March 31, 2009

Singing Is Fire

Still busy.

Pretty & Twisted is a collaboration between Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde and Marc Moreland of Wall of Voodoo. The one album they put out might just be better than either band.

Singing Is Fire

The schoolboys dream of laborless love or whatever it is you call it this time of night.

March 30, 2009

I Like

I'm looking at my blog right now much the way I was looking out the window at the first hints of green earlier today--with a wistful little whimper. This is one of those weeks, during that time of year, when I can blog or I can sleep (some). So, for the next few days, you can find out more than you ever wanted to know about my musical tastes.

This one is one of my favorite odd little New Wave classics. Oh, the eighties.

I Like

They go to parties to steal the show by talking really loud and try to tell you what they know.

March 29, 2009

Sympathetic but Irrational

If you haven't already read Greg's post about a student of his recently sentenced for acts he committed as a member of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), I strongly recommend it. It is, in part, about dealing with people you love doing bad things. It is also about, well, here:

But there is a third axis along which we can judge movements that engage in violence to enact change: The link to and articulation of the rational argument. ALF does not have one. ELF does not have one. Their arguments are based on misconceptions, misinformation, crappy logic, bad planning, and political ineptitude. Their arguments are shit. ALF and ELF have probably done more harm than good, in terms of the politics and public opinion, in the areas of animal care and environmental concern. The environmental movement and the animal 'rights' movement have progressed to the extent that they have despite, not because of, ELF/ALF.

Becca asked the following question in the comments.

Do you think ALF and ELF are irrational because their goals are irrational or because their means of achieving them are counterproductive?

It's a question that needs to be asked, I think, simply because of the causes these groups align themselves with. Implicit (and I speculate, in part, because I know Becca will correct me if I'm wrong) is a certain sympathy with the cause that bleeds over to the group. However, I also think the answer is important, so I'm putting mine here to make sure it isn't buried forever in a comment thread.

We've got a related post at QM that's been sitting in the queue waiting for this to be done, so I've been thinking about this a while myself.

I'll start with the first part. For the ELF at least, their aims are irrational. I'm not talking about the loving the Earth part. That may be their motivation, but it isn't their goal. Their goal is to decrease the cost to the environment by increasing the cost of development--because development costs are paid by the environment. To put it more succinctly, firebombing is bad for the Earth, both by itself and in the cost of replacing what was damaged.

On to their means. My first reaction on hearing about this was to be pissed at the ELF for screwing up another life. Yes, I know they haven't killed anyone, but all too often, they end up hurting the good people.

When they decide to torch a condo construction project, it makes a big splash and a big statement. However, the people put at risk are firefighters and the neighbors who have chosen to live in high-density housing. The people who lost financially were, again, those living in high-density housing, plus those who were getting ready to move into high-density housing and those who saw their insurance rates go up to cover the costs of additional materials to rebuild.

Then there's what they do to their own people. Take a kid like John, someone who presumably was driven by a passion for the environment. He wants to help. Other environmental groups are telling him that we need to continue to do ecological research so we understand the decisions we're making, that we need to press politically for the action we already know is needed, that we need to engineer more efficient production and transmission of alternative energy, that we need to figure out how to slow or stop population growth.

Those are all good things to be doing. They also take time and perhaps some education that John hasn't achieved yet. So what does he do? Does he buckle down and get that education and try to enlighten his fellow students as he goes, despite the fact that they're more interested in Friday night's party?

He's, what, eighteen? What do you think he does when he has the ELF over here telling him he can help in a big way, right now, by playing with fire?

So now we've got another kid doing prison time instead of working on our problems, another extremist for political opponents to point to (only this one actually did extreme things). And Greg didn't mention it, but it's in the news. John will have to pay restitution, so he'll be the one helping to pay for the environmental resources to replace those destroyed by the ELF.

Irrational top to bottom.

March 28, 2009

Revenge of Daughter of the Replace Michele Bachmann Blog Carnival

As I explained to someone the other day, I thought that after the election, we’d be able to retire the Replace Michele Bachmann Blog Carnival. Even though she squeaked through her reelection with a slim plurality, I was among the people who still considered the Republicans capable of learning what hadn’t worked for them in this election. One of those things being Bachmann, I thought she’d end up in some congressional broom closet somewhere, in a straitjacket with a duct tape gag. Not that I spent any time dwelling on this image or anything.

Alas, it was not to be.

The newest edition of the Replace Michele Bachmann Web Carnival is up at Quiche Moraine.

Atheists Talk--Sean B. Carroll

Sean B. Carroll, "Remarkable Creatures"
Atheists Talk #0063 Sunday, March 29, 2009

Have you heard of the new science of Evo Devo? If so, then you've probably read Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Dr. Sean B. Carroll. It is a captivating book describing the genetic tool kit that humans and animals share. His engaging narrative style and clear explanation for how developmental biology works is not only smart it is fun to read.

His new book, Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species, shows what a gifted story teller he really is. It will also convince anyone (get this book, kids!) just how exciting, Indiana-Jones-style, adventuresome science can be. Epic adventures are just what Von Humboldt, Darwin, Wallace, Bates and other naturalist explorers experienced. Carroll selected the stories of 13 explorers for their courage, their tenacity and their respective abilities upon return to civilization to share their remarkable insights into how our world works.

Just as enthralling as the stories of 19th century explorers are the tales of current adventurers like Neil Shubin and Svante Paabo. Dr. Carroll’s admiration for his colleagues is very much in the 19th century spirit of acknowledging contributions from contemporaries. His explanation of how current research in molecular biology connects with how scientists historically used morphology, shows there are vistas in science yet to be explored. We catch the excitement of watching it unfold from this master storyteller as the age of discovery continues.

Produced by Minnesota Atheists. Interview by Lynn Fellman. Hosted by Stephanie Zvan. Directed by Mike Haubrich.
Podcast Coming Soon!
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March 26, 2009

The Process (NSFW)

Killing Time with STD Episode 1: Writing a Song

I love this song (yes, it really exists).

March 25, 2009

The Bullheaded Bullhorn

It was just yesterday I put up a post about Michele Bachmann's "armed and dangerous" shenanigans. In what is for her perhaps a new record, today she's got people hopping mad over a new outrage, with her questions to Geithner and Bernanke about the constitutional basis for the bailout. As usual, the first question is about Bachmann's intelligence.

