Typical government efficiency.

Position:Back Blast & other hot gases

From the east side of the pond, in Bolton, England, a motorist reported a potential hazard--a discarded mattress at the side of the road. A public works official was dispatched to assess the threat. He promptly wrote out a work order to have a two-ton truck and four workers--a driver, a laborer, a supervisor and an assistant--sent out the following week.

When a Bolton councilman saw the work order--and its cost--he and a pal jumped in the council van, tootled over to the scene, picked up the mattress --without supervision!--and took it to a dump site. Outrageous! If other elected officials behaved that way, umm, well, that would be good!

On the west side of the pond, county officials in Hudson, N.Y., took bows at the unveiling of their new, state-of-the-art water fountain for the disabled. Oh, it has all the bells and whistles, and the bigwigs were so proud. The fountain was the result of a federal mandate in 2003...

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