Saturday, July 24, 2021

Deep thought

It's an absolute mystery where Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Party got the impression they're entitled to dictate how they're covered and what questions they'll deign to answer.

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jillian Horton discusses the lack of any meaningful effort to make education safe at the point when provincial governments should be planning for the start of the school year., while Lynn Giesbrecht reports that the Moe government in particular is taking zero responsibility (and offering nothing more than bare-bones suggestions) toward the health of students. And Ian Sample and Heather Stewart report on the concern of some UK experts that their Con government is encouraging the spread of COVID now based on the misguided belief that it will somehow relieve pressure on the health care system later.

- Meanwhile, Macintosh Ross writes about the especially galling lack of interest in public health reflected in the decision to barge ahead with the Tokyo Olympics over the objections of Japan's residents.

- Christy Ferguson highlights how the UCP's inquiry supposedly aimed at messaging about the Alberta tar sands has instead tried to delegitimize any action to help the climate anywhere in the world. And Chuka Ejeckam laments the fact that we're far beneath any reasonable pace of action in trying to salvage our living environment.

- Max Fawcett writes about the end of any illusion that there's any value in rushing to develop natural gas as a "bridge" to renewable energy which is already more affordable while avoiding greenhouse gas emissions.

- Finally, Lois Ross is justifiably outraged that Health Canada is planning to increase the amount of glyphosate permitted in Canada's food supply.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Musical interlude

Rhye - The Fall


Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Graham Thomson writes about Jason Kenney's choice to base his governing strategy on COVID denialism. William Hanage expresses his disappointment at Boris Johnson's continually woeful pandemic response - though it's hard to see why anybody should have expected anything different. And Ed Yong talks to Rhea Boyd about the U.S.' unvaccinated population - including the reality that many people have indeed held off out of hesitancy or lacked an opportunity to access vaccines, rather than being single-minded anti-vaxxers. And Katherine Wu writes about the growing recognition that people who have been vaccinated still need to take precautions to protect themselves and others - including resuming wearing a mask even after right-wing voices have declared it's time to burn them. 

- Meanwhile, Adam Morton reports on the risks facing Australia as it depends on natural gas export revenues which are set to evaporate as its customers shift to renewable energy sources. And Fiona Harvey reports on a growing coalition supporting a "global green deal". 

- David Thurton reports on a new study by the Pembina Institute showing that Canada is falling far short of even its insufficient climate change commitments. Chris McGreal writes about the corporate lobbyists blocking any path toward meaningful climate policy in the U.S. And Alex McMaster highlights how the climate breakdown is only exacerbating inequality in Ireland. 

- The Joseph Rowntree Foundation examines how the UK's system of social supports falls far short of providing people with the resources or security they need to avoid being trapped in poverty. And Derek Dunn talks to Angella MacEwen about the importance of treating housing as a human right rather than a market commodity - as well as the readily-available mans to make that happen. 

- The Star's editorial board calls out the Ford PCs for governing solely in the interests of corporate cronies rather than the public. 

- Finally, Jacques Gallant writes about the Libs' cynicism in setting up a bill banning conversion therapy to stall prior to the election they're bent on calling. And Andrew Coyne highlights how Justin Trudeau has managed to capture activists' values in the service of rank political opportunism. 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Cory Coleman reports on the blunt recommendation from public health experts that people not attend Saskatchewan Roughrider games due to the near certainty they'll prove to be points of spread for COVID-19. And residents of Canada's least-vaccinated province should take note of Sharon LaFreniere's report about the devastating effects of the Delta variant in the least-vaccinated regions of the U.S. 

- Ivana Kottasova writes about the wildfires now ravaging areas which were never vulnerable to burning prior to the climate crisis. And Diana Magnay points out how thawing permafrost is both a consequence of past carbon emissions, and an alarming source of future ones.  

- And in case there weren't enough reasons to take offence at the recent spate of billionaire space tourism, Katharine Gammon points out how it results in massive amounts of gratuitous carbon pollution. 

- Finally, Kate Aronoff highlights how it's taken forceful activism from voices typically dismissed as far-left to get climate policy anywhere near the U.S.' governing agenda. The Globe and Mail's editorial board writes about the importance of carbon tariffs in ensuring that climate damage isn't treated as a cost saving in corporate decision-making - though it's worth noting that others have recognized that reality much earlier. And Mitchell Beer writes about the need to ensure resource regulation is aligned with Canada's climate change commitments. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Brian Owens' roundup includes reference to new research showing that excess deaths are the result of COVID-19 itself, not the lockdowns used to combat it. And Renju Jose and Byron Kaye report on Australia's soaring COVID rates, while Yasmine Ghania discusses how Saskatchewan is at risk of a fourth wave. 

- Angus Reid has unveiled new polling on vaccinations and other public health measures - including strong support for at least some form of vaccine requirement in every province/region. Blake Murdoch highlights how there are few rational arguments against vaccine passports. And Andrew Coyne writes that we may soon have little choice but to apply vaccine mandates to ensure we reach herd immunity before the Delta variant runs rampant. 

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on the close connection between workplace COVID outbreaks and the use of temporary and precarious labour. 

- PressProgress exposes how Doug Ford's government has actively treated the pandemic as an opportunity for private actors to extract money from the public education system. And Mike Crawley reports on Ford's immediate end to the enforcement of licensing requirements for workers in skilled trades - signaling that for all the talking points conservatives spout about respect for tradespeople, they're the ones who wrongly believe there's no need for tradespeople to have any skills or qualifications. 

