Posts Tagged ‘politics’

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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I’ve been saying it for a long time – and now the President of the United States agrees with me – he doesn’t know WTF he’s doing!

Obama on Syria - we don't have a strategy yet

I can’t say as I take much satisfaction from his admission though.

The US President is the most powerful man in the world and he has at his disposal the most powerful military organization in the world.

Yet he doesn’t know what to do with it, when to do it, or even who to aim it at!

A bit of it, belatedly and half-heartedly, is now pointing at ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria. Yes, you’re right, they are the very same Islamic terrorists he was funding for a while in Syria! He says he wasn’t, but in practice he was.

Confused?

You should be.

Because the Obama Administration certainly is!

Indeed Obama’s team of idiots have confused themselves to the degree that they don’t know what to do and are afraid to do it even if they did!

The situation is not being helped by the noise coming from the equally ill-informed politicians in the Republican camp either. Some cynics would say they are doing a lot of it with the November elections in mind!

Political Elephant and Donkey Cartoon

As I’ve said before on this blog, America has never been good at foreign policy. There are so many examples over the years to prove this beyond any and all doubt (Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, now Syria). But this latest debacle could turn out to be foreign policy failure on a grand scale.

This is simply down to the fact that, even yet, the Obama administration clearly does not understand the severity of the problem. They haven’t managed to process the long term threat that a well armed, well supported and well funded group like ISIS can become.

Everyone – except the President and his people apparently – knows that these terrorists will not be content even if they are allowed to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state in the Middle East. Their hatred of anything and everything in the West is total.

In fact, as we have seen in Iraq and Syria, their hatred even extends to fellow Muslims who they do not consider to be ‘militant enough’ and they have attacked and murdered them in just the same ways as they have attacked and murdered Christians.

In Syria, which is none of our business, the Obama team thought they wanted the Assad regime removed, and to get that done they thought they could support ISIS (or the anti-Assad fighters of whom ISIS were always destined to be a big part).

Now the US may well find itself on the same side as Assad in a fight against the terrorists. And that may be the crux of the US Administration’s problem. They made the wrong move, at the wrong time, in the wrong place, for all the wrong reasons and correcting the mistake will require a major volte face and sizeable portion of humble pie.

Are they big enough to swallow it?

We’ll see.   

humble-pie

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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A few weeks ago I wrote a post that I called “Why are the bureaucrats destroying what made America great?” (if you want to refer to it please click here

In it I posed the question as to why a self-defeating wealth-distributing philosophy is taking the place of the business-friendly environment that America is famed for and that made it the wealthiest nation on Earth. And why the bureaucrats are trying to make it increasingly more difficult and expensive for businesses to operate in the US rather than offering more incentives and encouragement.

drop business incentive programs

The example I gave in the previous post was the huge pharmaceutical corporation called AbbVie, which was relocating from Chicago, Illinois, to Europe and thereby effectively cutting its tax bill in half – a significant saving when you are generating billions of dollars in revenue each year.

Now the latest corporation to show its frustration with the way things are deteriorating in America is the Miami based fast food giant Burger King. It is currently in merger talks with Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons, in a deal that would allow Burger King to relocate out of the US with a view to trying to cut its “big whopper”  of a tax bill too.

Since the new company would be headquartered in Canada, Burger King would no longer be liable for punitive US taxes which are now regarded as the highest among developed economies.

It’s another high profile example of what is called an ‘inversion’ deal, a strategy that allows US firms to lower their tax bills by merging with a foreign company, and then relocating to the new country.

tim hortons logo

The Obama administration’s response has been predictable  –  cry foul, say it’s not fair, and tell these corporations to forget about the best strategy for their business and just wrap themselves in the Star Spangled Banner.

“My attitude,” the President declared in July, “is I don’t care if it’s legal — it’s wrong.”

It’s great to love your country, but it’s tough when the government of your country doesn’t love you back! And it will take more than bogus emotional claptrap to change the minds of hard-headed businessmen.

