Saturday, September 03, 2022

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Jennifer Ackerman reports on what Saskatchewan can expect from a COVID wave allowed to sweep across the province without precautions. Eva Ferguson points out that plenty of experts and parents alike are calling for protective measures in Alberta schools (to no avail in the face of the UCP's catering to the Flu Trux Klan). And Rob Ferguson discusses what's looming this fall in Ontario.

- Meanwhile, Matt Gurney writes that any substantial flu season will exacerbate the crisis in an undersupported health care system.

- Steven Greenhouse explores how younger workers are organizing and providing hope for a resurgence of the U.S.' labour movement, while Hayley Brown delves into the numbers showing how unionization leads to higher wages and improved benefits. And David Moscrop writes that only the most entitled and delusional employers can be surprised to see workers choosing not to work extra for no reward.

- John Smith notes that a punitive social housing regime should be taken as a canary in the coal mine for any democratic effort to meet the basic needs of citizens. Armine Yalnizyan points out Orangeville, ON's imminent implementation of free public transit as an example to note of how strong and freely available public services can benefit everybody. And Alexander Shevalier offers a reminder that universal pharmacare stands to both keep people healthier and save money.

- Finally, Michael Harris discusses the need to be wary of politicians looking to incite violence against journalists for doing their job of questioning the misuse of influence and authority - particularly in light of the disproportionate effect their rhetoric has on historically suppressed voices.

Friday, September 02, 2022

Musical interlude

CHVRCHES - Asking For A Friend

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Martha Lincoln writes about the needless harm caused by public health messaging about being people being "tired" of pandemic precautions which many (if not most) are entirely willing to take. Rachel Gilmore reports on the WHO's warnings about the continued human toll from COVID. And Patrick Rail warns that Ontario is careening toward a brutal eighth wave this fall, while Josh Rubin reports on the recognition that the elimination of any isolation period will only increase the number of worker absences caused by COVID.

- Alexander Quon reports that a shortage of workers continues to devastate Saskatchewan's health care system and put patients at risk. And Heather Ganshorn and Medeana Moussa discuss the problems with "privatization creep" being imposed on Saskatchewan schools by the Moe government. 

- Meanwhile, Russell Wangersky points out that Scott Moe's recent bloviating about basic environmental enforcement actually means complaining about federal action which he specifically demanded - not that we can expect any acknowledgment of such inconvenient realities from a government focused purely on posturing and hate-mongering. Jared Wesley discusses how that same philosophy has resulted in Jason Kenney's downfall. And Luke LeBurn reports on the latest revelations of threats to the lives of federal cabinet ministers as a result of the Flu Trux Klan which continues to be supported by the Cons and their provincial cousins. 

- Martyn Brown suggests that Anjali Appadurai's campaign for the leadership of the B.C. NDP should include a much stronger message about the need to build labour solidarity and challenge the dominance of the rich. Darren Shore discusses how Canada is being far outpaced by other countries in bringing in tax revenue from the wealthiest few. And Umair Haque writes that soaring energy prices - like so many unfair and frustrating elements of our world - are the result of an economic system designed to enrich a well-connected few. 

- Finally, Tameed Hawfiq reports on a new report showing how increased mercury levels are threatening human and animal life in the Arctic. 

Thursday, September 01, 2022

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Rachel Aiello reports on Health Canada's approval of COVID booster vaccines targeted at the Omicron variants. And Andrew Romano discusses the hope that the updated vaccines will result in a turning point in combating COVID - though getting enough people vaccinated to limit further spread and variation looks to be a serious challenge after months of messaging that people could move on from taking any precautions. 

- Owen Jones discusses how UK Con leadership frontrunner Liz Truss is one of the appalling number of right-wing politicians who values fossil fuel profits over human life, while Trevor Herriot calls out the Moe government's attack on the very concept of enforcing environmental laws. Geoff Leo exposes the case of a 14-year-old who died while under the "care" of social services. And Brody Langager reports on the work being done to push the Sask Party to fund harm reduction, while Zak Vescera offers a reminder that nobody can avoid the devastating effects of the drug poisoning crisis.  

- Alice Lee et al. study the increase in fuel poverty in the UK, while noting that a transition to clean energy would also reduce inequality of access and ensure a more stable supply. Mia Rabson reports on new research showing the particular ubiquity of toxic chemicals in dollar store products. And Damien Gayle reports on a new study showing how carbon capture and storage isn't part of the solution in trying to avert a climate breakdown. 

- Paul Prescod writes about the importance of unions in fighting for the rights and interests of minority workers. And Molly Smith reports on new research showing that single women without children are managing to accumulate more wealth than men in the same cohort - but those with children lag far behind other groups. 

