Saturday, December 31, 2022

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your year-end reading.

- Allison Maher et al. study how COVID-19 causes fundamental changes to a person's immune system, resulting in far greater vulnerability to other infections. Spencer Kimball reports on the rapid spread of the XBB.1.5 COVID-19 variant - which appears to be rendering previous types of immunity significantly less effective.  And Volker Gerdts, Baljit Singh and Loleen Berdahl write about the need to start planning immediately for future pandemics - including by incorporating knowledge from the social sciences into communications about public health issues. 

- Mitchell Thompson discusses how Doug Ford has chosen to lead Ontario's health care system into a crisis. And Linda McQuaig offers a reminder that the destruction of a universal, publicly-funded system is part of the right's plan to turn people's health into a corporate profit centre.

- David Macdonald warns that the CRA's heavy-handed approach to demanding repayments from low-income CERB recipients may cast a pall over any future social benefits. And John Loeppky discusses the need to ensure people with disabilities have secure access to housing - even as the policy response seems to range from dodging responsibility to outright hostility.

- Tony Barboza writes that it's essential to talk to kids about climate change - even if the continued accumulation of avoidable damage to our living environment is scary enough even for adults. Cameron Wood writes that Saskatchewan's grasslands are among the ecosystems in the most danger due to environmental neglect. And CBC News reports on the benefits Alberta is seeing from a shift to solar power generation. 

- Finally, Eric Blair writes about the need to find alternatives to billionaire-dominated communication platforms.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Musical interlude

Stoto - Her

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Teresa Wright sets out the wish list of ER doctors who have been dealing with avoidable COVID waves for years. Tiffany Hsu discusses the dangers of COVID-19 misinformation both in the course of the ongoing pandemic, and in its spillover effects as to public perception of vaccines and public health generally. And Bonnie Petrie examines the spin about "immunity debt" in contrast to the apparent reality of immunity lost to COVID infections. 

- Grant LaFleche examines the alt-right's systematic fabrication of claims of "grooming" as an excuse to promote bigotry. Umair Haque points out how widespread downward mobility is laying the groundwork for conservative con artists, while Juliana Kaplan and Jason Lalljee recognize that most workers are facing real pay cuts as a result of profit-driven inflation. 

- Elizabeth Wiese points out the lies being used by the fossil fuel sector and its fully-owned political subsidiaries to delay any action to reduce carbon pollution. But Leah Stokes offers reason for optimism that 2022 was the beginning of an energy transition, while Rebecca Leber discusses what the U.S. can do to accelerate that process. 

- Finally, Robert Reich implores us to stay hopeful and keeping toward a more just world even in the face of the powers lined up against it. 

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Tom Frieden offers a primer on what we know about long COVID - and what we should be doing to avoid it. And Eric Topol interviews Linsey Marr about the importance of clean air to alleviate the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. 

- Robert Booth and Pamela Duncan report that the increased privatization of care homes in England have resulted in nearly a third falling short of basic standards of hygiene and care for dementia patients. 

- David Sirota and Andrew Perez point out that the airline mess in the U.S. was fully anticipated in advance of the holiday season - and that Southwest Airlines in particular proceeded with a massive dividend payment rather than putting a nickel toward keeping its operations functional. And Adam Johnson discusses how the nightmare for air travelers reflects the broader work by giant corporations to ensure people aren't able to raise their problems with anybody other than powerless frontline workers:

We are conditioned to get mad at the human face we see before us, the “representative” of the company who personally profits nothing from our purchase. We are conditioned to get mad at the waiter when our food is late (and penalize this “bad service” with a bad tip) when the vast majority of the time it’s due to understaffing by a cheapskate boss. We are conditioned to get upset with the enforcer of arbitrary rules at a hotel checkout, despite it not being their rule at all. We are conditioned to be hostile to the very people we should have the most solidarity with. 


Those who actually make the decisions remain protected like mob bosses, gently nestled between layers of middle management, lawyers, and marketing reps, impossible to reach by design. They have addresses and homes and phone numbers, you just don’t have access to them. And if you did, this would be stalking, and you’d likely get a visit from a police officer. Meanwhile they have all your information, and can hound you with credit agencies and just randomly steal your money. To the extent they face consequences, it’s a pointless fine that’s factored into their cost-benefit calculations at the beginning of the year... 


(B)y design, the only humans we interface with are those who, by definition, are the lowest on the ladder, the least paid, and least protected: The cashier, the ticket agent, the flight attendant, the poor call center punching bag. So people yell at them, because there is no one else. They hate you back, and worker solidarity further erodes. We all grow more atomized, angry, powerless, and bitter. And the system works as intended.

- Agence France-Presse discusses the connections between the climate breakdown and increasingly severe winter storms.

