Saturday, January 01, 2022

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your year.

- Alex McKeen discusses the implications of the more transmissible Omicron COVID variant - though contrary to the plans of your local murderclown, we shouldn't take an increased likelihood of exposure as an excuse to let a dangerous disease tear through more people than can be avoided. And Mark Gollom reports on the increasing recognition that the need for improved masks applies to children as well.

- Sheila Block highlights how we should be responding to inflation caused by specific factors by addressing those issues, not through general austerity which stands to punish people already stressed by a pandemic. And Isabella Weber points out that price controls also offer the prospect of reining in temporary inflation by targeting profiteering corporations.

- Michael Sinato reports on the increasingly active labour movement south of the border. But Robert Cribb, Kelly Bennett and Emma Jarratt remind us that the corporate sector will happily abuse workers and deny all knowledge as a primary business strategy. 

- Finally, Thomas Homer-Dixon discusses the need for Canada to prepare for its own future in the shadow of a collapsing U.S. next door.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Musical interlude II

One more tune to end 2021 - wishing all the best to readers in the new year.

Counting Crows - A Long December

Musical interlude

Riton X Raye - I Don't Want You

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Dan Diamond reports on the shortage of health care workers as the fifth wave of COVID crests in the U.S., while Carl O'Donnell and Ahmed Aboulenein report on the escalating number of children being hospitalized with the coronavirus. Robyn Urback warns that our governments' response to an escalating pandemic is now limited to telling us we're on our own, while Nanjala Nyabola views the main story of 2021 as one of failed political leadership in the face of collective crises. And Amnesty International highlights the deliberate choice to withhold vaccines from much of the world which has led to the most devastating wave yet. 

- On the comparatively hopeful side, Brett Wilkins reports on the development of the non-monopoly Cobervax vaccine. And the University of Hong Kong points out research showing that a nasal spray vaccine may help to prevent respiratory transmission. 

- Jeremy Appel writes that the response of Cargill workers to disregard for their health and well-being has been to fight for a collective agreement which ensures they'll be better treated. But lest anybody think employers will do the right thing without being forced, Jake Johnson reports that Delta's response to getting its way in reducing the recommended quarantine period (in the absence of any public health justification) has been to slash sick leave for its own workers. 

- Peter Kalmus discusses how the true tragedy of Don't Look Up is how closely a supposedly over-the-top movie mirrors what he sees in his work as a climate scientist. And Ryan Cooper points out how perception is winning out over reality when it comes to public awareness of the U.S.' respective economic positions under Donald Trump and Joe Biden. 

- Finally, Tenille Lafontaine rightly asks that Saskatchewan work to ensure that women are able to speak out online without facing a firehose of abuse and threats. 

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Patrick Wood and Mary Louise Kelly write that we still need to be managing COVID risk budgets to avoid contributing more to community transmission than necessary. Helen Branswell discusses some lessons learned through the pandemic so far. And Morgan Lowrie reports on the folly of pushing to keep COVID-positive workers on the job, while Don Braid comments on the dubious choice to restrict public health reporting when it's most obviously needed. 

- Katherine Wu highlights that anybody counting on individual-level vaccines to avoid infection is looking at years of changing boosters to try to keep up with a mutating virus. And Texas Children's Hospital announces that it has developed a non-patented vaccine which is being made available for international manufacturing and distribution - providing hope of actually suppressing the virus worldwide.  

- The UN Food and Agriculture Association discusses how land and water resources are already stretched to a breaking point. And Jeff Goodell reports on the prospect that a single collapsing glacier in Antarctica could swamp hundreds of millions of people in a matter of years. 

- Meanwhile, Ketan Joshi writes about the delay and denial being pushed by fossil fuel companies to avoid a transition to a liveable future. 

- Matt Bruenig writes that there's no good reason to refuse to provide income supports to people who need them. And Branko Marcetic highlights the dangers of limiting support for the poor to what's acceptable to the rich. 

- Finally, Colin Dacre reports on the permission granted to CN to engage in private prosecutions to unleash the power of the criminal justice system against protesters even after Crown prosecutors have concluded charges aren't in the public interest. And Matt Stoller calculates that 60% of the inflation being used as an excuse to cut social investment has in fact been siphoned off into corporate coffers through expanding profit margins. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Andre Picard discusses the need for people to avoid giving up in the battle to protect against the worst effects of a pandemic run amok. And Yasmine Ghania highlights what people with a positive rapid test need to do next. But contrary to the apparent plans of many provinces, "keep going to work" shouldn't be at the top of the list. 

- Meanwhile, Richard Warnica and Andrew Bailey document how the Ford PCs' decision-making has been driven by the business lobby, while Evelyn Kwong reports on their eagerness to follow the CDC's bizarre position that a more transmissible variant serves as reason to shorten workers' quarantine periods. And Melissa Fisher writes about the loss of the tolerable standard of living offered by the first set of pandemic supports. 

