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

States of the Union.

My colleague Jamelle Bouie has a nice take on last night's State of the Union address. Bouie pointed out what didn't make it into the address, like the depressingly high unemployment rate and the joblessness that's continuing despite a slow economic recovery. If we can gauge issue importance by specificity and length, then it's abundantly clear that the White House -- along with the Democratic Party -- has all but given up on reducing unemployment. With a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and smaller Senate majority, there are vanishingly few prospects for further stimulus or more generous benefits. By completely omitting the country's employment crisis from his address, Obama is giving Democrats the space to look away from the wreckage, if they haven't already driven past it. I'm not sure the president is giving up. In fact, since, as Bouie points out, no one will remember what he has said in these addresses when it's time to vote again in 2012, I'd say he's probably...

The State of Clean Energy

In his State of the Union address, the president made large-scale commitments to clean energy, but is it all just talk?

(Flickr/otzberg)
Roughly 24 hours after Politico reported that Carol Browner, Barack Obama's energy and environmental adviser, was leaving , the president came out strong for clean energy in his State of the Union address: He set a goal of getting 80 percent of our energy from clean sources by 2035. It's premature to start the party, though. Obama has made us happy before. As a candidate, he promised: "My presidency will mark a new chapter in America's leadership on climate change that will strengthen our security and create millions of new jobs in the process." That didn't turn into climate legislation. And while including wind and solar power as part of his national vision in his speech, the president conceded that he was open to having some energy sources be nuclear, "clean coal," and natural gas -- types of energy that make environmentalists cringe, even if they emit less carbon into the atmosphere than oil and regular coal do. There's a good chance that...

Rep. Michele Bachmann: How to Tell if You Were Chosen.

I don't know what Phoebe is talking about with her missing-prominent-women post: We had a prominent woman: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann ! Wasn't she great? If you're like me, she gave her speech while looking just over your left shoulder, like she's trying to make sure that confused-looking dude in the fourth row feels extra included. (If you were lucky enough to have her looking directly at you, congratulations on making it to the next level.) Bachmann's speech was an instant Tea Party classic. She threw out a bunch of scary-sounding numbers, she brought up the IRS, and she even had charts illustrating what a bad, bad man President Obama is. To round it off, she tossed around some vague symbols of patriotism, like the statue depicting the flag-raising at Iwo Jima. This is how things get expressed in Tea Party land: vaguely evocative but mostly mediated and devoid of any real context. I'm of two minds about Bachmann and her forebear, Sarah Palin . They posses none of the toughness...

A Good, Useless Laugh.

Gawker yesterday posted the above picture of two men, taken at an anti-abortion rally on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade . As the post's author, Brian Moylan , snarks: "Grown men dressed as George Washington and Captain America are the last people who should be telling women what to do with their bodies." I agree with the sentiment, but I just want to make a note about who those folks are. George Washington is actually James Renwick Manship who lives in Virginia and has written books about our first president. Captain America is a man from Fort Washington, Maryland, named James Griffin. The two met at an early Tea Party rally and see each other often at these gatherings. Manship participates out of a healthy desire to self-promote, and, from what I could tell from talking to him, Griffin really believes the Tea Party rhetoric. My notes don't hint at Griffin's occupation, but I have written down that Manship believes him to be a former Marine. Griffin believes that Obama is socialist,...

Climate Change Now.

Last night, Politico reported that President Obama's energy and environment adviser, Carol Browner , is leaving. While reporters Mike Allen and Darren Samuelsohn call her one of the few White House figures to come out of the BP oil disaster looking competent, an NPR story notes that Browner had recently been criticized for "politicizing" the Gulf spill by saying the oil was nearly gone when it wasn't and editing a document so that it appeared scientists were on board with an oil-drilling moratorium, which they weren't. Either way, this is part of a number of ousters at the White House after the midterm elections, and what it might mean is disconcerting. Browner had pushed for more regulations of fuel emissions for cars and greenhouse-gas emissions, and in the absence of comprehensive climate legislation, regulations are the only way the administration can work to curb emissions. Given that Obama has recently promised to review regulations and strike a balanced, free-market approach,...

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