Saturday, May 07, 2022

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Naomi Grimley, Jack Cornish and Nassos Sylianou report on the World Health Organization's recognition that COVID-19 deaths far exceed official totals, while Sheryl Gay Stoberg reports on the Biden administration's warning that there are more deadly waves to come. Ian Froese reports that Winnipeg is already filling up hallways and staff lounges due to a lack of space for patients in the midst of the current wave, while Karen Bartko reports on the deterioration of emergency care at Edmonton's children's hospital due to the UCP's choice to place the burden of uncontrolled spread on the health care system. And Laura Osman reports that the Public Health Agency of Canada is just beginning to figure out how to track long COVID even as so many governments have decided to make it the expected future for large segments of their population. 

- Linda McQuaig writes that nobody with the intelligence and social awareness of a 5-year-old should be supporting a Ford government which has chosen avoidable death for so many people. And Fred Hahn and Angella MacEwen discuss how Ford is trying to buy voters off with shiny trinkets to get them to ignore the PCs' gross mismanagement. 

- Neel Dhanesha reports on the widespread pollution by plastic beads which is going unregulated even as it causes growing damage to wildlife and people alike. And Katharine Gammon reports on the U.S.' pitiful record in recycling even the plastic waste which it has chosen to document and regulate. 

- Natasha Bulowski reports on ShiftAction's research into the entanglement between fossil fuel companies and pension plans which has offered the industry roasting our planet with massive pools of capital. And Saphora Smith discusses how the UK Cons' political case against a windfall profit tax is indefensible even on the account of the oil companies who are actually taking the profits. 

- Finally, Marc Fawcett-Atkinson discusses the combination of commodity speculators and corporate profiteers who are inflating food costs for the general public. 

Friday, May 06, 2022

Musical interlude

Shallou - Here

#SKNDPLDR: Membership Deadline

I'll be posting more about the Saskatchewan NDP's leadership race in the days to come, including putting together candidate profiles and updating my campaign reference page.

For those interested in having a say, though, today is the last day to buy or renew a membership in order to have a say. So for those looking to influence the future course of the NDP and the province, now is the time to get involved. 

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Vaibhav Upadhyay and Krishna Mallela discuss the development of new COVID-19 vaccines, and the hope that they'll offer more protection as variants continue to evolve. Ofra Amir et al. examine the effect of booster vaccinations - finding that a third COVID vaccine remains effective at preventing severe disease, but that a fourth offers substantial additional protection. Siouxsie Wiles summarizes what we know about the rapidly-spreading BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants which appear to combine Omicron's infectiousness with Delta's propensity for infecting deep lung tissue. And Andreas Zollner et al. study the possible connection between viral antigens in the gut and long COVID. 

- Seth Klein calls out the Libs for a climate policy which relies on their traditional philosophy of doing nothing by halves which can be done by quarters, rather than serving as a meaningful response to the urgent need to avert climate breakdown. And as an example of how progress actually is possible through focused public action, Nick Romeo discusses how Oslo has managed to outpace nearly all other jurisdictions in its climate change policy through thorough carbon budgeting. 

- Avit Bhowmik and Neil Grant point out that trying to bolt carbon capture and storage onto business as usual is at best a delay tactic, while Chloe Farand writes about the fossil fuel sector's demand to put the public on the hook even for that fatally flawed concept. Frances Schwartzkopff and Natasha White report on the dishonesty of financial asset managers who have tried to claim to run green funds while refusing to count fossil fuel assets which are held passively. And Craig Welch writes in depth about the problems with relying on forests as carbon offsets when they're vulnerable to the very droughts and diseases exacerbated by climate change. 

- Finally, Max Sawicky weighs in on the recognition that the majority of inflation in the U.S. can be traced directly back to corporate profiteering. And Lindsay Owens offers an account of businesses' earnings calls in which they openly discussed plans to exploit consumers while falsely claiming they're responding to outside factors. 

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Eric Topol describes how COVID-19's infectiousness has been steadily increasing with time even as so many governments have gone out of their way to declare it to be over, while Reuters reports on new research showing that the Omicron variant is no less severe than its predecessors. Anna Edney writes about the children fighting the long-term effects of long COVID after being falsely reassured that they wouldn't be affected. And Eric Luellen discusses the prospect of a pan-coronavirus vaccine - which, like any other future possibility for prevention and treatment, seems rather hollow in light of current policy to encourage mass infection.  

- Alex Himelfarb writes that austerity is no cure for inflation - and that the proper answer to rising prices is to make sure people can weather them, not to abandon them to the whims of the market. And Heather Scoffield calls out the deliberate policy choice to let the corporate sector gorge itself on windfall profits while seeking to suppress wages the moment they had any prospect of catching up to price increases. 

- Alan Broadbent and Elizabeth McIsaac highlight how reliance on private-sector developers is a fatally flawed strategy to deal with the housing crisis. And Shaina Luck reports that one result of the NDP-Lib confidence and supply agreement is to ensure that funding intended for affordable housing actually provides it. 

- Leanna First-Arai discusses how the fossil fuel sector is trying to hold the U.S.' education system hostage. Geoff Dembicki points out that Canada's big banks are a major obstacle to an energy transition due to the money they've already sunk into dirty tar sands projects. And the Canadian Climate Institute studies how a rapid transition to renewable energy is both the most affordable and most environmentally responsible path forward in our power sector.  

- Matthew Cunningham-Cook writes about the systematic funneling of workers' pension funds into the hands of a few well-connected financial firms, turning the retirements of a large portion of the working class into a cash cow for a lucky few. 

