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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 December 2012

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Gun Ownership Is a Hobby, Not a Right

December 19, 2012 ·

In the wake of every horrific school shooting comes the predictable call for gun control. Just as predictably comes the crazy counter-argument: If only the teachers had been armed, the shooting could have been prevented. 

Welcome to gun-crazy America. Illustration by DonkeyHotey / Flickr.

The simple fact is that guns are not compatible with 21st century civilized life. We should get rid of them. If we can't get rid of them today, we should at least start the process of getting rid of them for the future. The world needs a future without guns.

No one should have guns. Not criminals, not responsible citizens, not the police. Guns should be safely locked away for use in a serious emergency and issued to police officers on a limited basis only when necessary. Even most police don't need guns.

What about criminals? They have guns. Don't we need guns to fight them with? Sure, maybe for a while. But after a hundred years with no guns, the supply will dry up even for criminals. We should be planning for the future, not arming for the present.

What about the Constitution? Gun rights are enshrined in the Second Amendment to the US Constitution. Well, I have news for Constitutional fundamentalists: The US Constitution has been changed 27 times. It can be changed again.

Read the rest of this article at TruthOut

This Week in OtherWords: Kaul Writes Again and Richardson Becomes Our Newest Weekly Columnist

December 19, 2012 ·

He’s back. This week in OtherWords, columnist Donald Kaul makes a surprise return to weigh in on the chilling Newtown shootings. Since he’s still on the mend and says that life’s just so much better without deadlines, my best advice to his many devoted fans is to watch this space.

And we’ve got two other developments to report. First, we’ve revamped our website, making it more user-friendly and easier to access on mobile devices. Please take a moment to check it out and let me know if you have any concerns or other feedback.

Second, we’re launching a new weekly column by Jill Richardson. She’ll write about all aspects of the food system, from farm to fork. Today, she’s taking a good hard look at ham, which millions of Americans consider a holiday staple.

And since we’re in the middle of the holiday season, please do consider making a year-end tax-deductible contribution to OtherWords. Our service is free for newspapers, new media outlets, and engaged citizens. But professional editing, proofreading, and concerted efforts to get these bold opinions into news outlets require at least a modest budget. Any amount you can give will be used wisely and effectively to help us expand our nationwide reach. You can make a donation on our new and improved website or mail a check payable to OtherWords to this address: Institute for Policy Studies; 1112 16th Street, NW, Suite 600; Washington, DC 20036.

For contributions of $100 or more, we’ll send you or someone you designate a copy of columnist Sam Pizzigati‘s latest book: The Rich Don’t Always Win. For contributions of $150, we’ll also include our cartoonist Khalil Bendib‘s latest collection: Too Big to Fail. Both make great gifts.

Scroll down to see this week’s lineup and please subscribe to our weekly newsletter if you haven’t signed up yet.

  1. Our Great Fiscal Opportunity / John Cavanagh
    This is a chance for the American public to engage in a critical debate over national priorities
  2. Funding our Future / Sarah Browning
    Slashing federal arts spending would curb our collective imagination.
  3. Turning our Tears into Action / Marc Morial
    We can’t go back to business as usual with gun violence in America
  4. A Grim New Year for Women / Martha Burk
    Many of the choices that appear likely in the pending budget deal would throw women under the bus.
  5. The New Agenda on Guns We Need after Newtown / Donald Kaul
    This time, the debate has to be about more than not offending the NRA’s sensibilities.
  6. A More Humane Holiday Ham / Jill Richardson
    Some of the ingredients on your Christmas dinner table aren’t so sweet.
  7. The Emperor of Avarice / Sam Pizzigati
    Gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson more than held his own against the stiff competition to be crowned the greediest American of 2012.
  8. Michigan Bucks Democracy / Jim Hightower
    With no warning, no hearings, no public input, no floor debate, and no time for citizens even to know what was happening, Michigan’s Republicans rammed a union-busting bill into law.
  9. Nixing Nuclear Energy / William A. Collins
    Japan backtracked on an ambitious plan to shut all of its nuclear reactors but Germany is blasting forward with an effort to do just that by 2022.
  10. Good Company / Khalil Bendib cartoon

Good Company, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

An IPS-Style Holiday Carol

December 18, 2012 ·

By the twelfth month of 2012,
The Institute’s brought to you:
Twelve months of justice,
Eleven revenue raisers
Ten great op-eds
Nine detailed studies,
Eight economic hardship investigations,
Seven street heat protests,
Six Africa actions,
Five Mideast primers,
Four Drug War critiques,
Three green jobs plans,
Two carbon taxes,
And a transition to a Main Street economy

Here is to many more years of progress. From all of us at IPS, thank you for your support!

