Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux

Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux is a freelance writer and a former writing fellow at the Prospect.

Recent Articles

Faces of the Democratic Future

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
*/ Demographers and political prognosticators like to talk about the rising "Obama electorate." Majority-minority, more liberal on social and financial issues alike than their forebears, this young cohort stands poised to radically transform the country's politics in the decades to come. For the July/August issue of The American Prospect magazine, we asked rising progressive leaders what they think about the future of the Democratic Party—and how it needs to change. Svante Myrick, age 26 Mayor of Ithaca, New York Ithaca, New York I’d like to see the party elect a woman president. When Barack Obama was elected, I was a young mixed-race kid with a strange name, being raised by a white mother. It changed what I thought was possible for my life. After I was elected mayor here at 24, I remember a mother telling me the following story. She and her adopted son, who is black and around 15 years old, were coming to city hall. In the elevator, an elderly white woman looked at him...

The Little-Known Force Behind the Hobby Lobby Contraception Case

How the Becket Fund became the leading advocate for corporations’ religious rights

Illustration by John Ritter
In March, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby , one of the most-followed cases of the year. The Oklahoma craft-store chain, alongside a much smaller Mennonite cabinetmaker, was fighting the provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide no-cost birth control through their insurance plans. Hobby Lobby and its co-plaintiff argued that providing contraception—specifically, four hormonal contraceptives that some Christians insist cause abortion—is an unacceptable violation of their companies’ religious standards. It’s an unprecedented complaint. A for-profit company has never been granted a religious exemption, much less a corporation like Hobby Lobby, which has 23,000 employees. If Hobby Lobby is successful, religious business owners will have much broader leeway over their employees’ health-care plans. But the case also raises a basic constitutional question: How should we weigh religious conscience...

Armed Resistance in the Civil Rights Movement: Charles E. Cobb and Danielle L. McGuire on Forgotten History

Cobb, author of This Nonviolent Stuff'll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible, and Danielle McGuire, a historian at Wayne State University, discuss the fundamental role of armed resistance in the civil rights movement.

On his first visit to Martin Luther King Jr.’s house in Montgomery, Alabama, the journalist William Worthy began to sink into an armchair. He snapped up again when nonviolent activist Bayard Rustin yelled, “Bill, wait, wait! Couple of guns on that chair!” Worthy looked behind him and saw two loaded pistols nestled on the cushion. “Just for self-defense,” King said. In his new book, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible , Charles E. Cobb, a former field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and a visiting professor of Africana Studies at Brown University, explores what he sees as one of the movement’s forgotten contradictions: Guns made it possible. According to Cobb, civil-rights leaders recognized that armed resistance was sometimes necessary to preserve their peaceful mission. Guns kept people like King alive. Danielle L. McGuire, an assistant professor of history at...

Daily Meme: Joe the Plumber on 'Dead Kids' and His Gun

ronnie44052/Flickr via Wikipedia
Remember Joe the Plumber? During the 2008 presidential race, Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, a plumber from Holland, Ohio, vaulted himself into campaign history after telling then-candidate Barack Obama that his proposed tax plan would prevent him from buying a small business. During the presidential campaign debate that followed, John McCain latched on to Wurzelbacher's comments and held up "Joe the Plumber" as the American everyman, his livelihood threatened by Obama's tax plan. When he coined the moniker, McCain inadvertently created a new GOP personality with a penchant for assault weapons. Six years later, Joe the Plumber is still in the headlines. But he's moved way beyond protesting the president's tax plan. Following last weekend's tragic shooting rampage on the campus of the University of California-Santa Barbara, Wurzelbacher took it upon himself to pen an open letter to the victims' families, sensitively informing them that "as harsh as this sounds—your dead kids don't...

Daily Meme: Who's to Blame for the V.A. Crisis?

When a scandal erupts in Washington, it spawns a circular firing squad. The unfolding drama over new reports of false record-keeping and long waiting lists for treatment within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' medical system is proving to be no exception. The facts are bad: Not only is there evidence that veterans died while waiting for care — often simple procedures like colonoscopies—whistleblowers at some VA hospitals claim that officials kept secret lists to cover up the outrageous wait times. You know things have really gotten out of hand when allegations of evidence shredding get tossed around. A doctor who recently retired from a VA hospital in Phoenix says that administrators , seeking to evade the VA policy that requires hospitals to provide care to their patients in a timely manner, shredded soldiers' requests for appointments and told staff not to enter their information into the computer system. Investigative reporters for CNN broke the story in late...