- Finally, Craig Silverman and Ruth Talbot expose some of Google's ad network - including its complicity in fraud and disinformation by protecting the identities of bad actors using it for their antisocial ends. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Zaina Hamza discusses new research showing how COVID-19 fatalities hit younger people and caused more loss of expected years of life in the second year of the pandemic than the first. Kenyon Wallace discusses why 2022 was the deadliest year of the pandemic yet in Canada, while Carrie Tait reports on the tripling of the number of Canadians hospitalized with COVID since this time last year. Erin Prater writes about the recognition that a COVID infection may allow dormant viruses to reactivate in one's body. And David Climenhaga comments on Danielle Smith's determination to ensure nothing is done to limit the spread of respiratory diseases on her watch, while David Parsley reports on John Drury's observation that the UK Cons are failing to protect people from long COVID. 

- Meanwhile, the Good Law Project exposes what the UK Cons have been more interested in: funneling billions of pounds of public money to a few well-connected VIPs. 

- Amy Westervelt discusses how the the documents released as a result of the U.S. House's investigation into climate disinformation show a fossil fuel sector determined to stay in a polluting past and prevent anybody from progressing past it. And Adam Aron writes about the importance of local climate organizing to overcome the industry's obstruction. 

- Meanwhile, David Berman points out the massive special dividends doled out by corporate conglomerates who claim not to have profiteered off of price increases. 

- Thomas Zimmer discusses the threat Elon Musk and other alt-right tech bros pose to any open discussion on the platforms they control. And Gal Beckerman examines contemporary accounts from the 1930s to discuss what the descent into fascism feels like in real time. 

- Finally, Ted Rutland exposes how the Trudeau Libs conspired with the RCMP and other law enforcement interests to carry out push polling and manufacture opposition to defunding the police. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cuddly cats.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Helen Branswell examines what experts were and weren't able to anticipate about the COVID-19 pandemic - with the voluntary panic-neglect cycle looking to be one of the most damaging lasting impacts. And Andre Picard discusses what we have and haven't learned from this year's multiple viral outbreaks.

- John Stapleton, Sid Frankel and Leila Sarangi point out that Canada briefly met its stated goal of substantially reducing poverty through pandemic supports - only to snap back to a default setting of accepting systematic deprivation. And Lynn Ward writes about the importance of keeping remote options to ensure people with disabilities and preexisting health conditions aren't excluded from participating in work and public life.  

- Robert Reich discusses how the growing concentration of wealth is the result of the extraction of value in zero-sum interactions, not the generation of anything useful or valuable for the general public. And Alvin Chang highlights how even a nominally level playing field would tend toward extreme inequality over time.

- Dylan Sullivan and Jason Hickel find that tens of millions of people have died of avoidable malnutrition over the past 50 years. And Clare Carlile exposes how big agriculture is likewise lobbying to avoid any transition to sustainable farming.

- Finally, Olayemi Olurin discusses how mass incarceration is utterly useless for keeping people safe, but instead serves mostly to preserve inequality.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Migration in progress

After using Twitter as my main political social media outlet for years, I've joined the many in the process of shifting to Mastodon. You'll find a link to my account in the right sidebar - and hopefully the new year will see the continued development of communities which better serve users rather than the whims of tycoons.

Monday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your Boxing Day reading.

- Robert Reich discusses the dangers of relying on - and indeed building a political and economic system to favour - the social costs of extreme greed. And the Canadian Press reports on the Trudeau Libs' plan to take foreign aid even further in that direction, prioritizing funding for privatized infrastructure projects over humanitarian resources.

- Meanwhile, Peter Zimonjic, Tyler Buist and Arielle Piat-Sauve report on Justin Trudeau's refusal to consider windfall taxes on the corporations profiteering at the expense of Canadians - even as Portugal joins the numerous countries showing it can be done.

- Benjamin Mateus writes about new research showing that COVID-19 was the leading cause of death worldwide in 2021. And Emily Putman reports on the expert recognition that an ongoing pandemic and other infectious diseases highlight the value of a true national pharmacare program, while Yvette Brend points out the need to ensure (sorely-needed) funding for health care is put toward preventative measures.  

- Michael Janz writes about the value of dedicated bike lanes to ensure healthier communities for cyclists and drivers alike. And Carlton Reid reports on the revelation that electric car batteries are generally lasting longer than anticipated, meaning there's less need for churn and reprocessing than once expected. 

- Don Lee discusses how work from home has allowed for an increase in workforce participation by people with disabilities - at least until arbitrary rules about office work are reinstated.

- Finally, Catherynne Valente writes about the longstanding pattern of corporatized sites and apps trying to push people to buy things and/or hurt each other - as well as the potential for a return to online relationships better focused on sharing meaningful information.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Emily Toth Martin and Marisa Eisenberg point out the obvious value of wearing masks to reduce the likelihood of catching and spreading respiratory illnesses. And Wanzhu Tu et al. find that people build stronger immune defences to COVID-19 by getting vaccinated than by getting infected. 

- Angella MacEwen highlights the massive real wage cuts which Canadian workers are being told they have to accept, as well as the need for government action to ensure housing and other necessities of life are available and affordable. And H.G. Watson writes about the need for collective action to ensure workers don't bear the brunt of profit-driven inflation.

