Saturday, May 01, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- A group of doctors and scientists offers an open letter calling for a strategy of maximum COVID-19 suppression.

- Matt Gurney writes about the latest report documenting the utter failure of Ontario's long-term care system. PressProgress notes that tens of thousands of violations of health and safety standards by Ontario employers in the midst of a pandemic gave rise to a paltry 24 stoppages of work. And Lynn Giesbrecht reports on the danger that the fallout from COVID may include an exodus of teachers (among other vital workers who have largely been abandoned by their governments).

- Rob Carrick highlights how soaring housing prices are making a small number of homeowners wealthy while pricing the necessities of life out of the reach of many people (and particularly younger workers). 

- The Canadian Press reports on the supply agreement reached between the NDP and the Libs in the Yukon - featuring a cap on rent increases, a public dental insurance plan and a minimum wage increase among other much-needed supports for citizens. 

- Finally, Leah Gazan discusses the importance of controlling the narrative around a basic income, and particularly the opportunity to treat it as a way of ensuring the protection of everybody's rights rather than an excuse for failing to do so.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Musical interlude

 Filo & Peri feat. Audrey Gallagher - This Night (Max Graham Remix)

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Miquel Oliu-Barton, Bary Pradelski, Philippe Aghion, Patrick Artus, Ilona Kickbusch, Jeffrey Lazarus, Devi Sridhar and Samantha Vanderslott examine how strategies aimed at eradicating COVID-19 - rather than aiming for it to spread at some non-zero level - produces better outcomes in terms of economic outcomes, public health and civil liberties. And Graham Thomson calls out Jason Kenney for allowing anti-vaccine sentiment to fester and endanger the health of his province's whole population.

- Christo Aivalis discusses how both Justin Trudeau and Doug Ford are sacrificing workers' health and safety in the name of corporate profits and control. The members of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table study the positive effects of sick leave in reducing the spread of the coronavirus. Rick Salutin calls out the insistence of Ford's PCs (among other governments) on setting up barriers to access to sick leave and other income support in the midst of a pandemic, while Josh Rubin reports on the quick response recognizing that the belated offer of three days of leave is far from enough. And Rita Trichur notes that anybody with any belief in the concept of corporate social responsibility should expect paid sick leave to be one of the minimum requirements to pursue it.

- Wyatt Schierman writes that India's desperate situation highlights the need to prioritize access to vaccines over intellectual property monopolies.

- Hiroko Tabuchi and Nadja Popovich point out how environmental racism results in minority groups being exposed to more dangerous pollution than the people choosing to impose the risks. And Rosanna Xia reports on the discovery of DDT dumped into a far larger swath of the Pacific Ocean than previously known as an example of the environmental harm that's been concealed from the public so far.

- Finally, Robert Hackett and Hanna Araza highlight how Canada's media gives large amounts of space to the oil industry to dictate the terms of any discussion about its harm to the planet. And George Monbiot calls out much of the UK's media for facilitating Conservative corruption and cronyism - especially in the areas where they've resulted in failing services and direct human suffering.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Andrew Nikiforuk calls for us to learn from over a year's worth of experience with COVID-19 and guard against aerosol spread to limit the development and transmission of variants. And Ian Sample reports on new findings showing that children are at risk of long COVID effects even if they're able to avoid initial symptoms.

- Donya Ziaee writes about Justin Trudeau's choice to bow to investor pressure and break his promise to set national standards for long-term care residents and workers. And Paisley Sim points out how it's possible to fix Canada's current patchwork of paid sick leave requirements. 

- Donald MacPherson discusses Scott Moe's inhumane choice to endanger people's lives by refusing to fund Prairie Harm Reduction and other supervised consumption sites. But Jeremy Hainsworth's investigation points to the type of solution the Saskatchewan Party and its would likely support - as the B.C. Libs funded an addiction rehab clinic which turned its patients into political labour.

- Carbon Tracker examines how solar and wind power can replace non-renewable energy in full over the next few decades. Inayat Singh and Alice Hopson report that Unifor is on board with emission cuts to rein in the climate breakdown combined with a transition plan for workers. But Emma McIntosh discusses Doug Ford's continued place as a roadblock standing in the way of any modernization of Ontario's power grid.

