Saturday, September 05, 2020

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Joseph Stiglitz discusses the divides which have been exposed and exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. And Anand Giridharidas talks to Varshini Prakash about how a plan to deal with the climate crisis will contribute to solving many of the other issues we're currently facing.

- Terry Sunderland writes about the environmental damage wrought by our poor food choices. And Emma Howard discusses Donald Trump's attempt to push plastic products into Africa through trade deals - though David Roberts notes that any prospect of prolonging oil development through plastics is likely doomed in any event.

- Annina Claesson makes the case for us to follow Finland's lead in examining the prospect of a six-hour work day.

- The Star's editorial board makes the case to reduce class sizes to help limit the spread of COVID-19. But the Canadian Press reports on the effect of Ontario's education funding system in ensuring that class sizes stay high due to "collapsed" classrooms even if fewer students are attending school in person.

- Finally, Jonathan Wang, Saba Vahid, Maria Eberg, Shannon Milroy, John Milkovich, Frances C. Wright, Amber Hunter, Ryan Kalladeen, Claudia Zanchetta, Harindra C. Wijeysundera and Jonathan Irish study the surgical backlog caused by COVID-19 in Ontario - with the conclusion that it will take upwards of a year and a half to get back up to date figuring to apply to other provinces as well.And the Los Angeles Times' editorial board weighs in on the reality that any talk of "herd immunity" means nothing more than facilitating avoidable deaths.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Harold Varmus and Rajiv Shah write that the CDC's willingness to parrot the Trump administration's desire for less COVID-19 testing is forcing states and other actors to take up the job of providing appropriate public health advice. And David Climenhaga points out the rightful frustration of Alberta parents and education workers who have been told that the social distancing rules applicable to every other building in the province will be ignored in schools - even as the U.S. sees soaring rates of infection among children.

- Leilani Farha and Kaitlin Schwan offer a reminder that homelessness is a matter of life and death in the midst of a pandemic. Victoria Gibson discusses the Toronto families being torn apart by inadequate housing. And Dan Darrah highlights the problems with a real estate market administered primarily to build stores of wealth, rather than to ensure that people of all income levels have a reasonable place to live. 

- The Economic Policy Institute studies the advantages in wages, sick days and health benefits held by union workers compared to unorganized labour. But Bob Hennelly writes that with corporate wealth getting more concentrated and unions losing ground, workers in general are being treated as perpetually more expendable.

- Finally, Philip Oltermann highlights how Germany is significantly better off for having welcomed far more refugees than other wealthy countries.

Wednesday, September 02, 2020

Missing in action

Shorter Sask Party when it comes to using steel as an excuse for pipeline approvals:
It's vital that we uncritically cheerlead for EVERY SINGLE PIPELINE PROPOSAL for the sake of Saskatchewan steel jobs!
Short Sask Party when it comes to ensuring Saskatchewan steel is actually used for pipeline construction when another producer from offshore is undercutting our workers:
(crickets)

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Dean Russell and Jamie Smith Hopkins write about the mental health consequences of the disasters the world is wrestling with at the moment.

- Milan Polk surveys doctors about the need to revise our current reliance on six feet of social distancing as being sufficient. And John Michael McGrath points out how public health is suffering due to the delayed approval of self-testing for COVID-19.

- Jesse Winter reports on British Columbia's tragic number of drug overdoses and deaths, while Alicia Bridges reports on soaring rates in Regina as well. And Tracy Giesz-Ramsey discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the existing overdose crisis - which makes it all the more galling to see Justin Trudeau declare that he isn't interested in decriminalization as a means of reducing harm if it isn't a silver bullet for all possible concerns. 

- Igor Derysh reports on the pharmaceutical executives who turned pandemic contracts from the Trump administration into windfall share sales. PressProgress reports on a push by medical groups to ensure that critical care drugs are available. And Andrew Richter's criticism of the Libs' lack of concrete steps to secure access to COVID-19 vaccines likewise highlights how much we'd stand to gain from a public pharmaceutical manufacturer.

- Josh Eidelson writes about the employers who are endangering everybody by imposing COVID-19 gag orders on their workers, while the Star's editorial board makes the seemingly obvious case to have Ontario's government warn people about workplace outbreaks. Kate Aronoff exposes Tesla's stunning assertion that it can avoid employment standards by labeling its mistreatment of workers as "trade secrets". And Eidelson and Spencer Soper report on Amazon's job posting specifically aimed at trying to impose SLAPP suits on labour organizers, while Lauren Kaori Gurley and Joseph Cox report on its spying on closed Facebook groups.

- Finally, Asher Schechter interviews David Dayen about the harm monopoly corporate power inflicts on the public.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Outreached cats.




Tuesday Evening Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jim Stanford discusses the need to ensure corporations pay their fair share for the social infrastructure which allows them to thrive.

