#5SmartReads - September 13, 2022
Hitha on the judiciary, art, and what an aerospace engineer does in a day
Visa, Mastercard, AmEx to start categorizing gun shop sales (Associated Press)
What these major credit card processors are now doing in the United States is very much in line with new international standards (via the International Organization for Standardization). The IOS created a new merchant code for gun sales, no longer categorizing them under “general merchandise.”
But will this be a meaningful step in helping prevent gun violence?
Gun advocates say no, claiming that most sales do not lead to mass shootings. Gun reform advocates say that this is long overdue. Only time will tell.
But why did this happen now?
You can thank the lobbying of public pension funds - two of this country’s largest funds, based in New York and California. This effort is just a piece of the California teacher’s fund to use the power of their purse to call for a policy change. The fund has not only divested its holdings from gun manufacturers and lobby some retailers from selling firearms, but they also have been active in lobbying for common sense gun reform at the retailer level.
I remember watching Alex Wagner interview members of the Oathkeepers, just a month before the 2020 Presidential Election. She was calm and cool as they outlined their plans to take decisive action - armed action - should Donald Trump not be re-elected.
I was shook just watching the interview, from the comfort of my home. And that was before we witnessed the horrifying insurrection on the Capitol.
I very rarely watch any news, and especially cable news. But there’s something steadying and insightful about Alex’s reporting and analysis, and I’m excited to have her back on my evening television and on learning more about her career (which began as a self-appointed food critic in elementary school).
I confess that I was on the fence when it came to expanding the court (the Supreme Court, in particular) when it comes to much-needed judiciary reform.
This op-ed is a powerful argument for the expansion of the lower courts. It is a significant staffing issue (the current size of the courts are understaffed to accommodate the number of pending cases), which also has bipartisan support and is endorsed by the Judicial Conference (a nonpartisan institution).
It also provides for the most robust, near-term solution for this problem:
“If there were a principle that best embodies why progressives are losing ground so quickly—even as they are correct on the facts, and the law, and the zeitgeist—it must be this tendency to just keep on lawyering the other side’s bad law in the hopes that the lawyering itself will make all the bad faith and crooked law go away.”
What a NASA aerospace engineer does in a workday (Washington Post)
What does a literal rocket scientist do in a workday? In Caley Burke’s case, it involves watching rocket launches (and on this lucky day, 2 of them!), lots of e-mail, meetings, calculations, and snuggling a dog.
How does one become a rocket scientist?
“As a 6-year-old, I wanted to be an astronaut. I was inspired by the 1986 movie “Space Camp” and a visit to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. As I neared college, I found I still wanted to be part of exploring the universe, even from the ground. I zeroed in on aerospace engineering and interned at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. There, I shadowed in different areas and considered several career options. I requested a move to LSP to work on multiple rockets launching robotic spacecraft to destinations all over the solar system.”
Burke’s workday is both relatable and incredibly inspiring, and has me itching for more memoirs/nonfiction space books instead of my usual novels. Going to go stalk @spacetoread’s highlights for a recommendation.
Despite being the muses behind the work or the subjects of the work, women are all too rarely the creators of the art that are displayed in museums. But why, and what’s the impact?
“Let’s think back to the renaissance,” she [Kelema Moses] says. “Women were kept out of art schools and institutions, and therefore could not become artists with a capital ‘A’.”
“It’s sort of cliche to say that representation matters, but it really does. To see yourself, or at least a portion of your identity represented in museum spaces is critical because it can act as a vector for social change.”
While women make up the majority of artists and art students today, museum directors and curators are still overwhelmingly male, and that has influenced the predominantly male artists featured in these spaces, though that is slowly beginning to change.