Web links related to the Back of the Book program of May 4, 2009

It's Sunday evening, May 17, 2009 18:41, and this Web page is finished. I've put in some more of what we did on the air and previously I'd updated this Web page with a fifth audio clip from the April Pacifica National Board meeting. I've also added something about my remarks regarding piracy that I made on this program, and in celebration of the start of the Middle Third I've put up some photographs of flowers that Pickles of the North and I took over the preceding fortnight. Oh, we're going to watch out for swine flu on this program! And we'll have all sorts of things to talk about.

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 them 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 April 15, 2009, LSB meeting had to be cancelled because the elevator at the place where we were going to hold it broke down and this made it not wheelchair accessible. An LSB meeting was held in executive session on April 20, 2009, at El Taller Latino Americano, 2710 Broadway, 3rd floor (SE corner of 104th St), in Manhattan.

The next regular WBAI LSB meeting should be on Wednesday, May 20, 2009, at a location to be determined.

There was a meeting of the WBAI LSB held on Thursday, March 26, 2009, at the 6th Street Community Center, 638 East 6th St. between Aves. B & C, in Manhattan.

We wrangled about the agenda, and we then went on to have a decent, productive meeting.

The General Manager gave more than one report, much of it written, and those of us on the National Finance Committee drove home the fact that WBAI and Pacifica are in very serious financial straits.

We created a working group to set up the LSB's next mandated Town Hall meeting. and we got comprehensive reports from the new Programming Committee. Unfortunately, the news they brought is not good.

The meeting went on for quite a long time. Faction operatives objected, but the long meeting allowed us to get things done. The faction isn't pleased when the LSB gets things done.

The LSB has voted to hold the rest of its meetings for 2009, on the following dates:

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 9:55 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.

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

I'm glad to announce that with a new person doing the archives there have been 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!

We've been informed that we'll be pitching on the program of May 17/18. WBAI is in financial trouble and we hope that you'll help out. There is hope in general coming soon for WBAI, I think.

We hope that you'll pledge to WBAI while Back of the Book is on at that time.

If you listen to the radio program on tape or via the archives you probably won't be able to pledge during the program, but you can send us a check ahead of time. A regular one year membership is $25. So, if you can, please send a check made payable to “Pacifica/WBAI” and send it to:

R. Paul Martin
120 Wall St. 10th floor
New York, NY 10005

We are less than a month from the start of the next WBAI LSB election process. I hope that all of you will join WBAI as members and be not only eligible to vote in those elections but be able to run as candidates for the LSB. And I hope that none of you votes for any of the crumbbums who will run on the so called “Justice & Unity” slate.

And we hope that everyone who listens pledges or sends in a check.

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.

On this program we talked about the very revealing Pacifica National Board (PNB) meeting held in Berkeley, California on April 24-26, 2009.

This meeting came after PNB Chair and interim Executive Director of the Pacifica Foundation Grace Aaron had come to New York and brought four other people with her to assess the situation at WBAI for ten days and see about nudging an ailing WBAI back to financial health.

Some folks at WBAI have just lost control of themselves on the air over this. Of course the faction that's momentarily still in charge sees any attempt to change things in order to give WBAI a chance to survive as a threat to their hegemony. They've been accusing Ms. Aaron and anyone else who's not in their faction of staging a “coup” to take over the radio station. They're yelling things like “Hands off WBAI!” But they haven't been saying that about the money that's been coming from the rest of the Pacifica network stations to keep WBAI from going under.

The fact is that WBAI is in bad financial shape. The PNB and Pacifica Management either have to do something about that or watch WBAI continue to drain the rest of the network into insolvency.

The audio of the reports below is edited. Usually I'll just make a seamless edit, but since there's so much controversy about this visit, and so many false accusations being thrown around, I've decided to put a short “beep” in places where I've cut something out, other than extraneous sounds. This way the faction can't accuse me of trying to hide something through edits.

At the PNB meeting Grace Aaron gave a short report about the journey to help WBAI. Here is an excerpt of her report: Grace Aaron's report to PNB April 24, 2009,  Play 1:21   download 320 KB.

Lavarn Williams is the interim Chief Financial Officer of the Pacifica Foundation. She gave her report about what she saw and did at WBAI: Lavarn Williams' report to PNB April 24, 2009,  Play 1:31   download 357 KB.

Tony Bates was brought to New York because he was an effective Volunteer Coordinator at KPFK. Mr. Bates really gets into some details about what he found at WBAI and has some suggestions about how to make things better: Tony Bates' report to PNB April 24, 2009,  Play 5:59   download 1,408 KB.

The faction that's rapidly losing its grip on WBAI has been shouting that a bunch of “white racists” came to WBAI to do all sorts of bad things to the radio station. Besides making believe that there hasn't been a real financial crisis going on at WBAI over the past several years that faction has also been spreading lies about the composition of the five person contingent that came to New York. PNB member Luzette King laces into the faction's cynical use of the term “racist” to smear their opponents and those who would save WBAI:  Play 5:22   download 1,262 KB.

