Friday, December 08, 2023

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Matthew Rosza reports on the continued toll of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including over 1,000 deaths per week in the U.S. alone along with massive numbers of hospitalizations. Lauren Pelley highlights how health care workers are being burdened with unmanageable case loads and understaffing due to their own illnesses as part of the post-acknowledgement-of-COVID "new norm", while Louella Vaughan and Nigel Edwards implore governments to reverse the trend of emergency services being shuttered for lack of staff. And Joe Vipond, Julia Wright and Dan Furst rightly argue that it's long past time to recognize that the determination to operate in denial of COVID in the name of the almighty dollar has proven disastrous for the economy and public health and well-being alike.  

- Victoria St. Martin reports on the recognition at COP28 that air pollution linked to fossil fuel consumption produces devastating health impacts in addition to precipitating the ongoing climate breakdown. But Soma Marla discusses how fossil fuel conglomerates are dictating the conference's agenda, while Arthur Zhang points out how the oil and gas sector is singlehandedly destroying any hope Canada might have of living up to its climate commitments. 

- Pete Evans reports on the latest Parliamentary hearings into food prices - featuring Loblaws and Walmart both trying to enshrine "the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of all" as a settled foundation for public policy.

- Finally, Cory Doctorow warns about the trend of manufacturers unilaterally removing features and downgrading products even after consumers have already bought them - and points out how the law perversely encourages that consumer abuse. 

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Adam King discusses how governments and employers have memory-holed some of the most important lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic as to the need for paid sick leave to ensure workplaces don't exacerbate the spread of dangerous diseases. 

- Debbie Cenziper, Michael Sallah and Michael Korsh examine how the FDA put millions of people at risk by failing to regulate the use of tainted breathing machines. And Carey Gillam reports on new research showing how the use of glyphosate herbicide endangers pregnant women and their children even who merely live near fields which have been sprayed. 

- Joe Vipond discusses how an actual cap on carbon emissions would have massive spillover health benefits, while Arthur Neslen reports on a push to put climate policy in the hands of experts rather than politicians and their donors. But Peter Zimonjic reports that the Libs are instead watering down existing targets for the oil and gas sector (even setting aside their continued blithe ignorance of emissions at the consumer level). 

- Meanwhile, Carl Meyer points out the recognition by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and Greenpeace Canada that there's no effective plan to counteract fossil sector greenwashing. And Ani Dasgupta sets out the crucial myths which have been exploited by the oil and gas sector to excuse the continued expansion of an industry which is already the leading cause of an ongoing climate breakdown. 

- Robson Fletcher talks to Trevor Tombe about the distributional impact of the carbon tax currently on the books - with the inescapable conclusion being that the Cons are looking to hand free money to the rich rather than helping those who are less well off. And Tracy Smith-Carrier examines the myths used to perpetuate poverty and block wide-scale implementation of a basic income. 

- Finally, David Climenhaga rightly notes that the Alberta NDP should have far more important things to do than to pursue a name change. (Though I'd raise an additional point on the futility of rebranding: to the extent the UCP's mantra of a "Trudeau-Notley-Singh alliance" carries an ounce of weight, the inclusion of the Trudeau Libs signals that nothing about a different party name or structure will change the messaging one iota.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Monday, December 04, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Nandini Gautam discusses the World Health Organization's research showing how COVID-19 damages the human immune system. And Adam Kucharski takes a look at historic accounts of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic as a grim foreshadowing of how history books will look back on the public policy response to COVID. 

- Doug Cuthand calls out the Moe government as falling squarely into the group of obstructionist governments looking to derail COP28 and any other work to avert a climate breakdown, while Jeremy Appel examines the idiocy of Danielle Smith's invocation of a Sovereignty Act to try to avoid any path to reducing emissions from the power sector. Chris Kruszewski and David Ellis point out how the wealthiest and greediest few are the only people who benefit from false solutions and delay. And Arielle Samuelson documents some of the fossil fuel lobbyists who are being allowed to set global climate policy, while Jon Queally points out the particular absurdity of a fossil fuel-sector greenwashing effort based on gradually reducing only the carbon pollution caused by the extracting of fuel intended to release massive amounts of CO2 into atmosphere when it's burned. 