- Zak Vescera reports on the disconnect between the Globe and Mail's sponsored top employer list and the track record of worker deaths at Suncor. 

- Jessica Corbett discusses the difficulty in trying to undo the consequences of falling short of greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Natasha Bulowski reports on the growing recognition that "sustainable" monoculture forests are more a matter of greenwashing than climate change mitigation. And Adam Radwanski and Jeffrey Jones report on new investment standards based on the seemingly obvious principle that fossil fuel projects can't properly be classified as green. 

- Finally, Stefan Labbe reports on the calls for a fracking moratorium in British Columbia rather than continuing a practice of abandoning residents in "sacrifice zones" to ill health effects. And Rachel Monroe reports on the efforts to salvage something from a rapidly-receding Colorado River watershed. 

Friday, December 23, 2022

Musical interlude

Shallou feat. Colin - Count On

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Phil Tank writes that the holidays will be anything but happy for families dealing with long COVID due to the Moe government's choice to let it rip through the population, while Larissa Kurz reports that a year in which everybody decided to pretend the pandemic was over has been the province's most deadly one yet. Aaron D'Andrea reports on the World Health Organization's warnings about the potential effects of developing variants on overburdened health care systems, while Alika Lafontaine and Stefanie Davis each point out how ours are already collapsing. 

- Meanwhile, Marc-Andre Pigeon, Haizhen Mou and Natalie Kallio point out how cooperative clinics can ensure people have access to primary and preventative care without placing additional burdens on already-overloaded workers.  

- Armine Yalnizyan responds to anti-worker spin by pointing out that there's little reason to think higher wages are a driver of inflation. Marco Chown Oved reports that there's still a direct connection between food price inflation and profiteering by grocery giants. And Katie Hyslop explains her decision to stop contributing to band-aids such as food banks when there's an urgent need to work toward actual food security. 

- Dylan Short reports on the sheer cruelty involved in Calgary's decision to remove doors from transit stations in order to prevent people from seeking warmth. And Arny Wise offers some suggestions as to how David Eby can address British Columbia's housing crisis - including a need to focus on non-market housing rather than hoping that for-profit developers will solve the shortage of affordable homes. 

- Finally, Adam Johnson highlights how under a corporatist political and economic system, free speech is limited to what the wealthiest few are willing to hear and promote. And Rebecca Burns and Julia Rock report on the lobbying by U.S. banks to be able to commit felonies without consequences - supposedly in the name of serving the very customers they apparently plan to defraud. 

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Andrew Nikiforuk helpfully lists some of the most important facts which people need to keep in mind in evaluating COVID-19 risks (and which have been dangerously downplayed by governments). Julie Wernau and Jon Kamp report on the U.S.' jarring drop in life expectancy, with COVID-19 and drug poisonings serving as the main factors in setting it back several decades. And Karen Bartko reports on the state of emergency at Edmonton's children's hospital even as the UCP spends its time posturing against the federal government rather than showing the slightest concern for children suffering on its watch. 

- David Folkenflik reports on the power companies who have coordinated with pliant press to carry out concerted campaigns against anybody who challenges their dirty energy or obscene profits. And Jeremy Simes reports on the Moe government's decision to prohibit rural municipalities from collecting their currently-permitted share of taxes from the resource sector, requiring residential and commercial properties to pick up the bill instead. 

- Elise Gould and Jori Kandra examine the growing gap in U.S. wage earnings, with the top 1% seeing massive income increases in 2021 while the bottom 90% lost ground. 

- Finally, Whizy Kim discusses how 2022 has been the year that fully exposed the richest few people as anything but deserving of their disproportionate wealth and power. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Julia Doubleday writes that we shouldn't accept spin from any party which attempts to minimize the unacceptable dangers of exposing children to a virus known to cause lasting damage to people's immune systems, while Terry Pender reports on the growing recognition that COVID-19 does just that. And Justus Burgi et al. find that past COVID-19 infection is correlated with increases in troponin I which normally signals heart damage. 

- Carly Weeks reports on Ontario's belated decision to require the use of biosimilar biologic drugs to prioritize access to medication over pharmaceutical profits. Liana Hwang and Adam Pyle discuss the unfairness of government attempts to blame doctors for their own failures in making health care available. And Mitchell Thompson reports on the Ontario Financial Accountability Office's finding that the Ford PCs have set the hospital system up for years of worker shortages to come. 

- Thompson also calls out the Fraser Institute for its truly inhumane attempt to claim that poverty is a trendy lifestyle choice rather than an injustice demanding a policy response. And Pratyush Dayal reports on the thousands of evictions (caused in part by the Moe government's deliberate choice to make social assistance both stingy and unduly complicated) which have left Saskatchewan people without homes over just the past few months. 

- Vijith Assar discusses how Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter shows the need for social networks which can't be put under the thumb of capricious and self-serving billionaires. But Jim Stewartson points out that for the moment, both Twitter and one of its most prominent replacements are under the control of alt-right actors more interested in stoking misinformation and division than providing sustainable spaces for online interaction. And Heidi Cuda writes about the natural alliance between corporate power and fascist politics.  

