The New Girl


Em Carpenter

Em was one of those argumentative children who was sarcastically encouraged to become a lawyer, so she did. She is a proud life-long West Virginian, and, paradoxically, a liberal. In addition to writing about society, politics and culture, she enjoys cooking, podcasts, reading, and pretending to be a runner. She will correct your grammar. You can find her on Twitter.

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35 Responses

  1. Avatar Aaron David says:

    Welcome to the fold Em.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:


  3. Avatar Anne says:

    Glad to have you here! I have enjoyed your posts and welcome another passionate purple person to the OT.Report

  4. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Dude. It is great to have you aboard.Report

  5. Avatar greginak says:

    Welcome. Good to have you here.Report

  6. Avatar InMD says:


  7. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:


  8. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Welcome, sister at the bar.Report

  9. Avatar Zot says:

    Always found WV to be a very pretty place.
    What part you from?Report

  10. Avatar Em Carpenter says:

    Thank you all for the warm welcome! I’m very glad to be here. Some great, thoughtful, nuanced discussions happen here and I revel in it!Report

  11. Avatar Patrick says:

    I now work in state government, where I spend my days offering meticulous legal analysis to bureaucrats who disregard anything that does not support their preferred outcome.

    The bureaucrats’ preferred outcomes or their elected bosses? 🙂Report

  12. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    I now work in state government, where I spend my days offering meticulous legal analysis to bureaucrats who disregard anything that does not support their preferred outcome.

    Executive or legislative branch? I spent some time as a “member of the permanent non-partisan staff for the Joint Budget Committee of the Colorado General Assembly.” Highly educational time it was, too. Good that I had developed thick skin in a previous career.Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Michael Cain says:

      Executive branch.
      Yes indeed, it is educational, and not always in positive ways. It is disheartening to confirm firsthand the cliche that hard work and competence are not worth much in government. One may have a rock solid legal argument but will get nowhere, if the heart of the issue is a power struggle.Report

      • I have never been able to decide which is more frustrating: (1) have my two hours in front of the committee to recommend a bunch of changes to a department’s budget, with all the options considered and the details nailed down and the department on board, and the committee ignores it and does something entirely different, or (2) same situation, but before I can start someone on the committee says, “Move staff recommendations for the department” and they adopt all of my recommendations and I don’t get a chance to say anything.

        At least with the Colorado Joint Budget Committee, they had almost always read the briefing materials the night before the meeting.Report

        • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to Michael Cain says:

          I’m GC for a state agency (within a larger agency). My agency oversees six smaller divisions, for each of which I provide advice and support, so I am usually working on multiple fires at once. I did write some legislation this year and it passed, so that was cool. But there is a lot of BS intra-bureau power struggles that make it frustrating.Report

  13. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Wudup, homes! Welcome aboard.Report

  14. Avatar James K says:

    Welcome aboard Em.Report

  15. Avatar scott the mediocre says:

    Hi Em –

    I too am very glad to have you join. Plus having another person of purple, and one of such high status, is a great leap forward.

    (p.s. I certainly hope that your love of “all things purple” extends at a minimum toleration to violet, the sadly monochromatic lesser neighbor of the proudly multichromatic purple sensu stricto)Report

  16. Avatar Dark Matter says:


  17. Avatar Zac Black says:

    I’ve enjoyed your posts so far, glad to see you’ll be sticking around. Welcome!Report

  18. We might differ a little bit when it comes to criticizing “bureaucrats,” although your clarifications in the comments suggest to me you’re referring to higher level directors and not necessarily any- and everyone who works in a bureaucracy.

    At any rate, it’s nice to have you on board and I look forward to reading more of your posts!Report

    • Avatar Em Carpenter in reply to gabriel conroy says:

      Indeed, I am referring to higher lever bureaucrats, not the day to day grunts who manage the various and sundry government offices. I was a deputy director of one such office for a few years, so I am their champion. In my current job, I am much closer to the top (not in rank but association). It is much less noble up here.Report

  19. Avatar atomickristin says:


  20. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    I have liked every piece you’ve offered up so far, Em, and I’m thrilled to see you on board!Report