Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Response to recent graphic commentary...



This was the graphic commentary in Chris Albertson's recent blog post of Wilkinson handling a snake with a poster of a skull and the words "RIP WBAI" behind her, as she said, "They're better than padlocks."
I've had a a few conversations with Margy Wilkinson, and witnessed a few of her conversations with others, in person or on the PNB Show, but I don't have anything to say about Wilkinson herself.  I know her only as a member of Save KPFA, the majority slate on the KPFA Local Station Board, which now dominates the Pacifica National Board, with Wilkinson as Chair and KPFA Upfront host Brian Edwards-Tiekert as Treasurer. I share the goals of KPFA's other slate, United for Community Radio, but feel no personal animosity towards Wilkinson.  The ridiculous ranked choice vote - in the 5th column - that was counted to settle a tie vote between WIlkinson and KPFT rep George Reider, making Wilkinson Chair of the PNB, was illegal according to Pacifica's by-laws. The by-laws call for a coin toss in the event of a tie. Subsequent majority votes to condone Wilkinson's illegal election didn't make it any more legal or admirable and the whole episode made the Board majority unworthy of listener members' trust.   


The calls to revisit that vote and flip a coin in accordance with the by-laws was not "dilatory," as Brian Edwards-Tiekert kept calling it. Cheating is cheating and you can't make it OK with a majority vote that it's OK. The Chair has enormous power on the PNB, and became the chair because her faction cheated, then used her authority as the Board chair to overrule any objections from the Board minority.  The cheating that made her the PNB Chair then made her the current IED - this time in accordance with the by-laws - which say that the Chair of the PNB becomes the IED when there is none. Would George Reider have become the PNB Chair if a coin had been tossed? He would have had a 50-50 chance, assuming a fair toss.
Would a PNB chaired by George Reider have fired Summer Reese and put Raul Salvador back in charge of Pacifica's finances? Would George Reider have released the workplace investigation of CFO Raul Salvador to PNB members who keep asserting their right to read it, to no avail? We'll never know the answer to any of these questions because the coin was never tossed, and Wilkinson was illegally elected.


However, the image in Chris Albertson's graphic com-mentary asks whether Wilkinson is scheming to sell WBAI.  My thoughts on that are:


1)  I'm opposed to selling WBAI’s license or handing it over in an LMA.

2)  Summer Reese put forward the most rational proposal I've heard for saving the signal and NYC-based programming instead of handing it over in one of these LAM agreements.  Reese said she would close the WBAI administrative offices but keep a recording studio open for NYC programmers who would send their programming to KPFK, where it would be sent back to broadcast on the WBAI signal, like the WBAI Hurricane Sandy broadcast Reese produced in LA, when WBAI was flooded and unable to produce. That broadcast from KPFK, on WBAI's signal, won Reese an LA Press Club Award.

How this is done technically is beyond me, but given that we're all hearing broadcasts produced around the world every day, I'm sure it's possible.  I don’t know whether this would have saved WBAI’s ability to produce live radio.

That was Reese’s idea for keeping NYC produced programming on WBAI air, and give WBAI a chance to regroup and try to regain its audience.  I liked the idea because it gave WBAI a fighting chance and prioritized programming over administration.  As a remote contributor to WBAI’s weekly AfrobeatRadio, I guess I would have continued to send my contributions recorded at KPFA to Exec Producer Wuyi Jacobs in NYC, where he would have handled the connection to KPFK in LA.   In this scenario, my guess is that the WBAI LSB would have had to act as a Program Council with the authority to assign air time, but my several conversations with Reese about this never got that far before she was out.

3)  At the last KPFA Local Station Board meeting, United for Community Radio rep Dave Welsh introduced a resolution to put the KPFA LSB on record in opposition to the sale of any station licenses or property. Brian Edwards-Tiekert then introduced an amended resolution which said that selling stations should be a last resort, and that resolution passed with Save KPFA’s majority support.   
However, there is an implicit list of priorities embedded in this resolution that should have been explicit. Last resort before what? Before Pacifica is forced into bankruptcy?  Or, before paid staff layoffs, mostly at KPFA and KPFK, which have the most paid staff?

Edwards-Tiekert's resolution, which Wilkinson and the rest of the Save KPFA LSB members supported, could be interpreted either way.   

Brian Edwards-Tiekert, and Save KPFA, have, so far as I can tell, always made KPFA staff salaries and benefits their top priority, so, given the vagueness of the resolution, I can only assume that selling WBAI’s license will be the last resort before KPFA layoffs.  The KPFA News Department’s alliance with the KPFK News Department, to produce what they call “The Pacifica Evening News,” and their partner programs Upfront and Uprising, incline me to think that selling WBAI will be the last resort before cutting KPFK staff salaries and benefits as well. Would they be willing to lay off Davey D Cooke, KPFA's most popular, and nationally syndicated radio host? I can't imagine so. Dennis Bernstein? His show also airs on a lot of Pacifica affiliates and has a fiercely loyal following, but that's a moot point, because Bernstein has so much seniority protection per the CWA contract. And besides, KPFA is about to hire a Program Director, so it seems unlikely that they're planning cuts. 

Brian Edwards-Tiekert, Margy Wilkinson, and the rest of the Save KPFA faction that now dominate the national board, could easily make the implicit priorities in their resolution explicit, at the next KPFA LSB meeting or on the next PNB conference call, and I hope they will do so.  
Selling WBAI or any station license or property is “the last resort” before . . . what?

Ann Garrison is an independent journalist whose reporting and analysis appear in the San Francisco Bay View, Black Star News, Black Agenda Report, Counterpunch, and Global Research, and on KPFA and WBAI AfrobeatRadio.  She has also been a guest and/or editorialist on WBEZ-Chicago, KQED-San Francisco, CIUT-Toronto, and Democracy Now.  In March this year she shared the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize with Spanish Senator Pere Sampol i Mas, for promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa through her reporting. 

85 comments:

  1. With respect, and I address this to myself at least as much as to anyone else: Does any of this really matter at this point, and to whom?