- Finally, Gabriel Zucman and others warn (PDF) that a loophole in the current international joint statement on a global minimum corporate tax may not only render the minimum ineffective, but could actually create new incentives for tax havens and the businesses who seek to abuse them.  

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Playtime cats.




 

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Sarah Rieger reports on the experts pointing out that Jason Kenney (among other right-wing demagogues) is wrong in bleating incessantly that the pandemic is over. And Yasmine Ghania reports that many Saskatchewan residents are far more responsible than their government (or the media which keeps declaring them unwilling to accept public health measures in the absence of any evidence). 

- Yves Engler lends his voice to the growing chorus calling for Canada to invest in a sustainable future rather than a wasteful fighter jet purchase. And Cloe Logan reports on a push by environmental groups and other organizations to stop throwing public money at costly and ineffective carbon capture and storage which serves mostly to prop up the fossil fuel sector, rather than actual investments in averting climate breakdown. 

- Montana Getty reports on the financial precarity facing Saskatchewan residents. And Grace Blakeley highlights how conservative messaging about freedom is entirely empty when it isn't paired with either concern for civil liberties, or recognition as to how material deprivation undermines any positive freedom to make choices. 

- Gwyn Tophan reports on Philip Alston's findings that the privatization of the UK's bus service went so far as to breach human rights by depriving people of access to basic services.  

- Finally, Joe Roberts offers a needed reminder that what the Liberals promise to try to take a false majority looks very different from what they offer if they happen to secure one. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- John Paul Tasker writes that Canada needs to push hard to increase the number of vaccinated people to prevent a fourth wave of COVID-19. An anonymous COVID ward worker in the UK expresses well-justified anger that health care workers and vulnerable people will bear the brunt of a conservative government's gross negligence in slashing public health protections. Marianne Guenot reports on an outbreak of 964 cases at a single outdoor music festival which required proof of immunity - signalling the massive dangers of eliminating social distancing as a protective measure. And Emma Sandri reports on new research documenting the many debilitating symptoms of long COVID. 

- Amelia Pollard discusses Pfizer's push to encourage third "booster" shots of little medical value in more profitable markets rather than allowing vaccines to be distributed where they're most needed. And Erika Edwards reports that any approval of vaccines for children under 12 may be on hold until winter. 

- Philipp Heimberger and Sebastian Gechert highlight how corporate tax cuts don't contribute to growth, only to exacerbated inequality. And Mark Blyth calls out the conservative obsession with inflation at the expense of human well-being. 

- Saba Dar examines the history of land privatization in Saskatchewan - and the environmental damage associated with selling off public lands. 

- Marion Werner, Annie Shattuck and Ryan Galt ask why glyphosate is still ubiquitous in both commercial agriculture and home gardens after being recognized as a probable human carcinogen. 

- Finally, Doug Cuthand writes that we're far past the point where empty statements of apology or regret are a sufficient response to broader awareness of Canada's legacy of genocide. And Emilie Nicolas points out the level of ignorance about Indigenous peoples - to say nothing of Indigenous languages - that has been treated as a laughing matter by the same people stoking outrage over Mary Simon's ability to speak French. 

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Kelly Grant writes that the toll from COVID-19 includes driving many workers out of the nursing profession. And Kim Siever notes that while the UCP is driving nurses and doctors out of Alberta by shrieking that they're overpaid and working to starve them of resources in the midst of a pandemic, it's also privatizing care including eye surgery.

- David Byrne discusses how avoiding incarcerating people for minor offences leads to an overall reduction in crime. 

- Zak Vescera reports on both the initial response to the Saskatchewan Party's arbitrary decision to cut off access to methadone as therapy for people addicted to opioids, and the personal experience of an individual whose life was saved by the harm reduction measure which is now being taken away.

- Finally, Bianca Mugyenyi weighs in on the choice between dumping billions upon billions of dollars into fighter jets for show, or instead investing in protecting against climate catastrophe (or at least mitigating its effects). And Sask Dispatch highlights how reconciliation and reparations figure as an important part of our long-term climate strategy.

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Robert Booth and Heather Stewart report on Boris Johnson's insistence on lifting COVID-19 protections even as case counts rise in the UK. And Annette Dittert discusses how Johnson's government has relied on being able to dispense with concepts such as the rule of law and objective reality whenever it suits their purposes (and without pushback from compliant media).

- Michelle Ghoussoub reports on the rise of climate anxiety in B.C. as extreme weather becomes an everyday reality.

- David Hasemyer reports on the intersection between climate breakdown and fossil fuel infrastructure, as a major Alaska pipeline is on the verge of collapsing and spilling due to melting permafrost. CBC News reports on British Columbia's inability to keep up with the spread of wildfires. 

- Meanwhile, Patrick Brethour writes about the obvious flaws in Scott Moe's demand to receive credit for doing less than the bare minimum to regulate carbon emissions. And D.C. Fraser rightly argues that there's no value in trying to claim future credits based on past actions.

- Finally, Justin Rowlatt reports on a new study discussing the need to make healthy food more readily available compared to junk food alternatives. And Joyce Nelson writes about the movement pushing for meaningful regulation of toxic plastic products in the face of the usual anti-social lobbying from the oil industry. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Musical interlude

LAUREL - Scream Drive Faster


Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Claire Pomeroy and the Financial Times each highlight the likelihood that survivors of long COVID will be affected for the rest of their lives by a disease which governments have decided to allow to spread. And a group of health experts in the UK weighs in on the folly of condemning thousands of people to illness or death in the name of "personal responsibility" in response to a social threat. 

