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, July 01, 2005

Knell of Doom

wasn't expecting this today: O'Connor Retires From Supreme Court

We've lost a swing vote. And now I wonder what thoughts run throught the Chief Justice's mind?

On the $35 Billion MBNA purchase, the only thing I can think of is BofA is banking on the continuing decline of the US economy: rising rates, rising debt, and no increase in balanced savings...

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Public Broadcasting Witch Hunt

Listening right now to the reporting on NPR of Tomlinson's secret analyst, who categorized CPB shows and speakers as "liberal", "conservative", and "anti-Bush/pro-Bush". This looks far worse than it did at first. From what I can tell, this smacks of McCarthy style intimidation. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.)was identified as a "liberal," due to his misgivings about Bush policies. The fact that there were more anti-Bush sentiments aired than pro-Bush is implied to be a final outcome in recommendations; but since most polls show that in certain areas there is a majority of Americans who disagree with the president, why is it worth noting that this is reflected in the media? Clearly, the hollerers are right: this appears to be an attempt, conscious or no, to make public broadcasting into a branch of the government propaganda machine.

What on earth are we coming to?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Funny Ha Ha

The NY Times reviews War of the Worlds, and provides this ratings tag:
"'War of the Worlds' is rated PG-13. Much of the earth's population is wiped out, leaving very little time for sex or bad language."
Tee hee hee.
Invocations of 9/11?: 6.
Invocations of WMD?: 0.

That's the score from the president's speech today. I have no comment worth printing. He said very little, and provided no insight beyond the brilliant notion that if we send enough troops to win the war, it will make the terrorists (a.k.a. Iraqi insurgents) think that we are going to stay forever, hence making them even more hateful toward us, and so prolong both the war and the Great Battle Of Our Time. According to "a senior advisor to the president", said CNN,
"This is World War III, and it's raging in Iraq."
'Nuff said.

Monday, June 27, 2005

He Said It Was For Personal Use..

I dunno. 70,000 doses of GHB is a lot of personal use. I mean, even on a less moral level, 70,000 doses is a lot of girls getting a mickey slipped in their drinks.

And with that in mind, this guy deserves whatever nastiness is in store for him.
By The Numbers

Some interesting figures are in the SF Chron today; they list some of the Governator's results financially from his rather lofty pledges, plans, and promises. While it is easy to bash a politician for neglecting campaign promises, when it comes to actual, on the ground actions, we usually expect that the items enacted tend to achieve a bit of what they intend. And with California steeped in debt, the need to raise revenue and cut costs is not a small item to be glossed over. So: what would the bar be set at for someone to claim "success?" For the sake of argument, let's just say that if a body proposed a program to cut costs, or raise funds, and that program achieved a success rate of more than, oh, 50%, then it could be considered a smashing success. Anything above that would be gravy. Sound good? Good.

Now, let's take a look at the numbers from today's paper:
Collection of federal funds due: proposed level? $50 Billion. Actual? About $1 Billion. Percent success? 2%.
Collection of tribal casino funds due: proposed level? $150-200 Million. Actual? About $18 Million. Percent success? 10%.
Government efficiency plans for purchasing goods (contained in the CA Performance Review): proposed level? $96 Million. Actual? About $4.9 Million. Percent success? 5%.
OK. Now keep in mind this ignores any plans that haven't been actually put into place; pipe dreams and blue sky are still just that. These are the figures of what's been done.

Success or failure? We report: you decide!

Imagine that your company's CFO has put in action a grand new scheme to increase profitability and productivity, and has proposed a number of radical innovations that project a ten-fold increase over two years. And after two years, you look at the books, and while there has been a lot of noise and upheaval, the books show that despite all that you have a flat growth rate, productivity is unchanged, and the CFO is still drawing an inflated salary based on the projections from 24 months ago. What do you do? Ok, ok, if you're an Enron, you give him a raise and put him on the board of directors. But in a sane world, you sack his sorry ass. Or at best, cut his pay and put a fire under him to change course and improve the state of things pronto.

Oh, for a sane world to live in.....
I Have A List...

So in a sign of good faith to the rest of the world, as we pursue potential nuclear powers and hound them, we are going to start production of the most toxic nuclear fuel known.

"'The real reason we're starting production is for national security'"

And somehow to me that response just smacks of the sort of lame excuse that will have us trying to cope with a similar announcement soon from Pakistan. And then what sort of security will we have found?
A Narrowly Defined Slice Of Sanity...

Commandments Barred at Courts but Not on Government Land