    ~ 'indigopirate'

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    1. I think any number of things matter, deeply.

      I don't think, though, that the details as to the particular form of final descent into death of WBAI or Pacifica matter, other than to people looking to cast blame, settle scores, etc, etc.

      It isn't 1962. There are innumerable forms of communication available. Energies are better devoted to any of a number of these, in my opinion.

      ~ 'indigopirate'

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    2. Why then do you participate on this blog?

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  2. This is a joke - coin tossing, last resort, blah blah blah. These clowns couldn't take a straight and simple vote as to who cleans the cat's litter box tomorrow morning, let alone running radio stations.

    I have a better idea. Let's record shows, send them on a world tour by carrier pigeon and, in a year's time, broadcast them as historical documentaries.

    These people really have NO idea that most of the shows on their stations simply suck, even to the left. Denial is a powerful emotion...

    Bread and circuses time!

    SDL

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  3. Don't know if it's been referred to elsewhere here and I may have missed it, but in the most recent NFC meeting a couple of days ago, Brian Edwards-Tiekert, as chair, stated, as prefatory remark, that as to the overall financial numbers for the individual stations, the archives, the national office, and the network as a whole,,, 'They’re also with respect to the financial picture they paint of the network, terrifying.'

    ~ ‘indigopirate’

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  4. I don't like Ann Garrison. She is one of the most ardent Reese supporters. In response to my previous posts here, she would not answer the issues I would raise, and instead spout her party line, like a propagandist. Later on I read that she was one of the occupiers with Reese, probably doing spinning on the blogoshere. The argument about Reese wanting to preserve the BAI by closing all of it down, except for the recording studio, and to broadcast its content via KPFA is nothing but spin. Not once had I heard Reese actually mention this proposal. Tracy Rosenberg at least brings out facts into discussion. This one only talks spin and ideology. I am glad that Edwards-Tiekert is back in effect, he is a good journalist, and that serious and genuinely excellent journalists like Ian Masters and Mitch Jesseritch, both support Save KPFA, indicates to me that I made the correct choice in choosing high quality journalism over ranting political radicals.

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    1. 1) I don't like you either, Brooser Bear, whoever the hell you really are, hiding behind the Teddy Bear, but I don't see what relevance either your dislike of me or mine of you has to this discussion.

      2) Margy Wilkerson assumed Chairmanship of the PNB in a procedure that violated the by-laws. That is a fact. None of her allies on the PNB ave ever denied that the tie between Wilkerson and George Reider was decided in Margy's favor because someone voted for Margy as their fifth choice, probably as a joke, but the person who marked that fifth column choice on their ballot has never owned it, so we'll never know. Board members requests for an audit of the vote have been denied.

      It's ridiculous to use a ranked choice voting procedure with only two candidates. It doesn't even make any sense. Ranked choice voting is designed to settle races between more than two candidates; the point is that if you don't get your first choice, then you might get your second, third, fourth, or more choice, so your will as a voter is expressed, even if not perfectly. You don't lose all your voting power just because your favorite candidate doesn't win.

      With two candidates vying for the Chair, you're supposed to add up the votes and flip a coin if there's a tie, according to the Pacifica by-laws. It was a big mistake to make the number of reps on the PNB an even number, but that's what the people who wrote the by-laws did. Those are facts.

      My statement that the Board majority no longer deserved listener member's trust after cheating and bullying to make their candidate Chair is my opinion, also called a normative, editorial, or value-laden statement.

      My account of my conversations with Summer Reese about how to save WBAI without handing it over to in an LMA are an account of my personal experience,. We have all experienced different moments of the many narratives that woven together add up to the history, or the lies about the history, of Pacifica Radio. I'm sure there were other people at the PNO occupation who heard Summer say what I recounted about WBAI, but even if they chimed in, you would still have witness testimony, not indisputable fact.

      This is a blog post in which I cite a few facts regarding the Pacifica by-laws, which you can find in the by-laws, and a few facts about Wilkerson's election as chair, whic no one denies, then make editorial comment, which you can take or leave, and then recount my personal experience, meaning my conversations about this with Summer Reese, which you can also take or leave.

      It is really depressing that on a blog like this one where good journalistic standards would seem to be one of our shared concerns, I have to explain the difference between a fact, an opinion, and an account of personal experience.

      Similarly ridiculous conversations ensued when I wrote this piece for Counteprunch, http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/03/24/chaos-at-pacifica/. Soon I had several Save KPFA bulldogs accusing me of not being "objective" in a piece that made absolutely no pretense to being objective. That piece is an account of a part of this story that I experienced personally, as a member of a hiring committee at KPFA. I am not someone standing outside this story; I am unpaid KPFA and WBAI staff and an elected member of the Unpaid Staff Organization Council. I explained, in Counterpunch, what I had experienced. Thank God Counterpunch doesn't collect comments, so I didn't have to go through this there. The "objectivity" idiocy came at me only in an online forum I no longer participate in.

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    2. Ann,

      If Summer Reese had chosen to share her strategic plan to save the BAI with the public at large, instead of disclosing it to you personally, then your statement would have more credibility.

      If Margy Wilkinson assumed the chairmanship illegally, then litigate and get a Court decision, other than that, she got a majority support and no amount by-laws lawyering will convince me. If you got a case, go to Court!

      You wrote a Summer Reese puff piece in Counterpunch. Hillel Aaron's article was excellent, but you article carried no weight. It's one sided in favor of Reese, and it does not address Reese's many apparent shortcomings, or her real background or her rise to power, so it's a puff piece. On the other side, you said nothing about her opposition, and you did not present the real difference between the two sides. This article that you wrote in Counterpunch was done in the worst traditions of the corporate PR journalism.

      And come to think of it, why doesn't Counterpunch offer space for readers' comments? It's not democratic? Most of the on-line versions of the mainstream newspapers in the US and even in Putin's Russia, have a space for reader's comments, but not Counterpunch?



