Two Years Later…

Uncategorized

In my last blog post, Maddie was 7 months old and just starting to crawl. Things sure have changed since January 2014!

thanksgiving

Celebrating Nate’s first Thanksgiving in our home in Rockville

In the last two years, the Westlake family has moved and grown. Shortly after posting my last update, I was contacted about an opportunity in Washington, D.C. After a series of interviews, I received a offer from CQ Roll Call to become the PR and events manager. After years of working in broadcasting, booking journalists for ABC News and MSNBC, I moved to the other side of the business, pitching journalists from Roll Call and CQ.

For about a year, I did mostly PR with a few events, then things flipped and our events schedule ramped up. In June, I moved solely into events, taking on the title of event programming manager. In that role, I’ve been working with a fantastic team to put together policy events and parties. I’ve really enjoyed putting together really interesting discussion with members of Congress, policy makers, government officials, academics and more. It’s fun and challenging and every day, I get to learn something new about what’s going on in the halls of Congress.

newborn

Day one

So, that’s big change number one. Big change number two is the addition of a baby boy to the Westlake family! Nathan Edwin joined our family on October 21, 2015. He clocked in at a whopping 9lb 6oz and 20.25″ long. A much quicker labor than Maddie, I was able to hold out and labor and deliver him without an epidural.

At five months old, he is an incredibly happy baby and such a joy to have in our lives. He smiles and laughs at the drop of a hat and watching Maddie do everything in her power to make him laugh just makes my heart swell. Nate’s also a pretty mellow guy and is frequently content just watching the world.

preschool

Maddie’s first day of preschool

Maddie is the opposite of mellow, but in (mostly) all the best ways! We are teetering between 2.5 years old and almost three, but I think almost three is winning. She is so chatty these days, telling us stories, pretending, singing, and very emphatically expressing her opinions (for better or for worse). She attends preschool twice a week and will be going three times a week next year.

WhiteHouse

Still working on getting both kids to look at the camera

And we’ve been fortunate to make some great friends here in Maryland. We’re very lucky to live in an area with great family activities. We live a stone’s throw away from at least three playgrounds and within walking distance of a nature center. We love going to some of the awesome playgrounds in the area and occasionally trek into D.C. to hit up some of the great museums with programs and exhibits for preschoolers, plus the memorials and monuments in our nation’s capital.

Between work and family, I have a lot to look forward to in the next year. Check back for more updates!

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What I’ve Been Up to..

Updates, Work

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Hopefully, given that my last post announced the birth of my baby girl, anyone reading this blog can appreciate the reason I have no been diligent about updating! Maddie turned six months on Christmas Eve and at her doctor’s appointment a week later clocked in at 14lb. 7oz. and 26 inches long. It has been amazing to watch her grow and develop. My tiny little peanut has grown into an awesome, fun baby girl with so much personality. She will giggle up a storm for absolutely no reason. She’s learned how to army crawl to get what she wants (usually my cell phone!) and I’m sure crawling isn’t too far off. She loves standing holding onto things, whether it’s the side of the changing table or my hands. When we go to storytime at the library or music class, she watches with such wonder. I sincerely hope she never loses her amazement with the world and her joy in discovering new things. It is such a pleasure to watch her learn and grow.

Being a mommy has definitely given me a new perspective on the struggles of working mothers. As a freelancer, finding the time to get work done in between all the diaper changes, feedings and naptime battles has been a challenge. In a post on InPower Women, I wrote about how I didn’t have a maternity leave because FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act, doesn’t apply to freelancers.

In my postpartum period, I finished up a project that I started while pregnant. At 7.5 months pregnant, I produced three videos for the website BabyCenter.com touring the maternity ward, operating room and birth center at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. It was a really awesome experience and definitely gave me an inside look at what I could expect for my own birth experience. I was really proud of how the videos turned out from an idea when I was suffering from morning sickness and spending way too much time on the BabyCenter website to finally seeing the videos posted online. But finding the time to finish the videos while taking care of Maddie was definitely a challenge!

