Kate Sheppard

Kate Sheppard is a political reporter at Grist, and a former Prospect writing fellow.

Recent Articles

NOT-SO-GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY. Sunday...

NOT-SO-GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY. Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the first civil rights legislation enacted in the United States in nearly a century after Reconstruction. The act resulted in the creation of the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice and an Assistant Attorney General post designated to civil rights enforcement. It also established a vote refereeing system to help ensure voting rights for blacks in the South, and gave federal prosecutors the power to pursue court injunctions in cases of voter interference. But as civil rights leaders testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, progress made in the years since the passage of the act is being systematically undone by the Bush administration. Not only has the administration not made continued progress a priority, but they've also actively undermined the Voting Rights Act, including today's decision out of the federal court in Atlanta to dismiss a...

UN DEBATE EN ESPANOL.

UN DEBATE EN ESPANOL. This weekend, the Democrats' Spanish-language debate on Univision will be the first of its kind in national politics, marking the departure from a time where not factoring the Latino vote into the "must have" category was an option. But the GOP must not have gotten the note about Latinos being the largest group of swing-voters in the country right now -- the Republicans' Univision debate, which had been slated for September 16, was canceled last week when only John McCain agreed to participate. Univision is the fifth-largest broadcast network in the country, and in 16 cities -- including Los Angeles, Phoenix and Miami -- their local newscasts top the charts. The debate might just have more impact as a solitary event than any of the others so far by virtue of its reach, of course, but also by virtue of its content. Instead of focusing on immigration as the sole issue of concern to Latino voters, education, drop-out rates, Latinos in the military, and U.S.-Latin...

STANDING O.

STANDING O. Could Oprah 's endorsement help swing women voters to Obama ? CNN and the Washington Post ponder the question as the megastar vows to stump for the other Big O. But maybe a more important question is whether Oprah's endorsement will help swing anyone more engaged in pop culture than politics -- the boob tubers, college students, and suburban housewives included -- to Obama's camp. That and all the white people in Middle America whose only regular exposure to black people is their daily date with Oprah. "I think what Oprah can do is potentially bring out the congregants of the church of Oprah," Marty Kaplan , a communications professor at the University of Southern California, told CNN. "She is a charismatic leader of a lay congregation." As the Post points out, her attention seemed to bump George W. Bush up a notch in the polls back in September 2000, and that was just by letting him sit on her couch and chat for an episode. What kind of role could active campaigning on...

I CAN'T BELIEVE...

I CAN'T BELIEVE I ATE THE COAL THING. Brian Beutler reports back on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Climate Change hearing on the future of coal this morning: "[E]verybody from the governor of Wyoming to the wonks at the Center for American Progress think a cap-and-trade program is inevitable, they also think that many, many billions of dollars in subsidies for carbon capture and sequestration technology will be crucial to any greenhouse-gas reduction strategy." Seems even the most climate savvy of our reps, committee chair Ed Markey , drank the Kool Aid on carbon capture and storage: "Fortunately, carbon capture and storage -- or 'CCS' -- offers a path forward for coal ... All indications are that CCS is a viable interim solution to the coal problem." I'm going to go ahead and bring Dave Roberts 's meme over here, so say it with me now: Coal is the enemy of the human race -- not a solution to climate change, not a fix for energy independence, and not the logical...

CALLING A SPADE...

CALLING A SPADE A LAW-LOVING CITIZEN. One salient moment at last night's GOP debate was when Chris Wallace asked Huckabee to clarify previous statements on the racist undertones of fellow Republicans campaigning against immigration reform. "If I were to say some of it is driven by just sheer racism, I think I would be telling you the truth," Wallace quoted Huckabee as saying at a press meeting in May, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette . The Democrat-Gazette piece extends his statement further: "I’m not saying everybody who is very, very angry [about immigration ] is a racist. I want to be very clear about that. But I’ve had conversations with people, and it became evident what they really didn’t like is that people didn’t look like them, didn’t talk like them and didn’t celebrate the holidays they do, and they just had a problem with it." But when asked why he felt that way, Huckabee backpedaled, shifting toward the claim that defense of the rule of law rather than racism...

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