Interim CFO Lavarn Williams was with the team from Pacifica that came to WBAI in April and she had her own response to the charges of racism that are being thrown around by those who would have WBAI's financial situation get worse and drag the rest of Pacifica down into bankruptcy:  Play 0:50   download 197 KB.

For those who want to experience the entire, unedited (by me at least) Pacifica National Board meeting you can go here to the official archive of the meeting.

We talked about the latest development in the ongoing problem of piracy in the Indian Ocean. We didn't talk about piracy as extensively as we had on the previous program, but we did give some updates.

NATO vessels on anti-pirate patrol are still not arresting pirates when they run into them. The French, however continue to aggressively prosecute pirates.

The sole surviving Somali pirate from the attempted hijacking of the Maersk Alabama and the taking hostage of Captain Richard Phillips has been brought to New York City to be prosecuted in federal court here. Initially his age was stated to be 19, but his parents have been saying he's variously 16 and then 15, probably in an attempt to get him treated as a mere child who didn't know what he was doing.

His lawyer, Ron Kuby, has thrown up a defense that the United States doesn't have jurisdiction over this guy and his activities, and that he was acting under a “flag of truce” when he was arrested. I suppose this smoke and mirrors defense is the only thing he can try. There are a lot of witnesses and physical evidence that put the young pirate, named Abduhl Wali-i-Musi, at the scene as one of the pirates.

In order for there to be a flag of truce there has to be a war going on. Does Mr. Kuby really want to have a formal war declared? And you'd need for people to be acting as the armed forces of a nation-state in order for any sort of truce to apply. Otherwise anybody could commit any crime, declare a truce when they're caught and walk away.

As for the silly claim that the United States doesn't have jurisdiction, well Mr. Kuby is really grasping at straws there and I wonder if he'll actually try to stand before a judge and plead this. This pirate reportedly boarded a United States flagged ship on the high seas by force, he carried an assault rifle onto that ship, he threatened crew members with that rifle, he was on the lifeboat as one of the pirates holding Captain Phillips hostage, and he went back to the U.S.S. Bainbridge to negotiate on behalf of the pirates and/or to get medical treatment for this hand which had been injured in the crew's successful attempt to take back the cargo ship. The law is pretty clear on this being an incident of piracy on United States territory.

Under Mr. Kuby's logic no crimes committed on either U.S. flagged ships on the high seas or maybe even on U.S. warships could be prosecuted. Well that'd be pretty absurd.

I think that Abduhl Wali-i-Musi will be spending some time in jail over this incident. But the overall problem of piracy in the Indian Ocean still needs to be dealt with.

This past fortnight the Supreme Court ruled in a 5 to 4 decision that the Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C.) couldn't be stopped from fining broadcasters, like WBAI, for “fleeting expletives”, which are any of the seven naughty words you're not allowed to say on the air.

This reversed a decision made by the 2nd United States Circuit Court of Appeals in New York last year. Some at WBAI had held out hope that the lower court decision would stand. I knew it wouldn't.

The Supreme Court did not rule on the constitutionality of the F.C.C. “indecency” and “profanity” rules, however. The justices sent that question back to the 2nd Circuit court for more review.

So we still have to watch our language on the air. The last time these issues were before the supreme Court it was over a broadcast that had aired on WBAI in 1973.

We read an article about some studies that show that the male to female ratio among live births gets higher that farther from the Equator you go.

Apparently this phenomenon has been known for more than a century, but it's still a mystery why it happens. In the most recent study scientists looked at births in 202 countries for 10 years and counted all births as being at the same latitude of that country's capital city. They found that countries with lower latitudes, nearer the Equator, had 50.7% boys while countries farther away had 51.4% boys. Not a huge difference, but it's interesting that it's a consistent figure over time.

There are all sorts of theories about why this happens, mostly based around how much light people get in the course of the year. Lower latitudes get more light in a year because they don't have a Winter season.

a lily

The Middle Third is here again!

The Middle Third of the year is the months of May, June, July and August. I think it's the most gorgeous time of the year. The Sun sets after 7:00 PM, the weather is warm and the Sun is out more than at other times of the year. And when the sun is out in the Middle Third you have a much brighter day that you'd have otherwise.

a daffodil in the wee hours

This particular Middle Third is starting out a bit cloudier than I'd like, but I'm hoping that we'll get those gorgeous Middle Third days showing up soon.

In the previous fortnight Pickles and I have gone out a bit. And in late April/early May you find all sorts of flowers blossoming.

Pickles of the North took this photograph of some lilies on the left. She was out with Ratgirl of the West and found a few flowers in bloom.

On the right we have a daffodil in the deep night. This photograph was taken somewhere in Battery Park when Pickles and I were wandering about there after the April 20th, radio program.

The lilies and daffodils are fading now, replaced by other flowers. Spring is a time when things come back to life and it's also a time when what's coming back to life shows us how temporary life really is. So let's enjoy it!

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 © 2009, R. Paul Martin.