- Finally, Alex Hemingway discusses the much-needed restoration of card check union certification in British Columbia in order to reduce the effect of employer interference and intimidation. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Alexander Martin reports on new research showing the cognitive effects of a severe COVID case can be similar to the effect of twenty years of aging. Moira Wyton discusses how the premature elimination of public health protection systematically excludes high-risk and immunocompromised people from any "new normal". Erin Prater reports on the rapid spread of new Omicron variants across the U.S. And Marla Broadfoot reports on the potential for nasal spray vaccines to provide more effective immunity against new variants - which would represent far more of a reason for hope if people weren't being deliberately subjected to mass infection before they're available. 

- Zak Vescera reports on a survey showing massive levels of burnout and dissatisfaction among the physicians dealing with the fallout from the Moe government's neglect. And Alexander Quon reports that even the small number of tickets issued for violations of Saskatchewan's public health rules have been nearly as likely to lead to a withdrawal as to a conviction. 

- Oliver Milman weighs in on the likelihood that the consequences of a climate breakdown will include an increased risk of future pandemics. And Helena Horton and Adam Bychawski report on the less-than-surprising revelation that the fossil fuel industry continues to fund dishonest climate change deniers in order to keep its stream of profits flowing. 

- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood offers his take on what's needed to ensure a just transition to a clean-energy economy in Canada. 

- Finally, Marjorie Griffin Cohen rightly criticizes the Libs' continued insistence on doing the bare minimum to strengthen Canada's desperately-strained social safety nets. And David Moscrop calls for the Libs to stop insisting that any development include a tithe to the corporate class through its financialized infrastructure bank. 

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cuddly cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Elisabeth McClymont et al. study the risks COVID-19 creates for maternal and perinatal outcomes, while Jessica Widdifield et al. find that vaccines are particularly effective at reducing the severity of COVID for people with immune disorders. Jacquie Miller reports on the calls from Ontario public health experts to reinstate masking requirements, while Zak Vescera reports on Haisam Haddad's warning that Saskatoon is far short of having the hospital capacity it needs. And Kristen McEwen highlights new research documenting the effect of the pandemic on mental health among young people. 

- Christopher Holcroft calls out Pierre Poilievre's complete lack of concern for people's suffering in the midst of a pandemic, while Dennis Raphael writes that the destructive response of the Ford PCs (among other governments) shows that social murder remains a gruesome reality. And Umair Haque writes that the record-breaking temperatures devastating India represent an introduction to an age of cataclysm which so many leaders are eager to deny or minimize. 

- Bob Lord and Frank Clemente write about the rise of "dynasty trusts" which are placing more billionaires' assets than ever out of the reach of any U.S. taxation. 

- Meanwhile, David Sirota and Andrew Perez discuss the con of means-testing which makes social benefits more expensive to administer and more vulnerable to political attacks. 

- Max Fawcett argues that Canada needs to call the oil industry's bluff as it demands ever more exorbitant subsidies to faclitate its continued generation of windfall profits and carbon pollution. And Cristen Hemingway Jaynes reports on the case scientists are making to cut down on plastic production rather than relying on ineffective recycling programs as the sole means of reducing plastic waste.

- Finally, Karl Nerenberg writes that the Ontario NDP (unlike its competitors) is offering a needed start in addressing the housing crisis, but that there's plenty more left to be done. 

Monday, May 02, 2022

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jeremy Corbyn writes that the cause of workers remains the greatest force for hope that we have. And Hannah Appel discusses the prospect of uniting the aligned interests of workers seeking to reduce the abusive use of concentrated corporate power in the workplace, and debtors with a similar goal in the marketplace.  

- Meanwhile, Michael Scherer and Sarah Ellison discuss the dangers of putting the most important conduits for information in the hands of the world's wealthiest men. 

- Jason MacLean writes about a May 3 day of action to push Canada to at least stop subsidizing continued carbon pollution, while Natasha Bulowski reports on the Libs' continued failure to deliver on the promise of a just transition plan. And Ben Elgin calls out the sketchy explanations for treating the continued presence of existing forests as a carbon credit which is then used as an excuse to allow for greenhouse gas dumping.  

- Finally, Jacqueline Howard tells the stories of people who are now facing severe and extended cases of long COVID even after seemingly mild (or even asymptomatic) initial infections. 

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Beatrice Adler-Bolton discusses how the U.S.' debate over the most basic of COVID-19 protections reflects fundamental choices as to whether people should have even the slightest respect for each others' health and well-being. Glen Pearson notes that a (however unjustifiable) willingness to accept protections in order to avoid needless COVID spread will necessitate other, far larger changes in how we live our lives. And Public Health Ontario offers (PDF) a look at the current state of knowledge about long COVID - including the reality that it's going to cause mass disability among people who have been infected even with "mild" cases.

- Igor Derysh calls out corporate profiteers for falsely blaming price increases on labour costs - even as it's profit shares and executive pay that have gone up disproportionately. And Ben Winck writes that U.S. workers actually faced substantial real wage cuts in the last year.

- Meanwhile, Darren Shore points out how Canada is lagging even behind the U.S. in ensuring that entertainment for the executive class isn't treated as a tax writeoff. 

- Nick Gottlieb discusses how the new climate denialism is wrapping itself in false assertions that we're already doing enough to avert a climate breakdown. Kate Aronoff writes that any subsidies to try to boost the immediate supply of fossil fuels should include strict controls to avoid long-term climate damage. And Nick Grover argues that we need to stop pouring money and resources into building highways which serve only to increase pollution and sprawl.

- Finally, Chloe Chaplain reports on the large number of young people who see themselves and their interests being completely neglected in the UK's political system. And Doug Cuthand writes that education is crucial to ensure that Indigenous people in particular are able to be full participants in Saskatchewan's future.