Kate Sheppard

Kate Sheppard is a political reporter at Grist, and a former Prospect writing fellow.

Recent Articles


I've made fun of the Clinton campaign before for flooding reporters' inboxes with press releases, but the one sent out Sunday night is one of the most hilarious I've come across yet, right up there with the one about Barack Obama 's kindergarten-era presidential ambitions. Yesterday's went after Obama for saying John McCain would be a better president than George Bush : Sen. Obama said today that John McCain would be better for the country than George Bush. Now, Sen. McCain is a real American patriot who has served our country with distinction, but Sen. McCain would follow the same failed policies that have been so wrong for our country the last seven years [...] We need a nominee who will take on John McCain, not cheer on John McCain, and I will be that nominee. Really now. Obama also mentioned that "either Democrat would be better than John McCain," and, well, does anyone really dispute that McCain isn't at least a little bit better than George Bush? No one's arguing McCain's going...


I'm fascinated by Chris Cillizza 's post about states that look poised to change colors, through a combination of national, state and congressional elections. Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico (all much-sought after states) seem likely to flip blue. But Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Michigan are threatening to flip the other way. What do you, dear readers, think? Do these seem like reasonable projections? What can be done to save those last three? --Kate Sheppard

The Green Gap

As the number of green-collar jobs rises, pioneering activists are working to ensure that many of those jobs go to inner-city residents.

Rodney Lee's hometown of Richmond, California, has a national reputation for two things: the highest per capita murder rate in the state and one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the country. The East Bay city of 103,000 has been wracked by gang violence, with a murder rate five times the national average. It sits in the shadow of a giant Chevron refinery, and at least 400 industrial sites in the city have been listed as sources of pollution. This is the Richmond that Lee has known for most of his 28 years. The explosion of a General Chemical company rail tanker in 1993 released a 17-mile cloud of poisonous gas, landing 25,000 residents in the hospital. Lee recalls some kind of spill every three months throughout his life, due to nearby industrial plants like the Tesoro Petroleum refinery. The companies often offered Lee and his neighbors settlement money, which folks in this economically depressed city were happy to take. "That's like the thing Richmond people do for money,...


Still more problems with endless war. Nearly 20 percent of military service members who have come home from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, or 300,000 in total, report symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder or major depression, according to a new RAND Corporation study . Only slightly more than half have those veterans have sought treatment, largely because there is a fear that seeking treatment will harm their career, and even among those who sought treatment, only half received treatment that researchers would categorize as even "minimally adequate." Nineteen percent of returning service members experienced a possible traumatic brain injury while deployed, and 7 percent report that they suffered a probable brain injury and currently suffer from PTSD and/or major depression. The RAND researchers estimate that PTSD and depression among veterans will cost the nation as much as $6.2 billion in the two years following after their deployment through direct medical care as well as...


Ryan Avent outlines more reasons why John McCain 's "gas tax holiday" is a terrible idea. It's foremost a strong indicator, as I've argued before, that John McCain isn't serious about climate and energy policy. But despite being pretty much the only bone he threw to the working class, it also doesn't help consumers much at all, since gas prices are up 25 percent on average across the country, and rising, and the federal gas tax is a mere $0.18 cents a gallon. The real failure of McCain's policy is that it fails to offer any alternatives for consumers, and without those, Americans will remain wed to ever-more-expensive gasoline. Avent offers up mass transit expansion and congestion pricing as two means of helping wean people off gasoline. I'd offer another. McCain has said he is opposed to creating subsidies and tax incentives to develop the green economy. He does, however, support massive subsidies for the nuclear industry, which he included in his climate legislation and has...