Can someone please tell me how this moron got elected in the first place? I was just watching her "try" to grill Bernanke and Geithner about the AIG bonuses. They were ridiculous questions too, like "where in the Constitution does it say you are authorized to distribute money to blah blah blah..". WTF kind of question is that?

As much as I'd love jump on the bandwagon and blame this on Bachmann's lack of any brain power, there's actually something a bit more interesting going on. An interview with her in the MinnPost describes it, in a stunning piece of self-awareness on Bachmann's part.

In an interview with MinnPost after the hearing, Bachmann said, “My intent to the line of questioning is legitimate because I have a number of constituents that ask me ‘Can they do this?’”

This is the point at which Bachmann reveals that she isn't acting as part of some plan. She's not trying to fulfill some agenda. She's simply the final stage in a dogwhistle clarification and amplification apparatus. It works like this.

  • The right-wing message machine decides which fear they'll play on this week.
  • They code their message to get past the majority of media filters, the people who don't quite want to ask, "What kind of xenophobic crap is this?" without being very sure of their ground.
  • The chosen spokespeople, the ones who can be trusted to remember the right words, go out and speak.
  • Their voices are picked up by the timid media and rebroadcast ad nauseum by the radio, newpaper and television empires that were built for just this purpose.
  • Voters hear what they're supposed to hear--nothing in particular or the confirmations of their beliefs, depending on their affiliation and closely held fears.
  • Some of these voters are certain (and right) that Bachmann shares their fears, and they go to her for help. In the process, the coding of the message is lost.
  • Bachmann opens her mouth on camera or microphone, and the message is broadcast in the baldest terms possible.

It's a very simple system. It's beauty is in its inevitability. Until the Republicans are willing to disavow Bachmann or stop using dogwhistles, we only have to listen to her to hear the what they'd rather we not quite hear. Not that this is an easy job, but it's worth doing.

Let's see how it works in practice. Everyone remembers Bachmann's lovely statements about investigating Obama and the rest of Congress for signs of anti-Americanism. Those were made in mid-October. What happened in the middle of October?

Over the past few days there has been a concerted McCain campaign effort to paint Barack Obama's tax policies as socialistic in nature. On Friday a surrogate for the Arizona Republican took the argument to the next overheated level, declaring as fact that Obama a socialist himself.

Oh, right. That was when McCain and Palin were objecting so strenously to Obama's statement that spreading wealth (as opposed to the concentrating we've been doing) was a good thing. It didn't take many steps, or many days, to go from that to Bachmann channeling McCarthy. With her in the picture, the subtext became the text.

The "armed and dangerous" comments have an obvious precedent in recent calls for "civil disobedience" and revolution against changes by the Obama administration. The sentiments Bachmann is broadcasting date back further to Palin inciting violence against Obama, with the change being that he now is the administration (and thus the government for those who still believe Bush's claims to executive power). There's additional evidence that the message is being heard and rebroadcast without its shroud of deniability, aside from Bachmann's jaw flapping.

So, what's behind the questions about the constitutionality of Congress authorizing spending? Well, there's the obvious push by the Republicans to redefine deficit spending as a bad thing, including the claim that it will "bankrupt" the country (which, considering the etymology of the word, makes me laugh very hard). But the direct connection to constitutionality is a bit harder to parse.

Anti-American could translate to unconstitutional, of course, but I think there's more to it than that. I suspect that this comes from the anti-tax fringe. We certainly have enough local representation, in the form of Robert Beale (Papa Day) and his cronies. One of the fruitbats favorite claimed defenses when they're charged with not paying is that there's no constitutional authority for the government to collect taxes.

Okay, so maybe it seems like a stretch, but don't forget that Beale's pastor, at his prosperity gospel church, is the guy who faced IRS investigation for endorsing Bachmann from his pulpit. No, I believe in the Bachmann bullhorn. Expect a rash of tax "protesters" to stop paying any day now.

Bachmann said so.

March 24, 2009

More Bachmann

Closing down the Replace Michele Bachmann Blog Carnival after the election made sense at the time. After all, there wouldn't be enough material for a weekly carnival, right?

“I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people – we the people – are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.”

[sigh] Right.

Luckily, the folks at Dump Michele Bachmann are still on the job, collecting her incendiary idiocies in one place. Go read.

March 23, 2009

How to Do Sensationalism

First off, let me just say that it's very wrong that I found out about an article in PLos Medicine through Facebook instead of Bora. I mean, I know Bora can't bring everything interesting to my attention, but...still. It is a cool article, reporting a negative correlation between paternal age and children's scores on a number of cognitive tests.

Seriously, though, I'm glad I didn't know what the study was about when I saw the link to New York Magazine, or I might not have followed it. It was worth following, if for no other reason than the titles:

Do Cougars Have the Smartest Kids?

This Old Sperm
Science comes down on the side of the cougar.

What's not to love? Well, after an introduction like that, I was actually expecting to hate the article. I mean, we've all seen plenty of overly sensational science reporting. The opening paragraph carries none of the caveats of the article.

Earlier this month, the journal PLoS Medicine analyzed data from a study of over 50,000 pregnant women and came to a simple but stunning conclusion: Older fathers have dumber kids. The more geriatric the dad, the dimmer the progeny, on measures including “thinking and reasoning, concentration, memory, understanding, speaking, and reading.” (Luckily, geezer offspring had no problems with motor skills, making them ideal for wheeling around their elderly dads.)

And there was plenty of hyperbole.

At last, science has produced the case for cougars. As Madonna understands intuitively, nature clearly intends aging women—whether married, divorced, or single; on vacation in CancĂșn or just killing time on line at the DMV—to snatch up passing youths in our talons and gestate a race of supersmart children. Who themselves, I presume, will be smart enough to self-select their partners likewise, forming a superrace of egghead Demis and Ashtons, a Cleopatran paradise of trophy studs and December–May embryos. Denying this is denying biology itself, and far be it for me to deny biology!

However, once it has your attention and gets its main points across, it immediately launches into a discussion of potentially confounding social variables. This is then followed by a critique of the kind of science reporting that would explain away results like those found in the study (older mother = good; older father = bad) with social variables while accepting cultural-norm-affirming sociobiology theorizing uncritically, ending with:

So if there’s something sickly refreshing about the bad news for older dads, let’s just admit that this is more about social gamesmanship than hard facts. If Us Weekly begins to print pictures of Owen Wilson with worried captions about stale sperm, would that be so bad?

