John Robson - March 19th, 2013
Authorities have now pulled more than 13,000 dead pigs out of the Huangpu river which supplies over a fifth of Shanghai’s drinking water. But as usual in Communist countries, there’s no problem at all. The People’s Daily observes cheerfully that both the number and size of dead pigs in the daily haul is now declining while an official with the Shanghai Information Office says water quality in the Huangpu river is “normal”.
Sadly, given China’s pollution problems it probably is.
John Robson - March 4th, 2013
Just possibly it’s a sign of greater openness that city officials in Chengdu, one of China’s vast number of horribly polluted cities, were caught spraying green dye on withered grass beside the roads and the press reported it. The makers of the dye deny absolutely that it’s more pollution and note that they have many public sector clients (two unrelated propositions). Chengdu’s landscaping department initially claimed it was a “nutrient fluid” to help the grass survive the winter before deciding refusal to comment was their least embarrassing strategy; meanwhile a spokesman for the dye maker said as manufactured it contained no nutrients before adding “Maybe they added some.”
Given China’s ecological and governmental problems, my advice is, stay off the grass. Especially if it’s this weird fluorescent green that sticks to your shoes.
John Robson - February 18th, 2013
Late last week we heard that the Canadian C-17 sent to Mali to help the French for a week-month will now stay for another month. Or something. Which may or may not be a good idea. But since we live in a self-governing parliamentary system, wouldn’t it be nice to hear ahead of time that something respecting our non-mission in Mali was going to happen so we could offer an opinion on whether it should, instead of just hearing that it did happen so we can offer an opinion on whether it should have?
John Robson - January 9th, 2013
Now there’s a well with no bottom, you may respond. Plausibly, given the latest news out of Britain about the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition’s failure to keep its promises.
Yeah, yeah. Nothing new there. What is new is that they promised voters a frank Mid-Term Review assessment of what election promises they had and had not kept. Which actually sounds pretty good… until you discover that when they released the thing Monday they left out a hundred-page annex of problematic failures. Still nothing new? Well, here’s where the story really starts. The Telegraph reports that:
On Tuesday, Patrick Rock, Mr Cameron’s political adviser, was seen carrying a “restricted” document that warned that the full version of the Mid-Term Review would contain an annex identifying “problematic areas” and lead to “unfavourable copy” identifying “broken pledges”. The document suggests that the annex could be “published without fanfare” on the Government’s website several days after the release of the main review. This was planned to stop “difficult points” overshadowing the “favourable coverage”.
So now they’re stuck releasing it, and instead of getting credit for their frankness they’re going to get blasted for inept hypocrisy and entirely deserve it.
Apparently the answer to the question in my title is “just about too dumb to spell d-u-m-b with a ‘b’”. And these people write budgets and control defence policy.
John Robson - August 23rd, 2012
It’s so complicated you just can’t follow the billions as the shells move around.