EVERY TWO WEEKS
   Please leave this field empty
Institute for Policy Studies
RSS Feeds RSS Feeds

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.

Trending

Archives

Blog Roll

AFL-CIO Blog
Altercation
AlterNet
AMERICAblog
Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Barbara's Blog, by Barbara Ehrenreich
Blog This Rock
Busboys and Poets Blog
CBPP
CEPR
CODEPINK's Pink Tank
CommonDreams
Counterpunch
Democracy Now!
Demos blog: Ideas|Action
Dollars and Sense blog
Economic Policy Institute
Editor's Cut: The Nation Blog
Energy Bulletin
Firedoglake
FOE International blog
Kevin Drum (Mother Jones)
The New America Media blogs
OpenLeft
OSI Blog
Political Animal/Washington Monthly
Southern Poverty Law Center
Think Progress
Truthout
YES! Magazine
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

IPS Blog

Entries since July 2013

Page 1 • 23 Next
Reproductive Rights Get Gutted Again

July 25, 2013 ·

Despite the reproductive rights uprising inspired by Wendy Davis' heroic filibuster, lame-duck Texas Governor Rick Perry has continued his anti-choice rampage. By signing a contentious measure into law, Perry has made it much more difficult for Texan women — particularly poor and rural women whose ability to travel is limited — to access safe and legal abortions.

Not only does the law ban abortions four weeks earlier than the standard set by Roe v. Wade, it also imposes arbitrary and expensive regulations on clinics, putting all but five of the state's 42 abortion providers in danger of closing permanently.

Five. In the entire state of Texas, which is roughly the size of Florida, New York, Idaho, South Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island combined. Home to roughly 13 million women,Texas may soon have only five clinics at which those women can get an abortion.

Legally, that is. Opponents of the bill have raised the concern that, if they can't get to a clinic before the new deadline, Texan women will resort to black market or self-induced abortions, even resorting to taking pills sold at flea markets. The lives of Texan women are in more danger than before, thanks to a posse of supposedly "pro-life" Texan lawmakers led by Perry, whose 2012 presidential bid was the stuff comedians' dreams are made of — fingers crossed for new stand-up material in 2016.

The new Texas law is bound to ruin — or end — the lives of women whose only crime was being born in Texas.

But conservative Texan state lawmakers aren't satisfied with the damage they've already done. That new law looks like a memo from Planned Parenthood compared with what is effectively a total abortion ban Representative Phil King (R-TX) recently introduced in the Texas House.

This new proposition would ban all abortions, except in the case of immediate medical emergency, after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. That can happen as early as six weeks after fertilization.

Most women don't even realize they're pregnant that soon. Doctors often use the detection of a heartbeat to determine the very existence of a pregnancy. King's House Bill 59 can't be allowed to become law in Texas. The risk to women, and to their families, is too great.

mirsasha/FlickrThe six-week ban has reared its ugly head before — a federal judge thankfully shut the whole thing down before it could go into effect in North Dakota. Judge Daniel Hovland denounced the ban as "an invalid and unconstitutional law," based on the precedent set by Roe v. Wade. The law is against the anti-choice lobby on this ban. Hopefully, the same will hold true in the Lone Star State.

State Representative Harold Dutton, Jr. proposes an intriguing potential dam against the rising tide of anti-choice legislation. Dutton, a Democrat, introduced the Abortion Law Moratorium Bill, also known as House Bill 45, which presents so-called pro-lifers with a challenge: The state would have its draconian abortion restrictions, but only after it bans the death penalty.

If all life should be protected, the reasoning goes, the state has no business executing prisoners. If Texas is so "pro-life," then why does it lead the nation in state-sponsored executions, with over 500 of them since 1976? More than half of those 500+ took place under the trigger-happy Perry.

Dutton's bill isn't going anywhere — he's introduced it before with no luck. But the message he's sending anti-choice legislators brings into sharp relief the cognitive dissonance of the phrase "pro-life," which can be deadly for some women. And he's laying bare the hypocrisy of being anti-choice and pro-death penalty.

