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00h UTC; TUESDAY, 15 JANUARY 2013: Something as ought be watching for as the "home improvement" scams start returning with the spring (a "heads up," as it were): Videlicet, the possibility that scam operatives may start playing the "unregistered contractor" game as a way to avoid "unduly burdensome" licencing and bonding requirements "needlessly driving up costs [and] prevening jobs creation" (in effect, dropping hints of subtle anti-Government prolefeed in the sales pitch, with elements of the "Tea Party," "Christian Patriot" and "Unregistered Church" movements among the fringes of the Extreem Right).

That, and the usual insistence on cash in advance, excused as "necessary to preserving freedom" (as if such a canard wasn't disgusting enough already).

Which should make you wonder how far scam artists will go in "going Galt" for their own selfish purposes at the expense of lower-income and socioeconomically-disadvantaged homeowners, such crews using the worst possible motels as their bivouacs and operating on cash terms.

In any case, such would also behoove homeowners considering remodelling or improvements to shop around. Insist on written estimates (including details as to materials used and quality of work) as much as a written contract. Demand proof of insurance, licencing and bonding. Get credible references, not paid-off "singers." Check its record with the Better Business Bureau. And insist on paying in three installments, once when work begins, the second about halfway through and the last on satisfactory completion. After all, ekonomesie vryheid can only survive and remain viable through the utmost cooperation of all stakeholders--consumers, businesses and consumer advocates.

News that the "AmeriKKKa Should Be More Like China" crowd must be laughing over: Over the last few days, air-pollution levels in Beijing and at least 30 other cities in the north and east of China have reached record depths of depravity, made worse by stagnant air in the region, exhaust emissions from coal-fired power stations and factories and automotive exhaust made worse by increasing auto ownership and poor urban planning. Already, pollutant levels have exceeded World Health Organisation (WHO) threshholds for "unhealthy" in Beijing especially, forcing authorities to warn against anybody going outside (children and the elderly in particular).

Which, in any case, have raised the ire of official media. Witness this editorial from the official China Daily, for one:
When the level of airborne particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less, known as PM2.5, has reached more than 400 on average, and in some cases as high as 900, in as many as 33 cities in eastern and central China, and caused serious air pollution for days, there is no reason to underestimate the harm it does to people's health. Neither is there any reason for us to not reflect on what we've contributed to the smoggy days.

Despite the meteorological reasons, such as the lack of wind and a cold current, the sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide we have discharged into the air have contributed greatly to the air pollution, according to experts.

That such harmful substances stay floating in the dirty air within the fifth and sixth ring roads in Beijing when there is no wind for just a day or two points to the fact that the high rises are too densely built and block the dirty air from dispersing.

The rapid increase in car ownership and the increasingly serious traffic congestion have increased the exhaust fumes in cities. The number of motor vehicles in Beijing already exceeds 5 million and will increase further.

There are not enough green areas and trees within the city proper to help soak up the fumes discharged by vehicles and industries.

Almost all cities have these problems.

In the middle of a rapid urbanization process, it is urgent for China to think about how such a process can press forward without compromising the quality of urban life with an increasingly worse living environment.

The air quality in big cities could have been better had more attention been paid to the density of the high rises, had more trees been planted in proportion to the number of residential areas, and had the number of cars been strictly controlled. These are the lessons China should learn for its further urbanization.

For those cities suffering seriously polluted air, every resident needs to have a sense of environmental awareness, since everyone is a victim. They need to reduce their use of motor vehicles. The government also needs to have measures to reduce the use of government vehicles and the pollutants emitted by industries. Other measures are also needed to reduce traffic congestion, which will greatly reduce the exhaust fumes discharged by cars.
As if that weren't enough, the official Communist Party gazetta People's Daily ran a front-page editorial calling for extreme official measures in dealing with air pollution and its harmful effects on social as much as industrial development and the quality of life. Even the raffish tabloid Global Times took issue with developments, and the want of credible pollution control measures, thus:
More than 30 cities, especially Beijing, have been shrouded in dense smog in recent days. This has had a serious impact to public opinion. Various kinds of dissatisfactions and self-deprecation flooded the Internet and the media nationwide. Faced with clouded skies, people have been asking "What's wrong with China?" and "What can we do?"

China's pollution is accumulating. Although measures against pollution have had some effect, the seriousness of this problem has not alleviated. The general reason is that China's process of industrialization has not finished and infrastructure construction is rising. China is still the biggest construction site in the world. At the same time, it is a veritable global factory. Seventy percent of global iron and steel, and about half of the world's cement, is produced in China. Against this background, it is impossible for China to be as clean as the West.

However, recent atmospheric pollution has really sounded a warning to us: if we continue this way of development instead of adjusting it, the long-term damage will be serious.

How can we make adjustments? It is the most difficult challenge in China, because both development and clean environment are strong demands of the Chinese people. However, under China's current technical conditions, these two needs are pitted against each other.

On this issue, the government cannot afford to make decisions for the society. Previously, governments used to deal with the pollution information in a low-key way and made the choice between development and environmental protection for public. However, when public opinion didn't go for this way of thinking, it led to some conflicts.

In future, the government should publish truthful environmental data to the public. Let society participate in the process of solving the problem.

The public should understand the importance of development as well as the critical need to safeguard the bottom line of the environmental pollution. The choice between development and environment protection should be made by genuinely democratic methods.

Currently, Chinese public opinion prefers sensational news. Against such condition, the governments cannot always think about how to intervene to "guide public opinion." It should publish the facts and interests involved, and let the public itself produce a balance based on the foundation of diversification.

The government is not the only responsible party for environmental pollution. As long as the government changes its previous method of covering up the problems and instead publishes the facts, society will know who should be blamed.

Environmental problem shouldn't be mixed together with political problems. Chinese society should have a hard-eyed attitude when facing huge problems.

After understanding all aspects of environmental problems, Chinese society can calm down and seriously think about what we really want, and how can we maximize our interest.
If this is what certain specimens of conservative Zealotry and True Belief insist upon to "create jobs," "hasten economic recovery" and "reclaim prosperity"--subject, of course, to the paradigm of ekonomesie vryheid met Amerikaanse eienskappe being seen as one with Our National Character and Identity as a Sovereign Peculiar Among the Nations, and the two coextant For Mutual Benefit--Your Correspondent, along with millions of other Real Americans knowing better than to trust Fox News, Fox Business and other conservative prolefeed conduits as credible, want no part of it. So who's with me here?

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