PiPress mom blog is finalist for national journalism award


The Online News Association hands out annual awards for what its judges believe to be the best Internet-based journalism and practices, and the The Daily Juggle, "the blog from moms in the Pioneer Press newsroom," is the only entry from Minnesota to make the list of finalists this year.

The PiPress ladies are among three finalists in the "Online Commentary/Blogging, Medium Site" category. Winners will be announced on Oct. 3 during the ONA's annual conference in San Francisco. The blog is part of a larger site,, which editor Heidi Raschke says was started because, "Moms wanted local solutions to their everyday dilemmas." Besides the blog, the site offers forums and advice on everything from dinner menus to family outings 

You can get a sense of the topics covered in the blog from this snippet from its tag cloud: "parenting books pets politics pregnancy projects reading relaxing remodeling Santa Claus school scrapbooking sex."

My son was weepy in bed last night.

"Today was the worst day of my life," he said.

It was the last day of a glorious summer. It was the second-to-last day of being nine years old. He said the summer was so wonderful he didn't want it to be over. And being nine was so good that he worried it would just go downhill from here.

We counted up his vacations. A total of five weeks away from home! A trip to California with his brother (without parents!) to see grandma and grandpa. Two weeks at the seaside to see the other grandparents. A week on the North Shore. A week at a family church camp.

His days at home were filled with baseball games, whacking tennis balls at the local park and rec courts, and playing for hours with neighborhood kids in backyards and playgrounds. In the quiet moments he read and imagined life as an Olympic half-god (Percy Jackson) or British teenage spy (Alex Rider).

I can see why it's hard to say goodbye to all that.

I kissed him good night and hugged him. I told him that that autumn would bring new joys. I told him being ten would be awesome. But I don't think he believes me yet. I found myself wishing that all his bad days could be like this - the kind caused by saying goodbye to so much happiness while anticipating the disappointments of a future that hasn't unfolded.

What are the PiPress moms up against?

Contestant No. 1, Stanley Bing's What Would Bing Do?, which is sort of an "Ask Emily" for the business world. Bing, who writes for Fortune and has authored a number of books, posts in a  straight-forward and unvarnished fashion on anything that comes over the side of his boat. Sample post:

Dear Stanley,

I had my review a few weeks ago and got a $2-per-hour raise. Today my boss came to my job site and told me he had "heard through the grapevine" that I was talking/bragging about my raise (which I did NOT do). He then took my raise away and won't even tell me who accused me of this lie. (Although I believe it's the husband of the woman who does payroll at my company, who would of course know how much my raise was.) Is this legal? Even if I did share that info, can you have your raise taken away on those grounds and possibly be fired for it?

Signed, Abused

Dear Abused,

It sounds illegal. If you belonged to a union, you could file a grievance, I suppose. But non-union employees -- and that includes all management and quite a few unlucky line workers these days -- have nobody to protect them from arrogant, mean, punitive buttheads who have no rule of law to follow but their own.

I'll be honest with you: I've never heard of a raise being taken away from somebody. I've seen a lot of abusive things done to people in the name of management, but this one is new to me. A $2-per-hour raise is significant in this economy. It sounds like somebody wanted to be generous to you. Then somebody else told your boss that it was too much and he had to figure out a way to get the dough back from you, so he cooked up this lame horse-hockey. It's rude. It's unfair. But worse, it shows, to me, that this sphincter would rather get the money back than keep you on as an employee. Face it, that's the message here: "I'm taking away your raise, and if you don't like it you can go F yourself." I can't think of any other way to read it.

Contestant No. 2: Christopher Buckley's blog on The Daily Beast, wherein the name-dropping son of conservative icon William F. Buckely Jr. holds forth on the moderate right of things, after abandoning his dad's old rag, National Review. Sample post:

I think I've found the new face of the Republican Party. It's not a new one, entirely, and it's been hiding out on national television every weekday morning from six to nine.

Joe Scarborough.

I say this because I have just read his new book, The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America's Promise. It's not a perfect book by any means. It's a bit preachy here and there, a bit speechy here and there, a bit cutesy here and there, and occasionally repetitive. That said, it is a thoroughly honest book about the largely, if not entirely, self-inflicted wounds the Republicans have visited upon themselves over the last eight or more years. And his argument that we are heading to certain fiscal disaster is quite calmly and dispassionately made. Into the bargain, Joe Scarborough comes across as a profoundly likeable and reasonable man. Reagan Lite, you might even say. Could we do better? I'm open to suggestions.

One truly senses that Scarborough, who went out of his way as a congressman to befriend such lefty firebrands as Ron Dellums and Maxine Waters, doesn't have a mean bone in his body.

(Full disclosure: He repeatedly invokes William F. Buckley, Jr. in more or less hagiographical terms; and I was recently on Morning Joe, during which, if I recall, Mr. Scarborough said pleasant things about the book I was on to promote. If that makes me out to be in the tank, fine--but read the book and decide for yourself.)

He is unsparing about the disaster wrought by George W. Bush and the Republican majority. At times, indeed, it reads like an indictment co-authored by Michael Moore and Paul Krugman. Iraq, reckless spending, the works. His insight is that Bush and the Republicans were not in any sense "conservative," but rather radical and ideological. In foreign policy, they tossed aside the Powell and Weinberger doctrines of restraint and went pell-mell into every quagmire in sight.

Reading Bing is good fun. Reading Buckley is rewarding if you like seeing the far right wing of American politics skewered. But I'm rootin' for the hometown folks. Good luck to The Daily Juggle moms. We'll post the ONA results here when they are announced.