The best part of the whole thing isn't how concise it is, or how snarky. The best thing is that this lovely bit of contextual science reporting comes from Emily Nussbaum, who usually covers television. Beautiful job, Emily.

Thanks to Josh for the link.

March 22, 2009

Painful Phone Calls

One of the hardest parts about running a talk radio show at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning is getting listeners to talk back. If this were a weekday, people would be mostly at work, already caffeinated. If this were a Saturday, slightly more people would be awake, somewhat fewer people would be at church and a lot fewer people would be leaving their radios off to avoid infomercials. Sunday morning is just a tough time.

Given that, one of the ways we measure the success--or lack thereof--of any show is by the number of calls and emails that we get. (Not the only way, of course. PZ doesn't always get a lot of questions, but his download ratings are some of the highest we see.) Good shows are the ones where we can't use everything that comes in, and not because of quality or the tendency for questions all to come in at the end of the show. Which they do.

By that measure, this morning's program was definitely a success. We received six calls and one email. Yes, three of the calls were from the same woman, but only the email was from a Minnesota Atheists member--as far as we can tell. That's reaching a new audience, part of what the show is supposed to do.

On the other hand, there were three calls from the same woman because she was too angry to let our engineer put her on hold so we could pick her up in the studio. One caller berated us for spreading "traditional medicine propaganda," and the last caller called after the show was over to yell at the engineer and say he couldn't believe Air America* would put something like this on the air. (Another thing about a Sunday morning slot is that you can't buy your engineer a beer after a rough show. Sorry, Matt.)

We had one caller who left a message asking us to talk about the placebo effect and one email mentioning religious objections to vaccination. Aside from that, we only heard from people who were angry.

They had a reason to be angry. They were in pain. The woman who called multiple times had had a sister with cancer. The one who felt we were dealing in propaganda has two children with autism. I don't know what the last caller's story was, but I'm sure he had one. Every one of those people had a reason for their anger.

What they didn't have was a rational reason to be angry at us. Reasons? Yes. Rational reasons? No.

That should have made them easier to deal with, maybe. Easier to shrug and say, "Not my fault. Not my problem."

Easiest of all, in the short term anyway, would have been to tell them something that made them feel better. That's what their gurus do. They tell these people that there's a reason for what's happening. They tell angry, hurt people that there's something they can do to fix all this, right here, right now, without having to wait for more studies, more answers. They tell people like our callers that they're in control--or will be if they can just get through to people like us.

We can't do that, of course. We have to give the hard answers. We have to tell them there is no simple fix, not yet, maybe never that they'll see. We have to take away this wall they've built around their pain, because it isn't sound and it hurts people as it falls apart. And we have to make them understand that not letting their pain hurt other people is one of the hardest parts of growing up, but it's time for them to do that.

No wonder they're hurt. No wonder they're angry. We're asking a lot, and we have only two small things to give in return. Well, truth isn't small, but it doesn't look like a lot when you get it in the place of something you really wanted.

The other thing we can give them is their pain. We can acknowledge how they feel and acknowledge that it's a perfectly reasonable response to their situation. And we can do that before we point out that it's not a rational response to us. That's not an easy thing to do when that pain is pointed straight at us with an intent to hurt, but if we're asking them to be adults despite their difficult circumstances, it's the least we can do. Isn't it?

If you want to see it in practice, I recommend listening to the podcast of today's radio show. PalMD is very good at it. I could be better, but I can practice. After all, just because I told Pal what I wanted us to talk about on the show, that doesn't mean I can't learn something from it too.

* The station is an Air America affiliate. We are not Air America programming. These facts calmed the caller down not at all.

March 21, 2009

Atheists Talk--PalMD

Skepticism Versus Denialism
Atheists Talk #0062 Sunday, March 22, 2009

Skepticism is generally a healthy thing. Requiring evidence and questioning other people's claims can help us avoid falling prey to quacks and con artists of all stripes. It can keep us from throwing our time, money and hope into a pit from which we can never get it back.

However, the tools of skepticism, like any other tools, can be misused. They can be selectively and inappropriately applied to create doubt even where almost no doubt remains. This tactic is referred to as bogus skepticism, or denialism. It's used frequently in discussion of politically charged topics, such as man-made global warming and the very existence of the Holocaust.

PalMD is an internist (a doctor of internal medicine) who has blogged extensively about medical denialism at White Coat Underground, Science-Based Medicine and previously at denialism blog. He also hosts a podcast (or PalCast) in which he talks about many of the same issues. The contentious topics he's covered include the dangers of secondhand smoke, claims of a vaccine-autism link, "alternative" medicine and diagnoses of diseases without any physiological basis. He'll talk with us about the difference between skepticism and denialism and how to spot a denialist.

Produced by Minnesota Atheists. Directed and hosted by Mike Haubrich. Interview by Stephanie Zvan.

Podcast Coming Soon!
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March 20, 2009

Why EFCA? Why Now?

In times of relative economic prosperity, it’s easier for a worker to forget how many of our countries laws and protections apply to capital and how few apply to production. Sure, a job may not be a certain thing, but there are more. And barring skills restricted to a few industries that are always in trouble, aren’t we all at least above average in our ability to out-compete if the time comes to find a new job?

When the recession hits, it becomes much harder to remain blinded by our optimism. When an economic event of the magnitude of the one we’re experiencing now comes along, it’s impossible to miss the fact that the people who have no say in deciding the future of a company suffer the worst in the decisions that are made.

Yep, I'm blogging more about EFCA, this time over at Quiche Moraine.

March 19, 2009


Candid Engineer posted her favorite animation today. Motivated by her example (and by still being sick enough that I want nothing more than to sleep for the next week), I share mine with you now. Unfortunately, the credits (along with the final joke) was cut for television, but Juliet Stroud is the animator.

March 18, 2009

Confluence of Geek

You have to love that not only is there someone geeky enough to make music using the sound of sparks generated by Tesla coils (big, pretty Tesla coils), but they choose music that fully embraces their geek origins.

The Imperial March

The Doctor Who Theme

Seriously, how much more beautiful than that can it get?

March 17, 2009

Electric Blue

The first time I saw the fiddle, it must have been brand new, or nearly. We were both new to the band, him as a musician, me as audience. And dancer.