- Apoorva Mandavilli and Benjamin Mueller discuss how the Delta variant is exacerbating the gap in outcomes between the reality-based portion of the U.S. and the Trumpist death cult. And Jonathan Bernstein discusses the willingness of Republicans to sacrifice the lives of their supporters for political gain. 

- Umair Haque makes the point that none of the interlocking crises which are endangering our health and our living environment are anything close to normal - even as far too many people have accepted (at the behest of those in power) that we should normalize a state of catastrophe. 

- Ezra Klein points out the absurdity that we would let our natural environment burn even as we're experiencing the results of a climate breakdown. And Sofia Andrade reports that climate scientists are recognizing that they've underestimated the climate impacts of increased greenhouse gas emissions and temperatures so far. 

- The Associated Press reports on Greenland's decision to reject oil development which would provide temporary profits at the expense of long-term survival. Mike de Souza reports on new polling showing that oil and gas workers are more than willing to transition to work in the renewable energy sector as long as petrostates aren't standing in their way. But Noam Scheiber points out the need to ensure that green development actually results in the creation of good jobs, rather than following a corporatist model which suppresses wages and working conditions.

- Finally, Lisa Carter highlights how women stand to bear the brunt of yet another set of impossible demands in navigating a reopening after exhausting available time away from work and losing pandemic-related supports. And Arisa Valyear points out the CCPA's work showing how families would stand to benefit from a full national child care plan.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Umair Haque discusses how the UK is headed for yet another avoidable wave of COVID-19 disaster. Sarah Rieger reports on the rising spread of COVID-19 in Alberta, while James Keller reports that Jason Kenney's declaration of surrender has predictably convinced people not to bother getting vaccinated. Martin Finucane reports on the dozens of COVID deaths and hundreds of hospitalizations even among fully vaccinated people in Massachusetts. 

- David Tynar and Matthew Johnson study how actual methane emissions from fossil fuel facilities are far higher than assumed in British Columbia's regulations and climate plans. 

- Dharna Noor discusses how extreme temperatures have a disproportionate effect on poorer communities and populations. But lest anybody take that as a basis to think Western Canada won't be affected, Olivia Condon reports on warnings from climatologists that extreme heat and desertification are coming Alberta's way, while Kevin Ma writes about the crops already scorched by the recent heat dome (to say nothing of the high temperatures yet to come). And Tez Dhalizal reports on the dangers posed by exceptionally high temperatures and numerous wildfires in Saskatchewan, while Kathryn Blaze Baum and Ivan Semeniuk point out the damage caused by wildfires goes far beyond what actually gets burned. 

- All of which is to say that there's plenty of force behind a new call for Canada to invest in protecting people from pandemics, the climate crisis and other real problems, rather than burning tens of billions of dollars on fighter jets which serve little practical purpose. 

- John Michael McGrath calls out the misguided push against rooming houses in Toronto which only figures to make housing availability even worse. Marc Lee discusses both the positive ideas and the limited scope of options presented by the Canada-British Columbia Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability. And Charlotte Dalwood makes the case for a more ambitious plan to provide universal public housing. 

- Finally, Anne Levesque highlights how Indigenous children still facing systemic discrimination need action rather than another round of empty thoughts and prayers. And PressProgress takes note of the failure of the prairie provinces to address systemic racism in the criminal justice system. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Marlene Habib writes about the continued efforts of grocery workers to ensure we have access to food and supplies in the face of the pandemic (and now complete abandonment by governments and employers). Celine Castronuovo reports on the hospitalizations of children resulting from the spread of the Delta variant in the U.S. And CBC News talks to David Fisman about the lessons to be drawn from the recent outbreak in the Yukon - including both the importance of continued public health measures (no matter how determined irresponsible governments are to reject them), and the limitations of current vaccination rates. 

- Carys Roberts asks why politicians in the UK - like those around far too much of the globe - are refusing to take bold action to protect our climate in the face of massive public demand. 

- Damian Carrington reports on new research showing that an obsession with resource extraction and commercial development has turned the Amazon rainforest into a net emitter of greenhouse gases. Jaweed Kaleen and Thomas Curwen write about the western U.S. where temporary droughts caused by climate breakdown are giving way to outright aridification and the loss of vital water sources. 

- Meanwhile, Aidan MacNab reports on a study showing the problems with federal environmental assessment legislation which fails to enable assessment of fossil fuel projects which create obvious dangers to climate systems and biodiversity. 

- Finally, Sam Gindin writes about the need to develop political movements which challenge the fetishization of competition (particularly due to the corrosive effect of systematic competition for position within the working class). 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Attentive cats.





Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Kit Yates offers a reminder of ignoring the exponential growth of COVID-19 as the Delta variant puts many jurisdictions back on that same path. And the BBC reports on the belated recognition by Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte that the slashing of public health protections was leading to high infection levels - particularly in bars and nightclubs. 

- John Agliata writes about the prolonged pain, stress and anxiety experienced by COVID long-haulers which creates obvious risks of suicide - a point which is distinctly ignored by the people who have demanded the relaxation of restrictions based on a supposed concern about mental health. Ashley Okwuosa discusses how an outbreak was allowed to overrun Brampton's Ontario Correctional Institute, resulting in dozens of COVID-19 cases among inmates, staff and their families. 

