Kate Sheppard

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

Recent Articles

CANDIDATES ON JENA...

CANDIDATES ON JENA 6. An illustration of the point I was trying to make last night that I failed to include was a comparison of statements from presidential candidates about the Jena 6 case. You don't have to look much further than these to see the different standard to which Obama would be held if he were to make a statement that overtly referred to race or racism. Obama can't come off as an Angry Black Man, but white candidates, without the fear that they will be deemed as single-issue and/or single-constituency, can say what they like and it will really only help their cause. Let's line up the official statements. Dodd : The events in Jena, Louisiana are a sobering reminder that while segregation was outlawed long ago, de facto segregation in many parts of this country is still very real. No reasonable person would call what these young men have received 'equal justice.' I sincerely hope that Governor Blanco intervenes in this case and grants immediate reprieves should any of the...

IT IS BLACK...

IT IS BLACK AND WHITE. As Dana noted , mainstream press coverage of the Jena 6 was pitiful at best, until it finally hit the major-media radar this week . And recent coverage seems to have disproportionately focused on Jesse Jackson 's ( possible ) accusation that Barack Obama has been "acting like he's white" by not coming out more visibly on the Jena 6 issue. Jackson later backed down, saying that the statement doesn't really represent the way he feels about Obama, or that it was taken out of context. Obama put out his own statement on the case, saying it's not "a matter of black and white," but rather "a matter of right and wrong." He continued, "We should stand as one nation in opposition to this and any injustice." I'm not going to endorse Jackson's race-baiting, but Obama's statement says a lot about the reality of racism in America today. Jena is about black and white. And if the actual events in Jena didn't make that clear enough, it's even clearer now that we have a black...

WAXMAN GETS HYPE,...

WAXMAN GETS HYPE, SENDS LETTERS. Brian Beutler reported yesterday on Rep. Henry Waxman's letter to the EPA calling them out for ignoring the Supreme Court's ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA . Yesterday he also sent a letter to Condoleezza Rice , in his capacity as chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, demanding that the State Department come forth with "all reports prepared by the Office of Accountability and Transparency, whether classified or unclassified, relating to the Iraqi Commission on Public Integrity," and make three officials from the Office of Accountability and Transparency available for interview, which they'd requested back on Sept. 10. So far, the State Department has only let one of the three officials available for interview, and let staffers come read the relevant reports, without providing copies of those reports. Waxman set a deadline for noon today, and says they'll issue a subpoena if they don't deliver. "I would like to avoid the need for...

WHAT DO WE...

WHAT DO WE APPROVE OF THESE DAYS? We've been hearing about Bush 's sinking public opinion ship a lot lately, and the Reuters/Zogby poll released yesterday put him at a mere 29 percent approval rating. But despite the glee with which we repeat that ever-shrinking figure, Congress has been getting bad marks too -- even worse then the man in the White House. Only 11 percent of Americans gave Congress a positive rating, down three points from the previous low of 14 percent in July. Granted, the polling sample wasn't huge, but still, 11 percent is pretty unsightly. The low marks are likely tied to pessimism about the economy, the war, and a lack of any news of positive advancements coming out of Congress. Yesterday's failure to restore habeas corpus or limit time spent in combat probably didn't help, and neither does the perception of Congress as helpless as Bush threatens to veto positive moves like expanded funding of SCHIP or a comprehensive energy package. I'm leaning toward the public...

FIRST RACES. NPR...

FIRST RACES. NPR has been running a series on current presidential candidates and their first major campaigns. The pieces look at their first big races, and the lessons they learned by either winning or losing. It offers insight into this career-shaping era of the politicians as we see them today. Obama talks about how he got "spanked" in his run for the Democratic nomination for a House seat in Illinois in March 2000, largely because he was inexperienced. Huckabee 's first loss, in a bid for a Senate seat in Arkansas, taught him that listening to political consultants isn't always the best choice. Giuliani 's problem was that he seemed to change his stances too much. Clinton had to take on voters who couldn't swallow her persona, or at least a prevailing unfavorable public perception of her persona. The most fascinating element of the series is that many of the issues they had to confront in those first elections are the same they're facing today, and that most of the "problems" have...

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