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

EPA ENDANGERMENT FINDING ANNOUNCED WITH ENVIRONMENTAL-JUSTICE EMPHASIS.

In following with the Supreme Court decision Massachusetts v. EPA handed down in April of 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed that greenhouse gases are air pollutants, under the Clean Air Act, that instigate climate change and thus endanger health and public welfare. Under this finding, the EPA is poised to regulate carbon-dioxide emissions from new cars at the very least, and likely power plants as well. Regulations are more likely to come from legislative action, but either way regulations would take months, if not years to implement. Notable in the statement released from the EPA today is an environmental-justice emphasis: Administrator [Lisa] Jackson also took into account the disproportionate impact climate change has on the health of certain segments of the population, such as the poor, the very young, the elderly, those already in poor health, the disabled, those living alone, and/or indigenous populations dependent on one or a few sources. This is noteworthy...

RELIGION AND BLACK THOUGHT ON GLOBAL WARMING.

Survey results from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released yesterday revealed that black Protestants, white evangelicals, and Catholics are more skeptical than the average American on the causes of global warming. While 47 percent of the U.S. population believes there's strong evidence that warming has mostly anthropogenic causes, just 34 percent of evangelicals surveyed believed the same, followed by 39 percent of black Protestants, and 44 percent of white Catholics. Those unaffiliated with religion and white mainline Protestants were much more likely to believe that warming was mostly man-made. It's telling that these three religious categories also track off the mainstream path of U.S. thought on issues like abortion and marriage equality. But at closer glance, black Protestants generally appear more convinced that global warming is a problem than all the other religious categories. While only 39 percent of them believed it was driven by humans, 80 percent of them...

EPA'S LISA JACKSON TO INDUSTRY: YOUR FEARS WON'T COME SOON ENOUGH.

The Environmental Protection Agency's proposal that global warming endangers public health and welfare cleared the White House's review process earlier this week. Carbon-emitting industries have long feared the day when they'd finally be held accountable for their release of heat-trapping gases, and now they're especially spooked. Bill Kovacs , vice president of environment, technology and regulatory affairs for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, worries about the regulation of businesses and projects set to receive stimulus funds , and he's concerned that they will be tangled up by EPA reviews if the endangerment proposal flies. James Hackett , CEO of major oil company Anadarko, said recently in an interview, "The histrionic and maniacal focus on carbon dioxide is intellectually repugnant" and would take "the economy into a tailspin" where we'd end up "the world's cleanest third world country" -- which, I guess, could be worse for our health than living in the world's dirtiest first world...

Outside Activism, Reconsidered

Have outsiders helped or hindered the Gulf Coast's recovery? Six activists discuss the influx of post-Katrina volunteers and their role in the rebuilding process.

In her March column, "The Trouble with Outside Activists," Courtney Martin asked if the flood of outside activists in the wake of Katrina was hurting as much as it helped. "Like Juan Ponce DeLeon's mythological fountain of youth, the Lower 9th Ward has become upper-middle-class America's source of feel-good absolution," she wrote. "But the darker side of all of this well-intentioned activism is that it has created a revolving door of services and support in a parish that is in dire need of a strategic plan." The American Prospect asked six individuals working on post-Katrina recovery to discuss how their organizations are balancing rebuilding, commitment to community, and local autonomy with the desire of outside volunteers to participate in the recovery. How have you experienced the revolving door of volunteers? Timolynn Sams, executive director of Neighborhoods Partnership Network (NPN), New Orleans native : The revolving door can be a yin-and-yang situation. Do I think it's giving...

NAPOLITANO MISSES ESSENCE OF NEW ORLEANS PROBLEM.

This past Friday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was interviewed by Essence.com's Cynthia Gordy -- a member of that curiosity seen among the Washington press corps these days that's referred to as the "Black News Media" -- about progress in New Orleans' post-Katrina recovery. It was good that Napolitano was able to step away for a moment from pressing drug war and immigration issues to tour New Orleans with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan for an assessment of the recovery process. Unsurprisingly, they found that the rebuilding there is still roughshod, and not due to any fault of the neighborhoods, which have been doing their best with what little they have. The problem they found, unsurprisingly, has been government failure to get money where it's needed. Early in the convo with Gordy, Napolitano shows that she and President Barack Obama get that the effort needs fuller funding: We have moved special teams to Louisiana to speed up decisions on projects that need...

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