European Parliament Supports Robin Hood Tax in Landslide Vote

December 14, 2012 ·

Under pressure to address a massive deficit, legislators voted overwhelmingly this week in favor of a tax on financial speculation. This really happened, I swear.

Robin Hood Tax supporters scored a goal in Europe. Is the U.S. next? Photo by Robin Hood Tax campaign.OK, it was in Europe, not the United States. But it could happen here—and it should.

The vote in the European Parliament on December 10 was the latest in a series of victories by international campaigners for a tax on trades of stocks, bonds, and derivatives. Often called a “Robin Hood Tax,” the goal is to raise massive revenues for urgent needs, such as combating unemployment, global poverty, and climate change.

A financial transaction tax would also discourage the senseless high frequency trading that now dominates our financial markets. Recently, the chief economist of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the top U.S. derivatives regulator) found that such trading practices are hurting traditional investors.

In reaction to the Parliamentary vote, David Hillman, of the U.K. Robin Hood Tax campaign, said that the tax “will raise at least 37 billion euros per year for the countries involved whilst reining in the worst excesses of the financial sector.”

Nicolas Mombrial, a Brussels-based policy adviser for Oxfam, added that “The European Parliament’s overwhelming support reflects the will of Europe’s people. In cash-strapped times, an financial transactions tax is a no-brainer that is morally right, technically feasible, and economically sound.”

Read the rest of this article on the Yes! Magazine website. 

This Week in OtherWords: 12-12-12

December 12, 2012 ·

This week in OtherWords, columnist Jim Hightower and cartoonist Khalil Bendib lampoon the latest in airline abuse. If you're planning to board a plane to celebrate this holiday season with family or friends, I hope that your voyage is as stress-free as possible.

And speaking of this holiday season, please consider making a year-end tax-deductible contribution to OtherWords. Our service is free for newspapers, new media outlets, and engaged citizens. But professional editing, proofreading, and concerted efforts to get new outlets to run these bold opinions requires at least a modest budget. Any amount you can give will be used wisely and effectively to help us expand our nationwide reach. You can make a one-time or a recurring 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.

For contributions of $100 or more, we'll send you or someone you designate a copy of columnist Sam Pizzigati's latest book: The Rich Don't Always Win. For contributions of $150 or more, we'll also include our cartoonist Khalil Bendib's latest collection: Too Big to Fail. Both make great gifts.

Scroll down to see this week's lineup and please subscribe to our weekly newsletter if you haven't signed up yet.

  1. Ripe for Reduction / Miriam Pemberton
    The pending budget deal must include long-overdue military spending cuts.
  2. Our National Failure to Commit / Don Kraus
    The Senate hasn't approved any major multilateral treaties since 1997.
  3. Jobs or the Environment? / Lee Ballinger
    Soon it will be too late and we'll have neither.
  4. Billionaires with No Skin in the Game / Jason Salzman
    If the top two percent is up in arms about losing their Bush tax cuts, why aren't they generating any street heat?
  5. In Fact, Fairly Taxing the Rich Won't Scare Them Away / Sam Pizzigati
    Recent research debunks some of the most common arguments against raising taxes on the richest Americans.
  6. The Airline Industry's Fee-for-All / Jim Hightower
    Nearly every airline these days is addicted to fees.
  7. Our Health Care System is Still Sick / William A. Collins
    The health industry is about making money, not healing.
  8. Fly the Stingy Skies / Khalil Bendib cartoon

Fly the Stingy Skies, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

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