Saturday, January 09, 2021

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jesse McLaren offers a reminder that a COVID-19 vaccine isn't a cure-all, as measures to help people through the pandemic (including paid sick days) remain a must.

- Aris Roussinos writes about the UK's "guilty men" responsible for a feckless response to a global pandemic. And Adam Miller highlights how provincial attempts to minimize public health measures have produced the worst outbreaks in Canada.

- Lauren Kaori Gurley reports on the type of anti-worker product generated by today's union-busting operations. 

- Justin Ling points out the Cons' latest attempt to dehumanize incarcerated people - and how their desire to withhold life-saving vaccines may be illegal as well as grossly immoral. And Cory Charles Cardinal offers the perspective of somebody currently fearing for his health while imprisoned.

- Finally, David Sirota, and report on the Republican tycoons behind this week's coup attempt - who are certain to keep funding an anti-democratic movement even as they try to distance themselves from the inevitable consequences of their actions. And Richard Seymour writes that an attempt to paint a single election result as a return to civility won't do anything to quell the violent alt-right movement that's been cultivated for so long.

Thursday, January 07, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- David Macdonald examines (PDF) the continued pay gap which sees CEOs rake in more money the morning of the first day of work than their employees will earn all year. Canadians for Tax Fairness highlights how that signals the need to eliminate tax policy choices which contribute to the concentration and polarization of wealth. And Larry Elliott reports on the Institute for Fiscal Studies' call for steps to rein in the additional inequality resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, while Paul Taylor argues that we should be focusing more on reducing inequality generally.

- Brendan Haley highlights how we need a green industrial policy alongside a higher carbon price to ensure a just transition to a clean economy which doesn't leave current workers behind. And Stanley Reed discusses how large-scale wind turbines represent a clean and affordable alternative to fossil fuels in generating the energy we need. 

- Meanwhile, Janet Silver writes that plans to put off emission reductions for another three decades may result in irreversible damage to Canada's northern region. And Sara Connors reports on a plan for an eleven-figure railroad from Fort McMurray to Alaska as yet another attempt to lock us into costly and dirty fossil fuel infrastructure before a transition can take place.

- Finally, Paul Krugman notes (even in advance of yesterday's anti-democratic insurrection) that the Republican party has gone feral. But Charles Pierce points out how much of what's happened in the past few years has been in the works since the Reagan era, and reflects more a cause than a consequence of Donald Trump's tenure in the presidency.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Robyn Urback writes that the second wave of COVID-19 can be traced largely to people - including far too many political leaders - who have been able to treat a pandemic as somebody else's problem due to their own privilege. Aaron Wherry points out the cost to social solidarity when politicians make it clear they don't think they're included in admonitions that we're all part of the effort to control a deadly disease, while Shree Paradkar highlights how they should be named and shamed. And in a prime example of corporations valuing business revenue over public health, Ashley Burke reports on the lobbying by airlines to delay any testing requirements for people flying back to Canada.

- Guy Quenneville reports on the reality that unnecessary delay in setting rules and half-hearted messaging from the Moe government have resulted in Saskatchewan at best plateauing in trying to limit the spread of COVID-19. John Ivison warns that an even worse third wave may not be far away if provincial governments continue to ignore what's worked based on the implausible hope that they can get away with continuing what hasn't. Bruce Arthur calls out Doug Ford's pitiful incrementalism in the face of a crisis which demands an all-out response. And Adam Miller points out how and why Canada is behind many international counterparts in distributing the first round of vaccines, while Andre Picard rightly questions the lack of urgency.

- Meanwhile, Zak Vescera reports on the damage the pandemic has done (and will continue to do) to people's mental health in Saskatchewan. And Lee Berthiaume reports on the danger that a prolonged pandemic will fuel violent right-wing extremism.

- Hannah Seo writes about the ongoing environmental damage caused by abandoned offshore oil and gas wells. And Matt McGrath examines Christian Aid's research into the loss of thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars extreme weather events in 2020 (as just one of the prices of failing to combat a climate breakdown).

