Monica Potts

Monica Potts is a senior writer for The American Prospect and a fellow with the New America Foundation Asset Building Program. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, the Connecticut Post and the Stamford Advocate. She also blogs at PostBourgie.

Recent Articles

Another New Light Bulb.

On Friday, the Department of Energy announced that $37 million from the stimulus would go toward research and development projects for LEDs, the lighting normally found in TVs and computer screens that could also be used as more efficient home lighting. From the New York Times's Green Inc. blog: This is the sixth round of Energy Department funding for solid-state lighting projects, but the first time money has been given to develop better manufacturing technologies. According to the department, the focus on manufacturing is part of a new initiative to accelerate adoption of LEDs by improving quality and cost – while also encouraging production in the United States. A considerable amount of LED manufacturing occurs in Asia, according to the department’s solid-state lighting research and development plan . The plan states that developing advanced automation methods could improve product consistency, reduce labor content and potentially make domestic production “a more attractive option...

Making Law in the Wake of Tragedy.

More than two years ago, two parolees allegedly broke into a Cheshire, Connecticut, home and brutally murdered the family inside; only the father survived. Among the many efforts afterward to address the crime, Connecticut's General Assembly passed a law making home invasion -- entering an occupied home with the intent to commit a crime -- a felony punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years. ="http:> Then, last month, when I was still a reporter in Connecticut, I ended up covering a stupid crime of an entirely different magnitude. Five teenagers who allegedly told police they thought they were breaking into an empty stash house with $50,000 tucked under a mattress instead broke into a home with a 47-year-old man and his 18-year-old daughter inside. They were charged with home invasion and face those mandatory 10 years if convicted. All of their names, even the names of those under 18, are on the public docket. ="http:> It's likely the charges will be reduced as the...

Taking Public Responsibility for Public Stands.

The Supreme Court decided to hear a case Friday to determine whether the names of those who signed a petition supporting a referendum to overturn a Washington state law extending marriage benefits to same-sex couples should be released to the public. The petitioners say they have had threats made against them. In taking the Washington case to the Court, the petition-signers’ lawyer said the confidentiality issue “is arising with great frequency across the country as changes in technology have made it possible for individuals and groups seeking to prevent public debate from occurring to obtain the names and contact information of petition signers and post that information online to encourage harassment and intimidation.” One group, the filing said, has posted on its web site information about gay marriage petition-signers in Arkansas, Florida, Massachusetts and Oregon. The Supreme Court considered a similar issue when it blocked plans to broadcast the Prop. 8 trial in San Francisco,...

Vacationing Amid the Disaster.

The Guardian reported Sunday that a cruise ship owned by Royal Caribbean International docked in a walled-off, private beach in Haiti. The ship's operators tried to justify it by noting the fact it carried aid supplies and were donating the proceeds from the stop, but some of the ship's passenger's stayed on board. Via Boing Boing: The decision to go ahead with the visit has divided passengers. The ships carry some food aid, and the cruise line has pledged to donate all proceeds from the visit to help stricken Haitians. But many passengers will stay aboard when they dock; one said he was "sickened". "I just can't see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while [in Port-au-Prince] there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water," one passenger wrote on the Cruise Critic internet forum. Maybe this one incident will highlight the gross fact that...

Spending on Children by the Numbers.

Nancy Folbre , an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has a great post at the New York Times's Economix blog today noting how little we spend in tax dollars on children compared to other age groups, especially the elderly. It's particularly important because study after study shows how critical investment in the first few years of life turns out to be, she writes. Two salient patterns emerge. First, public spending on children amounts to about 2.2 percent of the gross domestic product. By comparison, we spend about 5.3 percent of G.D.P. on the elderly . Second, public spending per child goes up after children reach age 6, despite considerable research showing that younger children enjoy especially significant benefits from early-childhood education. Increasing spending on children before they get to school -- in, for example, better financial assistance for parents of young children who need it, better nutrition programs and free day cares and preschools...

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