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.







Thursday, July 06, 2006

Conundrums

I know it seems counterintuitive, but I really am not sure this is good news: AP: Demand for organic food outstrips supply.

The article itself focuses on the turn to imported organics to fill the demand, which in itself can be a bizarre little un-greening process: a farmer in Chile grows organic fruit, which is then trucked by diesel to a shipping center, flown to your state, trucked again (or perhaps hauled by diesel train) to your town, and then again trucked in to market. Somehow the carbon footprint of those peaches is looking a lot worse than the effects of agrochem on the localized environment. Or at least not a great trade-off.

The other question I see is how an increase in "organics" can be effective without a significant change in the methods of farming in America to date. There is enormous pressure on the government to ease regulation and loosen the bounds of what can be labelled "organic" and that pressure is only increasing. If we have megafarms able to produce food with an organic label, it defeats the principle of the organics movement: good for the earth, sustainable, local, etc. If ConAgra can produce 3 million hectares of "organic" corn---perhaps with only 'minimal' chemical use---then we've lost the battle already to attempt to create an alternate, more healthy & sustainable agricultural process in this country.

I don't know if it is possible for organics to become fully mainstream, and still have a purpose. I hope that we can address this issue in some less than typically american fashion though. It would be a shame to lose what progress we've already achieved.
America The Asinine

It's nice to see that we are solving the wrong problem with the wrong solution, and thereby driving more people into the wrong bloc in our so-called war on terror.
"At another Western Union office, an executive who deals with security measures said about 1 percent of the store's 30,000 daily money transfers — about 300 a day — are delayed or blocked because of suspected terrorist links. Thus far, all have proven false, the executive said on condition of anonymity, because she wasn't permitted to speak to a reporter.

Western Union routinely delays or blocks transfers between customers whose names even partially match names on the Treasury list."
Talk about a new version of Driving While Black: now the two most common names in the Arab world mark you as a terrorist. Those 'partial matches' are Muhammad, and Ahmed. A bit like John and Jim in America. Thank heavens we have the Treasury Department and Western Union on top of this.

Western Union blocks Arab cash transfers.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Like Wow

So: North Korea sends up 7 missiles (all of which are pretty much duds when it comes to Big International Threats), and Ken Lay dies of a heart attack. I'm not sure if there's a connection, but it's one hell of a way to start the day.

On N. Korea, it would be nice if the media (and John Bolton) would drop the "it could possibly reach America" meme. A taepodong-2 missile reaching its utmost theoretical limit would put in on the edge of Alaska, and is about as likely as my achieving my full potential as a world-remowned lion tamer.

I mean, yeah, anything is possible, but let's get serious. So far Kim Jong Il has shown the capacity of his nation to obliterate it's neighbor to the South, and to likely cause some ugliness in Japan. And that's where we should be concerned, and where all our sound and fury should be directed. It is Japan leading the UNSC talks on this issue, as it should be. Not the US, not Bolton, not the hyperbole-mongers.

Oh yeah, and Ken Lay is still dead. Helluva way to avoid a jail sentence.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

"the sky will fall"

Things aren't improving. If Olmert is threatening action against or in Syria, things are bad.

In the meanwhile, things in Iraq aren't so hot either.

Happy Independence Day, everyone.
Olmert issues veiled threat against Syria

Monday, July 03, 2006

One Of Those Days.

A crack is found in the foam of the space shuttle; the launch is scrubbed and delayed. A wheel cracks on a train in Valencia, it derails and kills more than 30 people. Notes full of disappointment and dashed hopes come across my desk. Ultimatums are handed down and rejected in the Middle East. North Korea threatens all-out nuclear war if it is attacked.

I could link to all these stories, but I'm not going to today. I don't feel like it.

Yeah, just one of those days.