- Finally, John Nguyen and Maryam Tibrizian make the case for Canada to follow the U.S. in ensuring open access to publicly-funded research. And Justin Ling offers a reminder of the importance of transparency in the beneficial ownership of property - while noting that a European Court of Justice decision is providing a precedent going in the wrong direction. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Watchful cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Marco Zuin et al. examine the connection between COVID-19 infections and subsequent heart attacks. And Felicity Liew et al. study the effect of mucosal defences which don't arise from injected vaccines, but can be promoted through nasal ones. 

- Meanwhile, Consumer Reports finds that dark chocolate is rife with dangerous levels of cadmium and lead - meaning that a product often promoted as a healthier alternative may be smuggling harmful metals into people's bodies.   

- Alex Cooke reports on Halifax's failure to ensure that unhoused people have access to safe accommodations as winter endangers their lives. And Colin Butler points out how encampments made more precarious by the threat of police removal are at particular risk of having concealed fires burn out of control. 

- The Energy Mix discusses how oil is headed down the same path toward obsolescence as telephone landlines due to the increasing availability of superior alternatives. 

- Austin Grabash reports on the private religious schools which insisted on censored tours of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights to avoid any acknowledgement of the rights of LGBTQ people. And Feo Snagovsky discusses how the UCP and Saskatchewan Party are causing real damage to Canadian federalism with their performative posturing about sovereignty.  

- Finally, Marsha Lederman writes about the importance of investing in public libraries. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Blair Fix discusses how inflation reflects both instability in the overall system of prices, and a business strategy to turn that instability into an increased profit share. And Angella MacEwen writes that central banks are choosing to lend their authority to that strategy by attacking any attempt to make wages keep pace with price increases.  

- Rupert Neate reports on the soaring support for a wealth tax in the UK as a small number of tycoons are enriching themselves while broader standards of living erode. 

- Carl Meyer and Drew Anderson expose how the fossil fuel sector thumbed its nose at lobbying laws while pitching the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to claim massive concessions from Alberta's government. And Trevor Herriot discusses how the industry-controlled Moe government is failing by any measure of environmental responsibility. 

- Heidi Lee reports on the experts pleading for governments to implement Housing First policies to lift people out of homelessness. 

- Mike Crawley reports that provincial governments are refusing even to provide information needed for people to limit preventable disease and death among children. 

- Finally, Frank Graves and Stephen Maher discuss how Pierre Poilievre's strategy to take power in Canada involves playing up and tapping into the global authoritarian movement. 

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Greg Jericho rightly notes that the COVID pandemic showed beyond doubt that poverty is a policy choice - which makes it all the more maddening that the powers that be are so determined to inflict it on people as part of any new "normal". And Ian Welsh invites us to imagine a world where the violence and need that characterize our political economy are themselves treated as unthinkable.

- Henry Giroux highlights the overlap between neoliberalism and fascism in treating large numbers of people as disposable. And Paul Dechene writes about the choice of Regina's City Council to disclaim any responsibility for, or interest in, ensuring people have homes as one of the aspects of city politics which needs to be burned up. 

- Joe Fish discusses the tragic gap between the Canadian research discovering vaccines which could save countless lives, and the complete lack of interest in developing and producing them due to an insufficiently profitable market. 

- Finally, Eugene Boisvert and Anisha Pillarisetty write about new modelling showing the risk of cascading extinctions caused by climate change. James Hansen et al. warn that existing greenhouse gas forcing could result in a 10 degree increase in global temperatures - far beyond the scenarios treated as even worst-case results of fossil fuel lock-in. And Dana Drugman reports on a new study showing how the oil industry has poured billions of dollars into preventing any action to ameliorate any climate breakdown.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Umair Irfan writes about the implications of COVID-19 having been allowed to spread and mutate to the point where monoclonal antibodies are ineffective against new variants. Joe Vipond, Lisa Iannattone and T. Ryan Gregory discuss the desperate need to reduce the levels of sickness in children. And Stefanie Davis reports on the regular lack of ambulances to deal with emergencies in Regina.

- Adam King offers a reminder of the important successes of the CERB in reducing poverty and deprivation through a pandemic which would otherwise have severely exacerbated it.  

- Emily Peck points out that a large number of U.S. workers have seen their ability to work lost to negligent public health policy. And Ghada Alsharif discusses how employers are looking to expand their current abuse of temporary foreign workers as a substitute for offering employment that's acceptable to anybody with the ability to choose where to work.

- Anders Lee talks to Samir Sonti about the history of using hawkish monetary policy to undermine labour - even in the absence of evidence that it benefits the economy in any way other than to concentrate gains at the top. And the Canadian Labour Congress rightly asks why the Bank of Canada's mandate to maximize sustainable employment seems to have been discarded without explanation.

- Finally, Alex Khasnabish argues the left should be engaging in deep organizing and collective liberation to counter right-wing rhetoric about a highly selective definition of "freedom".