- Murray Brewster reports on a review panel's findings that Canada's pandemic warning system was gutted under the Harper Cons and never rebuilt while the Libs were in power. And Tom Parkin discusses how Justin Trudeau has undermined the movement for paid sick leave across Canada by shirking responsibility and pointing fingers at provincial governments. 

- Fair Vote Canada points out the risk that one of the Libs' most glaring broken promises could combine with Trudeau's cynical election posturing to produce the most unrepresentative majority government Canada has ever seen. 

- Finally, the Broadbent Institute calls for a fair tax system which doesn't reward idle capital owners with lower tax rates compared to workers. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

On mood disorders

Summer is the time for reruns. And when your local political columnist keeps repeating the same patently false assertions about public opinion in the face of actual evidence, well...

How actual people (PDF) see the need for continued public health rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Do you think governments should lift all restrictions related to COVID-19 right now? Yes 24% / No 69% / Don't Know 6% (Canada); Yes 33% / No 58% / Don't Know 9% (SK/MB)

How Murray Mandryk spins the public's mindset where it means giving Scott Moe an excuse to put us all at risk:

“After 485 days of the government telling you how to live your life, all those restrictions are coming to an end,” Moe said. “Outside of war time, I don’t think a government has asked so much.”

One gets it. It was a message reflective of his government’s philosophy, its general approach to this COVID-19 fight and — quite frankly — the mood of the province right now.

And as a consequence, the type of gross disregard for the health and well-being of others that's being legitimized as the basis for public health policy:

“The pandemic is (expletive) done! It’s over,” he said. “I don’t give a (expletive) about your variants. I don’t give a (expletive) about your Delta variant. I don’t give a (expletive) about your tetra variant (not a real variant). All the variants can (expletives).”

Needless to say, Scott Moe has found a future cabinet candidate, and Mandryk a "man in the street" whose destructive whims will be taken as more representative of the province than any plausible polling data. And when more people die as a result...that's the price of putting anti-government talking points over actual governance. 

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Crawford Kilian draws from Alex de Waal's New Pandemics, Old Politics to make the case that plagues and the associated responses are invariably political. Adam Miller writes that there's an opportunity for Canadian governments to build off of low COVID-19 case counts and keep further spread contained, including by planning and investing to make sure schools are safe this fall. But the Globe and Mail's editorial board warns that Canada is falling far short of the vaccination rate necessary to lift public health restrictions safely. And Laura Elliott discusses how premature declarations of "freedom" from an ongoing pandemic will force vulnerable people back into personal lockdowns. 

- David Moscrop writes that Michael Lewis' The Premonition signals the need for the U.S. to rebuild its public institutions. And Shailly Gupta Barnes discusses the resources available to do so if the wealthy way just part of their fair share, while Maureen Dowd interviews Bernie Sanders about his hope that it will be possible to prove nihilistic Republicans wrong about the capacity to do good through government.  

- But Umair Haque points out that the foundational bad faith which underpins the county's political and economic institutions makes it impossible to build for the common good. 

- Meanwhile, Rodger Moran highlights why Ontario voters (among others) have every reason to be suspicious of Libs asking voters to ignore their attacks on public institutions and workers while in power based on the bare claim that this time will be different. 

- Finally, Bob Berwyn discusses how the recent spate of record temperatures can only be traced to a climate breakdown in progress. And Alex Bozikivic discusses the ramifications now that extreme heat is here to stay. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Richard Hurley discusses the findings of an inquiry showing that COVID-19 was treated largely as an opportunity for corporate profiteering rather than an emergency requiring action in the public interest. And Brook Baker calls out the continued refusal of wealthy countries to lift intellectual property restrictions which are limiting vaccine access around the globe, while Jessica Corbett reports on the World Health Organization's warning that we're all at greater risk as a result.

- Annina Claesson highlights how worker organization is a must to achieve improvements in living conditions such as a four-day work week. Brandie Weikle discusses how Canada's essential workers in particular deserve a better deal. And Peyton Forte reports on research confirming that gratuitously making life worse for workers - in this case through Republicans stripping away COVID unemployment benefits - does nothing to improve the labour market. 

- Winston Choi-Schagrin and Aatish Bhatia discuss the dangers of record-breaking overnight temperatures (which are climbing even faster than daytime ones).

- David Roberts writes about the centrality of clean electrification to any attempt to limit catastrophic climate change.

- Finally, Entrepreneur points out the connection between the systematic enrichment of the wealthiest few, and the increasing debt burden being dumped on everybody else.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jennifer Lee reports on the debilitating lasting effects of long COVID. John Pavlovitz tells the story of his family's experience suffering from COVID-19 after three of its four members were fully vaccinated. And Paul Taylor notes that people on immune-suppressing drugs may see reduced effectiveness from vaccines.

- Alexia Cambon points out the folly of clinging to restrictive requirements to spend specific, non-productive hours in an office after we've seen how people can work successfully with more flexibility. And the Canadian Press reports on the pattern of people choosing not to stay in abusive workplaces once they've experienced an alternative.

- Joe Pinsker writes that the lesson we should take from the world's happiest countries is that people value a functional society substantially more than income growth concentrated at the top. And Tim Jackson argues that a capitalism system based substantially on manufacturing unhappiness then charging for temporary relief is ultimately doomed to fail. 

- Douglas Todd writes about the psychological toll that results when basic needs such as housing become unaffordable. And Zak Vescera reports on the Saskatchewan Party's choice to cut thousands of Saskatchewan residents off from the social supports they need in the name of arbitrary program changes.

