Saturday, July 16, 2022

Light blogging ahead

 Don't expect much from this space for the next week-plus. Enjoy your summer in the meantime!

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your Saturday reading.

- Jennifer Lee reports on the newly-released documents confirming that Alberta's lifting of COVID protections was purely a matter of political oneupmanship rather than reflecting any expectation that people's health wouldn't be harmed. And Andrew Dansby writes about Peter Hotez' recognition that the fallout from COVID-19 will be felt for years even after the ongoing pandemic finally recedes, while Emily Elpert Reyes discusses warnings from health providers about the dangers of working through COVID.  

- Andre Picard writes about the British Columbia Court of Appeal's affirmation of the validity of a universal public medical care system, while noting that we have plenty of work to do to ensure we have one that keeps us healthy.

- Ian James writes about the depletion of the Colorado River as a painful example of people's refusal to take even modest precautions in the face of readily-foreseeable catastrophe. And David Cooper makes what's all too likely to be a futile case for a dirty oil industry swimming in windfall profits to take responsibility for cleaning up its own environmental destruction.

- Drew Anderson examines the realities of a Lake Diefenbaker irrigation expansion scheme - including the risks which have been ignored as the Moe government barges ahead with plans from half a century ago. And Easton Hamm reports on the increasing wildfire risk in Saskatchewan due to the climate breakdown which the Sask Party is so determined to fuel.

- Finally, Christopher Nardi reports on the embarrassment of federal Environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault trying to use passenger rail for a promotional tour, only to learn that service is no longer available for much of the country.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Musical interlude

Kalax feat. Pyxis, Jay Diggs - Out of Time

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Ricardo Duque Gabriel et al. examine how the costs of austerity extend beyond the human toll of diminished well-being to include the undermining of trust in democracy.

- In case we needed to see the breakdown of trust in action, Dayne Patterson reports on the Kamsack protest against the Saskatchewan Party's shutdown of the local acute care beds (among other rural health facilities). And Colin Butler reports on a pateint left for days in a temporary hallway space with a shattered leg as the Ford government continues to focus on privatizing health services rather than keeping them functional. 

- The WHO and UNICEF offer a warning that there are tens of millions of childhood vaccinations left undone over the past two years which need to be completed to avoid illness and death from other preventable diseases.

- Finally, Zoe Tidman reports that the UK is facing its first-ever Level 4 heat emergency. CBC News reports that Lytton, B.C. is once again facing evacuations in the face of an uncontrolled wildfire. And Umair Haque discusses how we're sleepwalking into a climate catastrophe despite the flashing red indicators all around us.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Glenn McConnell reports on New Zealand's continued leadership in acknowledging and fighting the avoidable spread of COVID-19. Arwa Mahdawi discusses why nobody should be bragging about continuing to work through a disease which requires rest to maximize one's recovery. 

- Peter Zimonjic reports on Statistics Canada's temporary drop in inequality when COVID benefits were relatively widely available - which surely explains the determination of the Cons and their provincial cousins to make sure nothing of the sort is ever put in place again. 

- Lijing Cheng et al. study historical trends in ocean heat content and find that our planet is in fact warming faster than previously known. Andres Picon writes about the deadly combination of heat and air pollution. And John Woodside discusses the connection between the oil and banking sectors which continues to result in money being funneled toward climate breakdown.

- David Dayen weighs in on the harm being done to the public by profiteering railroad operators. And Robin Shaban and Yunuz Emre Bozkurt discuss the importance of more public ownership - in substance as well as form - to ensure people's telecommunications needs are met. 

- Finally, Andrew Coyne writes that premiers can't expect to be handed gobs of new health care money without some commitment to ensure it gets put to its intended use. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- SBS News reports on the WHO's warning that not only is the COVID-19 pandemic far from over, but cases are spiking globally. And Mike Lapointe reports on the work of at least some political leaders - notably including NDP MP Don Davies - to push the federal government to both take preventative action to limit spread and address the growing crisis of long COVID. 

- Gabriela Calugay-Castilla writes that the lack of paid sick days forces people to choose between necessities in trying to provide the necessities of life without making themselves and others sick. And Katherine Scott discusses how women continue to bear the brunt of the effects of the pandemic. 