Friday, December 16, 2022

Musical interlude

Serge Devant & Damiano feat. Camille Safiya - Fearing Love

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Shiloh Payne reports on new numbers from the World Health Organization showing that COVID-19 is responsible for nearly 15 million excess deaths around the globe. Liji Thomas writes about the widespread harm caused by long COVID in the U.S. And Neetu Garcha interviews Sanjiv Gandhi about the plight of children facing severe illness and death from COVID and other (likely related) infectious diseases. 

- James Powell discusses how Doug Ford's developer-heavy housing task force is utterly failing to address the "affordability" part of its mandate. Rachel Cohen writes about the concerted attack on housing first measures by conservatives bent on preventing public policy aimed at getting people into permanent homes. And Wayne Mantyka reports on the fire at a Regina tent community as a predictable outcome of focusing on dismantling alternatives rather than ensuring housing is available. 

- Deena Winter reports on cluster of cancer and other fallout from 3M's dumping of chemical waste into drinking water supplies. And Sabranth Subramanian reports on the massive public liabilities left behind as a result of the UK's Sellafield nuclear site. 

- Landon Wilcock discusses the desire of oil and gas workers to shift to industries which have a future - along with the best means to get them there. And Brett Forester reports on the call from MPs to ensure the resource extraction sector takes responsibility for its contribution to violence against Indigenous women. 

- Zak Vescera points out how labour regulation hasn't caught up to the systematic exploitation of workers by gig platforms.  

- Finally, Martin Lukacs and Emma Paling report on the deep organizing which enabled Ontario workers to push back against some of the Ford government's excesses. 

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Katie Camero discusses how the belief that the COVID-19 pandemic is over (pushed by businesses and politicians eager to avoid responsibility for anybody's health) is creating avoidable dangers for everybody. Sydney Stein et al. study the persistence and dispersal of COVID in the bodies of its victims, while Alexander Tin reports on CDC research tracing the number of long COVID deaths in the U.S. And Jill McIntosh reports on a new study showing a correlation between vaccine refusal and car accidents - with the plausible confounding factors of carelessness and a disregard for others hardly serving as a defence for people inflicting risks on the public in multiple ways. 

- Danyaal Raza weighs in on the prospect of community health hubs to ensure people have access to the primary care they need. Kenyon Wallace and Megan Ogilvie trace the causes of the crisis of pediatric care in Ontario. And Chris Gallaway highlights how the solution to capacity limitations is investment in a public system that's designed to succeed, not funneling money toward corporate profiteers based on the claim that Medicare is beyond repair. 

- Armine Yalnizyan tests (and finds reason to doubt) the theory that increasing interest rates are invariable effective to reverse inflation. And Derek Decloet reports on the reality that Canadians are facing exceptionally high levels of consumer debt payments even with rates at relatively low levels - which should raise a red flag that further increases will cause catastrophic damage to individual-level finances.  

- Geoffrey York reports on the RCMP's investigation into corruption by the mining company Ivanhoe in its exploitation of copper resources in the Congo. And Matteo Cimellaro reports on a push by Indigenous nations in the Amazon to limit the harm done by the Canadian resource extraction sector.

- Janetta MacKenzie writes about the inevitable decline in fossil fuel reliance despite the obstruction of the industry and its political spokespuppets. Justine Hunter reports on a Canadian Climate Institute study finding that Canada's haphazard climate adaptation plan is both underresourced, and poorly targeted to address the known results of a climate breakdown. And Don Pittis discusses how a focus on electric vehicles alone neglects both the carbon pollution resulting from power generation, and the effects of perpetuating a car-based transportation system.  

- Finally, Doug Cuthand highlights how the cynical assertion of "sovereignty" by Danielle Smith and Scott Moe is based on the deliberate erasure of treaty rights. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Madeleine Ngo discusses how Americans (particularly with lower incomes) have been forced to spend any nest egg they managed to build up from pandemic supports, while Jeremy Nuttall interviews Jim Stanford about the drag household debt is placing on the economy. Jeremy Appel contrasts the media's eagerness to criticize people who received benefits against its silence about larger amounts handed out to businesses. And Karl Nerenberg reports on Stanford's observations confirming that corporations are profiteering off of food and other essentials.  

- Meanwhile, Ian Welsh writes about the lasting implications of long COVID as millions of workers in the US and UK are unable to continue their previous work. 

- Seth Berkley points out that among the other areas where we've failed to take any steps to better prepare for health issues even in the midst of a pandemic, we're no further ahead in bridging the gap between academic vaccine research and distribution (due primarily to the insistence on letting the corporate sector dictate the terms of the latter). And Nathaniel Dove reports on the Moe government's determination to prevent anybody from having access to accurate COVID data without their every communication being subject to government diktat. 

