5 Quick Things: July 2020

Welcome to 5 Quick Things that I saw since last month that I thought were interesting enough to share with you. None of them are particularly timely so feel free to just enjoy 🙂

>Number One<

(Un)Natural Disaster

One strange thing that this pandemic has done is send my mind skittering back to other natural disasters that the US has weathered (or well, existed through at least). In looking back I found this interesting little gem. With only a handful of tweeked words, this could literally be talking about today’s pandemic in the US. I don’t have any wisdom because it all feels like history repeating even though this was less than 15 years ago, people there at Katrina are still in power today in many cases making it feel deliberate instead of accidental. But I just keep seeing these words in my head and feel quite powerless honestly:

At all phases, up to and including reconstruction, disasters don’t simply flatten landscapes, In every phase and aspect of a disaster—causes, vulnerability, preparedness, results and response, and reconstruction—the contours of disaster and the difference between who lives and who dies is to a greater or lesser extent a social calculus.

>Number Two<

The Corners of Policy

There’s a little meme floating around that points out we’ve been cutting education, science, and health funding for years and that it shouldn’t be shocking if we want to cut police budgets or something to that effect. And of course it’s true. Even as a person who spent a handful of years teaching and also a handful of year arguing that a youth prison shouldn’t be built in the city I lived in, I wasn’t 100% aware that the budget for policing and the salaries for policing were so much higher than my own teaching salary and the educational allocation of students. For some reason when austerity comes, it never comes for police, for military, or for the rich – it comes for the vulnerable who already did not have enough and were already squeezing two pennies together.

Anyway, this article simply outlines this in a much more detailed and concise manner that I could. Now is an especially important time to talk about budgets and how we use the idea of austerity and austerity policy since the economy is due to shrink because of the pandemic and there is no mystery about who is harmed when states and governments decide to enforce austerity policies instead of using this space for reform and reallocation and investment in the future of communities and people.

>Number Three<

COLORS

I actually follow quite a lot of music studios and indie collectives on YouTube, it’s one of the easiest ways to find new music you might like and to hear up and coming performers but most of them are nowhere near as far reaching and polished as COLORS. Showcasing music from around the world in all manner of styles and genres you’re sure to find something you like listening through the 100s of artists and songs they already have. Give them a follow for a new song every few days.

>Number Four<

Antitrust Paradox and Amazon’s Stranglehold of Economy

It’s probably because I lived in Seattle for almost 7 years that I have always had a keen eye for what Amazon is doing and what Amazon is doing is crushing all the other competition for the past two decades, expanding their business into unprecedented levels of monopoly and suffering no consequences for it. This fantastic piece in the Yale Law Journal outlines how Amazon has been allowed to do this and how modern law is basically unequipped for trusts of Amazon’s nature.

While I feel a little buoyed by the fact that the city of Seattle has finally passed a law about taxing Amazon at the city level, it’s really difficult to know how long it will be in effect because Amazon is about to re-leverage itself and squash that but hey, maybe something good will happen instead?

>Number Five<

Something Nice (Free Coloring Pages)

It’s been a day and everyone needs something nice so I’m linking this artist I recent found because they share not only beautiful art that you can purchase and hang in your house but also a handful of free pieces that you can print out and color yourself. I have been looking for an adult coloring book in Estonia and haven’t quite found what I was looking for so these pages are kind of my intermediary version of what I want but there is something genuinely soothing about laying on the floor and maybe half-watching a YouTube video or listening to a lecture while coloring in a picture. Don’t forget that humans can’t go 100% all the time, we need plenty of space and time to process information and doing activities that are semi-mindless can help that.

Alright folks, that’s it for this month, see you next month!

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