Brentin Mock

Brentin Mock is lead reporter for Voting Rights Watch, a partnership between Colorlines.com and The Nation magazine. Over the past year, he covered the voter-ID law controversy, felony disenfranchisement, voter intimidation and challenges to the Voting Rights Act.

Recent Articles

THINGS TO DO IN DENVER WHEN YOU'RE UNEMPLOYED.

One thing learned from Denver earlier this week, where Vice President Joe Biden announced the beginning of the Green Jobs Era, is that there is still no strict definition of what a green job is. Regardless, there will be many of them. As Biden told the audience at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature on May 26: Look, green jobs are good jobs. They pay ... 10 to 20% more, depending on the definition of a green job. And, with the Recovery Act, we're doing everything we can to make these jobs the foundation upon which our efforts to create 3.5 to 4 million jobs occurs. And that's a hard case to sell. Sure is hard when you haven't quite narrowed down what it is you're selling. As read from the Middle Class Task Force Green Jobs report issued May 26: "We defined green jobs broadly as jobs that help to improve the environment in some way." Well, mountaintop coal miners believe they're helping the environment in some way, but they shouldn't be considered in this. Biden called yesterday...

Green Peacemaker

Can Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA, meet businesses' needs without alienating the environmental-justice movement?

The first African American chief administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, gave her first public address in late January at the Advancing Climate Justice conference, an assembly of environmental-justice organizations from around the nation. Jackson had just been confirmed by the Senate in a hearing stalled in no small part by Sen. James Inhofe's insistence that she consider the opinions of those who deny that climate change has anthropogenic causes. But among the crowd gathered at Fordham University in New York for the January climate conference, there was no denial of global warming. The attendees -- mostly African-, Latino-, Asian-, and Native Americans with doctorates or degrees in law or medicine -- were part of a 30-year-old movement to educate, organize, and fight for the rights of low-income populations and minorities whose health has suffered due to environmental neglect in their communities. Global warming, they worried, would add yet another burden...

NOT EQUALLY BOUND BY CLIMATE.

Ezra Klein 's "first day at school," as he referred to it via Tweet, at The Washington Post included a keen observation about President Barack Obama 's Notre Dame speech. Among the hullabaloo over abortion, Klein pulled out Obama's newer nuanced framing of climate change, placed in both a religious and broader global context for the college crowd. Drawing on a study from the British medical journal The Lancet , Klein wrote: The developed countries that benefit most from fossil fuels will suffer least. The countries with the maximum incentive to prevent climate change have no power to do it. At Notre Dame, Obama exhorted the graduates to recognize that "that our fates are tied up, as Dr. King said, in a 'single garment of destiny.'" But we are not bound equally. Exactly. Not only are we not equally bound, but our world will not just be one "hot, flat and crowded" planet, contrary to Thomas Friedman 's sloganeering. Some areas will be much hotter than others, and much more crowded...

KRUGMAN: CHINA, DO OR DIE.

Back from a visit to China, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman yesterday confronted the ever worsening Co2 emissions problems that plague the globe as most nations are finally taking the consequences of climate change seriously. His China-malaise column noted that the country is the world's largest carbon producer (they're building new coal-burning plants at the insane rate of at least two a month), but they seem to care less about the construction's devastating implications. What that means, says Krugman, is a possible carbon tariff on goods from China if they don't comply with carbon regulations -- an option that few economists or politicians have been willing to endorse. Somewhat understandably, China argues that the U.S. has no right to limit their economic growth (which fuels Co2 emissions growth) when our nation has flown carbon off the handle for so long and with no regulation. Point granted, and with the U.S. leading in per-capita carbon emissions, China may hold a bit of a...

KILL BILL: GOP HOPES TO NIX CAP AND TRADE.

The Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are looking to destroy any chance for a cap-and-trade measure to reach the final text of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, as it heads to markup next Monday. Led by Rep. Joe Barton , a denier of climate change who believes reducing carbon emissions would be like "living in Nigeria," the minority gallery of Republicans are refusing to endorse anything resembling cap-and-trade. "We're not going to try to kill the bill," Barton told reporters yesterday. But only before he declared: "Cap-and-trade is dead. ... I don't think they can get it out of committee." Committee Chair Rep. Henry Waxman technically doesn't need the Republican votes to get it out of committee, which Barton knows. So as punishment, Barton threatened to have Waxman read out every word of the 650-plus-page bill to Congress if it does advance committee. As a smokescreen, Republican Rep. Bob Inglis has submitted a proposal for a carbon tax, which would...

Pages