- Jennifer Garrison writes about the gender imbalance in Alberta's back-to-school plan. And Heather Scoffield highlights how Justin Trudeau's prorogation of Parliament is contrary to any respect for the interests of Canadian women whose needs in the pandemic were being studied by one of the committees whose work was cut short.

- Meanwhile, Stephanie Ross and Larry Savage write about the women who are changing the face of the Canadian labour movement.

- Nafeez Ahmed reports on new research showing that the oil industry's expected life span is measured in only a few decades - with no need for new supplies in the meantime. And David Keith, Sarah Hastings-Simon and Ed Whittingham point out the futility of pouring money into a dying tar sands sector.

- Dylan Penner examines the disturbing connections between the fossil fuel sector and the militarization of police forces.

- Finally, Alexandre Tanzi writes about the massive benefits from reduced commuting as people were able to work from home in light of COVID-19.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Hannah Aldridge writes that we should be expecting far more from the provinces in taking care of people in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic - particularly since the federal government has absorbed so much of the fiscal cost of relief:
The EI changes have effectively created two income floors—one for those with recent work experience, and a much lower one for those furthest from the labour market.

This leaves an opportunity for provincial and territorial governments to step up and reinvest their savings from these changes in those left behind. They should extend and expand the temporary benefits that have been put into place to increase the supports provided to social assistance recipients.

If the provinces and territories do not invest this windfall in social assistance recipients, they will be reinforcing and exacerbating Canada’s two-tier system of supports—a more generous income floor for those with recent employment, and a barely livable one for those with the greatest disadvantages.

Provincial and territorial governments can’t hide behind the idea that they don’t have the money to do so, because the federal government has quietly given them the resources to support those left behind by the new measures.
- Abacus Data finds that parents are understandably wary of the return to school this fall. Marek Aukerman writes about the lack of transparency in Alberta's back-to-school plan. Amy Smart reports on a push for stronger protection for health and safety in British Columbia's return to classrooms. Lauren Pelley reports on the Toronto schools - largely concentrated in what are already disadvantaged areas - which face the greatest risk of transmission of COVID-19 this fall. Tyson Fedor reports on the push by Alberta's teachers and NDP to use available public building space to reduce class sizes. Joseph Allen, Jack Spengler and Jose Cedeño-Laurent note that opening windows may offer at least one means of making schools safer, while Jennifer Davis writes about the benefits of outdoor learning to the extent it's possible. Sherina Harris discusses how paid sick leave is a must for schools to be safe. And Julia Knope writes about the students with disabilities who may have no choice but to stay home due to a lack of planning for their well-being in reopening plans.

- Amit Arya, Amina Jabbar, Vivian Stamatopoulos write that improved staffing levels are a must to avoid another wave of COVID-19 deaths in care homes.

- Finally, Rita Trachur writes about Canada's continued status as a haven for money launderers.And Brad Setser offers a reminder that we have the option of addressing tax avoidance through trade agreements - if we care enough to put it on the same footing as corporate interests.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

On selective normalcy

Shorter Government of Saskatchewan:
It's absolutely crucial for children's development and mental health that their back-to-school experience be as normal as possible. Especially when it comes to being in classrooms as large and packed as they're accustomed to.
Also shorter Government of Saskatchewan:
So the kids won't be able to see Grandma and Grandpa until next July. They'll just have to suck it up.

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Crawford Kilian takes a look at Kurt Andersen's new book on the collaboration between massively wealthy people and those willing to be subjugated to their interests who have re-engineered society for their benefit, to the detriment of everybody else.

- Oren Cass comments on the folly of measuring our economy and society solely through GDP. And Duncan Thorp discusses the importance of rebuilding around a well-being economy.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on the attempt by a temp agency to saddle a worker with a $30,000 bill after his job disappeared as a result of COVID-19. And the Star's editorial board recognizes the case as an example of the need for improved protection for precarious workers.

- Meanwhile, PressProgress examines how employers are trying to use a pandemic to deny workers the benefits they've bargained for. Jon Milton writes about the efforts of Dollarama employees to fight for safe workplaces and fair wages - particularly in the face of yet another attempt to claw back pandemic pay. And Megan Lupo, Nino Abdaladze, Molly Bohannon, Sanjana Garg, Jamie Fields and Katie Surma report on the essential workers trying to navigate a pandemic while homeless.

- Bill McKibben writes that the U.S. has run out of presidential terms to delay in dealing with climate change. And David Roberts examines the devastating effects that another term of Donald Trump would have on our planet.

- Finally, Paul Wells examines the farce of Bill Blair's panel on solitary confinement. And Justin Ling notes that it's only after the panel's resignation was publicly reported that the Libs took any steps to allow it to function.