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  5. It's "Wilkinson". And Ann Garrison is not a reliable source. Her description of how Margy Wilkinson became chair maybe accurate. I don't know. But Wilkinson is level headed, forthright and honest. Ann has a distorted view of my handling of a management decision back at KPFA which I will not engage in. Neither am I a great admirer of "CounterPunch". It holds to a particular political line and is not objective. And that's ok so long as we know it - and I do. Pacifica is a mess which ever way one examines it. I think many of us understand that. KPFA is the jewel in the Pacifica crown and it would be most unfair to lose it because of the shenanigans over at WBAI (for the past two decades). Perhaps Summer Reese had a plan but if she did she never shared it with me when I was iPD. The plan suggested by Ann (via Summer) sounds like something that might have worked. But its probably too late for that. Anyway I hear on the grapevine that WBAI has a new iPD. A blast for the past. I guess we'll hear more about that soon.

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    1. Thanks for the correction, Andrew. All the "Wilkersons" should now be Wilkinsons.

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    2. I thank you for that correction too, Andrew. Someone asked me whether I was spelling George Reider's name correctly as well. Do either of you know whether it is Reider or Reiter? I found "Reider" on the Web in several places, but that doesn't mean someone else didn't get it wrong on the Web, and someone else is asking me if it isn't spelled with a "t," "Reiter." @Chris: You need to change "Wilkerson" to "Wilkinson" on the graphic commentary I was responding to as well: http://wbai-nowthen.blogspot.com/2014/08/from-pacificawilkerson-scrapbook.html

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    3. I agree, KPFA IS the jewel in Pacifica's crown. It will suck supremely if the BAI shenanigans.

      A blast from the past, you say? I am guessing either Bernard White or Utrice Leid. If it's Bernard White, then I am guessing it's because he was one of the parties raising money to lease the BAI signal. If it's Leid, then she was most likely picked by the Reese coalition. Let me know by how much I missed the target!

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    4. @Andrew: I don't want to go back over the episode I described in Counterpunch and reported to Pacifica's insurance investigator either, except to say that I think Maria Negret's histrionics were whatreally pushed it to an unfortunate outcome. The Counterpunch account is there for anyone who wants to read it, and once again, I never made any claim that it is "objective." It was an account of my personal experience and it included the facts that I interacted with during that experience.

      Affirmative action in the private sector is legal in California. It is not illegal. Those are facts. Practicing affirmative action is not only Pacifica policy but also a requirement spelled out in a CWA contract rider. Those are all facts, as are several other things I submitted documentation to the investigator about, but don't care to go over again here. I wouldn't even mention any of this again if you hadn't accused me of being an "unreliable source."

      Most of the rest of that Counterpunch piece was an account of my personal experience. from my particular standpoint on a hiring committee at KPFA, whose missteps are now the subject of a state inquiry. I also began with a little history and my analysis of the difference between NPR and Pacifica., to explain why any Counterpunch readers should give a damn about the fate of Pacifica.

      Counterpunch has published plenty of viewpoints from your side of the aisle as well.. E.g., Iain Boal, November 2010: http://www.counterpunch.org/2010/11/04/crisis-at-pacifica/

      To quote Jeremy Scahill, "I don’t pretend to be obective, because there’s no such thing as objective. You can be transparent…You can have your facts in order, absolutely." He goes on to say you should honestly situate yourself in the story, as I do in Counterpunch, on this blog, and in everything else I write that is not straight up news reporting. And, any intelligent audience listening to news understands that objective distance as its literary form. A news writer does not intrude on the reader/listener's attempt to evaluate information offered, but, as Matt Taibibi has said, every word any writer chooses to describe anything is a subjective choice. Scaill, Greenwald, Taibibi, and every other journalist worth reading or listening to scoffs at this bogus "objectivity" idea. It's an epistemologically impossible PR construction.

      And, for the second time tonight, it depresses me that we have to keep walking through these journalistic basics on a site that should be devoted to good journalism and good radio, where the difference between fact, editorial comment, and experiential account should not have to be argued and no bogus "objectivity" fantasy should have to be entertained.

      How can you tell me I'm not a reliable source and then say that so far as you know, my description of how Margy Wilkinson became Chair of the PNB is accurate? If it's true, then she and her faction violated the by-laws and bullied the rest of the Board into accepting the violation. No one has ever denied that Wilkinson became Chair because one person voted twice, marking her in the 5th column, even though there were only two candidates, and that irrelevant vote was counted as the vote deciding a tie. On a later conference call, when there was a clear majority for Margy present, that majority simply voted that it was OK - OK to cheat. But it's not OK according to the by-laws.

      If you want to say Wilkinson is level headed, forthright, and honest., OK. Those are adjectives; if they work for you, OK.. I don't want to argue about adjectives. I am talking about the facts. What happened. Wilkinson became Chair because her faction cheated, then joined her faction in bullying the rest of the Board who objected to the cheating from that point on. The minority repeatedly moved for an audit of the vote, and the Chair refused to agendize the motion.

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  6. Garrison's description as to the voting process which resulted in Wilkinson's becoming chair is accurate, so far as the audio of the voting is concerned, quite accurate. There was much discussion in the meeting as to how to resolve the apparent tie, with a number of folks referring to what they said was the bylaws’ requirement of a coin toss to resolve a tie, at which point the other faction pointed to the additional vote far down one ballot and argued that was determinative. The chair pro tem ruled that the additional vote far down one ballot was valid and determinative, which was duly protested, and promises were made that the ballots would be sealed and that the matter would have to be finally decided at a later date – which, so far as I know, did not happen.

    Those are the facts, feel free to verify the tape of the meeting (I’m assuming it’s archived, I haven’t checked).

    How you interpret them is up to you, of course.

    So far as I’m concerned it’s all effectively moot given the financial and managerial realities.

    Then again, has Pacifica ever had much use for reality other than for a brief moment or two?

    ~ 'indigopirate'

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    1. Thank you for that, Anonymous. However, I believe that honesty and trust are essential to dealing with financial urgencies.

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    2. Ms Garrison: I fully agree with your approach. I simply don't think the current financial situation is survivable, which is, of course, simply a judgement call on my part – it was in that sense that I meant that it was, in my judgement, moot.