- Finally, Mandy Pipher discusses how Doug Ford has used state power to ensure the workers are perpetually more undercompensated for performing essential work in an environment made worse by pandemic neglect. And Cathy Crowe writes about her determination that she's not prepared to put up with intolerable working conditions anymore, while Jennifer Lee reports on the health care worker burnout in Alberta as multiple infectious diseases hit an already-depleted heath care system. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cozy cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Juliana Kim reports on the growing wave of public health advice recommending masking in order to limit the harm from a "tripledemic" of infectious diseases. Blair Crawford reports on PSAC's rightful concern that a return-to-the-office order will avoidably expose workers and their families to circulating viruses. And Jessica Wildfire discusses how the systemic underreaction to pervasive threats can be explained as an example of normalcy bias - while pointing out how ill served we are by allowing it to dictate our actions. 

- Alan Joseph recognizes that the deaths being caused by a lack of emergency care are the result of a conscious a policy choice on the part of governments who are simultaneously ignoring public health threats, and underfunding the health care system being hit with the consequences. Tara Kiran examines the limited availability of primary care for millions of Canadians, while Audrey Provezano makes the case to shift from a single-physician model of primary care to a team approach. And Megan Ogilvie tells the story of a family forced to endure a 350-kilometer flight to get their 4-year child to a functioning ICU. 

- Lourdes Juan offers a reminder that donations to food banks don't do anything to address the underlying causes of poverty and hunger. And Jerusalem Demsas points out that homelessness is an entirely unavoidable consequence of a failure to ensure people have access to housing. 

- Lloyd Alter reviews Matt Simon's A Poison Like No Other as an essential read on the dangers of plastics (and the failure of recycling to address them). And Christy Climenhaga reports on the melting of permafrost as both a result and a cause of our climate crisis. 

- Finally, Jason Herring reports on a new Ernst and Young study confirming the obvious point that public auto insurance leads to more affordable rates, while the policy choice of leaving insurance to market forces results in brutal price-gouging. 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Lisa O'Mary discusses the sharply increased risk of severe outcomes from a second (or later) COVID -19 infection. Lauren O'Mahoney et al. examine the large number of long COVID patients with unresolved symptoms. And Kyra Markov writes that Alberta (like so many other jurisdictions) has failed to learn any lessons from the pandemic to date, or take obvious steps to protect public health as it continues.  

- Max Fawcett offers a reminder that the CERB and other pandemic supports were mostly successful at achieving absolutely essential goals. Scott Martin calls out the corporate media for a targeted set of attacks on the CERB which helped to keep working-class people afloat, particularly as it pays relatively little attention to the larger amount paid out to employers in CEWS wage subsidies. And Ally Lemieux-Fanset discusses how a new era of austerity is likely to drive people back into poverty. 

- Meanwhile, James Tapper reports on new research showing how working-class people have far less opportunity to work in artistic careers than they did 50 years ago. And Don Wright questions why governments are choosing to drive down wages even while echoing corporate complaints about a "worker shortage"). 

- Finally, Doug Allan discusses how the Ford PCs have cut compensation for health care workers while claiming to be investing in health care by funneling money to the corporate sector. 

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Max Fawcett writes that the willingness to accept avoidable illness in children is an inescapable sign of an overall sick society, while Benjamin Mazer discusses how we're losing the race to fight COVID-19 with scientific discovery by limiting our own knowledge about an ongoing pandemic. Rong-Gong Lin Il and Luke Money highlight some of the steps which can help limit the spread of airborne diseases - though it's well worth noting how much more effective a focus on ventilation and prevention at a systems level would be. Matthew Cantor notes that masking in particular should be an easy call for individuals, while Bill Comeau makes the case for a mask mandate for those who have managed to retain some interest in preserving public health. And Harry Taylor reports on the sellout of strep A testing kits in the UK as another example of how leaving social health to the market results in little but windfalls for a lucky few, and shortages of essentials for the population at large.

- Thomas Walkom discusses why we can't presume that a 1980-style fix for inflation will accomplish anything but to inflict needless harm on workers. And Magdalena Sepulveda calls out the perpetuation of legislated poverty as the ruling class has chosen to impose the burdens of a pandemic - and more - on the people least able to afford it rather than taxing those with more than they know what to do with. 

- Meanwhile, Canadaland offers a reminder that we should consider every food bank as an unacceptable policy failure. 

- Finally, Steven Mufson and Timothy Puko report on the U.S. House investigation showing how the oil industry has blocked climate action while being fully aware of the damage that would do to our planet. But Harry Cockburn reports on the IEA's recognition that avoidable energy crisis caused by reliance on fossil fuels is giving rise to an accelerated transition to renewables.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Richard Smith highlights how there's no general connection between the cost of health care and patient incomes across different models of funding and delivery, but an obvious connection between profit motives and increased expenses which don't produce improved outcomes. 

- Meanwhile, K.J. Aiello discusses how increased discussion about the importance of mental health has all too often excluded the people facing the most severe illnesses.