- Finally, Doug Cuthand writes about the need to recognize and give modern effect to treaty rights as the key step toward reconciliation between Canada and Indigenous peoples.

Friday, July 09, 2021

Musical interlude

Joywave - The Inversion


Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Max Fawcett highlights why it's foolish to throw out the protection face masks have provided both against a continuing pandemic, and other infectious diseases. 

- Jonathan Watts reports on a new warning from scientists about the urgent need to prepare for unprecedented heat, while Vishwam Sankaran reports on research finding that millions of people are dying each year from extreme temperatures. And The Guardian's editorial board points out how actual climate change is exceeding even the most dire predictions from longstanding models. 

- Tzeporah Berman reminds us that the Trudeau Libs' insistence on pushing and subsidizing fossil fuels is only making matters worse. Avi Lewis writes about the connection between colonialism, petropolitics and our climate breakdown. And Alyssa Scanga argues that rather than watching humanity destroy its living environment, we need to push for truly radical change.  

- Jim Stanford discusses how cryptocurrency platforms combine all the attributes of unsustainable asset bubbles with extreme environmental destruction. 

- AFP reports on Paris' move to reduce speed limits to make streets safer for citizens. 

- Finally, Cindy Blackstock and Pamela Palmater write that it's long past time for Canada's government to take responsibility for its role in the deaths of Indigenous children. 

Thursday, July 08, 2021

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Peter Beaumont reports on the World Health Organization's warning that the premature lifting of COVID-19 restrictions does nothing but put people at unnecessary risk, while a group of experts is pressing the UK's government not to throw caution to the wind by eliminating public health measures. David Fisman and Ashleigh Tuite study the increased virulence of the Delta variant and its implications for public health, while Kevin Griffin talks to Sarah Otto about her concerns as to the dangers of eliminating protections in British Columbia. Lauren Pelley and Michelle Meiklejohn report on the arrival and spread of the Lambda variant in Canada. 

- Iglika Ivanova discusses the need to address the uneven effects of the pandemic, including its disproportionate effect on service workers and members of racialized communities. 

- Audrey Carleton writes about the emerging research into humans' ability to survive temperatures which are only being experienced as a result of climate breakdown. And Ran Boydell discusses the reality that many buildings haven't been designed or constructed to withstand the climate they'll actually face. 

- Jason Allen writes about the immense cost of unconstrained urban sprawl, and Calgary's success in ensuring that the city as a whole doesn't subsidize that cost to put money in developers' pockets. 

- Finally, Keith Stewart calls out the UCP's anti-environment inquisition as an affront to democratic debate. 

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Statistics Canada's COVID-19 Immunity Task Force examines new data as to the spread of the coronavirus prior to the third wave - with the results including higher rates of infection among young people and visible minorities. Wency Leung and Chen Wang report on the slowing pace of first vaccinations in Canada, leaving a substantial part of the population with no protection against increasingly dangerous variants. Andre Picard writes about the lack of consistent guidance on the value of continuing to mask to protect the people who haven't yet been (or aren't able to be) vaccinated.  And Tess McClure reports on Jacinda Ardern's continued leadership in fighting against COVID-19 - this time by forcefully rejecting any theory of "living with COVID" which would in fact result in avoidable illness and death.  

- Peter Gleick warns that a climate breakdown will result in a division between people who can afford to flee the worst effects, and those doomed to risk losing everything they have to preventable disasters. And Derrick O'Keefe points out the class divide in the fallout from the heat dome in British Columbia. 

- Daniel Litvin writes that the oil industry's choices at this point are limited to how to accept inevitable decline - and at this point there's little reason for optimism that it will choose to plan ahead and depart the economic scene without maximizing the resulting damage. And Canada News Central highlights a Parkland Institute study showing that the main effect of government funding for oil well cleanup has been to get the public to foot the bill for pollution by profitable oil companies.

- Dan Kaufman discusses how the deliberate erosion of organized labour laid the groundwork for the politics of fascism and racism in the U.S. And David Sirota points out how pension funds are being hijacked to enrich Wall Street and attack the workers who fund them. 

- Finally, Kenny Stancil writes about the resounding success of Iceland's experiment with a four-day work week and reduction in work hours. 

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Picturesque cats.




 

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Maria Sarrhou talks to doctors about their frustrations treating COVID-19 in patients who chose not to be vaccinated. And Daniel Villareal reports on the hundreds of COVID cases spread through a single Texas church camp. 

- Bob Henson and Jeff Masters point out how the heat dome over Western Canada may have been the most extreme weather event in recorded history. Lisa Cox reports that Nordic countries are now seeing record or near-record temperatures of their own. And Chris Saltmarsh writes that we can no longer talk about climate change disaster as a future development as it manifests itself so widely in the present. 

- Ed Struzik discusses how increased numbers of large wildfires in particular are about to become the norm in Canada. And Larry Barzelai and Warren Bell highlight the desperate need to keep British Columbia (like the rest of our planet) from burning. 

- Bruce Campbell notes that eight years after the oil train explosion in Lac-Mégantic, there are still far too many unanswered questions about its causes and about how to prevent similar disasters. 

- Finally, Kim Siever exposes how the UCP slashed funding for health and education over the last year, exploiting a pandemic to distract from their plans for austerity. And Andrew Moore highlights how business-dominated governments are forcing universities to serve as labour service providers for the private sector, rather than sources of knowledge and independent thought. 

