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A really interesting article from the TED Talks blog about how politicians can appear warm and trustworthy during the debates while still projecting strength and intelligence, and how the two mix.

TED Blog

At TEDGlobal 2012, Amy Cuddy gave a talk about the remarkable power of our posture to affect our mental state: Strike a powerful pose (in private) before a job interview, and your performance will improve. 

With the US election coming up, we asked Cuddy, an expert on nonverbal communication, for her insights into political posturing — and what to look for in the upcoming presidential debates.

We’re right in the middle of politics season. I presume we can be looking for a lot of this kind of signaling. As an observer, what should we be looking for?

Stepping back from this specific research on power posing, more broadly what I study is how people judge and communicate both power/competence and warmth/trustworthiness. These are the two primary dimensions along which people evaluate each other — we ask: do I like this person (warmth/trustworthiness)? And do I respect this person (power/competence)? We’re…

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Welcome to…Reporting?!?

Once upon a time there was a girl named Alicia who ran a blog called Policy Dorks. In April, she interviewed for a paid internship with the Journal Times, a daily newspaper in Racine. She never heard back from them, so she assumed the worst and, after graduation, started doing temp market research work. (I really was a busy human, I wasn’t just totally blowing off my blog. Promise!) She made a lot of really boring confidential phone calls for a few days, and then, out of the blue, got a call from a dude named Rob Golub. Rob is the local editor of the Journal Times. He wanted her to drop everything, move to Racine for the summer, and get paid to be a real reporter!

Well, easier said than done, (for example, I flew to Texas to drive my new car back home to Wisconsin, whew that was a long weekend), but three weeks later, Alicia is the newest reporting intern at the Journal Times!

So for a lot of this summer, this blog will be my reflections on not just law, politics and technology, but just the experience of being an actual, real, honest-to-God reporter. I’ve freelanced before, but never been part of an office, and even that is so different to me. The fact that either of my editors can overhear my interviews makes me nervous, not because I’m asking the wrong questions, but because to me phone interviewing has always been something I do in a quiet room by myself.

I’ve written 4 articles in the last week and have had 3 of them published so far! It’s so much fun, so challenging, and yet so familiar that I can’t believe that its been so long since I did it. How can it have been over a year since I’ve been a journalist? It’s so…awesome 🙂 Really. (Let me keep my idealism while it lasts.)

More later, its 12:16 am and I have to get up early to go to my (usually) 9-5 job. Isn’t that a strange thought.

Check out my newest work below!

Christian volunteer organization helps improve area low-income neighborhoods

Lemonade stand to benefit children fighting cancer

Area woman becomes new host of Discover Wisconsin

Where I talk about setting realistic deadlines

me saying sorry

I'm so sorry I didn't even photoshop myself in this unflattering picture

So I’ve realized that I always tackle large personal projects, things like making daily blog posts that take two to three hours at a crack and require research and Photoshopping like with Teh Commerz Clawz, right before major projects in my school life take over.

And while it’s great to want to take on fun personal projects, especially ones I have so much fun with and that allow me to exercise all my knowledge and talents in one, when I have an entire ad campaign to design before December 13th and finals in two weeks, I need to be more realistic with my schedule.

So while doing a daily blog was incredibly fun, Teh Commerz Clawz will be pushed back to 1 or 2 updates a week. I apologize to anyone that was following this, but unfortunately getting good grades and not letting down my advertising team tops my personal blog. You can expect a new Commerz Clawz by next Wednesday.

Then we shall go back to the weekly schedule already set when I started. My bad, y’all.

Teh Commerz Clawz: Part Sick

Hello! Welcome to the sick installment of Teh Commerz Clawz, where I explain the Commerce Clause with super simple language and lolspeak over the next week and a half. This is where I inform you that the first installment of Teh Commerz Clawz, while not being put off due to mucus invading my body, will make a lot less sense than usual, and will be posted super late tonight. Mea culpa. If you send me lemons or tea so I don’t have to leave my house to get more, the process may go faster.

Coming Out for Equality

Apologies to all for publishing this on Wednesday instead of Monday. Midterm hell has begun and my personal life is getting away from me a little.

Tyler Clementi. Asher Brown. Seth Walsh. Billy Lucas. Raymond Chase. Chloe Lacey. Aiyisha Hassan.

These are the publicized lists of our dead in only the last few weeks. Our sons and daughters, our brothers and sisters, our friends, our schoolmates. It doesn’t matter if you are white, black, brown, yellow, or purple; if you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, or nothing at all; whether you are a parent or a child; whether you respect equal rights or think all gays are perverted and going to hell. These kids are human, they lived and breathed and laughed and cried just like everyone else on this planet. And these LGBT youth took their own lives because, well, people can be incredibly cruel.

I almost want to leave this post at that. Forget the Safe Schools Improvement Act, forget New York politician Carl Paladino’s ridiculous remarks, forget National Coming Out Week. I don’t want to see another headline, even my own. It hurts too much.

I’m still barely sure where to begin, so we’ll start with some cold, hard numbers from GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey.

  • 84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
  • 63.7% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 27.2% reported being physically harassed and 12.5% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their gender expression.
  • 72.4% heard homophobic remarks, such as “faggot” or “dyke,” frequently or often at school.
  • Nearly two-thirds (61.1%) of students reported that they felt unsafe in school because of their sexual orientation, and more than a third (39.9%) felt unsafe because of their gender expression.
  • In addition to this, while bullying remarks are down, stronger forms of harassment have increased over the last 10 years since GLSEN began their study. Many states still don’t have any sort of comprehensive bullying laws on the books, or those they have have no real consequences, according to

    Obviously, we’ve got some serious problems going on in our schools. And yet parents send hate mail to school districts, like Minnesota’s Anoka-Hennepin School District, which is  reviewing its “neutrality policy” on anti-gay bullying after losing a student of their own last year. According to conservative officials like Carl Paladino, who is currently running for governor of New York, “I don’t want [children] brainwashed into thinking homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option – it isn’t.” Apparently, there is no difference between homosexuals “brainwashing” our children, and not allowing our children be cruel to others. Wait, what happened to the Golden Rule, you ask? You know, the one that is a cornerstone of the Christian faith? Do unto others? How about 1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

    Guess it’s too much of a stretch to apply that in schools, and teach our children to love their neighbors as themselves.

    Which is unfortunate, since some big government intervention in the form of the Safe Schools Improvement Act would go a long way in allowing teachers and schools to do something about all kinds of bullying when they see it. Introduced in the House in 2009 (where it passed with *gasp* bipartisan support) and taken up by the Senate in the last few months, the bill would ask schools receiving federal funding to enact policies forbidding bullying and harassment on the basis of “race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation and perceived or actual gender identity.” Basically, it would finally put a comprehensive and uniform set of rules on the books. Perhaps even more importantly, it would require this bullying to be reported to the Department of Education, meaning we could finally have some real-ish statistics on the subject.

    Oh yeah, and it would stop parents becoming so rude to each other and to school districts that superintendents have to think about calling the Department of Justice to mediate.

    If you want to find out if your Senator supports this act, (don’t forget to ask them to if they don’t and thank them if they do!) you can check here.

    But in better news, this week is National Coming Out Week, and UW-Madison has been getting some amazing press. The wonderful staff of the LGBT Campus Center has created an entire series of events, including a fair on Library Mall, a LGBT fall social, and on October 20th at 8 pm in Library Mall, a Stop The Silence vigil dedicated to the victims of bullying. If you are on campus, I highly encourage you to go. It would be well worth it.