It's the kind of music that demands all your attention when you're dancing. Songs in things like 17/12 time, with half-improvised breaks and bridges and plenty of competition between the band members to keep things fresh from show to show. Every song a new rhythm. Every bar a potential about face.

You can't think about this stuff. You'll fall behind. You have to watch, and you have to guess where it's going next. You can't be drunk, either. A drink is fine--it keeps you from trying to think when you shouldn't--but too many and you'll be lost, only good for pogoing like too many people in the crowd. No good for dancing.

Watching the stage, it would have been impossible to miss the fiddle. Electric fiddle, electric blue. Almost as many pedals as there were on the guitar.

There was the constant question of when the mass of black, curly hair would finally get caught up in the bow or the strings, but it never did. The other question was how such virtuosity on that tiny instrument came out of such huge fingers. They couldn't really move that quickly and precisely, could they? Why, that pinky ring was big enough to fall off my thumb without help. I know. I tried it.

The thing about watching the band that closely, about dancing when everyone else is moshing (well-placed, unpredictable elbows can almost always buy you room), is that the band notices you too. Something about the grin when you're following a new song and doing it well maybe. Or just knowing that you're there because of what they're doing, not because you just wanted to get out.

He called me "Grandma" because I told him I didn't date younger men. It fell into the category of silly lies, since we were two weeks apart in age. Still, it did what it was supposed to do, and gracefully. I don't know that we ever talked about anything that wasn't related to music or the band. We had a lot more to say to each other when we were a little further apart, separated by the edge of a stage.

Then, after a few years, the other fiddle player came back, and the blue fiddle went home. It wasn't the same. The other guy was good, but...well, it was just a fiddle.

I've seen the blue fiddle only once since then. It wasn't such a uniform blue anymore, worn to the wood in spots, and the hair was gone as well. The fiddle was still electric, though, and we still didn't have to talk, just play and watch and dance. If the rest of the band had remembered how to play together, it could have been perfect. As it was, it was almost enough.

Still, not quite. At least (at least!) one day of every year, I miss that electric blue fiddle terribly.

Today is that day.

March 15, 2009

In Which I Explain the EFCA

EFCA, as most people now know, would replace the 70-year-old guarantee of secret ballots in union elections with unreliable "authorization cards," often signed by employees under the watchful eye of union representatives and based upon extravagant promises. The new penalties and injunctions imposed -- including substantial fines -- are designed to intimidate employers into remaining silent during union campaigns so employees will not receive full information to make an informed choice. Meanwhile, there are no new penalties for unions, despite the potential for coercion in the card-signing process.


Arbitration panels are by definition a stranger to the work place. Yet real, private agreements are products of the needs, desires, capabilities and resources of the negotiating parties who are anything but.

That's the line from the Wall Street Journal opinion page, so you know there have to be big problems with it. I count several acts of misdirection and two flat-out lies.

Streamlining Union Certification vs. Eliminating the Secret Ballot
Let's start with the basics. The Employee Free Choice Act (pdf), or EFCA, is a bill currently before the House and Senate that modifies the U.S. law put into effect by the National Labor Relations Act. It's a fairly short bill, amending a fairly short section of the U.S. Code. Specifically, it modifies four sections of the law, titled Representatives and elections, Unfair labor practices, Prevention of unfair labor practices, and Offenses and penalties.

The current law regarding the secret ballot is in section 159(c) [italics mine for emphasis]:

(1) Whenever a petition shall have been filed, in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by the Board—

(A) by an employee or group of employees or any individual or labor organization acting in their behalf alleging that a substantial number of employees

(i) wish to be represented for collective bargaining and that their employer declines to recognize their representative
as the representative defined in subsection (a) of this section, or

(ii) assert that the individual or labor organization, which has been certified or is being currently recognized by their employer as the bargaining representative, is no longer a representative as defined in subsection (a) of this section; or

(B) by an employer, alleging that one or more individuals or labor organizations have presented to him a claim to be recognized as the representative defined in subsection (a) of this section;

the Board shall investigate such petition and if it has reasonable cause to believe that a question of representation affecting commerce exists shall provide for an appropriate hearing upon due notice. Such hearing may be conducted by an officer or employee of the regional office, who shall not make any recommendations with respect thereto. If the Board finds upon the record of such hearing that such a question of representation exists, it shall direct an election by secret ballot and shall certify the results thereof.

In other words, secret ballots currently occur when the National Labor Relations Board finds that a large number of employees wish to be represented but the employers has said, "No." EFCA would add the following provisions [italics added]:

(6) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, whenever a petition shall have been filed by an employee or group of employees or any individual or labor organization acting in their behalf alleging that a majority of employees in a unit appropriate for the purposes of collective bargaining wish to be represented by an individual or labor organization for such purposes, the Board shall investigate the petition. If the Board finds that a majority of the employees in a unit appropriate for bargaining has signed valid authorizations designating the individual or labor organization specified in the petition as their bargaining representative and that no other individual or labor organization is currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit, the Board shall not direct an election but shall certify the individual or labor organization as the representative described in subsection (a).

(7) The Board shall develop guidelines and procedures for the designation by employees of a bargaining representative in the manner described in paragraph (6). Such guidelines and procedures shall include--

(A) model collective bargaining authorization language that may be used for purposes of making the designations described in paragraph (6); and

(B) procedures to be used by the Board to establish the validity of signed authorizations designating bargaining representatives.

The new subsection (6) would eliminate the secret ballot only in the case where a majority of employees have already signed elections and only after an investigation by the Board to determine that the elections are valid, or reliable. In other words, it only eliminates the ballot when the Board is able to determine what the outcome of the election would be if it were held at that point.

Secret ballots may also still be held in cases where a substantial number, but not a majority, of employees have elected representation. Note also that there has never been any provision under this law to achieve a ballot without that substantial number of employees going publicly on record to request it. The process to acquire representation has always started with a public step. There was never a guarantee of secrecy. There was never even a guarantee of a ballot, as an employer could approve the choice of a union if, say, there were another union waiting in the wings that the employer cared even less to deal with.

