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, February 07, 2009


A great post on the state of the conservative political world in US politics of the moment. Take the time to read it through; it's worth the effort to see the multitude of voices that are brought into the discussion.


From Sullivan:
Obama did a great deal to try and bring Republicans on board and to allow for a to-and-fro; the GOP, for good or ill, had no interest in cooperating with the in-coming president. They too should be held accountable for this. If the bill fails to make a dent on the collapse of demand, and if it does end up hurting the US through even more debt, then the GOP will be able to make that point in the next election. But if it works, their opposition should be recalled.
Still, even now, the GOP plays tactics, while Obama plays strategy. And they miss the fact that we see what they are doing. The man behind the curtain is in plain view.

Of course, I'm still not sure what the hell congressional Democrats are doing.


I think that the critical issue is to maintain a sense of possibility, and optimism. Despite naysayers and game-players, despite machinations meant to leverage against others to promote some few to better political standing, there is still a possibility for movement forward, and toward a method of governance calculated to do more good than harm, and where the goal is not only personal gain, but betterment of the commonweal.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Can They Really Be This Cynical?

...And this destructive? We're talking about the GOP and their response to the stimulus package --- and for that matter, the Obama presidency at large. More and more, the word on the street is "Yes, They Can."

From TPM:
a successful Stimulus Bill would be devastating politically for the Republican party. And they know it. If the GOP successfully bottles this up or kills it with a death of a thousand cuts, Democrats will have a good argument amongst themselves that Republicans were responsible for creating the carnage that followed.
But that will just be grumbling amid the party. The real world effet will be the cancellation of whatever hope we have of breaking the current cycle of self-inflicted myopia and mess that is the result of the Bush Doctrine years.

Silver Lining?

I guess this is good news; it's better to forcefully urge a recantation of holocaust denial even after the fact than to mumble along in acquiescence.

Personally, I wonder what type of person engages in the denial of history, horrid or otherwise. And I wonder what type of religion generates such counter-intelligent paradigms for its followers to expound. This is not a criticism of Catholicism in general (a very different topic), but of the SSPX dudes, and the reactionary "traditionalism" that they seem to expound. Yet another example of how fuzzy the line can become between an urge toward tradition and an urge toward authoritarian ideology.

Kudos to Angela Merkel, who stood up and said what everyone else should have:
"This is not just a matter, in my opinion, for the Christian, Catholic and Jewish communities in Germany but the Pope and the Vatican should clarify unambiguously that there can be no denial"
Compare that to the less eloquent, though more succinct quote from the bishop in question, Richard Williamson:
"I believe there were no gas chambers."

In the end, I wonder how much a recantation matters for someone who has such clear beliefs....

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The backlash

Tom Daschle withdraws nomination in the face of his back taxes. This is sorry news.
Nancy Killefer does the same.

Are there enough people of saintly and untainted background (after more than a decade of "whatever you can get away with" attitudes) in government to fill the roles we (and the President) need? Personally, I doubt it. WDC has never been a haven for honest folk, and if we need a cabinet that smells like roses and nothing else, then we may just have effectively killed our opportunity for real change.

Personally, I'd like to see the tax reviews for Thune, and Boehner, and the entire GOP gaggle in congress, and see how many of them are found wanting.....

Monday, February 02, 2009


OK. So instead of having plenty of time to dawdle and dally, the photo show I was planning on handing this summer is suddenly going up this week. And now, everything I was planning on doing or thinking about doing has been pushed out of my forebrain by the need to try and get things framed and matted, figure out what is going where on the walls, printing up show cards, and all in the next couple of days. Ack! And I still haven't quite caught my breath from the flight back across the country!

In any case, I can't think about world news now at all, though it seems there was an election in Iraq (interesting), more bad financial news, continuing embarrassment for Tom Daschle and his Delinquent Tax Bill, and it would seem there is still no sign of peace in the Middle East.


I just spent the last two days in Manhattan, and once again I return from that city refreshed, enlivened, awed, and humbled. Even now, with so many of its people hurting, and the economics of life so volatile, and the repercussions of the crisis so widespread and deep, the city still maintains that electric energy of being New York: with its 8 millions bustling from door to door, the life on Lexington Avenue and in SoHo and coursing down 5th Avenue and streaming through the Park...New York is a marvel, and those who can manage to live the life it provides are lucky to experience it.

Me, I took my 45 hours of cold but sunny NYC time as best I could. Now I am back, and having read little or no news---having spent all my time catching up with friends and family---I now need to see what on earth is happening. As far as I can tell, the Steelers won (again), and California has stopped paying its bills. I'll try to catch up to the rest of it this afternoon.