Saturday, January 22, 2022

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Katharine Wu writes that contrary to the continued attempt by right-wing talking heads to equate mass viral transmission with immunity, we can't assume that the spread of the Omicron COVID strain will offer substantial protection from future infection. Kayla Rosen reports on new research showing the widespread cognitive dysfunction caused even by COVID cases treated as "mild", while Moira Wyton points out the "test trap" facing people with less-than-life-threatening symptoms who may not have access to the testing needed to support claims based on disabilities. And Danielle Groen discusses what would be needed for governments to be able to responsibly reopen - which (spoiler alert) means far more than simply asserting in the face of all evidence that the pandemic is over.

- Ben Cousins reports that a majority of Canadians are now having trouble feeding their families, making for an 18-point jump from just a few years ago. Umair Haque discusses how the greed of the wealthiest few is impoverishing everybody else, while Michael Schaub reviews Peter Goodman's "Davos Man" as a helpful reminder as to where wealth and power is currently concentrated. And Andrew Perez and David Sirota highlight how the Senate filibuster serves not as a democratic check, but as corporate America's kill switch to prevent any meaningfully progressive policy from being implemented no matter how necessary or popular.

- Tanya Talaga reminds us that deaths in house fires within First Nations are traceable to the poverty and deprivation which have been structurally embedded in communities. And Mitchell Thompson exposes how Tom Flanagan and his Conservative cronies continue to engage in brazen denial of the horrors of residential schools.

- Finally, Douglas Todd discusses how Singapore has implemented strong incentives against speculation in its housing market, and suggests that Canada pursue the same.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Musical interlude

Cowboy Junkies - White Sail

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Claire Horwell highlights how masking and other continued public health measures to rein in spread to the extent possible are the only way to avoid catastrophic results from the Omicron wave. Mickey Djuric reports on leaked modelling reaching the same conclusion based on Saskatchewan data (as well as the call by labour for public health action based on the science). Tyler Barrow talks to both Cory Neudorf and Alexander Wong about the painfully-misinformed spin being used by Scott Moe to avoid doing anything to keep people safe. And Alexander Quon interviews Nazeem Muhajarine about the Saskatchewan Party's choice to abandon any effort to even track, let alone contain, the spread of COVID. 

- Matt Keeling et al. study what circuit breaker policies can achieve in limiting infections as well as severe health outcomes. And Chansavath Phetsoupanth et al. find that people who suffer from long COVID can be expected to have long-term immunological deficiencies as a result. 

- Katharine Smart weighs in on how the pandemic has exposed the weaknesses caused by decades of neglect of our health care system. Nora Loreto points out how even the most immediate problems are primarily the result of neoliberal governments rather than individual anti-vaxxers. And Emma York discusses the shift toward for-profit health care as both a cause and consequence of the current crisis. 

- Tony Seskus and Kyle Bakx discuss the mountains of money being hoarded by fossil fuel companies even as they demand massive public subsidies, while Anya Zoledzowski reports on Shell's Quest plant as yet another example of a CCS project which only adds to carbon pollution even at massive expense. Gordon Laxer rightly notes that the UCP's spin about "foreign-funded" environmentalists represents nothing but blatant projection as Jason Kenney seeks to send more cash to foreign-owned petrogiants. And David Suzuki calls out climate-denying media for demonizing the people working on transitioning toward a sustainable society. 

- Finally, John Michael McGrath examines the preliminary findings of Ontario's housing task force -which would go some way toward encouraging multi-unit development, if doing so in ways which seem to cater more to developers than to people in need of homes. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- David Moscrop writes about the need for public policy which remedies inequality rather than exacerbating it - while recognizing that we're falling painfully short in response to COVID. Max Kozlov highlights how immune evasion, not a higher viral load, seems to be key to the Omicron variant's spread. And Christopher Murray discusses how global case rates are at their highest point yet - while any end to a pandemic as such looks to mean accepting a recurrent disease. 

- Zak Vescera reports that the Omicron wave continues to highlight longstanding shortages and weaknesses in Saskatchewan's hospitals. And Patrick Rail reports on the Canadian Medical Association's warnings about the consequences of delaying "elective" surgeries due to a virus that's been allowed to run rampant. 

- David Suzuki calls out the failure of our leaders to take meaningful climate action even in the absence of any rational argument against it. And Robert Tuttle reports on a push from scientists to avoid pouring public resources into carbon capture schemes designed to prop up a fossil fuel sector which can't be supported under any reasonable analysis.

- Rebecca Diamond and Enrico Moretti examine (PDF) U.S. standards of living by location, and find that the income available for people with less formal education is far short of what's necessary to maintain a reasonable standard of living in major cities.

- Finally, Yves Engler discusses how fighter jets and other big-ticket military expenditures are useless against any real-world threats to Canada.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Cory Neudorf asks that Saskatchewan not play Russian roulette with the Omicron COVID variant.  Rahul Suryawanshi et al. find that any theory of hoping for protection through infection is as foolish now as ever, since Omicron itself is limited in the immunity it encounters or provides against other variants. And Theresa Tam confirms the consensus that Omicron remains infectious for just as long as prior variants - making the push to shift people back to work sooner another example of wilful neglect of public health. 

- Meanwhile, Matthew Elmas discusses how Australia has slashed support payments to force gig workers to rush back to work rather than self-isolating. 

