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, September 04, 2009

Woefully Disturbing

Texas is pissing in the swimming pool of knowledge. And all too often (and distressingly), in the realm of textbooks, as goes Texas, so goes the nation:
Approved textbooks, the standards say, must teach the Texan student to "identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly, and the Moral Majority." No analogous liberal figures or groups are required, prompting protests from some legislators and committee members.
History is not made of parity between opposing points of view. The difference between teaching history and indoctrinating with propaganda is that teaching history addresses the trends and movements that we can see in retrospect by looking at reality; indoctrination depends on the presentation of positions we wish had more strength and recognition, but never achieved such with the passage or history.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Quote Of The Day

“I doubt that citizens like yourself could ever, under our democratic system, be provided with the universal degree of certainty, the confidence in their understanding of our problems, and the clear guidance from higher authority that you believe needed...Such unity is not only logical but indeed indispensable in a successful military organization, but in a democracy debate is the breath of life.”

- President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Feb. 10, 1959.
Just as he saw the Birchers as anathema to both his party and the small-d democratic rule of the nation, I suspect that Eisenhower would reel at the yearning toward authoritarianism in the US today, and the egregious vomitus being spewed by those who would pander to it (cf. Pat Buchanan, Bob McDonnell, Michele Bachmann, et al.). One can only hope that this is a momentary hump on the cycle of our national biorhythm, and not the beginning of a long-term trend.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Pathetic Corporate Non-Answer

In an interesting interview from Wired, the voice of the wireless industry avoids answering the question of why text messaging is so damn expensive compared to the costs associated with it for the carriers (i.e., nothing):
Think of where the pricing model was for wireless voice 10 years ago, where you paid for everything coming and going, and think of what has happened in last 10 years. It started out with bucket plans, then bigger bucket plans, then nights and weekends, then my friends and my faves, and then rollover minutes...And all of a sudden you are seeing all you can use voice and text for $45/month and all the voice, text and data for $99/month.

Twenty years ago, the average customer used their mobile phone for a little more than 100 minutes and paid $100 a month. Think of the innovation in that space.
Ummm....yeah. But the fact that there has been innovation doesn't negate the reality of wireless phone companies charging for something that costs them nothing. The conflation of lowered costs overall with the reality of text being overpriced doesn't change that, no matter how hard the Wireless Association spins.

The real answer? "We're capitalists. And you fools are willing to pay. So shut up and be happy with what little we give you, or we'll charge even more."

On a certain level, I'm OK with that. But I'd be more OK with it if the answer were gilded with just a hint of honesty.