2015 was quite the year for this blog. Like most outlets, I want to look back on the year that’s now coming to a close and share with you the much-anticipated results of what posts got the most views in the past 365 days! Even if you read everything I wrote this year (in which case, give yourself a pat on the back), keep reading because I added some comments to each and every one of the top posts! To see 2014’s Year in Review, read on. To all of my readers from the US and around the world, thanks for making 2015 this page’s best year yet!
I still remember the elation I felt when I finished my final calculus test at the end of winter quarter (which, at UChicago, ends in the Spring). This really was a true underdog story, because despite all the odds, I managed to finish my time in math class. In the five minutes before the test was given out, everyone was nervously chatting amongst themselves, and it was then that I found out that I was in the hardest section of my level…by far. Although it did make for 20 very difficult weeks across two quarters, it did make me feel good once it ended. This post leads me to a broader point, which is that freshmen should use their first year of school to get rid of as many core classes as they want. If they’re like me, it’ll allow them to free up the rest of their time in school to take classes that they actually want. If they’re more undecided, they’ll be given the chance to take a wide variety of classes in subjects that they otherwise wouldn’t have wanted to take, which will allow them to see what actually interests them. I know for a fact that UChicago being on the quarter system made this exponentially easier for me, but I think the principle works the same way for schools on the semester system as well.
Of all the titles I came up with in the past year, this is the one that disappointed me the most. Kasich’s visit to Chicago was awesome (this was the second in the quarter that I took a group of College Republicans to) because I was able to leave him noticeably impressed when I told him about when my Israeli flag was ripped from my neck and burned in front of the White House when he asked me if I ever stood for something. The concept of town halls gets a lot of coverage with the focus on the early states, and I feel like this was the best experience I got of one that I wasn’t working at. I didn’t want to highlight that I’m supporting Marco Rubio at this event (because I would hate for someone to do that at an event that I was helping out at), but when I was asked by a reporter after Kasich had finished speaking, I wasn’t going to lie.
This post is amusing to me because when I was writing it, I certainly wasn’t able to predict that within a little over half a year, I would be training for a real half marathon. So yes, this one focuses about watching a marathon of Netflix, specifically when I was able to watch all of season three in 24 hours (give or take). Ultimately, I wouldn’t recommend this as something to do if you want to retain what you’re watching. However, it certainly is possible that since season three wasn’t as good as the first two seasons, there simply wasn’t enough worth remembering. I’m impressed with a couple of aspects of this article, most notably the way I implore my reader to “grab some Chipotle and get ready.” I also proceeded to fact check it relatively extensively, which is something I had forgotten that I had done, but that doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Looking back on it, I would definitely say that running the half marathon was far more rewarding than binge watching this entire season, but they both have their merits.
This post about Chris Kyle was my first of the year, and sadly was very relevant this past year, in light of both the University of Michigan and the University of Maryland (which ultimately backtracked) being in the news for cancelling screenings of American Sniper, the movie based on Kyle’s life. Looking back on it, the cancelling of its screening at Michigan was one of the first incidents I remember of some of the completely ridiculous antics that have been taking place on campuses this past year that my cousin, Steven Glick, has done a phenomenal job covering.
Following in the footsteps of my thoughts on how to survive a full marathon, this article chronicles what I did to ensure that I survived the Nantucket half marathon. This was one of the only forays into sports writing I did this past year, with my relative play by play coverage of the race that I included in it. One tip that I didn’t include in it with enough emphasis is that after you finish the race, take the “Mile 13” sign with you as a souvenir. If you ever do plan on running long distance, I encourage reading this (or tips from professionals), because I have several friends who ran the full Chicago marathon, one of whom hadn’t adequately prepared and spent several weeks recovering from it. Also, running on sand is terrible, and should be avoided at all costs.
As far as I can recall, I only watched one complete undercard debate. It just so happens that the one I did watch was one of the most important ones. Besides the one where Carly Fiorina did a great job and got a promotion to the big leagues, this one had the most impact. Right before it, Chris Christie’s campaign was showing signs of life, and his video about drugs had gone viral, however, he was assigned to the undercard debate due to languishing poll numbers. In the same was that Fiorina dominated the stage, so too did Christie, and he is still very much riding that momentum into a continually strong showing in New Hampshire. As for the other participants in this particular debate, George Pataki has just dropped out, Lindsey Graham dropped out a few days ago (and both of these candidates weren’t even allowed on the stage!), Bobby Jindal has dropped out, Mike Huckabee has now said that he’s betting on Trump to win (although Huckabee is still in the race!), and Santorum is also still in the race. It’s safe to say that Christie was really the only candidate to gain much of anything from it. Amusingly, in the most recent Presidential debate, Rand Paul was allowed on the main stage, even though he didn’t meet any of the criteria that CNN had laid out in detailing who would be allowed on the main stage.
This was one of my first (if not my first) articles that went pretty in depth at examining Chicago politics, and it was all entirely thanks to UChicago’s Institute of Politics, that brought four of the five mayoral candidates running for Mayor of Chicago this past year to our campus. This was a tremendous help to both our campus and to the community, since both groups were able to get a personal look at the candidates in a way that we might not have gotten otherwise. Ultimately my predictions turned out to be accurate, which was also rewarding.
Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, a lot of the problems plaguing her at the time of her announcement have stuck around for the long haul. Even worse, a lot of these problems were completely self-inflicted (both by her own actions, and by her campaign unintentionally highlighting them in her video). From an allusion to reinventing oneself to Clinton’s (unironic) declaration that she wants to be a champion of regular Americans, the video reminded me of everything that voters dislike about her. That’s probably not the way you want to reintroduce yourself for the millionth time to the American people. All of this said, Hillary’s penchant for deception isn’t exactly new, as I wrote about here, in a creatively titled post.
