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

The Anti-Choice Network.

Dana Goldstein , late of TAP and now at the Daily Beast , reveals today that CBS actually worked closely with the conservative group Focus on the Family in the making of Tim Tebow's Super Bowl ad. The ad, implicitly but possibly not explicitly, is expected to be anti-choice and tell the story of how Tebow's mother, Pam Tebow, ignored the advice of doctors after she got sick and decided not to abort Tim: CBS declined to comment on the details of its work with Focus on the Family on the Tebow ad, but said such cooperation is not unusual. Abortion rights advocates see it differently. If CBS did vet scripts for the ad, the cooperation is 'appalling,' said Terry O'Neill , president of the National Organization for Women. 'If true, CBS is not just selling ad time for profit, but has been affirmatively working hand-in-glove—in secret—to promote Focus on the Family's agenda. When you recall that Focus on the Family wants to overturn Roe v. Wade…this revelation is extremely, extremely...

Autism Study Retracted 12 Years Too Late.

The Lancet has finally, finally withdrawn a long-discredited study linking autism to vaccinations for measles, mumps, and rubella. The ethical problems behind the research have long been noted , and other studies have failed to repeat the findings. But the retraction comes too late to stop the 1998 study from doing damage. Money is diverted to studying vaccines rather than finding the real causes of and solutions to autism, and parents are refusing to get their children vaccinated. That's led to an increase in diseases we know definitely hurt children, like measles, in developed countries that had long seen them disappear. It's also helped perpetuate the idea that people like Jenny McCarthy know what they're talking about and that personal perceptions are good substitutes for research and evidence. Unfortunately, a retraction isn't going to change the minds of the true believers. -- Monica Potts

Refusing to Pay for Street Lights.

When I became a reporter for the daily newspaper in Stamford, Connecticut, one of the controversies we were covering concerned garbage collection. Residents were upset about service cutbacks -- so much so that one of them sued. You might think garbage collectors were limiting days for pickup, or limiting the amount of trash each household could leave on the corner. But no. The controversy was that trash collectors were no longer going into people's backyards to cart their trash cans all the way to the truck. That's right. These residents were up in arms that they now had to cart the bins across their yards themselves. The longer I covered the town, the more this turned into a sore spot for me. Residents constantly complained about how high their taxes were yet seemed unable to comprehend the very high level of service the city provided. Aren't the nice sidewalks, big parks, and good schools the reasons they moved to the suburbs? I was reminded of that when I read that Colorado Springs...

The Women Who Don't Live.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about college football star Tim Tebow's upcoming Super Bowl ad that will likely tell us about his mother's complicated pregnancy in the Philippines and her refusal to get an abortion despite her doctors' advice. In the post, I argued that triumphal stories like the Tebows' obscure all the stories about women who die trying to obtain abortions. William Saletan at Slate brought up another good point, (and I very, very rarely agree with Saletan when he writes about abortion) in his Human Nature column yesterday. Pam Tebow could have very easily died, and many women die from the condition she had. On Sunday, we won't see all the women who chose life and found death. We'll just see the Tebows, because they're alive and happy to talk about it. In the business world, this is known as survivor bias: Failed mutual funds disappear, leaving behind the successful ones, which creates the illusion that mutual funds tend to beat market averages. In the Tebows' case, the...

A Quick Look at the HUD Budget.

Most immediately, the proposed 2011 budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development calls for a 5 percent reduction in its budget from last year, which in turn was a 9 percent increase from the year before. In the introduction, Secretary Shaun Donovan writes that last year's increase was necessary because of the declining economy and because the agency had been neglected.This year they had the ability to make more targeted reductions and increases, he said. Donovan says in the introduction that funding from the stimulus bill and other new sources make up for some of the cuts but that some programs will have to seek funding elsewhere. Housing programs for the disabled and the elderly are among those affected. At the same time, the introduction is full of buzz words about fiscal discipline and streamlining rental assistance programs. I'll be digging in later today. Happily, though, there are funding increases for programs focused on rental housing, including $1 billion for...