Friday, August 8, 2008



Up front: The moral of this story is when an authoritarian government of a super power says the sky is blue, 天空是蓝色的! (THE DAMN SKY IS BLUE!!) Got it?

China's Ministry of Environmental Protection declared Monday to be an excellent air-quality day, with an air pollution index of 35 -- anything under 50 is considered good -- well below the plus-100 readings reported in late July, when the authorities instituted driving restrictions in the city.

Evidently, in the wide wonderful world of authoritarian capitalism you control air pollution just like you control the population…Got an odd numbered license plate? No problem, you can drive one day. Got an even numbered plate, you can drive the next day. Repeat until the government tells you otherwise.

With that as preface, despite the absence of any hint of blue above the horizon, the environmental ministry released a statement on that very same Monday headlined, "Blue Sky over Beijing with Olympics 5 Days Away."

Outside experts have questioned the reliability of the air pollution index, noting that China does not include two of the most dangerous pollutants, ozone and small particulate matter, known as PM2.5, in the readings. A Chinese news agency reported Monday that China will begin monitoring those pollutants after the Olympics. (Editor’s note: Well, duhhh…)

Evidently a group of hyper-sensitive American cyclists spoiled and coddled by a first amendment crazed democracy caused a stir recently when they showed up in protective gear including face masks.

This caused our good friends, the Chinese communists, to pick up the red phone and shout "送在军事坦克!" (“SEND IN THE TANKS!”)

Shortly thereafter, Michael Friedman (pictured), Sarah Hammer, Bobby Lea and Jennie Reed released a statement of apology (of sorts):

"The wearing of protective masks upon our arrival into Beijing was strictly a precautionary measure we as athletes chose to take, and was in no way meant to serve as an environmental or political statement," the athletes said. "We deeply regret the nature of our choices. Our decision was not intended to insult BOCOG or countless others who have put forth a tremendous amount of effort to improve the air quality in Beijing."

Blue skies, smiling at me…

Nothin’ but blue skies do I see…

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