Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Rob Gillezeau discusses how public health measures offer better results even in sheer economic terms than allowing an excess of activity which causes community spread. Joan Greve reports on the CDC's warning of another COVID wave if the U.S. gets careless while vaccines are still rolling out, while Moira Wyton also notes that the ultimate success of a vaccine still relies on people continuing to comply with public health requirements. And Les Perreaux and Ivan Semeniuk make the case for people to take a COVID-19 vaccine when it's offered, rather than shopping around based on minimal differences in effect.  

- Meanwhile, Ilari Kaila and Joona-Hermanni Makinen discuss how Finland chose to pass on a patent-free vaccine in favour of allowing the pharmaceutical industry to profit from its vaccination program. 

- Chuck Collins argues for a wealth tax based on how the pandemic has resulted in the further polarization of income and wealth. Randy Robinson writes about the differing effects of COVID-19 based on income - with higher-income individuals seeing few employment effects past last summer while other workers continue to see a significant impact. And Amanda Follett Hosgood points out the unfairness in the pattern of injunctions being granted to prohibit protests but not religious services and other gatherings which raise the risk of COVID transmission. 

- Brian Carney reports on e-mails confirming that the exchange of newspapers between Torstar and Postmedia was carried out with full knowledge that both planned to slash jobs and papers. And David Climenhaga juxtaposes that story with Torstar's new plan to operate an online casino. 

- Brett Dolter analyzes the results of a deliberative modelling process showing how Saskatchewan can transition toward a cleaner electricity grid. Max Fawcett notes that any argument for expanding fossil fuel infrastructure depends on wrongly assuming that technological progress will only happen in the dirty energy industry. David Fickling highlights the impact that China's anticipated climate plan figures to have on the global shift toward decarbonization. And Jasper Jolly reports that Volvo is the latest major automaker to confirm a shift to an all-electric fleet. 

- Finally, Sara Birrell discusses the success progressive organizers and candidates had in Saskatchewan's municipal elections. 

Monday, March 01, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Karl Leffme interviews Jake Lytle about the movement to unionize marijuana-related work in Chicago. And Jay Greene and Eli Rosernberg report on an all-too-rare expression of support for unionization by Joe Biden in the wake of Amazon's attempt to bully and bribe workers out of pursuing collective bargaining.

- Alex McKeen reports on a push by Canada's provincial labour ministers for a national sick leave program. And the Star's editorial board again calls for action at the provincial level as well to ensure workers aren't forced to endanger themselves and others for lack of alternative income supports.

- Andrew Meijers highlights how changes in Atlantic ocean currents may exacerbate the extreme weather expected as part of a climate breakdown.

- Meanwhile, Helen Caldicott points out how nuclear power is neither practical from a cost standpoint, nor desirable from an environmental one. And QMI reports on Quebec Solidaire's effort to convert golf courses into public green space.

- Finally, Greg Palast discusses how Texas' disastrous power deregulation was the result of conscious political choices (with the Bush family playing a prominent role). And Tom Parkin writes about the different incentives and which are leading to the NDP backing a shift to public ownership of long-term care facilities while the Libs seek to go no further than voluntarism and symbolism.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Alex Himelfarb writes about the need to get past obsessing over deficits and taxes when they're necessary to fund the society we want.

- Olivia Stefanovich, Karina Roman and Ryan Patrick Jones report on the Auditor General's report placing responsibility for the continued lack of safe drinking water on First Nations squarely on the shoulders of the federal government.

- Justin Ling discusses Anthony Doob and Jane Sprott's report on the continued use of solitary confinement with no regard for its harm to the people locked away. And Robyn Urback points out how prisoners are the one group of people our governments consider themselves entitled to torture.

- Jag Bhalla highlights the desperate need for the world's wealthiest people to cut carbon emissions in order for there to be any prospect of averting a climate breakdown. But Robert Reich points out that people seeking to protect their concentrated wealth are instead using climate change to stoke class divisions. And Canada News Central notes that the Trudeau Libs are actually increasing federal subsidies for even more carbon pollution. 

- Finally, Christo Aivalis and Tom Parkin both call out Justin Trudeau and his party for voting against even a basic framework for pharmacare in the midst of a pandemic which is only highlighting the importance of access to medical care.

[Edit: fixed wording.]

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lauren Krugel reports on a push by Alberta doctors to avoid the further lifting of public health restrictions which will increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Sarah Zhang notes that we're just now seeing a return to widespread recognition of the importance of ventilation in protecting against community spread - though of course more forward-thinking people have been pointing it out since last summer, particularly in trying to keep schools safe. And Jennifer Yang reports on research showing that vaccinations targeted by postal code as well as age can be far more effective in improving health outcomes.  But Robert Hiltz writes that conservatives have effectively given up on doing anything to stop the pandemic, choosing instead to focus on finger-pointing and false hopes that vaccines alone will restore us to normal.

- Robinson Meyer writes about the obvious planning failures which left Texas unprepared to cope with foreseeable changes in weather. And Molly McCracken responds to Brad Wall's attempt to push Manitoba toward the type of privatized and fragmented power system which led to that tragedy.