Monday, July 05, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Dirk Richter and Lucy Foulkes point out how any mental health concerns arising out of public health rules would pale in comparison to the anxiety and bereavement resulting from the choice to allow a deadly disease to run rampant. 

- The Economist highlights how unvaccinated people are facing increasing risks as COVID-19 mutates and spreads. And Jeremy Samuel Faust, Katie Dickerson Mayes and Céline Gounder make the point that the coronavirus itself represents a far greater threat to young people than the vaccines which could protect them.  

- Morgan Modjeski reports on the Moe government's disregard for the health and safety of people who live and work in provincial correctional facilities. 

- Ben Spurr reports on the work of Canadians for Tax Fairness showing how ride-sharing providers may be avoiding the payment of $135 million in taxes every year (in addition to evading employment protections) by misclassifying their workers. 

- Trent McDonald discusses the benefits of sectoral bargaining to ensure workers aren't at the mercy of a single employer in pushing for improvements in wages and working conditions. 

- Finally, Paul Burrows writes that we should be far less concerned with defaced statues than with the humanity of the activists looking to bring awareness to the suffering they've faced at the hands of the people depicted.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

Misreading the waves

How actual people (PDF) see the need for continued public health rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Do you think governments should lift all restrictions related to COVID-19 right now? Yes 24% / No 69% / Don't Know 6% (Canada); Yes 33% / No 58% / Don't Know 9% (SK/MB)

How Murray Mandryk spins the public's mindset where it means giving Scott Moe an excuse to put us all at risk:

One gets it. The demand to end COVID-19 restrictions must feel like a tsunami to the Saskatchewan Party government, so even mild resistance to things like vaccine passports probably feels heavier than it is.

In reality, any tsunami of public opinion is manifestly on the side of taking care to avoid more avoidable COVID deaths. And to the extent there is any push to the contrary, it's largely a product of Moe and his party using every tool at the disposal of a government to tell the province that the pandemic is over - again in the face of the obvious reality.

But as long as pundits are willing to treat Saskatchewan Party talking points as gospel even in the face of actual evidence, it figures to be far more difficult to put that actual consensus into effect. And once again, innocent and vulnerable people will pay the price with their health and their lives.

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Ed Yong sets out the three simple rules of COVID-19 at this stage - with the spread of variants among unvaccinated people threatening to undo the success achieved so far in limiting the risk to vaccinated populations. James Tapper and Robin McKie report on the WHO's warnings that a failure to ensure vaccines are available globally is allowing the Delta variant to gain the upper hand. And Robert Hart discusses the vulnerability of children to the Delta variant - even as that risk seems to have been largely ignored in a rush to slash public health protections.

- William Lindsley et al. find that masks and HEPA air cleaners - both individually or particularly in combination - are highly effective in reducing the transmission of COVID-19. And Sarah Addleman et al. confirm (PDF) that  it's essential to limit the spread of airborne particles.

- Angela Dewan discusses how the climate crisis is frying the northern hemisphere. And Robinson Meyer highlights how the U.S.' infrastructure isn't yet built - and indeed isn't being planned - to deal with the extreme weather resulting from a climate breakdown, while CBC News reports on the similar reality in Alberta.

- Sarah Kaplan reports on the direct human toll of extreme heat in the U.S.' Pacific Northwest. And John Vaillant writes that nowhere is safe from similar effects of climate change.

- Finally, Henry Giroux writes about how the sanitization of history reproduces longstanding inequalities. And Duncan Cameron argues that Canada can't allow a whitewashed national identity to prevent us from recognizing and acting to remedy historical violence and genocide against Indigenous peoples.

Saturday, July 03, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Simon Lewis discusses how Western Canada's heat dome and associated catastrophes offer a warning that nobody is safe from the effects of a climate breakdown. And Jonathan Watts notes that the simultaneous record heat in Canada and Siberia goes far beyond even the most pessimistic models for the acceleration of climate change.

- David Moscrop rightly takes record-setting temperatures and the resulting destruction as a compelling call to action. Max Fawcett discusses how climate change is already killing us (even as it stands to get far worse). And Carolyn Fortuna highlights Bill McKibben's observation that we're at the point of baking the Earth.

- Meanwhile, Rishika Paridkar writes that fossil fuel companies are continuing to greenwash attempts to delay any meaningful transition away from the carbon pollution that's putting our living environment in danger. 

- Aaron Wherry notes that it's the people with the least who are predictably bearing the brunt of the first wave of climate crises. Karen Pederson reports on the rise in deaths among residents of mobile homes in Arizona, while Gordon McIntyre reports on a threefold increase in sudden and unexpected deaths in British Columbia due to the recent heat wave. And Raidin Blue proposes a push toward building retrofitting as a way to both reduce emissions in the future, and mitigate the effects of the climate change which can't be avoided.

- Finally, Nora Loreto writes about Ontario's failure to track and report on COVID-19 outbreaks in homes for disabled adults. The Guardian reports on the British Medical Association's desperate call for the UK's government to maintain public health rules rather than letting the Delta variant run wild.

Friday, July 02, 2021

Musical interlude

Marshmello feat. CHVRCHES - Here With Me


Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Roni Caryn Rabin, Apoorva Mandervilli and Shawn Hubler discuss the U.S.' reconsideration of plans to lift COVID-19 recommendations and restrictions in the face of the Delta variant, while Mike Hager points out the expert response to the push by some Canadian premiers to eliminate masking requirements. Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Jacob Gronholt-Pederson report on the WHO's warning of another wave in Europe (driven in substantial part by spread through sports venues and bars), while Derek Hawkins reports on an 85-person outbreak at a single Illinois summer camp. And Emma Tranter reports on the Yukon's COVID crisis which has broken out despite it being Canada's most-vaccinated jurisdiction.

