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A few well-written words can convey a wealth of information, particularly when there is no lag time between when they are written and when they are read. The IPS blog gives you an opportunity to hear directly from IPS scholars and staff on ideas large and small and for us to hear back from you.

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Entries since May 2013

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This Week in OtherWords: May 29, 2013

May 29, 2013 ·

This week in OtherWords, Bob Lord points to the larger story behind Apple's outrageous-without-being-illegal tax record and Jess Hunter-Bowman notes that Latin America is leading the way toward a more rational drug policy.

Here's a clickable summary of all our latest commentaries and a link to our new cartoon. As always, these materials are available for use at no charge in newspapers and new media under a Creative Commons license. Editors may find information about that on our website or contact me with any questions at OtherWords[ AT ]ips-dc.org.

If you haven't already subscribed to our weekly newsletter, please do.

  1. Charting a New Course on Illegal Drugs / Jess Hunter-Bowman
    After 40 years of failing to stem the drug trade, there's a global conversation about new approaches.
  2. The Irish Tax Blight / Bob Lord
    Apple has illuminated how corporations can easily avoid taxation as our economy becomes more global.
  3. How to Help Syria Now / Chris Toensing
    Washington should step up diplomacy and humanitarian aid rather than taking a more belligerent stance.
  4. Oklahoma’s Biblical Irony / Donald Kaul
    Sen. Coburn's underlying logic goes to the heart of the snake oil that Republicans are selling the American people these days.
  5. These Hedges Need Trimming / Sam Pizzigati
    Are hedge funds a financial service or a racket?
  6. How I Fell for Farmers’ Markets / Jill Richardson
    Eaters everywhere across America are discovering the joy of buying directly from local farmers.
  7. The New Face of Poverty in America / Jim Hightower
    The suburbs have become the fastest-growing home of American poverty.
  8. Neglecting Mother Nature / William A. Collins
    There's no clear sense of urgency regarding the environment in the United States today.
  9. Oklahoma’s Silly Goose / Khalil Bendib cartoon

    Emily Schwartz Greco is the managing editor of OtherWords, a non-profit national editorial service run by the Institute for Policy Studies OtherWords.org
    Oklahoma's Silly Goose, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib 
This Week in OtherWords: May 22, 2013

May 22, 2013 ·

This week in OtherWords, Martha Burk weighs in on the military's lackluster efforts to stop sexual assaults within the ranks and Donald Kaul reviews the Obama administration's outbreak of scandals.

Here's a clickable summary of all our latest commentaries and a link to our new cartoon. We're also featuring Jim Hightower's take on Budweiser's latest marketing maneuver on our blog.

If you haven't already subscribed to our weekly newsletter, please do. 

  1. Our Women in Uniform Deserve Better / Martha Burk
    The Pentagon has a systemic problem with foxes guarding henhouses when it comes to doing battle with the military's sexual assault problem.
  2. With Americans Moving Forward on Gay Rights, Why Won’t the GOP? / Drew Courtney
    Congress will soon debate something the rest of America decided years ago: whether or not it’s okay to fire people for being gay.
  3. Faking Farm Savings / Ryan Alexander
    It's a time-honored tradition in Washington to do as little as possible and look good while (not) doing it.
  4. Scandal Season at the Obama White House / Donald Kaul
    If Karl Rove is running a social welfare outfit, I'm the Queen of Romania.
  5. Money Still Can’t Buy Happiness / Sam Pizzigati
    And we finally have a nation that's taking that reality to heart.
  6. Censoring Our Food / Jill Richardson
    If farms and slaughterhouses are rife with repulsive and sadistic abuses, why should we pass laws to help hide it?
  7. The New Crime of Eating While Homeless / Jim Hightower
    By outlawing dumpster diving, Houston is making life impossible for the most vulnerable.
  8. Cannon Fodder, 21st Century-Style / William A. Collins
    If the IEDs, PTSD, and risk of sexual assault don't get you, the disillusionment will.
  9. The Pentagon’s Assault Guidelines / Khalil Bendib cartoon

    Emily Schwartz Greco is the managing editor of OtherWords, a non-profit national editorial service run by the Institute for Policy Studies OtherWords.org



    Military Assault Guidelines, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib 
Right-Wing Think Tank's Racist Report Distorts Prospects for Immigrants' Future

May 16, 2013 ·

A study by the Heritage Foundation maintained that Hispanic immigrants are deficient in I.Q. and thus disposed to rely on "government handouts."

