00 PM at The Soho Gallery of Digital Art, 138 Sullivan Street, between Prince St. and Houston St. in Manhattan. The LSB meeting will start in open session, and then “will go into Executive Session to discuss critical matters pertaining to personnel, proprietary information in the auditor's report (much but not all of this report is available to the public -- it is the parts that are not available that we will discuss) -- and financial information obtained on a privileged or confidential basis that may compromise the legitimate business interest of the Foundation.”

The second regular meeting of the Fifth WBAI LSB was held on Wednesday, January 13, 2010, at 7:00 PM, at 388 Atlantic Ave. in downtown Brooklyn, New York.

At this meeting the independent members of the LSB were less scattered, and not all of the faction operatives showed up.

There was a Delegates' Assembly first. And at that meeting the WBAI Directors for 2010, were elected. They are Jennifer Jager, Alex Steinberg, Kathy Davis (Staff) and Nia Bediako (faction operative).

At the previous meeting the faction had succeeded in preventing Staff representative Delphine Blue from taking her seat. But the Pacifica National Board took up the issue and ruled that Delphine was in fact entitled to represent Staff on this LSB and at the Delegates' Assembly.

The FoBs disrupted the meeting, of course, and grumbled about the PNB deciding that Delphine blue was to be seated, instead of a faction operative from two years ago who isn't even Staff anymore.

This night's meetings will go down in history, literally. A reporter and photographer from the New York Times were there. The reporter was supposed to be doing an article on WBAI's 50th anniversary as a Pacifica radio station. But the craziness of the Delegates' Assembly and LSB meeting just caught his attention more than half a century of alternative radio broadcasting did. That article is here.

The article has a couple of photographs in it, and Pickles of the North and I are in the background in one. The other photograph shows faction operatives voting, one of whom seems intent on showing how nuts she is.

The reporter did talk about some of the past accomplishments of WBAI, but his main focus was on the meetings and the crazy stuff that happened at them. I think that the most comical exchange he quoted was this one between LSB Chair Mitchel Cohen and nutty faction operative Lisa V. Davis, “Lisa, you are out of order.” “Point of order, Mitch — this is nothing but a fascist dictatorship!” The FoBs don't begin to realize how nuts they sound. Unfortunately when election time comes around they're handled by their leaders so that their so called Justice and Unity Campaign slate sounds almost sane.

The faction was still trying to waste time by putting a motion to run “important matters” brought to the LSB past the incarcerated Lynne Stewart. They would have her voting by proxy, and that would violate the bylaws. They don't care, they just want to keep the LSB from doing anything. And it's really so cynical of the FoBs to exploit Ms. Stewart's situation like this.

And then we got around to a motion to rescind the election of the Treasurer. At the previous meeting the faction had gotten its choice in as Treasurer because they'd been able to keep one non-faction Staff member from voting and had dragged the meeting on for so long that another member had had to leave before the votes were cast. Previous notice was given at that meeting that the motion to rescind would be brought.

The faction objected, refusing to acknowledge the fact that just two years ago they had set the precedent for doing this sort of thing. They'd removed a non-faction member who'd gotten elected Vice Chair then. They have one set of rules for themselves and another for everyone else.

The motion to rescind passed. And there was an immediate election for Treasurer.

So the candidates got to speak. The faction's candidate got up and spoke about being a CPA. And everyone listened. Then I, as a candidate, got up to speak and the faction started to disrupt. Former Program director Bernard White came to the meeting. He didn't say anything, he let his FoBs act out on his behalf. And while I tried to say why I should be Treasurer, things like wanting realistic budgets, not the fantasy budgets my opponent in this election had supported when he'd been Treasurer for more than 3 years, Mimi Rosenberg, sitting next to Bernard White, wouldn't stop hollering. She really has gone off the deep end.

The LSB voted and I was re-elected Treasurer by a vote of 13 for me. 7 for my opponent and 1 blank ballot. It's possible that the blank ballot was the result of one person who'd previously voted for my opponent being influenced by Mimi Rosenberg's antics to not vote for Mimi's choice.

After a while I gave a Treasurer's report, consisting of the latest information and incorporating the report I hadn't been able to give at the previous meeting due to the disruptions. The defeated candidate, who'd been Treasurer for the previous three weeks, was allowed to give a report too. He got up and ranted against the current WBAI Management. Of course he's ranting against them, they're saving the station and Pacifica from bankruptcy. I'm sure he was grandstanding for his faction boss like a good FoB.

Lisa V. Davis started shouting about a figure that had been in the first draft of the WBAI FY10 budget. The figure was for the net surplus in September 2009, and it was $85,000,000. The mistake had been corrected and I'd explained it in an E-mail months ago, but I explained again that no one in their right mind was going to imagine that WBAI was actually showing an eighty five million dollar surplus for a month! And I again explained that the problem had been a misplaced asterisk in the formula that had filled that cell in the spreadsheet, a typo in the very complex spreadsheet document made by Management personnel. I bet the FoBs will still bring this up for the rest of the year.

