Saturday, May 22, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Murray Mandryk discusses how COVID-19 has highlighted and exacerbated existing inequality in Saskatchewan. And Aaron Wherry points out that Canada shouldn't treat its privileged position in securing early access to vaccines as cause to ignore the pandemic which will continue to rage around the globe even if we're lucky enough to achieve herd immunity. 

- Meanwhile, Zak Vescera reports on the exemption which sent COVID-infected staff back to work early at Extendicare Parkside - where hundreds were infected and dozens of residents died of the coronavirus. And

- Julie Lalonde writes that the shutdown of Greyhound's bus service is taking away lifelines from residents of isolated communities who counted on them. But David Moscrop notes that with private bus operators proving beyond doubt that profit won't provide a sufficient incentive to develop adequate transportation infrastructure, the time is now to start working on public services to focus on people's needs. 

- Christopher Curtis writes about Quebec's grossly inadequate shelter system - which is seeing homeless people forced to ration their own access to shelters as hundreds die of diseases and overdoses.

- Nav Persaud et al. study the effect of freely available prescription drugs on compliance, finding to nobody's surprise that cost is a barrier to people receiving needed medication - and that making medication freely available reduces overall health care costs.

- Finally, Jeremy Appel offers a reminder as to how Canada is profiting from death and destruction by supplying military equipment to regimes using them to target civilians.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Musical interlude

The Glorious Sons - Daylight

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- John Michael McGrath makes the case for optimism about our potential to avoid further waves of COVID as long as COVID-19 vaccinations overtake the risk of community spread. Brian Platt reports on Nova Scotia's use of rapid testing to catch a substantial number of cases in its third wave (while far too many provinces continue to let rapid tests languish). And Kim Siever notes that Alberta's headline numbers primarily reflect a worrisome drop in testing overall. 

- David Moscrop notes that the coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the problems with a first-past-the-post political system which doesn't require majority governments to be even remotely responsive to citizens between elections. Duncan Cameron writes that electing good people then failing to put pressure on them once in power is nowhere enough to ensure the kind of action we need to avert a climate breakdown. And Mitchell Thompson interviews Svend Robinson about the importance of the NDP providing a transformational option for voters and activists alike.

- The CCPA's presentation to the federal finance committee highlights the importance of collecting more revenue from the rich to ensure needed services are available to everybody. 

-  Pat Armstrong, Hugh Armstrong, Dan Buchanan, Tony Dean, Gail Donner, Arthur Donner, Sharon Sholzberg-Gray, Alex Himelfarb and Steven Shrybman point out the importance of investing in long-term care for people rather than profits for donors. And Karl Nerenberg discusses how corporate landlords - with the active participation of far too many governments - are putting the price of housing far out of the reach of the people who need it.

- Finally, Christine Ro discusses how overwork is killing many people (even as many others are told there's no work available for them).

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Bruce Arthur warns against letting up in our effort to fight COVID-19 just when a substantial victory is in sight. And Stephen Reicher, Susan Michie and Christina Pagel offer their take on the needed response to the emergence of more dangerous COVID variants - including a couple of recommendations which tragically will almost certainly be ignored in Saskatchewan:

Fourth, given the growing evidence regarding aerosol transmission and hence the critical role of ventilation as a means of mitigation, adequate ventilation should be a criterion for commercial reopening, along with an enhanced inspection regime and grants available for improving ventilation, both in businesses and in the home.

Fifth, we need clear and consistent public messaging to communicate the changing risks from covid-19 along with clear guidance on how people can identify and reduce those risks in their own lives. There is a particular need to avoid the mistakes of summer 2020 when people were urged to return to offices (even when they were able and willing to work from home) and go to pubs as their “patriotic duty.” This creates a sense of “it’s all over” and encourages people to lower their guard.

- Meanwhile, Caitlin Owens examines the social predictors of vaccination rates (and their consequences for the U.S.' hopes of controlling COVID-19). 

- Emma Knight highlights Canada's mediocre results in providing for maternal health. And Chantal Braganza rightly argues that it's time to fix a crisis of care work - and to do so without expecting mothers to bear the additional burden.

- Amanda Peacher points out how public housing should be seen as desirable rather than a poorly-funded option of last resort (with Vienna as a prime example). But Luke Ottenhof reports that Doug Ford is focused instead on ensuring that tenants are unable to organize or to document his system of rubber-stamped evictions to provide even more leverage to landlords.

- Alan Rappeport reports on lobbying by U.S. banks to prevent the repayment of loans on behalf of black farmers who have faced historical discrimination. And Anand Giridharadas talks to Mariana Mazzucato about our ridiculous fetishization of businessmen at the expense of the public good - including through the needless promotion of philanthrocapitalism.