- Colleen Silverthorn reports on the desperate state of Saskatchewan long-term care homes fighting outbreaks among workers and residents alike. Laura Sang describes the brutal toll of a 16-hour hospital shift in the midst of a cresting COVID wave. And Laesa Kim is rightly outraged that her five-year-old daughter - like so many other people with other disabilities - is being sacrificed in the misplaced attempt to return to "normal". 

- Damian Carrington reports on new research showing that chemical pollution is yet another form of environmental damage which has crossed a boundary incompatible with a stable living environment. 

- Finally, Geoff Dembicki looks in depth at the manipulative police tactics and massive amount of public resources used to abuse women and undermine environmental activism. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Downturned cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Paul Kuodi et al. find some hopeful evidence that vaccinations may help to prevent long COVID symptoms as well as more acute ones. Nili Kaplan-Myrth rightly questions why safety is being treated as a privilege to be withheld from vulnerable people. And Yasmeen Serhan discusses how responsible leaders are challenging the anti-social actions of those who have chosen to remain unvaccinated, while Adam Hunter reports that Scott Moe's nonexistent public health response and insistence on coddling anti-vaxxers are being rejected by a growing majority of Saskatchewan's public. 

- Leyla Asadi, Raina MacIntyre, Lisa Brosseau and Trish Greenhaigh highlight the need to upgrade to respirators which effectively control the inhalation of viral particles. Josh Mark reports on John-Mark Opondo's call for people to self-isolate even with mild cold-like symptoms in order to reduce COVID spread. And Megan Ogilvie reports on Ontario's shortage of therapeutic drugs to treat COVID patients.  

- Taylor Lambert discusses the toxic mix of intimidation, disinformation and heavy-handed legislation that defines Jason Kenney's reign in Alberta - though one would be hard-pressed to find much basis for distinction from the governing philosophies of Scott Moe or Doug Ford. 

- Scott Schmidt calls out the familiar con being used once again by corporate spokesflacks to try to attack universality in health care. And Luke Lebrun reports on a new study documenting the Canadian Taxpayers Federation's deliberate choice to push racist messages and themes.  

- Matthew McClearn discusses how far Canada has to go in eliminating fossil fuel subsidies from a starting point of pouring more money into them than any other G20 country. And Amory Lovins and M.V. Ramana point out how a fully renewable power grid is entirely feasible with current technology - as long as we don't let climate deniers and corporate polluters set our energy agenda. 

- Finally, Joel Dryden reports on the effect of gig platforms on Alberta's labour market - including the reality that corporations are using apps as an excuse to avoid basic protections for workers who are actually their employees. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Anthony Fernandez-Castaneda et al. examine the long-term neurological and cognitive damage caused even by "mild" cases of COVID. Sally Cutler discusses the implications of the Omicron COVID variant remaining transmissible longer than previously assumed even as governments and employers are adamant about forcing people back to work while infected. And Laura Unger reports on the warning from scientists that Omicron is unlikely to be the last major variant of a disease that's been allowed - and even encouraged - to keep spreading and mutating. 

- CBC's Cross Country Checkup offers some needed attention to workers who are already burned out even as more onerous demands get pushed on them. And Nadine Yousif reports on the growth of alcohol-related illnesses as the industry exploits people's fatigue and desire to escape. 

- Larry Elliott reports on Oxfam's latest research into the preposterous concentration of money through the pandemic that has seen the ten richest men in the world get twice as wealthy - as well as its call for a tax on windfall gains to rein in inequality while funding a healthy recovery. Hailie Tattrie interviews Alyssa Gerhardt about the need for systemic fixes to corporate food price gouging. And Sam Bowman theorizes that a dedicated push to make housing available and affordable could help ameliorate many other problems as well. 

- Sam Adler-Bell discusses how the Republican attack against critical race theory reflects their refusal to accept the very existence of systemic inequality and oppression. 

- Finally, Yannic Rack reports that big oil is paying far less than its share of Canada's carbon price. And M.V. Ramana discusses how the spin around small modular nuclear reactors represents nothing but a climate delay tactic which bears no plausible prospect of resulting in any practical energy solutions. 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Katherine Wu warns that the worst of the Omicron COVID wave may happen even after case counts have peaked as continued spread (facilitated by people relaxing their prevention efforts) batters already-struggling health care systems. And Ingrid Torjeson discusses a new study from Japan suggesting that Omicron actually results in a longer viral shedding peak - meaning that the policies pushing people back to work earlier are resulting in their returning to workplaces when they're at their most infectious. 

- Eoin Higgins discusses how the experience of a crisis may push people to demand collective response to the problems which can't realistically be addressed at an individual level. And Saeed Kamali Dehghan reports on a new study showing the underreported climate emergencies which primarily affect the world's poorest populations.

- Meanwhile, Nick Pearce reports that the Boundary Dam CCS project is once again falling far short of even its own overpriced promises - even as the fossil fuel sector continues to demand tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to use a new set of CCS projects as an excuse to keep spewing carbon pollution.

- Zak Vescera reports on Scott Moe's choice to appoint an unqualified partisan hack to oversee the selloff of Saskatchewan's public health care system.

- Finally, the Globe and Mail's editorial board questions why the drug poisoning crisis is still being treated as an afterthought.