Saturday, January 30, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jerusalem Demsas discusses the strong popular support for affordable social housing even as governments continually fail to provide it. Daphne Bramham rightly asks why we haven't seen far more of a move toward the Housing First models (including both secure housing and the availability of associated supports) which have consistently proven effective at assisting people facing addictions and homelessness. And Richard Warnica weighs in on the death toll from Ontario's reliance on for-profit long-term care homes. 

- Moira Wyton reports on the outcome of British Columbia's panel on a basic income - which found that more targeted income and basic services would represent a better use of public resources. And Heather Scoffield offers her take on why a basic income isn't the right option to try to eliminate poverty. 

- Timothy Bond, Jillian Carr, Analisa Packham and Jonathan Smith study how the timing of food benefits directly affects students' scores on tests which affect their future.

- Bill Blaikie puts some of the forces behind the U.S.' Trumpist insurrection into historical context. And Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan write about the needed push from social movements for change as the Biden/Harris administration begins its tenure.

- Meanwhile, Scott Harold Payne wonders whether the relentless flow of corruption and incompetence from the UCP will lead to the end of Alberta conservatism as we know it.

- Finally, Kendall Latimer reports on Saskatchewan's long-overdue end to the use of birth alerts - while also noting the need to make up for the damage they've done already.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Musical interlude

 Joywave - Doubt

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Andrew Nikiforuk writes about the even greater urgency to get to COVID zero as more dangerous strains of the virus spread in Canada. And Adam Miller reports on growing recommendations that we wear more effective masks, including while outdoors. 

-Truc Nguyen reports on some of the ways to deal with the anxiety arising out of the pandemic, while Natalie Grover reports on research showing that the coronavirus itself leads to mental illness and brain disorders. And James Wilt points out the public health implications of people drinking more in the course of the pandemic.

- Sarah Jaffe discusses the problem of burnout generally - including by recognizing that it's an inevitable outcome of economic and social systems designed to impose as many costs as possible on individuals for the benefit of businesses. Meghan Bell calls out the attempt by Bell (and so many politicians) to turn mental health into a single-day distraction while standing in the way of the support people need at all times. And Ray Fisman and Michael Luca point out how the effort to squeeze concessions out of workers - rather than providing a stable and secure livelihood - is ultimately a damaging one for employers.

- But in case anybody thought there was hope for consensus on a change in course, Tom Scocca writes that the Trump years have offered an appalling test of how much suffering the U.S. is prepared to inflict on people. And Mindy Isser discusses the need to ensure that organizing efforts include people who have been willing to support the likes of Donald Trump.

- Finally, Nana Ama Sarfo makes the case to end Canada's current status as a haven to hide the beneficial ownership of corporations. And Canadians for Tax Fairness argues that we shouldn't let Pfizer use COVID-19 as an excuse to claim yet another round of tax concessions and corporate giveaways.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Ciara Nugent writes about Amsterdam's embrace of doughnut economics focused on finding the sweet spot which accounts for human well-being and environmental sustainability.

- Ross Belot discusses why the world doesn't need Keystone XL, while Angus Reid notes that only the prairie petro-provinces have any apparent insistence on continuing to fight in the face of the U.S.' decision not to grant a permit for it to proceed. Andrew Nikiforuk points out a few of the realities which rebut Jason Kenney's talking points for prioritizing oil infrastructure over any other purpose or principle. Gary Mason notes that Kenney's decision to pour billions into pushing Keystone XL was always a losing bet with public money. The Canadian Association of Journalists calls out the UCP's publicly-funded propaganda campaign against media who dare to report on environmental issues rather than serving as cheerleaders for fossil fuels. And even the Globe and Mail's editorial board is past pretending that the pro-pipeline bluster is anything more than a farce - which fits into Jim Storrie's recognition that Kenney is engaged in little more than theatre.

- Damian Carrington reports on new research showing a connection between air pollution and macular degeneration. 

- Nikiforuk also calls out the UCP's disinformation about additional coal development. And Bob Weber reports that as the Kenney UCP seeks to ram through new coal mining, Alberta's existing mines are getting away with contaminating river water with selenium. And Carrington reports on the recognition by two-thirds of the world that we're facing a climate emergency, while Elizabeth Weil offers a stark look at what's coming as our natural environment continues to break down.

- Finally, Adrian Humphreys reports on polling showing strong support among Canadians to limit the spread of hate and racism. But PressProgress reports on the continued convergence between pro-oil forces and anti-democratic propaganda.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- George Monbiot writes about the COVID disinformation which is so dangerous as to need to be suppressed. Maggie Keresteci, Nili Kaplan-Myrth and Naheed Dosani highlight the need for equity to figure into our plans and messaging about vaccine distribution. And Dakshana Bascaramurty discusses the challenges in reaching racialized Canadians with the information needed to protect themselves and the public.

- Bruce Arthur points out the futility of blustering about borders when a province already has community outbreaks of highly dangerous variants. And Walker Bragman and David Sirota report on the factors which have had the most impact in suppressing the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. - with work from home and housing security at the top of the list. 

- The Star's editorial board joins the calls for paid sick leave to ensure workers don't put people at risk in order to pay their bills. And Omar Mosleh reports on the limited number of retail employers offering anything of the sort when not required to do so.

