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

We Knew This Would Happen.

It's just shocking that it's happening so soon. Sen. Chuck Grassley is sending e-mails trumpeting a component of the health-care reform bill he ultimately voted against. 'The health-care legislation signed into law yesterday includes provisions Grassley co-authored to impose standards for the tax exemption of charitable hospitals for the first time,' he said. 'The provisions enacted in the new health-care law are the result of Grassley's leadership on tax-exempt organizations' accountability and transparency, including hospitals.' Yes, that's Grassley taking credit for the health-care bill. The same bill that some of his Republican colleagues say they want to repeal. The same bill that 13 Republican attorneys general say is unconstitutional. So, while Sen. John Ensign is busy showing cartoons of Trojan horses on the Senate floor during the vote-o-rama on the health-care bill's fixes, the rest are secretly gearing up to take credit for the reform they know will ultimately be popular...

Gender Performance by the Numbers.

A new report has found that female representation among tenured professors in the sciences and math at universities remains stubbornly out of proportion to the number of women who obtain high-level degrees. Researchers credit it to bias against women who apply for those jobs. From The New York Times : The report found ample evidence of continuing cultural bias. One study of postdoctoral applicants, for example, found that women had to publish 3 more papers in prestigious journals, or 20 more in less-known publications, to be judged as productive as male applicants. The gender gap among math geniuses is shrinking fast as well, making a solely biological explanation unlikely. Most disturbingly, to get college women to perform worse than men on math tests, all researchers have to do is tell them they probably will. More and more, research shows that we internalize gender and racial stereotypes in ways that reinforce those stereotypes. It's also becoming increasingly clear that the best...

Even SCOTUS Wonders Why Obama Doesn't Use Recess Appointments.

Over at The Wonk Room . Pat Garofalo notes that Chief Justice John Roberts ' line of questioning in a case involving the National Labor Relations Board shows that he wonders why President Obama hasn't made a recess appointment. Obama's nominee, Craig Becker couldn't get the 60 votes required to break a Republican filibuster. A recess appointment is even more important now, since the Supreme Court could decide to throw out rulings made by the board when it only has two members, as it has in the time the spot has gone unfilled. If this is indeed the route Obama has to go, then he should. It’s unacceptable for the board that mediates labor disputes to be hobbled for so long and for Republicans to hold up the nominations over their disapproval of an unrelated piece of legislation. As Michael Whitney put it, 'each time the right picks a fight with Becker, [TSA Nominee Errol] Southers , or the Employee Free Choice Act, both corporations and the right directly benefit from one fewer chance...

Hairdos and Don'ts

A lawsuit offers a peek into the world of high-end D.C. salons.

(Eric Palma)
At the time this article went to press, the trial of Jennifer Thong's case was scheduled to begin March 22. It was later postponed until the end of this month. A politician's hair is, pardon the expression, an extension of her politics. When housewives across the country began imitating Sarah Palin's signature updo, it was seen as support for the self-styled populist. The New York Times interviewed Palin's hairdresser in Alaska, who said, "We would talk about pedicures and manicures and moose and politics, all while Sarah was having foils in her hair and holding my baby on her lap." The article described the rural salon as " Steel Magnolias on the tundra." A hairstyle can also communicate a distinct lack of populism, as the furor over John Edwards' $400 haircut proved. Or it can signal a political evolution: Hillary Clinton was scorned as a rube for sporting a classic pageboy throughout the 1990s, but as a presidential candidate she was asked at a New Hampshire town hall, "How do you...

Help for Low-Income Workers.

For some time now, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has urged an extension of a provision of the stimulus bill that allowed welfare funds to fully or partially subsidize the wages of low-income workers who are newly hired by private employers. The fund, known as the TANF Emergency Fund, is set to expire Sept. 30. That may jeopardize the jobs of many workers and employers in the states that used the fund to spur hiring among employers who wouldn't hire otherwise, and get jobs for low-income workers who might not have otherwise gotten one. A provision to extend it was included in a $14 billion small business relief bill that the House debated Tuesday and will hopefully vote on soon. The center made the case for why extending the fund is so important: The fund’s expiration would also pose problems for small businesses. If firms participating in the program have not recovered enough to afford the wage costs, they will have to reduce staffing, and the individuals they hired with...

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