Iowa? IOWA? Oh, no, NOT IOWA!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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I read a strange thing on the internet the other day.

Not much unusual there, you could do that every day.

This was a study that found that Americans’ attitudes about whether the US should intervene in Ukraine is correlated with their ability to find the country on the map.

And even more strangely  –  perhaps  –  it was the Americans who COULDN’T find the Ukraine on a map who were more in favor of intervention!

Apparently  –  and I kid you not  –  some of the respondents thought that the Ukraine was in Iowa.

maps Ukraine Iowa
Europe with Ukraine highlighted USA with Iowa highlighted

Unfortunately the guys that think out American foreign policy are these sorts of people. The kind who just don’t know what they are talking about. The kind of bureaucrats who rub Preparation H on their elbows  –  if you see what I mean!

Recent history proves this beyond all reasonable doubt.

To add insult to injury so to speak, these know nothings who advise the President on foreign matters try to spin every situation by telling everyone that, even though it has massive debt already and is effectively bankrupt, the US must still be the world’s policeman and uphold democracy.

The world according to America

Why?

What business is it of ours?

And if we are so hell bent on ensuring democracy exists throughout the world why aren’t we intervening in one of the biggest dictatorships of them all, Saudi Arabia which was also the home of most of the 9/11 terrorists and of course Bin Laden’s mother country? But no, lets attack Iraq and Afghanistan instead!

For more than half a century American foreign policy has been dictated by a mindless mantra that “if the Russians are for it, then we’re against it”.

The rights and wrongs of any particular situation are not analyzed or discussed. The facts are never examined. The truth is not even looked for.

That is why US foreign policy has been such a shambles throughout the world and will continue to be so until basically the people directing it wise up.

As for the Ukraine?

First of all it is NOT in Iowa.

Second, the US has spent (wasted) $5 billion and more during the past twenty years on “democratization” programs in Ukraine, including efforts from the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute and the National Endowment for Democracy.

Third, yes there were elements within the Ukraine who did not like being subservient to Russia, but what happened in the Ukraine was that a democratically elected president, Yanukovych, was overthrown in February in what amounted to a coup d’etat.

Students of history will remember what a funk America was in when the Russians started to “assist” Cuba way back in the early 1960s, yet they can’t understand why Russian leader Putin doesn’t want a fully nuclear armed Ukraine as anything other than an ally on his doorstep.

Why can they not see that the strategy of absorbing Ukraine into NATO and stationing missile defense systems there, is bound to piss the Russians off in exactly the same way as events in Cuba did for the Americans?

The fact is, of course, that they probably do see that. And they don’t care. The name of the game here is not upholding democracy at all. Such a laudable goal is only a smokescreen. The name of the game is to try to curtail Russia by having Ukrainian missiles pointed towards Moscow instead of Washington, or Washington’s allies.

It’s a game plan that Putin sees quite clearly. To think that he will sit back and not respond is just a fantasy. Let’s hope that the idiots in Washington don’t land us with yet another catastrophe.

With their past record I wouldn’t count on it though!

US-Foreign-Policy cartoon

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Twenty Questions – Are You Up For It?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Hi and welcome to another fasab quiz day.

If you know about history, geography, politics, technology, music, movies, cars and a lot of other stuff then you should do okay.

And as always, if you get stuck , you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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quiz 10

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Q.  1:  Who or what is a ‘FLOTUS’?

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Q.  2:  Most of you will have heard of the company called ‘3M’ but what do the three ‘M’s stand for?

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Q.  3:  Everyone has heard about the Titanic and probably seen at least one of the movies depicting its fateful inaugural voyage, but to which shipping line did the Titanic belong?

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Q.  4:  What waterway did Britain buy a share of in 1875?

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Q.  5:  In 1975 King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was assassinated by which male member of his family?

            a) son            b) grandson            c) nephew           d) father

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Q.  6:  What are the terms ‘Hi-Fi’ and ‘Wi-Fi’ abbreviations of? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q.  7:  In 1935, British engineer Robert Watson-Watt was working on a ‘death ray’ that would destroy enemy aircraft using radio waves. What did he invent instead?

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Q.  8:  General Leopoldo Galtieri was president of which South American country in 1981 and 1982?

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Q.  9:  When did the construction of the Berlin Wall begin and in what year was it demolished? (A point for each correct answer.)

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Q. 10:  What makes of car were featured in the following movies? (A point for each correct answer, and a bonus point if you get them all correct.)

            a)  Herbie, The Love Bug                                  b)  Back To The Future

            c)  Smokey And The Bandit                              d)  Bullitt

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Q. 11:  In which year did South Africa have its first all-race elections?

            a) 1990            b) 1992            c) 1994            d) 1996

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Q. 12:  One of the best television mini-series ever made was the western ‘Lonesome Dove’, but what were the names of the two lead characters and who were the actors who played them? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get all four names correct.)

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Q. 13:  Held by Cuban athlete Javier Sotomayor, what is the current Men’s High Jump World Record?

            a)  2.37 m             b)  2.39 m            c)  2.41 m            d)  2.45 m            e)  2.47 m

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Q. 14:  ‘Operation Barbarossa’ was the codename used by the Germans for their plans to invade which country in 1941?

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Q. 15:  What is considered to be the hottest desert in North America?  (A bonus point if you know in which State it is located.)

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Q. 16:  Who was ‘Mork’ and who was ‘Mindy’ in the hit TV sitcom ‘Mork & Mindy’ originally broadcast from 1978 until 1982 on ABC? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you can name both correctly.)

