Saturday, February 20, 2021

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Andre Noel reports on the growing push among medical professionals for a COVID-zero strategy, while Zach Goudie points out how people can reduce their own contribution to potential spread with improved masking. And Avis Favaro and Elizabeth St. Philip report on research showing that a substantial number of infected health care workers never show immediate symptoms, while David Nauen, Jody Hooper, C. Matthew Stewart et al. examine the impact COVID-19 has on the brain. 

- Aaron Saltzman reports on the high-priced and poorly-regulated private COVID testing industry. And in case we need a reminder what's possible when governments take public investment and provision of services seriously, Ed Augustin and Natalie Kitroeff report on Cuba's success in developing its own vaccine - and the prospect that it may be shared with tourists before travelers are able to get vaccinate at home.

- Hassan Yussuff, Doug Roth and Linda Siles discuss how far too many Canadians are struggling to pay for needed medications, signalling the continued need for a national Pharmacare plan.

- Evan Radford is the latest to report on Saskatchewan's devastating opioid crisis, including in smaller cities whose social issues don't often receive much attention.

- Finally, Erika Hayasaki discusses the growing organization among Amazon employees as an example of the COVID pandemic pushing people toward needed collective action.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Musical interlude

 Hum - Waves

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Matt Karp writes about the connection between heavily polarized politics, and the concentration of wealth in the hands of people whose interests are served by voters rooting for laundry rather than holding meaningful input into policy choices.

- May Warren reports on the reality that the faster-spreading B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus is likely to become dominant in Canada over the next few weeks. Lauren Pelley reports that even if the COVID-19 pandemic is reined in, we can likely expect to see forms of the virus become a regular part of our lives for years to come. Sophia Harris notes that any new measures to identify and contain COVID-19 and its variants have been conspicuously designed to ignore the truckers who represents the largest source of cross-border contact between Canada and the U.S. And the Star's editorial board warns that Doug Ford is once again refusing to learn from history in refusing to apply appropriate public health measures in the face of a newer and more severe threat.

- Emma McIntosh exposes how Ford is trying to dole out fast-tracked project approvals without environmental assessments to deep-pocketed donors while the public is trapped inside by a pandemic. And the Globe and Mail's editorial board rightly slams Ford's plans for another superhighway as a "sprawl accelerator" rather than a solution to problems of housing affordability and transportation infrastructure.

- Finally, Kim Siever points out how the Kenney UCP is barrelling ahead with new coal mining while claiming to have responded to public outcry by temporarily reinstating the policy which barred it. Graham Thomson highlights how the secrecy, deception and cronyism behind the coal mining plans offer a perfect microcosm of the UCP's governing philosophy. And Bob Weber reports on Dennis Lemly's warning about the foreseeable harm that mining will do to the major water sources affected by it

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jonah Brunet points out the wide variety of definitions of the term "lockdown" in response to COVID-19 - with imprecision in the meaning of basic terms being used to drive anti-social complaints about even the most minimal public health measures. And Nisreen Alwan writes about the need for greater recognition of the widespread and devastating effects of long COVID.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh and Maria Sarrouh report on the Ontario workplaces which have served as COVID hot spots - with a lack of paid sick leave unsurprisingly looming as a common contributor, even as Doug Ford blusters about being more committed to avoiding people having two sources of benefits than their being able to stay healthy. And Joel Dryden and Sarah Rieger report on another belated closure of an Alberta slaughterhouse only after hundreds of cases (including one death).

- Norma Cohen proposes that an excess profit tax could ensure that distortions in supplies and prices resulting from the pandemic don't turn into a windfall for a lucky few at the expense of people in general. And Lucinda Chitapain discusses how corporate-driven intellectual property rules are making vaccines and treatments into drivers of concentrated wealth and increasing inequality.

- Leslie Kaufman reports on new research showing that the Trump administration's attacks on environmental regulations are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths. And Jacob Knutsen reports that in contrast, Joe Biden is looking at finally reining in the use of "forever chemicals".

- Finally, Luke Savage interviews Kate Aronoff about the need for U.S. climate policy to go beyond an end to active self-sabotage. Michael Harris notes that the Libs' efforts to simultaneously promote fossil fuel exports and climate change action make it impossible to succeed in the latter. And Jodi-Ann Juexuan Wang highlights the need for government action to make any progress in the fight to avert climate breakdown.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

 Embedded cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Kamran Abbasi makes the case to treat the avoidable deaths resulting from the mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic as a form of social murder. And Jonathan Goodman writes that inequality has spread in tandem with COVID-19 and its variants.