- Clarrie Feinstein reports on the reality that condo construction in Toronto is doing nothing to alleviate the housing crisis when half of the units are being snapped up as investment properties. And Liam Casey reports on the Ford PCs' conclusion that it's far too inconvenient for construction firms to face an investigation into *every single fatality* on their work sites, such that deaths will be lumped together as part of what's apparently expected to be a regular inquest process. 

- Finally, Dylan Matthews discusses the results of a large-scale basic income experiment in Kenya - with multiple payment structures producing economic benefits, but long-term security in monthly payments also creating gains in well-being and mental health. 

Friday, December 01, 2023

Musical interlude

PVRIS - Things Are Better (Alt Version)

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Damian Carrington reports on Antonio Guterres' warning to COP28 that we're already in the midst of a climate collapse. Katelyn Reinhart discusses new research showing how existing climate studies underestimate the effects of extreme heat. And Nicholas Beuret writes about the unequal responsibility between countries and people for the emissions that are putting the planet at risk.

-  But Benjamin Shingler reports on the justified concern that a climate conference has been captured by fossil fuel lobbyists bent on long-term destruction in the name of continued windfall profits. And Markham Hislop notes that Danielle Smith is among the attendees determined to keep carbon pollution spewing for decades to come. 

- Crawford Kilian reviews Chris van Tulleken's Ultra-Processed People, while highlighting how much of what's sold to us as food doesn't deserve the name.

- Nabhan Refaie discusses how an increasing number of people are channeling their frustration and anger with an unfair economic system into union activity and other collective action.

- Finally, Cory Doctorow points out how the loudest debates over artificial intelligence are set up to avoid any discussion of how AI is used primarily to reinforce the wealth and power of those who already have the most. 

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Mark Sumner discusses the World Health Network's recognition that the damage from COVID-19 includes harm to people's immune systems which has made the effect of other diseases more severe. 

- Patrick Metzger examines how the climate crisis is accelerating faster than anticipated. And George Monbiot calls out the billionaires using their wealth and power to push for continued (and even increased) carbon pollution, while Kevin Anderson notes that any path to avoiding a climate breakdown requires an immediate and profound shift in productive capacity toward both cleaner energy and more equal allocation of resources. 

- Meanwhile, Bill McKibben points out how petrostates are using what's supposed to be a climate action conference to make deals to exacerbate our dependence on fossil fuels. And Graham Thomson discusses how Danielle Smith is using yet another set of laughable promises about carbon capture and storage (along with wilful blindness toward end-user emissions) to try to lock in decades of fossil fuel extraction

- Lisa Young calls out Smith and Scott Moe for pantomiming civil disobedience in their effort to serve their corporate masters. And David Fraser reports on the newly-revealed text messages showing that both Brad Wall and Saskatchewan Party MLA Hugh Nerlien were actively involved in advising and supporting the #FluTruxKlan. 

- Finally, Jeremy Simes reports that breast cancer screening is just the latest area where the Sask Party is choosing to funnel money to private Alberta operators rather than investing in a functional health care system in Saskatchewan. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- The Canadian Press reports on Statistics Canada's findings that Canadian life spans have fallen for three years in a row - with Saskatchewan continuing to face the most extreme decline. And Codi Wilson reports on Toronto's closure of its remaining COVID-19 vaccination clinics due to the Ford government's decision to stop funding prevention of avoidable transmission and illness. 

- Norm Farrell discusses how the push to expand liquid gas production may be the most dangerous fossil fuel plan in the world, while Oliver Milman writes about the U.S.' expansion of fossil fuel extraction while the world tries to work on a phaseout. Markham Hislop calls out Danielle Smith's enshittification of energy policy as a means of stalling any transition to clean energy. And Cory Doctorow points out that insurance companies are exacerbating the climate breakdown by funding oil and gas extraction while constraining public mitigation and remediation efforts. 

- Chip Colwell offers a reminder that individual-level behaviour can only accomplish so much in a system designed to encourage consumerism and waste. But David Danelski notes that one all-too-familiar form of corporate manipulation appears to be backfiring, as payment for "sponsored" product positioning in search results produces a justified aversion among users.  

- Meanwhile, Merissa Daborn writes that we should be ensuring that people have access to the necessities of life including food, rather than focusing on policing and punishing people who lack them. 

- Finally, Amanda Marcotte discusses why it's entirely healthy that so many U.S. women expect more for themselves than to settle for a MAGA reactionary in order to get married.