“The scariest words in the English language are “Hello, I’m from the government and I’m here to help. Press 1 for English…””–Ronald Reagan
“You have sat here too long for any good you are doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”–MP Leo Amery, demanding Neville Chamberlain’s resignation
It looked like one of those Obama-stimulus scarified repaving jobs out there. Those of us who do a little backwoods skating on North Country ponds and lakes know the damage you can do to yourself hitting a ridge even at low speed. So you don’t want to run into one at 40 miles per hour. The cameras and microphones caught furious coaches from the Netherlands to China expressing their disgust to officials at the amateurishness of the Vancouver organizers. The event was delayed, and the American skater Shani Davis eventually withdrew, not wanting to jeopardize his chances of a Gold in the thousand meters by taking a spill on the 500 meters’ scarified ice. You train for years, you build your entire life to this one moment, and then the politically correct eco-gimmick screws you over. Officials attempted to reassure coaches and skaters that a non-electric Zamboni would be flown in from Calgary to prevent further delays.
Still, at least nobody’s dead. In Australia, the Labor government, eager to flaunt its green credentials, instituted a nationwide environmentally-friendly roof-insulation program, using energy-efficient foil insulation. It certainly reduces the carbon footprint of many Aussies’ homes: At the time of writing, 172 of them have burned down. It reduces your personal carbon footprint, too: Four installers of the foil have been fatally electrocuted. As the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s Tim Blair noted, the foil-insulation program has a higher fatality rate than Oz forces in Afghanistan. And, if the electrician survives long enough to get the installation completed, the good news is that, unlike the electric Zamboni, the electric attic always has plenty of juice: Colin Brierley had the foil insulation put into his Gold Coast home and was electrocuted a week later. The environmentally friendly electric shock entered through his knees, exited from his head, and led to a nice stay in hospital in an induced coma.
Australians are not happy to discover their ceilings double as the Bride of Frankenstein’s recharge slab. Belatedly canceling the program, Peter Garrett, the Environment Minister, is nevertheless insistent that he bears no responsibility for the burnt-out rubble and charred citizenry. He is a celebrity politician, formerly the lead singer of the rock band Midnight Oil, but he has no intention of getting burned by what they’re calling “Midnight Foil”. As Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, breezily told a TV interviewer, “Peter Garrett can’t be in every roof in this country as insulation is being installed.”
They never are, are they?
“Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?”