Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a journalist based in New York.

Recent Articles

Pre-Gaming the Election

Every election season, before the contest begins choking news cycles, state governments try to pass laws and regulations that will help push one party or another to victory. Republicans and Democrats tweak election laws that detail who can vote, when, where and how easy it will be, all in the belief that these administrative structures can predetermine, to a certain extent, which types of voters will come to the polls and therefore which party will have an edge. In the 2012 cycle, Republicans control more legislatures, and they're passing more laws that they think give the advantage to their party. [USA TODAY reports]( http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2011-06-19-states-require-voter-ID_n... ) that 17 states could require voters present a government-issued ID in order to exercise the franchise. In Texas, a concealed hand-gun permit would count; a student ID would not. Florida is making it harder for third parties to register voters. There's little real evidence to show the impact of...

Cities Benefit from Job-Creating Clean Energy Projects

For [all the complaints]( http://prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=06&year=2011&base_na... ) about more efficient light bulbs, government leaders on a municipal level see them as a key way to decrease cities' energy use and carbon emissions. Also top on their list: low-energy building technology and solar systems. That's according to [a new report]( http://usmayors.org/cleanenergy/ ) from The Conference of Mayors on clean energy solutions. One interesting tidbit from the report is that the technologies that mayors find most promising are also the ones they have the most experience with -- energy-efficient lighting and low-energy buildings are the top two technologies cities are already using. (Solar is a bit further down, in fifth place, after energy-efficient appliances and hybrid vehicles.) To me, this says that these technologies are working. Cities have tried them; they like them; they want more. Like the Obama administration, mayors also realize that clean...

How Big is "Big Wind"?

There's a debate brewing on Capitol Hill about which bits of the energy industry the federal government should be supporting with tax breaks and tax incentives. The Senate's proposal from a couple months back to eliminate tax breaks for the biggest oil and gas companies did not pass; another proposal in the Senate, to eliminate subsidies for corn-based ethanol, did pass yesterday. Republican senator Lamar Alexander is preparing a push to examine and eliminate subsidies for all sorts of energy interests -- in his formulation , "not just big oil, but big wind, big everything else." But although the wind industry has grown in the United States, it's hardly "big" compared to an industry like oil. According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind contributes just 2.3 percent of the country's electricity mix. (In some states, like Iowa, it's much higher, closing in on or over 15 percent.) In Washington, when some industry is called a Big Industry, the term usually refers to its...

Droughts Don't Kill Jobs. People Do

The House Natural Resources Committee has been [trying for a little while]( http://naturalresources.house.gov/Issues/Issue/?IssueID=5921 ) to pin environmentalists with responsibility for the man-made drought in California. How can a drought be man-made? In this case, irrigation to the state's Central Valley was scaled back after environmentalists argued successfully in court that diverting the water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta was killing endangered fish. The man-made drought is simply the Valley dealing with its natural water supply, or lack thereof. Central Valley residents have been bemoaning their fate -- in particular, the lack of jobs in the area, which they blame on the drought. And they found a sympathetic ear in the House Republicans. But [a new report]( http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/16/farm-jobs-lost-blame-environme... ) from the Pacific Institute says that it's not the man-made drought, but the man-made economic decisions that have hurt rural communities...

Weiner Should Spend More Time With His Family

*The Atlantic*'s Joshua Green [sees Weiner's future in TV]( http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/06/weiner-steps-down/24... ?), "battling conservatives on cable shout shows, only this time as a host rather than guest." He just might be right, because, really, what else is Weiner going to do? He's spent his entire career working in politics; unlike Eliot Spitzer, who ended up in TV anyway, he doesn't have a quiet law office to retreat to. And because there is such a demand from cable TV networks for politicians to go on air and spout off, Weiner has been training for a TV news job. And TV does have an allure for someone who likes to be looked at. There's another clear career choice that Weiner could make right now, though: with a baby on the way, he could choose to be a stay-at-home dad, at least for those first few, very demanding years of child care. His wife certainly has enough on her plate. He's spared us so far the "I'd like to spend more time with my family" line,...

Pages