In addition, there remains in Section 159 of the law a provision for a secret ballot to revoke the authority of the union to bargain for the employees:

(e) Secret ballot; limitation of elections

(1) Upon the filing with the Board, by 30 per centum or more of the employees in a bargaining unit covered by an agreement between their employer and a labor organization made pursuant to section 158 (a)(3) of this title, of a petition alleging they desire that such authority be rescinded, the Board shall take a secret ballot of the employees in such unit and certify the results thereof to such labor organization and to the employer.

(2) No election shall be conducted pursuant to this subsection in any bargaining unit or any subdivision within which, in the preceding twelve-month period, a valid election shall have been held.

As Chris Lowe points out at BlueOregon, certification without a ballot under EFCA would actually improve employees' ability to rid themselves of a union. Employees would not have to wait 12 months to vote a union out if they discovered that the promises made to them had, in fact been extravagent. He also notes that it lessens the incentive for any kind of coercion or intimidation in gathering signatures for certification.

This feature of the NLRA after EFCA, if it were passed, makes remote the scenario speculatively proposed by anti-EFCA anti-Democratic candidate campaigners: that card-check certification will be achieved in some instances (the campaign propaganda implies usually) through false majorities created by coercion of workers who would otherwise vote "no" on a secret ballot, coercion conducted by a minority of pro-union workers upon others to sign a certification petition against their true will.

In fact EFCA's relation to Section 9(e) would provide a strong incentive for workers organizing a union through card-check certification to make sure they have not just majority support, but solid support by a substantial majority, because certification with signatures of a small and ambivalent or uncommitted majority could be challenged quickly by a determined minority, creating a situation in which either legitimate persuasion could succeed, or common and widespread employer anti-union intimidation tactics during organizing drives could be brought to bear. Any cases of a fraudulent pro-union false majority obtained by unscrupulous means would be rapidly reversed.

Facilitating Initial Collective Bargaining Agreements vs. Strangers in the Workplace
The modifications to the law regarding unfair labor practices is receiving much less press, probably because employers don't want to be seen as trying to preserve their ability to be unfair. The second major amendment EFCA would make to current law add language that provide for a relatively speedy negotiation of the first contract after union representation is established.

(h) Whenever collective bargaining is for the purpose of establishing an initial agreement following certification or recognition, the provisions of subsection (d) shall be modified as follows:

(1) Not later than 10 days after receiving a written request for collective bargaining from an individual or labor organization that has been newly organized or certified as a representative as defined in section 9(a), or within such further period as the parties agree upon, the parties shall meet and commence to bargain collectively and shall make every reasonable effort to conclude and sign a collective bargaining agreement.

(2) If after the expiration of the 90-day period beginning on the date on which bargaining is commenced, or such additional period as the parties may agree upon, the parties have failed to reach an agreement, either party may notify the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service of the existence of a dispute and request mediation. Whenever such a request is received, it shall be the duty of the Service promptly to put itself in communication with the parties and to use its best efforts, by mediation and conciliation, to bring them to agreement.

(3) If after the expiration of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the request for mediation is made under paragraph (2), or such additional period as the parties may agree upon, the Service is not able to bring the parties to agreement by conciliation, the Service shall refer the dispute to an arbitration board established in accordance with such regulations as may be prescribed by the Service. The arbitration panel shall render a decision settling the dispute and such decision shall be binding upon the parties for a period of 2 years, unless amended during such period by written consent of the parties.

This isn't a particularly contentious provision. Employees simply don't receive any of the benefits of unionization until a contract is negotiated and in place. Even the Wall Street Journal opinion page really only objects to it on the basis that arbitrators don't work where the contract will be enforced, as though they will be so overwhelmed with their new-found power after the passage of EFCA that they'll start making rules that neither side wants.

Strengthening Enforcement vs. Intimidating Employers
The third major section of EFCA is the most technical. It modifies both the section on preventing unfair business practices and the section on offenses and penalties. Essentially, it does three things:

  • It adds some unfair employer practices (firing, threatening to fire, or otherwise coercing employees during the period of time that employees are seeking representation) to the list of practices that will be expeditiously investigated. Under current law, only acts by the union or employees would be given priority.

  • Provides for payment to an employee of two times the back pay denied to the employee due to such discrimination.

  • Adds a maximum $20,000 civil penalty against the employer who "willfully or repeatedly commits any unfair labor practice" during this time. Under current law, the only penalty provided for is $5,000 penalty for interfering with the action of the board.

That's it. These are the penalties that the Wall Street Journal is concerned constitute an unfair burden on employers. Expeditious investigation, back pay, and fairly small penalties for willfully breaking the law. Their objections are based on the fact that penalties against unions are not likewise strengthened. Missing from their discussion is the kind of illegal behavior on the part of companies that these penalties are meant to address:

Lack of meaningful enforcement results in pervasive lawlessness
Because labor law lacks any punitive sanctions - no fines, no loss of license, no possibility of prison time - employers are free to break the law with near-total impunity. Over the period of 2000-05, there were an average of just over 19,000 charges filed per year alleging employer violations of federal labor law; of these, 40% - or 8,500 cases per year - presented sufficiently strong evidence that the Labor Board either issued a complaint or oversaw an informal settlement between the parties (NLRB complaints are the equivalent of criminal indictments, and both complaints and settlements represent cases in which the Board judges a charge to have merit). While both unions and employers violate the law, the vast majority of charges stem from employer behavior. In 2004, for example, 88.5 percent of all complaints issued by the Board, and over 90 percent of all cases tried in hearings of the full Board, addressed illegal behavior by employers.

The most egregious form of illegal behavior is the firing, suspension, or demotion of employees. On average over the past 10 years, nearly 23,000 workers per year received backpay from employers after accusing them of violating labor law - and this only includes the cases adjudicated to the point that employers were forced to provide backpay to their victims.

While the regularity with which pro-union employees suffer financial punishment is shocking, it is often only the tip of the iceberg of illegal employer behavior. Much of this employer behavior remains hidden from legal authorities. But a glimpse into such practices was provided in 2004, when a South Carolina manufacturer sued Jackson Lewis - one of the country's preeminent labor law firms - for advising illegal tactics in "a relentless and unlawful campaign to oust the union." These included spying on workers, firing union activists, organizing a bogus "employee" anti-union committee, writing supposedly employee-authored fliers calling union activists "trailer trash" and "dog woman," and supplying cash-filled envelopes to anti-union employees. What was unusual about this case is not the tactics employed, but simply that the internal tension between the company and its attorneys led to a public record of management's tactics.