- Joe Roberts highlights how most of the support governments have provided throughout the pandemic has served to prop up corporate interests rather than people's well-being - raising the question of when we'll insist on building something better than an exploitative economy. 

- Matthew Klein argues that we should be looking to err (if it all) on the side of overshooting what's needed to build the economy and society we want, rather than once again falling short. And Diane Francis (!) writes that the U.S.' downfall as a society can be traced to the systemic cultivation of distrust in government which has allowed bad actors to run wild.

- PressProgress discusses new research showing the difference between younger people who want the facts about issues such as climate change and systemic racism, and older ones with a preference for false "neutrality". Crawford Kilian writes about Thomas Piketty's analysis of Canadian politics - confirming that the Cons' base in particular is aging and insular while strong patterns as between the NDP, Greens and Libs are far more difficult to find. And Paul Willcocks notes that Erin O'Toole is only exacerbating his party's weaknesses by playing to ignorance and bigotry.

- Finally, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq discusses her reasons for not celebrating a legacy of colonialism and genocide. And Cindy Blackstock writes that the long-overdue moment of awareness has come about only after years of activists screaming into a void, while Suzanne Shoush wonders whether Canada is finally waking up to the cries of Indigenous peoples for relief and justice.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Wednesday Afternoon Links

 Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Frances Mao discusses how the Delta variant has exposed weaknesses in Australia's COVID response, while Madline Holcombe notes that it's causing the U.S. to revisit the measures needed for people who have been vaccinated. The Royal Society of Canada examines how our already-tragic national death tolls underestimate the lives lost to the pandemic. And Rob Breakenridge writes that no matter how desperately the UCP tries to deflect responsibility, it (like any other government doing the same) will be fully responsible for the consequences of barging ahead with the elimination of public health protections. 

- Nick Estes writes about his relatives' experience at a Catholic residential school. And Jason Warick reports on the Catholic church's pitiful excuse for a contribution to the harm it inflicted on children taken away from their families and placed under its care. 

- Tara Sutton discusses the need for Canada as a whole to take responsibility for our history of genocide. Max Fawcett writes that it's long past time to move past apologies to meaningful action, while Denise Balkissoon discusses how land back and reparations represent an important start to any meaningful attempt at reconciliation with Indigenous people. 

- Finally, Joshua Benson takes a look at the faces of British Columbia's unprecedented heat wave. 

Monday, June 28, 2021

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Lauren Pelley surveys the latest on COVID-19 - including the reality that viral variants and different affected populations are resulting in it presenting with different symptoms than previously. Natalie Grover discusses how the Delta variant seems to be winning the race against vaccines in the UK. And CBC News' Manitoba update includes news of a girl under 10 who has died of the coronavirus. 

- Pooja Salhotra and Amy Zimmer report on New York City's plan to ensure all classrooms have two air purifiers to limit the spread of COVID-19 among unvaccinated school populations. And BBC News reports on Australia's decisive moves to stop the spread of the Delta variant. 

- Aparna Gopalan discusses how big pharma is using COVID vaccines as a profit centre at the expense of public access in India (just as it's doing elsewhere). 

- Sudipta Saha argues that we can't expect an exploitative capitalist system to respond to either the COVID-19 pandemic or the climate crisis. And Katharine Hayhoe writes that we shouldn't need another IPCC report to recognize that it's vital to start reversing our climate's breakdown as quickly as we can. 

- Michael Byers calls out the Trudeau Libs for abandoning Canada's long-held (and hard-won) resistance to ballistic missile defence systems. 

- Finally, Leyland Cecco reports on Murray Sinclair's call to reveal the "undiscovered truths" of residential schools before it will be possible to begin to heal. 

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Sunday Morning Links

 This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Patricia Treble discusses how the rise of the Delta COVID-19 variant is making it vital to hit higher vaccine targets than previously set. And the Star's editorial board argues that any responsible government should be laying out a plan to get children back to school safely this fall - rather than offering vague assurances coupled with no planning. 

- Robin Sears makes the case to build back better once the pandemic actually is done with rather than merely settling back into the same conditions that created so much insecurity.   

- Cathy Crowe notes that Toronto's violent eviction of homeless people and their tents from Trinity Bellwoods Park represents little more than history repeating. And Rick Salutin discusses how the goal of the eviction was to place a continuing crisis beyond the perception of most people, rather than to do anything to actually resolve it.  

- Kenny Stancil writes about the growing U.S. support for socialism relative to capitalism - and the supermajority in favour of closing the gap between the rich and the poor. 

- Finally, Tiffany Crawford reports on the scientific confirmation that unprecedented heat waves (including the one now hitting B.C.) are linked to the climate crisis. But while the European Union is set to make emissions reduction targets legally binding, John Woodside writes that Newfoundland and Labrador - like far too many other jurisdictions - has chosen to prioritize a last trickle of oil industry profits over massive public demand to transition to a clean economy to help avert a total breakdown. 

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan highlight how inequitable access to vaccines around the globe increases the risk of variants which will hurt everybody. Charles Schmidt takes note of the work being done to track variants - but also the massive blind spots which only exacerbate the dangers. And Berkeley Lovelace Jr. reports on the recommendation from the WHO that people continue to mask and take other precautions even after being fully vaccinated, while Darren Major reports on the Public Health Agency of Canada's recommendation that we not look at fully lifting indoor protective measures until 75% of the population reaches that threshold.