Kathleen Robin Joyce is a student at Georgetown University and an OtherWords intern at the Institute for Policy Studies. OtherWords.org

This Week in OtherWords: July 24, 2013

July 24, 2013 ·

This week in OtherWords, Donald Kaul weighs in on Detroit's bankruptcy, Jim Hightower explains how McDonald's wound up drawing attention to its own McWages, and William A. Collins and I question the selective use of the term "terrorist." There's much more, even though Sam Pizzigati is taking some time off. Just click on the headlines below to read our commentaries.

Do you want to make sure you don't miss the latest from OtherWords? Then subscribe to our free weekly newsletter. Do you value our sharp analysis and bold ideas? Please consider making a donation today to keep this valuable service running.

  1. Talkin’ ‘Bout My Generation / Colleen Teubner
    We're the most educated young adults in American history, yet many of us can't find work.
  2. Actually, It Is About You / Peter Hart
    When the media covers immigration, it leaves immigrants out of the conversation.
  3. Building an Underclass of Workers / Jason Salzman
    Journalists should report on the consequences of immigration reform without citizenship.
  4. Swerving to the Right / Michael B. Keegan
    The Supreme Court systematically favors corporate interests over workers, consumers, and voters.
  5. When Personalized Becomes Predatory / Dana Floberg
    Advertisers set their strategies according to damaging stereotypes.
  6. Depending on the Kindness of Strangers / Donald Kaul
    The only sure result of Detroit's bankruptcy is that armies of lawyers will make bales of money.
  7. Size Matters / Jill Richardson
    Even food manufacturers often don't know if nanoparticles are in the food they sell and no one knows if they're safe to eat.
  8. McFinancial Planning / Jim Hightower
    When McDonald's attempted to help its underpaid workers stick to a budget, the fast food giant exposed how much the burger chain's wages fall short of what's needed to survive in America.
  9. Muslims Aren’t Cornering the Terrorism Market / Emily Schwartz Greco and William A. Collins
    What do you call the people responsible for the disasters in Texas and Bangladesh?
  10. Merger Equality at the Supreme Court / Khalil Bendib

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

    Merger Equality at the Supreme Court, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib 
Winning the Fight Against Coal Financing

July 18, 2013 ·

Child in India Tries to Get Water from Flyash-Polluted RiverWhen President Obama made his climate speech at Georgetown University in which he urged an end to almost all public financing of coal, Jim Vallette, former research director of the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network at IPS, dropped me an e-mail and we reflected on how many years it had taken us to get to this point.

The first visit I made to a World Bank-financed coal mine in India in 1996 is still etched in my mind. Traveling for miles by train, bus and then taxi to get to the site, I saw first-hand what our "poverty alleviation" funds were doing. It was a moonscape, black, grey, with nauseating smoke billowing out of perpetual fires, deep underground. A child covered in flyash, was standing next to a black river, desperately trying to get a drink of clean water.

I later learned the wells had all run dry; the coal plant had used it all for its cooling towers. And the river was black with flyash, dumped by the World Bank-financed Talcher coal burner directly into the Nandira River. The only way this child could get a drink of water was to try to dig a hole in the sandy riverbed and hope that would filter out the pollutants.

I came back to Washington in 1996, and Jim and I got fired up to fight the public financing of coal, much of it being done in the name of poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

When we released a series of reports examining public financing of fossil fuels, starting with the World Bank, then on to the EBRD, then, in 1999 on OPIC and Ex-Im, we didn't know when these banks we had set our sites on would finally be forced out of coal. But we knew it had to come.

That day came on June 25, when we finally heard the following words uttered by President Obama:

"Today, I'm calling for an end of public financing for new coal plants overseas unless they deploy carbon-capture technologies, or there's no other viable way for the poorest countries to generate electricity. And I urge other countries to join this effort."

Were these words to be believed? On July 16, the World Bank approved a new energy strategy which would effectively phase out the Bank's institutional support for coal. The paper "affirms that the World Bank Group will 'only in rare circumstances' provide financial support for new greenfield coal power generation projects, such as 'meeting basic energy needs in countries with no feasible alternatives.'"

