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

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...

Marching After King's Death.

Pacifica Radio , the progressive public radio network, occasionally opens its archives for the show "From the Vault." Apropos for today is the episode in which they discuss Martin Luther King Jr.'s planning in the Spring of 1968 for a Poor People's March on Washington that he would not live to make. Dr. King would not live to see the March. But thanks to the efforts of the Reverend Ralph Abernathy , who took over the leadership role of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and others such as Jesse Jackson , Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta , poor people from around the country began their trip to Washington, DC by any way they could manage. For most of these poor people, this trip was an enormous financial sacrifice, yet a necessary burden -- they would hand-deliver their message to Washington. Some of this journey was recorded by Pacifica producer Arthur Alexander along the road from Memphis Tennessee to Washington DC. The former, safe and stable housing for low-income...

An Update on that Pact with the Devil.

In case you missed it, Ambassador Raymond Joseph , the Haitian ambassador to the United States, reminded Pat Robertson on The Rachel Maddow Show last night that the United States benefited from the deal with the devil in the form of a really good price on the Louisiana purchase. While that provides a sense of satisfaction, it also serves as a reminder on how much the two countries really are linked . And in other Haiti news, the Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday it would temporarily stop deportations to Haiti in the wake of Tuesday's earthquake. That could be only a practical response to the tremendous problems on the ground, but Taylor Barnes writes at the Christian Science Monitor that some are hoping it might be one step to rethinking a disparity in U.S. immigration policy that makes it easier for Cubans to come to the country than Haitians. . . . Haitians do not have a 'wet-foot dry-foot' policy similar to Cubans, which eases their immigration to the US. (Under...

Court Hears Forced Bed Rest Case.

The New York Times and the ACLU's blog report that a Florida court confined a pregnant woman to bed rest and continued medical care at a hospital against her will. She was at risk for a miscarriage. The ACLU first learned about this case after (Samantha) Burton's pro bono lawyer, David Abrams , called us for help as he pursued an appeal of the lower court's order confining Ms. Burton to hospital bed rest. Frankly, I wasn't surprised to hear that the State of Florida had stepped in to override the medical decision-making of a pregnant woman — unfortunately we have seen that before . What was even more stunning than in other cases was the unlimited breadth of the court order; the complete lack of any consideration of Ms. Burton's constitutional rights or health; and the fact that the hearing had gone forward with no legal or other advocate to represent Ms. Burton. After a brief telephone hearing, and no review of her medical records or consideration of a second medical opinion, the...

The Disturbing Ruling in the Kansas Abortion Killing.

On Tuesday, a judge in Kansas ruled for the second time that he wouldn't bar Scott Roeder , the 51-year-old accused of killing the Kansas abortion provider George Tiller in May, from arguing that he believed he needed to kill Tiller to protect unborn children. The judge, Warren Wilbert , denied prosecutors requests to bar such argument, which could lead to a conviction of voluntary manslaughter, a conviction that would carry a four to six year prison sentence, instead of murder. Wilbert said it would be improper for him to rule on it before the defense made its case, according to the report from McClatchy newspapers. The Kansas statute defines voluntary manslaughter as the intentional killing of a human being committed "Upon a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion," or "upon an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force." While it's difficult to easily find precedents for voluntary manslaughter convictions, it's not hard to imagine what it...

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