      I may be wrong, or I may be proven to be wrong by events – it's been known to happen. :)

      Best,

      ~ 'indigopirate'

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    3. Well, I just listened to one of the always bizarre and acrimonious PNB meetings, during which jose Luis Fuentes was talking about some $10 million coming from somewhere and saying that Pacifica could afford to have elections more than it can afford to be sued for not having them.

      As Andrew himself said once on air, it is possible to run a radio station without paid on-air hosts I have talked to old timers Emiliano Echeverria and Lincoln Bergman about how KPFA ran on minimal paid staff during the 60s, won awards for programming produced by volunteers, and was proud of it. They are both cynical about what has happened to Pacifica since. I think that selling a signal license should be the last resort to avoid bankruptcy, not to avoid laying off staff, but as I said, we don't know what "last resort" means to the Save KPFA members who amended Dave Welsh's resolution.

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    4. I listened to enough of the PNB meeting to have heard Fuentes as well. I agree with your summary of what he seemed to be saying. It seemed to me to reflect the sloppy, casual, and willful attitude many Pacifica folks seem to have toward finances.

      It’s also unquestionably true that good radio can be done with a staff composed overwhelmingly of ‘volunteers’. It was indeed done in the past, and there’s no fundamental reason it can’t be done – and done brilliantly – in the present.

      The limitation is in my judgement that Pacifica is, as many have observed, deeply, deeply dysfunctional.

      Deeply dysfunctional institutions don’t survive unless someone saves them from themselves, and, unfortunately, I can’t imagine anyone saving Pacifica from itself.

      Well, okay, I can imagine it – it is, though, exceedingly unlikely.

      ~ ‘indigopirate’

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  7. This thread shows one of the problems - listeners can so easily get swept up in the pedantic nonsense that is Pacifica and worry about by-laws and what shadowy figure pulled what, etc. Doing this loses sight of what is most important - what goes out over the airwaves. THAT is where attention needs to be, and not on what never enforced by-law dildo some jerk playing leftist activist diddles him or herself with.

    Pacifica is going to roll along with their five stations, and none will be sold. In spite of themselves, these idiots will always find a way of making just enough money to keep it all going, if for nothing other than losing it would put them on the street with no arena to play politics and feel important.

    As for mainly volunteers. WBAI was almost exclusively a volunteer staff in the late 1970s to early 1980s. Guess what? It had better more diverse programming, too.

    Finally, from the sound of it, the new WBAI PD will be one of the people who caused this mess. Therefore, it should be just another round of people getting fired, crying foul, more soap opera, etc.

    NPR is better, anyway.

    SDL

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    1. There's where I disagree with you: NPR. NPR's reporting on foreign policy is way to the right, but packaged in a way that reassures people who have always identified as liberal. Local NPR is often good, and is indeed often better than Pacifica, but it still doesn't venture into the deeply radical critique that still manages to break through on Pacifica at its best, often in spite of itself.

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  8. Ann,

    Scahill's solipsistic pronouncements on objectivity aside, I like verifiable fact-based informative journalism; and I much prefer it to what Amy Goodman refers to as her "advocacy journalism", which at times has a problem of being wrong, in addition to the lack of objectivity. I recall when Amy Goodman was camped out in Georgia on the eve of some convict's execution. Listening to her, you'd think that he was an innocent man about to get a stay of execution. I did some additional research on line in the hours leading to the event, and discovered that the guy was proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, that he was properly convicted, and that the he has exhausted all his appeals and that there was not going to be any stay. Goodman did not present any of those facts in her multi-hours of live coverage, and when the man went to his just reward, she seemed genuinely surprised by the outcome. Not good journalism. NPR is better than that. They do wider and more informative coverage around the world, than does Pacifica taken as a whole, whatever their bias may be. And how do you account for the fact that the best journalists at KPFA are Wilkinson supporters? I will tell you why - because you represent and support a faction that supports advocacy and activism over journalism and news reporting. Your writing is solely aimed at your political and is restricted by it. For example, coverage of the Gaza Strip at the expense of the reporting on the escalating conflict in Ukraine, an amendment to Constitution of the Peoples Republic of China that allows it for the first time to deploy its army overseas, and absence of any real reporting on part of the left-wing journalists on the conflict at Pacifica, any in depth writing on the biographies and backgrounds of Reese and Wilkinson, or any insight into how Amy Goodman appropriated BAIs resources to start her own program. Never mind lack of objectivity, that's wearing blinders and having a parochial world view dictated by your political bias that makes for extremely boring journalism.

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  9. @Brooser Bear: You are in no way addressing what I said, just distorting it and I'm not going to waste any more time responding.

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    1. You keep insisting that journalistic objectivity is an illusion and I am proving you wrong. An overall comment on your partisanship in reporting.

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    2. Brooser Bear: Get a clue. An account of my particular experience, from where I stand and what I am involved in within a national organization including 5 stations, far more shows than I'm familiar with, and far more broadcasters and/or managers than I can know, . It is just that, an account of my particular experience, from where I stand.

      Also includes facts, such as: Margy Wilkinson was "elected" Chair of the PNB after a tie between Wilkinson and George Reider. The "election" was justified by counting a fifth place vote for Wilkinson, which was absurdly counted as a deteminative vote settling the tie, although the by-laws said it should have been settled with a coin toss.

      Those are facts. A few of them.

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    3. Ann,

      Why not all of the facts? You know the old adage that a half-truth is the same as a lie? I understand that your article in Counterpunch is a personal recollection, but it is both, biased in favor of Summer Reese and it does not reveal any new information about the conflict.

      Yes, Margy Wilkinson may have been elected by the skin of her teeth, but wasn't Summer Reese hired illegally, with the illegal contract signed in secret by a small faction of board members? You weren't too unhappy about that, were you? In the end Summer Reese did not have a legal leg to stand on. Where is your article about THAT? I am personally biased in favor of Save KPFA, because I prefer their content, but as far as I see, both actions are on the same low level of politicking. I say again, if you think that the election is illegal, you can always go to Court, right? To me it seems that the faction I favor has outmaneuvered the side you are on.

