FACES FORWARD: Countercultural Cabal Lends a Hand to Radio Legend
By Calico Cat at 9:47 PM
FACES FORWARD: Countercultural Cabal Lends a Hand to Radio LegendMarch 11, 2005
For more than 40 years, Bob Fass has presided over a program called "Radio Unnameable" on listener-sponsored WBAI-FM in New York. It's an apt name for the show, which features a genre-defying mix of talk, recorded music, live performance and just about anything else that Fass can patch into a mixing console. Asked to describe what he does on the air, the 71-year-old late-night legend replied: "What I do is entertain and spread compassion. I sit in a room and have great thinkers, musicians and comedians talk to me. It's been great."
Despite his longevity, however, Fass has not traveled an easy road. At the height of his career, he was on the air five hours a day, five days a week. These days, "Radio Unnameable" airs one night a week, for three-and-a-half hours. Fass feels increasingly marginalized.
Fass also has had a tough time financially. Something of a star in the city's countercultural scene during the late 1960s, he has not drawn a paycheck from the left-wing radio station since 1977. After his wife, Lynnie, the station's former record librarian, lost her most recent job as a law librarian last year, the couple found themselves in dire economic straits. So a group of WBAI alumni and listeners gathered last month in a Manhattan restaurant — Yaffa's, in Tribeca — to raise funds for Fass.
About 50 people turned out at the informal gathering, emceed by former WBAI host and station manager Larry Josephson. Fass, balding and standing 6 feet 2 inches, wore a corduroy sports jacket with a button reading, "The airwaves belong to the listeners." While digital cameras snapped away, a cake celebrating Fass's career was served, and Fass was presented with a poster acknowledging "43 years of world-changing freeform radio."
Fass was clearly touched by the outpouring of support, which raised several thousand dollars. For the past year, he and his wife have been living off his Social Security benefits and Lynnie's occasional temp jobs; the money raised at Yaffa's will help Fass pay off creditors.
Fass always begins "Radio Unnameable" slightly past midnight Thursday with the greeting, "Good morning, cabal." And the crowd on hand at Yaffa's could aptly be described as a countercultural cabal. The gathering included Aaron Kay, the rotund yippie who gained 15 minutes of fame in the 1970s for throwing pies at conservative political figures (he wore a tie-dyed T-shirt and a large Star of David around his neck), and A.J. Weberman, who was famous for going through Bob Dylan's garbage and analyzing its contents.
"Fass never sold out," said Josephson, the bad boy of morning radio at WBAI in the 1960s and '70s, now an independent producer working on a radio documentary about Jews in America. "He never compromised his politics."
Fass might be described as one of the many Jewish troublemakers who founded the yippies — antiwar radicals intent on making a cultural revolution by using comedy and guerrilla theater — in the late 1960s. His program featured regular appearances by fellow yippies Abbie Hoffman (the self-described "Jewish road warrior") and "investigative satirist" Paul Krassner.
Krassner, widely credited as the father of the underground press, recalled the role that Fass's show played "in the days before blogs."
"Whenever there was a demonstration, people would call in their reports to his show." Krassner said. "It illustrated the difference between what people experienced on the street and how it was reported in the mainstream media."
Before he hit the big time, Dylan used to drop in on "Radio Unnameable" from time to time. (On one occasion, a listener called in and told him that he wrote nice songs, but added, "You don't sing very well.") Other prominent musicians who have ventured up to Fass's show to play live include guitarist David Bromberg and folk singer Arlo Guthrie.
Bromberg credits Fass with the discovery of Jerry Jeff Walker and his hit, "Mr. Bojangles." "Bob Fass was single-handedly responsible for giving that man and me a career," said Bromberg, who abandoned full-time performing in the 1980s and is now a violin dealer in Wilmington, Del.
Fass's show was where Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant" had its first radio broadcast in 1966. Guthrie sang it live in WBAI's master control room before he recorded it for an L.P. That broadcast is in the "Radio Unnameable" archive, much of which consists of reel-to-reel tapes piled from floor to ceiling in the house on Staten Island that Fass shares with his wife and nine cats. Authorities on the counterculture consider the show's archive a treasure trove of cultural and political history — and a possible source of income for Fass. Josephson is trying to find a university or other institution to acquire the recordings.
"I would like to see the archive mined and extracted," Fass told the Forward. "It should be taken seriously."
Fass also yearns to be heard nationally, beyond WBAI's listening area. He has had discussions with a consultant for Sirius, the satellite radio company. And Danny Goldberg, CEO of the liberal Air America network, is well aware of Fass's work.
"I believe there are listeners out there who hunger for radio that engages their intellect, compassion and sense of humor," Fass said. "Whether or not anyone wants to pay for that is another story."
