A Little Help Here! … A kind of-sort of Stupid Friday question


Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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39 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Dahlia Lithwick on Slate does a great job with legal and SCOTUS reporting. She is thoughtful and smart. Yeah its Slate with all its Slateness but it does have a few bright spots.Report

  2. Avatar zic says:

    Jonathan Bernstein of political process (he’s at bloomberg now.)

    Amanda Hess for women’s issues, she’s at slate.

    Smitten Kitchen and 101 cookbooks for food and cooking;

    Jaun Cole on the middle-east.

    Scotus blog.Report

  3. Avatar greginak says:

    Andrew Bacevich is excellent on military and security matters. He is also a conservative but is not in line with Republicans.Report

  4. Radley Balko, who I just realized today is now at WaPo?Report

  5. Avatar Dan Miller says:

    David Roberts, at Grist, is really quite smart on environmental topics, with a particular focus on climate change. He’s going to return from a long hiatus in September, and I highly recommend his stuff.Report

  6. First, a note about approach. Anyone who writes enough will say something stupid and regrettable. So no one will be completely an anti-troll. At the very least, that’s my starting assumption.

    Second, one nominee is Megan McCardle. She sometimes strays, but in my view is consistently thoughtful, at least considering the posts I’ve read, and I don’t read her regularly. (Also, I probably disagree with her about 50% +1 of the time, if not more. But I find her quite thoughtful.)Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

      Second, one nominee is Megan McCardle

      Well, that’s one way to get the pagehit numbers up.

      (I personally don’t think she deserves a lot of the guff that gets lobbed her way, and she has a dry sense of humor that I quite like, at least when I used to read her semi-regularly. But she is very, very controversial around here, in my experience).Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

      Thoughtful, thoughtful.

      That word, I do not think it means what you think it means.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Yeah, exactly. I guess I’m not understanding the argument suggesting that because she’s right (or at least can be agreed with) 50% of the time, she not only continues to be worth reading but doesn’t deserve ridicule. How many times does a Professional Pundit have to be wrong before you write them off as unserious?Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Whenever I hear people say McArdle is wrong, it seems to turn out to mean “I disagree with her views.” So I think you’re violating the rule that Tod laid down.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Well, you and I have gone rounds about this already, so there’s little point doing it again. I’ll just say that she’s cemented in the “unserious” category for me. And I used to read her blog and engage the commentariat (including her, on a few occasions) regularly.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I think you’re wrong. I won’t argue it pointlessly.Report

      • @stillwater

        I’m not understanding the argument suggesting that because she’s right (or at least can be agreed with) 50% of the time, she not only continues to be worth reading but doesn’t deserve ridicule

        To be clear, I’m quite on board with others agreeing with her more than 50% of the time. I just don’t. Which is kind of what Tod asked us to do, not simply choose people because we agree with them.

        Also, and going to the first point in my comment, I’ll repeat that if anyone writes enough, they’ll end up saying something stupid. And if someone says something stupid, then they do deserve ridicule, at least at those times. She has in the past said some stupid things, so in those cases she deserves ridicule. I think there’s a point about glass houses or something in there, but I better not rely too much on it, because then my own house will have some shattered windows.Report

  7. Avatar Francis says:

    Lawyers Guns and Money, on the This Day in Labor History.

    Paul Krugman on economics.

    The Reality-Based Community (Mark AR Kleiman et al) on Drugs

    The Incidental Economist on health care

    Ta-Nehisi Coates on race

    Open Mind (Tamino) on climate change statistics

    And Then There’s Physics on climate change analysis and communicationReport

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Francis says:

      Both TNC and Fallows at the Atlantic are first-rate.

      Joe Posnanski is so good that he makes me forget how much I disrespect sportswriters.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Francis says:

      If you’re going to go with Krugman on economics, it’d be good to get some balance by also pointing to, say, Scott Sumner.Report

    • Avatar Gabriel Conroy in reply to Francis says:


      As much as I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really dislike Mr. Loomis, when I did read LGM, I did find his “This Day in Labor History” posts and his book reviews to be very well done. I’ve never read his monograph or anything non-LGM related he’s written, but based on those posts, he’s probably quite a competent historian. Too bad he’s such an uncivil —–.Report

  8. Avatar Will Truman says:

    The Incidental Economist is a really good heath care blog. Substantial pro-PPACA and liberal bias, but they’re upfront about it. All of the authors (or at least the main ones) have backgrounds relevant to the field.

    I really want to recommend Stephen J Smith who writes a lot about urban development policy, but unfortunately he doesn’t really have a single blog I can cite or a long-term home. But if you see his name, or MarketUrbanism, read on.Report

  9. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Weigel for the nuts and bolts – and nuance & history – of what the GOP & tea party political machines are doing on any given day.