The finances are really in dire shape. If the Winter 'thons at all of the Pacifica stations don't do well then all of these meetings could be academic.

At its January 21, 2009, meeting the LSB voted to hold its meetings on the second Wednesday of every month and/or the last Thursday of that month, subject to change by the LSB, which gives us the following schedule:

All of 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.

WBAI has an official Web stream of what's on the air at any time! You can go here and pick which type of stream you want! If this stream isn't working let me know. The stream was working at 10:17 PM last night.

WBAI is archiving the programs! Just go here and you'll be able to listen to the program any time for the next couple of months. When you first go to the Web page you'll only see the WBAI programs for the past 7 days. If you want to see older programs you can click on one of the “See ALL Shows” buttons.

As an experiment try clicking here to go right to the archive entry for this radio program. You may need to scroll up one line to see the audio archive. Let me know if you find this feature useful.

You can also go here to subscribe to the podcasts of Back of the Book and Carrier Wave.

Back of the Book is now one of the programs that you can download, as well as listen to on line.

NOTE: A listener reported that the archive for the January 11, 2010, program was truncated at 91 minutes. So I reported this to the person doing the archives and he fixed it right away. So the archive for this program in intact now. Thanks to Michael for fixing it so soon, and thanks to the listener for pointing it out.

I'm glad to announce that the archives have seen some positive changes. In the table on that Web page Back of the Book and Carrier Wave are both in the Show column. The “Date and Category” column shows the date of the program. After the program I go in and write the details of the program and say which program it is. Of course I'd recommend that you just listen to both programs in this time slot!

The Pacifica National Board (PNB) met in New York City from Friday July 23, to Sunday July 26, 2009.

The meeting was held at the Beekman Towers Hotel, 3 Mitchell Place, in Manhattan, a couple of blocks north of the United Nations.

There's an election going on in Pacifica, so there were a few candidates attending and speaking during the public comment sessions. Some disrupted the meeting.

Here's the Web page I did about this PNB meeting and the amazing things that went on at it.

And the PNB has also met in Houston from Friday October 9th, through Sunday October 11th. The official audio archive of that meeting is here. It was not disrupted as the New York meeting was, although some of the same miscreants got out there to say stupid things.

The new Executive Director of Pacifica, Arlene Engleheart, has appointed a new interim General Manager of WBAI starting February 1, 2010.

We are pitching on this radio program! If you can please call 1-212-209-2950 during the radio program and pledge some amount of money to help keep Back of the Book on WBAI and help keep WBAI on the air.

It should be noted that many of the overnight programs are preempted for this 'thon. Back of the Book is on tonight because we did well enough raising money during some previous 'thons. If you'd like to see this program continue please pledge tonight.

UPDATE: We did very well on this program, thanks to all who pledged and also a lot of thanks to the folks who took calls in the tally room. Thanks to all of you we raised $1,155 on the phones and we also raised another $50 from the Web site where a couple of people specified Back of the Book as the program for their donation. We have learned that an additional $300 check was donated to the program just before we went on the air, we didn't find out about it till a while afterward. So all in all we raised a total of $1,505 for the radio station. Thanks again to all who contributed to this successful result, and please remember to pay your pledge as soon as possible.

UPDATE #2: We will be on the air on February 22nd! We'll have to pitch, but we'll be on. Please pledge to the program if you can.

I should also point out that we'll need help answering the phones. In order to answer the phones you'll have to get into the building. The building Management now requires that you get your name added to a list so you can enter 120 Wall St. So if you want to volunteer to answer phones for this 'thon you should call the WBAI switchboard at 1-212-209-2800 during business hours and let the folks in charge know you want to volunteer so they can put your name on the list. We always need more folks to answer the phones so if you want to volunteer to answer the phones for another program during this 'thon the above procedure is the way to do it.

President Obama has started the political wheels grinding to put an end to NASA's projected return to the Moon.

He wants NASA to also abandon the expensive Ares rockets it was working on and instead use commercial rockets from various companies. But the commercial rockets aren't nearly ready yet.

We talked about the push to repeal the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” law on this program. In his State of the Union address President Obama said, “This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. It's the right thing to do.”

This means that President Obama is finally going to start moving on his campaign promise to repeal that stinking “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” law that got passed back in 1993.

That anti-gay measure was passed under the guise of it being pro-gay legislation. Previously if you were thought to be gay you could end up being court martialled. You could end up going to jail for being gay or engaging in consensual gay sex while in the military. Supposedly “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” allowed gay men, lesbians and bisexuals in the military to remain in place as long as they didn't let anyone know they were gay. And no one was allowed to ask anyone if they were.

Well, this just meant that the gay people had to live in the closet, a very hermetically sealed closet, for their entire time in the military. But many military commanders violated this law all the time. Some just point blank asked people they thought were gay if they were, others found ways around the law so that they could out the closeted gay people in their ranks. Once outed a gay/lesbian/bisexual member of the military was pretty much automatically discharged.