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Q. 17:  From which country did Norway secure its independence in 1905?

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Q. 18:  Approximately how many rifles did American factories produce during World War II?

           a)  1 million        b)  3 million        c)  5 million        d)  7 million       e)  9 million

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Q. 19:  It is the name of a hybrid between a mandarin and a sweet orange and Winston Churchill’s wife, what is it?

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Q. 20:  Who was ‘Talking To The Moon’ in 2011?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  Who or what is a ‘FLOTUS’?

A.  1:  FLOTUS is the First Lady Of The United States, or currently Mrs Obama.

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Q.  2:  Most of you will have heard of the company called ‘3M’ but what do the three ‘M’s stand for?

A.  2:  ‘3M’ is an abbreviation of ‘Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing’.

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Q.  3:  Everyone has heard about the Titanic and probably seen at least one of the movies depicting its fateful inaugural voyage, but to which shipping line did the Titanic belong?

A.  3:  The name is mentioned in the movies, it is the White Star Line.

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Q.  4:  What waterway did Britain buy a share of in 1875?

A.  4:  The Suez Canal.

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Q.  5:  In 1975 King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was assassinated by which male member of his family?

            a) son            b) grandson            c) nephew           d) father

A.  5:  Answer c) his nephew.

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Q.  6:  What are the terms ‘Hi-Fi’ and ‘Wi-Fi’ abbreviations of? (A point for each correct answer.)

A.  6:  ‘Hi-Fi’ and ‘Wi-Fi’ are abbreviations of ‘High Fidelity’ and ‘Wireless Fidelity’.

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Q.  7:  In 1935, British engineer Robert Watson-Watt was working on a ‘death ray’ that would destroy enemy aircraft using radio waves. What did he invent instead?

A.  7:  Robert Watson-Watt’s ‘death ray’ evolved into RADAR, otherwise known as ‘radio detection and ranging’.

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Q.  8:  General Leopoldo Galtieri was president of which South American country in 1981 and 1982?

A.  8:  Argentina.

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Q.  9:  When did the construction of the Berlin Wall begin and in what year was it demolished? (A point for each correct answer.)

A.  9:  Construction of the Berlin Wall began in 1961 (August 13th) and it was demolished in 1989.

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Q. 10:  What makes of car were featured in the following movies? (A point for each correct answer, and a bonus point if you get them all correct.)

            a)  Herbie, The Love Bug                                  b)  Back To The Future

            c)  Smokey And The Bandit                              d)  Bullitt

A. 10:  a) Herbie, The Love Bug featured a Volkswagen Beetle    

            b) Back To The Future featured a DeLorean DMC-12

            c)  Smokey And The Bandit featured a  Pontiac Trans Am

            d)  Bullitt featured a Ford Mustang GT fastback

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Q. 11:  In which year did South Africa have its first all-race elections?

            a) 1990            b) 1992            c) 1994            d) 1996

A. 11:  The correct answer is c) 1994.

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Q. 12:  One of the best television mini-series ever made was the western ‘Lonesome Dove’, but what were the names of the two lead characters and who were the actors who played them? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get all four names correct.)

A. 12:  The two lead characters in the Lonesome Dove TV miniseries were ‘Captain Augustus “Gus” McCrae’, played by Robert Duvall, and ‘Captain Woodrow F. Call’, played by Tommy Lee Jones.

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Q. 13:  Held by Cuban athlete Javier Sotomayor, what is the current Men’s High Jump World Record?

            a)  2.37 m             b)  2.39 m            c)  2.41 m            d)  2.45 m            e)  2.47 m

A. 13:  The correct answer is d) 2.45 m (8 ft 1/2 in), achieved in Salamanca, Spain on July 27th 1993.

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Q. 14:  ‘Operation Barbarossa’ was the codename used by the Germans for their plans to invade which country in 1941?

A. 14:  It was the codename for their plans to invade Russia.

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Q. 15:  What is considered to be the hottest desert in North America?  (A bonus point if you know in which State it is located.)

A. 15:  The Mojave Desert, located primarily in southeastern California is considered to be the hottest desert in North America.

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Q. 16:  Who was ‘Mork’ and who was ‘Mindy’ in the hit TV sitcom ‘Mork & Mindy’ originally broadcast from 1978 until 1982 on ABC? (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you can name both correctly.)

A. 16:  The series starred Robin Williams as Mork and Pam Dawber as Mindy McConnell.

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Q. 17:  From which country did Norway secure its independence in 1905?

A. 17:  Sweden.

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Q. 18:  Approximately how many rifles did American factories produce during World War II?

           a)  1 million        b)  3 million        c)  5 million        d)  7 million       e)  9 million

A. 18: The correct answer is d) approximately 7 million rifles were produced in American factories during WWII.

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Q. 19:  It is the name of a hybrid between a mandarin and a sweet orange and Winston Churchill’s wife, what is it?

A. 19:  Clementine.

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Q. 20:  Who was ‘Talking To The Moon’ in 2011?

A. 20:  Bruno Mars. Here he is……

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“So What Do you Think Of These?”, He Asked Quizzically!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Quiz day again folks.

Another random set of questions, some quite easy, others rather difficult and a couple of tricky ones thrown in for good measure.

But there’s no pass mark and no pressure so why not give them a go?

And, as usual, if you get stuck you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please, NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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Quiz 07

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Q.  1:  The name of which capital city is also contained in the title of a movie starring Frank Sinatra?

