Monica Potts

Monica Potts is a senior writer for The American Prospect and 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

Modified Crops in India.

The Indian government has put a hold, pending further study, on approving genetically modified eggplants. Government scientists approved the new crop last year, but this new move from Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh comes in response to public concerns, according to the BBC : The minister said "independent scientific studies" were needed to establish "the safety of the product from the point of view of its long-term impact on human health and environment". Mr Ramesh said it was "a difficult decision to make" since he had to "balance science and society". "The decision is responsible to science and responsive to society," he said. This is the kind of thing that makes Denialism author and New Yorker writer Michael Specter crazy, but I never understood why he was so on the GM foods bandwagon. The problem of world hunger isn't necessarily going to be solved by growing more foods more efficiently than we already do, because those foods still aren't going to find their way to the world's...

Health-Care Journalism Without the Questions.

The New York Times has a story on what the Republicans hope to offer as a new health-care bill, if the Democrats and President Obama scrap the current legislation, which they are unlikely to do. In their plans, Republicans emphasize a free market -- their bill would provide tax credits to individuals and small businesses, expand high-risk pools, reform medical malpractice law, and allow insurance companies to sell plans across state lines. That these ideas alone are unlikely to bring down health-care costs considerably doesn't seem to concern Republicans. They also don't seem too troubled that their bill would not come close to covering 30 million uninsured Americans, as the bills that passed the House and Senate would. And they don't seem to care that many of their ideas are already in the bills. No, what they're really focused on is making sure that health reform happens in small steps: But Republicans say they can make incremental progress without the economic costs they contend...

The Tebow Ad.

It's not surprising that the response to the Tim Tebow Super Bowl ad was a collective, "All that fuss for that ?" The spot mostly features his mom, Pam Tebow gushing about her miracle baby, only to be tackled by the son who grew up to be a Heisman Trophy winner. Both had big smiles for the camera. Of course, the spot directed you to the Web site for Focus on the Family , the conservative, anti-abortion group that funded the spot. There you can watch an interview with Pam Tebow and her husband, Bob, who elaborate a little on the back story. The Tebows were in the Philippines as missionaries when she became pregnant with Tim, their fifth child, and the pregnancy was complicated from the start. We know from other sources how likely it was that Pam Tebow's condition could have killed her, and why her doctors would have recommended an abortion to save her life. At the end, Bob Tebow makes a tearful plea to the camera: "Don't kill your baby." Drats! Feminists' nefarious baby-killing plans...

Changing History in Texas.

Washington Monthly has a fantastic feature detailing the efforts of ultra-conservatives to rewrite textbooks for Texas schools. Since Texas is such a big market, it will affect what's in textbooks around the country. The effort had been reported on before, but Mariah Blake adds some history, noting that the involvement of conservatives grew after efforts in the 1960s to teach a more inclusive history: This shift spurred a fierce backlash from social conservatives, and some began hunting for ways to fight back. In the 1960s, Norma and Mel Gabler, a homemaker and an oil-company clerk, discovered that Texas had a little-known citizen-review process that allowed the public to weigh in on textbook content. From their kitchen table in the tiny town of Hawkins, the couple launched a crusade to purge textbooks of what they saw as a liberal, secular, pro-evolution bias. Among the changes? History books, for example, would emphasize the Christianity of America's founders and the role of...

Schools Running Out of Stimulus.

Many state school systems are facing a "funding cliff" next year when their federal stimulus money runs out, which was the kind of dramatic budget shortfall the stimulus money was meant to prevent in the first place. Most states spent the bulk of the funds last year and this year, and are left with little. But a few states spent everything, leaving nothing for the coming academic year, according to the New York Times . The leaders of some of these struggling states, like South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford , were among the most vocal opponents of the stimulus and feigned reluctance when the federal money was dispersed . And since many states used those federal funds to bolster the program that helps poor and disabled children, it's hard to imagine where those children would be if it weren't for the stimulus money. Now, those kids could be poised to suffer most since the budget pain was merely postponed, not averted. And don't look for Republicans and centrist Democrats in Congress to...

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