Rachel Stern

Rachel Stern is the summer 2008 Prospect web intern.

Recent Articles

The Flex Fuel Solution

TAP talks to energy security advocate Gal Luft about the economics of alternative fuels and why natural gas isn't the solution to our energy problems.

This article has been corrected . Drive smaller cars. Drill more. Many such solutions have been proposed to wean the United States off of our dependence on foreign oil, but -- at least according to Dr. Gal Luft, the executive director of The Institute for the Analysis of Global Security -- flex-fuel vehicles are the only plan of action that will yield lasting results. According to Luft, the U.S. government needs to mandate the manufacture of cars that will run on not only a combination of gas and ethanol but also other alternative fuels such as methanol and butanol. Luft has gained widespread recognition for his advocacy. Newsweek deemed him a "tireless and independent advocate of energy security," and Esquire included him in its 2007 list of "America's Best and Brightest." Last week, Luft launched Citizens for Energy Freedom , a coalition to introduce competition to the fuel market, making the widespread use of alternative fuels more than a pipe dream. Rachel Stern: You have been a...


Supporters of California's Proposition 8 , the amendment to ban gay marriage, have said they will file suit to challenge the Attorney General, former Governor, and possible 2010 gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown's recent change in the measure's language. It now states that it would "eliminate the right of same sex couples to marry," rather than the opponents' preferred wording that it would "provide that" marriage is only between a man and a woman. If California were, say, Ohio (or one of the 48 states that does not recognize gay marriage), the second wording would be more appropriate, as the measure wouldn't be taking anything away. But it is, and some people mentioned in the article don't seem to recognize the importance of being honest in ballot language: Political analysts on both sides suggest that the language change will make passage of the initiative more difficult, noting that voters might be more reluctant to pass a measure that makes clear it is taking away existing...


Barack Obama may be campaigning in notoriously red Alaska at the end of this summer. Even if he can win there, why does he care about a measly three electoral votes? Well, perhaps because those votes can easily be obtained by swaying a small number of voters -- Alaska has 221,089 people per electoral vote while California, for example has 664,603. Winning over a state that has not elected a Democratic candidate since Lyndon B. Johnson would also make a strong political statement -- exhibiting not just Obama's commitment to the state, but his unwavering dedication to appeal to the whole country. Finally, Obama may be hoping his campaign will help the Democrats running against the state's endangered Republican Senator, Ted Stevens , and congressman, Don Young (a strategy he's pursuing in other states). --Rachel Stern


Barack Obama spoke in support of working mothers -- including his own mother and his wife Michelle Obama -- in a speech that he gave today in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Women, said Obama, should have the same opportunities as men, and not have them be stymied by motherhood. "As the son of a single mother, I also don't accept an America that makes women choose between their kids and their careers. It's not acceptable that women are denied jobs or promotions because they've got kids at home. It's not acceptable that forty percent of working women don't have a single paid sick day. That's wrong for working parents, it's wrong for America's children, and it's not who we are as a country." Here, and throughout his speech, Obama took a refreshingly novel approach for a male presidential candidate in describing the American working mothers, emphasizing the importance, and rewards, of equality both in the workplace and, for women with significant others, at home. He backed up his idealism with...


Editors' Note: Rachel Stern is a summer 2008 Prospect editorial intern. About eight high school girls in one blue-collar Massachusetts town have made--and kept--a pact to become pregnant together, according to this piece in Time . Author Kathleen Kingsbury assembles some viable explanations to this startling statistic: lack of contraception, low self-esteem and even the supposed glam surrounding fictionalized pregnant teens, i.e. Juno . But the following? Really? "The high school has done perhaps too good a job of embracing young mothers. Sex-ed classes end freshman year at Gloucester, where teen parents are encouraged to take their children to a free on-site day-care center. Strollers mingle seamlessly in school hallways among cheerleaders and junior ROTC. 'We're proud to help the mothers stay in school,' says Sue Todd , CEO of Pathways for Children, which runs the day-care center." And you should be, Sue. Not offering baby care support in hopes that it will prevent teens from...