- Finally, Liz Walker and Shanice Regis-Wilkins point out why anti-worker employers go so far out of their way to prevent their employees from unionizing. And Jerry Dias notes that it's executives rather than front-line workers who have picked up large amounts of pandemic pay. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jason Warick reports on how the lack of enforcement of public health rules has emboldened anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers to impose their disregard for community safety on the people around them. Guy Quenneville highlights the Moe government's decision to do absolutely nothing in the face of a COVID-19 surge hitting Saskatoon (despite the efforts of the people who best understand the crisis). Mia Rabson reports on the deployment of military personnel to coronavirus hot zones - as well as Theresa Tam's recognition that any responsible government would a long way from talking about any return to "normal". Joe Roberts calls for the Libs to invoke the Emergencies Act rather than sacrificing lives to provincial callousness and incompetence. And Canada News Central writes that the governments responsible for ineffective pandemic responses deserve to be wiped out at the polls - while Nova Scotia continues to demonstrate that there's an alternative to letting short-sighted corporate interests and anti-science wingnuts dictate public policy.

- John Paul Tasker reviews the history behind Canada's lack of domestic vaccine production capacity - which is particularly unconscionable when the publicly-owned Connaught Labs was once one of the world's leaders. And John Queally reports on Bill Gates' insistence on prioritizing big pharma's monopoly rights over the availability of vaccines worldwide, while Devi Sridhar observes that global vaccination is a must for any country to be safe from COVID-19.

- Paul Waldman writes that George Orwell underestimated the amount of hate which would underlie a turn toward fascism, as the Republicans essentially offer nothing else 24 hours a day. Alex Pareene discusses the Republicans' choice to legalize running over protestors with cars. And Eric Levitz comments that those provisions are just part of a general conservative attempt to stifle speech through both individual violence, and the power of the state.

- Finally, Kenan Malik writes that the U.S.' general philosophy of policing involves controlling the poor rather than protecting the public.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- John Paul Tasker reports on new data from the Public Health Agency of Canada showing how public health measures have slowed the transmission of the coronavirus, while Selena Ross reports on an informal count showing that air purifiers may substantially reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools. Connor O'Donovan talks to employees working in the Cornwall Centre about the avoidable risk they face when anti-maskers bring disregard for public health into their workplaces. And Jeff Gray reports on the reality facing health care practitioners having to triage patients in desperate need of care - and then explain that decision to the families affected. 

- Joseph Stiglitz and Lori Wallach discuss the folly of prioritizing intellectual property monopolies over the manufacture and distribution of COVID vaccines. And Teagan Johnston notes that nobody should be surprised to see Doug Ford (or any of his right-wing cousins) valuing profits over people's health and well-being.

- Meanwhile, Andrew Gregory points out that the search for treatments and cures for long COVID will remain a vital area of research even as vaccines offer some protection to the population at large.

- The Climate Action Network (among other groups) highlights how Canada can reach a far stronger greenhouse gas emissions target than the one on offer from the Libs while reducing our energy costs in the process. And Royce Kurmelovs reports on the drastic decline in the price of solar power which is making it far more efficient than fossil fuel energy.

- Finally, David Madland writes about the renewed push for sectoral bargaining to ensure that gains made by workers are broadly shared. And Barry Eidlin discusses how the requirement for votes in employer-controlled workplaces represents an unfair barrier to the exercise of workers' rights.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Rich Mendes reports on new research showing that the longstanding focus on physical distance as a means of avoiding the indoor transmission of COVID-19 has been misplaced. Erin Anderssen and Marcus Gee examine some of Canada's hardest-hit intensive care units to show the day-to-day disaster caused by the spread of the coronavirus. And Denise Lu reports on the U.S.' excess death total which is higher than the one caused by the 1918 pandemic.

- Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus writes about what should be a fairly simple choice for wealthier countries who can either keep the population of the entire world at unnecessary risk by prioritizing intellectual property rights over vaccinations, or help protect everybody at the cost of a few windfall profits. And Stephen Buranyi likewise argues that patents shouldn't stand in the way of vaccines for everybody.

- Andrew Nikiforuk discusses how Jason Kenney's UCP has provided a laughable excuse for consultation in order to push ahead with coal mining in the face of public opprobrium and the complete absence of an economic case for it. Ubaka Ogbogu and Lorian Hardcastle criticize Kenney's choice to protect the profits of long-term care operators responsible for the spread of COVID-19 among their residents, rather than at least allowing families to seek to hold them accountable. And David Climenhaga notes that the conservative "resistance" in Canada has lost both any influence it once claimed over climate policy, and any credibility with voters who have seen the consequences of its negligence in governing through COVID times. 

- Hiroko Tabuchi reports on a new U.N. study which concludes that methane leaks - and reliance on natural gas - are incompatible with our achieving any reasonable climate targets.

- Finally, Kerry Black takes the insolvency of Laurentian University as a starting point to question our refusal to properly fund universities generally.