Chart of the day

So, first saw this cool chart today via Yglesias, where he lamented the ecological impact of lamb:

As for me, I think I’ll just eat more lentils.  Okay, maybe not lentils, but I am a fan of beans.  For a while now, I have been trying to choose chicken over beef, for the very reasons in this chart, when it seems like the choice has little impact on taste.  I love chicken fajitas just as much as beef.  When it comes to my beloved Hunan, though, for some reason Hunan beef is way better than Hunan chicken.

Kevin Drum makes the smart point, that the obvious thing to do– which we of course don’t– is to price the ecological impact of these foods into our decisions via a carbon tax.  Indeed.  In fact, Hunan Beef should cost a lot more than Hunan chicken and then maybe I’d reconsider things.

The debt ceiling, public opinion, and lame journalism

From the latest WP Poll:  Yeah, the Republicans get more blame, but when you consider just have far in their direction Obama is bending, it only shows vast ignorance to suggest that he is anywhere near as blameworthy.  Yet:

There is also broad dissatisfaction with Obama’s unwillingness to reach across the aisle: Nearly six in 10 of those polled say the president has not been open enough to compromise. Among independents, 79 percent say Republicans aren’t willing enough to make a deal, while 62 percent say the same of Obama.

Then there’s this:

Republicans may also be losing the war of perception about who stands with whom in the debates over the deficit and the economy. A majority view the president as more committed to protecting the interests of the middle class and small businesses, while large majorities see Republicans as defending the economic interests of big corporations and Wall Street financial institutions.

So, the public is upset because Obama– in representing average Americans– is not giving in enough to the needs of Wall Street?!   Anyway, there’s a reason that the public basically takes the “pox on both their houses” approach– that’s what they get from journalists.  Chait:

It’s not “the politicians in Washington” who don’t understand the risks of failing to raise the debt ceiling. It’s the Republican Party. It was the Republican Party’s idea to turn the debt ceiling vote from a symbolic opportunity for the opposition party to posture against deficits into a high-stakes negotiation over budget policy. It’s the Republican Party, and only the Republican Party, which has numerous elected officials dismissing the dangers of failing to lift the debt ceiling, and it’s only the Republican Party whose elected officials who do understand the dangers are cowed by an angry default-denialist base. The Democrats are willing, and have been willing from day one, to pass a clean debt ceiling increase. That’s a partisan account, but it’s completely true.

The problem is that various reporters, pundits, and business types appear intent on blurring that reality. That’s an important reason why Republicans are playing debt ceiling chicken.

Alas, journalistic norms seem entirely incapable of admitting it when one side is predominantly to blame.  Somehow, it’s always reported as a “both sides” or “on the other hand, Democrats…” etc.  It’s no wonder the public doesn’t no better.


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