Recently Anne Reed at Deliberations (a blog that will make anybody think, as her latest other links post will prove) was kind to name this blog as one of her five for the Thinking Bloggers Award that is meme-ing its way across the blogosphere. Normally, I don’t do the chain letter thing much, but I do think that this one is a way to alert your particular readers of some blogs that they may not have paid much attention to previously. As a not-so-struggling little blog now, I still appreciate anyone who will send some readers and potential contributors our way. And let me make the point that I’m talking below about the blogs that make me go “huh, hadn’t thought of that,” not necessarily the ones I value the most or that get my most hits. I think you can tell from the sites I frequently link to that there are a lot of really great blogs that do a wonderful job surfing the Net and finding the important news and other items that I depend on to keep me as opinionated and obnoxious as I often become. (I actually am sorry about that from time to time.) To them, if you’re not listed below, please don’t think badly of me. I’m sure you’re crying right now. There are also a few blogs that I might have included, except they post too infrequently for me to recommend to others. I go ahead and hit them regularly, but I’m psychotic. These are some terrific blogs in content, but they get a little frustrating, like intermittent conditioning, which is always fun and rewarding.
So, anyway, here are my Thinking Blogger Award blogs, in no particular order. (Well, actually, that alphabet thing.) I’m sure this will go on their resumes and their families will be proud. Again, thanks, Anne, for including us in yours, and those of you whom I meme here, please pass along your five list, along with the cute little picture at the top here. I’ll look forward to seeing whom you name and checking them out myself.
The Agonist—This is probably the most generally political of the blogs I’ll cite here. The posting group includes academics, non-Americans (gasp), and, worse, economists. Believe it or not, I read it mainly for the latter. There are 3 or 4 regular posters who do a good job analyzing and projecting recent economic news and trends with real insight and provocativeness. They suffer from the blinders that going through economic training puts on you, but they did survive it with a fair amount of their humanity remaining. If you want a good source of analysis of US and international economic trends, this is your place.
Climate Progress—As Al Gore collects his prizes and history starts to turn on to the fact that Jimmy Carter was right and it was his Democratic Congress and the majority of Americans who had their heads up . . . in the sand when he urged us to be grown-ups about the energy crisis and its side-effects, we are finally (in time?) glomming onto the single most important existential moment in human history. (Please spare me Al Gore flies in jets and Jupiter is getting warmer. I’m just glad there are so many leaving a firm record of stupidity for our kids and grandkids to judge them by. . . .That was that obnoxious thing again, wasn’t it?) And that day is not far off. In fact, it’s already here. And you can stay on top of all the proof of it at this site, run by a former energy policy wonk (yes, under that well-known “liberal” Clinton). He’s a terrific and reputable analyst on his own, he doesn’t play the Mister Rogers “let’s respect morons who want to pull us down with them” game, and he links to a bunch of other terrific sites and reports. The time has long past for the silliness that has surrounded all this since even before Carter told us junior high was over. We need to get busy fast, and this site will get you to the resources you need.
Mind Hacks—If you follow what we do here much, you know that cognitive science and its applications in the emerging world of TECHNOCORRECTIONS (that we’re doing a nice job of just letting happen to us without planning or preparation) are very frequent topics. There are a number of good sites in this area, which the bloggers in the field nicely cover in their blog rolls, but I like this one probably the best (and not just because one of the primary posters is Irish). It’s a good portal into the other sites, has its own share of opinions and humor, and regularly launches an interesting comment thread with some riffing of its own. It also does a nice link post every day or so that will get you into the most interesting news in the field. You may not come away believing, “I think, therefore,” but you will always come away thinking about thinking. Don’t let that scare you.
Prevention Works—I think when future historians analyze the reasons for the Britainesque (at best) decline of this nation, one major theme will be the enormous squandering of the wealth and possibilities that we performed because we were spoiled into always thinking there’s more where that came from and never really internalized the reality that even our resources were finite and we could become what the planet generally was before this continent and the one below it were conquered. As a result, we will likely get hammered for not using resources wisely, conserving and doing those moderate rather than self-indulgent things that would have made our prosperity and democracy last even longer. One of those things is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” something you just don’t find in our policymaking in this nation. Name the area—health, child development, road materials, zoning, public engineering, whatever, and especially criminal justice and corrections sentencing. The same dollars spent on prison but put into prevention would generate a society with no Dick Wolf television series at all. This blog, the work of the National Crime Prevention Council, can do the profound thought thing, but mainly it’s the a-ha, Heloise-like moments you get from it as they highlight areas that are problems and tell you how you can take matters into your own hands (without guns) and practice that self-government thing that the Framers crazily thought would keep us free. They link to great resources and give us encouragement that someday we’ll wake up and do the things that would reduce our prison expenses and crime and victims more at the same time. Even if television and movies might be duller.
The Situationist—This is a social psych and cognitive science blog that covers an enormous range of topics from the perspective of how context structures our perceptions and actions. I would have college students take a soc psych course before making them drink the kool-aid of an econ one because it explains far more and far better. These folks (and there are a lot of them, many big names in the field) do cover topics directly related to corr sent, but their benefit to us is really more in the reiteration of the importance of the stories we tell ourselves about our actions and how those around us shape those actions and our identities and justifications. That should have obvious applications to both the offenders who fill our budgets and to the practitioners who too frequently forget that they’re part of the same contexts and processes. If both groups picked up just a little of benefit from this site, it would go a long way to a much better world.