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Q.  2:  What was the surname (last name) and the nicknames of the father and son who controlled Haiti from 1957 to 1986? (A point for each correct answer, so three points up for grabs.)

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Q.  3:  On which mountain did Noah’s Ark come to rest as the Great Flood subsided?

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Q.  4:  Who was the biggest selling female singer in America in the 1990s?

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Q.  5:  There are many examples of countries in the world that are land-locked, that is surrounded by several other countries, but there are three countries that are completely surrounded by one other country only, a point for each that you can name and a bonus point if you can name all three.

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Q.  6:  Why was Louise Brown famous in 1978?

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Q.  7:  What is the longest river in Australia?

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Q.  8:  In which well known movie would you find the robot or android known as ‘Ash’?

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Q.  9:  In which country did the soup known as ‘Waterzooi’ originate?

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Q. 10:  Two South American countries have no coastline, name them. (A point for each.)

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Q. 11:  Who or what was ‘The African Queen’ in the movie of the same name?

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Q. 12:  What does the yummy breakfast treat ‘Eggs Benedict’ consist of?

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Q. 13:  Which Canadian newspaper magnate held important Government Offices in England during World War I and World War II?

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Q. 14:  Who played ‘Herman Munster’ in the long running CBS Sitcom?

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Q. 15:  Which former American President left behind an immortal souvenir – the teddy -which was named after him?

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Q. 16:  Orson Welles stated of him that his movie ‘The General’ was “the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made.” Of whom was he speaking?

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Q. 17:  According to Greek mythology whose box contained all the evils of the world?

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Q. 18:  He was born in Poland and emigrated to Palestine in 1906. He became the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Who was he?

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Q. 19:  Who wrote 2001 ‘A Space Odyssey’?

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Q. 20:  What is the name of the largest river in Saudi Arabia?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  The name of which capital city is also contained in the title of a movie starring Frank Sinatra?

A.  1:  Rome, Italy and the movie ‘Tony Rome’.

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Q.  2:  What was the surname (last name) and the nicknames of the father and son who controlled Haiti from 1957 to 1986? (A point for each correct answer, so three points up for grabs.)

A.  2:  Dr Francois Duvalier known as ‘Papa Doc’ (1957-1971) and his son Jean-Claude known as ‘Bébé Doc’ (1971-1986).

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Q.  3:  On which mountain did Noah’s Ark come to rest as the Great Flood subsided?

A.  3:  Mt. Ararat.

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Q.  4:  Who was the biggest selling female singer in America in the 1990s?

A.  4:  Mariah Carey.

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Q.  5:  There are many examples of countries in the world that are land-locked, that is surrounded by several other countries, but there are three countries that are completely surrounded by one other country only, a point for each that you can name and a bonus point if you can name all three.

A.  5:  Vatican City, and San Marino, both surrounded by Italy and  Lesotho surrounded by South Africa.

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Q.  6:  Why was Louise Brown famous in 1978?

A.  6:  She was the world’s first test-tube baby.

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Q.  7:  What is the longest river in Australia?

A.  7:  The Murray River

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Q.  8:  In which well known movie would you find the robot or android known as ‘Ash’?

A.  8:  ‘Ash’ was the robot/android in the movie ‘Alien’.

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Q.  9:  In which country did the soup known as ‘Waterzooi’ originate?

A.  9:  Belgium.

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Q. 10:  Two South American countries have no coastline, name them. (A point for each.)

A. 10:  Bolivia and Paraguay.

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Q. 11:  Who or what was ‘The African Queen’ in the movie of the same name?

A. 11:  ‘The African Queen’ was a boat.

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Q. 12:  What does the yummy breakfast treat ‘Eggs Benedict’ consist of?

A. 12:  ‘Eggs Benedict’ consists of two halves of an English muffin, topped with ham or bacon, poached eggs, and Hollandaise sauce.

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Q. 13:  Which Canadian newspaper magnate held important Government Offices in England during World War I and World War II?

A. 13:  Lord Beaverbrook.

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Q. 14:  Who played ‘Herman Munster’ in the long running CBS Sitcom?

A. 14:  Fred Gwynne.

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Q. 15:  Which former American President left behind an immortal souvenir – the teddy -which was named after him?

A. 15:  Theodore Roosevelt

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Q. 16:  Orson Welles stated of him that his movie ‘The General’ was “the greatest comedy ever made, the greatest Civil War film ever made, and perhaps the greatest film ever made.” Of whom was he speaking?

A. 16:  Joseph Frank “Buster” Keaton.

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Q. 17:  According to Greek mythology whose box contained all the evils of the world?

A. 17:  Pandora’s.

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Q. 18:  He was born in Poland and emigrated to Palestine in 1906. He became the first Prime Minister of the State of Israel. Who was he?

A. 18:  David Ben Gurion.

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Q. 19:  Who wrote 2001 ‘A Space Odyssey’?

A. 19:  Arthur C Clarke.

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Q. 20:  What is the name of the largest river in Saudi Arabia?

A. 20:  A bit of a tricky one to end with, there are no rivers in Saudi Arabia. Score a point if you said zero or none.

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Gas Bags And Gas Prices

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon

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Back at the end of July in a previous Sunday Sermon I wrote that:

“Troops are being sent to Syria and soon we’ll get bogged down in another mess that’s none of our business and will probably take many years and many lives to get us disentangled from – leaving behind chaos and confusion and a worse situation than the one we tried to fix.”

