Amid a government shutdown, at least one branch of government is still kicking: The Supreme Court, which recently upheld the Trump administration’s right to implement its nonsensical ban on transgender service members while legal challenges proceed against it.

This week in OtherWords, Jill Richardson shows how that ban has nothing to do with cost (the administration’s alleged reason for the ban) and everything to do with petty bigotry — not to to mention with distracting from things like that government shutdown.

Also this week, Sam Pizzigati explains how extreme inequality — not just between countries but within them — complicates efforts to save human life from climate change. Adam Johnson reports on how *not* to report on prison conditions. And Jim Hightower scratches his head at some puzzling remarks on AI by Elon Musk.

Finally, cartoonist Khalil Bendib imagines that the government shutdown could make unpaid border guards a little more empathetic toward refugees fleeing poverty.

New This Week…

The Transgender Ban Is About Bigotry and Distraction | Jill Richardson
Trump’s attacking service members to provoke the left, throw red meat to his base, and distract the rest from things like the shutdown.

Extreme Wealth Threatens Our Very Planet | Sam Pizzigati
Millions of years ago, life on Earth survived an existential climate crisis. But that Earth had a distinct advantage: no rich people.

How Not to Report on Prison Conditions | Adam Johnson
A recent report revealed widespread abuse at U.S. prisons, but media coverage made it sound like prisoners have it too good.

Worried About Robots? Just Become One | Jim Hightower
Tech CEO Elon Musk says artificial intelligence is a big threat to humans, so we should… surgically implant wires in our brains?

The Law of Unintended Consequences | Khalil Bendib
Thanks to the shutdown, maybe border guards have a little more in common with the refugees they’re charged with turning away.

In Case You Missed It…

A Dream Deferred: King’s Dream of Economic Justice Is Far from Reality | Jessicah Pierre
90 years after King was born, the racial wealth divide is actually growing — which drags down the entire economy.

The Government Shutdown Expands the Ranks of ‘Underwater America’ | Chuck Collins
Unemployment is low, but federal employees are lining up at food banks. They aren’t alone.

This EPA Rule Change Could Kill Thousands | Olivia Alperstein
Mercury regulations save 11,000 lives each year. Now, the EPA wants to get rid of them.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies.

OtherWords commentaries are free to re-publish in print and online — all it takes is a simple attribution to OtherWords.org. To get a roundup of our work each Wednesday, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.