Jason Richwine, who just resigned from the Heritage Foundation.In 2007 the Heritage Foundation played a major role in derailing immigration reform. This year it tried to replicate its success by publishing a study claiming that unlawful immigration and amnesty would cost U.S. tax payers approximately $6.3 trillion dollars. However, their ploy to sabotage immigration reform failed in dramatic fashion. Not only were their exaggerated estimates on the cost of amnesty resoundingly refuted by both conservative and liberal groups, but their entire report appeared to hinge on a premise that reeked of racism.

According to the Heritage Foundation’s study, one of the primary reasons immigration reform would cost so much is that a typical undocumented immigrant lacks adequate education. And poorly educated individuals, according to the study, “are net tax consumers: the benefits they receive exceed the taxes they pay.”

This notion of the undocumented being “poorly educated” comes directly from Jason Richwine, one of the coauthors of the study. Richwine got his Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard University, where he wrote a dissertation titled IQ and Immigration Policy. In it he claims that Hispanics have on average lower IQs than their Caucasian counterparts. Moreover, he writes, “[n]o one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.” In other words, Hispanics will probably never be as smart as white people.

Richwine goes on to say that the IQ disparity between the two races explains why Hispanics have never been able to fully assimilate into American culture and why they are more likely to accept government handouts: “When given the choice between a paycheck from a low-paying job and a welfare check, most intelligent people would realize that the welfare check offers them no potential for advancement. Low-IQ people do not internalize that fact nearly as well.”

There you have it: Hispanics are dumb. Dumb people rely more on government handouts. Therefore, Hispanics will use more government handouts than the average citizen and as a result they will drain the government of its resources. Keep them out!

To the Heritage Foundation’s credit, it is a straightforward argument.

Nevertheless, the argument is horribly flawed. This year Hispanic high school graduates enrolled in college at higher rates than whites. There is a substantial income gap between whites and Hispanics, but each successive generation of Hispanics continues to narrow this gap. No to mention the fact that Hispanics have served in almost every U.S. war and have received 44 Medals of Honor, the third most for any ethnic group. Not bad for a people who failed to “assimilate.”

Despite the fact that the Heritage Foundation’s study is faulty at best and racist at worst, it’s still hugely informative. The study offers a genuine glimpse of what many, especially on the right, think about Hispanics. Many Hispanics, including this writer, have generally felt that opposition to immigration reform does not stem from some intellectual argument, but from visceral emotions driven by xenophobia. The study produced by the Heritage Foundation has proven this point to be correct.

Luckily, the Heritage Foundation is in the minority. According to a CNN/ORC international survey, 84% percent of Americans support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants

America is known as the melting pot of the world. Immigrants from across the globe call this place their home. The notion pushed by the Heritage Foundation that Hispanic immigrants need to assimilate is not only paradoxical but also deeply offensive. America is a country that embraces immigrants and all the diversity that comes with them; it doesn’t assimilate them into a homogenous stew. E Pluribus Unum — out of many, one. Most Americans seem to understand this, even if the Heritage Foundation does not.

Javier Rojo is the New Mexico Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies.


This Week in OtherWords: May 15, 2013

May 15, 2013 ·

This week in OtherWords, Jill Richardson warns readers gearing up for their summer barbecues about the rise of superbugs. Those antibiotic-resistant bacteria are getting hard to avoid if you buy meat in American supermarkets.

We also have an op-ed by Raul A. Reyes on the Heritage Foundation's ill-fated report that was supposed to pinpoint the high cost of giving undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. As Reyes explains, this "study" instead exposed the think tank's shoddy research standards and the racist outlook of one of its lead authors.