- Finally, Bob Berwyn takes a look at some new developments in climate science over the past year - including some reason for hope that a rapid transition may be able to stop climate feedback effects faster than previously assumed.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Playful cats.






Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Andre Picard warns not to expect the end of the COVID-19 pandemic (however distant that may be) to result in any particular triumph. And Reuters reports on the looming possibility that the vaccines developed to date may not protect against the coronavirus variant now spreading in South Africa.

- Jennifer Francis reports that the outbreak of COVID-19 at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary is creating both mental and physical health dangers. And Anna McMillan reports on the hunger strike in provincial correctional facilities protesting Christine Tell's neglect in allowing outbreaks to run rampant.

- Neil Irwin and Weiyi Cai discuss the particularly glaring divergence between people's well-being and the stock market in the midst of a pandemic which has pushed more money into markets.

- Simon Read writes about new research showing that a 4-day work week can substantially improve well-being with little if any effect on productivity. And Peter Goodman points out how co-operatives have helped workers in Spain weather the pandemic - though it's well worth noting that co-operative structures can become as corporatized as any privately-owned business.

- Finally, Harrison Samphir interviews Rob Larson about the corporate takeover of the Internet, and the prospects of converting to a socialized alternative.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- In the absence of any leadership from governments, a group of experts has put together a "Canadian Shield" strategy (PDF) to rein in the spread of COVID-19 - featuring the seemingly indisputable ideas that the starting point needs to be controlling and ultimately reducing viral spread while supporting the people affected.  

- David Carrigg reports that British Columbia has finally decided (without fanfare) to limit the operation of industrial work sites which create massive outbreak risks.

- Jeeves Wijesuriya discusses how COVID conspiracy theories affect the health care workers risking their health and well-being to try to keep people alive through a pandemic, while Andrea Wu and Tu Thanh Ha highlight how the health care system may be swamped as a result of irresponsible actions over the holidays. Alexandra Robbins rightly questions why decisions about the school system include little regard for the teachers who keep it running. 

- Sonia Sidha discusses the rise of UK Conservative cabinet ministers who are treated as being too antisocial and incompetent to fail - a phenomenon which is all too familiar in Canada as well. 

- Finally, as part of the CCPA's latest issue of Our Schools/Our Selves, Erika Shaker argues (PDF, see p. 3) that we need to build back kinder. And Kenan Malik is hopeful that we're relearning important lessons about the importance of collective action - which Madhukar Pai notes is a precondition to reversing the concentration of wealth and power.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Don Braid calls out Jason Kenney for allowing his government's MLAs and officials to gallivant around the world on vacation while demanding that the rest of Alberta stay home to stop the spread of COVID-19. James Keller reports on new research showing a direct connection between strict measures to stop viral spread, and lower spikes in COVID-19's second wave (which then allowed for greater economic stability and continuation). And George Fallis notes that the coronavirus is just another case where a comparison to the U.S. alone can cause Canadians to miss how we're failing compared to most of our international peers.

- Liz Theoharis writes about some of the lessons from the pandemic about the dangers of the concentration of wealth and privilege (and corresponding poverty and deprivation) which should be applied to policy choices in general. And Antoine Bozio, Bertrand Garbinti, Jonathan Goupille-Lebret, Malka Guillot and Thomas Piketty highlight how greater equality in pre-distribution is necessary to achieve sustainable fairness in income and wealth distribution.

- Geoff Dembicki warns U.S. climate activists against making the same mistake as their Canadian counterparts who wrongly assumed the election of a centrist government willing to speak sweet nothings would result in climate action. And the Globe and Mail's editorial board points out that we're still falling short of ensuring that climate harms are included in economic decision-making.

- Finally, Michael Coren writes about Marc Perez' research showing that solar power has become cheap enough that there's no more viable energy strategy than to build as much as possible - even if it can't all be used immediately. (Which of course makes it all the more asinine that so many Canadian governments are determined to instead hype nuclear vaporware in order to put off the transition away from fossil fuels.)