Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a journalist based in New York.

Recent Articles

Sexual Assault at Yale

Like fellow TAPPED blogger Jamelle Bouie , I give serious kudos to the Obama administration for highlighting sexual assault. I'd note, too, that built in to the coverage of Biden's forthcoming announcement is an example of why this issue is so often dismissed. A lot of the articles mention a recently opened investigation into sexual harassment at Yale. These quick nods tend to link the complaint to ugly statements made by campus fraternities, which make it easy to downplay the complaint's seriousness. (And indeed the Yale Daily News found plenty of students willing to say that the complaint was unwarranted.) But reporters' focus on the frat incidents misses the complaint's larger point. From the complainants' press release : The complaint also discusses Yale’s failure to appropriately address several instances of private sexual harassment and assault. Under Title IX, universities are required to provide adequate guidance and support for students who report harassment or assault...

Carbon Bills

The Hill's E2 Wire is reporting that a Senate vote on EPA carbon regulations won't happen until next week. Although the White House handed out some tepid reassurance that it would not sell the EPA down the river, it doesn't sound like the administration will jump to the agency's defense. At the base of this conflict is the EPA program -- the last-ditch option for dealing with greenhouse gasses -- that tells carbon-spewing companies that they have to do something about it. The Pew Center on Global Climate Change has a very straightforward and useful FAQ sheet on this stuff. It's helpful to know, for instance, that the regulation is happening in stages: In the first stage, only projects that are spewing very large amounts of carbon and already require air pollution permits have to deal with their carbon problem. In the second stage, which doesn't start for a few months yet, projects that create carbon pollution but not other types of air pollution will have to start going through the...

Officially Invisible

As data from the census rolls out, fantastic visualizations are popping up all over. But all that eye candy is necessarily missing a layer of detail: Even though this year census officials tried harder than ever to reach hard-to-count immigrant and students communities, many of those people still aren't accounted for in the official statistics. In Texas, for instance, Equal Voice Newspaper reports : The 10-year population count may have missed as many as 300,000 residents of the Lone Star state, almost all of whom live in the unincorporated subdivisions along the Texas-Mexico border known as colonias. Mired in deep poverty, most residents lack basic amenities like running water and paved streets. Though predominantly Latino, 65 percent of colonia residents -- and 85 percent of those under 18 -- were born in the United States. In New York, Mayor Bloomberg has questioned the census' official figures , which have Queens growing by just over 1,300 people, for instance. The city is...

Disaster Preparedness of the Mind

Rebecca Solnit writes at Yes! Magazine about how racial stereotypes affect perceptions about people's behavior in the wake of a disaster: After both Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the word “looting” was used to justify shooting people down in the streets—the death penalty, that is, without benefit of trial—for what in ordinary times might otherwise be called “petty theft.”... Lots of reverse-stereotype articles have appeared about how Japanese don’t loot. In fact, there are accounts of Japanese citizens taking things without benefit of purchase, but since they’re not black, no one gets all that excited about it. From movies, we're trained to think that in the wake of a crisis, people run around willy-nilly and scream and cry and start irrationally shaking the person next to them. But if you actually talk to people who've lived through disasters, as Amanda Ripley did for her book, The Unthinkable , you find that panic tends to mean the...

Clean Energy Is a Short-Term Solution

Greenwire reports on the White House's push for a clean-energy standard and makes clear an important distinction: A clean energy standard differs from a renewable portfolio standard insofar as it permits utilities to derive electricity from more than just green fuels. Under Obama's CES, firms could meet the standard using renewable sources, nuclear power, combined cycle natural gas, and coal plants equipped to capture carbon emissions. The White House has promised to talk more about energy, but it's important that President Obama keeps promoting renewables. Relying on nuclear power and natural gas will help decrease carbon emissions in the short term. But if the country stops after exchanging coal and oil for nuclear and natural gas, in a short while, the problems that come along with them -- environmental degradation, piles of nuclear waste -- will become much bigger problems. (It's important to note, as well, that natural gas might not be as carbon-friendly as promised.) Renewable...

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