Saturday, April 02, 2022

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- The Star's editorial board weighs in on the reality that wishful thinking isn't a substitute for responsible public health measures as another COVID wave builds up, while the Globe and Mail rightly criticizes the politicians acting like the pandemic is over as the carnage reaches new peaks. Jillian Horton writes that governments have used the language of individual empowerment to leave us powerless. And Nancy Hansen and Shannon Sampert highlight how the irresponsible elimination of protections and accommodations is leaving disabled people behind. 

- Jeremy Appel writes about the need to take profit motives out of long-term care in Alberta (and elsewhere). 

- Deborah de Lange discusses the need to stop pouring money into fossil fuels, including through the gigantic carbon capture and storage subsidies being demanded by Canada's corporate establishment. Graham Redfearn calls out the blatant and false astroturf campaign aimed at extending the lifespan of combustion engines rather than transitioning to electric alternatives. And Justine Calma reports that instead of acquiescing in that type of fossil-driven policy, the Biden administration is invoking emergency legislation to facilitate the development and manufacture of battery technology. 

- David Olive rightly contrasts the proven and efficient renewable energy already available to us against the long-term, high-cost delay tactic of demanding we keep using fossil fuels until nonexistent small modular nuclear reactors magically become viable. 

- Finally, the Broadbent Institute highlights Ed Broadbent's comments on how Canada has long neglected economic, social and cultural rights. 

Friday, April 01, 2022

Musical interlude

Kavinsky feat. Kareen Lomax - Cameo

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Nicola Davis writes about the large number of people getting reinfected with COVID in the UK, while Andrew Gregory reports on new research showing that vaccines offer protection to people who have had COVID before. Zak Vescera reports on the rising rate of hospitalizations since Scott Moe decided we shouldn't worry our pretty little heads about public health protections and community case levels. And Ibolya Rutkai et al. study the stark neurological effects of even cases which do not result in respiratory symptoms in non-human primates.  

- Meanwhile, Bob Hepburn warns that Doug Ford's Ontario PCs are among the right-wing governments looking to use the pandemic as an opportunity to privatize health care. And John Clarke discusses the need for social resistance to austerity which seems all to likely to be imposed to suppress wages which still haven't kept up to inflation. 

- Charles Pierce writes about a new Wall Street Journal report on the highly suspicious pattern of stock price changes which results in shareholders getting less for large sales based on information about trades getting revealed in advance. 

- Finally, Michelle Gamage examines how Canadian banks continue to pour money into destructive fossil fuel projects, while Carl Meyer discusses how the finance sector is secretly lobbying against any climate disclosure. Environmental Defence takes a look at the massive subsidies already enjoyed by the fossil fuel sector in Canada (even as it demands tens of billions of dollars more). Emily Atkin and Caitlin Looby examine the drastic consequences of a half-degree of global warming which is likely within our control to avoid. And Stan Cox writes that we can't drill our way out of the violence and upheaval caused by wars rooted in reliance on dictator-controlled oil and gas. 

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Phil Tank writes that the Saskatchewan Party has only reluctantly held off on eliminating even what little information it still provided the public about ongoing COVID-19 infections in the midst of a new wave, while Laura Sciarpelletti reports the Moe government is ignoring the science demonstrating the importance of additional booster vaccines.  

- Ian Sample reports on the UK's belated recognition that it allowed companies to profiteer off of the COVID pandemic. And Melanie Bechard and Jasmine Gite write that we shouldn't let the underfunding and mismanagement of our public health care system be used as an excuse for privatization which will only further undermine service provision. 

- Matt Phillips reports that corporations managed to rake in record profits in 2021, while Alex Henderson discusses how the Koch brothers' fortune continues to be used to secretly undermine any attempt at democratic decision-making. Josh Bornstein notes that structural attacks on organized labour have exacerbated inequality in Australia, while Robert Reich writes about the emergence of the particularly dangerous class of mega-billionaires thanks to the consistent upward redistribution of wealth. And Michael Hiltzik makes the case for the type of billionaires' tax being proposed by Joe Biden. 

- Natasha Bulowski reports on the glaring flaws with the federal government's plan to rely on carbon capture and storage as a substitute for a transition away from dirty energy, while Max Fawcett writes that an industry which actually wanted to live up to its own PR would be doing far more to meet its environmental responsibilities. And Damian Carrington reports on the continued prevalence of "ghost flights" spewing carbon pollution for no reason.

- Meanwhile, Clean Energy Canada finds that electric vehicles are already more affordable to own than their fossil fuel-dependent equivalents. 

- Finally, May Bulman reports on the stark increase in deaths among homeless people in the UK. Rogan Bowen-Harper highlights the connection between food insecurity and pain-related hospital visits. And the Canadian Press reports on Saskatchewan Children's Advocate Lisa Broda's call for desperately-needed mental health and addictions services in order to avert the suicide crisis among teens in particular. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jennifer Rigby and Julie Steenhuysen report on the latest COVID-19 wave and its direct connection to the elimination of public health protections. Eric Topol writes about the role additional boosters may play in somewhat mitigating the second Omicron wave, while Paulina Kaplonek et al. find differences in vaccine immunity, suggesting that a variety of vaccines may produce more effective protection. The Karolinska Institute discusses how even mild COVID cases produce inflammation in immune cells which may last for months. And Charline McCone rightly asks why we're still missing basic answers about long COVID two years after it became a reality for large numbers of people. 