OtherWords normally releases all our newsroom-ready commentaries on Wednesday mornings, but we make exceptions for work tied to breaking news. Following the resignation of disgraced report co-author Jason Richwine, we ran this op-ed on Saturday instead. We're increasingly tinkering with our timing, so please visit our website more often. When you do, be sure to check out our blog, where we offer bonus commentaries by Jim Hightower. This week, we're featuring our columnist's hilarious salute to Rep. Louie Gohmert and other political "nincompoops."

Here's a clickable summary of all our latest commentaries and a link to our new cartoon. If you haven't already subscribed to our weekly newsletter, please do.

  1. The Swinging Electorate / Marc Morial
    Despite formidable efforts to disenfranchise African Americans in 2012, a larger percentage of black voters than white voters turned out at the polls to assure Obama's victory on Election Day.
  2. License to Kill / David Reingold
    Without environmental regulations, many companies would gladly poison you to earn bigger profits.
  3. No Junior Partner / Jess Hunter-Bowman
    Could someone please tell Secretary Kerry that Latin America is no longer our "backyard"?
  4. Heritage’s Immigration Nightmare / Raul A. Reyes
    If the conservative think tank's intent was to derail immigration reform, that's a losing battle.
  5. Uncle Sam: Please Tax the Titans / Donald Kaul
    Don't ask me what a hedge fund is — if I knew, I'd manage one.
  6. A Primer for Taming Corporate Power / Sam Pizzigati
    For social change, slow and steady may win the race.
  7. Those Uninvited Guests at Your Barbecue / Jill Richardson
    With most samples of several common store-bought meats testing positive for antibiotic-resistant "superbugs," factory farming practices must change.
  8. The Parched Truth About American Jobs / Jim Hightower
    The recent good news about job creation obscures the bad news facing the nation's middle class.
  9. Don’t Fence Me In / William A. Collins
    The prosperous are further isolating themselves physically, as well as economically, from the rest of us.
  10. Superbugs at the Supermarket / Khalil Bendib cartoon

Superbugs at the Supermarket, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

This Week in OtherWords: May 8, 2013

May 8, 2013 ·

This week in OtherWords, Jason Salzman makes the case against the Koch brothers’ potential purchase of the Los Angeles Times and other Tribune Media newspapers while Jim Hightower weighs in on the larger context behind the recent garment worker tragedy in Bangladesh.

Here’s a clickable summary of all our latest commentaries and a link to our new cartoon. If you haven’t already subscribed to our weekly newsletter, please do.

  1. Turning Journalism into a Joke / Jason Salzman
    Obama’s serious comments about the value of journalism stand out as the Koch brothers consider buying the Los Angeles Times.
  2. Ohio’s Poorly Performing School Assessment / Chris Schillig
    Test scores don’t tell the whole story.
  3. Fighting the Foodopoly / Wenonah Hauter
    Only four gigantic companies process 80 percent of the beef we eat.
  4. Middle Eastern Re-Run / Donald Kaul
    Unless you have something better that can replace a brutal regime like Assad’s government in Syria, what can you accomplish with military intervention?
  5. How We Pay for CEO ‘Performance’ / Sam Pizzigati
    A gaping tax loophole pads executive pay and the federal debt.
  6. Hollow Bee Hives May Threaten Our Lives Too / Jill Richardson
    The United States should follow Europe’s example and ban pesticides that may be wiping out these key pollinators.
  7. Fashion Victims / Jim Hightower
    The gravitational pull of corporate greed makes clothing factories prone to disasters like the recent tragedy in Bangladesh.
  8. Our Stake in Guatemala’s Genocide Trial / Emily Schwartz Greco and William A. Collins
    Thirty years after Ríos Montt’s atrocities, U.S. military policy in Latin America remains a human rights disaster.
  9. Made in Bangladesh / Khalil Bendib cartoon

Made in Bangladesh, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

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