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

Why Aren't You Married Yet?

Apparently, I'm responsible for the jerks I've dated.

(Eric Palma)
At a March luncheon celebrating the release of the new book Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men Into Boys , it wasn't long before things got really personal. "Before [today], the fact is that primarily, a 20-year-old woman would have been a wife and a mother," author Kay Hymowitz told the crowd of about 100 for the Manhattan Institute event in New York City. Men would have been mowing lawns and changing the oil in their family sedans instead of playing video games and watching television. In previous decades, adults in their 20s and 30s were too busy with real life for such empty entertainment, Hymowitz says. "They didn't live with roommates in Williamsburg in Brooklyn and Dupont Circle in D.C." What, exactly, does the modern 20-something's "fake life" consist of? For women, it's chasing a career in law, public relations, or journalism -- just like Carrie in Sex and the City , the archetype of what Hymowitz calls the "New Girl Order." She says in her book: "'Writer'...

Green and Gold

Why environmental policies and healthy bottom lines go together

Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy , By Seth Fletcher, Hill and Wang, 272 pages, $26.00 Climate Capitalism: Capitalism in the Age of Climate Change, By L. Hunter Lovins and Boyd Cohen, Hill and Wang, 400 pages, $26.00 In the early 1900s, years after his most famous inventions, Thomas Edison tried to build a better battery. Although scientists had long employed them as laboratory tools, batteries designed for general use were relatively new. Edison's first attempt failed, and he spent five years trying to improve his product. His goal was to build an electric car to help support -- and make profitable -- the electric power grid he had established in parts of the United States. But while he was trying to solve his battery's problems, the gasoline-powered auto raced ahead, and Henry Ford's cheap mass-production methods made it the car of the people. Batteries couldn't store enough energy for cars to travel far and drive fast despite an...

The Burdens of Female Politicians

Ferraro, like all female politicians, inevitably disappointed progressives, but that's just because we have too few women on the field.

Michele Bachmann speaks at the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference. (Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
In the nearly 30 years since Geraldine Ferraro was the first woman to grace a major party's presidential ticket, female politicians became less of a novelty. Ferraro's selection as Walter Mondale's vice-presidential candidate in 1984 was replicated by Sarah Palin on the Republican side in 2008, the same year Hillary Clinton almost became the Democratic nominee for the top spot. Pundits declared 1992, when more female senators were elected than ever before, "the year of the woman." And 31 women have served as governors since Ella Grasso became the first woman who wasn't the wife or widow of a politician to be elected governor -- of Connecticut in 1974. The world has changed since 1984, but not that much. We still haven't achieved the ultimate goal: parity in statehouses and Congress or sending a woman to the White House. Nor have we escaped the sexist prism through which women in politics are portrayed in the media and viewed by the public. But you do have women on the field, ranging...

Is the Grass Really Greener in Rural America?

Liberal urbanites complain that politicians pay too much attention to rural America, but the truth is we hardly do at all.

(Flickr/Scott Butner)
Fred Stokes is a former cattle rancher who now runs a small family farm, mostly for his own use, in Mississippi. Stokes' county, Kemper, has only about 10,000 people, and Stokes, who is 76, says his small town has been shrinking; all the farmers are aging, most of the agricultural land is owned by one company, and it's almost impossibly hard to make a living as a rural American. "I'm not one of those who wants to reconstruct the Little House on the Prairie and be overly romantic," he says. "Mainly, I see the landscape being restructured in a very negative way." I first came into contact with Stokes while I was reporting a piece on immigrant chicken farmers, and I thought about him when I read a series of posts by Prospect alum Ezra Klein a couple of weeks ago. First, in a post about how valuable cities are, Klein said in a brief aside: "But it would of course be political suicide for President Obama to say that part of winning the future is ending the raft of subsidies we devote to...

The Serfs of Arkansas

Immigrant farmers are flocking to the poultry industry -- only to become 21st-century sharecroppers for companies like Tyson.

(AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)
Shane Tawr doesn't remember exactly why he first decided to try his hand at chicken farming. Tawr had a government job in Milwaukee but wanted relief from the city's bustle. He decided in 2004 to head down to the Ozarks, buy a chicken farm, and work for himself, just as many of his Hmong ancestors had done in Laos. The Hmong, who came to the United States in large numbers as political refugees after the Vietnam War, settled mostly in urban communities in California, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Some raised chickens and tended small vegetable gardens, but many worked jobs that kept them near the poverty line. In the early 2000s, chicken producers such as Tyson, which is based in northwest Arkansas, began courting the Hmong, and advertisements about chicken-farming opportunities appeared in Hmong-language newspapers. Roughly 500 Hmong now live in communities throughout Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma and raise breeder or broiler chickens for a handful of companies that operate in the...