Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux

Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux is a freelance writer and a former writing fellow at the Prospect.

Recent Articles

What Can Obama Actually Do to Solve Campus Sexual Assault?

AP Images/The News and Observer/Travis Long
Courtesy Alexandra Brodsky Last week, student activists against sexual assault got some exciting news: The president announced that he was forming a task force to tackle the epidemic of sexual violence on college campuses. “An estimated one in five women is sexually assaulted in college, and that’s totally unacceptable,” Obama said in his weekly address. “We’re going to do help schools do a better job of preventing and responding to sexual assault on their campuses, because college should be a place where young people feel secure and confident.” Obama gave the task force ninety days to come up with an “action plan” for combating campus rape. In conjunction with Obama’s announcement, the White House Council on Women and Girls released a report full of grim statistics . Only 12 percent of college sexual assault survivors report their rape to law enforcement officials. Alcohol plays a major role, with perpetrators preying on incapacitated students or plying their victims with drugs or...

Daily Meme: Monday Morning Quarterbacking the State of the Union

It turns out that in the wake of last night's State of the Union speech, Obama has finally completed his transformation into an imperial socialist monarch . (The obvious response: Sue him !) But most liberals think he didn't go far enough. This morning, the Internet resounded with the grievances of disappointed advocates who had hoped that their issue would make it into this most important of all speeches. David Corn chided Obama for "letting the Republicans off easy." The president even dared to name John Boehner, the son of a bartender, as a symbol of the American Dream. (But he might have just done it to see Boehner blush .) The president may have been assertive on climate change, but natural gas was the big winner last night, which made environmental groups none too pleased. "We can't drill or frack our way out of this problem," said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club. "Make no mistake—natural gas is a bridge to nowhere." For the first time, Coloradans could...

Rebecca Mead Gets Lost in "Middlemarch"

A new literary memoir is proof that sometimes, you really can love George Eliot too much.

I n an essay published in the New York Times twenty years ago , the Barnard English professor and literary critic Mary Gordon observed that a “certain kind” of woman can effortlessly recollect the circumstances of her life when she first read Middlemarch , much as “Americans are all supposed to know what they were doing when John F. Kennedy was shot.” Rebecca Mead is clearly that “certain kind” of woman. Growing up in coastal England, Mead, a longtime New Yorker staff writer, encountered Middlemarch in her teens and was smitten. “I loved Middlemarch , and I loved being the kind of person who loved it,” she writes in her new work of literary memoir, My Life in Middlemarch . “It gratified my aspirations to maturity and learnedness. To have to read it, and to have appreciated it, seemed a step on the road to being one of the grown-ups for whom it was written.” Little bubbles of excitement about Mead’s book began floating around the Internet last fall, when the advance copies were sent...

Daily Meme: Everything's Coming up Marijuana

This "evolution" is, of course, accompanied by a significant shift in public opinion. National polls show that, for the first time in decades, majorities of Americans support legal marijuana. And it's not just blue states: Surveys from Alabama , Florida , Georgia , North Carolina , Texas , and Utah all show that residents want some form of pot to be legal. Obama's far from the only politician scrambling to stay on the right side of history. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told the Las Vegas Sun that medical marijuana might not be so bad after all. John McCain, meanwhile, was a full three months ahead of everyone. At a town hall meeting last September , he offered what amounts to a verbal shrug: "Maybe we should legalize." Even the plutocrats are weighing in. Bill Gates told Buzzfeed that he voted for legalization in Washington, although he didn't expect it to pass. Southern states have been more reluctant to jump on the ganja bandwagon, but that could be about to change. Bobby...

Rebuffing the Zones?

AP Images/Steven Senne O utside Planned Parenthood’s clinic in downtown Boston, a painted yellow line swoops across the sidewalk and into the well-trafficked street, marking a 35-foot half-circle around the entrance. Most days, anti-abortion demonstrators gather on the edge of the line, holding signs and rosaries, and clutching bundles of pamphlets. As women approach the half-circle, the demonstrators spring into action. The goal is getting the women to pause and talk to them before they cross into the “buffer zone” on the other side of the line, which Massachusetts law declares a protest-free space. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments about the constitutionality of these buffer zones tomorrow, in McCullen v. Coakley . The arguments won’t tackle the polemical question of whether abortion should be available; instead, the justices will be asked to consider whether the buffer zones violate anti-abortion demonstrators’ First Amendment rights. The petitioners are a small group of...

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