Saturday, December 12, 2020

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Tracy Fuller talks to Emily Oster about the process people can follow in minimizing COVID risks in the absence of full information. And Sarah Zhang writes about the impending period of vaccine purgatory as a limited number of people begin to be protected.

- Mickey Djuric compares the current coronavirus response plans of the prairie provinces - though none offers an overall plan and result deserving of much credit. Nicholas Frew reports on the spread of the virus in Saskatchewan through multiple hockey and curling events. And Joel Dryden reports on the importance of regular testing to protect residents of long-term care homes.

- J. Edward Les points out the social and health implications of COVID-19 patients who need to rely on an already-strained health care system for treatment. 

- Achal Prabhala, Arjun Jayadev and discuss how relaxed intellectual property rules would facilitate the development and distribution of vaccines. And Ronald Labonte and Mira Johri call out Canada's role in prioritizing intellectual property barriers over the control and treatment of COVID-19 - particularly in less-wealthy countries.

- Jane Lytvynenko discusses how decades of misinformation have destroyed the U.S.' ability to respond to COVID-19 and other crises by undermining both institutions and social trust.

- Finally, Claire Porter Robbins writes about Jason Kenney's selective interest in Charter rights as he seeks to protect anti-maskers and COVID cranks while attacking activists seeking to protect our planet and the people who inhabit it.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Musical interlude

 Tracey Thorn - Sister

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Carl Meyer writes about Denmark's move to finally and fully shut down oil and gas production as part of a transition to clean energy. And Abacus finds strong public support for Canada to also be a world leader in that process - even as the Libs drag their heels and the Cons demand total fealty to a dying oil sector. 

- Brandi Morin rightly questions the Trudeau Libs' willingness to throw billions at oil pipelines, while breaking promises to spend far less bringing potable water to First Nations. 

- Kyle Bakx reports that after spending years demanding that the federal government foot the bill for abandoned oil well sites and finally getting their way in the name of COVID relief, Alberta hasn't bothered to spent the vast majority of the money promised. 

- Meanwhile, as existing environmental damage remains unaddressed, Kyle Anderson reports on the Kenney UCP's plan to divert already-strained water resources in order to use it for coal mining. And Stephanie Wood reports on the CCPA's research showing how British Columbia has subsidized coal mines which threaten endangered caribou while producing minimal economic impact. 

- Carla Shynkaruk discusses how Saskatchewan stands to face disproportionately severe effects from continued climate deterioration.

- Finally, the Star Phoenix reports on FSIN's call for the provincial government to stop selling off Crown land without consulting with First Nations. And Doug Cuthand writes about the continued impact of a colonial mindset on Indigenous children.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Umair Haque discusses the tragic mistake governments in Europe and North America have made in refusing to make plans sufficient to wipe out COVID-19 altogether, rather than assuming a substantial level of spread could be controlled. Sarah Rieger talks to Stephen Duckett about the effect of Australia's lockdown which has now allowed much of that country to return to a relatively normal state. And Graham Thomson writes about Jason Kenney's sorely-belated recognition that he can't bluster and deny his way out of a public health disaster.

- Tom Parkin writes that the Trudeau Libs shouldn't be seen as having successfully dealt with COVID-19 merely because they've cleared the bar of being less destructive than the Trump administration. Nicole Thompson reports on the Canadians seeking student loan relief who have been unable to reach an overwhelmed National Student Loans Service Centre. And Peter Zimonjic and Catherine Cullen report on the shock to people who applied for the CERB based on the simple threshold of having $5,000 in income in the previous 12 months, only to be facing repayment demands based on the theory that qualification had to be based on net income from 2019 alone.

- Meanwhile, Kamyar Razavi and Mike Le Couteur report on the success of the CERB in demonstrating the value of an unconditional basic income - making the later retrenchment all the more frustrating.

- Shikha Gupta and Mary Ann McColl discuss how Canadians are forced to ration and underuse prescribed medicine for lack of pharmacare to cover the cost of prescriptions.

- Finally, the Star's editorial board calls out Erin O'Toole and the Cons for effectively endorsing anti-vaxx scaremongering.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Marco Ranaldi and Branko Milanovic study the relationship between inequality of inputs and inequality of outcomes - finding in particular that countries with relatively equal sources of income reliably produce comparatively fair income levels as well. And they also note that it's possible to achieve greater equality by ensuring the regular redistribution of concentrated wealth - reflecting Matt Elliott's case for Toronto to follow through on a vacant residence tax. 

- But Juliana Kaplan and Dominic-Madori Davis remind us that charity on the part of people who retain extreme wealth and power shouldn't be treated as a substitute for structural equalization.