Obama-Peace-Prize

Of course it’s still being denied by Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama and his administration, but there is little doubt now that Syria is next on their war hit list and we are indeed about to be bogged down in another bloody mess.

Already naval and ground forces are being positioned, for example, the cruise missile laden USS Gravely, USS Ramage, USS Barry and USS Mahan are all in the eastern Mediterranean.

The only remaining part is to con-vince the American public, who do not want another Middle Eastern debacle, that they are wrong and that a strike on Syria is essential for their future well being.

chemical weapons

The pretext that is going to be used this time is ‘evidence’ of the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against the rebels. And the people that are being relied on to provide that ‘evidence’ are the very same people who provided false ‘evidence’ that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

Everyone now knows and accepts that the WMD excuse for getting embroiled in Iraq was a deliberate deceit – otherwise known as a ‘lie’ – so the track record of the ‘evidence’ providers is neither good nor credible.

Already government apologists are making statements about how Syria had “used them [chemical weapons] before”, which is untrue. UN investigators charged the rebels, not Assad’s government’s forces, with use of chemical weapons in Syria earlier this year. Strangely (or perhaps not) Obama did not feel such a moral necessity to send a missile or two towards the rebels, instead he gave them more support. 

Now add to that another good pinch of hypocrisy.

In fact make that two good pinches.

The first, because the rebellion now taking place within Syria would not have happened without the financial and military assistance of the US, along with Israel and Saudi Arabia. The hypocritical part of it all is that these three nations are in fact supporting people who, if successful, will become even more bitter enemies than the Assad regime.

And the second, because in an alleged effort to encourage ‘democracy’ in Syria, ‘democracy’ in America and Europe is being ignored.

For example, 64 percent of the French people have said they don’t want to get involved, but as in America the ‘people’ don’t have a say on the final outcome.

In Britain the Conservative Party Prime Minister David Cameron got a very embarrassing slap in the face in Parliament when he tried to emulate the lies of previous Prime Minister Tony Blair but lost a vote on military intervention in Syria. His spin doctors will be working overtime to cook up a good story for the next debate.

British Prime Minister David Cameron

And it is plain that the majority of ordinary Americans do not want the President they elected on the promise of getting their troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, plunging them into another conflict which could prove to be as bloody if not bloodier. So plain in fact that until late Friday Obama had planned bypassing Congress obviously trying to avoid a similar embarrassment to that which was suffered by British PM Cameron.

Think this time it will only be a few missiles and drones and that troops won’t be involved? After all Obama has said “We’re not considering any boots on the ground approach”.

Then you need to think again.

Sure, at the outset Obama will try to fool the public by limiting attacks to missile strikes, but these alone won’t be enough. Even in today’s high-tech world you can’t wage wars without those boots on the ground. And in those boots are brave, but misled men and women, some of whom will lose their lives or be maimed as a result.

Boots On The Ground Fallen Soldier

The doomsday pundits are saying that all this posturing and war mongering by Obama could spiral into something worse. Possibly even be the start of WW3. Unfortunately grandiose claims like these only serve to lessen the credibility of those who are arguing against another foreign intervention.

Putin seems to have more sense than Obama. The Russians have already made their mistake in Afghanistan and are unlikely to do it again. Even less do they want to start or become involved in, a major conflict – not at the moment anyway.

China has little interest in getting involved in a conflict in the middle east either. They will take the long view, and, as they did with Iraq, they will let the US waste billions more dollars blowing things down and building them up again and then they will step in and secure more oil supplies for themselves.  

If it does get down to the nitty gritty one possibility that is more realistic is that the conflict could spread to other nations within the Middle East.

Iran for example has a mutual assistance pact with Syria. It also knows it is next on the US hit list so the longer the US is focused on Syria the longer it will postpone an attack on itself. It is not beyond imagination therefore that Iran could send arms and even troops to assist Assad.

Neither is it unreasonable to imagine that, if missile strikes on Syria result in retaliatory Syrian missile attacks on Israel, Israeli troops will also be sent into Syrian territory, with US forces backing them up shortly thereafter.

That is boots on the ground, no matter what denials you currently hear.

However it pans out, two things are certain. ‘Evidence’ or no ‘evidence’ Uncle Sam will stick his nose in once again. And if it all goes pear shaped, as it most likely will, then UP is the only way your gasoline and heating oil prices will be heading.   

Happy winter!

gas and oil prices

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Oh No! Not Again!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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The Sunday Sermon.

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If you have read any of my previous entries in the politics section of this blog you will already be aware of my extremely low opinion of the intelligence of those in America who are in charge of foreign policy.

These idiots blunder about knowing little of history or tradition in other nations and make quick reaction judgments that are short sighted and that have continually come back to bite them on the ass.

Well, not them exactly, but the poor servicemen and women who are sent in to mop up their messes.

So what has got me ranting this time?

Only the fact that the morons in charge are currently negotiating what is being called ‘a groundbreaking agreement’ that will give American nuclear know-how to the country where Osama Bin Laden and the vast majority of the 9/11 terrorists came from.

Yes, Saudi Arabia.

Coat_of_arms_of_Saudi_Arabia

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The short-sighted US strategy is probably to assist an ally (an oil rich one, of course) to make it an unconquerable target for any of the other states in the area who have expansionist plans for the future.

Great – while the Saud family stay in control, or while a sensible member of the Saud family is in charge.

