Monica Potts

Monica Potts is a freelance writer, and former staff member of The American Prospect. 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

Schools Running Out of Stimulus.

Many state school systems are facing a "funding cliff" next year when their federal stimulus money runs out, which was the kind of dramatic budget shortfall the stimulus money was meant to prevent in the first place. Most states spent the bulk of the funds last year and this year, and are left with little. But a few states spent everything, leaving nothing for the coming academic year, according to the New York Times . The leaders of some of these struggling states, like South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford , were among the most vocal opponents of the stimulus and feigned reluctance when the federal money was dispersed . And since many states used those federal funds to bolster the program that helps poor and disabled children, it's hard to imagine where those children would be if it weren't for the stimulus money. Now, those kids could be poised to suffer most since the budget pain was merely postponed, not averted. And don't look for Republicans and centrist Democrats in Congress to...

Helping Haiti With Arrogance.

Ten American missionaries accused of kidnapping 33 Haitian children were formally charged with abduction and conspiracy by a Haitian court yesterday. Haiti's ambassador to the United States, Raymond Joseph , says he hopes the move sends the message that Haiti's government is alive and well after the earthquake. From the Christian Science Monitor : 'By this action, I think the Haitian government is sending a clear message to the world that there is a government in place, and that nobody can just take it upon himself or herself to come and do in Haitii whatever they think is good,' Mr. Joseph said by telephone Thursday from Washington, D.C. Joseph noted that the motives of the group, who were from Idaho and Kansas, will likely be taken into account at a later point in the prosecution. I have no doubt the missionaries believed they were helping. And we now know many of the children have living parents who gave them to the Americans because they were told they would be taken to a school...

Jumping Ahead of Carbon Regulation.

The arguments against environmental regulation always include the pro-business folks who fear a huge economic hit. That underestimates business. It assumes every company, when faced with new regulations, would roll over, say, "Well, I guess we can't make profits any more," and die. It completely leaves out the other response regulation can inspire: innovation and competition. In an effort to get ahead of the curve, Calpine Corporation, a company that builds power plants, has voluntary asked for a permit limiting the amount of carbon it can emit, according to the New York Times' Green, Inc., blog. The permit, issued by a California state agency under rules set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, sets those limits by using the output of the 'best available control technology,' said Donald R. Neal Jr., the company’s vice president for environmental health and safety. But in anticipation of federal rules on carbon dioxide emissions, Calpine asked that the permit include a...

More Fake Feminism in France.

In another sign of President Nicolas Sarkozy 's growing effort to pander to the country's right-wing, France's immigration minister denied citizenship to a man whose French-born Muslim wife wears a burqa. France’s immigration minister said he is refusing citizenship to a Muslim man who called his wife 'an inferior being,' and forced her to wear a full veil in public, an announcement that plays well with French public support for a burqa ban. . . . . . . (Prime Minister Francois) Fillon said the Moroccan man, who had married a French woman, failed to respect the 'values of the [French] republic.' The assault against those who wear the burqa has continually couched xenophobia in language that expresses a faux concern for women. It's true that there is a strong history of secularism and women's rights in France. However the minister seems to fail to understand is the paternalism of his own actions. It is disturbing, and against France's stated values, to think of one's wife as an...

Abstinence-Only Programs Still Aren't the Best.

Until now, I've somewhat ignored a new study that found an abstinence-only program had delayed the start of sexual activity among middle school African American girls in the Northeast, but not because I don't think it's great news: It is. I don't think anyone wants middle-school girls having loads of sex. But I didn't want to give the study more attention than it deserved. Both the Washington Post and the Christian Science Monitor want to draw big conclusions about what this could mean for U.S. sex-education policy, especially since President Obama has cut funding for abstinence-only programs. But the study did two things that don't really back up the claim that abstinence-only education totally works. First, it encouraged the teens to delay sex until they were ready, not until they were married. The latter is the way conservatives want the programs to look. Second, we already knew abstinence-only programs could cause teens to delay their sexual activity -- just not all the way until...

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