- Jason Warick reports that the Moe government has chosen a program with a 26% graduation rate as the basis for online instruction across the province, signaling once again that it's more interested in promoting cronies' failures than anybody's successes. Jeremy Simes reports on the reality that a provincial tax agency will create increased costs for businesses and the province alike, with little apparent purpose other than to ensure that giveaways to the fossil fuel sector aren't rolled back through federal action. And Martin Been writes about the folly of eliminating both jobs and profits from public liquor stores in the name of an ideological crusade against non-corporate economic activity.

- Marc Lee discusses how the combination of higher consumer prices and higher interest rates is creating devastating effects on household finances (while capital takes advantage of both phenomena to goose its own returns).

- Finally, Emily Leedham exposes how the Globe and Mail's "top employer" awards represent little other than pay-to-play self-promotion which overlooks workplace abuse and even death to reward corporate sponsors. And it should be no surprise that the most notorious examples are found in the fossil fuel sector given its pattern of disinformation and deception in the name of preserving profits.

Friday, December 09, 2022

Musical interlude

Andain - You Once Told Me

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Philip Aldrick reports on the UK's belated recognition that long COVID likely bears responsibility for a massive and sustained spike in inactive workers. And Nora Loreto discusses how provinces have stopped reporting on COVID-19 deaths in institutional settings, meaning that we have less information now than two years ago about the risks and harm caused by the ongoing pandemic. 

- Meanwhile, the UK's chief medical officer's annual report focuses on the importance of reducing air pollution - both outdoors and indoors - if we have any interest in keeping people healthy. 

- Al Jazeera reports on another spill from the Keystone XL pipeline, this time into a creek in Kansas. Natasha Bulowski reports on the federal government's plan to end oil and gas funding overseas - as well as the exceptions and baked into any concept of limiting fossil fuel subsidies. And Marco Chown Oved discusses how the level of industry capture has reached the point where the Libs have chosen to put the natural gas supplier Enbridge in charge of running a home efficiency grant intended to wean people off of its core product. 

- Finally, Daniel Denvir interviews Nancy Fraser about the spread of capitalism into every aspect of our lives. Moya Lothian-McLean highlights her imminent eviction by a "good" landlord as an example of the folly of relying on corporate largesse to meet people's needs rather than fighting for the interests of the population at large. And Adam King writes that the labour movement needs to work on new means of organizing to boost union density and bargaining power. 

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Angella MacEwen discusses how the Bank of Canada is fighting a class war on the side of the rich by pushing to reduce employment and wages while corporations continue to profiteer off the backs of the public. And Armine Yalnizyan interviews Tiff Macklem about the choice to do so. 

- Jason Warick interviews Tony Dagnone about the need for Saskatchewan Health Authority board members to stand up for medicare rather than running interference for the Moe government's destruction of health services, while Mickey Djuric reports on the severe understaffing issues facing the province. Kyra Markov reports on another deadly week of COVID-19 in Alberta - both as a direct cause of death, and as an intolerable strain on an already-overloaded health care system. And Tina Yazdani reports on the Ontario family doctors who are abandoning patients due to their own intolerable workloads. 

- John-Baptiste Oduor interviews Tommie Shelby about the case for abolishing prisons, including the connections between incarceration and other means of oppressing vulnerable groups. But Thom Hartmann writes that the U.S. Supreme Court is going out of its way to facilitate and stoke bigotry. 

- Finally, Noah Smith is right to recognize the value of public utilities to both ensure a reliable power supply and support large-scale research - though it's sad that he has to see the concept as "wacky" rather than self-evidently desirable. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Belinda Smith writes about the effect COVID-19 has on the immune system - including its making subsequent infections more severe. Karen Landman makes the point (which seemed obvious until COVID denialists started undercutting the very idea of public health) that there's no such thing as a good cold. Lidia Morawska and Guy Marks ask why we're still ignoring the potential to limit the harm from COVID-19 and all kinds of infectious diseases through improved ventilation. And Spencer Kimball reports on the CDC's belated restoration of a mask recommendation as multiple respiratory illnesses run wild in the U.S.  

- Meanwhile, Jennifer Lee reports on the dire circumstances facing Alberta's children's hospitals (like so many parts of our health care system). And Andrew MacLeod reports on the evidence showing that Telus Health has been capitalizing on the lack of medical care by engaging in extra-billing. 

- Luke Savage discusses the growing number of Canadians living in hunger - and the choice to promote and entrench food banks rather than working to make sure they're not necessary. And Nicola Seguin reports on juxtaposition of a large number of empty rental units in Nova Scotia with over 6,500 households in need of a home, while Susan McNeil reports on the Moe government's similar failure to provide available homes in Saskatchewan. 

- Finally, Nahlah Ayed interviews Anand Giridharadas about the importance of persuading people of the importance of democracy and social awareness even if there's too wide a gap to reach agreement on policy. 

Monday, December 05, 2022

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Beth Gardiner discusses how the oil industry has long understood how much fossil fuels would damage the Earth's climate (even while fighting tooth and nail to avoid mitigating the damage). And Norm Farrell points out that the U.S.' worsening water shortages pose significant risks to Canada's food supply. 

- Dr. Chinta Sidharthan discusses how new COVID variants are becoming more and more resistant to existing vaccines. 