I also somehow managed to read What Will it Take to Make a Woman President? and post a review on InPower Women to coincide with election day. I was pretty proud of that post, which talked about some of the reasons we haven’t had a woman president yet. Many people have high hopes for Hilary in 2016. Just throwing this out there, but Maddie will be eligible to run for president in 2048…

One of my main goals for 2014 is to get more of my writing published in more places (and get paid for it!). I’ve always been interested in writing about women and politics, but every time Maddie does something new, I think of another possible article to write about babies and parenting.

Here’s hoping for another big year!

She’s Here!

Updates

Madelyn ElizabethOr, rather, she was here four weeks ago! Madelyn Elizabeth Westlake was born on June 24th at 4:08am. We called her peanut throughout the pregnancy, because we didn’t know the sex until she was born, and it turns out, it was an appropriate nickname. Maddie was only 6 lbs. 13 oz. at birth and 20 inches long.

I went into labor on Sunday morning, having fairly regular, but not terribly painful contractions. By mid-afternoon, the contractions were definitely starting to hurt and getting more regular. I had hoped for an unmedicated birth and one of the best ways to do that is to labor at home as long as possible. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards for me. Even though I probably wasn’t ready to head to the hospital, I suspected my water had started leaking. Once your water breaks, the risk of infection goes up, so after calling my doctor, we headed down to the Hudson Valley Hospital Center in Cortland Manor to get checked out. Sure enough, it was my water leaking and Paul and I were in it for the long haul.

And it was a long haul. When I got to the hospital, I was only 2-3 cm. dilated at around 7pm. After walking the halls, sitting in a rocking chair and laboring in the jacuzzi tub, I made it to a whopping 4 cm. dilated by 11pm. At that point, my doctor recommended we start pitocin to encourage the contractions along. My white blood cell count had come back high and my medical team was concerned that if we waited for things to happen on their own, the risk of infection would grow exponentially.

With that, my hopes of an unmedicated birth were dashed. Around midnight, I was given pitocin to encourage labor along. Anyone who’s had pitocin, which is artificial oxytocin, can tell you that the contractions from pitocin are significantly more intense than natural contractions. And after almost 16 hours of labor, it was time to call in the anesthesiologist. I had always said that I would get an epidural if I was in extreme pain that was hindering my labor or if I had been laboring for an extended period of time and needed a break. Well, both of those criteria were met and after a bit of a cry over the fact that my body wasn’t cooperating, I got the epidural and was able to get some rest.

Rather than a continuous drip, the epidural I was given was supposed to last for about two and a half hours. Well, at about two and a half hours after getting the epi, I started to feel some sensation again. The nurse came in, checked on my progress and found that I had gone from 4 cm. to 9 cm. in that time. It was almost time to push and my epidural was wearing off just in time for transition. And transition was not fun! I started feeling more and more as the pain increased. Soon enough, it was time to push.

Throughout my entire pregnancy and labor, my husband, Paul, had been an absolute rock, doing everything he could to make me as comfortable as possible. And during the pushing stage, he took awesome to a whole new level. I am so lucky to have such an encouraging and amazing husband.

To me, it seemed like I was pushing forever. But in reality, it only took 28 minutes to meet our daughter. Because she had the cord wrapped around her neck pretty tightly, the doctor had to cut it before she was completely out. But once that was done, she passed the baby to Paul, who handed her to me. The feeling of a newborn baby on your chest for the first time is pretty amazing. And Paul and I were so enthralled with the fact that we finally had a baby, we forgot to check to see what kind of baby it was! It wasn’t until the nurse prodded Paul to check that we found out that we had a little girl!

Maddie and I at the hospitalAfter a few minutes of skin-to-skin contact, the nurse took Maddie over to the warmer to suction out some fluid from her lungs, clean her up and measure and weigh her. Paul was very amused that the nurse did, in fact, count all her fingers and toes (and they were all accounted for). We spent two more nights in the hospital and Maddie passed all her tests with flying colors.

