Two men I have long admired since deciding I wanted to become a journalist with an economics bent, are Radley Balko and Don Boudreaux. Both men have the great ability of simplifying important, yet arcane and often asinine, issues in fields full of jargon and legal gobbledygook.

This is what an agricultural surplus looks like to me. Sexy, right?            source- Wikimedia Commons – author: Tejal.johri

Balko has garnered a number of accolades over the years as a reporter/blogger with a focus on the militarization of the police and the “prison-industrial complex.” Among other things, his work is largely responsible for releasing the wrongly imprisoned Cory Maye after his death sentence.

For years, he has bounced between blogging at The Agitator, The Huffington Post and The Washington Post, where he remains to this day.

Balko is brilliant in a number of ways, aside from his immensely shiny, bald head. His blog serves as a great filter and aggregator of any important news regarding police abuses, as well as police efforts to correct these abuses. In terms of original content, the blog has excellent breakdowns of events such as the recent, tragic death of John Crawford and its relevance to media’s misunderstanding of a recent FBI report regarding active (not “mass”) shootings.

Essentially, the post details a newly released video showing that John Crawford was shot to death by police on little notice after wandering the aisles of Wal-Mart with a toy pellet gun. Meanwhile, police use mass shooting hysteria often to justify tactics and purchasing military gear that result in scenarios such as this.

Let’s play, Police or Military? The answer may surprise you (hint, it’s police).

As Balko warns:

But the consequences get more serious when you start to think about the impact false perceptions about mass shootings might have on police officers…In truth, as University of Virginia sociologist and school violence scholar Dewey Cornell has pointed out, the average campus can expect to see a homicide about once every several thousand years.

The other lad I follow is Don Boudreaux. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University in addition to the main blogger at Cafe Hayek. At Cafe Hayek, Boudreaux spends his time  writing about economics/political philosophy in a lay manner most humans with shoulders and a head should be able to comprehend.

It might be a little too complex for watermelons though.

He also responds to and posts emails (with permission), often to make points. Additionally, he’s a fan of posting his letters and emails on the blog as well.

Ultimately though, I’ve always felt that both Balko and Boudreaux could have more site interactivity with users. This is especially true since they allow for comments and though I have rarely have found this to be the case, sometimes there explanations are still confusing.

My other main critique, which may or may not be a result of my former addiction to Cracked, is I am a big believer of rewarding readers of text blocks with snarky remarks on images of things like royalty free cats.

Exactly like this. Source: Dave Scelfo