Saturday, November 27, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Ivan Semeniuk reports on the response to the Omicron COVID variant both globally and in Canada. But Eric Topol writes that the U.S. is kidding itself in pretending that a wave hitting Europe won't affect it as well, while Lauren Pelley highlights how there's no prospect of anybody going back to a "normal" state until the virus is controlled around the globe. Alan Beattie reports that wealthy countries are still refusing to waive intellectual property monopolies over vaccines even as they come face to face with the worst-case scenario as to what happens when COVID is allowed to circulate in the name of profit. And David Shield reports on the massive amount of work to be done in responding to long COVID in Saskatchewan.

- Aaron Wherry discusses how the Cons' attempt to turn inflation into an excuse to crush people under the boot of austerity has no basis in fact, but might still do severe political damage.

- PressProgress reports that Brad Wall has been actively looking to exploit essential workers for higher rents in Saskatchewan and Alberta based on his recognition that neither province's conservative government will protect them. And Pratyush Dayal reports on the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission's study into the systematic barriers to housing facing vulnerable people.

- Paul Webster exposes how Doug Ford chose to leave a billion dollars in the hands of the private owner of a toll highway rather than pursuing it on behalf of the public. And Robert Benzie writes that Ford's catering to a few business cronies doesn't include the competence to actually provide services, as a botched registry is actually pushing corporations to refuse to register with the province. 

- Nick Lavers discusses new research showing the health dangers of microplastics which appear to be able to infiltrate the brain. And John Roy Porter highlights how a climate breakdown poses a serious threat to food supplies.

- Finally, Paul Brent rightly wonders what happened to the Libs' promise of national pharmacare.

Friday, November 26, 2021

Musical interlude

Elderbrook w/ Bob Moses - Inner Light

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Matt Gurney writes that the COVID pandemic has exposed - without ameliorating - our political leaders' inability to respond to any real crisis. And in case anybody was under the illusion that we're past the worst of COVID itself, Michael James and Christine Fernando report on the emergence - and apparent spread - of what may be the most threatening variant yet. 

- Nicole Ireland reports on the Public Health Agency of Canada's advice that we need to use more effective masks to limit COVID transmission. Zak Vescera reports on the stark differences in vaccination rates based on socioeconomic privilege in Regina and Saskatoon, while also noting that Saskatchewan as a whole is having to pursue "microtargeting" to squeeze out further vaccination opportunities. And Stephane Dubois highlights how pediatric vaccinations will help our population-wide protection - though Kelly Skjerven reports that the Moe government hasn't bothered to provide leave to enable parents to get their children vaccinated. 

- Meanwhile, Meaghan Ellis examines the personality traits which tend to underlie COVID denialism and anti-vaxx conspiracy theories. And Bruce Arthur discusses the challenges in trying to deal with anti-vaxxers. 

- Stephen Wentzell talks to Naheed Dosani about the importance of paid sick leave in ensuring health equity for workers. And PressProgress reports on the Horgan government's decision to offer only half a loaf, rather than the full 10 sick days recommended to protect the health of workers and the people who rely on them. 

- Jeanelle Mandes reports on new research showing that the rate of child poverty in Saskatchewan remains above a quarter of all children (where it's been for over a decade). And Katie Hyslop discusses how child poverty can generally be traced to mothers' poverty in particular. 

- Andrew Nikiforuk writes about the future costs of procrastinating on a transition to a clean economy, while Heather Scoffield notes that the price tag is already soaring due to immediate climate calamities. And Peter Zimonjic reports on Environment Commissioner Jerry DiMarco's recognition that Canada's climate policy has bounced from failure to failure, while Barry Saxifrage discusses how Canada is actually backsliding in the effort to replace dirty fossil fuels with clean electric power. 

- Finally, Jerry Dias offers a reminder of the efforts of the workers who make Black Friday possible. 

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Cory Neudorf argues that a pandemic is the last time when we can afford to prioritize abstract individual interests over the collective good, while Alexander Wong writes that vaccination is a textbook example of a way in which parents can protect children from avoidable harms. Bruce Arthur asks why millions of doses of vaccines are about to expire even as Ontario demurs on any plan to make booster shots more widely available. Ed Yong examines the frustrations and challenges facing health care workers whose experiences with long COVID are being dismissed. And Nick Boisvert reports that the Libs' messaging from the return to Parliament includes making Chrystia Freeland the latest politician to prematurely spread dangerous themes about the pandemic being over. 

- Meanwhile, Andrew Kolodny discusses how the pandemic exacerbated the spread of toxic recreational drugs. And Zachary Siegel makes the case for a policy of safe supply to end the wave of avoidable poisonings. 

- David Wallace-Wells examines the global health toll of ten millions deaths a year caused by polluted air. Bill Stollery makes the case to treat climate change as a societal threat, while also noting that we can readily afford to fund a war effort against it by ensuring the wealthy pay their fair share. David Suzuki writes about the need for the public to engage in the fight as politicians and businesses fall short of the mark. And Andrew Freedman reports on new research casting doubt as to whether countries' already-insufficient emission reduction pledges will actually be achieved. 

- Nia Williams reports on the price tag facing British Columbia as it looks to update its infrastructure to account for the consequences of a climate breakdown. And John Michael McGrath notes that an effective climate plan will need to offer alternatives to individual vehicles, rather than merely relying on electrification. 

