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, July 23, 2010

RIP Daniel Schorr

Not only an amazing journalist and a respected figure, but a voice in my own life that, as part of the background of my knowledge and daily access to the news, will be sorely missed. His passing, however, provided the opportunity for Donald Ritchie, the congressional historian, to provide this summative quote on the current state of journalism:
"What passes for commentary today is almost all opinion," Ritchie said, "but Schorr was part of that breed of commentators who dug up information before they pontificated about it."
They grow fewer and fewer with the passing days, and we are inundated with Becks and Breitbarts and Hannitys.

The houses are all gone under the sea.
The dancers are all gone under the hill.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Why Am I not Concerned?

I received the following in an email this morning, from one of my NPO service organization lists:
"On May 17, 2010, the IRS began revoking tax-exempt status from nonprofits that failed to file three consecutive annual returns (Form 990-N, 990-EZ, 990, or 990-PF). As a result, as many as 300,000 nonprofits may lose their tax-exempt status, effectively shrinking the nonprofit sector by 25%."
I knew about this stronger enforcement already, but I found it interesting that this service organization was using a tone of "be afraid, be very afraid" --- not about the need to pay attention to your paperwork as a registered 501(c)(3) NPO, but that the sector was shrinking massively. Oh no!

To my mind this is probably a very good thing.

From my own experience in the NPO world, I think that the sector is unfortunately rife with mismanagement, self-perpetuating inefficiency, inappropriate qualification; and despite the many, many devoted and well-meaning individuals who dedicate themselves to the causes that many non-profits work toward, as well as the minority of incredibly impactful groups, it is a sector which to a significant degree is wildly ineffective at reaching its goals.

With the mindset of providing a space for everyone, and a vested interest in maintaining the status quo (if we were to solve world hunger, then what happens to the thousands of organizations based on the model of trying to feed the starving?), I think that a simple weeding out of those groups who are too disorganized or sloppy to file their correct papaerwork three years running isn't such a bad thing. In fact, it will likely have the positive impact on the NPO world of consolidating effort among those groups with the organizational skills necessary to not only provide for others, but to look after their own houses as well.

So in the end, 25% off a bloated industry sounds pretty good to me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

In Poor Taste

But...before loading a new pump into his heart, did Cheney's doctors consider the BP oil approach? A top kill"? Bottom kill? A junk shot, perhaps?

On the other hand, maybe BP could have done better hiring the former VPs doctors to do their damned work in the gulf to begin with....

NYT Headline: A New Pumping Device Brings Hope for Cheney