Fair use notice: We are making this article available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this is distributed without profit to those who we believe have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
Note: This article appears in The Forward
and is being posted here without permission. We felt this issue was of such significance that a "Fair Use" (see below) posting is warranted. The article appears, without alteration, in full, with the hope that more people will be made aware of Bob Fass -- his life, his work and the need to preserve his archives. Bob Fass' program, "Radio Unnamable," can be heard on station WBAI-FM
. Readers of this blog are encourage to listen to Bob's show, to see the original at The Forward
, and to subscribe to the newspaper; the article can be found on the newspaper's web site: here
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The Fundamentalist Agenda
By Calico Cat at 7:13 PM
"is absolutely natural, ancient, and powerful—but the liberal impulse makes us humane."
By Davidson Loehr
The most famous definition of fundamentalism is H. L. Mencken's: a terrible, pervasive fear that someone, somewhere, is having fun. There's something to this. Fundamentalism is too fearful, too restrictive, too lacking in faith to provide a home for the human spirit to soar or for human societies to blossom.
But there are far more fundamental things to understand about fundamentalism, especially in this age of terrorism. An adequate understanding also includes some inescapable and uncomfortable critiques of America's cultural liberalism of the last four decades. The attacks on September 11, 2001, provided us a rare revelation about fundamentalism that arrived in two installments.
First, we became vividly aware of the things some Muslim fundamentalists hate about our culture:
* They hate liberated women and all that symbolizes them. They hate it when women compete with men in the workplace, when they decide when or whether they will bear children, when they show the independence of getting abortions. They hate changes in laws that previously gave men more power over women.
* They hate the wide range of sexual orientations and lifestyles that have always characterized human societies. They hate homosexuality.
* They hate individual freedoms that allow people to stray from the rigid sort of truth they want to constrain all people. They hate individual rights that let others slough off their simple certainties."
Read the rest here.
Davidson Loehr appeared as a guest on Ring of Fire
, Satureday, March 26, 2005. The interview will be reboardcast on Sunday and can be found in the archives.
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HBO's "Left of the Dial" March 31, 2005
By Calico Cat at 7:57 AM
(click image for link)
According to Air America Radio president Jon Sinton, speaking to Jon Sinton of Billboard Radio Monitor, “This documentary is a sanctioned event. Matt Drudge, notwithstanding, we’ve signed off on it. The filmmakers had access to us and it truly is a story of birth, death and resurrection. It’s a very redemptive story. We’re not displeased with it at all.”
So, once again, rumormonger Drudge gets it all wrong. A number of pig fart right-wing web sites were all atwitter about some bootlegged "director's cut" that Drudge had gotten his grubby little finger on.
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AIR AMERICA cancels Unfiltered
By Marion Delgado at 5:37 AM
Table Talk | AIR AMERICA
: "Chuck Lawhorn - 10:58 am Pacific Time - Mar 24, 2005 - #7319 of 7332
Blessed are the pacemakers, for they will be sure of heart.
Rachel Maddow confirmed this morning that as of April 1st, 'Unfiltered' will be cancelled and replaced with Jerry Springer. She said she's working on another show, but wouldn't say when or where.
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William Rivers Pitt on Air America Radio Friday morning
By Marion Delgado at 4:27 PM
t r u t h o u t || I'm going to be on Air America Radio tomorrow morning
: "I'm going to be on Air America Radio tomorrow morning
Thu Mar 17th, 2005 at 02:57:01 PM EST :: Activism ::
Friday morning at around 9:15am. The debate will be between a person who was against the war but thinks we have to stay v. me, the person who was against the war but thinks we have to get out.
Those of you who followed the debate I ran here last week about this:
...will know I am, pretty prepared to deal with the 'stay' argument.
Anyhoo, listen in. Should be fun"
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Rules for fighting back - from comment on stevenewsblog
By Marion Delgado at 5:31 AM
HaloScan.com - Comments
It is not enough to attack the republicans. The progressive left must hammer the entire ideological right all day and every day. You shift political continents in a war of ideology not partisan politics. The American right wing figured this out 30 years ago, and they did it pretty well (considering they are *not* on the side of angels). They rewrote the American ideological landscape. Now we must to the same to them, but tenfold.
There are a few simple rules to follow:
- Attacking right wing ideology should be like breathing. You should be doing it 24/7/365. NO COMPROMISE. No accomodation.
- Don't fucking appologize for your views. Ever.
- Don't distance yourselves from *anyone* to your left. I don't give a damn if their left of of Mao. When some asshole media punk whines about them far lefties, support them or ignore the question. Distancing yourself from the radicals is saying that your ideology is fundamentally flawed!
- 'Civility' 'reasonable' and 'sensible' are your enemies the conventional wisdom purposefully excludes you those terms set up a tautology where only those opinons that don't challenge the status quo are 'reasonable.'
- Anyone displaying any joementum must be torn to shreds. Appologists and centrists validate the ideology of the right.