- Max Fawcett writes that Jason Kenney may end up having access to the spoils of Alberta's last oil boom - though the predictable result is that it will end up frittered away in corporate giveaways with even less to show for it than previous ones. And Michelle Gamage highlights how British Columbia is spending more money subsidizing fossil fuels than acting to protect our climate.

- David Moscrop makes the case to treat housing as a right rather than a commodity.

- Finally, David Pugliese reports on the Canadian military's use of COVID-19 as an excuse for illegal activity including spying on Black Lives Matter activists and other protesters, as well as distributing domestic propaganda, while PressProgress follows up on the meager level of responsibility it's taken so far. And Kaitlin Peters discusses how Doug Ford's use of the notwithstanding clause to silence political opponents far in advance of any election fits with his general suppression of dissent.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Musical interlude

 Tracey Thorn - Dancefloor


Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- ABC News reports on the risk that the Delta COVID-19 variant can be spread through "fleeting" exposure rather than prolonged proximity. Daniel Boffey reports on the push to speed up vaccination rates in Europe in response. And Attila Somfalvi and Alexandra Lukash report that Israel is reinstating its mask mandate after realizing how much more danger the Delta variant poses. 

- Seth Klein wonders whether Jonathan Wilkinson will ever parallel the role of C.D. Howe in assembling the full force of Canada's economic capacity to serve a vital end in the fight against climate breakdown - though the more likely result for appears to be the Libs continuing to echo the "phony war" prior to full mobilization. John Woodside reports on the PBO's conclusions that the federal government is far from having any realistic plan to reach Canada's existing emission reduction commitments. And Michelle Gamage writes about the importance taking into account the climate disaster of forest emissions in assessing what needs to be done. 

- Tom Parkin examines how Justin Trudeau has chosen to delay any legislation against conversion therapy for political purposes. 

- Bianca Mugyenyi discusses the need to organize to transform Canada's foreign policy into a force for human rights and environmental protection. 

- Penelope Mason reports on the call by a top IMF official for the richest people in Latin America to pay far more in taxes to fund equitable development.  

- Finally, Naomi Klein interviews Doreen Manuel and Kanahus Manuel about the deliberate choice to steal Indigenous children from their families and communities as part of a colonial land grab. And Brendan Kennedy and Alex Boyd talk to Indigenous leaders in Saskatchewan about the children's gravesites yet to be discovered. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Bryan Eneas reports on the discovery of 751 unmarked graves near a single residential school in Saskatchewan. And Samantha Beattie reports on a Catholic priest's attempt to justify the genocide committed through the residential school system, while John Paul Tasker reports on Erin O'Toole's predictable choice to demand the uncritical celebration of Canada Day rather than allowing for any meaningful recognition of the lives and culture lost to the systemic oppression of Indigenous people. 

- AFP reports on a new draft IPCC report finding that severe climate impacts are closer than we've generally assumed. Haroon Siddique reports on a newly-developed definition of ecocide intended to allow for wanton environmental destruction to be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court. Jessica Corbett writes about the social cost of carbon emissions as a factor which should be central to decision-making - but instead largely gets ignored in favour of raw GDP. And Michelle Gamage offers a reminder of the dangers of focusing on distant "net zero" targets rather than actual emission reductions. 

- Daniela Gabor discusses why we shouldn't expect private capital to transition us to a clean economy, and instead need to push the public sector to lead the way. And Steven Morris reports on the Welsh government's decision to suspend further road construction as a noteworthy example of the type of shift in priorities needed to avert a full climate breakdown.  

- Finally, Karl Nerenberg warns that a thoroughly unnecessary federal election is on the way due to the Trudeau Libs' preference for an unchecked majority over a minority Parliament in which they're already able to pass progressive legislation when they bother to advance it. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Zania Stamataki warns that we can't afford to treat vaccines as a magic bullet against the dangers of the coronavirus when public health regulations remain needed to limit its spread and severity. Brishti Basu examines the reasons for both concern about the Delta variant of COVID-19, and for hope that its harm to the public can be contained through high vaccination rates and continued public health measures - at least in provinces which are bothering to pursue them. And Madeline Holcomb reports on the recognition by CDC Director Rochelle Wolensky that any COVID deaths at this point are entirely preventable. 

- But Dhruv Kullar notes that the Delta variant is particularly dangerous to unvaccinated people - making Scott Moe's elimination of precautions in the face of Canada's lowest vaccination rate particularly destructive. Jonathan Levin reports that U.S. states where people have refused vaccines are seeing surges in case numbers. And Sophie Harman, Eugene Richardson and Parsa Erfani discuss the need for global vaccine justice to enable anybody to be fully protected from COVID-19, while Abdi Latif Dahir points out the growing case numbers in Africa. 

- Nora Loreto calls out the refusal of most provincial governments to provide any transparency about viral transmission and associated illness and death caused by hospital outbreaks. 

- Meanwhile, Dorothy Woodend invites us to consider what we've learned from the "great pause" caused by COVID-19. 

- Finally, Shawn Micallef writes about Toronto's ugly and violent response to people camped in Trinity Bellwoods park - making for a particularly stark contrast against the kid gloves used toward anti-maskers who actually present a threat to the public. And Charlie Smith highlights why there's growing reluctance to set up unreserved celebrations of a history steeped in genocide.