What Obama and his henchmen should be doing is asking themselves why it is happening and what THEY are doing wrong that makes these giant wealth creating corporations want to get out of America as fast as they can.

But they won’t do that.

That would make sense –  and sense is the last thing that the bureaucrats want to apply to any situation.

So they’ll continue to spend money they don’t have, on things the country can’t afford and probably doesn’t need, and then pass the bill on to the tax payers.

Their short term solution to these corporate inversion deals will be to try to legislate to make them illegal. Good luck with that, I have never seen legislation drafted by an idiot bureaucrat that a team of top corporate lawyers couldn’t drive a coach and horses through.

So rather than stopping the exodus, it’s more of a question of what will be the next corporation to leave???

drive a coach and horses through

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Around this time last month I wrote a post about the explosion of sub-prime credit for people seeking automobile loans they couldn’t afford. Here’s a link if you missed it – click here. 

They say that if you don’t learn from what happened in the past you are doomed to repeat it. And it is clear the banksters have learned nothing, mainly because the government was not man enough to teach them a lesson when they almost brought the country to its knees. Their greed was excused and rewarded, not punished in any meaningful and lasting way.

So now we have the auto loans credit explosion, which is another mini sub-prime disaster in the making. And again it is being egged on by the stupidity and greed of Wall Street who just can’t pass on the chance to reap big profits from those people silly enough to take their high interest loans.

greedy banksters

This time, however, it turns out some of the people in positions of power are beginning to recognize that this is becoming a big problem.

The regulators and prosecutors are starting to worry about the level of lending abuses. Not only that but they are also recognizing the similarities with the home loans fiasco that eventually resulted in the financial crisis.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has recently fined subprime auto lender First Investors Financial Services Group Inc. $2.75 million for knowingly providing inaccurate information to credit reporting agencies for at least three years. It was a “computer error” don’t you know, and, of course, they paid the fine but without admitting any liability – perish the thought!

It should come as no surprise that First Investors Financial Services Group is owned by a prominent New York private equity firm.

And like the mortgage sub-prime fraud, the banksters and other money men are not only screwing the people who take out the loans, but once again they are re-packaging them up as “good investments” for their richer clients too.

A United States attorney in Manhattan, has already begun an investigation into whether lenders have sold questionable auto-loan investments to investors, and has sent subpoenas to General Motors Financial and Santander Consumer USA, to try to find out whether the lenders fully disclosed to investors the creditworthiness of borrowers whose loans made up the complicated securities.

sub prime loans

Last time they got away with it. Will this time be any different? You have a lot more faith in the system than me if you think it will. All that is happening so far is tokenism. They need a lot more than a slap on the wrist.

In China or Vietnam and some other locations banksters committing fraud are stood up against a wall a shot. That’s maybe a little harsh, but at the very least some serious jail time is in order.

The fact is the banksters are doing it again because they think that they can get away with it again. And if they get away with it this time, then they’ll do it yet again in the future. All the time racking up fortunes for themselves and leaving the other poor sods, who didn’t know any better than to take out their loans or buy their toxic investments, a lot poorer.

the expendables

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Welcome to Quiz Day on the fasab blog.

Chocolate, yoghurt and a lot more make up today’s questions.

So why not pour yourself a cup of coffee too and have a go?

As usual, if you get stuck, you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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Q.  1:  What are the names of the two famous Star Wars robots?

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Q.  2:  How many muscles does your body use to balance itself when you are standing still?

            a)  100             b)  200             c)  300             d)  400              e)  500

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Q.  3:  What is the name of the largest and oldest chocolate company in the U.S.?

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Q.  4:  ‘tcby’ now means ‘The Country’s Best Yogurt’ but what did the letters ‘tcby’ originally stand for?

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Q.  5:  Who was the leader of the Macedonian Empire?

