Monday, July 16, 2007

You mean I have to think?

I'm a little flustered: I've been tagged by James at Left End of the Dial with a Thinking Blogger Award. First time I've ever been tagged with one of these memes and here it is, a flattering one. Wow.

The idea of this one is, as James explains it, to "name five blogs that I find inspiring, perhaps sharing some reasoning behind the choices." It was apparently started at The Thinking Blog, which called it "5 Blogs That Make Me Think."

Well, that's all well and good and all, but speaking of think, now I have to think of five blogs to name. Erk. I'm afraid I'm going to have to make an adjustment in the usual meaning of "inspiring" - because most of the time these days, when I read things I wind up getting pissed off at some inanity or stupidity rather than inspired. That's my own fault, I expect, since most of time I read blogs not for their inspiring prose or their philosophical insights (and I don't mean that sarcastically as there are a number of blogs out there that provide one or both) but for the information they supply, such as news stories I've overlooked (with links to original sources) or informed analysis of some legal or scientific matter. And there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of good news out there about which I get told. (I do call this "a dark time," after all.)

With that in mind, and choosing to leave out any of the Top Dog Blogs that don't need any additional attention, I'll offer these five as lesser-known but valuable ones I check on a daily basis:

Orcinus: I suppose David Neiwert's blog isn't exactly in the "Who? What?" category, but no progressive interested in issues of racial justice, hate crimes, and immigration can afford to not have this one on their blogroll.

This Modern World: Again, I guess this might be considered one of the bigger blogs, I don't know - but I'm a big Tom Tomorrow fan and this was the first blog I read on a regular basis and it was the one that got me into blogging in the first place, so what the heck, I feel obligated.

Past Peak: Jonathan offers extensive coverage of global warming and energy-related issues, with enough outrage left over to denounce our dreams of empire. The "Gumpagraphs" and "Today's Bush Joke" are added value.

The American Street: A true group blog with a variety of voices and styles sufficiently different that you can usually tell who wrote a particular post without looking for the author's name. And at least some of them are as fed up with the "Democrats will save us" crap as I am.

The Left End of the Dial V2.0: Used the full name this time. I don't know if this is somehow against the rules or the spirit to tag back the one who tagged you, and I expect James will get a swelled head having been tagged twice, but the fact is I do read him every day and find much to ponder. Do I agree with him all the time? Hell no - but if I did, how would that make me think? Besides, being a radical leftie in Oklahoma is reason enough to list him.

I have three Honorable Mentions - actually, I could have several but I'm going to limit it to these three. Yes, I know that this is technically cheating on what's supposed to be a list of five. I don't care. So there.

Lean Left: A three-person blog with easily-seen differences in interests, styles, and even convictions among the three. The comments are often enough full of good exchanges, which is another plus (although it does have its resident trolls). This actually would have been a candidate for the top 5 but for some reason I've drifted away from reading it daily, which I set as a standard to cut down the choices.

Jon Swift: Again, likely a reasonably-well known blog but the fact is, no one I've come across on the Web does satire better. It is truly amazing how often in comments you will see people taking him at face value.

Green Left Infoasis: Tim presents excerpts of articles of interest to folks on the progressive/radical left with links to the original sources, which often are ones - and this is the important part - you normally would not come across unless you searched them out. I don't read every article, but I do look every day to see what he's got. And no, I'm not just including him because he interviewed me last year.

As a final footnote, I want to say that another reason for these blogs being listed here is that for most of them - and no, I won't say which are the others - I'm confident that my judgments about their worth will not have to change after January 2009 (or perhaps November 2008) and "Whew! We have a Democrat as a president!" as now seems reasonably likely will not instantly change them from attack dogs into lap dogs, as I'm sure will happen with a number of more or less progressive blogs we could all name.

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