It seems that even former Secretary of State General Colin Powell is on board for this attempt at repealing the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” law, “In the almost 17 years since the 'donít ask, donít tell' legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” he said in an official statement “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.” And of course Powell was one of the main people who got “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” passed in the first place!

Well, a big part of the movement has always been changing people's minds. I guess that's part of what's happening here.

Of course when I was busy being gay and in the military I didn't want to be there at all. But we don't have the draft anymore, and this is one of those issues of equal opportunity and discrimination based on sexual orientation. So I hope that they do repeal the law and stop persecuting people in the military for their sexual orientations.

Speaking of the Obama administration's military policies, it was with a raised eyebrow that I read that they're positioning ships with anti-missile technologies along the coast of Iran. They're also setting up anti-missile systems on land in various local nation states.

Does the Obama administration have an expectation of something serious about to happen? Or is this a case of saber rattling? On the program I mentioned the saying by the chess player Aron Nimzovich (1886-1935) that “The threat is mightier than the execution.” This is true in life as well as in chess. Maybe the stationing of these anti-missile systems ostentatiously ringing Iran is something intended more in that vein than in reaction to information about a possible imminent attack. Well, I hope that's it.

We noted on this program the the British medical journal The Lancet has retracted an article published in 1998, that made a connection between vaccines and autism.

If you're registered with The Lancet, or want to register to look at the article, you can read the full text of the retraction.

Popular Mechanics has a good sized article on the retraction.

I think that vaccines are something that have saved billions of lives over the years. Preventing disease is obviously a good idea. A lot of the anti-vaccine people are just plain nuts.

annoying blinking green light
The blinking light

On the last program we got surprised by a blinking light that had been installed on the console in Master Control. We wrote about it on the January 25th, program's Web page.

I decided to try to show listeners what this thing looks like while it's blinking. So I set up my digital camera to take a bunch of photographs one right after the other. I figured that I could then merge a couple of them to show the effect of this distracting, green light.

The track lighting was aimed right where the camera was though, resulting in the camera seeing a lot of glare. So Uncle Sidney came in and adjusted the track lighting so that it didn't burn right into the camera. But that made part of the studio darker and the end result was that the blinking light was sort of silhouetted, as you see here. Yeah, the lighting didn't make for the best photograph.

Well, we were there to do a radio program and we had to start pitching at some point so I just took the photographs. I shot enough of them to get the effect you see to the left.

So now you can all share in the annoyance of this blinking, green light!

When you're talking for almost all of the two hours of a radio program this thing is your unwanted companion all the time. It's distracting, it's annoying and I really don't like it. From what I'm hearing I'm not the only WBAI producer who finds this silly thing annoying. I do hope that this intrusive device gets removed soon.

This time Pickles of the North and I weren't as bundled up as we had been on the previous program so I didn't have the hood on my Winter coat to put over the blinking light. Uncle Sidney put a plastic garbage bag over the blinking light while I was pitching. Later on Pickles put her hat over the thing to completely cut it off from view.

I also shot a very short video of this blinking light. That video is what I used to get the blink rate just about right. Getting different photographs to register properly so I could produce the graphic on the left was a new adventure in computer graphics for me.

the vandalized fountain

On a previous program we talked about the fountain in front of WBAI at 120 Wall St. and how cables has been strung across it to keep skateboarders out. Well, it looks like some people have not taken well to this measure. The supporting brackets for the cables have been torn out, you can see them on the bottom of the fountain, and there are some slack cables in there now. I wonder if it'll get vandalized even more?

There are a lot of issues that are considered hazardous to talk about on the air at WBAI, even now that the gag rule has been lifted. 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.

Probably the most popular 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 and official announcements are frequently posted there.

You can look at the NewPacifica list here, and you can join the list from that Web page too. If you subscribe to the “NewPacifica” mailing list you will receive, via E-mail, all of the messages which are sent to that list.

There is the option to receive a “digest” version of the list, which means that a bunch of messages are bundled into one E-mail and sent to you at regular intervals, this cuts down on the number of E-mails you get from the list. You will also be able to send messages to the list.

This list also has a Web based interface where you can read messages and from which you can post your own messages.

There is also the more WBAI specific “Goodlight” Web based message board. It is sometimes referred to on Back of the Book as “the bleepin' blue board,” owing to the blue background used on its Web pages. This one has many people posting anonymously and there's also an ancillary “WBAI people” board that's just totally out of hand. UPDATE: The bleepin' blue board has had to add a step for folks to get onto it because it's under attack by spambots. When you click on the above link you may be asked for a username and password. Type in Username: poster Password: enternow

When the computer in Master Control is working we sometimes have live interaction with people posting on the “Goodlight Board” during the program.

Our very own Uncle Sidney Smith, whose program Carrier Wave alternates with us, has a blog these days. You can reach his blog here.

My voice mail number at WBAI is 212-209-2996. Leave a message.

You can also send me E-mail.



WBAI related links

WBAI Listeners' Web page

WBAI Management's official Web site


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The contents of this Web page are copyright © 2010, R. Paul Martin.