The last few weeks have flown by in a sleep-deprived blur. Breastfeeding is a constant work in progress, but Maddie is growing like a weed and seems bigger every day. After dropping down to 6 lb. 4 oz. when we left the hospital, Maddie regained  all the weight she lost and more, clocking in at 7 lb 4 oz. at her two week appointment. She’s still a peanut though!

It’s been really amazing to see how fast she’s grown and developed in just four weeks. She’s already much more engaged than she was last week. We spent some time in the play mat today and she was actually looking around at all the stuffed animals hanging above her. We’re still a few weeks away from real smiles, but every so often, we’ll get a dream smile or, more often, a dream smirk. I wonder what she’s dreaming about! I can’t wait to find out what she has in store for us in the future.

Wide awake at bedtime!

Behind the Scene During Breaking News

Current Events

Breaking NewsAs the situation on the ground continues to unfold in Boston, the phrase the “lamestream” media has popped up more than once on my Twitter feed in regards to the ongoing coverage by the networks and cable news channels. I actually made the decision to unfollow an actor that I like and have respected in the past because of his criticism of the media coverage. I think criticizing the way the media, especially the broadcast media, has handled this event since the bombing on Monday is completely valid. But then, said actor pointed his followers towards Alex Jones’ site. Yes, the Alex Jones site whose reporter started off the press conference about the Boston Marathon bombing by asking if this was a “false flag.” Again, criticizing the quality of the coverage is perfectly legitimate, but directing your nearly 175,000 followers to a conspiracy theorist’s website is irresponsible and, frankly, stupid.

Besides my friends and family, most of the accounts I follow on Twitter are journalists and bloggers. I’ve always seen and used Twitter as a micro news aggregator. During breaking news events, I’ve found Twitter to be a much better resource than cable news. The reporters on the ground are able to tweet bits of information as they receive it from officials. Twitter is also excellent during local news events, as local reporters have more knowledge of the area and more sources in the departments that matter. During the crisis in Boston, the Boston Globe‘s reporters have stepped up in a big way.

But the vast majority of Americans are still turning to broadcast media for their news and while there has been valid criticism of some of the coverage, I feel the need to explain what’s probably going on behind the scenes and commend the many producers, bookers, writers, researchers, directors, tape deck operators, etc. who are working incredibly hard to  get the right information out as quickly as possible.

I’ve worked on a lot of breaking news events and honestly, I don’t love it. Give me a special event, the State of the Union, election day, and I’m all over it, but breaking news is hard and I don’t envy my friends and former colleagues right now. One of the most challenging breaking news events I worked on was the Japan earthquake in 2011. On the second day of coverage, we first learned about the dangerous situation at the Fukushima power plant and when I walked into MSNBC  on Saturday morning, I was immediately tasked with finding nuclear experts to weigh in. No small feat on a Saturday morning. Especially when the other cable news networks are trying to book the exact same guests. At that point, my goal was to find someone, anyone, who could get to a camera and join us on air. Ultimately, the guests I ended up with were biased (for and against nuclear power) and, in an effort to finally book an expert from a non-partisan source, I was scolded for putting those guests on air, despite the fact that the organization I was trying to book was unresponsive to my requests.

Watching the coverage of Boston, I knew my former colleagues were dealing with that exact issue. You want the police chief on the scene to tell you exclusively what’s going on, but the police chief on the scene is too busy doing his job to take the time to join you on air, so you end up with a former police chief speculating on what might be happening. Is it the best coverage? No, but it’s coverage. You want to speak with victims and eye witnesses, but while the victims and eye witnesses are heading to the hospital and talking to police, you end up speaking with someone who was three blocks away and felt the explosion, but did not see the explosion. And you want to talk to reporters on the scene, but every minute they’re talking to you, they’re not talking to sources and every minute they speak to you means their information is a minute more outdated.