      And one other thing for you to ponder. You have left wing journalists doing investigative reporting exposing abuse and corruption of the US foreign policy, among others. Likely deservingly so, but when these same investigative journalists fail to investigate and report on the abuses and political corruption of the Left at BAI and Pacifica, it is not that they are not being Objective, instead, their Integrity as investigative journalists is compromised, and their credibility is reduced as a consequence.

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    4. This is idiotic. I've nothing more to say.

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  10. Ms. Garrison:

    Brooser Bear is the nom de plume of former crypto-fascist producer, cold warrior, gossip and slanderer, Paul DeRienzo.
    Here's a link of him disrupting a meeting, although, to be honest, the people he is insulting are douchbags. However, Amy Goodman, despite her flaws, is not: DeRienzo has never forgiven her because of the disdain her audience showed him when he and another nonentity, Santiago Nieves, took over the Democracy Now slot under the reign of Utrice Leid whose ass DeRienzo shamelessly kissed.

    Mario Murillo is another person repeatedly slandered by DeRienzo, whose symbol should be a pig, not a bear.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22zQ-yWP_gU

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    1. Where oh where oh where does WBAI/Pacifica find all these incredible loser-dorks?

      ~ 'indigopirate'

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    2. As a long time listener, I appreciated Paul DeRienzo and Santiago Nieves. BTW, Santiago's producer was none other than the current City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Vivireto. Paul has exposed the behavior of Murillo and Marksman during their tenure, a period of time when the station rapidly lost support.

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    3. To present a view that counters the above anonymous, unsubstantiated accusations leveled against Mr. Murillo, I have taken the liberty to post here another impression of him, sent to me as an personal e-mail comment:

      "Mario Murillo was one of my favorite producers.
      He was a friend of Ibrahim's, and Fridays were the highlight of the week because I would record on video tape Radio Unnameable, In the Moment, and Wakup Call with Mario Murillo; plus Democracy Now and Counterspin. A veritable weekend of good radio to be listened to at my leisure..

      One of Mario's parents was Colombian, the other Puerto Rican, so he had an interest in and knowledge of events in the Caribbean and in South America. His show featured interviews and reports about both areas, but he did not ignore Europe, Africa, or Asia.

      Mario played great music from all over the world. Mano Chau, Rita Rivera, Caetano, Gilberto Gil--to mention just a few.

      He didn't take phone calls while on the air, but I had the privilege to talk to him a few times during recorded interviews or music breaks. Caller friendly, modest, polite--like Ibrahim, a pleasure to talk to.

      Because he is a man of integrity and principal--again, recalling Ibrahim [Gonzaleź], I doubt he'll last until October. He will not bend to the whims of mediocrities and cretins like Reimers, Davis, Haskins, Mimi, and that crowd. Reimers will find a way to get rid of him with the collaboration of the JUCs. October may be optimistic."


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  11. To answer your query, I cite the punchline of an old ethnic joke: "It won them at the fair."


    Dosamuno

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  12. @Ann Garrison: I listen to WNYC FM, which I know many consider better than the usual NPR affiliate. I disagree about its reporting being "right." I find it often mainstrem to slightly old school liberal. Now depth in dealing with issues is another subject. Sometimes I believe they could go deeper. However, overall, NPR has a greater range of topics that they deal with and is superior in every way to WBAI when it comes to current events.

    As for "deeply radical critique." I don't think an incessant barrage of whining like little children over two topics day after day to be "deeply radical critique." Gimme gimme gimme isn't "deeply radical critique," it's self-aggrandizement.

    @Dosamuno: I've seen Brooser Bear accused of being DeRienzo a couple of times on this blog. I would like to know what evidence there is to this effect. If it is DeRienzo, he shouldn't feel the need to hide. If it isn't, then maybe Brooser Bear should make a denial. If Brooser Bear chooses neither, then that is Brooser Bear's business.

    @indigopirate: Maybe it's the opposite? The "loser-dorks" find Pacifica/WBAI because Pacifica/WBAI doesn't actively go out and look for good quality people.

    SDL

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    1. Well then, Anonymous, why participate on this blog? Why not go listen to NPR?

      Delete
    2. A) I have been a WBAI listener since 1978 and grew up with it and have many fond memories.

      B) I have an interest in seeing WBAI return to being the once informative and diverse radio station it once was.

      C) WBAI shouldn't be a personal playground for the politically impotent attemping to project images of their worthless selves as important activists.

      I treated you repectfully as I have everyone on this blog since I started posting. I would appreciate the same civility in return.

      SDL

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    3. @SDL: Agreed

      ~ 'indigo'

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    4. Anonymous, I asked you a question and you answered. The question was not intended disrespectfully. I asked it because it seemed that you felt nothing but despair for WBAI, so I wanted to know why you were participating. Sounds like you still have some hope.

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    5. The lack of vocal inflection in the written word caused me to take your question as a snide one. My apologies.

      Hope? Yes. Belief is a different matter. I have little belief that things can be turned around. It all starts with the programming. Unfortunately, that seems to be the last thing on the minds of all the politicos bickering over everything else. I'd be amazed to see one local or national board member come out and say, "Most of our programs and producers suck ass!"

      If the Pacifica stations, particularly WBAI, don't start at the grass roots level by improving the programming, then nothing - NOTHING - else matters. Bikering over changing the titles of a managerial position while the network is going downhill is straight out of a Terry Southern story.

      Remember: Pacifica is selling a product. If the product doesn't sell, there will be no buyers or money. It may be a non-profit venture, but you still need to sell enough product to make your expenses.

      SDL

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    6. @Anonymous: As a KPFA and WBAI programmer and print journalist, I often have to draw the line and say OK, this is as much Pacifica politics as I can take; I've always got a list of books to read so as to better understand what I report on myself. But, the fact is that ultimately someone has to decide what goes on the air. Even if those of us participating here all stopped talking about Pacifica's governance structure, and just talked about programming, someone would still have to decide what does and does not get air time and when.