The information above is from a report titled Neither Free Nor Fair: The Subversion of Democracy Under NLRB Elections. While I've talked above about what EFCA does and doesn't do, this report is one of the best recommendations for its passage that I've seen. There are specific, very large problems in the current process by which employees are able to elect union representation.

EFCA, contrary to what its critics would have you believe, is a targeted response to those problems. The provisions I've listed are all of the bill. When you hear someone tell you that this bill does something I haven't listed above, they're lying to you. Ask them to tell you what part of the bill does what they're saying it does.

Then ask yourself what they get out of the current system--a higher profit margin carved out of employee wages and benefits? The ability to continue to coerce their employees without penalty? A position of power from which they can continue to lie, to their employees and to you? There has to be a reason. They're certainly paying enough for the privilege.

If you haven't gotten enough of the lies surrounding. EFCA, Dean Baker at TPMCafe takes another one apart. This is the highly cherry-picked data that says unionization costs jobs.

March 14, 2009

My Friends Are Odd

They go out and find things like this--the outtakes from Elmo's interview with Ricky Gervais. Like, on purpose.

Atheists Talk--The Debate

America Losing Religion--And Morality?
Atheists Talk #0061, Sunday, March 15, 2009

On this week’s show we’re going to try something different. We’ll have a discussion between an atheist and a Christian about the current state of morality in this country. Is the decline of religion really leading to a loss of moral values, as the Religious Right claims? Is America going to hell in a handbasket? Join us for what promises to be a lively debate between August Berkshire, past president of Minnesota Atheists, and Robert Dull of The Pearlygate Network.

Produced by Minnesota Atheists. Directed and hosted by Mike Haubrich.

Podcast Coming Soon!
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Listen to AM 950 KTNF on Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call the studio at 952-946-6205 or email us at

March 13, 2009

File Under Irony

...of the particularly painful sort.

AARP To Stop Matching 401(k) Contributions

Anybody want to ask me how much I love, not just dealing with this economy, but having to pay attention to it?

Wake Up

Yesterday morning, I got up, took a shower, drank my orange juice, and went back to bed. I slept another six hours. It was good for me, but it wasn't something I can do again today. So today I'll turn to a little Stromkern to get me going.

Stand Up

Now the people in the front, let me see those hands up. Stand up and demand some answers.

March 11, 2009

Changing Minds

Sheril at The Intersection is asking where the women with big, world-changing ideas are. JLK at Pieces of Me wants to know where the psychologists are who made a difference in the world. I can answer them both in one person, Elizabeth Loftus.

Even if you're not in psychology, there's a fair chance you've heard of Loftus. She's known as a skeptic, and her work has enough real-world implications that she makes the news fairly frequently.

If you are in psychology and you don't know who she is...well, I don't know what to do with you.

Loftus has been researching memory for somewhere around forty years. She started out by doing what everyone around that time was doing, studying storage and retrieval, classification and chunking--the nuts and bolts of memory of items. Then she started asking the kind of questions JLK is now.

All this time, Loftus had been working seven days a week on yellow fruits: specifically, she was studying how the mind classifies and remembers information. In the early seventies, she began to reevaluate her direction. "I wanted my work to make a difference in people's lives." She asked herself, "What do I talk about when I have no other reason to be talking?" An impassioned conversation about a man who'd been convicted after killing someone in self-defense suggested the answer. Perhaps she could combine her interest in memory with her fascination with crime by looking at eyewitness accounts.

Loftus obtained a grant to show people films of accidents and crimes and test their memory of such events. Thus the study of eyewitness testimony was born, a field she can literally claim as her own. At that time the world believed that eyewitness testimony was as reliable as a video camera. Loftus found that just the questions interviewers asked, and even the specific words they used, significantly influenced memory. "How fast were the two cars going when they hit each other?" will elicit slower estimates than "...when they smashed each other?"

Merely by careful questioning, Loftus could cause subjects to remember stop signs as yield signs, or place nonexistent barns in empty fields. Subsequent research has shown that violent events decrease the accuracy of memory: in fact, memory is weakest at both low (boredom, sleepiness) and high (stress, trauma) levels of arousal. The bottom line? Memory is fragile, suggestible, and can easily decay over time.

In other words, she started studying how memory works in real life, with real complications. In the process, she completely changed how we think about memory. She also changed police procedures and how trials are conducted. She created a great deal of upheaval, for which she's probably still not well liked, but she set us on the path to understanding the science behind at least one part of the law.

In the eighties, another kind of memory started hitting courtrooms--recovered memory of sexual abuse, sometimes of organized ritual abuse. Loftus paid attention.

We live in a strange and precarious time that resembles at its heart the hysteria and superstitious fervor of the witch trials of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Men and women are being accused, tried, and convicted with no proof or evidence of guilt other than the word of the accuser. Even when the accusations involve numerous perpetrators, inflicting grievous wounds over many years, even decades, the accuser's pointing finger of blame is enough to make believers of judges and juries. Individuals are being imprisoned on the "evidence" provided by memories that come back in dreams and flashbacks -- memories that did not exist until a person wandered into therapy and was asked point-blank, "Were you ever sexually abused as a child?" And then begins the process of excavating the "repressed" memories through invasive therapeutic techniques, such as age regression, guided visualization, trance writing, dream work, body work, and hypnosis.

Loftus had already seen how easy it was to change the details of memory by asking the right questions. Now she turned her attention to creating memories of events that never happened. We may not be surprised now that this can happen, and fairly easily, but much of that understanding is due to her work.

This was, of course, controversial.

She has been called a whore by a prosecutor in a courthouse hallway, assaulted by a passenger on an airplane shouting, "You're that woman!", and has occasionally required surveillance by plainclothes security guards at lectures.


Perhaps her voluminous mail says it best. One anonymous letter from an incest survivor concludes, "Please consider your work to be on the same level as those who deny the existence of the extermination camps during WWII." Another, from a jailed minister accused of mass child molestation, begins, "Your dedication and compassion for the innocent have earned my deepest admiration." Yet another, from a confused therapy patient, reads: "For the past two years I have done little else but try to remember. I have been told that my unconscious will release the memories in its own time and in its own way...And I need to know if I am really remembering. The guessing has become unbearable."