- Doreen Nicoll writes about the need to measure public policy generally based on social health outcomes rather than GDP and profit levels. 

- Isabella O'Malley reports on the revelation of a large hole in the ozone layer over tropical regions of the Earth. Carey Gillam reports on research finding that 80% of Americans tested have detectable levels of the weedkiller glyphosate in their systems. And Tom Perkins explains how EPA tests likely severely underestimate the pollutants found in U.S. water.

- Finally, Liam O'Connor discusses the increasing concentration in ownership of Saskatchewan farms, as the economics of a corporatized sector leave no room for people to operate smaller farms even as a few wealthy people look to farmland as an investment. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Snuggly cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Yasmine Ghania reports on the wastewater analyses showing that Saskatchewan is facing a new COVID-19 wave. Ed Yong discusses how the BA.5 wave looks to be the first one dominated by reinfections. Elliot Aronson and Carol Tavris highlight the cognitive dissonance which has undercut any reasonable evaluation of risk through an evolving pandemic. And Hannah Kuchler writes that more than a billion vaccine doses may have been wasted since they were developed, with the donation of expiring doses to lower-income countries looming as a major culprit. 

- Meanwhile, Andre Picard writes that Canada's shortage of family doctors won't be fixed with one-time cash incentives.

- James Dyke points out the need to recognize that we're on a trajectory to severely overshoot the 1.5 degree threshold of climate breakdown, and do everything we can to reduce our dirty energy use accordingly. But Helena Horton reports on the abysmal MP turnout for a special UK Parliamentary briefing which was seen by activists and party leaders alike as a profoundly important opportunity to build consensus on climate action. 

- Finally, Mel Buer notes that railroads are just another example of corporate-controlled logistical infrastructure being used to extract windfall profits at the expense of both workers' well-being and consumers' access to needed goods. And Joan Baxter reports on how Northern Pulp and its owners are using creditor protection to avoid meeting their own liabilities while simultaneously litigating to extract hundreds of millions of dollars from Nova Scotia. 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Farah Hancock offers an informative look at the circumstances where people are most likely to share air in ways that results in COVID transmission. And Nam Kiwanuka highlights the need for messaging about the ongoing pandemic which is both internally consistent, and paired with action to enable people to protect themselves and others. 

- David Moscrop is optimistic about some gains being made by the labour movement in Canada and the U.S. in both achieving certification, and winning public policy improvements. And Sara Mojtehedzadeh exposes more of Uber's tactics to avoid employment standards and exploit its drivers, even while cynically claiming to be offering them opportunities. 

- Diane Abbott rightly argues that the UK Cons as a whole need to answer for the gross dereliction of duty which has led to Boris Johnson's departure - a point which applies equally to the conservative parties in Canada who believe that shedding a single leader entitles them to a clean slate for decades of disastrous choices.

- Finally, Bill Gillies writes about the need for change from an electoral system which allows minorities of voters to stake a party to absolute power. 

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- The Economist reports on new research estimating that COVID-19 vaccines saved 20 million lives in their first year of availability - though that reality makes it all the more galling that there's been so little progress both in ensuring greater availability of existing vaccines for lower-income people, and developing new versions to address the flood of variants. Alice Park discusses why it's important to vaccinate the young children whose doses have only recently been approved. And Rick Howe writes that the elimination of any public health measures in the midst of a raging pandemic leaves the inescapable impression that we don't value the lives of immunocompromised people.

- Stephen Wentzel reports on Niki Ashton's push to ensure that the Canada Revenue Agency uses its resources to crack down on tax avoidance by the wealthy, not to add injury to insult for CERB recipients. 

- Sam Pizzigati offers a reminder that obscene wealth is invariably the result of a combination of luck and ruthlessness. And Michael Grabell reports on a stark example of both being torqued to extreme levels, as shipping and transportation magnates are extracting massive windfall profits from their own refusal to cooperate with customers. 

- Qingchen Chao and Wang Yang estimate China' viable renewable energy production at four times the amount of power needed to meet all current global electricity demand. And Simon Evans reports on the latest UK wind power contract which has produced prices a fraction of the cost of fossil fuel gas generation.

- Finally, Umair Haque discusses how the U.S.'s obsession with constant self-reliance and competition leads to ambient stress for everybody.