- Theresa Boyle reports that Ontario is among the provinces falling far short of using even the federal resources available to it - let alone contributing appropriately on its own - to offer COVID-19 relief and support. And Matt Elliott calls out Doug Ford's almost total lack of investment in social housing, even as he looks to destroy greenspace and heritage buildings alike to grease the skids for private developers.

- Grace Blakeley discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated poverty and inequality. And Arwa Mahdawi makes the case for a greed tax to reverse that trend. 

- Finally, Dr. Jacelyn Hanson and Dr. Larissa Kiesman remind us of the existing public health emergencies of homelessness, opioids and HIV which have been worsened by COVID-19. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

 Toying cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Simon Enoch traces the COVID-19 spending that's taken place in Saskatchewan - finding that most of the support has come from the federal government, while Scott Moe has combined a refusal to lift a finger (and indeed a failure to make use of all the federal money available) with constant complaining that the feds aren't doing enough:

(T)hroughout the pandemic, the Saskatchewan government has been quick to tout the state of its finances, in spite of the crisis, reporting lower deficits than anticipated and continuing to commit to a balanced budget by the 2024 election.

The irony is, that for all the ire that Mr. Moe directs at Prime Minister Trudeau, it may very well be the largesse of the federal government, coupled with the underspending of transferred dollars, that has allowed Saskatchewan to post such rosy fiscal numbers.

While in any other situation such news might be greeted by some as evidence of fiscal responsibility, during the worst public health crisis in 100 years, failure to spend and access every available dollar to protect us from the ravages of this pandemic looks a lot less like financial caution and a lot more like callous recklessness.

- Justine Hunter and Ian Bailey report on British Columbia's vaccine distribution plan - showing that it's possible to actually do the work of helping to keep people healthy, rather than devoting one's sole efforts to whining about the federal government. And Gary Mason notes that B.C. has also managed to get caught up on its surgical backlog.

- Robert Reich writes that the threats to U.S. democracy aren't limited to the Trumpist white supremacist uprising, but include corporate sedition aiming to capture the government for the benefits of the wealthiest few.

- Finally, Mitchell Anderson points out that Canada is home to a similarly dangerous set of violent actors who are often encouraged by our right-wing parties, while Matthew Remski documents the spread of Qanon in particular. And Geoff Dembicki notes that the work product from Alberta's anti-environment inquiry includes a smear campaign against journalists funded out of public money.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jim Brumby writes about the multiple growing disruptions to economic health and security which could be addressed by a wealth tax.

- Kim Siever highlights how the oil industry continues to scam Alberta while pretending that its interest is that of the province - which of course applies with equal force in Saskatchewan. The Energy Mix points out that the fossil fuel sector is marked by disproportionate returns to capital for the amount paid in wages - making a transition entirely affordable as long as we focus on the public good rather than aiming primarily to enrich the few billionaires who want to add even more to their fortunes. And Cameron Fenton notes that Keystone XL is just the latest example of the Libs refusing to act consistently with their rhetoric about climate change. 

- Peter Giger offers a reminder of the multiple environmental tipping points which could see us fall into irreversible climate breakdown if we don't transition to a clean economy. And Brian Kahn writes that the decisions we make about the oil industry this year will echo long into the future.

- Tom Cardoso reports on analysis showing over a million Canadians engaged in overnight holiday travel in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Globe and Mail's editorial board asks why we're still allowing the coronavirus to spread to Canada on international flights. Laura Woodward reports on Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine's call to finally end the risk of spread through in-person restaurant dining. And the Star's editorial board argues that we should be doing far more to ensure that long-term care homes don't turn into death sentences for the people who raised and nurtured us.

- Finally, Jen Gerson writes that the Cons should be looking to excise the violent alt-right as a matter of self-preservation as well as civic duty. And David Climenhaga notes that the problem runs far deeper than Derek Sloan alone.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

On root causes

Shorter Scott Moe on threats against Dr. Saqib Shahab:

I have no idea how these idiots got the idea that policy disagreement entitles you to engage in violent rhetoric and personal harassment. 

Shorter Scott Moe's CO2Anon donor base:

Environmentalists are child molesters! But the good news is that I think I've figured out the coded meaning of their pizza orders!

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Grace Blakeley comments on the connection between neoliberal ideology, and the replacement of even the possibility of collective action with an assumption that we're only in it for ourselves. 

- Aditya Chakrabortty writes about the need to eliminate poverty in all of its forms - including by dealing with it head-on rather than slicing it into a series of less significant problems. And Gaby Hinsliff reminds us of the work that will need to be done to ensure a COVID generation doesn't miss out on the opportunity to engage in basic socialization and development. 

- Meanwhile, Peter Goodman reports on research showing that the world as a whole will be better off it we work on ensuring the distribution of vaccines based on need rather than national wealth.

- Daniel Oran and Eric Topol write about the consequences of being wrong in basic assumptions about the coronavirus - such as the question of whether it's possible to be contagious without symptoms (as we now know to be the case). Elizabeth Gulino discusses some of the changes we'll need to make in response to more contagious strains of COVID-19, while Patricia Treble points out that we're likely not managing to fully test and trace for the UK variant which we know has arrived in Canada. And Armine Yalnizyan offers a reminder of the desperate need for paid sick days to allow employees to avoid contributing to community spread out of financial necessity.

- Finally, Jen Gerson recognizes that Jason Kenney's belligerence is doing nothing but embarrassing himself and his province. And Scott Schmidt calls out Kenney's refusal to answer for the harm he's inflicting on Alberta.