Loftus has been challenged on the basis that she doesn't study traumatic memory formation in children. However, her work (and others') suggests that the use of leading questioning, hypnosis, descriptions of others' abuse and statements that a patient matches the profile of an abuse victim are all problematic forms of therapy that could potentially lead to false memories being created. Her work, once again, has practical implications for how we help others and society.

Wherever one falls on the controversies surrounding Loftus, she has dramatically changed our understanding of memory. She's done this in ways that have direct implications for achieving justice. In doing so, she's changed our world.

March 10, 2009

Some Conversations Are Gifts

...and must be preserved. I mean, you don't see sensical nonsense like this every day, not even among my friends.

Not quite every day.

March 09, 2009

Fry and Laurie

Home sick today and entertaining myself with Fry and Laurie on YouTube. Before I crawl back in bed for a nap, I thought I'd share a few skits. You know that House isn't the first time Laurie's played a doctor, right?

Or a nurse?

Or whatever the hell he is here?

March 08, 2009

A Eulogy in Food

In the beginning, she cooked for me. In the end, I cooked for her.

The food my grandmother cooked for me was the staples of the fifties, food from cans and boxes, but she made it work in a way I never did. Her au gratin potatoes were creamy and cheesy. Her casseroles didn't taste alike, even though cream of mushroom soup was the main ingredient of all of them. Jello salads behaved for her. None of this two inches of fruit on the top and none in the bottom.

The food I cooked for her was improvisational and made from scratch. A couple of ham and pork shoulder bones taking up room in the freezer. Turn them and the leek ends into stock and add...hmm, what have we got? We froze some of the ham. Potatoes, I think, for starch and onions and corn to add some sharp and sweet notes. A little paprika, just because. Call it soup.

She'd cooked for more than seventy years but always talked toward the end about all the new things she was eating. My grandfather said the same thing, but his tone was more of relief than wonder. For me, my grandmother's cooking was the comfort food of my childhood. Unlike a lot of food I ate as a kid, I don't hate it now. I miss it.

I'm going to miss her, too, even though we had about as much in common as our cooking styles would suggest. I'll miss the fidgeting and fussing. I'll miss the worrying about everyone and everything. I'll miss her never quite getting that the fact that we could take care of her meant we could take care of ourselves. I'll even miss her perpetual wonder that my husband and brothers cook just as well as I do.

I'll miss the cookies every Christmas, but I'm happy to know that they weren't store-bought cookies this last year. They were, sometimes, in recent years. This year, she found the energy somewhere. That consoles me almost as much as knowing it was one big stroke that took her, instead of all the tiny ones that got her mother.

Just over a day with some brief confusion but mostly unconsciousness. Knowing that helps. Knowing that my grandfather will need easy-to-prepare food in her absence helps a little more.

Time to go cook. It's a different kind of comfort food.

March 07, 2009

Atheists Talk--The Humanism of Star Trek

The Humanism of the Star Trek Universe: Scott Lohman and Robert Price
Atheists Talk #0060, Sunday March 8, 2009

Gene Roddenberry convinced the executives at Desilu Studios that a show about exploring space would appeal to a mass audience. They funded a weekly series for three beautiful years, and it turns out he was partially right. The show was not a ratings giant until it went into syndication and cartoons some five years after it had been canceled. From there it fostered a "Big Bang" of cultural infusion. Movies, fan fiction, spinoff series and "cons" exploded the concepts of Star Trek into our society.

Is it the underlying humanist message which infuses the Star Trek Universe that has led to its huge popularity as a cultural phenomenon? Robert Price and Scott Lohman will spend some time on our airwaves examining the issues of humanism in the Star Trek Universe and science fiction's role in teaching us about ourselves.

Produced by Minnesota Atheists. Directed by Mike Haubrich. Hosted by Stephanie Zvan. Interview by Scott Lohman.

Podcast Coming Soon!
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Listen to AM 950 KTNF on Sunday at 9 a.m. Central to hear Atheists Talk, produced by Minnesota Atheists. Stream live online. Call the studio at 952-946-6205 or email us at

March 06, 2009

Scribbling in the Margins

Ever have one of those days where you need to carefully swallow around your tonsils? Yeah, it's one of those. Oh, and my grandmother is in the ICU. Whee!

Luckily, I have prepared...something for you over at Quiche Moraine. I used to know what it was supposed to be, but I got sick, which shuts my brain down, before I finished it. As in, I completely forgot to link to it until Greg did. Did I mention whee?

Go tell me whether it still makes any sense, please.

Perfectionism is only one behavior that’s encouraged in art but needs to be set aside if the artist wants to be fully accepted in “polite society.” Artists need the obsessiveness to see a project through with little feedback (or despite feedback). They need enough pride to believe that their ideas are worth executing. They need to be mercurial enough to suit their thinking to a new and very different project from their last. They need to ask uncomfortable questions and set aside polite fictions. They need to be willing to upset people. They need to be willing to manipulate their audience.

In many ways, art is antisocial behavior.

March 05, 2009

The Short Form

This week has been hella busy, which starts to make micro-blogging look appealing. So I thought I'd spend just over a day tracking what kind of stuff I'd produce (admittedly noninteractively) if I were on Twitter.


  • I <3 Kai Ryssdal: "Bernanke gave us another whopper today." *That's* financial reporting.
  • 1st MN female wrestler at state: "Makes me sad that some of the boys don't want to wrestle me cause they don't want a girl to beat them."
  • A day without an iPod. How do I do that again?
  • Want me to be productive? Give me a computer that boots in less than 10 minutes and bandwidth to access all this data I have to deal with.
  • Spam titled "Greedings." How appropriate.
  • Apparently, hitting play on my iPod is how I signal getting back to work. I'm completely nonproductive without it. [twitch]
  • Mike, love you dearly, but please stop saying my name when I can't hear the rest of what you're talking about.
  • The Dawkins crowd makes me feel distinctly middle aged. Students, gray hair, very few people in between. And I think I know them all.
  • They got a kick-ass ASL interpreter for this. She's really into it and not more than a couple seconds behind.
  • How sad to be denied poetic language because someone has a vested interest in misunderstanding you.
  • First half of Dawkins' lecture was obviously a work in progress. Second half's much better. Might just be that he's talking subversion.
  • Click, click. Click, click, click go the connections in the brain. Not the ones Dawkins is aiming for, but oh, well.
  • Q: If we're this adaptable, can we adapt to seeing IR? A: The brain is the flexible part, silly. (Dawkins much more patient than I.)
  • Oh, these are baaad questions, mixed in with fanboy ramblings. Someone help us!
  • Heh. Questioner says, "You got science in my politics!" *Not* the same as politics in science, dude. Greg leans over. "Concern troll."
  • Yay! Finally met Amused Muse.
  • Ooh, and a 10-minute reboot this morning because an application closed and can't be reopened. May I please have a real computer?

