About Me

My photo

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, April 17, 2009


As the world burns around us, just some random friday-ness:

1) after a few years of neglect, I have reinstated my 19th century pocket watch (a Swiss fake of a prestigious English maker) to good working order. Seems a tiny piece of grit had found its way into the works.

2) I have a twitter account, on which I have never posted a single update or "tweet." Remarkably, it already has three followers. I have renamed it to @FindInnerPeace, and hope that everyone seeking the enlightenment that can come with silent contemplation will add me to their lists.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I missed Governor Rick Perry announcing that Texas would be seceding from the Union in protest over the fascistic tax policy of President Obama. But somehow it doesn't surprise me. You can check out some of the apologistics from Tom DeLay here, and a concise reality-based summary of the possible future for an independent Texas Republic here.

And in the meanwhile, here are some Stupid Texas Images.

Sickening Legacies

I've just been reading some of the newly released torture memos. I am sick inside. The Bybee memo truly does read like some 1984-ish, totalitarian self-justification for the destruction of individuals (check out this post just as a starter). In particular, I am repelled by the application of the idea that since students underwent certain torture acts during their SERE training, and weren't permanently harmed, then using them on detainees like Zubaydeh would be equally harmless.

This is tantamount to justifying rape---because we all know that lots of people have rough sex every now and then, and don't seem to be damaged by the event.

As always, Andrew Sullivan is all over this topic. Also NYT, TPM, and Foreign Policy

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

And While We're On The Topic....

Straight from the ForeignPolicy blog, we have this very cool listing of pirate attacks, in real-time, from the ICC. Arrrgh!

Pirate Snark Done Right

In the wake of the recent heightened activity by the Somali pirates, this post over at FiveThirtyEight hits a high note:
The lack of traction in Obama's favorability scores defies both conventional wisdom and past history. In November 1718, for example, the capture of Blackbeard on orders from Virigina Colonial Governor Alexander Spotswood increased Spotswood's approval rating from 52 percent to 61 percent, according to polling conducted at that time by the Zogbee Importer of Fine Teas and Polling Companee.
Har har har.

But seriously, the pirate activity is a concern, as the pressure of the Somali failed state, the collapsed economy, and the lack of coordinated effort to end the practice by the global community finally starts to raise the stakes. I've already pointed to the likelihood of this issue complicating the actions of the US and the new administration, particularly with Middle East policy, here, and here. And now, with their direct attacks on US crews (and the implication that they tried to shoot down Congressman Payne's plane), it looks as though we've reached the start of the real New Barbary War.