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Q.  6:  Time to rack up a lot of points, what were the names of the six principal actors in the long running hit TV series ‘Friends’?  (Bonus points if you can also correctly name the characters they played.)

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Q.  7:  What is the name generally used for the traditional curved blade Japanese sword?

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Q.  8:  Recently they seem to be trying to put it back up again, but in what year was the Fall of the Iron Curtain?

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Q.  9:  Approximately how many pieces of ‘space junk’ are orbiting around Earth?

            a) over 4,000          b) over 6,000          c) over 8,000         d) over 10,000

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Q. 10:  There’s a new one out this year, but how many ‘Planet Of The Apes’ based movies have there been? (Bonus points if you can name them and even more bonus points if know the years they were released.)

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Q. 11:  Which two rivers meet at Khartoum to make the Nile?

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Q. 12:  Who, in 2012, became the first person to break the sound barrier, unprotected and under his own power?

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Q. 13:  During World War II approximately how many tanks were produced by American factories?

            a)  59,000           b)  69,000           c)  79,000           d)  89,000           e)  99,000

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Q. 14:  Who is the current Prime Minister of Canada?

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Q. 15:  Isadora Duncan, known as the mother of modern dance, was killed in an unusual way, how?

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Q. 16:  What is the recommended standard recreational diving limit for ordinary divers?

            a)  20 meters              b)  30 meters              c)  40 meters              d)  50 meters

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Q. 17:  In Las Vegas, what is the name of the ancient Egyptian themed hotel with a pyramid shaped casino?

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Q. 18:  What was the name of the mythical Roman god of war?

 

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Q. 19:  Who was ‘Dr Frasier Crane’ and his brother ‘Dr Niles Crane’? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q. 20:  What musician is known as “The Boss” and what was the name of the band he played with? (A point for each correct answer.)

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  What are the names of the two famous Star Wars robots?

A.  1:  The two famous Star Wars robots are called 3CP0 and R2D2.

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Q.  2:  How many muscles does your body use to balance itself when you are standing still?

            a)  100             b)  200             c)  300             d)  400              e)  500

A.  2:  Your body uses 300 muscles to balance itself when you are standing still.

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Q.  3:  What is the name of the largest and oldest chocolate company in the U.S.?

A.  3:  The largest and oldest chocolate company in the U.S. is Hershey’s. Founded by Milton S. Hershey in 1894, this company produces over one billion pounds of chocolate products every year.

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Q.  4:  ‘tcby’ now means ‘The Country’s Best Yogurt’ but what did the letters ‘tcby’ originally stand for?

A.  4:  The letters ‘tcby’ originally stood for ‘This Can’t Be Yogurt’, but the name was changed after the company was sued by a rival company called ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt’.

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Q.  5:  Who was the leader of the Macedonian Empire?

A.  5:  Alexander the Great.

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Q.  6:  Time to rack up a lot of points, what were the names of the six principal actors in the long running hit TV series ‘Friends’?  (Bonus points if you can also correctly name the characters they played.)

A.  6:  The six ‘Friends’ were Jennifer Aniston as ‘Rachel Green'; Courteney Cox as Monica Geller; Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay; Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani; Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing; and David Schwimmer as Ross Geller.

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Q.  7:  What is the name generally used for the traditional curved blade Japanese sword?

A.  7:  The traditional curved blade Japanese sword is called a ‘Katana’.

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Q.  8:  Recently they seem to be trying to put it back up again, but in what year was the Fall of the Iron Curtain?

A.  8:  The Iron Curtain fell in 1989.

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Q.  9:  Approximately how many pieces of ‘space junk’ are orbiting around Earth?

            a) over 4,000          b) over 6,000          c) over 8,000         d) over 10,000

A.  9:  The correct answer is c) over 8,000.

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Q. 10:  There’s a new one out this year, but how many ‘Planet Of The Apes’ based movies have there been? (Bonus points if you can name them and even more bonus points if know the years they were released.)

