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, November 05, 2010

The Meaning Of Democracy

On Tuesday, 171,000 people took to the polls, in order to exercise their right to vote, and to have a voice in the future of our communities, the state and the nation.

On Wednesday, more than 200,000 people took to the streets, in order to get drunk and shout loudly under a rain of confetti in celebration of our local baseball team winning the world series.

Yes, both matter. But somehow, I think that one matters more than the other.

And I'm afraid that The People™ don't entirely agree with me.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Quote of the Day

no amount of money or having the latest new media tools means anything if you don't have a message.
- Mindy Finn, Republican media consultant, on the demise of Meg Whitman. From the SF Chron.

Why Voting Matters (again)

Here in this hotbed of activist action, San Francisco:

Total population: 758,000

Total number registered voters: 465,181

Total votes cast on Tuesday: 171,271
That's less than a 37% turnout. In a profoundly political city. Now, imagine spreading that across the country, and imagine just how many people didn't bother.

In part, I blame the absurd "independent" / "conservative" / libertarian meme that your vote doesn't matter that has helped to propel the self-selective disenfranchisement we keep seeing. But then again, perhaps it is just part of the nihilistic self-absorbed zeitgeist of the Privileged People.

Why Voting Matters

By a 2-1 margin, voters yesterday were over the age of 55. Consider that, on two levels. First, that the sweeping youth vote which brought Obama to office two years ago was absent completely: those folks did not switch sides, they simply bailed out. Next, the overwhelming majority of those people who voted the new crop of so-called conservatives in to office are the very people who have been whipped into fear over the cuts in medicare built in to the new health care plan---which also is the first significant cost-cutting measure to be seen since before Bush was in office.

Think about that: the people who want government to spend less (except on their medical coverage) voted out the people who actually passed a law to allow the government to reduce spending, in order to increase spending on their own needs at the expense of their children, and their children's children.

Had the voters from 2008 come out in any proportion at all, we would be looking at a remarkable save from the brink of disaster for Democrats, rather than an historic wave of transformation for the GOP in the House. Had the White House crafted a method of communicating even half of what they have actually been able to accomplish from the 2008 agenda with any sense of heart and belly, we wouldn't spend the next two months listening to John Boehner mis-categorize yesterday's sweep as a mandate to repudiate the policies of the president, rather than a general lack of enthusiasm for the Democrats --- which, let's face it, is pretty much the other shoe dropping from the very similar lack of confidence in the GOP four years ago which brought in the historic Democratic majority.

Post Electoral Question

So, an opposition political party (in this case, the GOP), say that the proposed policies from the party on the far side of the aisle are bad bad bad, and so they will obstruct any attempt to get them passed. But...

We know that the undercurrent of these actions is to garner support for a future election (like yesterday's) in order to gain power. So labeling the opponents' ideas as "bad for the country" makes them heroes, because they kept evil from coming to pass.

But wouldn't it make more sense, if those policies really were bad, to let them pass?

See, if they are such bad policy, then the people will see how horrid the current guys in charge are, and will overwhelmingly vote for the "I told ya so" party. It would be self evident, and a helluva lot cheaper.

But they don't: not the GOP now, not either them nor dems ever. Which implies that they don't really think the policy is so bad. It implies that they don't really give a damn. At least not about anything but the politics, and short term gain.

*/End cynical rant/*

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I Love California

Even on election day, we can gin up a headline like this one:

Schwarzenegger bans welfare cards at psychics
I can see that this move will be controversial already. According to the article, the list of unacceptable businesses for state-issued welfare debit cards includes:

  • medical marijuana shops

  • Psychics

  • bail bond establishments

  • bingo halls

  • cruise ships

  • tattoo parlors

Still, I might argue against the last item. body art can have significant spiritual value.