That said, there have been mistakes made during the coverage that are very simple cases of “you should know better.” We do live in a media climate where the goal is frequently to get it first, rather than get it right. The New York Post did a glorious job of wrongly reporting that an arrest had been made and falsely accusing a man who ended up being a witness, not a suspect. CNN jumped the gun, saying a suspect was in custody, only to backtrack within 20 minutes. We’ve come a long way from Walter Cronkite on the phone on air to verify information before reporting it to the public. And, not to pile it on, but CNN made a mistake commenting on the possible skin color of the perpetrators, implying that the bombings were undertaken by Muslim extremists when, at that point, no information had been released in that regard either way. And like I said, they should really know better.

But on the flip side, other media outlets and reporters are to be commended for their handling of the coverage. On NBC and MSNBC, justice correspondent Pete Williams has been exercising extreme caution during his reporting and hasn’t been afraid to say, on-air, “I don’t have an answer to that right now.” We should see more of that, but when you don’t have the answer, viewers may turn to someone who does, even if the wind up being wrong.

Breaking news means very long hours with very few breaks. We expect a lot from the news media and the news media should do better. But it’s important to remember that covering breaking news is a hard job and, try as they might, mistakes will be made. And as I watch this story unfold, all I can say to my former colleagues is hang in there.

And if you really can’t take it anymore, check out The Onion. They’re nailing it today.

The Legal Ramifications Catch Up to James O’Keefe III

Current Events, School

ACORNIn graduate school, I wrote a comprehensive analysis of the legal ramifications facing James O’Keefe III for his undercover “stings” against ACORN and National Public Radio. In both scenarios, O’Keefe’s actions and the heavily edited videos that followed resulted in the firing or resignation of employees at both organizations, and, in the case of ACORN, the dissolution of the organization itself.

My conclusion based on privacy laws was that the individuals that appeared in the ACORN videos certainly had a case against O’Keefe and his partner, Hannah Giles, but only as a violation of their state’s two-party restrictions on recording. Due to the fact that none of the individuals featured were being targeted directly by the videos, it was ACORN itself that was the intended victim, the likelihood of proving “actual malice” in a defamation or false light case was slim.

Today, nearly three years after ACORN employee Juan Carlos Vera lost his job due to the misleading video released by O’Keefe, a settlement has been reached. Originally reported by Wonkette, O’Keefe will pay $100,000 in damages as part of the settlement, which was decided solely on the grounds that the surreptitious recording violated California law. It’s important to remember that O’Keefe and Giles were both immune from prosecution, because they handed over their unedited recordings to then-Attorney General Jerry Brown as part of his investigation of ACORN. Had they not received that immunity, both could have been charged with a felony or misdemeanor.

And the Vera part of the story is particularly frustrating. O’Keefe and Giles went into Vera’s office with a sordid tale of trying to bring underage girls across the Mexican border. Vera kept the conversation going in order to obtain as much information as possible before calling the police. The edited version of the  video seemed to imply that Vera, and as a result ACORN, was offering sex trafficking advice.

Frankly, I don’t think $100,000 is much in the grand scheme of things, especially when you take into account the fact that O’Keefe made $65,000 on the ACORN videos.. Vera lost his job and his reputation certainly took a hit. But if I’m reading anything into the settlement it’s that Vera probably couldn’t afford to keep fighting the battle. It’s the primary reason the case was only brought on the specific charge of invasion of privacy based on the California law on recording. Had Vera had the time and resources, he could have gone after O’Keefe for defamation and/or false light. However, going up against someone with significant backing in Conservative circles would have been a costly affair.

I think there is a time and place for undercover reporting, but O’Keefe’s stings are rarely the appropriate time, place or subject matter. His methods are dishonest and his final products rarely tell the full story. Ultimately, though, it’s the media that is more to blame than anyone else. After learning more about the truth behind the ACORN and NPR stings, the media really should know better than to trust anything produced by O’Keefe or his organization, Project Veritas. Thankfully, while O’Keefe has continued to work, none of his operations have popped in the same way that the ACORN or NPR “investigations” did. Has the media learned its lesson? Let’s hope so.

