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.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Being Constructive

Hot off the wire at TPM, we have this tidbit on the GOPs "constructive" amendments, per Judd Gregg this morning:
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), known in the Senate as "Dr. No," has filed nine amendments to the reconciliation bill. One is a "bureaucrat cap," another is titled, "Congress Should Not Lecture Americans About Fiscal Responsibility," and one would send the bill back to committee until President Obama fulfills all his campaign promises.
Glad to see the loyal opposition being so....constructive.

As an aside though, I do love the title "Congress Should Not Lecture Americans About Fiscal Responsibility". If nothing else, it tells me that Senator Coburn may be pigheaded, but somewhere in that pig head he's got a sharp sense of humor.

Oh, Dear

Apparently, I spoke too soon. According to TPM, they really are looking to turn back the clock to 1913.

I think there is a word for this kind of silliness, it's on the tip of my tongue....

Just A Thought

Perhaps the present-day GOP should simply campaign against the primary tenets of social welfare as proposed by Theodore Roosevelt, rather than simply singling out his stand on the end of liberty as we know it universal health care:

  • National Health Insurance

  • Women's Suffrage

  • Safe Industrial Working Conditions

  • Representative Government

  • Child Labor Laws

  • Reductions in Corporate Power and Redistribution of Wealth

  • State's Rights

  • Strong Global Trade

  • Strong Federal Government

  • Ecology and Conservation

There's more, but that's plenty for now. And that was 1912, folks.

That commie bastard Teddy Roosevelt really was a number, wasn't he? So...since they've been fighting the good fight for a century now, why drop all those other worthy causes?

On the other hand, considering the Stupak block, the Tea Partiers, and they rhetoric of the last two months, maybe they haven't.....

Grassley Goes Janus

The NYT reports:
"Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, said on Monday that he would propose legislation requiring President Obama and White House officials obtain their health insurance through the government exchanges that will be established under the health care bill Mr. Obama is planning to sign on Tuesday....Mr. Grassley said, 'It’s only fair and logical that top administration officials, who fought so hard for passage of this overhaul of America’s health care system, experience it themselves.'"
For someone who has fought vociferously against letting anyone in the country have the healthcare coverage he himself receives through congress --- that would be federal government run health care, otherwise known as "the public option," "medicare for all" or "socialist armageddon" depending on who you talk to --- this is a bit two-faced for me.

Then again, the sort of disinformation being spewed by the GOP right now is a bit much in general.

I found it amusing this morning to hear Judd Gregg of New Hampshire characterizing the GOP strategy of blocking reconciliation as "trying to make the bill better" --- but as he tried to identify discrete items they would want to change, he had trouble. He was able to say they wanted to strip the bill of the mandate (not possible in reconciliation), and remove all new taxes (ditto), and then made some vague statements about protecting the concerns of the medical profession, and then started to sound discouraged. It's as though even the best spokespeople for the opposition can't maintain the facade of the current oppositional strategy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Now into reconciliation and more sausage making. But we are there. And while the 178 GOP representatives have their own issues to respond to now, there are 34 Democrats who are going to have some 'splainin' to do to their constituencies between now and November.

On a side note, if the GOP really thought passing this bill was so bad, I'd expect them to be a lot happier. But from what I can tell by what has come forth from the mouths of Rove and Boehner and Bachmann and Pence, they are feeling the cold hard truth of the Frum commentary I noted below.

They've screwed the pooch, and now they are having to eat it.

It Passes

The House has passed 216 yes votes.

Finally. We are there.

Lameness From The Right, Equally From The Left

The President of NOW has made a statement expressing her displeasure with president Obama's deal with the Stupak anti-abortion block:
The National Organization for Women is incensed that President Barack Obama agreed today to issue an executive order designed to appease a handful of anti-choice Democrats who have held up health care reform in an effort to restrict women’s access to abortion...President Obama campaigned as a pro-choice president, but his actions today suggest that his commitment to reproductive health care is shaky at best.
So, let me get this straight: despite most interests on the left, the entire Health Care project was ready to collapse on this point. The president made a deal that effectively reiterates that the law of the land is the law of the land --- it does not add to the existing burdens for elective abortion under the law, nor extend them, nor even promise to review them. It just admits they are there.

So Terry O'Neill is willing to throw away the health and lives of 31 million Americans because the President is signing an order that makes...no change at all in the status quo of available abortion? I fail to see the real downside here for NOW.

No, the language of the bill on abortion isn't great. The additional rider for coverage is far less than ideal. But so are the cost controls, and the medicare changes, and the structure of small business taxation. And we will have years to work that out.

Saying that this brands Obama as an "anti-choice" leader is as offensive and disingenuous as the trash talk we are getting from the Right.

A Brain Awakens

One conservative wakes up and realizes just how badly they have f--ed themselves:
Only, the hardliners overlooked a few key facts: Obama was elected with 53% of the vote, not Clinton’s 42%. The liberal block within the Democratic congressional caucus is bigger and stronger than it was in 1993-94. And of course the Democrats also remember their history, and also remember the consequences of their 1994 failure.

This time, when we went for all the marbles, we ended with none.

Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
Somehow, I doubt that David Frum will singlehandedly topple the Becks and Limbaughs (and Palins and Bachmanns) from the top of the heap of the Right.

More likely he'll take his blue pill, and go back to sleep with the rest of them.

This Sucks

While losing my hair and sleep over the passage of HCR this weekend (as of a moment ago, The Stupak anti-abortion block had signed on as yes votes, while GOP reps stood on the balcony, chanting with and egging on the anti-reform protestors who continue to show us the worst of our cultural tendencies), I thought that this was an interesting, if disheartening, distraction:
Do Green Products Make Us Better People is published in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science. Its authors, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, argue that people who wear what they call the "halo of green consumerism" are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal.
Yeah. If I think I am better than others, why should I have any compunction about treating them poorly?

Case in point: Washington, DC. The Capitol. Today.