But what happens if, sometime down the road, the ruling dynasty is overthrown? Not an unknown occurrence in the Middle East. Or what happens if one day there is the equivalent of an ‘Osama’ in the Saud family just as there was in the Bin Laden family?

And what happened to all those non proliferation agreements designed to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of those incapable of handling them sensibly?

The last thing the Middle East needs is yet another country developing nuclear weapons capability. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that one out.

If the consequences were not so potentially tragic, it would be fun watching the political morons in Washington justifying going to war to take nuclear capability away from Iran, which at least holds democratic elections, yet at the same time giving nuclear capability to Saudi Arabia which is an undemocratic dictatorship.

Not even the most devout liberal could spin that one to make it sound good!

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Sunni or Shiite?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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You could perhaps be forgiven for thinking that the title indicated that today’s post is about the weather, but it isn’t. Instead I’m doing a Sunday Sermon (otherwise known as a rant) about things Middle Eastern.

It is a part of the world about which most of us know very little, but a place that has affected, and will affect, all our lives dramatically.

map-middle-east

If you listen to CNN or ABC or any of the other media outlets you would be left with the impression that what has been happening in the Middle East and the terrorist offshoots that it has spawned is solely a religious crusade by Muslims against all other religions, particularly the Christians and the Jews.

Granted that type of hatred does exist and is being fomented by demented Islamic clerics within the Muslim community both at home and abroad, but it is by no means the whole picture.

Just as there are many different sects within, for example, the Christian faith, there are different denominations within the Muslim faith also.

The latter consists of two main factions, the Sunnis and the Shiites, and a lot of what has been, and is happening in the Middle East has its roots in a sectarian conflict and power struggle between these two factions of Islam.

It’s always difficult, and a little bit dangerous, to try to sum up a long standing conflict in a couple of paragraphs, but basically what happened was that after the death of the Prophet Muhammad his followers split into two factions, those who accepted Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s father-in-law, as the rightful successor (the Sunnis) and those who believed that Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law, should be successor (the Shiites).

Rather than find common ground over the centuries the differences and bitterness remained and are still being played out throughout the Middle East today.

Syria, where the politicians seem hell bent on involving us next, is a prime example of this sectarian conflict. The Assads, who have been in power for over forty years, are Alawaites which is a branch of Shia Islam. Currently there is an attempt to overthrow the Assad regime by opposing forces that come from the Sunni faction.

The Sunnis comprise around three-quarters of the Syrian population, as opposed to about 12% to 15% for the Shias, and that will be used as justification for siding with the forces trying to overthrow Assad. The fact that Syria under Assad participated in the US-led Gulf War against Saddam Hussein in the 1990-91 Operation Desert Storm will be quietly forgotten, as will the fact that Hamas, regarded as a terrorist organization by most Western states including the US, Canada, and the EU, supports the Syrian Opposition.

However, the real reason that America and her allies will side with the Sunni faction has nothing to do with the lofty goal of establishing democracy in Syria. In fact it has very little to do with Syria at all, but everything to do with Saudi Arabia.

The ruling Sheiks and the vast majority of the population in Saudi Arabia are Sunni, but there is also a significant Shia population in the country and it contains Mecca and Medina, the two holiest cities of Islam, which are a focal point for all Muslims.

Are you getting the picture?

saudi oil well

If by chance Assad’s regime were to survive and perhaps emerge stronger than ever, some Western nations are afraid that it would give encouragement to those Shia and fundamentalist factions within Saudi Arabia to also create unrest there too, which in turn would have a devastating effect on oil supplies and oil prices and further damage the already weak economies in the West. 

It won’t work out as planned though. These things never do. Eventually there will be some kind of disruption within Saudi Arabia and the economic consequences will be felt worldwide.

But in the meantime that’s what Syria is really all about, according to me anyway. And until someone can come up with a better explanation I for one will not believe the claptrap from the politicians and their tame media front men.

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Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today The Number Is One Hundred And Fifty 150

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Time for another significant number factoid Friday.

Today the number is one hundred and fifty, 150.

These are just some of the things that are associated with that number.

Enjoy.

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One Hundred And Fifty  150

150.

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In religion

  • There are 150 Psalms in the Bible, the authorship of which is usually ascribed to King David, although scholars now believe that they are the work of several authors.
  • Psalm comes from the Greek psalmos, a song sung to a harp. Some ultra-orthodox Protestant sects (like the Free Church of Scotland) forbid the singing of any hymns that aren’t psalms.
  • The last Psalm in the Bible, Psalm 150, is perhaps the one most often set to music.

Psalm_150

  • The number of sons of Ulam, who were combat archers, in the Census of the men of Israel upon return from exile (I Chronicles 8:40)

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In mathematics

  • 150 is the sum of eight consecutive primes (7 + 11 + 13 + 17 + 19 + 23 + 29 + 31).
  • Given 150, the Mertens function returns 0.
  • In 150BC the Greek Stoic philosopher and polymath, Crates of Mallos, while laid up in Rome, staved off boredom by constructing the world’s first 3D globe. It showed four symmetrical land masses, separated by water and a central ocean.
  • The Professor’s cube is a 5 x 5 x 5 version of Rubik’s cube (which is 3 x 3 x 3). It has 150 coloured squares.