- Meanwhile, Bruce Arthur looks into Doug Ford's apparent retaliation against doctors who dared to warn the public about the dangers people face and the failure of their government to respond with even a modicum of caring or competence. 

- Jamie Henn makes the case for the oil industry to pay a windfall profit tax as people are required to pay increasing prices which bear no apparent relationship to any factor other than profiteering. Mark Chediak discusses the reasons for skepticism about hydrogen blending as a substitute for displacing fossil fuels, while Nicola Seguin notes that electric vehicles won't accomplish anywhere near as much as ensuring people don't need individual cars to move around their communities. 

- Finally, Tom Parkin writes about the Cons' anger over the NDP-Lib supply and confidence agreement which both moves Canada in a more progressive direction, and takes away their plan for constant election threats. And John Cartwright discusses the work to be done in turning an improved Parliamentary environment into lasting change for the better. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Furnished cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Adam Kleczkowski examines the effectiveness of COVID-19 interventions two years into the pandemic, while noting the importance of applying the precautionary principle in the face of uncertain but severe risks. Jillian Horton discusses how our aversion to thinking about danger has been exploited by the forces seeking to eliminate any protection against an ongoing pandemic, while Umair Haque highlights the devastating effects of COVID on the brain which we're just beginning to understand. And Lisa Steacy reports on the recognition by British Columbia Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender that the elimination of masking rules creates disproportionate and discriminatory risk for vulnerable populations.  

- Ketan Joshi reminds us of the role that oil and gas have played in building up Vladimir Putin's military threat to Ukraine. Richie Assaly reports on the reality that the best means of disempowering dictators is to stop relying on the non-renewable resources they control. And Greg Muttitt discusses the reality that all countries need to be working on phasing out fossil fuel extraction and use in order to avert catastrophic results. 

- Meanwhile, Matt Simon discusses the climate threat posed by the greenhouse gases which may soon be released by the melting of undersea permafrost. And Christy Climenhaga reports on the projections showing a future of increasingly widespread and severe droughts in Saskatchewan as another consequence of a climate breakdown.

- Finally, Robert Reich writes that raising interest rates won't help to avoid inflation caused by supply chain disruptions and corporate profiteering - but will ensure that working people are faced with wage stagnation and a recession along with all the other forces already arrayed against them. And Simon Enoch warns Newfoundland and Labrador against following the path of austerity and privatization which is making Saskatchewan and other conservative-controlled jurisdictions unliveable for so many. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Laura Spinney offers a reminder that the few places which actually made an effort at a COVID Zero strategy have fared far better than those trying to get a rightly-concerned public to accept COVID Unlimited. Nature points out the folly of eliminating the testing we need to know what risks we face in making both public policy and personal risk assessments. And Ariana Eunjung Cha reports on the similarities between long COVID and the brain fog associated with chemotherapy and Alzheimer's disease. 

- Nav Persaud points out that we won't make progress in improving prescription drug coverage without standing up to a sector making lucrative profits off of people's illnesses. 

- Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent discuss the connection between fossil fuel dependency and authoritarian politics - and the opportunities available to a political party willing to call it out. And the Economist's review of Eric Lonergan and Corinne Sawers' Supercharge Me discusses how carbon pricing alone won't get us where we need to go in order to avert climate breakdown. 

- Finally, Robin Sears is hopeful that the supply and confidence agreement between the NDP and Libs may hint at a more mature and cooperative political scene - though both the parties' history and the incentives created by a warped electoral system (which the Libs are unwilling to change) suggest we can't take that for granted.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Carly Weeks reports on the work being done to begin to understand and treat long COVID, while Erika Edwards reports on the profiteers directing people toward lucrative (if not necessarily effective) interventions where governments have failed to offer anything. Mario Canseco finds that more than half of Canadians are anxious about the political class' inexplicable decision to eliminate public health protections, while Bruce Arthur discusses the impossibility of mounting any effective fight against a pandemic while trying to pretend it's over. And Maiike Swets et al. find that in a particularly painful twist on attempts to minimize COVID as "no worse than a flu", the combination of the coronavirus and an actual flu produces particularly severe outcomes.

- Niki Ashton highlights how public ownership can serve as a level for effective climate action. John Vidal discusses Amory Lovins' work demonstrating that energy efficiency should be central to our carbon mitigation plans. And Maddelin McCosker and Danielle O'Neal report on the farce that is Australia's carbon credit scheme, as credits (and associated profits) have been handed out regardless of any contribution to emission reductions.

- Meanwhile, the National Post reports that the proliferation of plastics has reached the point where microparticles are contaminating human bloodstreams.

- Finally, Jon Queally discusses Joe Biden's laudable effort to ensure the wealthiest few in the U.S. contribute at least something toward funding a functional society.