About Me

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Armchair theorist, poet, and occasional IT manager, Sascha B. is equipped with a Master's Degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas, and is not afraid to use it. His work has been published by the University Press of America, Edwin Mellen Press, University of Texas Press, and a variety of small journals nationwide. He is also the proprietor and baker for 3141 Pie, of which you should eat many.

The Deal

I stopped blogging in 2013, when life overtook me. My father became ill and died shortly thereafter, and my mother was left with increasing dementia. I became the primary caregiver, and now orchestrate my mother's care and our family estate.

Now, I am coming up for air again.

Looking for the next book to read. All suggestions welcome.

My reading list is over here.







Friday, May 13, 2005

Media

I'm listening right now to the radio news talk about the problems with media coverage in the US right now. It's that fave topic of the day, the Media on Media. But what troubles me is not the solipsistic nature of the discussion; what troubles me is how clear it is that what they are discussing is true: the news media in the US right now have for the most part relinquished their duty as agitators of information, in return for free-market profit growth. When during a roundtable disccusion with students in Holland, the president of the United States begins to get asked very awkward and pertinent questions, that same president's crew escorts the media from the room, and then redacts the proceedings and all that followed from the published transcripts, and only a single media outlet mentions the fact (LA Times)---and none contest the action---we hav a sorry state of things.

When the British 'smoking gun' memo comes out the other day, showing that we were manipulating intelligence to fit proposed war policy for Iraq, and it gets slight notice, and none of that notice raises the call that if these are valid claims, that they are indeed potentially impeachable offenses, what the hell have we gotten to?

It's not about partisanship: it's about fostering the debate, and demanding that the government be accountable to us for its actions, and the appearance of its actions. When we lose accountability, we lose our ability to act as a Great Power.

What the hell are we doing? It almost makes me want to be a journalist, if only to make some noise so that a few people might think.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

What Bush Hath Wrought

Yeesh. What next? Josh Marshall caught this one moments ago; while Buchanan's rhetoric rarely surprises me in it's outrageousness, the idea that a) Hitler was "voted in" by the Germans, and that the war was effectively caused by the US and Britain, is so un-nuanced and unhistoric as to be frightening. (yes, Hitler was elected. by a minority. for a post that he quickly left to take the reins of government through manipulation.)

So the world as Bush and Buchanan see it today: Yalta was evil; The Nazis should have been left to conquer who and what they saw fit, and holocaust be damned; meddling do-gooders like FDR and Churchill should be left to the dustbin of history.

Newsday.com: WWII comments blasted
Additional Bolton Blather

Really, this is not a referendum on the UN, or on Bolton, even, at this point: it is a referendum on partisanship within the context of presidential nomination and congressional voting. Whether or not Bolton is approved, this will have an impact on the greater argument of whether or not a majority party in both executive and legislative branches 'deserves' the right to approve its own against the best intentions of the minority, and to quash dissent amid its own ranks for the sake of party unity.
Call Me Crazy

Ok. So everyone is bannering how Voinovich won't "block" a vote on Bolton on the floor; but how could he have done so? The committee is stacked 10-8, GOP to Dems, and with Voinovich at this point the only GOP dissenter, that gives a 9-9 vote. This doesn't do anything except remove a recommendation going to the House. It doesn't necessarily block a vote; to block the vote, the committee would have to vote Bolton down, or delay the vote again (a politically inexpedient action at this point). Some sample headlines:
Bolton Nomination Poised to Pass Committee: Voinovich to Vote to End Impasse, but Won't Endorse Controversial Nominee - Washington Post

Key Senator Criticizes Bolton but Agrees to Full Senate Vote - New York Times

Key senator to allow Senate vote on Bolton - Reuters

Voinovich Slams Bolton but OKs Senate Vote - AP

Voinovich Slams Bolton, but Calls for Floor Vote - LA Times
Now, I'd say with the possible glancing exception of AP and the LAT, all these headlines miss the point -- though all articles are direct in the reporting, which has next to nothing with the headlines. Voinovich is voting against Bolton, but is a firm party believer that a presidential nominee deserves a vote on the floor, up or down. Now I don't agree with that entirely, but that's another story.

The fact: Voinovich votes against recommendation, but sends Bolton to the House. That's all, folks. An embarassment, but that's all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Philip K. Dick Would Be So Pleased

This is one of the most intriguing and disturbing scientific advances I've read about in forever:
US robot builds copies of itself
Fascinating

An interesting shot across the bow by Tom Ridge. So John Ashcroft and Dick Cheney were raising our alert levels, not the HSA?

Ridge reveals clashes on alerts

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

How To Earn A Bonus

  1. Overcharge.
  2. Provide inadequate service.
  3. Avoid disclosure of accounting and practices.
  4. Cook your books.
  5. Fail to provide justification for failed actions.
  6. Make sure your ex-chief is the Vice President.

Read it and weep:
Halliburton gets $72 million bonus for work in Iraq
A Wilsonian By Any Other Name

Our president appears to once again be confusing the concepts of 'freedom', 'liberty', 'sovereignty' and 'self-determination':
Bush calls Georgia 'beacon of liberty'
It's a shame, because if he could clarify this stuff in his own mind---or the minds of his speech writers---we might have a clearer foreign policy wherein actions and ideology and pronouncement are more in line with one another. The mere fact that Georgia has thrown off a burgeoning corrupt tyranny does not necessitate their triumphal march toward 'liberty' as we know it. It merely shows them deep in the post-soviet throes of an attempt for wilsonian self-determination, and a reinvestment of their sovereignty. And that means that if the prez really does want to help them along, he'll need to take a more forceful stand on the status of Russia's still-extant military presence.


Sunday, May 08, 2005

My Quote For the Day

"History is bunk."
--Henry Ford

And by proxy, since it makes a good part of history as we read it, politics is bunk too.

That's all. If you want more, go here.