WOW! There are a lot of brief anecdotes in here. I think they speak for themselves, but it was fun to refresh my memory on things like surviving my first true Chicago winter. My pictures of walking to get Chipotle in the midst of a snowstorm are still talked about to this day, and I have no regrets whatsoever about embarking on that journey.
This article talks about the day when both Ted Cruz and Patrick Murphy announced their bids for higher office: Cruz for the Presidency and Murphy for the Senate. Cruz has blunted a lot of the problems I foresaw for his candidacy because Rick Perry dropped out, freeing up the Texas donors that Jeb was never able to leverage his brother’s prowess to lock up and announcing his bid in Virginia ultimately didn’t matter at all, except that it made it clear that his strategy was to focus on evangelical voters from the get go. Murphy hasn’t been in the news as much, but he’s currently embroiled in one of the relatively few instances where Democrats have a contested primary on their hands that will affect how the general election will play out. He is running against fellow Congressman Alan Grayson, who is well to the left of him. Amusingly, Grayson sits on Clinton’s Florida Leadership Council, but insists that he “didn’t” endorse her. 2016 will show us what’s in store for these two campaigns.
When several College Republicans told Martin O’Malley that we were representing the Model EU, he had no idea how we had just saved him from an awkward encounter. Unfortunately for him, he’s now being greeted with crowds of one in Iowa, so maybe he would have appreciated some press that that might have gotten him (I wrote about it, if nothing else). If nothing else, I was glad that I ventured through the cold to hear him speak for the exchange that happened when we interacted with him, which is relayed in full in the article.
One of Rand’s greatest selling points is his electability, given that he speaks to audiences that aren’t used to hearing from Republicans. It is true that he does that, but the five problems I write about here explain some of the reasons that his candidacy was doomed from the start. I wrote this before he bribed the Kentucky GOP to change their nominating process to allow him to run for both the Senate and the Presidency at once, but don’t fear! I wrote about that here (unintentional rhyme)!
This was, by far and away, my most viewed post of this past year, and not without reason. The fact that Chicago’s Students for Justice in Palestine would openly celebrate a murderer of college students can and should be regarded as an outrage (well after I wrote this, I also learned that the dorm I lived in last year had had an event with her at it as well). The crux of the article is as follows:
“Legal Insurrection deftly dismantles the lies Rasmea’s defenders have propagated. There are seven core claims that SJP and co. have been making:
- Rasmea was just a political activist prior to Israeli arrest, picked up because of political activities.
- Rasmea was swept up in a mass arrest of 500 or more people with no evidence of involvement.
- Rasmea gave a false confession after 25 days of horrific torture, leading to her conviction.
- Rasmea was denied the ability to defend herself and was denied access to counsel in the Israeli military court.
- Rasmea did not receive a fair trial in Israel.
- Regardless of procedures and confessions, Rasmea was not involved in the SuperSol bombing and is innocent.
- The U.S. prosecution on immigration charges was unfounded and driven by political support for Israel.”
Not surprisingly, every claim is false.
As the facts show, the following more accurately sums up Rasmea’s “plight.”
- “Prior to her arrest in Israel, Rasmea was a military participant in and organizer for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
- Rasmea quickly confessed in a highly detailed account just one day after arrest, along with other co-conspirators, one of whom also directly implicated Rasmea as the mastermind in a 2004 documentary.
- After arrest Rasmea was allowed to and did defend herself in the Israeli military court.
- Rasmea was represented by counsel.
- There was an observer from the International Red Cross present who stated that the trial was fair;
- The evidence of Rasmea’s guilt in the bombing was and is overwhelming, completely independent of Rasmea’s confessions (however obtained).
- Rasmea herself admitted her involvement in the attempted British Consulate bombing in an interview years later after release from Israeli prison, as did her main co-conspirator who implicated Rasmea in the supermarket bombing as well.
- The evidence of Rasmea’s immigration fraud was based on the indisputable facts and her own false answers.
This actually is just a story of a terrorist bomber rightly convicted in Israel, who then lied on her visa and naturalization applications to the U.S. and was rightly convicted a second time in federal court in Detroit.””
That’s not exactly how she was portrayed at these events, was it? I wrote another, similar story, exposing the lies that were reported about the death of Ziad Abu Ein, whose death was initially blamed on Israel, but the facts suggest otherwise.
There were a total of 30 posts that I wrote on this blog in 2015, and these were your favorites! I have three posts that were particularly fun for me to write, and they are:
- Maryland’s Musical Chairs: I liked this one because I focused exclusively on two districts in Maryland that I have worked in fairly extensively, and got my first ever exclusive scoop, which was from Nancy Hoyt, whom I had worked with on her Congressional bid in 2014.
- Live from Iowa It’s (Almost) Saturday Night: #DemDebate: This one was fun to write because I was at the location of a Presidential debate for the first time ever, and that was fun in and of itself, and because it gave me the opportunity to do something I have never done before, which is the subject of my favorite article from the past year.
- My First Interview with a Presidential Candidate: This article was absolutely awesome. To begin with, I got to interview Robby Wells, who is running for the Democratic nomination, for more time than other reporters get with other candidates, and I additionally ensured that everything that I reported was accurate by double checking with him. I can’t imagine that reporters forget their first major interview, and I know that I won’t either.
If all of these articles weren’t enough for you, check out the articles that I wrote for UChicago’s political journal, The Gate, here! Most are on Marco Rubio, so that explains why I haven’t written as much about him on this blog as you’d probably expect me to have.