#5SmartReads - August 8, 2022
Hitha on insulin, the IRS, and #dopaminedetox
EXPLAINER: What is driving the current Israel-Gaza violence (Associated Press)
If it feels like that there are always attacks between Israel and Palestine (especially in Gaza), it’s because there almost always is - but it gets the attention of Western press only some of the time.
This is one of those times. And while a ceasefire was announced and initiated last night, it’s important to know what’s happening right now and why it’s different.
This brief explainer and careful reporting is definitely worthy of your time and your attention.
Having experienced a brief dopamine detox of my own this weekend (I went phoneless from Friday morning to Sunday morning), I can vouch that avoiding dopamine triggers is incredibly restorative and left me feeling more focused when I returned to my computer on Sunday evening.
But what exactly are dopamine triggers?
They are instinctive habits that trigger your reward center in your brain, such as likes and comments on your social media posts or the satisfaction of your perfectly curated TikTok feed or even the satisfaction of closing all your circles on your Apple Watch.
And I, for one, am super guilty of feeding my own dopamine beast to a near uncontrollable state - and I plan on practicing a dopamine fast on Saturdays to give my brain the break it needs.
This piece does a great job of explaining how to do a dopamine detox and its many benefits. At the very least, it’ll help you literally unplug - and that’s rarely a bad thing.
Democrats’ $80 billion wager: A bigger IRS will be a better IRS (The Washington Post)
The underfunding and under-resourcing of our government agencies is one of the things I’ve found most frustrating about government. And while the ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) has been the main subject of my ire, the IRS is a close second.
Something I appreciate about the Inflation Reduction Act, which passed the Senate yesterday, is the $80B investment in the IRS, can help the agency expand beyond the automated audits that target taxpayers with incomes less than $75,000 (many who receive the earned income tax credit) and focus on high earners and corporations.
But don’t take it from me. Take it from the current IRS Commissioner, who was appointed by the previous president:
“IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig wrote to lawmakers on Thursday that his agency was committed to upping enforcement “in areas of challenge for the agency — large corporate and global high-net-worth taxpayers.” He added, “These resources are absolutely not about increasing audit scrutiny on small businesses or middle-income Americans.””
This is one of the most valuable provisions in the reconciliation bill that I enthusiastically support. Maybe once the IRS is finally off COBOL programming, we can advocate for the IRS just telling taxpayers how much they owe and make it really easy to pay?
Boundary-setting was really the heart of my work with the incredible Antoinette Beauchamp (my amazing coach and dear friend).
So many of the mindsets and frameworks that Nedra outlined in this piece (and her amazing book and Skillshare class) are ones that have helped me draw and enforce my own boundaries, and practicing a dopamine break every Saturday is one new boundary I’m creating to better protect my peace and my headspace.
My friend Upasna (who interviewed Tawaab for this piece) is someone who enforces her own healthy boundaries, and this interview is GOLD. Every word.
I’ll leave you with my favorite gem from this interview, especially since Nedra and I share a beloved holiday tradition that has me excited for the holidays already.
“I have been practicing intentional boundaries around how I allocate time.
Sometimes in our race to be busy and to be productive, we're just saying yes. Sometimes a present-day yes is also a future yes -- so I think, "Is that going to bleed into Christmas? So let me say no in advance. Because I know I won't be available -- I will be watching everything that Hallmark and Lifetime has to offer.”
Why insulin is overpriced (PNHP)
My industry has made some absolutely miraculous advancements in the treatments of chronic and deadly diseases.
Advancements in insulin do not fall in this category. Rather, the way they’ve earned patents on marginal-at-best improvements, have successfully lobbied for the high barrier of entry for biosimilars to enter the market, and continued to raise the price on a life-or-death medication for millions of Americans who struggle to afford it (and successfully lobbied most of the Republican senators to vote against the $35/month cap on insulin) is immoral, cruel, and flat out wrong.
This piece is a long one, but it clearly explains the many issues that are the reason why insulin continues to be too damn expensive and why the industry (rather, the 3 companies that control the insulin market) cares more about the increasing profitability of insulin rather than the millions of lives that require insulin to live.