- Jane McAlevey argues that far more worker militancy is needed to rein in the longstanding pattern of extreme wealth and social neglect. And David Lao reports on new polling showing that a substantial number of workers have seen the ability to work from home as a substantial benefit - even if they're unsure how long that will be allowed to continue. 

- Finally, Amy Westervelt writes that a successful argument for climate action needs to be rooted in justice rather than appeals to science alone. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Ornamental cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Michela Antonelli et al. study the disease profile of post-vaccination COVID, concluding that full vaccination helps to reduce both the number and duration of symptoms. But Elizabeth Yuko points out that the result is still a significant risk of debilitating long-term conditions. And Aaron Collins offers a reminder that more effective masks are needed to limit the spread of the dominant variants. 

- Megan Molteni reports on the scenarios anticipated from the more infectious Omicron strain - with the forecasts ranging from bad to worse, while Rong-Gong Lin, Luke Money, Adam Elmahrek and Marisa Gruber report on the spike in cases and hospitalizations in California. And Winnie Byanyima highlights how wealthy countries' choice to prioritize intellectual property monopolies over the distribution of COVID vaccines has led to a far worse pandemic than necessary. 

- Larry Elliott writes that the best way to create hope for an economic revival is to push for a post-pandemic New Deal - not to cater to the financial elites who have enriched themselves through COVID and before. Nicola Penslero studies the effect of computerization in the workplace - finding that it has made lower-ranking employees far more productive without their being compensated accordingly. And Paul Prescod discusses the importance of publicly-owned broadband to ensure people have affordable access to the basic information tools required to participate in the global information economy.  

- Paula Span writes that U.S. women face a disproportionate amount of economic hardship in their senior years. And Errol Louis points out the large number of people spending their senior years in prison despite the lack of any plausible public safety rationale for keeping them behind bars. 

- Finally, Les Perreaux discusses the need for disaster mitigation to be a core principle of government decision-making - observing in particular that an honest reckoning with the cost of allowing our climate to break down may be exactly the incentive we need to limit the carbon pollution we emit in the first place. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Marieke Walsh and Carrie Tait report on Canada's grim milestone of two million COVID cases recorded - even as the medical system braces for another wave to crest. And Betsy Powell reports on the push toward fourth vaccine doses in long-term care homes.

- Matthew Klein writes that the pandemic social support system now being slammed by the reactionary right had the effect of averting widespread financial disaster - though the concurrent attempt to declare the pandemic over in the face of all evidence raises the risk of that materializing for many eventually. And IMFBlog charts how the wealthiest few were able to increased their savings during the pandemic.

- Ryan Kessler and Kelly Skjerven report on another year of tragic records in drug poisonings in Saskatchewan. And Bryan Eneas talks to Jason Mercredi about the public's openness to harm reduction which is still being blocked by the Moe government.

- Max Blau and Lylla Youness report on BASF's knowing emission of carcinogens from its American plants, while Kiah Collier and Maya Miller report on the release of toxic substances by the medical sterilization industry (with active government participation in lowering standards to place people in increased danger).

- Finally, Joshua Adams discusses how the points used to generate the most rage among the U.S.' fascist right are invariably distorted versions of Black discourses.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Nick Dunne interviews Colin Furness about the impact the Omicron COVID variant figures to have in schools - and the need to hold off on reopening after a holiday which has included grossly insufficient precautions. Alyson Kruger asks whether people are learning lessons as to how to self-isolate when necessary. And Nick Cohen rightly draws an analogy between the UK Con MPs pushing to slash public health measures and their previous insistence on a hard Brexit as examples of wilful self-destruction in the name of revolution.

- Dawn Bowdish and Chandrima Chakraborty discuss how avoidable vaccine inequity paved the way for the emergence of the Omicron variant. And Jack Healey, Noah Welland and Richard Fausset discuss the increasingly-entrenched antivaxxers who are extending and worsening the pandemic for everybody. 

- Meanwhile, Joel Lexchin and Abhimanyu Sud write that Health Canada's reinforcement of brand-name drugs rather than scientific generic names serves only to make it more expensive to treat medical issues.

- Bruno Latour writes that the pandemic should serve as a warning as to the importance of collective action in the face of an impending climate breakdown. And Nick Boisvert reports on Canada's continued lack of preparation to deal with the extreme weather events and other emergencies caused by a changing climate.

- Finally, Robert Reich argues that we should be wary of the corporate media's insistence on narrowing the set of public policy issues treated as worthy of discussion or above any cost-benefit analysis. And Luke Savage challenges the core centrist philosophy of treating any worthwhile change as being politically impossible.