- Colin Gordon rightly questions the subsidies the U.S. hands out to agribusiness giants.

- Nicholas Kusnetz highlights how the UCP's anti-environmental inquiry mirrors the worst of the U.S.' climate denialists.

- Gary Mason writes that Alberta's claim to have some inherent fiscal advantage has been exposed as a lie. And Scott Schmidt points out that we shouldn't trust right-wing excuses to use deficits as a basis to slash needed services and supports.

- Finally, Amira Elbaghawy discusses how the reported data on hate crimes - worrisome as it is is - severely understates the real damage hate groups inflict on communities. And Osita Nwanevu warns that it's wrong to presume white supremacism and conspiracy theories are spreading only among lesser-educated populations.

Musical interlude

 Lord Huron - Not Dead Yet

Friday, February 26, 2021

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jason Hickel writes that on a global scale, poverty is the result of inequality and the misallocation of resources rather than underdevelopment. And Brittany Andrew-Amofah makes the case for a wealth tax to both reduce the existing concentration of wealth and power, and fund collective benefits, while the Canadian Press reports on the inequality exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as job losses accumulated solely on the low end of the income scale. 

- Meanwhile, Aidan Simardone discusses the limitations of trying to litigate for social justice through Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms which doesn't actually address positive rights necessary for survival, nor private intrusions on them.

- Brendan Haley points out how less-wealthy households have missed out on the gains from energy efficiency funding which requires recipients to pay for substantial renovations out of pocket. And Alex MacPherson reports on Saskatoon's steps to fill in the gap left by the Saskatchewan Party's elimination of any meaningful efficiency program at all.

- Mike Hager reports on the understandable concerns that a real estate developer's donations to a police charity will influence how downtown Vancouver will be policed.

- Danyaal Raza and Bob Bell write that the deliberate effect of Doug Ford's outsourcing of cataract surgery is to ensure the public pays more to private clinics. And David Climenhaga discusses the likelihood that the UCP's consolidation of dispatch operations (over the strong objections of the communities affected) is the first step toward mass privatization of ambulance services.

- Finally, Annie Burns-Pieper notes that it's impossible to fully appreciate the harm caused by the federal government's neglect of First Nations water systems due to a choice not to track water-related illnesses. And Zak Vescera reports that the Sask Party has followed the principle of not tracking what it doesn't want to know about in refusing to fund wastewater analysis which would give Saskatchewan more information about the spread of COVID.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Melissa Healy reports on yet another dangerous variant of COVID-19 which is spreading in California. Nicky Phillips writes about the likelihood that the coronavirus will become endemic even once full vaccinations have been carried out. Jessica Elgot, Noel Sample and Nicola Davis report on new modelling showing how relaxed rules in the UK could cause tens of thousands of deaths. And the Canadian Press reports on a new survey showing the popularity of public health measures in Quebec even as far too many provinces stall or even backslide in protecting against community transmission.

- Meanwhile, Heather Scoffield asks whether the federal government's COVID relief will address some of the inequality arising out of the pandemic - though she's too generous in presuming there had been progress made before coronavirus hit. 

- Madlen Davies, Ivan Ruiz, Jill Langois and Rosa Furneaux expose how Pfizer and other drug manufacturers have used COVID vaccines to hold Latin American countries for ransom.

- Andre Picard rightly wonders when we'll start acting to remediate the well-known problems with our long-term care system, rather than falling into perpetual cycles of study and inaction.

- Finally, Murray Mandryk writes that Texas' disastrous confirm both the value of Crown corporations, and the need to ensure they have adequate resources to plan for disaster scenarios in ways that private operators won't bother with. And Roque Planas takes a look at some of the frivolous nonsense pushed by Texas Republicans as they've neglected their state's basic infrastructure.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Active cats.


Tuesday Morning Links

 This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Andrea Reimer examines the power dynamics at play in government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the limits of formal political power where it isn't paired with knowledge and networks. And the Globe and Mail's editorial board rightly questions the dubious math behind the choice of Doug Ford (like many other conservative premiers) to accept widespread disease and death rather than taking meaningful steps to rein in the coronavirus.

- Shaun Lintern reports on new research showing that long COVID results in substantial numbers of hospitalizations and deaths beyond the ones recognized at the time a person is first infected.

- Eric Reguly discusses how compulsory licensing is an entirely viable option to ensure that pharmaceutical manufacturers aren't able to withhold COVID vaccines from less wealthy countries.

- Naomi Klein writes that Texas Republicans (and other right-wing parties) fear a Green New Deal in no small part because it provides an alternative to the dangerous combination of small government and large-scale corporate control. And Joel Laforest writes about Jason Kenney's losing bet on Keystone XL in particular (and an indefinite oil boom more generally). 

- Bob Weber reports on the nine-figure property tax bill which the oil sector has left unpaid to rural municipalities. And Jillian Ambrose reports on the massive waste emissions from UK offshore oil platforms.

- Finally, Marc Spooner writes about the dangers of performance-based funding in setting up warped and short-sighted incentives for universities.