Then, on July 18, we got the following news: The US Export-Import Bank had rejected a coal plant in Vietnam. It was the first rejection of a coal burner since Obama's climate speech of several weeks ago. 

This day came too late for that child and others in that community in India, who were forced to drink poisoned water. And I'm not pleased with the caveats Obama placed on his pledge. Nor am I pleased with the possibility that the World Bank, Ex-Im Bank and others may simply switch from coal to gas, especially if that gas is derived from “fracking,” which can be worse for our already unstable climate than coal.

But hopefully, this is the dawn of a new day, when public financing of coal mines and power plants around the world is no longer acceptable. It's not enough, of course, but after 16 years of persistent pressure from IPS and other groups, our government seems to finally be listening.

This Week in OtherWords: July 17, 2013

July 17, 2013 ·

This week in OtherWords, Marc Morial, Donald Kaul, and Terrance Heath weigh in on the acquittal of George Zimmerman — the man who killed Trayvon Martin — while Sam Pizzigati and Jill Richardson discuss why Americans live shorter lives than people in other rich countries.

Do you rely on our commentaries and cartoons to make sense of today's mind-boggling news? Please make a donation on our website or mail a check payable to OtherWords to this address: Institute for Policy Studies; 1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600; Washington, DC 20036. Any amount you can spare will make a big difference.

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

  1. Black Man 101 / Terrance Heath
    Why must we now teach our sons to defer to all potential bigots who come their way?
  2. A Verdict that Condemns the State of Civil Rights in America / Marc Morial
    I want to assure Trayvon's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, as well as millions of their supporters, that this isn't over.
  3. Rays of Hope in Egypt / Ahmad Shokr
    The army and the restive millions had different grievances when Morsi was ousted on June 30.
  4. Putting Government Waste on Auto-Pilot / Ryan Alexander
    House Republicans snipped SNAP out of the Farm Bill and rubber-stamped farm subsidies in a stealth operation.
  5. There Ought to Be a Better Law / Donald Kaul
    The Trayvon Martin verdict shows that with "Stand Your Ground" laws, it's your word against theirs and they're dead.
  6. What’s Driving America’s Flagging Vital Signs? / Sam Pizzigati
    Inequality is behind the nation's dismal life expectancy rates.
  7. Eat Well, Walk More, Live Longer / Jill Richardson
    Americans die younger than citizens of most other rich countries.
  8. Exceptionally Mediocre on a Global Scale / Jim Hightower
    America became great through deliberate and determined public investments in the common good, not hocus-pocus exceptionalism.
  9. The Roaring Twenties Are Back / William A. Collins
    The U.S. economy is reverting to the bad old days.
  10. Zimmerman’s Smoking Gun / 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


Zimmerman’s Smoking Gun, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

A New and Improved Foreign Policy In Focus

July 12, 2013 ·

The new Foreign Policy in Focus siteThis past week, as many of you have probably noticed, FPIF rolled out a brand-new redesigned website. We’re still in the process of transitioning a few things, but it’s my great pleasure to show you what we’ve done so far.

Foremost of all, we’ve modernized our front page to put FPIF content front and center. We’ve got a stylish new slideshow display to feature more timely articles, but we’ve also left more space to keep newer commentaries up front so they don’t disappear after a few days. And while preserving front-page space for our regular columnists, we’ve also carved out a new section for blog posts, which represent about half of FPIF’s output. The goal is to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Just as importantly, we’ve streamlined our archiving of older pieces, making it easier to browse commentaries and blog posts by subject, region, tags, and author. And if you don’t see what you’re looking for right away, we have a brand new Google-based site search that outperforms our previous search function by a long shot.

I’m also excited to announce that FPIF is now fully compatible with mobile devices, which means our content should be readable and accessible no matter what your screen size.

Our new site design also comes with built-in features designed to enhance social media sharing and search engine results for FPIF articles, which I hope will bring our progressive perspective on global issues to more people than ever.

FPIF has always been at the forefront of foreign policy analysis in the 21st century, connecting writers and activists working to make the United States a more responsible global partner. I’m happy to say we finally have a website that looks the part.

Page 1 • 23 Next