      If I had to summarize what most interests me in a few sentences, I would say, "How is political will formed? How is authority established? How are we and other populations included or excluded from the process of deciding?" That's what this is about, on a relatively small scale. And, dysfunctional though it may be, Pacifica coverage does at times have significant impact and it still has the potential to have far more.

      Delete
  13. http://wbai-nowthen.blogspot.com/2013/10/when-it-goes-to-your-head.html

    Scroll down to comments by TPM and Mitch Cohen. DeRienzo confesses to being Broozer Bear right below.
    I agree with you on most issues, but am with Ms. Garrison on NPR. It’s a mouthpiece for The State Department, The Pentagon, Monsanto, charter schools, and corporate America.

    Dosamuno

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    1. Ok, saw it. Answers that then, eh?

      I don't mean to make NPR sound great, just superior to most of what WBAI does these days.

      Anyway, after reading that entire thread, I have a headache...

      SDL

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    2. SDL:

      Can't disagree with line 2.
      Sorry for causing the headache.

      Dosamuno

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    3. Dosamuno, ty tupeye sibirskogo valenka. Pshel na hui, pidaras yobany!!!! Vo, dibil vylez!

      Delete
  14. @BB: I'll bite. Czech?

    ~ 'indigo'

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    1. Indigo, why Czech? Why not go for the whole shebang? It's Land of Lenin. The first sentence says in Russian that Dosamuno is dumber than a Siberian valenok. Valenki (pl) are the knee high winter booties made of rolled felt that Russians wear in winter time. To be as dumb as one is a Russian colloquialism for utter stupidity.

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    2. Thanks, BB. The latter part is something like scram or go away, it's dismissive in tone?

      ~ 'indigo'

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    3. Yes, dismissive; in an extremely impolite way that can not be adequately translated or measured with existing technology.

      Delete
    4. LOL I like that 'can not be adequately translated or measured with existing technology.'

      In English, I'm fairly fond of 'piss off' for what I suspect are comparable circumstances and sentiments.

      Thanks again :)

      ~ 'indigopirate'

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  15. Chris - you should speak to some long time producers about Mario - they will tell you the truth. Mario is a coward - cowards are always dangerous. Paul DeRienzo is telling the truth!!

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    1. Anyone who wishes to give an opinion on the choice of Mario Murillo is welcomed to do it here, I am sure that there are strong feelings both for an against—that is what I have come to expect when it comes to Pacifica or its stations. Sad to say, much of that is based more on factionistaship (if the word fits...) than on fact.

      I would like nothing more than to see an intelligent, objective dialogue take place, sans outrageous unsubstantiated slurs. Personally, I have not had any association with Mr. Murillo, nor have I heard him on the air, so I will reserve my own judgement for a time when it can be regarded as having at least a measure of validity.

      Today, someone attempted to post a hateful, exceedingly biased comment aimed at Mr. Murillo and others. It was something one expects to hear from the clueless far right, so it raises a huge question about the nature of WBAI's current audience.

      I wish Mr. Murillo the best and hope he is aware of the ingrained obstacles ahead. He would do well to listen carefully and asap weed out the programs and host-producers who have stood in WBAI's way. That may get him fired in short order, but if it does, he will at least not waste any more of his time.

      Let's be vocal and give him our support.

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    2. Sure. I said elsewhere I'd give him a chance. That's only fair. However, I don't think anyone can make changes when they aren't given any real power. With the different factions ready to slam you if you take a friend of theirs off the air, it will only get you slammed with cries of racism, sexism, fascism, etc. Ask Philips..

      Program director seems to be more of an honorary title now than anything else. I guess we can thank the Utrice Leid era for that...


      Pero, le digo buena suerte al Señor Murillo. Él va a necesitarla...

      SDL

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    3. I know that YOU have an open mind and I fully agree that this is mission impossible, for two major reasons: The finances are a total mess (huge bills unpaid, sloppy accounting practices) and resistance from an inept idiot GM, over one hundred producer-hosts who think they own their air time in perpetuity, and a corrupt national board that is dysfunctional beyond belief. Add to that a listenership that has all but vanished for want of intelligent programming.

      The entire house of Jokers has all but collapsed. Even if Mr. Murillo is given absolute authority, his chances of restoring WBAI to an intellectually acceptable, listenable radio station are as remote as finding a few million dollars stuffed into a Pan-Am carryon bag and being able to take it to a thoroughly fumigated WBAI.

      It ain't gonna happen. In 1960, WBAI went on the air as a rare voice in the wilderness, one that appealed to the intellect of an eclectic cultural mix of people. Soon, it will leave that air and few will notice the absence of a station that underestimated its listeners' intelligence and degraded the black audience it sought to cater to.

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  16. Chris,

    I think that Berthold Reimers is more than an inept idiot. Remember how Andrew Phillips characterized him as an imperturbable tough little Marxist? Reimer's role at BAI will make more sense once you take into account that the current BAI is more of a political organization than a radio station or a media outlet. I think that this transformation had started under Samory Marksman. What this means is that whatever NPR's shortcomings, it is primarily a radio broadcasting organization. Their primary concern is creating content and maintaining listening audience, the economics of running the networks, typical things we expect from a radio network. BAI in its current form, on the other hand, is primarily being concerned with being the voice of the community, as defined by the ideological considerations of those controlling it (Justice and Unity types, I believe. In the case of the BAI, adherence to ideology is more important than any content considerations, production value or economics of the enterprise. Sure, they would like to have more audience, but only so long as the audience shares their ideology. That is why Haskins keeps on saying that "We are here to stay". Berthold Reimers is kept in the GM/BAI position not for his managerial skills, but for what he contributes to their political structure. Methinks.

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    1. BB's sentiments are the same as mine, essentially.

      Reimers may be an imperturbable tough little Marxist. However, he is an imperturbable tough little Marxist making $100,000 per year watching Rome burn. Yeah, money speaks louder than ideology...

      I agree about Marxman (first PD tenure 1980-1984). He decided WBAI was an active part of the revolution the way the Central American rebel clandestine shortwave radio stations were. Sorry, but WBAI wasn't Radio Venceremos or La Voz del Sandino. It was an FCC licensed radio station mostly relying on listener contributions for financial survival. Some CPB money didn't hurt, though.