Gender Socialization from the Womb

Extracurricular, Updates

Ultrasound at 20 weeks, 6 daysI mentioned a few posts ago that I was working on a collaboration with my husband. Well, the secret’s out on most social media, so I might as well post it here. Paul and I are expecting our first child this June! We went in for our anatomy scan and our little peanut is looking perfect and healthy.

Get pregnant and you’ll find yourself getting a lot of the same questions over and over again.

How are you feeling?

Well, the first trimester was rough, but I’m feeling better now. I still have moments of feeling a bit iffy and I still get tired, but overall, it’s gotten much better in the second trimester.

When are you due?

End of June! Yes, I have a specific due date, but very few women end up delivering on their due date, so I’m trying to keep it to myself. Plus, first pregnancies almost always go long, so I’m trying to avoid the “have you popped yet?” questions if I end up going past my date. I’d love to deliver on my due date. I think it’d be a great birthday for this kiddo!

And then there’s my favorite question.

Are you finding out the sex? Is it a boy or a girl? Do you know what you’re having?

Well, yeah, we know what we’re having! A baby! A verified human baby! But no, we won’t be finding out the sex.

Surprisingly, other people have very strong opinions about the decision to wait for the surprise. Mostly, I get the response, “Oh my goodness, I could never not know! I’d go crazy!” Luckily, Paul and I have pretty mellow personalities, so we’ll be happy either way. I’d love to have one of each, so I’ll be thrilled either way.

I’ve also been asked how I’m going to prepare if I don’t know the sex. In that regard, we’re fortunate to be having a summer baby. For the first few months, odds are this little one will be wearing mostly onesies and a diaper. We won’t have to pick up too much clothing before the baby comes and anything more elaborate, we can pick up afterwards.

"Gender Neutral" ClothingBut even with a limited need for clothing, there is a problem with not finding out the sex. Gender neutral clothing. Visit a baby store without knowing the sex of the baby and it’s going to be tough to find a lot of stuff. Sure, there’s yellow… And… Yellow… Maybe green? Oh, and white! But beyond that, the options are limited.

Which is part of the problem. If clothes aren’t pink or blue, they have some other accoutrement that defines them as gender specific. Girl outfits are particularly offensive in this way. If it’s not pink, it has frills or ruffles, sequins or leopard print. And it seems boy outfits have a really unsettling tendency to have slogans like “Ladies’ Man” or silly ties or bowties (yes, because I want my son to be a corporate drone from the start!).

I like ducks as much as the next person, but why is it that ducks seem to be the only “gender neutral” animal out there? Why aren’t there more middle of the road outfits for monkeys or dinosaurs? Girls like dinosaurs as much as boys! I know this for a fact, because dinosaurs are awesome. And I’m a girl.

Since I started my pregnancy, I’ve been participating on the BabyCenter.com message boards. And for the most part, I enjoy the conversations over there. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one dealing with certain symptoms and worrying about certain things. But I am constantly amazed by how many of the moms on the board are planning on starting their children down a very stereotypical gender path right from the start. I think it’s particularly bad with girls, but I’ve seen it with boys as well. Just using words like “princess” to refer to your new baby starts that child down a road that she might not be interested in.

One of the more interesting debates is whether or not to pierce a babies ears. I personally feel that earrings are a responsibility and ears should be pierced when a girl is old enough to ask for them and take care of them herself. But I appear to be in the minority, at least on my message board. Justifications range from the fact that she’s too young to remember the pain at 3 months to the probability that the holes can heal easily when she’s too young to play with them and even that earrings on babies look adorable. I tend to disagree, but my primary reason for not getting my baby’s ears pierced is that I don’t want to force a certain gender path on her. My little girl might be into dolls and tea parties and frilly dresses. Or she might be a total tomboy who wants nothing to do with “girl stuff” and just wants to play in the mud. Or, most likely, she’ll be like me and tread the middle of the road. I played with dolls, but I also played with mud. I wanted to get my ears pierced, but I’ve never been too good at wearing jewelry. Whoever she ends up being (if she’s a she at all!), I want her to come to that conclusion on her own.