A. 10:  There have been eight planet of the apes movies so far, ‘Planet of the Apes’ (1968); ‘Beneath the Planet of the Apes’ (1970); ‘Escape from the Planet of the Apes’ (1971); ‘Conquest of the Planet of the Apes’ (1972); ‘Battle for the Planet of the Apes’ (1973); ‘Planet of the Apes’ (2001); ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ (2011); and ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ (2014).

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Q. 11:  Which two rivers meet at Khartoum to make the Nile?

A. 11:  It’s easier than you think, the two rivers that meet at Khartoum to make the Nile are the White & Blue Niles.

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Q. 12:  Who, in 2012, became the first person to break the sound barrier, unprotected and under his own power?

A. 12:  Felix Baumgartner became the first person to break the sound barrier, unprotected and under his own power. In his record breaking stunt he reached speeds of up to 834 mph.

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Q. 13:  During World War II approximately how many tanks were produced by American factories?

            a)  59,000           b)  69,000           c)  79,000           d)  89,000           e)  99,000

A. 13:  The correct answer is d) 89,000.

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Q. 14:  Who is the current Prime Minister of Canada?

A. 14:  Stephen Harper.

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Q. 15:  Isadora Duncan, known as the mother of modern dance, was killed in an unusual way, how?

A. 15:  Isadora Duncan was pulled from the vehicle in which she was a passenger and violently slammed against the road when her long scarf got caught in the wheel. Her neck was broken and she died on impact.

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Q. 16:  What is the recommended standard recreational diving limit for ordinary divers?

            a)  20 meters              b)  30 meters              c)  40 meters              d)  50 meters

A. 16:  The correct answer is b) 30 Meters (98 feet), the average depth at which nitrogen narcosis symptoms begin to appear in adults.

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Q. 17:  In Las Vegas, what is the name of the ancient Egyptian themed hotel with a pyramid shaped casino?

A. 17:  It’s called the ‘Luxor’.

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Q. 18:  What was the name of the mythical Roman god of war?

A. 18:  Mars.

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Q. 19:  Who was ‘Dr Frasier Crane’ and his brother ‘Dr Niles Crane’? (A point for each correct answer.)

A. 19:  They were Kelsey Grammar and David Hyde Pierce from the wonderful hit TV sitcom ‘Frasier’.

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Q. 20:  What musician is known as “The Boss” and what was the name of the band he played with? (A point for each correct answer.)

A. 20:  In the music world “The Boss” is Bruce Sprigsteen and he played with the E Street Band.

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What A Flipping President – What A Flipping Mess!!

Posted: August 17, 2014 in Current Events, Politics, Rants, War
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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President Obama said in June that he would be prepared to “take targeted and precise military action” in Iraq, whatever that meant.

But it’s taken him two months to make the decision. Two months during which Islamist militants have swept through northern and western Iraq and are now threatening Christians in that country with religious conversion or death.

indecisive Obama

So far its not only too little too late, but half-hearted to boot, with Obama saying that the step was being taken to defend US personnel in the city of Irbil and protect religious minorities facing what he called a “potential act of genocide” from the Islamic State, the extremist group most recently known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

There doesn’t seem much “potential” about from the reports I am reading.

convert or die

It’s as if the President’s Administration and his advisors didn’t see it coming!

This belated decision is yet another turning point in the Obama administration’s dreadfully badly thought out foreign policy, which has seen his ratings plummet, both at home and in the eyes of the world.

Even now his administration’s goals remain unclear. For example, is this latest move a tactical decision, or a simple reaction to the consequences of failing to act sooner, or is there a strategy behind it?

I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone else knows, but I fear it is just the former. Sadly, a belated attempt to halt ISIS’s advance toward Irbil won’t be enough – and if I know that, why don’t Obama’s advisors?

