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

This is Compromise?

Obama has a plan to open some areas off the East Coast and in the Arctic Sea to offshore drilling. The areas were previously off-limits, and they would be evaluated by the Interior Department before leases were given, according to stories in The New York Times and The Washington Post. This is presumably meant to get conservative support for climate legislation. From the Times : The Senate is expected to take up a climate bill in the next few weeks — the last chance to enact such legislation before midterm election concerns take over. Mr. Obama and his allies in the Senate have already made significant concessions on coal and nuclear power to try to win votes from Republicans and moderate Democrats. The new plan now grants one of the biggest items on the oil industry’s wish list — access to vast areas of the Outer Continental Shelf for drilling. Because that worked so well with the health-care bill. There will be a lag, and there are likely to be some areas with oil where drilling won'...

Why Are We Still Surprised By Women Suicide Bombers?

Part of The New York Times' second-day coverage of the Moscow subway bombings was a story dissecting a renewed fear of female suicide bombers. Known as Black Widows, the Chechen separatists have been deploying women as suicide bombers since 2000. Though that's when female suicide bombers began in earnest in Russia, a Palestinian girl led a suicide attack as long ago as 1985, which the Times calls the first such attack. So if it's been going on for so long, why is it news? Perhaps it goes against the image Americans have of suicide bombers, who in our experiences are mostly young and male. But even those of us in the U.S. should by now understand the stereotype of bombers doesn't always hold, since we have the example of a Belgian woman who staged a suicide attack in Iraq in 2005 and more recently, Jihad Jane . It's not to cheerlead women and say, "We can bomb, too!" but to note the inherent sexist tone in many of these stories in the way the women are assumed to have special...

Incentivizing Adoption

Black children in the United States face longer stays in foster care than white children. Is money the way to change this?

Eight-year-old Latifah Root smiles while eating her hot dog lunch during the National Adoption Day party Saturday, Nov. 18, 2006. (AP Photo/Grand Island Independent, Lane Hickenbottom)
After the January earthquake in Haiti, 10 American missionaries, all white, were jailed after attempting to take 33 Haitian children to the United States for adoption. "The American mind has been shaped by the positive vision of families saving bereft orphans from a grim life in a Dickens-esque institution or from death on the streets," David Smolin, an Alabama law school professor who has studied adoption, wrote in The New York Times . As shocking as the allegations were, the appeal of international adoption is real -- according to the Child Welfare League of America, international adoptions increased by 180 percent between 1989 and 2005. The politics of domestic adoption are more complex. About half a million children are in the U.S. foster-care system, and a disproportionate number of them are African American. Despite rising rates of American adoption, even interracial adoption, why do so many black children need homes? At the heart of the problem is the racial gap between...

Forcing Nonsense.

The Kansas House is considering passing a resolution that would require that state's attorney general, Steve Six , to join the 13 states that have filed lawsuits over the new health-care reform bill. Apparently, either chamber of Kansas' Congress can force the AG to take action, and the resolution doesn't need to pass in the second chamber. There was similar pressure from Republican lawmakers in Ohio to join the suit, and Ohio's attorney general, Richard Cordray explained why he wouldn't do it: It's unlikely to succeed . So forcing them to take up the issue would violate another rule that attorneys general follow, and that's not wasting the state's money either defending or pursuing lawsuits they can't win. But if Kansas wants to spend money it doesn't have, so be it. -- Monica Potts

The Tea Party and Government Spending.

In a New York Times story over the weekend, Tea Party folks mulled over what would happen if their volunteers started to get jobs again, since so many joined after they lost their jobs during the recession. It becomes clear that the activists were not only upset about being forced into retirement but also their inability to sell their houses or to balance part-time jobs with their new-found activist duties. But the real story is how many of the Tea Partiers the Times spoke to depended on the government, receiving Social Security and Medicare. Toward the end, one man said he was hoping to get a part-time job with the Census Bureau. There is no real difference between those programs and the health-care bill that just passed, but that doesn't stop these folks from thinking there is: She and others who receive government benefits like Medicare and Social Security said they paid into those programs, so they are getting what they deserve. “All I know is government was put here for certain...