- Finally, Randy Robinson maps out the location of continuing child poverty in Canada, while Andrew Kersley highlights how poverty serves as yet another factor shortening people's lives. Nick Boisvert reports on Campaign 2000's latest study finding that any progress against child poverty stalled or regressed over the past two years. And Nathan Sing writes that the Libs have chosen to write any action to reduce hunger and ensure food security out of their list of priorities. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Michaeleen Doucleff offers an FAQ on the causes and consequences of long COVID in its various forms. Guy Quenneville reports on the need for COVID cases to keep declining just to get Saskatchewan's health care system back to its already-precarious state from the summer. And CBC News reports on the Moe government's choice to block SGI from protecting its workers and customers with a mask mandate.  

- Katherine Scott offers some lessons in income security from the pandemic, while Daphne Bramham laments that we don't seem to be learning anything about disaster prevention or response despite the constant opportunities to do so. And Gregory Beatty discusses how both low-income Saskatchewan residents and community organizations are paying the price for the Moe government's decision to deprive people of any housing security. 

- Marc Lee takes a look at what the Libs have promised on the housing front - and how their choice in which options to pursue may make all the difference between partially relieving the housing crisis and exacerbating it. And Farrah Merali points out the growing share of Ontario's homes held by investors rather than residents who are making living unaffordable for the province's citizens. 

- James Rowe, Jessica Dempsey and James Mager discuss how pension funds are being hijacked by oil lobbyists and petropoliticians to force continued production in a dying industry. 

- Finally, Ken Boessenkool and Mike Moffatt write that the proper response to inflation driven largely by supply bottlenecks is to communicate why an austerity playbook will do nothing to help. And Faiz Shakir highlights how the one source of inflation which could be controlled through public policy is corporate profiteering.  

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Tuckered-out cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Doug Saunders writes that Europe's devastating new wave of COVID - like those elsewhere - can be traced directly to politicians pandering to antivaxxers rather than making responsible decisions to protect public health. Yushi Nomura et al. study the retention of antibodies after full vaccination - finding that women are far more likely to see a precipitous dropoff after a few months. And Carolyn Johnson and Andre Picard each discuss the benefits of new treatments, while recognizing that they're not a substitute for preventing viral spread. 

- Matthew Barker writes that a basic income would work wonders in ensuring people are able to secure a home. And Rachel Tribe discusses the problem with substituting restrictive food aid for the ability to buy what people need. 

- Steve Randall discusses a new study showing that Canada loses billions of dollars to tax abuse every year. Ben Steverman highlights how just one of Donald Trump's giveaways to the rich has led to a precipitous drop in revenue from the U.S.' estate tax. And Clay Cockrell notes that claiming unfathomable wealth doesn't actually serve to make the uber-rich happy or fulfilled. 

- Sally McManus writes that Australia doesn't have a shortage of workers, but of jobs worth working. And Nelson Lichtenstein discusses the U.S.' slow-motion general strike as a means of securing improved wages and working conditions. 

- Robert Reich laments the U.S.' obsession with deficits as a mechanism to shut down discussion of improvements to people's well-being (while recognizing the role he and the Clinton administration played in framing policy choices that way). 

- Finally, Hannah Richardson reports on Samantha Price's recognition that instead of treating "woke" as an insult to younger people, parents and teachers should recognize that what's being held up for criticism is the laudable decision to build a more caring world. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

Monday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Bruce Deachman discusses the new "normal" we're approaching in which COVID continues to be a threat to people's health on an ongoing basis. 

- Nancy MacDonald highlights the nonstop catastrophes facing British Columbia as record heat is followed in short order by unprecedented flooding. And Crawford Kilian calls out the political response based on questioning whether anybody could have anticipated exactly the disasters which have long been the subject of warnings by climate scientists. 

- Seth Klein writes about the interregnum between broader recognition of the need to avert a climate breakdown, and the point of actually taking the necessary steps in response. Mario Canseco finds that Canadians are justifiably losing patience with climate change deniers. And Maxine Joselow takes note of one worthwhile development out of the Glasgow climate summit, as the international community is increasingly recognizing the importance of climate change as a public health issue. 

- The Star's editorial board recognizes that while food banks are performing (far too many) important services at the moment, they don't represent a fix for the underlying poverty. And Mitchell Thompson discusses how workers in Atlantic Canada have stared down - and thus far averted - the threat of austerity. 

- Todd Litman writes that the only solution to traffic congestion (along with the other problems generated by excessive reliance on car culture) is to provide alternatives. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow writes about the connection between corporate monopolies and the soaring prices faced by consumers. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Stephanie Nolen examines (PDF) some of the inequality revealed and exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. Bonnie Allen reports on the tragic story of a Yorkton woman who died as a result of neglect and misinformation. Nancy Lapid points out the health risks caused by breakthrough infections even in people who are fully vaccinated. And Brian Goldman interviews Sheila Singh about the delays in diagnosing childhood cancers as a result of the pandemic - both in the strain it's placed on health care providers, and people's reluctance to seek out care.

- Cheryl Mack and Jennine Wismark discuss how homelessness in Alberta is also a public health emergency. And Scott Schmidt writes that while it's for the best that Alberta has finally signed on to a child care agreement with the federal government, it's still problematic that the UCP seems entirely uninterested in the "care" part of it. 

- Nicholas Kusnetz offers a reminder of the deep ecological damage done by the tar sands. And Jeffrey Jones notes that Alberta's best hope to reinvigorate Calgary's hollowed-out downtown is to become a hub for renewable energy development.

- Finally, Donald Cohen and Allen Mikaelian discuss how the privatization of public assets undermines the possibilities for democratic decision-making.