- Finally, Thomas Piketty writes that it's both possible and desirable to work toward a basic income, job guarantee and universal capital inheritance to ensure both a reasonable standard of living and genuine opportunities for all. 

[Edit: fixed typo.]

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Top cats.


Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Tonda MacCharles reports on David Naylor's justified call for an inquiry into Canada's pandemic response. And Peter Walker's report on the rapid spread of the B.1.617.2 variant in the (heavily-vaccinated) UK offers a reminder that the work of protecting public health is far from done.

- Seth Klein argues that after decades of polluting both our atmosphere and our polity in the name of instant profits, the fossil fuel sector can't expect a transition to a cleaner economy to cater to its demands. Geoff Dembicki exposes how Suncor in particular is dumping chemicals onto poor, heavily-Latino populations around Denver while trying to claim an interest in racial justice. Emma Graney reports on the IEA's new study showing that we can't afford any new fossil fuel development if we want to meet a 1.5 degree climate target. Agence France-Presse reports on new research showing that the Brazilian Amazon has turned into a net carbon emitter, rather than the needed carbon sink that it was historically. Paris Marx highlights why we should be skeptical of Apple's greenwashing campaign. And Michael Holder reports on the contribution of just 20 petrochemical firms to half of the world's single-use plastic waste. 

- That said, the Economist does discuss how parts of the global steel industry are shifting toward more sustainable operational models, rather than insisting on strip-mining whatever they can.

- Amira Elghawaby examines what defunding the police and redirecting resources toward non-violent incident response may look like.

- Finally, Luke Savage writes that a disastrous interview of Keir Starmer following disastrous election results only serves to highlight the hollowness of content-free centrism. And Jon Schwarz discusses how an obsession with deficits in the name of their impact on children only serves to ensure that they inherit an inequity and environmental destruction.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Both Apoorva Mandavilli and Sara Mojtehedzadeh highlight how a failure to ensure air quality in workplaces to limit aerosol transmission has been one of the main causes of COVID-19 spread within communities. And Noah Smith rightly recognizes that one of the lessons we should draw from the pandemic is to use masks to prevent the spread of infectious diseases generally, while Gabriel Favreau draws on a principle of looking out for our neighbours as an important reason to work together in fighting the coronavirus.

- Meanwhile, Ziyad Al-Aly, Yan Xie and Benjamin Bowe study the risks after a person's initial exposure to COVID - including a substantial increased risk of death for at least six months even for people who never require hospitalization for their initial symptoms. 

- Shree Paradkar calls out the Libs' appalling choice to prioritize intellectual property monopolies (over vaccines developed through public funding) over any attempt to ensure vaccination is possible for any but the wealthiest countries. And the Canadian Press reports on the doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine sitting unused in freezers rather than being deployed either in Canada or elsewhere. 

- Canadians for Tax Fairness documents how Canada's largest companies profited off of tax breaks and public supports through the pandemic. And David Sirota points out how the corporate lobbyists demanding that governments slash social programs and drive down wages and working conditions for workers generally enjoy lives of luxury themselves.

- Finally, David Moscrop makes the case for a publicly owned and operated bus line to replace (and indeed expand on) the transportation service lost as Greyhound and other private providers have abandoned the field.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Sunday Evening Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Marianne Guenot reports on a World Health Organization-backed report confirming that political leaders could have averted the spread of COVID-19, but failed to do so. And CBC News reports on the fears of workers facing unmasked customers and management unwilling to look out for their health.

- Adam Peleshanty takes note of the spread of another season of extreme drought across the Prairies. And Max Fawcett writes that Alberta is engaged in delay tactics against making oil companies clean up their messes at the worst possible time. 

- Duncan Fraser McLachlan reports on the work tenants have done organizing against renovictions in one Montreal apartment building.  

- The Canadian Press reports on the push from the NDP and health care providers to get the Trudeau Libs to live up to their promises (and indeed the recommendations of their own panel) on pharmacare. And Brandon Doucet notes that the Libs are standing in the way of any move toward universal dental care as well.

- Meanwhile, Michael Geist writes about the problems with the Libs' Bill C-10 (and the gaslighting campaign being used to try to push it through Parliament).

- Finally, Arthur White-Crummey reports on the massive backing from one Alberta oil contractor which funded more than half of the Buffalo Party's emergence in Saskatchewan - showing that the risk of parties developing as wholly-owned subsidiaries of one or more wealthy people is coming to pass.