Professors_cube 

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In science

  • Steven Austad, a health researcher at the University of Texas, believes that children who are alive today could easily live to 150.
  • Based purely on body size, when compared with other mammals, humans shouldn’t live more than 30-40 years. But our large brain enables us to live in complex social groups that give us protection. The evidence is there in other species: solitary wasps have a lifespan of two weeks but social wasps live for three years.
  • In much the same way lions, which are sociable creatures, live longer than tigers, which are solitary. Austad is so sure that someone alive today will still be here in the year 2150 that he has placed a bet on it with a friend. Presumably he also believes that he will be around to collect.
  • The only animal currently capable of living for 150 years is the giant tortoise.

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  • Dunbar’s number
  • Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person.
  • Proponents assert that numbers larger than this generally require more restrictive rules, laws, and enforced norms to maintain a stable, cohesive group. It has been proposed to lie between 100 and 230, with a commonly used value of 150.
  • Dunbar’s number states the number of people one knows and keeps social contact with, and it does not include the number of people known personally with a ceased social relationship, nor people just generally known with a lack of persistent social relationship, a number which might be much higher and likely depends on long-term memory size.
  • Dunbar’s number was first proposed by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who theorized that “this limit is a direct function of relative neocortex size, and that this in turn limits group size … the limit imposed by neocortical processing capacity is simply on the number of individuals with whom a stable inter-personal relationship can be maintained.” On the periphery, the number also includes past colleagues such as high school friends with whom a person would want to reacquaint themself if they met again.

dunbar's number

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In space

  • The number of degrees in the quincunx astrological aspect explored by Johannes Kepler.

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In politics

  • The 150th country to join the United Nations was Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, on September 16, 1980;
  • United Nations Security Council Resolution 150 recommended to the General Assembly that the Republic of the Ivory Coast be admitted to membership in the United Nations;
  • European Union Council Regulation (EC) No 150/2003 of 21 January 2003 is regarding suspending import duties on certain weapons and military equipment;
  • US Congress Senate Bill 150 amends the federal criminal code to ban the import, sale, manufacture, transfer, or possession of a semiautomatic assault weapon, including  semiautomatic rifles, semiautomatic pistols, semiautomatic shotguns, etc., that can accept a detachable magazine and has any one of the following characteristics: (1) a pistol grip; (2) a forward grip; (3) a folding, telescoping, or detachable stock; (4) a grenade or rocket launcher; (5) a barrel shroud; or (6) a threaded barrel.

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In sport

  • In cricket 150 runs is a milestone for a batsman.
  • In Round 20 of the 2011 AFL season, Geelong inflicted the worst ever defeat on the Gold Coast Suns by 150 points.

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In books, music, movies and TV

  • Gibson Guitar Corp.
  • Gibson Guitar Corp. is an American maker of guitars and other instruments, now based in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Orville Gibson founded the company in 1902 as as “The Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co., Ltd.” in Kalamazoo, Michigan to make mandolin-family instruments.
  • Gibson invented archtop guitars by constructing the same type of carved, arched tops used on violins. By the 1930s, the company was also making flattop acoustic guitars, as well as one of the first commercially available hollow-body electric guitars, used and popularized by Charlie Christian.
  • It was bought by Chicago Musical Instruments in 1944, which was then acquired by the E.C.L. conglomerate that changed its name to Norlin Inc. This was seen as the beginning of an era of mismanagement.
  • Gibson sells guitars under a variety of brand names and built one of the world’s most iconic guitars, the Gibson Les Paul. Many Gibson instruments are among the most collectible guitars.
  • It has produced various models with the ’15 ‘ designation including:
  • Acoustic guitars J-150 Maple  L-150 Custom
  • Electric guitars ES-150  EM-150 Mandolin (1936-1971)
Gibson j-150
The Gibson J-150

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  • The song “30/30-150” by Stone Sour

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In transportation

  • Triumph Trident T150
  • Triumph Engineering Co Ltd was a British motorcycle manufacturing company, based originally in Coventry and then in Solihull at Meriden. A new company, Triumph Motorcycles Ltd based in Hinckley gained the name rights after the end of the company in the 1980s and is now one of the world’s major motorcycle manufacturers producing models like the Trident T150.

Triumph Trident T150

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  • Suzuki Raider 150
  • The Suzuki Raider 150 is one of the fastest motorcycles in the underbone category. It uses the 150 cc (9.2 cu in) DOHC four-valve single-cylinder oil-cooled Suzuki FXR150 engine, with a 6 speed transmission. The frame, rear swing arm, rear suspension, seat and front brakes are redesigned from the Suzuki FX125 chassis, making it more aerodynamic.
  • Its popularity in South East Asia, mainly in Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines, is due to the price of this bike—around US$1850 (90,000 to 92,001 pesos or around 16,500,001 rupiah in Indonesia).
  • Also called the Suzuki Satria 150 in Indonesia.

Suzuki_Raider_150_Thailand

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  • Suzuki GS150R
  • The Suzuki GS150R is a 150cc bike from Suzuki Motorcycle India.
  • The Suzuki GS150R was launched on November 2008and marked the entry of Suzuki Motorcycle India into the highly competitive 150 cc segment of the Indian two wheelers market.
  • Suzuki Motorcycle India states that the bike falls in between the two classes of Indian 150 cc motorcycles, namely commuter class and premium class. The GS150R has a sixth gear for cruising on high-ways.

Suzuki GS150R

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  • Bajaj Pulsar 150
  • The Bajaj Pulsar is a motorcycle brand owned by Bajaj Auto in India. The two wheeler was developed by the product engineering division of Bajaj Auto in association with Tokyo R&D, and later with motorcycle designer Glynn Kerr. Currently there are five variants available, with engine capacities of 135 cc, 150 cc, 180 cc, 200 cc, and 220 cc.
  • With an average monthly sales of around 86,000 units in 2011, Pulsar claimed a 2011 market share of 47% in its segment. By April 2012, more than five million units of Pulsar were sold.
  • The Bike was named after the Nissan Pulsar from 1978 to 2007.