      The ideology that is in place now isn't Marxist or communist or even left wing, really. I would best describe it as ghetto entitlement and self-serving. It's all about "You oppressed my people so I want a free ride from now on." It's indicative of our times - all about me me me. Notice the only martyrs to the cause are unarmed non-political black men taken out by cops? No, you don't see any of the WBAI people getting into anything with the police. But, hell yes, they will get plenty of milage using a corpse to me me me it as much as possible.

      Come to think of it, you'll see more WBAI people getting bashed by other WBAI people than by the police. Case in point below.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_dJ4LgwVMc

      Anyway, I want to see Hay-tie screaming, "We are here to stay," as the police drag him out after WBAI gets evicted from their studio for non-payment of rent...

      SDL





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    2. I share your observations as to Marksman – in spades.

      He was what the board wanted, having failed in their attempt with Kosof and Guzman, and it's been the path, ever-descending, followed ever since.

      ~ 'indigo, pirate'

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    3. SDL,

      Would be Marxist revolutionaries were always quite liberal helping themselves to the funds raised for their political cause, going back to Lenin, who lived high off the hog during his exile in Switzerland and France off the donations sent to him to publish his newspaper. So much so, that at some point he got infected with syphilis at some cat house in France or Switzerland. Syph, which eventually killed him. During the subsequent escalation of idiocy worthy of BAI, the communist CheKa had shot the doctors (Medical Professors), who mummified Lenin's remains (on display in Moscow still), officially, because they dumped his internal organs in the common sewer, in reality because the witnessed the organ damage that he suffered from untreated and/or poorly treated Syphilis.

      So, Reimers & Company financing their middle class lifestyle via listener donations is nothing new here.

      Delete
    4. Didn't Mao die of tertiary syphilis, also?

      SDL

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  17. ‘Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays virtue.’ – Rochefoucauld

    ~ 'indigo'

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  18. Chris, do you know if the producers at WBAI are told their individual tallies during pledge drives automatically? Or do they have to go find out on their own?

    I'm asking because it seems Ife Dancy and I are having "words," as the saying goes. If you look at her reply to me, you'll notice she doesn't say anything about her earnings. I wonder if she is avoiding my accusation or really doesn't know.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DAyOS5Vh48

    SDL

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    1. Since they sometimes thank people on the air, I assume that they can follow why comes in on their own show, but I think the overall tallies are no more available to them than they are to us. In other words, I think they have to go to the staff page on BAI's website and get the figures whenever someone decides to post them.

      Ifé's answer to you is amazingly ignorant---I had her down as being more intelligent than that. Of course she doesn't bring in any money to speak of—her blather and music is aimed at people whose thinking is as shallow as that show. Perhaps if she offered a product---something on their level... Nah, not even that would do it.

      Delete
    2. Well, as a footnote. Comments have been disabled for that video...

      SDL

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  19. Chris, did you catch the last 20 minutes or so of Kathy Davis? The callers were frightening, except for one reasonable man. Well, Davis made a TOTAL ass of herself during that call. See, she doesn't watch TV, so she doesn't know anything about the Ferguson shooting. I guess she doesn't listen to WBAI, either...

    And the next show starts and almost immediately they are talking about Reimers in a dunking tank! See! Reimers has something about him that makes people want him in one.

    SDL

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    1. Yes, I heard Our Lady of the Double Helix Water turn on her aural shucks as mindless callers declared their gullibility. I also caught her instant sweet to sour morph when a listener introduced reality. I do not agree with that listener's generalizations, nor think that Michael Brown's slightly tarnished halo lessens the severity of a cop's fatal overreaction. Of course, Davis' I-don't-watch-TV excuse is ludicrous, but so is almost everything about this woman.

      BTW, I find it difficult to believe that she isn't receiving some listener dollars from Reimers. It isn't reducing any of the three mounting rent bills, and even a casual listen will tell you that it isn't being spent on equipment or maintenance thereof.... postage? No, its easier to stash merchandise ("premiums") in a dark corner, or not even order it from a supplier. So, where is the money? Hmmmm

      Delete
    2. Hey Chris, one of the things I like about this blog is that you seem to not buy into The Narrative -- you know, the one the msm puts out daily -- as does BAI. Well, I didn't respond (as many others didn't) to your recent hysterical rant about Israel -- especially, quoting Attenborough about Israelis kidnapping babies to harvest their organs. Come on, Chris, even the most rabid Israel-hater -- like those at BAI -- don't believe that. Well, maybe the BAI loonies do.

      And now, here you go again -- "nor think that Michael Brown's slightly tarnished halo lessens the severity of a cop's fatal overreaction." Well, the gentle bear did commit a violent *felony* on camera, didn't he? Hardly "a slightly tarnished halo." But never mind that. You, me and the rioters don't have any idea whether the cop had a "fatal *overreaction* -- the evidence hasn't come out. You just don't know. But you are buying into The Narrative once again. From reading this blog, I expect a more reasoned take on issues from you.

      (And, I'm not going to get into a pissing contest with you over this so don't waste your time by providing any links, etc. to support your claims.) Other than that, you're doing great work going after the charlatans at BAI :)

      rj

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    3. I thought Davis had some sort of official title and was salaried? She's around so much that she can't just be a volunteer.

      Anyway. My point was that a caller was expressing lucidly his opinions on the main topic of discussion on WBAI these days and she had no idea about the topic. I find such an ever present person as Davis obviously not listening to her own station interesting. Her not watching TV comment says she doesn't turn to WBAI for news of any sort, and expects news to come from TV. I don't know, I just found that interesting.

      Another thing I found interesting is that a few of her callers must be from the New Age silent crowd I have mentioned. Her program is probably one of the few they listen to, others being Null and Brady.

      SDL

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    4. I am not an "Israeli hater," rj, but I cannot find any excuse for many of the actions taken by its government (same applies to my feelings re our country' government). That feeling of outrage came over me when I saw the so-called settlers begin to destroy the lives of innocent people. That's all I have to say about that, except that Attenborough's quote is just that--not my words.