Hmm. Yeah, the super short form might not be my long suit.

March 04, 2009

Too Good to Keep to Myself

I've given him almost a week, but DuWayne still hasn't posted this link to some of his music on his own blog, just in the comments on mine. So rather than assume he'll think to post it in the middle of travels and school, I'll just tell you myself: Go check it out.

The first one, which you are free to ignore, is only with us, because someone recorded the show where it was first played, thus the lyrics were actually captured. Unfortunately, it was rather popular with our friends, so I wasn't allowed to change it when we did the studio recording...
Good stuff, particularly the last two.

March 03, 2009

Why Sci Is Awesome, #276

"I want to send you something. What is your address?"

So I told her, her being Scicurious. She said it would come from The Devil's Panties, which I should go read, along with Girl Genius. Girl Genius I already read, and Devil's Panties is fun (though I'm nowhere near current yet). Now I was curious.

I refused to spoil the fun by going to the store and looking around, though, and I'm so glad I didn't. I wouldn't have laughed nearly as hard when I opened my mail yesterday.

Yes, those are playing cards of men in kilts being willingly assaulted with leafblowers. Really.

I sent Sci an email that was nothing but giggling. I'm still giggling today.

So, Sci, here's a picture from the last Scotland trip, just for you. I think you'll recognize the guy in the middle.

Anybody needs me, I'll be sitting over there, playing solitaire and giggling.

March 02, 2009

Too Easy

A friend of mine posted this video on Facebook, a thirteen-year-old kid addressing this year's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He's even written a book. I was prepared to be impressed. And I was.

I was utterly blown away by the word salad.

Come on, people. Yeah, he's a cute kid. Yeah, he has poise. Yeah, he can throw the buzzwords around. But do you really not understand that there was not one bit of content to anything he said?

You want to know what's wrong with the "conservative" movement in this country? Try the fact that a thirteen-year-old on his way to an audition can engage an audience at the same intellectual level as the movement's professional thinkers.

Of course, the kid did do one thing better than all the adults at the conference. He left early. Smart boy.

Thanks, Laurie.

March 01, 2009

Two Copyrights Can Make a Wrong

Sham pulp culture buried in time
True pulp culture there to be plundered

I stopped by Pharyngula this morning, as I usually do on Sunday mornings, to see whether there were any questions for the radio show. There weren't, which was fine. We got more questions during the show than we could fit in.

What was at Pharyngula was a link to a feature-length animated movie by Nina Paley.

"Aha," I said to myself, "That's what she's been doing!"

I used to read Nina's Adventures (here's a fun one), and I missed their cheerful cynicism, so, discovering that she had a blog, I decided to play a little catch up.

I didn't find quite what I'd expected. Instead, I found another lesson in why the current U.S. copyright law hurts artists:

Even with the $50,000, I still may not be able to clear all the songs. So far only Warner-Chappell and EMI have informally agreed to those terms, but they haven’t issued contracts yet, and they can still change their minds for any reason. The rest of the rightsholders are under no obligation to agree. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, will they work with me or against me?

What's the big deal, right? Of course she has to clear copyright on the music in her movie. Well, yes, but the copyrights she's clearing are for 1920s jazz songs. The singer is dead, the writers are dead, but the corporations that now own the rights live on. And on and on.

For three years, Paley's been working to be able to distribute this film built around music older than anyone who's going to read this post. And so, another artist I admire is supporting


We pay our artists next to nothing to feed our minds and our hearts. How much can we afford to charge them for the materials they need to do it?

Jane Yolen (whose views on copyright I don't know), tells a story about a letter she received from an elementary student. This student had been assigned Jane's book Wizard's Hall and had noted several similarities between Wizard's Hall and the Harry Potter books. Indignant, the child asked the teacher whether J. K. Rowling was going to sue Jane for ripping off Harry Potter.

The teacher suggested the student look at the respective publication dates.


Now the student wanted to know whether Jane was going to sue J. K. Rowling.

Jane suggested, with the patient gentleness that is one of her charms, that if Rowling wanted to send her something for the idea, she wouldn't turn it down. But no, she wasn't going to sue.

She could, perhaps, have sued, but (back to my opinions) what would have been the point? Harry Potter wasn't terribly original, but that wasn't why kids loved it. In fact, kids adored some of the least original parts of the books: the magic wands, the lonely orphan, the staunch friendships, the classic British boarding school format, the rivalries, the rebellion. If Rowling had insisted that every part of her book had been untraceable in modern children's literature, would anyone have read it? And what would have happened to all those kids inspired to read had Jane sued?

If Harry Potter doesn't seal the argument against long copyrights for you, try reading Will Shetterly's fable, "The People Who Owned the Bible."

But when his Lulabelle ran off with a Bible salesman, Jimmy retired to one of his mansions and refused to let anyone print any more Bibles or use the Bible in any way that raised money.

The surviving churches sent delegates to Disney, begging them to get Congress to shorten the copyright period to put the KJV back in the public domain. But Disney had picked up the rights to a Restoration revenge tragedy that looked like a great vehicle for Britney Spears, so they made a counteroffer.

It's funny as hell, but how far is it really from what would happen?

Nina Paley could use your help to get this movie fully free from its copyright issues. You can go see whether you think its worth the help. She needs donations to pay off the record companies. She needs server space and bandwidth for distribution. She may still even need a lawyer. There's just one thing she's asking you not do.

Many more formats will be online by March 7th, the day Sita Sings the Blues airs on WNET TV (part of Reel 13 on March 7 at 10:45 pm). These will be higher resolution and free to copy and share. If you want a copy, please wait for the higher quality formats instead of capturing the very compressed streaming version. As the artist, I want the highest quality versions to circulate; it’d be sad if a super-compressed capture started torrenting first. Together, we can keep quality high!

So please don't distribute the film yourself--not yet.

So check beneath your fingernails
In between your toes
Right between your earlobes, darling,
That's where culture grows