    Calculated Risk for economic reports particularly on housing and employmentReport

  10. NobAkimoto NobAkimoto says:

    The Duck of Minerva for anything to do with IR theory and how Game of Thrones fits into current matters of academic theory on IR. http://www.whiteoliphaunt.com/duckofminerva/Report

  11. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    As a matter of my two cents, I’d suggest just doing the promotion thing as a regular installment and just keeping with fisking bad posts and articles as needed, which is basically our practice as is. A regular feature on how others suck I think kind of raises the question of whether we really are as great as we then are pretty much claiming to be. And maybe we are? Maybe we’re not, though. Plus, the truly bad stuff is pretty much self-fisking, while the just normally bad stuff IMO generally at least raises a question using an argument that’s really easy to use against the position of the arguer to illustrate why the point of the piece is wrong in an important way. That’s not entirely without value, so IMO doesn’t really deserve mockery or scorn, just focussed rebuttal. That process, IMO, is what makes this place great, niot then going to to press the point of why those shortcomings make whatever writer it is, like, such a total zero. Where the scorn is warranted, my fear is that it will come off as piling on or shooting fish in a fishbowl, and where not that it’ll come off as facile and self-flattering.

    In terms of suggestions for promotion, since legal debates seem to be both current (it’s the end of June) and not yet addressed in the thread, I’ll suggest my three favorite legal blogs: Dorf on Law, Balkinization, Volokh Conspiracy.

    These suggestions, though, like ones like Krugman or Sumner, do I think raise a bit of an issue in terms of whom we’re really looking to promote. These are all legal academics writing about areas of expertise for them. In some senses, this is the democratization of journalism in terms of access to the press (which was much more limited even for professors before the internet), not necessarily in terms of the amplification of non-elite voices. I’d have to think about whom I’d recommend for that latter category. OT-alum Freddie DeBoer comes to mind, though I think he’s slowly becoming somewhat elite himself as he progresses through academia. Conor Friedersdorf, Josh Barro, and Amanda Marcotte are all important voices IMO as well, though they’re all at established publications.Report

  12. Avatar Kazzy says:

    TNC, who I think was mentioned.

    I’m also a big fan of Keith Law. He does baseball scouting work for ESPN, but also keeps a personal blog where he discusses literature, board games, food, and other nerdy pursuits. Find him at meadowparty.com/blog.

    The folks at Racialicious do great, if often obscure, work.

    My former college roommate Rich Lawson writes for Vanity Fair and both the Doc and I seem to enjoy him. He does mostly film/TV reviews and other pop culturey stuff.Report

  13. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    …And *I* want to add – and stress – how much I appreciate how much thought, effort, and creativity (not to mention blood, sweat, and tears) Tod puts into trying to maintain and grow the greatness of this place, with an eye to the familiar dictum that if you’re not improving you’re declining. (Is that actually a familiar dictum? I’m going to say probably not.)

    I hope my comment is taken as much as an endorsement of the idea of endorsement (which is, after all, the major thrust of this bleg!) as it is a rejection of the idea of a Rogue’s Gallery. I like the idea of trying to work on identifying people in the information ecosystem who are doing it well. Though, to be fair, that’s more or less the model, or about 75% of his model, on which Andrew Sullivan has made his name since shifting to blogging as a primary medium.

    I like the idea of having more Sullivan-like links to good pieces, but with a bit more commentary than he usually provides, and with more of an eye to stuff that resonates with one or more of our (or an individual writer’s) ongoing points of interest. For that matter, as I said, I also like the idea of continuing to be fair but substantively ruthless with bad arguments, which is basically our core competency. But a renewed focus on endorsements I think would be really, well, positive for us.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew says:

      Whoops, that was meant to be a response to Will’s response to me above. But in particular I want @tod-kelly to not end up not reading this comment, so maybe that’s okay.Report

  14. Other suggestions:

    Noah Berlatsky at the Atlantic…..although he doesn’t really do a lot of politics.

    Noah Millman and Daniel Larison at the American Conservative.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Gabriel Conroy says:

      Unsurprisingly I often disagree with Bertlasky.

      I do have a one degree of separation with him because of a writer friend from undergrad who knows a lot of other internet writers.Report

      • I only read him occasionally, because pop culture commentary isn’t really my thing. It’s not so much that I disagree with him as that I’m often not interested in what he’s talking about. But I do appreciate his interrogation of gender norms and his willingness to question a lot of male privilege. (And I suspect you don’t necessarily disagree with that part of what he writes.) Every once and a while, he comes up with something really insightful. I don’t have the link now, but several months ago he wrote a really good (in my opinion) piece about how we look at bullying. And that earned my respect.Report

  15. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic does good work on civil liberties, in my opinion; he doesn’t do on-the-ground reporting, but he does describe, analyze, and deconstruct government policies in significant detail.

    TNC is good, but now he seems to be focusing on in-depth examination of issues which strongly interest him (previously, his readings on communism in the Soviet bloc; currently, the case for reparations) rather than on current-day events, or on a broad set of political issues.Report