- The ILO studies wage trends around the globe over the course of the COVID pandemic to date, with real wage growth falling into negative territory while inequality worsens. But Sara Jabakhani reports on the Ford PCs' rejection of every single recommendation to prevent reoccurrences of a construction worker's death in a trench collapse as a prime example of how right-wing governments couldn't be less interested in the safety or well-being of workers. 

- The Star's editorial board makes the case for warning labels on alcohol in light of its outsized contribution to social harms. 

- Finally, Aaron Wherry discusses how Danielle Smith's obsessions with "sovereignty" over substance represents at best a game of political chicken. 

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Sunday Evening Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- The OECD issues a report on the importance of avoiding climate tipping points - and the reality that we're on pace to far overshoot them. Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood notes that lobbying on behalf of fossil gas is the latest version of climate denialism masquerading as pragmatism, while Stewart Phillip and others write that David Eby has to choose between responsible climate action and fossil fuel development. And Lylla Younes discusses the unusually high cost of extreme weather events and natural disasters which are becoming ever more common.

- The Globe and Mail's editorial board points out how some conservative governments have lost their minds - though there are plenty more cringe-inducing policies across right-wing governments which presumably had to be cut for space. Althia Raj asks why any principled conservatives who may still exist aren't calling out the combination of heavy-handed intrusion and abject dishonesty underpinning Danielle Smith's power grab. Don Braid points out that Alberta itself fought against a far more limited version of sub-legislative decision-making at the federal level just last year. And Martin Regg Cohn thinks that Doug Ford will pay the price for overplaying his own hand in trampling on Charter rights and democratic structures - though the evidence to date suggests little reason for optimism.

- Russell Lansbury discusses how Australia has moved toward sectoral bargaining which figures to ensure gains are shared widely among workers. But Luke Savage calls out the U.S. Democrats for trampling collective bargaining rights while pretending to be allies of the labour movement. 

- The Economist discusses how the deliberate elimination of public testing for COVID-19 is leaving responsible people to look to indirect measures like reviews of scented candles to determine current levels of spread.

- Finally, Oliver Darcy reports on the dramatic increase in hate speech on Twitter in the wake of Elon Musk's takeover.

Saturday, December 03, 2022

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Olha Puhach, Benjamin Meyer and Isabella Eckerle examine what we've learned about viral shedding from the COVID pandemic so far, while Bhanvi Satija reports on WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus' warning that we may face plenty more dangerous mutations if we keep pretending the pandemic is in the past. And British Columbia's lessons learned report (PDF) offers at least a somewhat substantial review of what governments need to be doing in order to be able to ensure public health during an emergency.

- Kate Bueckert reports on the continued expansion of food banks which were supposed to be a temporary relief measure, not a long-term alternative to an adequate standard of living. 

- Pratyush Dayal discusses the wave of Saskatchewan residents being evicted from housing due to cost pressures far beyond their control. And Jen St. Denis writes about the supports needed to keep people from falling into homelessness.

- Doug Cuthand writes that we should be funding safe consumption sites to reduce the harm from drug use - and not lending any credence to the politically-motivated messages of the anti-social parties bent on attacking them. And Euan Thompson, Ginetta Salvalaggio and Petra Schulz add supportive housing and safe supply to the list of policies which can end the drug fatality crisis.

- Finally, Simon Enoch offers a reminder that the Moe government's plans to shutter Saskatchewan's SLGA liquor stores represents the continuation of a longstanding policy of undermining public institutions, not a result of market forces. 

Friday, December 02, 2022

Musical interlude

Elderbrook - Beautiful Morning

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Umair Haque discusses why the 2020s are turning into a particularly bleak decade as people are buried under a perpetually larger mountain of debt to try to fund a reasonable standard of living while corporate predators privatize and exploit every available source of revenue. And Julia Davis and Winsome Hill discuss the unfairness of a tax system that's set up to enrich millionaires at the expense of working people, while calling for a wealth tax to set things right. 

- Rosa Saba reports on Jim Stanford's research showing that inflation is largely the result of soaring profits in a few opportunistic sectors including oil and gas. And Katrina Miller makes the case for a windfall profits tax to ensure that profiteering by fossil fuel companies doesn't lead to a wholesale transfer of wealth from the general public to executives and shareholders. 

- Oliver Milman warns of a flood of climate misinformation on Twitter while scientists and experts flee the site. And Emma McIntosh and Fatima Syed report on the findings of Ontario's Auditor General that the Ford government was already grossly underfunding its environment ministry before moving to gut legal protections. 

- Josh Lynn reports that the Moe government's response to the lack of family doctors taking patients has been to eliminate the public source of information which would allow people to contact them if they existed. And CBC News reports that New Brunswick's PC government has offered guidance on long COVID after being shamed into it by revelations of how it was concealing basic information from the people it was instructing to evaluate their own risk. 

- Finally, Emily Blake reports on the welcome news that Nunavut has reached the target of $10-a-day child care far in advance of the rest of Canada.