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« All the World's a Game (or at least it should be) | Main | Why aid still won't work »

April 03, 2006

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England (pronounced ing-ger-lund) is widely regarded by people with a lesser intelligence as The United States’s little bitch puppet. It is the largest exporter of haters of Scotland and pakistan (due to brown friday). After brown friday when pakies raided airbases, stole choppers, and airlifted all of Englands call centers off to India, and as of 2006 the british public have had to learn pakistani if they want tech support with there internets, it didnt take long for the banks to follow suit and now Pakistani is Englands second language with gook following a close third and polish creeping in at fourth. british telecom thought it would be a wise idea to change there name to Bombay telecom. England was created in 1066 by the Satan himself, just after creating Marmite. England is (without question) the greatest country on earth as long as you aren’t fleeing opression or ethnic cleansing in your homeland or happen to be french, some would say its best to have no sense of smell as most corner shops are run by pakies that dont seem to be familiar with normal household products such as Cillit Bang!Motorbike games ¦
England is the only thing that has kept the hatred of the French alive, until the USA picked up the torch in 2003 now in 2007 Canada, Australia, Asia and most of Europe have joined there crusade to mock the french. Hating the French, or “Frog Bashing”, has been an English national pastime since the rout and slaughter of the French nobility at The Battle of Crecy in 1346 and Battle of Agincourt in 1415. England is also commonly believed to be a ficticious fantasy island inhabited by fraggles and gummi bears a few miles off the coast of Newfieland, Canada (aka Hoserland) by some americans that dont own passports. Contrary to popular belief, England was NOT struck by a gigantic Iceberg the white debris had in fact blown down from Scotlands dandruff problem. It remains the most populated floating object in the universe.Motorbike games ¦
The greatest practical joke ever played on the French by the British occurred in 1940. The French fleet was laying at anchor in Mers-el-Kebir, French North Africa (now Algeria) when elements of the Royal Navy Mediterranian Fleet blasted the crap out of them. Oh how DeGaulle and Churchill laughed about that in later years. Motorbike games ¦
The Roman Empire did not fall in a battle of war. There was no single big clash of arms that drove it to its knees. It was corroded from the inside. At one stage, the wealthy held so much gold coins that there was not enough currency to keep services to the public going. By keeping the money to themselves the wealthy had simply run the nation into the ground.
History is strewn with such examples. Has this now happened to the United States? Or is the US too big to fail?Motorbike games ¦
You have seen how a handful people were lucky enough to win a big lottery or hit that $1 million jackpot at a casino. (And you wished them happiness with their new wealth, of course.) How often have you wondered if it is worth playing the lotto or gambling? In short, what are the odds of winning?Motorbike games ¦
Calculating the odds
Wagering against a randomizing value is risky. It mostly is a game of chance but you can increase your chances of winning for instance at poker or blackjack by requiring some skill. It also will help if you educate yourself somewhat in probability theory. Unfortunately you won’t be able to cut a deal with the father of probability theory, Girolamo Cardano, who was a friend of Leonardo da Vinci, because he passed away in 1576. Even if you had such opportunity, Cardano, an ardent gambler, would probably have advised you to carefully consider Nicolaus Bernoulli’s St. Petersburg Paradox.Motorbike games ¦
The odds of winning your local lottery is around 18 million to 1, that is 18,000,000 to 1. The odds of winning Powerball can be as high as 50 million to 1 and higher. The odds of being struck by lightning is actually lower! (The odds of your government fixing the economy is much higher.) However, believe it or not, you have a bigger chance – odds as low as 100,000 to 1 – to win at the casino or online casino.Motorbike games ¦
Keep in mind that in most countries you do pay taxes on your winnings. In the United States you’ll pay 28% tax on your lottery pay-out and up to almost 40% when winning millions. Also keep in mind that you can deduct lottery and gambling losses.Motorbike games ¦
Good! May I play?