Of course, on the other side of the political fence, rather predictably, some of the gung-ho Republicans, always spoiling for a fight (somewhere other than in the US), have quickly jumped on the bandwagon and tried to use this latest debacle to score political points against the President.

gung-ho GOPers

They have criticized Obama’s inaction in Syria and the failure to bolster moderate rebel forces there as contributing to ISIS’s growth. But hang on a moment GOPers, think it through before you speak (this will be new territory to most of them!). If the President had intervened (or rather, been allowed to intervene) in Syria he would have been intervening on the same side as ISIS, not against them.

Then we would have had an even more bewildering situation where US troops would have been fighting with ISIS (effectively) in Syria against Assad and at the same time fighting against ISIS in Iraq trying to stop their genocidal purge of the Christian community there.

It is this kind of utter confusion that has over the past few years greatly diminished America’s global influence and standing.

bush_wmd_cartoon.1

The mess that was left in Iraq after Bush’s invasion on the false premise (the lie) of WMDs, and Obama’s withdrawal of troops on the equally disingenuous premise (another lie) that they had brought peace to the country, is a disgrace.

And unfortunately it sends a message to the world that America is confused, indecisive, deceitful, short-sighted, blundering – in short all the things that you don’t want the world to think about you if you want to be taken seriously.

What a flipping mess!

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“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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It’s the quiz again.

Time to test your knowledge of a wide range of subjects including geography, history, politics, music, movies, sport… even space!

And a lot of muli-pointers to give you the chance of building up a good score.

As usual if you get stuct you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 5

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Q.  1: What side of the road do you drive on in Japan, is it on the right (like the USA) or on the left (like Britain)?

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Q.  2: Who won this year’s (2014) Gentlemans and Ladies Singles titles at the world famous Wimbledon Tennis Tournament in England? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get both correct.)

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Q.  3: What is the most distant human-made object from Earth?

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Q.  4: What is the automobile that began as a project between Swatch and Mercedes most commonly known as?

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Q.  5: In the days when countries took control of other nations and territories overseas they were called Empires. Which country at one time controlled the largest Empire in the world (in terms of land area)?

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Q.  6: There are twelve buttons on a touch tone phone. What two symbols bear no digits?

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Q.  7: In which branch of the armed forces did William Hitler, a nephew of Adolf Hitler, serve during World War II?

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Q.  8: One chocolate chip can give you enough energy to walk approximately how many feet?

            a)  50 feet        b)  100 feet          c)  150 feet          d)  200 feet

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Q.  9: Plus or minus ten, The Bahamas consists of approximately how many islands?

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Q.  10: How many ‘Terminator’ movies have there been to date (2014)? (Bonus points if you can name them and the year they were released.)

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Q.  11: Who were the magician duo, known for their magic with big cats, who became the most successful and best known entertainers in Las Vegas?

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Q.  12: How many US Presidents have been assassinated? (A bonus point for each that you can name and even more points if you know where the assassinations took place and the names of the assassins.)

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Q.  13: If you added the number of players in a basket ball team, the number of players in an American football team, the number of players in a soccer team and the number of players in a rugby union team, what would be the total?

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Q.  14: Famous as Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford, who was he?

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Q.  15: What is the collective name for the 26 self-governing districts into which Switzerland is divided?

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Q.  16: The month of August falls within which two Zodiac signs?

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Q.  17: What was the name of the unexpected hit TV series about an unlikely duo who cook methamphetamine?

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Q.  18: Who is the current Prime Minister of Israel?

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Q.  19: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited is currently owned by whom?

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Q.  20: What song by the group Queen made it to number 1 in the British charts twice, in 1976 and 1991?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1: What side of the road do you drive on in Japan, is it on the right (like the USA) or on the left (like Britain)?

A.  1: In Japan you must drive on the left side of the road.

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Q.  2: Who won this year’s (2014) Gentlemans and Ladies Singles titles at the world famous Wimbledon Tennis Tournament in England? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get both correct.)

