Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a journalist based in New York.

Recent Articles

Semi-Homemade Sandra Lee Dates Politician, Lives Her Own Life

I'm not a big fan of Semi-Homemade Sandra Lee as recipe writer, cook, or TV personality. But as a political spouse, she's the best we have. First of all, she's not actually a political spouse: She and her sometime housemate , New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo , have not tied the knot, nor does Lee seem to feel any pressure to do so. In a world where women are still pressured to see marriage as one of life's primary purposes, that alone speaks well of her. But she also refuses to act the part of the political helpmate. In a profile of Lee (paired with a story on Cuomo's first 100 days in office), New York magazine reports, "Whereas Silda Wall Spitzer sought Hillary Clinton's advice on how to fill the role, Lee didn't consult any former First Ladies." Chris Cuomo , the governor's younger brother, tells the magazine, "I don't think she sees herself in the First Lady capacity at all." In the real world, women like Lee who have very, very successful careers of their own do not have to give them...

Lesser Evils in Energy

Over at Grist, Dave Roberts is publishing installments of an interesting conservation he had with The Atlantic' s Alexis Madrigal about Powering the Dream , Madrigal's new book on the history of green-energy technology. Yesterday, Madrigal made a great, overarching point about the gap between environmentalists and clean-energy advocates, who in recent years increasingly have come together to fight climate change. But, as he said, the flexibility with which the two groups approach the relevant issues differs: "People who have dealt with environmentalism on the land side of things tend to think in terms of conservation -- preserving that which exists. If you're on the energy side of things, it becomes immediately clear that if you want energy for human purposes, you have to take it from the environment one way or another. You have to be more pragmatic than when you're just buying land and keeping human beings out of it." This is exactly the tension that's been playing out in New York...

Pawlenty's Prescience on Fundraising in Arizona

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty is introducing his supporters to his finance team this morning, and it caught my attention that one of his finance consultants, Andrea Evans , is focusing on Arizona. Evans is based in Phoenix and worked on McCain's 2008 campaign as Arizona's finance director, so it's not surprising that the Pawlenty campaign assigned her to this turf. But I don't automatically think of Arizona as an important state for presidential fundraising, and the other consultants on Pawlenty's list are attached to states like Texas and California -- places that traditionally shell out in a big way during election season. This map from the Center for Responsive Politics tells a different story about Arizona's potential as a font of campaign cash, however. In the 2008 election, Arizonans contributed more than $10 million to presidential candidates, putting it in the top tier for political fundraising. And even though the totals that came out of states like California and Texas dwarfed...

Peter King Knows His Constituents

As Adam wrote yesterday , Rep. Peter King's hearings on Muslim radicalization were "relatively sane." But I just wanted to point to another piece of evidence that shows why King feels comfortable , even satisfied, with the work he's doing. His stance is very much in tune with the political views of his constituents, as documented in this video: One woman sums it up: "I mean, we can't forget 9/11, right? There you go." In this district, that's the end of the discussion.

Tsunamis and Vertical Evacuation

The emergency preparedness community is pretty good at handling the sort of problem that the tsunami poses to Hawaii and the West Coast today. There's plenty of lead time to warn people to get away from the coasts and onto high land. But as FEMA warns in this report on tsunami preparedness , there's a category of tsunamis, where the waves come on quick and fast, where those sorts of skills won't matter: There are many communities along our nation’s west coast that are vulnerable to a tsunami triggered by an earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone, which could potentially generate a tsunami of 20 feet in elevation or more within 20 minutes. Given their location, it would be impossible to evacuate these communities in time, which could result in a significant loss of life. One solution to this problem is to build vertical evacuation structures—buildings that are resistant to earthquakes and tall enough to protect evacuees from the waves. When I first read about these buildings, I...

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