Of course you may! While the small number of Muslim-dominated countries with sharia law do not allow gambling, most countries allow gambling, playing the lotto or slot machines, either at casinos or online roulette, even in the United States.
If you’re American, please note the local laws on online playing because the exact legal situation with regards to US online casinos varies from state to state. But regardless of your home state, any law against online gambling affects the casinos and financial institutions and not the players themselves.Motorbike games ¦
Some people profiteered from the spill by charging BP outrageous rates for cleanup. Others profited from BP claims money, handed out in arbitrary ways. So many people cashed in that they earned nicknames — “spillionaires” or “BP rich.” Meanwhile, others hurt by the spill ended up getting comparatively little.Motorbike games ¦
In the end, BP’s attempt to make things right — spending more than $16 billion so far, mostly on claims of damage and cleanup — created new divisions and even new wrongs. Because the federal government ceded control over spill cleanup spending to BP, it’s impossible to know for certain what that money accomplished, or what exactly was done.Motorbike games ¦
Some inequities arose from the chaos that followed the April 20 spill. But in at least one corner of Louisiana, the dramatic differences can be traced in part to local powerbrokers. To show how the money flowed, ProPublica interviewed people who worked on the spill and examined records, including some reported earlier by the New Orleans Times-Picayune, for St. Bernard Parish, a coastal community about five miles southeast of downtown New Orleans.Motorbike games ¦
Documents show that local companies with ties to insiders garnered lucrative cleanup contracts and then charged BP for every imaginable expense. The prime cleanup company, which had a history of bad debts and no oil-spill experience, submitted bills with little documentation or none at all. A subcontractor charged BP $15,400 per month to rent a generator that usually cost $1,500 a month. A company owned in part by the St. Bernard Parish sheriff charged more than $1 million a month for land it had been renting for less than $1,700 a month.Motorbike games ¦
Assignments for individual fishermen followed the same pattern, with insiders and supporters earning big checks.
“This parish raped BP,” said Wayne Landry, the chairman of the St. Bernard Parish Council, referring to the conduct of its political leadership. “At the end of the day, it really just frustrates me. I’m an elected official. I have guilt by association.”Motorbike games ¦
The economic benefits that rippled through St. Bernard Parish were seen in varying degrees throughout the Gulf. In the six months after the spill, sales tax receipts, a key measure of economic activity, rose significantly in eight of the 24 most affected communities from Louisiana to Florida, despite the national recession. Only one community, in Mississippi, saw its receipts dip significantly. Local governments also profited. A recent story by the Associated Press found that governments along the coast used BP money to buy SUVs, Tasers and other equipment not necessary to clean up oil.Motorbike games ¦
According to sales tax collections, Louisiana made out better than anywhere. Sales tax collections from Plaquemines Parish rose more than 71 percent, while St. Bernard saw the biggest jump of all. The parish collected almost $26.8 million in sales and lodging tax receipts in the six months after the spill, almost twice as much as over the same period in 2009. Flush with cash from cleanup and claims, many fishermen bought new toys, boats and trucks. Sales at the nearest Chevrolet dealer rose 41 percent. Motorbike games ¦
Some of the influx of money can be traced to the efforts of St. Bernard’s parish president, Craig Taffaro Jr., a 45-year-old psychotherapist with a wrestler’s build, a cue-ball head and a trimmed goatee.Motorbike games ¦