A.  2: In the 2014 Wimbledon tennis tournament Novak Djokovic was the winner of the Gentlemen’s Singles and Petra Kvitova was the winner of the Ladies’ Singles.

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Q.  3: What is the most distant human-made object from Earth?

A.  3: The Voyager 1 spacecraft is the most distant human-made object from Earth.

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Q.  4: What is the automobile that began as a project between Swatch and Mercedes most commonly known as?

A.  4: It is called the “SMART car”, an abbreviation of its original code name, the Swatch & Mercedes Art Car.

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Q.  5: In the days when countries took control of other nations and territories overseas they were called Empires. Which country at one time controlled the largest Empire in the world (in terms of land area)?

A.  5: Britain, whose Empire at one stage was 33.2 million km2  (approximately 8.2 billion acres).

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Q.  6: There are twelve buttons on a touch tone phone. What two symbols bear no digits?

A.  6: The star *  and the hash #  buttons have no digits.

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Q.  7: In which branch of the armed forces did William Hitler, a nephew of Adolf Hitler, serve during World War II?

A.  7: Adolf Hitler’s nephew, William, served in the Navy during WWII – the U.S. Navy!

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Q.  8: One chocolate chip can give you enough energy to walk approximately how many feet?

            a)  50 feet        b)  100 feet          c)  150 feet          d)  200 feet

A.  8: The correct answer is c) 150 feet.

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Q.  9: Plus or minus ten, The Bahamas consists of approximately how many islands?

A.  9: The Bahamas consists of approximately 501 islands, give yourself a point if you said anything between 491 to 511.

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Q.  10: How many ‘Terminator’ movies have there been to date (2014)? (Bonus points if you can name them and the year they were released.)

A.  10: There have been four ‘Terminator’ movies to date (2014); they are ‘The Terminator’ (1984); ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ (1991);  ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’ (2003);  and, ‘Terminator Salvation’ (2009). A fifth Terminator movie is in post production scheduled for release in 2015.

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Q.  11: Who were the magician duo, known for their magic with big cats, who became the most successful and best known entertainers in Las Vegas?

A.  11: Siegfried and Roy.

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Q.  12: How many US Presidents have been assassinated? (A bonus point for each that you can name and even more points if you know where the assassinations took place and the names of the assassins.)

A.  12: Four US Presidents have been assassinated: Abraham Lincoln, in Washington, D.C., on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, by John Wilkes Booth; James A. Garfield, also in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, July 2, 1881, by Charles J. Guiteau; William McKinley, in Buffalo, New York, on Friday, September 6, 1901, by Leon Czolgosz; and John F. Kennedy, in Dallas, Texas, on Friday, November 22, 1963, by Lee Harvey Oswald.

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Q.  13: If you added the number of players in a basket ball team, the number of players in an American football team, the number of players in a soccer team and the number of players in a rugby union team, what would be the total?

A.  13: The answer is 42  (5 + 11 + 11 + 15).

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Q.  14: Famous as Bret Maverick and Jim Rockford, who was he?

A.  14: He was James Garner, who sadly passed away on July 19, 2014.

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Q.  15: What is the collective name for the 26 self-governing districts into which Switzerland is divided?

A.  15: They are called ‘Cantons’.

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Q.  16: The month of August falls within which two Zodiac signs?

A.  16: The zodiac signs for the month of August are Leo (until August 22) and Virgo (from August 23 onwards).

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Q.  17: What was the name of the unexpected hit TV series about an unlikely duo who cook methamphetamine?

A.  17: Breaking Bad. The show originally aired on the AMC network for five seasons, from January 20, 2008 to September 29, 2013.

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Q.  18: Who is the current Prime Minister of Israel?

A.  18: Benjamin Netanyahu. (No points deducted if you get the spelling wrong.)

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Q.  19: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited is currently owned by whom?

A.  19: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of BMW AG.

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Q.  20: What song by the group Queen made it to number 1 in the British charts twice, in 1976 and 1991?

A.  20: “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

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