- Gary Mason and Douglas Todd each argue that the findings of British Columbia's expert panel weighs against relying on a basic income as an immediate response to poverty and inequality. But Andrew Coyne notes the conclusion is more nuanced, including the recognition that there are other social goods which need to be addressed first before a basic income will fulfill its intended purposes.

- Bonnie Allan reports on the continued benefits of housing first programs where they're available for people in need of homes. And Marc Lee writes that vacancy control needs to be paired with rent control to keep housing affordable.

- Dylan Scott discusses how even relatively small co-pay requirements lead to the underuse of needed medications. And Graham Isidor makes the case to include dental care among the health care available by right to Canadians. 

- Corey Mintz writes that while the pandemic has alerted more people to the burdens delivery apps impose on restaurants, we should take the opportunity to highlight how they've always been based on imposing unacceptable risks and working conditions on workers. And Erica Johnson reports on the class action lawsuit arising out of TD Bank's pressure on employees to meet sales targets at the expense of honest dealings with customers. 

- Finally, Doug Cuthand points out that the lack of action against people who encouraged further violence following the death of Colten Boushie represents just the latest example of anti-Indigenous racism at work in Saskatchewan.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- As we lay the groundwork for a COVID recovery and energy transition, Heather Scoffield comments on the importance of making sure resources go where they're needed (rather than serving only to further distance the richest from the rest of us). And Yves Engler notes that the Libs have thankfully failed in some of their efforts to favour corporate interests over people. 

- Benjamin Moll, Lukasz Rachel and Pascual Restrepo examine how automation has been one of the drivers of growing inequality. David Lao reports on a new Statistics Canada report showing that social mobility is becoming ever more illusory. And Alex Cooke reports on the recognition that venture capital funding does far less for either equality or prosperity than investment in child care and other support for families.

- Elin Kelsey offers some reasons for hope - and for continued action - in the fight to avert climate breakdown. Alex Nguyen reports on the workers wondering whether any transition plan includes any future for them. And David Akin reports on new polling showing strong public support for government measures to fund the transition to electric vehicles.

- Meanwhile, in case there was any doubt that the fossil fuel sector is nothing more than a shapeshifting magnet for handouts, Duncan Kinney reports on the UCP's handout of a COVID testing contract to a rebranded (and crony-connected) oil service company. And Andrew Nikiforuk warns that it's too soon to claim victory based on the UCP's partial walkback of its plans to let foreign operators tear apart mountain ranges and pollute waterways for coal. 

- Finally, Jason Markusoff discusses how Kenney's tenure in government has generally proven to be a failure.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Nazeem Muhajarine discusses the importance of a response to the coronavirus which recognizes how a virus can change course and pose new threats. But Scott Schmidt notes that Alberta - like Saskatchewan and Ontario - is insistent on staying the course even when it obviously leads to disaster. And Brooks Fallis warns that the public is sleepwalking into a dangerous third wave.

- Don Martin writes about the abject failure of most Canadian provinces to use rapid tests to help in the fight against COVID-19. And Jerry Dias weighs in on the need for paid sick days as part of the plan to reduce community spread.

- Moira Welsh reports that for all the outcry about the mistreatment of residents in long-term care homes, nothing has changed for the better since last year in Ontario. Erick Espinosa and Michael Talbot expose how one for-profit operator has gone so far as to turn its retirement home into a prison, removing interior door handles to trap residents in their rooms. And PressProgress rightly asks why workers and unions were left out of British Columbia's review of COVID-19 and long-term care, while also revealing that Ontario workers are being pushed back to work under the province's workers' compensation system while still experiencing symptoms.

- Aaron Wherry writes that Canada's political system is better off for at least having enough party discipline to prevent the most extreme and anti-democratic forces from systematically gaining power. And Paul Krugman notes that the U.S.' Democrats are finally responding in kind to the Republicans' determination to use every lever at their disposal to shape policy outcomes. 

- Finally, Taylor Lambert muses as to whether the Notley NDP did enough with the opportunity created by a majority government.