I’m excited to welcome our new addition to the world and I’m excited to discover who he or she will be.

And for the record, we’re painting the nursery blue. Not because we think it’s a boy, but rather because the sky is blue and I want clouds, stars and sun decals on the wall.

Is it Finally Time for the Equal Rights Amendment?

Work

official-blogger-2My latest post is up at InPowerWomen.com, but I’m pretty excited about how it turned out, so I’m going to add it here in its entirety. I’ve been posting over there about women, politics and media and was asked to contribute something for Women’s History Month. I hate to be the downer on the site, but considering how often Women’s History Month articles and events are very much about the successes of women, I thought it’d be beneficial to take a look at a time where things didn’t go so well.

Would love to hear your feedback, either here or on the InPower Women site.

The first Women’s History Week was observed in March of 1982. Just a few months later, one of the biggest disappointments of the women’s movement occurred as the Equal Rights Amendment expired when the ratification deadline came and went at the end of June. This Women’s History Month, after an election year where women’s issues were in the forefront and after the Violence Against Women Act finally passed after a long and hard fought battle, it seems appropriate to ask, do we still need an Equal Rights Amendment in the Constitution?

FROM AN IDEA, TO A MOVEMENT

The ERA was originated by the National Woman’s Party in 1923 to complement the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in 1920. The ERA was introduced in Congress officially in 1923 as the following:

Men and women shall have equal rights throughout the United States and every place subject to its jurisdiction.

The amendment was re-introduced and failed in every Congress until a reworded version finally passed both chambers in 1972. The final text reads:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

It was then turned over to states for ratification with a seven year deadline. After passage in Congress, the ERA needed to be ratified in 38 states. It only passed in 35. The deadline was extended until June 30, 1982, but ultimately failed to be ratified.

THE QUEST FOR EQUALITY

The ERA was supposed to fill the gap left by the so-called Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Though the 14th protected “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,” it was adopted following the Civil War with racial discrimination in mind. And while numerous cases came before the Supreme Court seeking equal protection for women, women routinely lost up through the 1960s.

Women were told they had no constitutional right to practice law (Bradwell v. Illinois in 1873), vote (Minor v. Happersett in 1874), act as a bartender without her husband or father owning the establishment (Goesaert v. Cleary in 1948) or face a jury of her peers (Hoyt v. Florida in 1961), among others. Most of these decisions were rationalized that women were the “fairer or weaker sex” that needed protecting, as Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in 1979.

In 1971, things started to turn around. In Reed v. Reed, the court held unanimously that an Idaho law giving preferential treatment to men over women in estate administration appointments was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause. Other cases began to follow suit.

IS THE ERA STILL NECESSARY?

Whenever discussions about the need for the Equal Rights Amendment come up, my mind immediately goes to this clip from “The West Wing” of Republican Ainsley Hayes discussing her opposition. And Ainsley makes some good points about being protected by the 14th Amendment. There are also plenty of laws on the books like the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, both of which banned discrimination on the basis of sex. Most recently, the ban against women in combat roles, which the ERA would have ended, has been lifted by the military. There’s still more work to be done, but given all the steps in the right direction, do we still need an Equal Rights Amendment?

In my opinion, sort of. In our current climate, I find it’s more imperative than ever to make it clear that women are entitled to the same protection as men under the United States Constitution, for two very specific reasons. First, we hear about new laws on a regular basis seeking to place limits on the right to privacy granted to women under the Equal Protection Clause in the landmark decision Roe v. Wade. That right to privacy is being chiseled away in states that now require an invasive trans-vaginal ultrasounds in order to obtain a legally protected abortion. If this right can be taken away, should women be worried about all their other rights as well?

