Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Archive for September 2005

Catterall Pipes

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Something a little different today. A good friend of mine has been making pipes in his spare time for a while now, and has recently put up a webpage to showcase the work (and maybe sell a few). They’re really quite good as this picture attests: 

Check them out at Catterall Pipes.

Written by martinipundit

September 26, 2005 at 7:58 am

Posted in General

The Barbarism Continues

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Once again, a PSA for those who wonder what all the fuss is about. How about an amputation?

Nigerian Islamic judges have ordered that a teenager from Niger have his hand cut off after he confessed to stealing a motorbike, court officials said on Monday.

This is thought to be the first time that a foreign national has been sentenced to amputation since northern Nigeria began to reintroduce sharia, the strict Islamic legal code, in 1999.

Lawal Usman (19), from the Niger district of Maradi, was convicted under sharia law in the northern city of Katsina on Friday, court registrar Nasir Darma said.

A presiding judge at the Katsina Upper Sharia Court Three, Mustapha Sani Saulawa, ruled that Usman should have his right hand amputated at the wrist. The convict has 30 days to appeal the sentence.

This is justice in the Islamic world, along with stoning women to death for being raped, slicing off body parts for minor infractions, and prophylactic mutilation of young girls. It’s barbaric and we need to say so.

Written by martinipundit

September 20, 2005 at 8:45 am

Posted in GWOT

VDH Has Some Observations on the MSM

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The MSM hamster just cannot figure a way off the treadmill. Its need to hype every story, to exact the maximum dismay from every event, and to shiv Bush whenever possible are causing them to lose credibility with the American people at a rate which should have the suits upstairs very, very nervous. Victor Davis Hanson has observations:

New Orleans also confirmed how a 24/7 hyper media create and then deflate controversies of the day, from the Aruba embarrassment to Cindy Sheehan’s circus.

Thus reports of deaths changed by the hour — not by a magnitude of dozens, but by thousands. New alerts flashed that a toxic soup was nearly lethal to the touch even as we watched rescuers wade through it. We were assured that stagnant water would submerge the city for months, even as our screens showed dry, lighted streets, torrents pumped back out and pools evaporating under scorching heat.

Using its Iraqi template, the wired media’s one constant is not amazing human resilience but hyped gloom. Later corrections and downgrades seldom make the headlines like their past blaring inaccuracies.

For all the media’s efforts to turn the natural disaster of New Orleans into a racist nightmare, a death knell for one or the other political parties or an indictment of American culture at large, it was none of that at all. What we did endure instead were slick but poorly educated journalists, worried not about truth but about pre-empting their rivals with an ever-more-hysterical story, all in a fuzzy context of political correctness about race, the environment and the war.

Most journalists don’t have the depth or expertise to understand what they’re actually witnessing, and even if they did, the next story is coming so they need to be off. It’s like they’re addicted to tragedy, oblivious to their own decay as more and more of the American people turn away.

Written by martinipundit

September 16, 2005 at 8:21 am

Posted in MSM

Bad Idea

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Microsoft says its new version of Office will “anticipate needs.”

Bad idea. Microsoft Office has a history of substituting its judgment for that of the user – and consistently getting it wrong. Now Microsoft wants to enshrine this “bug” as a “feature?” Is there a bigger snake-oil salesman on the planet?

Written by martinipundit

September 14, 2005 at 8:24 am

Posted in Technology

Obnoxious Hurricane Quotes

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Rightwing News has a roundup of the twenty most obnoxious hurricane quotes. Many have already been proven downright wrong and not just disgusting.

Written by martinipundit

September 13, 2005 at 2:23 pm

Posted in MSM

Rating the President’s Leadership

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James Taranto takes a look at the President’s leadership at mid-term in a similar fashion to the excellent Presidential Leadership.

Ask someone to describe the presidency of George W. Bush, and “average” is not a word you’re likely to hear. Mr. Bush’s detractors treat him with a level of vituperation unseen since the days of Franklin D. Roosevelt; some even blame him for bad weather. His admirers don’t go so far as to credit him when the sun shines, but their affection for him is palpable.

So it may come as a surprise that in a new survey of scholars ranking the presidents, Mr. Bush finishes almost exactly in the middle of the pack. He ranks No. 19 out of 40, and he rates 3.01 on a 5-point scale, just a hair’s breadth above the middlemost possible figure. But this is no gentleman’s C. Mr. Bush’s rating is average because it is an average, of rankings given by 85 professors of history, politics, law and economics.

Go take a peek for somes perspective on how Bush might be viewed in the future, after time has softened some of the passions of the day.

Written by martinipundit

September 12, 2005 at 8:21 am

Posted in Leadership, Politics

When It’s not Good to Be Number One

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Boston is the nation’s most expensive city.

Propelled largely by high housing costs, Boston is now the most expensive metropolitan area in the country, outpacing Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and even New York City, according to a report that will be released today.

The report found that last year, a family of four living in the Boston area needed $64,656 to cover its basic needs. This was $6,000 more than in New York City, and about $7,000 more than in San Francisco. Living expenses, which include healthcare, child care, and other basic needs, were $44,000 or less in Austin, Texas; Chicago; Miami; and Raleigh, N.C.

In 2004, the median price of a single-family home in Greater Boston was $376,000, up 9.5 percent from 2003, the report says. The median price of a condo was $282,000, up 9.3 percent. Even though Massachusetts was the only state to lose population last year, prices continued to rise because demand is still higher than the supply of many types of housing.

This is not a good thing, and is one of the reasons people are leaving Massachusetts. (Embarrassment of John Kerry could be the other.) Apart from its ridiculous politics, the Hub remains a great place to live, but no one here is under any illusions about the cost. This is especially true for those without cars and who cannot go outside of Boston to purchase food and other necessities – there are very few supermarkets in the city itself and only the above-mentioned junior senator can afford to shop all the time in the local markets. The same holds true for things like gasoline, but no one can escape the housing costs. This is especially true in the desirable neighborhoods like the Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Brookline, the North End, and the South End. Nearby Cambridge is similarly expensive.

It’s not sustainable. Enormous numbers of students come to Boston every year to study – many of them stay. But fewer and fewer can afford to build lives here so they take what they’ve learned and apply it elsewhere. It is the same for many people who grow up here. Part of the problem is geographic – much of Boston is literally reclaimed from the sea. There’s not a lot of space left. But another problem is high property taxes, regulation by both the state and the city, and too much cronyism in City Hall. Boston is always going to be expensive, but this is no time to be proud of being number one.

Written by martinipundit

September 9, 2005 at 8:42 am

Posted in Boston

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