- Find out what the World Social Forum is, how it exists as an ideological counter for the World Economic Forum, and their slogan is 'another world is possible.' Learn from this.
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Ted Rall on Air America Friday, March 25, 6-9am EST
By Marion Delgado at 1:23 PM
Search and Destroy
:Ted Rall on Air America
Air America Date Change
Actually, I'll guest co-host "Morning Sedition" on Air America Radio on Friday, March 25.
I'll be filling in for vacationing 'Morning Sedition' co-host Marc Maron on Thursday, March 24, from 6 am to 9 am East Coast time. Check your local listings or livestream the show through airamericaradio.com.
- - - Ted Rall
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Agent Crisis - Why not "hire gay?"
By Marion Delgado at 8:56 PM
'Fear of possible penetration has grown because of what one official called 'an intense competition' among America's intelligence, military and contractor organizations. They are seeking to hire thousands of skilled linguists, trained analysts and clandestine operatives who can blend into overseas communities to collect intelligence and to recruit foreign agents inside terrorist cells.
'In some cases, the officials said, those most qualified for such sensitive jobs -- naturalized Americans who grew up in the Middle East or South Asia, for example, and who are native speakers of Arabic, Farsi, Dari, Urdu and other crucial languages -- have proved the most difficult to vet during background checks. In addition, because of restrictions imposed by U.S. privacy laws, authorities at one spy service may not know that someone they had rejected later found a job at another agency or at a defense contractor working on classified systems.'
So why not hire all those gay translators the military dumped? Most of them haven't gone anywhere in life. Alternately, if the Hitler II admin refuses to let gay translators be hired, this has to become a Democratic issue - we need to turn the flamethrower on the religious right, and say, you people are endangering the whole United States because you hate gay people, and we are sick of it, and we want the White House to either hire back the purged gay translators somewhere, or accept the consequences by saying, "George Bush and the Republican National Committee approve of purging gay people, even when it hinders fighting terrorism."
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So, nothing really new is happening in the Middle East that the Bush administration could take credit for.
By Marion Delgado at 4:42 AM
Democracy Now! | Juan Cole and Osama Siblani on Middle East Politics, U.S. Media Coverage of the Region, and the Arab American Landscape
Oh yeah. Not I heard the explosion -- actually, we had glass where I was. You know, the whole glass just shattered all over the people who were sitting, and I was away from the windows, you know. My chair just jumped like a couple feet. And I saw him just maybe 10-15 minutes earlier. I was supposed to meet with him the next day. Yes, I was in Lebanon. And, you know, Amy, I just rest my case. I think the professor made a very good presentation reflective of the situation in Lebanon and in the Arab world. Yes, he is right that Lebanese have had elections since 1948 and the 1950s, and every your years they had them. After the civil war in 1992, and then in 1996 and then in 2000, and now they're having them again. It's a parliamentary election, and it's not, you know, democratic 100%, but it's much better than what happened in Iraq, for example. Also, in Palestine, you know, that Mr. Bush is trying to claim credit for the election. There was an election in Palestine, in the occupied territory seven years ago. They elected the council of Palestine, the National Council, and also they elected a president at that time, who was Yasser Arafat. So, nothing really new is happening in the Middle East that the Bush administration could take credit for. And I think the situation in Iraq, the election in Iraq, was something made for television for an American audience, so Mr. Bush can claim credit for something that he really does not deserve. Yes, you can't fight, you know, back and say, you know, what is happening in Iraq is not a step forward in democracy. It's much better, you know, to have people have the right to vote under these circumstances, rather than having a dictatorship run by a brutal dictator like Saddam Hussein, but again, the situation in Iraq is not about democracy. I met with the President, and he wanted to go to Iraq to search for weapons of mass destruction, and he considered the regime an imminent and gathering threat against the United States.AMY GOODMAN
You met with the President of the United States?OSAMA SIBLANI
Yes, when he was running for election in May of 2000 when he was a governor. He told me just straight to my face, among 12 or maybe 13 republicans at that time here in Michigan at the hotel. I think it was on May 17, 2000, even before he became the nominee for the Republicans. He told me that he was going to take him out, when we talked about Saddam Hussein in Iraq. And I said, ‘Well, you know, I totally disagree with you. You just can’t go around taking leaders out of their countries, you know. Let the Iraqi people do it. They can't do it on empty stomachs. Lift sanctions. Keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein, but lift the sanctions on the Iraqi people. People can't make moves on an empty stomach. Once they start establishing, you know, a connection with the United States and helping democracy inside, they will overthrow him.’ And then he said, ‘We have to talk about it later.’ But at that time he was not privy to any intelligence, and the democrats had occupied the White House for the previous eight years. So, he was not privy to any intelligence whatsoever. He was not the official nominee of the Republican Party, so he didn't know what kind of situation the weapons of mass destruction was at that time. But what I am saying now is the President is trying to claim credit for something that really had nothing to do with him. The Palestinians had elections seven years ago. They have had an election last month, and also the Lebanese, what the professor said that this is a situation that is happening in Lebanon because there is a -- there is a formula in Lebanon that always, always Lebanon -- part of the Lebanese communities try to get help from the outside in order to gain more power and bring more cards to the table for bargaining.
