I have not done a considerable amount of writing in 2014 (21 blogs to be exact) for me to pleased about. Life does get in the way. It was a good and bad thing. The good is that I’m not using my laptop excessively. The bad is that I missed some opportunities to write about something.

My goal for 2015 is to write more. That’s a personal goal of mine, and I hope none of it is about Skip Bayless.

I didn’t have the desire to write about all of the stories that took place in 2014. Social media has a large role in my decision. It is hard, at times, to have a voice, ask questions that no one else will ask, offer a perspective laced with facts and experience, only for it to fall into the “noise” machine.

Trust me when I say this: I’m not alone with that sentiment.

As I start re-focusing my priority to this blog , I have a Baker’s dozen list of selected long-reads (columns, articles, or stories) that I have archived throughout 2014. Regardless if I agreed or disagreed with what was written, these pieces gave me insight into topics and perspectives that I wanted to know more about.

The format is set up in this manner: a synopsis of each story and a quote from the pieces are in bold italic.

Without further ado…

Bruce_Braley_photo
Bruce Braley is a nice guy, but he’s no Tom Harkin, and that’s why he lost, according to Michael Gartner.

1. Michael Gartner held nothing back in his weekly commentary in Cityview’s “Civic Skinny” column about the Iowa U.S. Senate race between Bruce Braley and Joni Ernst. Gartner, a staunch Democrat, didn’t resort to blaming Ernst for Braley losing, like many liberals did. He blames Bruce Braley for losing the race himself. “…while Harkin was disciplined, Braley went off on his “merry way”. And unfortunately for Democrats, that “merry way” led back to Waterloo.”

2a. Jamie Kilstein and Allison Kilkenny (Salon) with a strong piece on  the day when Jon Stewart “quit” and The Daily Show became irrelevant when it comes to activism. “Real activism doesn’t work that way. You can’t appoint a progressive messiah and listen to him snipe through your flat screen and expect for things to magically get better.”

2b. If that didn’t help Stewart, his comments on Election Day, didn’t do him justice either, according to Zachary Goldfarb of the Washington Post. “While there’s no denying that a surge of support for Republicans was going to make this a nasty election for liberals like Stewart, his viewers are part of the problem. We’re talking about young voters, who sat out the election and helped cost Democrats votes.”

Ben Bradlee presided over a golden era of the Washington Post, which included Watergate, and bring in talented writers like Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodard, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.
Ben Bradlee presided over a golden era of the Washington Post, which included Watergate, and bring in talented writers like Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodard, Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon.

3. Rachel Jones of Voice of America remembering the late great Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Bradlee was larger than life, but as Jones wrote, Bradlee used his authority and power to empower and take Jones under his wing at the Post. “There is a magic that is potent beyond human understanding when someone in a position of power extends him or herself on your behalf, based on nothing more that a belief in your potential…And that moment when Ben Bradlee took the time to act as my personal career counselor sealed my fate.”

4. Rob Havilla of The Concourse with a great long read about Craig Ferguson‘s tenure on CBS’ “The Late Late Show” and why the show and Ferguson was a perfect match. “He (Ferguson) has a very silly but somehow also calm, comforting, genuine-feeling rapport with a very specific genus of up-and-coming actress; some may outgrow him, fame-wise (think Anna Kendrick, maybe), but many refuse to abandon him.”

BenMilne_headshot
The startup community in Des Moines continues to push boundaries and evolve, thanks to those like Ben Milne and Dwolla, Geoff Wood, and many others. Expect that to continue in 2015.

 

5. Dwolla’s Ben Milne on being an entrepreneur and the emotional toll of being away from home while building a  startup and a dream. “It’s time for me to go home & that’s ok. When it’s time for you to go home… Don’t lie to yourself and convince yourself it’s not ok.”

6. Credit to SI’s Richard Deitsch for this story by N.R. Kleinfield of the New York Times. A man faces his phobia of water and makes “the leap” into the pool to conquer it.   A lesson about how we have to work on conquering our fears, be it big or small.

7. Blogger Batty Mamzelle took issue with feminists who use racism when their efforts to slut-shame women and other feminists (notably Beyonce and Nicki Minaj) falls flat. “…our feminisms will differ depending on our intersections, and that’s okay. It is perfectly acceptable to acknowledge that different women have different needs. But the constant gatekeeping of mainstream feminism reveals the deeply entrenched racism within the movement.”

8. David Carr, the stellar media reporter, for the New York Times, on how the Washington media whiffed on Congressman Eric Cantor’s loss and their propensity to be blinded by all things in the beltway.

9. Derek Thompson of The Atlantic writes about a personal pet peeve of mine: people who say they want hard news, but really don’t. “Ask audiences what they want, and they’ll tell you vegetables. Watch them quietly, and they’ll mostly eat candy…Audiences are liars, and the media organizations who listen to them without measuring them are dupes.”

10. Carl E. Esbeck writes an opinion for Christianity Today on the Supreme Court ruling in favor of allowing prayer in public meetings, based on the case of Town of Greece vs. Galloway. Esbeck said that while most evangelicals call it a victory, he cautions that not all Christians are exuberant about the ruling, because it’ll open a door to a lot more trouble. “Already this is occurring in the Town of Greece, where a Wiccan priestess has offered up prayers to Athena and Apollo. An atheist has also petitioned, by appealing to “inclusion,” that she be allowed to take a turn at rendering the invocation. She did so, not because she wanted to pray, to protest the city policy by rendering it absurd. The Supreme Court’s ruling means we will be seeing more of this mischief.”

Mara Wilson (of Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda fame) didn't fall into the proverbial traps and pitfalls of being a child star.
Mara Wilson (of Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda fame) didn’t fall into the proverbial traps and pitfalls of being a child star.

11. This column is from 2013, but it is so good, everyone should read it. Former child actress Mara Wilson (“Mrs. Doubtfire”, “Matilda”) pens a guest column for Cracked of her experience of being a child star and her perspective on how child stars go crazy and self-destruct. “Years of adulation and money and things quickly become normal, and then, just as they get used to it all, they hit puberty — which is a serious job hazard when your job is being cute.”

12. The Daily Beast’s David Freelander on the growing rift between Democrats and EMILY, an organization that supports female candidates that are pro-choice. Most liberals are claiming that EMILY is on the wrong side of the political divide. ““I think EMILY’s List has really lost their way,”…“Here in Hawaii they seem to not understand the politics. Brian Schatz has been a 100 percent down the line supporter of women’s issues. I understand their rule is that they only endorse women, but they don’t have to endorse at all when they have a champion running who is a man.””

The New Republic 's owner Chris Hughes (left), and editor Franklin Foer (right). The union between owner and editor deteriorated over time, with Foer being fired and most TNR's writers leaving en masse.
The New Republic ‘s owner Chris Hughes (left), and editor Franklin Foer (right). The union between owner and editor deteriorated over time, with Foer being fired and most TNR’s writers leaving en masse.

13. Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker on the epic downfall of The New Republic, which is one of the best I’ve read this year. “(Franklin) Foer wanted to hire someone with a strong background in magazine publishing, but (Chris) Hughes overruled him, selecting Guy Vidra for the job. In a press release announcing that he’d been hired, Vidra described T.N.R. as a “storied brand,” a corporate phrase that rankled some writers there. The release made no mention of Foer and suggested that Vidra now had editorial control of the magazine.”

That’s a lot of stories to cover. There are a few more, but I’ll stop here.

The takeaway is that it we think we know the story, but we really don’t, until the entire story is told.

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