Laura Bolt

Laura Bolt is a fall 2011 intern at the Prospect.

Recent Articles

The Body Politic

Criticism of an Egyptian blogger's nude photos underscore liberal worries about seeming too radical.

Aliaa El Mahdy
As the now historic Tahrir Square filled with protesters over the weekend, the tension between the hope and momentum of the February uprising that ended a 30 year dictatorship and the aggressive, violent military response to a mass civilian demonstration almost one year later was startling. After three days, 23 dead, and over 1500 wounded, it is clear that the transition to a new Egypt is not going to come easily. Surprisingly, the group that has proved to be the most awkward fit into the new Egypt are the youth who engineered the uprising that brought President Mubarak’s reign to an end. Idealistic, peaceful, and largely secular, the success of the Egyptian youth movement became an instant promise of change and possibility. Now, however, their moment in the sun seems to be fading, eclipsed by a military stronghold and the emerging power of the Muslim Brotherhood that was -once outlawed, and is now the main challenge to the military controlled government. With the state under a...

One Small Step for Climate Scientists

Researcher gains legal standing to sue for privacy against global-warming skeptics.

In a small victory for global-warming advocates, the case against climate scientist Michael Mann has hit some rough ground. Mann, a climate scientist who has been fighting a battle against the American Traditions Institute (ATI) since January, received his first piece of good news in the case on November 1 when a Virginia judge ruled that Mann did, in fact, have standing to join the case over the release of his e-mails from his time at the University of Virginia (UVA). The judge also decided to reopen the consent decree between UVA and ATI concerning exempted e-mails. Facing a Freedom of Information Act request, UVA maintained that there was material in Mann’s e-mails that should be safe from release under an academic-material exemption. Mann and UVA were concerned that the initial consent order allowed the contested material to be reviewed by ATI’S lawyers, Chris Horner and David Schnare—an arrangement that struck many as inappropriate. As I wrote about in October , Mann’s struggle...

Climate Control

As their ranks diminish, global warming skeptics target scientists

AP Photo/John Giles
Last week Richard Muller and his team released the findings of their exhaustive study on global warming with definitive simplicity, saying flatly “global warming is real.” The statement is an especially damning one to climate change deniers, as Muller, himself once a global warming skeptic, conducted the study partly with funds from the Koch brothers. As even skeptics like Muller begin to accept the overwhelming science behind global warming, opponents are taking up a new tactic that goes after the scientists themselves. One of these scientists is Michael Mann, a climatologist who, since January, has been targeted by climate-deniers.Following the example of the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries, which have a tradition of attacking the credibility of scientists who oppose their products, skeptics are beginning question the credentials and research of individual scientists. Since 2007, when a Supreme Court ruling found that, under the Clean Air Act, the EPA has the right to regulate...

Pipeline Dreams

Will Obama stand with or against environmentalists in opposing the Keystone expansion?

Standing outside the Ronald Reagan Building on Pennsylvania Avenue last week, author and environmentalist Bill McKibben looked out over the cheering crowd. "We do not know if we are going to win this fight, but there was not even a fight to win two months ago," he said. The fight he was talking about is the battle to prevent TransCanada from building Keystone XL, a 1,700-mile pipeline that would carry crude oil refined from tar sands in Canada to Texas. As the December deadline for a decision from the White House and the State Department approaches, protests against the pipeline have gained traction, turning it into a dicey political issue for the president who once promised to "heal the planet": Where Barack Obama comes down on the Keystone pipeline will effectively decide whether or not environmentalists will be on his team next November. Since August 20, when 70 people first protested on the sidewalk outside the White House, the movement has swelled to include not just...

When It Comes to the Death Penalty, Americans are A-OK

As Patrick Caldwell mentioned already, of all eight candidates at last night’s GOP debate, it was Rick Perry who sickened many progressives when he defended his record on the death penalty: “In the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you’re involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is, you will be executed.” Perry's smugness was so distasteful here in light of the well-publicized case of Cameron Todd Willingham, a Texan who was convicted of arson and murder after his three children died in a 1991 home fire. Willingham maintained his innocence, and after his conviction and death-penalty sentencing, new evidence, both personal and scientific, came to the attention of the court. Even in the face of flawed science, recanted witness statements, and experts willing to testify, Perry denied a stay of execution. Since Willingham's death,...