Bajaj-Pulsar-150

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  • Ford F-150
  • The F-Series is a series of full-size pickup trucks from Ford Motor Company which has been sold continuously for over six decades.
  • The most popular variant of the F-Series is the F-150.
  • It was the best-selling vehicle in the United States for 24 years, and the best-selling truck for 37 years. It was also the best selling vehicle in Canada, though this does not include combined sales of GM pickup trucks.
  • In the tenth generation of the F-series, the F-250 and F-350 changed body style in 1998 and joined the Super Duty series.

Ford-F-150

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  • Ford E-150
  • The Ford E-Series, formerly known as the Ford Econoline and Ford Club Wagon, is a line of full-size vans (both cargo and passenger) and truck chassis from the Ford Motor Company.
  • The line was introduced in 1961 as a compact van and its descendants are still produced today.
  • Although based on its own platform, since 1968, the E-Series has used many components from the F-Series line of pickup trucks.
  • The Econoline is manufactured solely at Ford’s Ohio Assembly plant in Avon Lake, Ohio—after the closure of the Lorain, Ohio plant in December 2005 and the consolidation of all production at Avon Lake.
  • As of the 2012 model year, the E-Series and the Transit Connect compact MPV (which debuted for the 2010 model year) are the only vans in the Ford lineup in North America.
  • The Ford E-Series currently holds 79.6% of the full-size van market in the United States and since 1980, it has been the best selling American full-sized van.
  • Ninety-five percent of van sales are to commercial or fleet-end users, about half are cargo vans.
  • In early 2007, the E-Series was listed by Autodata as one of the top 20 best-selling vehicles in the United States, most likely due to fleet sales.

Ford E-150 Van

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  • Mercedes Benz
  • Renowned German automotive manufacturer Mercedes Benz has produced several models with the150 designation including the Mercedes Benz A-150 and the Mercedes Benz B-150.

mercedes_benz_b_150

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  • Cesna C-150
  • The Cessna 150 is a typical example of the small piston-powered aircraft produced by the Cessna Aircraft Company, a general aviation aircraft manufacturing corporation headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, USA.
  • Cessna also produces business jets. The company is a subsidiary of the U.S. conglomerate Textron.

Cessna C-150

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  • Gulfstream G150
  • The Gulfstream G100, formerly known as the Astra SPX, is an Israel Aircraft Industries-manufactured twin-engine business jet, now produced for Gulfstream Aerospace.
  • Astra evolved from the Rockwell Jet Commander aircraft, for which IAI had purchased the manufacturing license in 1968, and the IAI Westwind. The Astra wing design was modified and with a completely new fuselage created the Galaxy (later the Gulfstream G200) business jet during the 1990s.
  • In September 2002 Gulfstream announced the improved G150, based on the G100. This new variant was due in 2005. It has been FAA certified for steep approach.
  • The United States Air Force designation for the G100 is C-38 Courier and it is used by the District of Columbia Air National Guard; by the United States Air Force with the 201st Airlift Squadron at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. The C-38 has replaced the earlier C-21 Learjet. The C-38 differs from the standard Gulfstream G100, featuring US military-grade GPS, Tactical Air Navigation, UHF and VHF secure command radio, and Identification friend or foe system

Gulfstream-G150

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In militaria

  • USS Blakeley (DD–150)
  • The second USS Blakeley (DD–150) was a Wickes-class destroyer in the United States Navy, named for Captain Johnston Blakeley.
  • Built in 1918, she saw patrol duty along the East Coast of the United States during the interwar era.
  • Decommissioned for several years, she returned to duty at the outset of World War II. She spent much of the war on convoy patrol duty in the Caribbean.
  • On 25 May 1942, while on patrol, she was struck by a torpedo fired by German submarine U-156, which blew off her forward 60 feet (18 m). Fitted with temporary measures, she steamed to Philadelphia Naval Yard where she was fitted with the forward section of sister ship USS Taylor.
  • She spent much of the rest of the war on convoy patrol duty before being sold for scrap in 1945.

USS Blakeley DD-150

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  • USS H-7 (SS-150)
  • USS H-7 (SS-150) was an H-class submarine that served in active duty with the United States Navy from 1918-1922.
  • The Imperial Russian Navy ordered 18 H-class submarines from the Electric Boat Company in 1915. Eleven were delivered, and served as the American Holland class submarines, but shipment of the final six was held up pending the outcome of the Russian Revolution of 1917, and the boats were stored in knockdown condition at Vancouver, British Columbia. All six were purchased by the U.S. Navy on 20 May 1918 and assembled at Puget Sound Navy Yard.
  • H-7 was launched on 17 October 1918 and commissioned on 24 October with Lieutenant Edmund A. Crenshaw in command.
  • The submarine, attached to Submarine Division 6 (SubDiv 6) and later to SubDiv 7, operated out of San Pedro, California, on various battle and training exercises with the other ships of her division. She also patrolled out of San Pedro with interruptions for overhaul at Mare Island.
  • H-7 reached Norfolk on 14 September 1922, having sailed from San Pedro on 25 July, and decommissioned there on 23 October. Her name was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on 26 February 1931. She was sold for scrapping on 28 November 1933.

