Kate Sheppard

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

Recent Articles


So it's increasingly common knowledge that coal is the enemy of the human race, a phrase popularized by David Roberts over on Grist. But in the absence of federal regulations constraining carbon emissions, coal plants are still churning out carbon dioxide and warming the planet. While the federal government drags its feet, major national environmental groups and grassroots local organizations have started teaming up to take on the coal industry plant by plant , as the Los Angeles Times reports today. Environmental and community rights advocates have challenged the construction of new plants with lawsuits in places like Kansas, Georgia and Wyoming. They claim 65 victories over the last three years in lawsuits that have raised questions about air and water quality in the areas surrounding the proposed plants. There are also efforts underway to prevent the construction of 50 more proposed power plants. The idea is that the lawsuits can delay or even stop construction of new plants by...


John McCain made a speech to the annual meeting of the Associated Press this morning in Washington, D.C., in which he attempted to balance affection and admonition for reporters. I found the whole thing pretty humorous, especially since he's a guy known for being generally chummy with the media, but who has also turned his temper against them when they dare actually try to do their job rather than cozy up to the candidate: Running campaigns under the frequent if not constant scrutiny of the press can be challenging. And there have been days when I wished you had been somewhere else when I made comments that were interpreted in ways I didn't intend and took on a longer life than I would have preferred. Occasionally, the penalties a candidate suffers by granting widespread access can reinforce a campaign's natural tendencies to avoid risk and closely control its message. There have been times when my enthusiasm in arguing a point and my glibness have had an effect that caused me to...


Political Wire digs up a particularly salient quote from Bill Clinton 's My Life in which he makes essentially the same observation as Barack Obama , minus the word "bitter": If [Republicans] could cut funding for Medicare, Medicaid, education, and the environment, middle-class Americans would see fewer benefits from their tax dollars, feel more resentful paying taxes, and become even more receptive to their appeals for tax cuts and their strategy of waging campaigns on divisive social and cultural issues like abortion, gay rights, and guns. I do think Obama's words were poorly chosen, but I don't think they merit "Bittergate" as we're seeing it play out. Especially since this sort of sentiment isn't unknown to the Clintons, either. --Kate Sheppard


Unlike Jason Zengerle , I found nothing in this Times piece to suggest that Elizabeth Edwards favors Hillary Clinton . I can, however, see why she would support Clinton's pledge to sally forth in the primary, regardless of whether or not she prefers her as a candidate. First, after observing and working with her husband as he pursued the presidency twice, she surely understands very intimately the mindset one must have to be in to run despite facing a sharply uphill battle, as well as how personal success or failure must be for the candidate. Second, as someone whom herself has dealt with a number of personal battles, she must admire the tenacity and persistence Clinton has displayed. And lastly, like many women, she must at least be holding onto some hope of seeing a female president in her lifetime, whether or not she believes that female president should be Hillary Clinton in 2008. I think she could believe all those things and not necessarily favor either candidate. --Kate Sheppard


Jon Chait points to a recent Gallup poll which finds that Obama 's lead over Clinton among white, college-educated Democrats has risen five points in the past three weeks, and among those with post-graduate degrees it has jumped from an 8-point lead to a 29-point lead. Meanwhile, he's still down 30 percent among white voters with a high school degree or less. And I have to admit, though there has been discussion about this for a year now, like Chait I was initially less concerned about this than I am now, and figured exposure and information would cut it down considerable. But it is somewhat troublesome in it's persistence as we head toward the general election. It's not like Obama isn't trying with these voters. His campaign in Pennsylvania has been all about them, as I attempted to document when I was following him last week . But it's a very uphill battle, and I have to worry that there are insurmountable race and class issues that might never convince a number of these folks to...