- Marc Lee and Seth Klein discuss the need for oil and gas royalty regimes to account for an industry on the wane. And Roger Harabin reports on new research showing how the UK can eliminate the vast majority of its greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 based on an eminently affordable investment - though sadly the Trudeau Libs are falling far short of even their own unambitious promises to build a greener energy system. 

- Of course, any transition to clean energy also has to reckon with the fossil fuel industry's propaganda machine. On that front, Naomi Klein calls out Jason Kenney's latest conspiracy-mongering around any effort to plan a clean energy transition. And David Lapp Jost writes about the culture of death it has deliberately fostered in the U.S. to devalue the lives of drivers, pedestrians and people affected by pollution in order to keep the emissions spewing.

- Finally, Taylor Balfour asks how many more Saskatchewan people will die of the opioid epidemic (as her sister did). And Sarath Peiris implores Scott Moe to finally start listening to public health experts rather than letting short-sighted business lobbyists condemn his constituents to death as a result of COVID-19.

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Feline festivities. 

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Adam Miller writes that it's more important than ever to protect frontline workers as the prospect of a COVID-19 vaccine approaches. Pat Armstrong and Marcy Cohen discuss what the pandemic has exposed about the need for improved standards in long-term care facilities. And Keenan Sorokan reports on the growing calls to release people from incarceration rather than confining them in outbreak zones.

- Bruce Campbell discusses how the Libs' fiscal update falls far short of what we should expect in responding to inequality and climate change. And David McKie, Declan Keogh, Charlie Buckley and Robert Cribb write about the effect a climate breakdown in progress is having on the mental health of young people.

- Anne Casselman and Michelle Theodore make the case for a universal affordable child care system - particularly as a pandemic has exposed the consequences of failing to ensure care is available.

- James Wilt interviews Mike Bagamery about Brian Pallister's attack on Indigenous sovereignty by suppressing peaceful public action.

- And finally, Anna Silman points out that the defeat of Donald Trump can't be expected to produce a return to normalcy when countless Americans have become radicalized to hate their fellow citizens.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Elaine Godfrey writes about Iowa's disastrous COVID-19 spread as a prime example of what happens when a government chooses to do nothing about a collective action problem. David Climenhaga compares Australia's successful strategy of containment and clear direction to Alberta's calamitous reliance on personal responsibility to paper over a refusal to take action. And Adam Hunter contrasts Scott Moe's insistence on pitching the relaxation of public health standards against the alarming reality of Saskatchewan's second wave. 

- BBC News reports on Argentina's wealth tax which has been passed to ensure that COVID benefits are funded by those who can most afford to pitch in. Christo Aivalis writes that the Libs, Cons and Bloc have shown who they work for by voting down the NDP's modest wealth tax proposal - even as Luke Savage points out that Canada's wealthiest few are accumulating all the more wealth by profiteering off a pandemic.

- Oliver Moore and Shane Dingman report that Toronto is the next Canadian city examining a vacant house tax to ensure that housing is used proportionately more to meet human needs, and less as an investment vehicle. But Douglas Todd writes about the role of hidden foreign money in inflating the gap between Vancouver's incomes and housing prices. And Tim Kiladze notes that apartment buildings are the next targets for capital in seeking to turn needed homes into fully-exploited profit centres.

- Finally, Andrew Leach discusses how Alberta's reliance on regular oil booms looks to be sorely out of date.

Sunday, December 06, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Rachel Gilmore reports on polling showing that Canadians recognize (contrary to the spin of right-wing politicians looking to deflect blame) that there's no realistic prospect of a COVID vaccine being approved and distributed quickly enough to avert the need for public health measures in the meantime. And CBC News reports on the foreseeable delay in vaccinating children in particular due to a lack of testing to this point. 

- Meanwhile, Steven Wilson and Charles Wiysonge point out how social medial misinformation is fuelling anti-vaxxer sentiment - raising the risk that enough people will refuse to accept vaccines to sustain the unnecessary spread of COVID-19. And Leandro Herrero offers some rules to encourage people to adopt behaviours which help stop viral transmission.

- Brian Pfefferle calls for police enforcement of Saskatchewan's public health orders in order to ensure that the calculations behind them actually reflect reality. 

- Kyle Benning reports on Second Street's research finding that hundreds of people were dying while waiting for surgical procedures in Saskatchewan - even before the Moe government allowed COVID to overwhelm our health care system.

- Peter Apps writes about the UK's Grenfell Tower inquiry - which is predictably finding that multiple corporations downplayed known risks about the cladding whose blaze resulted in 72 deaths.

- Finally, Julie Lalonde writes about the need to recognize and call out misogyny as the source of violence against women.