      You are right, we don't know the details of the Michael Brown case, so conclusions are premature. I do, however, find that shoplifting a box of cigars constitutes a minor offense. If petty shoplifters deserved the death penalty, the population would shrink measurably. Is that an unreasoned take?

      If it is of any comfort to you, I don't buy into narratives, but I also don't dismiss them offhand. Every side has its narrative, doesn't it?

      Be sure to listen to Geoff Brady's amazing revelations at 10 tonight :)

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  20. Okay, let's agree to disagree on the Israel thing. But you saw the video of Michael Brown pushing the store clerk and using intimidation on him, right? Well, from what I read, that changes the 'shoplifting' to a felony strong-arm robbery. *It also gives some insight into what HIS mindset was when he encountered the police officer just minutes after leaving the store.* You're conflating his death with his committing a minor offense. The cop didn't "execute" him for that or for being black. I'd wager that when the truth emerges, the cop shot at someone who was attacking him. Of course, as of now, we don't know.

    I appreciate your reasonable response, Chris. Please keep up the good work on this blog. It is read by many more people than comment here.

    rj

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    1. As you say, we don't know.

      BTW, I just saw a Channel 13 news report on this incident. They showed a news conference wherein the autopsy findings (bullet hits) are pointed out on a standard body outline diagram. They blurred out the stylized sexual organ!! How ridiculous can they get—I bet they don't apply any blurs to Michelangelo's David.

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    2. Maybe they blurred it out because the diagram was based on John Holmes and thought a bit excessive..?

      That kind of reminds of something ironic some years back. The now defunct Trio cable TV channel had a show about the history of movie censorship, with all the sex scenes censored... They never responded to my complaint email.

      SDL

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  21. I don't believe it. A good call-in episode on WBAI. A host who can actually disagree with people and not cut them off, etc. Too bad there isn't more of this. However, I AM partial to call in shows.

    SDL

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    1. I missed that one, but noticed that the Archive people reached or came close to their goal while offering only Pacifica programs as an incentive. and mostly vintage material, at that. So much for the ongoing excuse used by Reimers, Mitch Cohen, and others to justify WBAI's mediocre schedule and rip-off "thank you gifts."

      Who was the good host you refer to?

      Delete
    2. Oops. Should have mentioned it. Well, I don't recall his name, but it seemed to be an irregular on the muslim show. Max Schmid was in the background adding some humor trying to make things work. He's probably the only real engineer there, anyway.

      I ignored the archive thing. Does Pacifica send out premiums without problems? I haven't seen any mention of troubles.

      SDL

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    3. Yes, Max may well be it, now that Sidney Smith is gone. We haven't heard from him in a while, I hope he is okay.

      I am not listening as much as I usually do, because I'm working on a deadline (2 days to go) and Cataracts are slowing me down, but they are getting the pink slip next month.

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    4. Good luck with the pink slips. I wish you a rapid recovery, indeed.

      I haven't been up on Saturday mornings for some weeks, so I don't know about Sydney Smith. Maybe he'll chime in here.

      SDL

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    5. Thanks, SDL.
      I hope Sydney does chime in here. He most have personal observations of Mr. Murillo to share.

      Heard an interview with history bender Gerald Horne on Against the Grain this morning. The man spits out these books and if there isn't real controversy, he tries to create it. Like so many "fact" creators, Horne speaks rapidly, says "quote-unquote" and "so-called" a lot and accents some of his most widely stretched claims with nervous titter.

      He also likes to inject the titles of his many book and I think that's what it's really all about: feeding the piggybank and staving of the guys from Remainder. :)

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  22. Chris, I hope your cataracts aren't too advanced. My grandmother had them, and was one of the very first recipients of laser surgery to correct them.

    Anyway...Today's programming was almost surreal. The good news was: no Gary Null, Kathy Davis or Geoff Brady. The bad news: Amy Goodman's hour was repeated about half a dozen times. And, at one point, Max Schmid said, in essence, that none of the computers were working at the station and that, for a moment at least, he was ad-libbing.

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    1. My optometrist told me that they are advanced, but, she added, removable (one eye at a time). When I heard the price, I felt a tinge of envy for cyclops, but she reminded me that they are incapable of 3D vision.

      Equipment is not on their list of priorities. BTW, Brady's last program was amazing—he had Patrick Kelly on for another hour--I captured it and will post as soon as I meet my non-related deadline (for the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit)..

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    2. Medicare will cover it though, correct?

      ~ 'indigopirate'

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    3. Correct, my insurance narrows my own expense down to a co-pay of $270, but I don't know if that's per eye. I still have two.

      Delete
  23. Everyone I know of who's had cataract surgery marvels at the sudden, striking improvement in their (literal) worldview – something to look forward to :)

    ~ 'indigo'

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    1. My former wife is marveling now—she had the surgery performed a week apart, two months ago. This should allow me to read the fine print on my signed HBO contract. :)

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  24. Excellent :)

    Still may well need reading glasses, though – presbyopia isn't corrected by lens replacement (unless you're thinking of multi-focal lenses, which are more expensive and, more importantly, seem to have their pluses and minuses).

    ~ 'indigo'

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    1. Yes, I don't mind reading glasses. Your mention of the alternative's pluses and minuses made me feel like the gameshow contestant who opts to take the money in midstream and finds that he would otherwise have lost everything. Well, something like that.... :)

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  25. Chris--When my grandmother had the surgery--in 1975, if I recall correctly--it was still "experimental" (Medicare didn't cover it; she had to pay out-of pocket) and the doctor could not guarantee results. It was really a last-ditch effort to save her sight, which by that time consisted of little more than the ability to distinguish between light and darkness.

    The surgery worked, and my grandmother could see--albeit with "coke bottle" glasses---almost as well as she did before the onset of her cataracts. She also had to insert some sort of drops in her eyes.

    I'm sure the surgery is more refined now than it was in those days and, barring other medical complications, you should have no problems.

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