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Law of the Land - Corporations may commit war crimes legally - unincorporated individuals need not apply
By Marion Delgado at 2:20 PM
Judge Dismisses Agent Orange Lawsuit
Thursday March 10, 2005 2:01 PM
By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - A federal judge Thursday dismissed a lawsuit claiming that American chemical companies committed war crimes against Vietnamese citizens by making Agent Orange, the defoliant used during the Vietnam War that allegedly caused birth defects, miscarriages and cancer.
``There is no basis for any of the claims of plaintiffs under the domestic law of any nation or state or under any form of international law,'' U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein in Brooklyn wrote in a 233-page ruling. ``The case is dismissed.''
Lawyers who sued on behalf of some 4 million Vietnamese argued that Agent Orange, which is laden with the highly toxic chemical dioxin, was a poison barred by international rules of war.
Lawyers for Monsanto, Dow Chemical and more than a dozen other companies said they should not be punished for following what they believed to be the legal orders of the nation's commander in chief.
They also argued that international law generally exempted corporations, as opposed to individuals, from criminal and civil liability for alleged war crimes.
The Department of Justice filed a brief supporting the chemical companies, saying a ruling against the firms had the potential to cripple the president's powers to direct U.S. armed forces in wartime.
The lawsuit was the first attempt by Vietnamese plaintiffs to seek compensation for the effects of Agent Orange, which has been linked to cancer, diabetes and birth defects among Vietnamese soldiers, civilians and American veterans.
U.S. aircraft sprayed more than 21 million gallons of the chemical between 1962 to 1971 in attempts to destroy crops and remove foliage used as cover by communist forces.
Some 10,000 U.S. war veterans receive medical disability benefits related to Agent Orange.
The Vietnamese government has said the United States has a moral responsibility for damage to its citizens and environment but has never sought compensation for victims."
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Ward Churchill - an academic freedom expert weighs in
By Marion Delgado at 11:23 PM
Table Talk | Ward Churchill and the First Amendment
: "popinque - 08:04 pm Pacific Time - Mar 6, 2005 - #28 of 28
As a longtime student of academic freedom (faculty member, AAUP member and officer, principal author of one university's faculty personnel rules) I would like to comment on the academic freedom issue re: Ward Churchill.
I speak here of the recognized standards of action against a faculty member established by the AAUP and by scholars in general, as well as by the courts.
1. What he says or writes as a citizen and not in his capacity as a faculty member at U of Colo has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with his employment there. Unlike the poor devils who work for the U. S. government, most business corporations, or -- worst of all -- any part of the media, a scholar is protected from his employer's intrusion into his private life, as we ALL ought to be.
(Just check out the so-called scholars, Harry Elmer Barnes et al, that Churchill named in his piece on Holocaust deniers, and see how many of them got fired.)
2. IF he wrote or spoke within the scope of his scholarly discipline, what he wrote or said is relevant to his employment. BUT there must be testimony of experts in that field of scholarship that his writings/statements show professional incompetence before his employer can act against him -- and that testimony must be judged by his faculty peers.
(Repeat the third paragraph above, in parentheses, which begins: 'Just check out . . .')"
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Transcript of Rachel Maddows on "Unfiltered" this morning
By Marion Delgado at 7:08 PM
RACHEL MADDOW: Good morning and welcome to 'Unfiltered' here on Air America Radio.
I'm Rachel Maddow. We're online at unfilteredradio.com. Thanks for joining us here this morning.
We know that a lot of you have noticed that Lizz Winstead is not here in studio with me; I certainly have noticed this fact.
I know that conspiracy theories are out there and everybody has their tinfoil hats very finely tuned on this matter. but the bottom line is that, uh, we miss Lizz, we wish her all the best, and 'Unfiltered' will be going on without Lizz - uh, with me, and with Chuck D, and of course with you.
So, uh, that's the bottom line, and thank you to everybody who has uh, gotten in touch with us on this matter. And that is uh, the where it stands right now and we appreciate everything that we've heard from everybody and you can certainly join the discussion online should you choose to at uh, airamericaradio.com, just click on 'Unfiltered.'
I'm Rachel Maddow, this is 'Unfiltered' here on Air America Radio, and uh, that is very sad news for me to deliver. I take no pleasure in delivering that. Umm, and uh, just so you know that I'm giving you the straight dope - that is the straight dope.
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