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

Going After Guns to Reduce Violence.

The Baltimore Police Department has shifted its focus away from arresting drug offenders to going after those who carry guns, the Christian Science Monitor reports . This law enforcement philosophy is born of the growing acknowledgment that millions of dollars and arrests have done little to slow urban America's drug trade, and that a fresh strategy is needed to further reduce violence in the country's toughest cities. From new gunshot-detection cameras in New Haven, Conn., to a gun-offender registry in Baltimore; from a Sacramento, Calif., law requiring gun dealers to notify police about people who buy bullets to a proposal approved by the Los Angeles City Council that would let landlords evict tenants convicted of gun crimes, city police departments and governments are putting new emphasis on fighting illegal guns. The shifts are local, differ from city to city, and are largely beneath the radar of the national gun control debate. Yet taken together, it is a sea change in how cities...

Working and Women's Work.

The Washington Post has a great story today about the rise of female ambassadors in the past several years, a phenomenon called "the Hillary Effect." The end of the piece covers a sad truth I've written about before. Women who advance to such high levels in their careers often leave their husbands behind: While male ambassadors are usually accompanied by wives, female ambassadors are often here alone. Of eight interviewed, four are divorced and four said their husbands did not accompany them to Washington because of their own jobs. Part of what's disturbing about this is the discrepancy in the marriage contract. Why do women follow their husbands when a job-location change would improve their careers but men don't when their wives are moving up? But it also puts women at a disadvantage once they're here: Those women don't have as much help juggling children and home duties with work as their married male counterparts do. While I'm going to assume ambassadors might be able to afford...

Food Policy in the Right Place.

Somehow, the point of consciousness-raising efforts like Morgan Spurlock's documentary Super Size Me and Eric Schlosser's investigatory book Fast Food Nation got lost when the organic-loving locavores took over food discussions. The early-aught pieces highlighted problems with companies: how you would find their practices distasteful if you knew about them, and how they were marketing their food as better for you than it really was. Now, we have Michael Pollan , a journalist I greatly admire, giving us new rules to follow when we eat and Jonathan Safran Foer sneaking onto butchering facilities to convince us all to be vegetarians. The dialogue has morphed from one in which eaters are victims of bad or lax policy to one in which the eaters are at fault. While I'm all for reminding people that leafy greens are great, this approach to nutrition tends to overlook the problems of the poorest Americans. Many urban areas lack grocery stores, and many low-wage workers can't afford to spend...

Post-Dodd Disarray.

A week ago, the big race in Connecticut was for governor in 2010. Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz , former Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy , and Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele seemed huddled near the top of a crowded race. And though it wasn't foremost on state resident's minds, everyone assumed the popular Attorney General Richard Blumenthal would fulfill his long-held goal of a Senate seat by running against the increasingly unpopular Independent Joseph Lieberman . Then, Christopher Dodd announced he would no longer run for re-election. Minutes later, Blumenthal got a two-year jump on his Senate seat attempt. Republican front-runners to challenge Dodd, who had been in the Connecticut news nearly daily, suddenly became big losers. Connecticut bloggers began wondering whether Bysiewicz or Malloy might prefer the AG spot, and Bysiewicz signaled she might. Former state Senator and chairman of the state Democratic party, George Jepsen , also wants to join in now. With Byziewicz possibly out...

About Those Full-Body Scanners ...

In the wake of a Nigerian man's failed attempt to blow up a flight over Detroit on Christmas Day with explosives hidden in his underwear, government officials, especially in Europe, now want full-body scanners to screen all passengers before flights. Many are still debating the pros -- namely that they can spot the tools Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly snuck in before they get on the plane, cutting off al-Qaeda's best route of attack -- and the cons -- which range from privacy concerns to the idea that the scanners, a response to the latest attempt, will be outdated by the time terrorists institute the new plans they're probably already dreaming up. But the New Scientist tells us that there's a problem -- the devices aren't quite ready for use everywhere: Their efforts could be stymied by the fact that the scanner technology has not yet been certified as fit for purpose by national governments – and manufacturers will not invest in mass production until it has. So says Colin...

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