Just days into the crisis, Taffaro did what many parish presidents did: He invoked a Louisiana law that allowed him to declare a 30-day emergency and handle the crisis without most normal government checks and balances. But Taffaro used his powers more broadly than most, saying that he wanted to put money back into the community. Unlike the leaders of other Gulf communities, Taffaro — not BP — chose the prime contractor that supervised the cleanup. He and his allies also decided which fishermen would be hired to put out boom and search for oil. At one point, Taffaro hired his future son-in-law to work in the finance department and help on the spill. Motorbike games ¦
In some ways, parish residents seemed to view the disaster and BP’s culpability as a way to recover from earlier blows. More than other coastal communities, St. Bernard bore the brunt of Hurricane Katrina, which flooded almost every home in August 2005. The population dropped almost in half, from about 67,000 in 2000 to about 36,000 in 2010, largely because people didn’t come back after Katrina and the hurricanes that followed. Before the spill, the parish slashed its budget by 11 percent, cutting garbage collection, the fire department and mosquito control. There was just no money. Motorbike games ¦
The spill changed that. Fishermen were paid to lay out protective boom, the floating material used to corral the oil. Contractors were hired to manage the cleanup and provide security. Claims money began flowing to people who said their lives had been upended by the crisis. Motorbike games ¦
The parish government was among the first to benefit, snagging a $1 million check for oil-spill expenses. Parish employees went shopping for cameras, printers, a file cabinet, staplers, six pairs of children’s scissors and 712 shirts emblazoned with the parish name. Some of the money also went to overtime pay for more than 40 parish employees, including three who claimed overtime for picking up dog food for the animal shelter. St. Bernard’s homeland security director, David Dysart, a salaried employee and Taffaro’s good friend, was paid almost $23,000 for working 497 hours of overtime in less than seven weeks. That meant he was working an average of more than 16 hours a day, including weekends. Motorbike games ¦
As the money flowed, complaints spread. Some beneficiaries didn’t necessarily suffer from the spill but had social or political connections. Subcontractors said those at the top of the cleanup creamed off money for doing very little, while those at the bottom earned much less for doing the actual work. Motorbike games ¦
At first, everyone was angry with BP. But as the months wore on, some St. Bernard residents directed their frustration at Taffaro, blaming him for handing out jobs and money to a small group of insiders. Motorbike games ¦
Meanwhile, Taffaro was attacking BP and the federal government in the media, appearing on TV alongside Gov. Bobby Jindal and testifying in Congress. His outrage was palpable. There wasn’t enough boom, coordination or respect for the local government. BP wasn’t making good on its obligations.
The pressure paid off. Taffaro at one point boasted that St. Bernard had doled out more BP cleanup money to commercial fishermen than any other Louisiana parish. His claim is impossible to verify, because neither Taffaro nor anyone else would provide details about the spending numbers.
BP gave only limited information to ProPublica, and declined to comment on allegations it had been overcharged. The U.S. Coast Guard, the federal agency most involved with overseeing BP’s response, said the government and BP decided cleanup priorities together. Motorbike games ¦
Taffaro and other St. Bernard officials refused to respond to the public-records requests ProPublica began filing in November. When asked again last week why the parish hadn’t provided any records, Dysart said he would be happy to help but that filling the request would take time and cost a lot of money.
“I’m in the process of really, truly trying to assist you,” said Dysart, who is also the parish interim chief administrative officer.
In response to questions submitted by ProPublica last month, Taffaro said through his spokeswoman that he can approve overtime for salaried employees in extenuating circumstances and that Dysart eventually decided to stop taking overtime. Taffaro said there was no law against hiring his future son-in-law because he was not yet married, and that paying overtime for picking up dog food was necessary because the spill had caused fishermen to abandon their dogs.
