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

Eat a Goddamn Vegetable.

FDA Official: "Just Eat A Goddamn Vegetable" The USDA released its updated food guidelines today, and Martion Nestle at Food Politics is actually impressed. I’m in shock. I never would have believed they could pull this off. The new guidelines recognize that obesity is the number one public health nutrition problem in America and actually give good advice about what to do about it: eat less and eat better. For the first time, the guidelines make it clear that eating less is as priority. But Nestle revived a criticism she's had for a long time: that the guidelines only name specific foods when they're telling you to eat more of them -- like fruits and vegetables -- and then, when they warn about eating less, they switch to nutrients -- like salt. That's hard for people to understand and doesn't keep the message parallel. Nestle also says they're still more about personal responsibility and less about the food system that promotes American agricultural products and the companies that...

The Koch Brothers' Real Power.

I'm going to disagree with my colleague Jamelle Bouie a bit (don't tell him, he's sitting right beside me, and I don't want things to get awkward!), who argues that the Koch brothers' efforts to fund conservative campaigns aren't really such a big deal. This was prompted, of course, by as many as 1,000 protesters at a retreat run by the Koch Foundation yesterday. Bouie says: Of course, I don't want to discourage progressives from pushing back against misinformation or faulty views. It's incredibly valuable! But I'm not sure if it's wise to treat the Koch brothers -- or any set of right-wing donors -- as boogiemen. They can't shift the tides of public opinion, and they can't reverse an election result; all they can do promote their ideas to elites, and -- in some cases -- make an electoral environment a little more favorable. In other words, I'm not sure that it's worth the energy to protest. I agree with Bouie that, in the micro, the Koch brothers don't have much of an impact. Face-to...

Gov. Kasich Doesn't Need You, and He Doesn't Need You, or You!

Over at ThinkProgress , Tanya Somanader tells us that when asked by state Sen. Nina Turner , a Democrat, whether he needed help diversifying his all white, mostly male Cabinet, newly elected Gov. John Kasich replied, "I don't need your people." Turner is African American and, out of an abundance of caution, everyone is sure to say that Kasich could have been referring to Turner and her staff, Democrats, or, maybe, her constituents. But, you know, that would be easier to imagine if Kasich weren't so hostile to hiring women and people of color. There's really little to say but this: Given what happened in 2008, I expect 2012 to bring out, front-and-center, some old-timey racism. If we make it through without another Civil War, racism might actually be over. -- Monica Potts

"Objective" Reporting.

Associate Press reporter Stephen Ohlemacher has a dour piece about Social Security. I'll leave it to AlterNet's Joshua Holland to describe what's wrong with the piece, but I just wanted to point out that Ohlemacher is the same reporter who wrote an awful piece in April about how so many Americans don't pay taxes. That piece was so problematic because, though it asserted that a two-child family with a mortgage making less than the median income was unlikely to pay any taxes, it ignored the fact that a great deal of that came from temporary tax breaks that were part of the stimulus. At the time, I didn't think there was a particular bias Ohlemacher had, just a bias as to who he talks to. The Social Security piece is much worse. It's unbalanced and alarmist. What's so disturbing is that the AP has such a broad reach, especially because most mid- and small-sized papers don't have their own financial coverage. -- Monica Potts

Target on Planned Parenthood.

Jamilah King at ColorLines highlights the effort of an anti-abortion group called Live Action to "O-Keefe" Planned Parenthood -- that is, to try to catch employees on video cooperating with someone posing as a sex worker the way conservative activist James O'Keefe did with ACORN. According to the report, the man has visited several clinics this month and requested information about services for sex workers, some of whom he said are under 18 and may be undocumented. While the FBI’s investigation is just beginning, an internal inquiry done by the organization itself linked the unidentified man to Live Action, an anti-abortion group that’s targeted Planned Parenthood in the past. The accusations were all but confirmed by Live Action founder and president Lila Rose, who called the assertion “very interesting,” according to a report in the Washington Post. Rose also noted that while she couldn’t confirm or deny the claims, a videotape project was in the works. It's worth noting that these...