Phoebe Connelly

Phoebe Connelly is a former web editor of the Prospect. Previously, she was managing editor of In These Times. She writes on political culture, human rights and feminism.

Recent Articles

The Little Picture: Bhopal.

On Dec. 3, 1984, a chemical leak at the Union-Carbine plant in Bhopal killed 15,000 people. Twenty-five years later, the site remains contaminated, and, according to Amnesty International, more than 100,000 people continue to suffer from health problems. Listen to an NPR report from 2004. Flickr/ Ascanio

Lessons from Argentina.

In the wake of the highest unemployment rate in 25 years, The Roosevelt Institute asked historians, economists and other public thinkers to reflect on the lessons of the New Deal and explore new, big ideas for how to get America back to work. TAPPED will be cross-posting the 10-part series with the New Deal 2.0 blog over the course of the next two weeks. In this installment, Pavlina Tcherneva describes how a much poorer country than ours — Argentina — used direct job creation to pull the country out of recession. What has now become the standard government response to a recession – pump priming – is a gamble and it is time to abandon it as a tool for economic recovery and job growth. It takes too long to produce results and one never knows how much demand the government must pour down a leaky economy to turn it around. It is a risky strategy, which is why President Obama reminded us again on a few days ago that unemployment is a lagging indicator . Yet, there are no good reasons for...

What Color Was That Again?

Can you spot the glaring problem in this AP story about last night's state dinner? First lady Michelle Obama chose to wear a gleaming silver-sequined, flesh-colored gown Tuesday night to the first state dinner held by her husband's administration. She was tending to her hostess duties in a strapless silhouette with the beads forming an abstract floral pattern that was custom-made by Naeem Khan. Hey, AP? Crayola got the memo back in 1962 --using flesh as a synonym for white or light-colored is, well, racist. Sociological Images pulled together a collection of ads that trade on this same assumption--the default skin tone color is white. As Lisa wrote, "Part of the privilege of being white is having a society that considers you the norm and is, therefore, organized around you." --Phoebe Connelly (AP Photo)

Push Comes to .GOV

How federal agencies learned to stop worrying and love Web 2.0.

Blackberrys, cell phones and communications devices are tagged with post-its during a briefing on Afghanistan and Pakistan. (White House/Pete Souza)
Barack Obama, widely heralded as the first "Internet president," is inseparable from his BlackBerry and delivers a weekly address on YouTube. The White House has its own Flickr stream. Senators now duke it out via Twitter. (The Supreme Court, or at least its Web site, seems firmly moored in the late 1990s.) But in government agencies, where civil servants and agendas are correctly outside the influence of whoever resides in the White House, the online revolution is moving a bit more slowly. On a rainy fall day, some 100 agency workers gathered under sparkling chandeliers in the ballroom of Washington, D.C.'s Willard Hotel for a day-long seminar on the finer points of using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even virtual worlds such as Second Life. "You can personalize your avatar to look similar to yourself, although I don't know many people that do it exactly the same. I'm much thinner, younger, have flowing black hair," said Paulette Robinson, an assistant dean at National Defense...

So Long, GeoCities.

It needs to be seen in its entirety to be truly appreciated. Web comic xkcd has retrofitted itself in late-1990s GIF glory to memorialize the Web-hosting service GeoCities, which Yahoo closed today. I wrote about GeoCities' demise for the September print issue of the Prospect . One of my favorite observations about GeoCities came from Jason Scott : A lot of people see GeoCities as this sea of amateurish, poorly written Web sites. I understand that thinking; I certainly don't want people to think that I'm saying GeoCities is an example of the best the Web could be, but I do think it's an example of what the Web was. Scott has an eye-bleeding collection of "Under Construction" banners he has pulled from GeoCities as he archives. The Internet Archive's collection of GeoCities sites is here . --Phoebe Connelly (Image courtesy Harry the Cat. I highly recommend wasting part of your morning on their collection. Also, give a read to the Wikipedia entry on GIFs. Patent wars!)