Taffaro also said that the tax receipt bubble was “a false economy,” similar to what happened after Hurricane Katrina. Motorbike games ¦
NOSTRADAMUS, the French Christian Jew who lived in France in the 16th century, made many accurate forecasts, including the two World Wars. 18 of his 950 quatrains refer to a third world war. Some Nostradamus experts had given the date for the start of such a war as mid-1999, referring to the Balkan conflict surrounding Kosovo. They obviously misinterpreted the quatrains. Their attention then turned to the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York. Motorbike games ¦
NOSTRADAMUS
Born Michel de Notredame on 14 December 1503 in St Remy, France, he was the oldest of five sons. His grandfather, Jean, taught him Latin, Greek, Hebrew, mathematics and astrology at an early age. Nostradamus received a medical degree in 1529 and became physician-in-ordinary to Charles IX during the bubonic plague. He is said to have had extraordinary healing abilities. Motorbike games ¦
Nostradamus was in his late 40s when, it is told, he frequently went into a meditative state and had visions of the future. He began to document the visions in a mixture of Lain, French, and Greek quatrains, publishing his famous “Centuries” in 1558. Motorbike games ¦
Nostradamus was married twice, losing his first wife and two children to the plague. He died on 2 July 1566. “Centuries” was translated into English in 1672. In 1781 it was banned by the Roman Catholic Church. Ironically, in 1553, when Nostradamus encountered a group of Franciscan monks he threw himself on his knees, clutching at the garment of one of the monks, Felice Peretti. When asked why he had done this he replied that he must yield “before his Holiness.” Nineteen years after the death of Nostradamus, Peretti became Pope Sixtus V. Motorbike games ¦
What the experts say Nostradamus predicted about the Balkan war
The war prophecy is reserved for someone whom Nostradamus refers to as “the tyrant.” He predicted that the Slavs will “change their prince” and “raise an army in the mountains,” suggesting a guerrilla war. He speaks of “when the north pole is united” (perhaps NATO?), and there are many geographical references to the Balkans, such as Greece,
Italy and the Mediterranean. Motorbike games ¦
The war is linked to when the “eagle” (United States) and the “cock” (France) stand together. There also is specific reference to the time when England, Poland and Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia) “form a new alliance.” The former Eastblock countries recently joined NATO.
He predicted that the Allies will win, that the war will be protracted, lasting seven months, and that it may go beyond the Balkans, toward the north, but that after the war there will be “peace on earth for a long time.” Motorbike games ¦
The forecasts by Nostradamus seemed to be confirmed by other seers, including Nicolaas van Rensburg, the famous South African seer who lived 1862 to 1926. At the turn of the 20th Century Van Rensburg had also predicted the use of electricity, the massacre of six million Jews, the Chernobyl disaster, the rise and fall of Russia, and the European Union – in the last two instances accurately describing the flags before they were designed. Of the third world war, he predicted that England would left weakened, while Germany would rise to become the world’s most powerful nation. Further such predictions by the famous American seer Edgar Cacey are available in the book Predictions for the 21st Century. Motorbike games ¦
What the experts say Nostradamus predicted about the WTC attack
“In the year of the new century and nine months, from the sky will come a great king of terror. The sky will burn at 45 degrees… fire approaches the great new city… there will be thunder… The third big war will begin when the city is burning.”
So it is quoted among rumor mongers. The facts are:
Nostradamus appears not to have made predictions about the World Trade Center attack or, at least, none that could easily be understood from the quatrains. He did not mention “the new century,” or “nine months” and New York is not at 45 degrees; the Manhattan latitude is 40° 47' N. For more, see Skeptic’s Dictionary Motorbike games ¦
What then?
Of course, not only have the “experts” on the prophets not always been correct – the seers themselves have not always been quite so accurate in their forecasts. In fact, many predictions have missed the mark.
Time will tell if the Kosovo conflict or, indeed, the World Trade Center attack had put the spark to a bigger barrel. As for the end of the world… Nostradamus predicted it to be the year 3786 or 3797, depending on which Nostradamus expert you believe. Motorbike games ¦
Cryptic numerology:
After the WTC attack on 11 September 2001, Uri Geller asked everyone to pray for 11 seconds for those in need. Why?
The first plane to hit the towers was Flight 11 by American Airlines;
Flight 11 had 92 on board: 9 + 2 = 11;
Flight 77 had 65 on board: 6 + 5 = 11;
New York City – 11 Letters;
State of New York – 11th State added to the Union;
See Law of Truly Large Numbers
“To predict is difficult; especially about the future” – Chinese proverb
End of the World predictions
Lost nuclear bombs. Motorbike games

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