Do As We Say, Not As We Did

You have to wonder about the motives of billionaire Peter G. Peterson planning to spend $1 billion (yes, that’s billion with a “b”) to force America to get serious about the perils of deficits and debt, when over the last seven years, the federal debt has gone from $5.7 trillion in 2001 to $9.372 trillion as of June 27, 2008. Moreover, despite all of Bush’s talk about “small government” and paying lip service to the memory of Ronald Reagan, the $3 trillion federal government has actually become over 50 percent larger during his term in office — even with a Republican majority in the Senate and the House in his first six years in office!

Head of the new foundation David Walker says the new Peter G. Peterson Foundation (PGPF) will be non-partisan, although Peterson has long known McCain and supports his presidential campaign.

It seems more than a little odd that there wasn’t much zeal for evangelizing about slaying the deficit and forcing the government to “live within its means” when money was being squandered on tax cuts for the rich and unproductive wars on the other side of the globe. Now that there’s a possibility the Democrats might be in charge however, all of a sudden fiscal responsibility is crucially important again. Go figure.

Tales of the Warm*

According to this report from Al Jazeera: “Emergency shipments of fresh water have begun arriving in Cyprus, to prevent citizens from abandoning the island. A devastating drought has left residents with just seventy days of drinkable water. And while the first shipment has been delivered by Greece, faults in a pipeline mean even further delays.”

Meanwhile, in Iraq

It’s been a year of drought and sand storms across Iraq — a dry spell that has devastated the country’s crucial wheat crop and created new worries about the safety of drinking water.

U.S. officials warn that Iraq will have to increase wheat imports sharply this winter to make up for the lost crop — a sobering proposition with world food prices high and some internal refugees already struggling to afford food.

“Planting … is totally destroyed,” said Daham Mohammed Salim, 40, who farms 120 acres in the al-Jazeera area near Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad. “Even the ground water in wells is lower than before.”

The Tikrit area, where Saddam Hussein was born, normally is flush with green meadows in the spring and early summer — but this year has only thistles, said 30-year-old farmer Ziyad Sano. He’s resorted to collecting bread scraps from homes to feed his 70 sheep, but about 20 have died.

The dry weather has hurt areas from Kurdistan’s wheat fields in northern Iraq to pomegranate orchards, orange groves and wheat fields just north of Baghdad.

In the capital, the Tigris river is at its lowest level since 2001, with yards of reeds exposed on each bank. Some irrigation canals to the north in Diyala province — the country’s most important bread basket — are bone dry.

This of course has absolutely nothing to do with climate-change.

*With apologies to Harry Shearer

McCain Advisor: “A Nation of Whiners”

I’m sure this will endear McCain to those pivotal lunch-bucket, blue-collar, swing voters in the Midwest.

Phil Gramm, the top economic adviser to McCain, had the following to say in a new interview with the Moonie Times:

“You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,” he said, noting that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. “We may have a recession; we haven’t had one yet.”

“We have sort of become a nation of whiners,” he said. “You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline” despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.

“I strongly disagree,” McCain said today when asked at a town hall meeting about Gramm’s comments. Throwing Gramm under the Straight Talk Express, McCain added the former senator would play no role in his administration, other than being exiled to a former Soviet republic.

“I think Sen. Gramm would be in serious consideration for ambassador to Belarus, although I’m not sure the citizens of Minsk would welcome that.”

Hoo boy, that McCain… what a card.

p.s. Where have I heard that “nation of whiners” refrain before? Oh yes, here.

Update: Predictable fodder for fun by Obama.

AP Goes to the Dogs

The AP’s atrocious coverage of the 2008 campaign continues with this completely asinine piece on the prospective presidential pets.

If the presidential election goes to the dogs, John McCain is looking like best in show.
From George Washington’s foxhound “Drunkard” to George W. Bush’s terriers “Barney” and “Miss Beazley,” pets are a longtime presidential tradition for which the presumed Republican nominee seems well prepared, with more than a dozen.

The apparent Democratic nominee Barack Obama, on the other hand, doesn’t have a pet at home. The pet-owning public seems to have noticed the difference. An AP-Yahoo! News poll found that pet owners favor McCain over Obama 42 percent to 37 percent, with dog owners particularly in McCain’s corner.

The AP quoted one person saying, “I think a person who owns a pet is a more compassionate person — caring, giving, trustworthy. I like pet owners,” and found another willing to argue on the record that if a person owns a pet that “tells you that they’re responsible at least for something, for the care of something.”

TO Commercials: Bad Boy Blayne Lastman

City TV is doing a series on renowned Toronto TV hucksters. Yesterday, it was Russell “Cashman” Oliver.

Aside from being a real “blast from past” for me, these bits are quite entertaining for the snotty, condescending critiques from the advertising “experts” represented here by two executives from GJP Advertising & Design.

Of course, the bottom line is that the ads actually work! Something that these two snobs appear quite blithely oblivious to and entirely unconcerned about; an attitude that’s quite typical of advertising professionals in my experience.

Hypocrisy!

In response to inveterate fuckwit Mickey Kaus thinking that he’d caught out Obama in a glaring moment of condescending hypocrisy for stating that “you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish” when he doesn’t actually speak the language himself, Jesse Taylor at Pandagon writes:

If it is, in fact, hypocrisy, then I look forward to our next President, a multilingual farmer physicist parent reverend atheist author chemist doctor lawyer astronaut firefighter acrobat chef.

Too funny.