But more importantly, we need to make clear that the Constitution applies to us all because there are justices on the current Supreme Court who believe in interpreting the Constitution based on the original intent of the framers. And the original intent of the 14th Amendment was not to protect women. In an interview in 2011, Justice Antonin Scalia said this about equal protection in the Constitution:

“You do not need the Constitution to reflect the wishes of the current society. Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t. Nobody ever thought that that’s what it meant. Nobody ever voted for that.”

Scalia suggests that legislation is sufficient to outlaw sexual discrimination. But with justices like him on the court, what are the chances a law like that would be upheld as constitutional? I don’t like those odds.

So, why do I say sort of? Well, because women aren’t the only group out there in need of constitutional protection. The current session of the Supreme Court will be hearing challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8. Does the Constitution grant equal protection on the basis of sexual orientation? It certainly wasn’t what the original drafters of the 14th Amendment had in mind. And yet, the same 14th Amendment that may not cover women or homosexuals, does cover corporations, according to numerous cases decided by the court. So, where exactly is the line drawn?

Instead of fighting for an Equal Right Amendment just for women, let’s close all the loopholes. Let’s establish once and for all that if you’re a human being born or naturalized in this country, you’re a citizen. And that citizenship comes with all the rights and privileges outlined in the Constitution.

What about you? Do you think there’s still a need for the Equal Rights Amendment?

Will a Record Number of Women in Congress Make a Difference?

Work

Check out my latest post for InPower Women!

With the Inauguration in the rear view mirror, it’s officially time for the 113th Congress and President Obama to get back to work. Women were big winners in the November elections and the current Congress set a new record for female members when officially sworn in earlier this month. That’s the good news. The bad news is that new records means that female representation in Congress jumped from a high of 17% to a new high of 18%.

But it sounds more depressing than it really is, as these infographics from Mother Jones indicate. Some fast facts:

  • 1 in 3 newly elected members is a woman
  • 184 women ran for Congress in 2012 and nearly half were elected
  • The state of New Hampshire will be sending an entirely female delegation to Washington with a female Governor at home
  • Four states are sending their first female Senators; Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Dakota and Wisconsin

And let’s not forget that there are now 20 women serving in the Senate, up from 17 in the 112th Congress.

Read the rest at InPowerWomen.com!

Why I’m Terrible at Updating My Blog

Extracurricular, Updates, Work

It was a very busy and productive fall, but I haven’t been able to post any updates lately because of computer issues. Did you know WordPress has a mobile app? Did you also know that typing blog posts on your phone is very time consuming?

Fingers crossed, I’ll be back on my computer soon, but until then, a promise. In the next few weeks I will:

1. Update about working with Google at the conventions. With pictures!
2. Update about the Google+ hangouts with ABC News on election day and tracking down voters from all 50 states!
3. Write about my trip to Vegas! Including a jaunt to the Grand Canyon!
4. Talk about volunteering with the New York Women in Communication on their awesome student conference.
5. Finally write about the election. There are 20 women in the Senate!!!
6. Updates on some exciting projects to come, including a big collaboration with my amazing husband.

Until then, some pictures!

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The Google set at the RNC in Tampa

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Chelsea Clinton touring the RNC Google space

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One of the amazing tigers at Big Cat Rescue in Tampa (and one of the aforementioned projects)

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The Google space at the DNC in Charlotte

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The Bellagio Fountain in Vegas

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Self-portrait at the Grand Canyon

More to come!

Heading to Tampa…

Updates, Work

In five hours, my wonderful husband, Paul, will be driving me to the airport to board a JetBlue flight to Tampa for the Republican National Convention. The big news that I mentioned in my last blog post is that I am working with Google and YouTube on their convention coverage! I’ve been working as a booker and associate producer, liaising with media partners and helping them book guests for their hangouts on air. I’ll be heading to Charlotte next week for the Democratic National Convention.

Hopefully, my experience with the RNC will be slightly different from my experience in 2004.