The “conservative” case for Obama

That is, if you go by what “conservative” used to mean.  Andrew Sullivan makes the case for why “true” conservatives (or at least those with an appreciation for the meaning beyond the present American political context) should support Obama.  Of course, I’d argue that liberals should to.  Anyway, more than anything it is an interesting look at just how truly radical, rather than conservative, the modern Republican party has become.  Here’s a bit:

Michael Brendan Dougherty recently checked in on the Obamacons and found them a little chastened, but still adamant about the degeneration of the GOP and salvaging the term “conservative” from religious fanatics, supply-side fantasists and foreign policy utopians. The eyes roll, I know, when I cling to the word “conservative” like others cling to their, er, Second Amendment rights. But I’d be dissembling if I did not argue that on a whole array of issues, Obama is simply and unequivocally the more conservative candidate. One commenter on the piece put it pretty simply:

What do you call:

1. Nationalism, without the interventionist foreign policy.

2. Taxation equal to public spending, rather than just cutting taxes without making the hard choices to spend less.

3. Slow and careful to adopt change, but realizing that change is necessary sometimes.

I view conservatism as the practical engagement with policy and political institutions to adapt modestly and incrementally to social and economic change with the goal of maintaining the coherence and stability of a polity and a culture. It is a philosophy of moderation and balance, constantly alert to the manifold ways in which societies can, over time, lose their equilibrium.

Wow, you put it that way, and conservativism certainly sounds pretty good.  But again, historically speaking, it has very little in common with today’s Republican party.

Chart of the day

Via Seth Masket.  Kim Jong Un is onto something:

Chik-Fil-A and Party ID

Now, I don’t want to get into it again, but this is just a great demonstration of the power of Party ID (via PPP):

Alas, something tells me there’s no polling on this from a month ago, but if there were, I can pretty much guarantee the partisan gap would be dramatically smaller.

Photo of the day

A while back I saw an HBO documentary about Spencer Tunick who specializes in somehow getting thousands of people at a time to pose naked for his photos.  It makes for some pretty cool (and presumably not safe for less progressively-minded workplaces) images.  Alan Taylor has a set.  I’ve always been fascinated by massive circular parking garages, so I’m going with this one:

Naked volunteers pose for Spencer Tunick in the Europarking building in Amsterdam, on June 3, 2007. (Reuters/Koen van Weel)

The future of meat

Really interesting piece from Farhad Manjoo last week about the latest meat substitute, Beyond Meat.  Apparently, we’re really approaching the point where fake meat can almost fool people, and that is a great thing with potentially huge environmental consequences.  Meat takes so much more resources in terms of water, land, fossil fuel, etc., than plants that replacing that meat in diets  with plant-based meat substitutes with a similar (but healthier) nutrition profile would be a huge, huge boon:

Real meat is delicious, but it’s terrible in nearly every other way. Meat is environmentally toxic and colossally inefficient, ethically dubious (even if you’re OK with killing animals, raising and slaughtering animals in factory farms is hard to defend), and it’s unhealthy (that’s even true if you don’t eat it—there’s good evidence that the rampant use of antibiotics in livestock production has given rise to drug-resistant infections). I’d rate Beyond Meat as being 90 to 95 percent as realistic as chicken, but in every other way, it’s superior. It requires far less energy to produce, it’s got no saturated fats, no antibiotics, and no animals are harmed in the process.

Here’s how Beyond Meat’s founder sees the future:

“Our goal is to see that category redefined—instead of having it be called ‘meat,’ it would just be called ‘protein,’ whether it’s protein coming from a cow or chicken or from soy, pea, quinoa, or other plant-based sources,” says Ethan Brown, Beyond Meat’s founder. As the firm ramps up production, Brown expects to sell Beyond Meat for less than the price of real meat, too…

Over time, Brown believes, the firm will get all these little details just right. He’s also confident that society will accept his innovations just as it has adapted to tech revolutions of the past. “Once, we had the horse-drawn carriage, and then we had the horse-less carriage, and then we had the automobile,” he says. “I’m firmly convinced we’re going to go from beef and chicken products that are animal in origin to those that are made with plants—and at some point in the future you’ll walk down the aisle of the supermarket and ask for beef and chicken, and like the automobile has no relationship to the horse, what you get will have nothing to do with animals.”

That may sound crazy right now, but I do think he’s onto something.  There’s every reason to believe that as technology improves we should be able to create a plant-based product that is healthier, and cheaper, than meat that can fool most of our palates.   That would be a very, very good thing for our health and our planet.

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