USS_H-7_SS-150underway,_circa_1922

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  • USS Neunzer (DE-150)
  • USS Neunzer (DE-150) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She was named in honor of Machinist Weimar Edmund Neunzer, who was killed in action 2 July 1942 during the Aleutian Islands Campaign and was posthumously awarded the Air Medal.
  • Designed to take the place of fleet destroyers on convoy duty, the destroyer escorts proved their worth in long miles of steaming on escort and antisubmarine duties. Their efforts played a major role in defeating German submarine depredations at a time when the U-boats were threatening to cut Allied supply lines.

USS Neunzer DE150

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  • A-150 – The Batleship that never was.
  • Design A-150, also known as the Super Yamato class,[A 1] was an Imperial Japanese plan for a class of battleships. Begun in 1938–39, the design was mostly complete by 1941. However, so that a demand for other types of warships could be met, all work on Design A-150 was halted and no keels were laid.
  • Authors William H. Garzke and Robert O. Dulin have argued that Design A-150 would have been the “most powerful battleships in history” because of the massive size of their main battery of eight 510 mm (20 in) guns as well as numerous smaller caliber weapons

A-150 Battleship Super Yamato Class

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  • T-150 Tank
  • The T-150 is a Soviet tier 6 heavy tank and was a further development of the KV-1.
  • The vehicle weighed as much as 50 tons. The T-150 underwent trials in the first half of 1941.
  • A prototype fought in the battles for Leningrad, and became a basis for a modification of the KV-1 with reinforced armor.
  • Despite its name, the T-150 is an upgraded KV-1. It has the same chassis and turret, with some notable improvements. Additional armor has been added to the hull, a considerably more powerful engine is available, and perhaps most importantly, it can mount the 107 mm ZiS-6 gun

t150_tank

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  • Cadillac Gage Commando
  • The Cadillac Gage Commando is a 4×4 amphibious armored car built by the American firm Cadillac Gage.
  • The vehicle has been outfitted for many roles, including armored personnel carrier, ambulance, fire apparatus, anti-tank vehicle, and mortar carrier.
  • They saw service in the Vietnam war where it became known as the Duck, or the V.
  • It was also supplied to many American allies, including Lebanon and Saudi Arabia which used them in the first major ground engagement of the Persian Gulf War.
  • No longer produced, it has been largely replaced by the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle, which was developed as tougher alternative to up-armored Humvees.

Cadillac_Gage_V150_decoupe_USA_01

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  • M150 (PAM)
  • M150 Penetration Augmented Munition (PAM) is a portable explosive device developed for U.S. Army infantry units, especially for Special Operations Forces.
  • It is mainly used to destroy massive concrete structures like bridge piers or bunker walls.
  • Each device has a main high explosive charge and a two-stage, hole-drilling shaped charge.
  • It is regarded as a high-precision blasting device rather than a simple bomb.

m150-PAM

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  • M150 Rifle Combat Optic
  • Due to the lack of lethality of the M16 and M4 at the increased ranges encountered in Afghanistan but you can’t hit what you can’t see. One of the Army’s answers to this quandary is the M150 Rifle Combat Optic (RCO) which is is designed to increase the probability of a first-round hit at distances up to 600 meters.

M150 Rifle Combat Optic

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  • The Puckle gun
  • The Puckle gun (also known as the Defence gun) was invented in 1718 by James Puckle (1667–1724) a British inventor, lawyer and writer.
  • It is a tripod-mounted, single-barreled flintlock weapon fitted with a multi-shot revolving cylinder. It was intended for shipboard use to prevent boarding.
  • The barrel was 3 feet (0.91 m) long with a bore of 1.25 inches (32 mm). It had a pre-loaded cylinder which held 11 charges and could fire 63 shots in seven minutes—this at a time when the standard soldier’s musket could at best be loaded and fired three times per minute.
  • Puckle demonstrated two versions of the basic design: one, intended for use against Christian enemies, fired conventional round bullets, while the second variant, designed to be used against the Muslim Turks, fired square bullets. The square bullets were considered to be more damaging. They would, according to the patent, convince the Turks of the “benefits of Christian civilization.” The square bullets, however, were discontinued due to their unpredictable flight pattern.
  • The Puckle Gun drew few investors and never achieved mass production or sales to the British armed forces, mostly because British gunsmiths at the time could not easily make the weapon’s many complicated components.
  • One newspaper of the period sarcastically observed, following the business venture’s failure, that the gun has “only wounded those who hold shares therein”.

puckle-gun-150

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  • 150 couples
  • In the fourth century BC, the most feared squad of the Theban army was made up of 150 homo-sexual couples. They were called the Sacred Band of Thebes, and were established by Gorgidas in 378-BC.
  • His romantic idea was that lovers would fight more fiercely at each other’s sides than strangers. This notion proved highly successful until the Battle of Chaeronea (338-BC) when the Athenian-Theban army was overrun by Philip II of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great.

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Other Stuff

  • Cities located on Longtitude 150°W: Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska; and, Papeete, French Polynesia;
  • Cities located on Longtitude 150°E: Rockhampton, Queensland; and, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia; Magadan, Russia;
  • The world record for solving a Rubik’s cube is 7.08 seconds, held by 21-year-old Dutchman Erik Akkersdik, who has solved the puzzle with his feet in just 90 seconds;
  • The total number of Power Stars in Super Mario 64 DS for the Nintendo DS;
  • M-150 (energy drink), an energy drink from Thailand;

M150-2

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