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.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Saturday Morning Thoughts

I've been seeing a lot of kerfuffle in the press and media in general over Ann Coulter these days. With her new book out (Godless), she is back on the attack, spouting her absurdities in the guise of analysis and pontification with the mean spirit and lack of sense that only she can muster---or at least, only she can muster with such panache.

My trouble with Coulter is not with her saying what she says: she can spout filth and hatred all the way to the bank; it's her right. What bothers me is that she is neither sincere in what she says, nor willing to admit that she is, in her own fashion, destroying much of what she claims to be upholding. I mean, if she claims a basis as a capital "C" Christian (as she does in Godless), and then goes on to condone and promote murder, repression, and hatemongering ("I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo;" "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' crème brulée;" "We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."), then there is little I can see that supports either her convictions or her arrogations as much more than cleverly contrived hot air.

I am heartened to see conservatives both inside and outside of politics distancing themselves from this sort of crap. To market hate and narrow-mindedness either from the Right or the Left may be profitable, but it is wantonly destructive to the goals of either side of the aisle, and the national fabric as a whole.

All in all I think it's a shame; Coulter is clearly very intelligent, and occasionally says things of value without tarnishing them with her arrogantly hateful rhetorical brush. If she were only willing to be more constructive, instead of merely selling herself as a pundit prostitute for the far right, the conservatives might have had a powerful spokesperson. Instead, she seems to fall into the camp of those in the Bush world who see the Constitution and the body politic as something to be circumvented, tricked, and eventually rendered obsolete, rather than a backbone providing strength to our ability to grow.

As it is, I can only hope that people continue to ignore her after a first glance, and that her books continue to fill the ultra-bargain bins at the local bookstore.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Adieu, Sandra Day O'Connor

And hello, Sam Alito.
"'The majority's 'substantial social costs' argument is an argument against the Fourth Amendment's exclusionary principle itself,' Breyer wrote. 'And it is an argument that this Court, until now, has consistently rejected.'"
Well, we didn't really need those 4th amendment rights anyway, right?

Court Eases 'No Knock' Search Ban.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Whole Foods management decided to immediately stop selling live lobsters and soft-shell crabs, saying they could not ensure the creatures are treated with respect and compassion."
Ok. I just can't feel very strongly on this. Maybe if we dropped live kittens into pots of boiling water and ate them for dinner. But even then, only maybe.

Perhaps once we start treating other humans with "respect and compassion" on a more regular basis, I'll feel like it's time to focus on invertebrate crustaceans...

Read it here: Whole Foods Bans Sale of Live Lobsters.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dull Day

I listened to the president's press conference in the Rose Garden this morning, after his return from the stealth trip to Baghdad. It's funny: since his polls have plummetted, and his administration gotten whipped a bit, he has started to sound (just slightly, ever so slightly) more like someone who is the leader of a country. Not just some nit who spouts soundbites and talking points repeatedly regardless of the questions raised. Oh, he still irks me, and it infuriates me to listen to him dodge questions by returning pat non-answers to issues that weren't even raised, but he seems a bit more....thoughtful now than in the past. I suppose that's a good thing, in the realm of better-late-than-never. And yet I wish there were more steak to go with the whisper of a sizzle...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Why I Voted Against This Measure

I'm not a gun fan. But I am even less a fan of the use of money and resources to battle voter measures which are solely for the purpose of making a gesture. Particularly when that gesture is questionable in its motivations and outcomes. The SF Gun Ban is one of those. It was clear on its proposal that it was potentially unconstitutional, that it would face massive challenges in court, and that even, in the end, if it did pass, it was effectively unenforceable. So why put it on the books? To let the world know that SF doesn't like handgun violence? I think they know already.

I don't want to even know what the city is spending in defense costs on these appeals....

SF will ask that ban on handguns be restored
More Good News

...At least for the likes of me, whose diet consists of a fine balance between coffee before noon, and alcohol after:
AP: Coffee may reduce risk of cirrhosis.

No charges for Rove in CIA leak case. That's the headline. And to celebrate, GW has taken a secret trip to Baghdad---now does that leave Dick Cheney in charge?

Monday, June 12, 2006

At the weekend, one top state department official called them a "good PR move to draw attention", while the camp commander said it was an "act of asymmetric warfare waged against us".

Maybe I'm alone here. But to call a prisoner suicide---in confinement, no bombs, no 'collateral damage,' just a self-hanging in a solitary cell---a "good PR move" and an "act of war" is both surreal and offensive. The Guantanamo suicides were many things, including self-serving. But to classify them as an act of war stretches the limits of my quite flexible imagination.

Read more: Suicides fuel more calls for closure of Guantanamo.