- Finally, James McCarten reports on new opinion polling as to the main concerns of Canadians - with climate change and misinformation ranking as major public concerns even as so many right-wing politicians dedicate themselves fully to preventing any action on them. Aaron Wherry writes that political leaders need to part of the solution in ending rage farming as a political strategy - though there's plenty of reason for concern that the Cons and their allies only plan to keep pushing the envelope in lying to stoke anger, rather than taking anybody's advice to do what they can to avoid having people get hurt. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Liz Szabo examines how the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved - and the reality that the large number of infections in the Omicron wave is overwhelming the benefit of existing immunity.  And Andre Picard highlights how counterproductive it is to be eliminating Ontario's Science Advisory Table and other expert groups in the midst of a pandemic where ignorance has already seized an advantage over evidence-based precautions. 

- Meanwhile, Jane Greenhalgh and Selena Simons-Duffin report on the jarring drop in overall U.S. life expectancy due to the pandemic. Sarah Neville discusses the aftershocks of each COVID wave in increasing the risks of a myriad of other health conditions. And Carly Weeks reports on the drop in routine vaccination rates as anti-vax fanatics have applied their politically-cultivated disregard for public health to other diseases. 

- Justin McCarthy reports on the increasing public support for unions in the U.S., with over 70% of respondents approving of organized labour even in a generally polarized political environment. Caitlin Clark reports on the success of port workers in Tacoma in doubling their pay and securing better benefits and working conditions by unionizing, while Randy Thanthong-Knight reports on Unifor's push for wage increases following the election of Lana Payne. And Gregory Beatty discusses the potential for a four-day work week to improve health and work-life balance without affecting productivity. 

- Beatty also examines the Sask Party's attempt to push students into religious schools rife with abuse and scandal by cutting support for public education. And in the wake of public revelations of exorcisms at a Bible camp, Jason Warick reports that officials actually argued that they were necessary in the name of "spiritual warfare". 

- Nick French writes that the nonsensical and counterproductive response to student debt relief by U.S. Republicans only serves to signal how important and powerful a policy it is. 

- Finally, Pollara finds that a strong majority of Albertans are firmly opposed to both the goals and methods of the Flu Trux Klan (even as the UCP's leadership contenders go out of their way to cater to it). 

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Wrapped-up cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Kaylyn Whibbs reports on the entirely justified concerns of parents whose children have been unable to receive a COVID booster due to provincial neglect. And Dana Smith discusses how polio has managed to make a resurgence in the U.S. as the same anti-social attitudes and aversion to science which have allowed COVID-19 to run rampant are also reversing previous victories over preventable diseases. 

- Richard Wolff discusses how messaging about "economic policy" typically serves as a cover for class warfare (though it's worth distinguishing between corporatist policy serving only to enrich the wealthy, and development policy which actually seeks to help people). And David Climenhaga rightly calls out Jason Kenney for trying to lure unsuspecting workers to Alberta with the promise of wages he's actively working to suppress. 

- Kate Aronoff examines how Ron DeSantis and other right-wing demagogues are trying to eradicate the slightest trace of social responsibility from corporate governance in order to justify continued carbon pollution. And in case there was any doubt that the balance instead needs to tilt toward greater consideration for the public interest rather than a sociopathic focus on short-term profit, Peter Milne reports on the massive amount of money the Australian public will be paying to clean up a Chevron oil field. 

- Meanwhile, Shah Meer Baloch and Damian Carrington report on the devastating monsoon and flooding hitting Pakistan, while Michael Le Page reports on the unprecedented heat wave endangering millions in China. 

- Finally, Peter Wehner argues that we can't afford to give in to the fatalism of Trumpists (which holds as true in Canada as in the U.S.). But as Stephen Maher writes, there's little reason to think Pierre Poilievre and his ilk will do anything but continue to court and support violent extremism since it suits their own political ends. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

Monday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- Dayne Patterson reports that what little data Saskatchewan residents have to manage to risk of COVID is showing higher levels than have been seen in months. Sophia Tan et al. find that even while breakthrough COVID infections have escalated, prior vaccination (and particularly recent vaccination) has a substantial impact on reducing transmission. And Nili Kaplan-Myrth implores parents to ensure that children reduce the risk of spread by masking when they return to school. 

- Meanwhile, John Michael McGrath discusses why clean air may be the foundational public health advancement of the 21st century just as clean water was in the 19th century - though it's of course worth pointing out the forces seeking to reverse that progress. 

- Sharon Kirkey writes about the unmanageable burdens being placed on Canada's hospital emergency rooms - due largely to austerity in dealing with the health care system as a whole. And Zak Vescera reports that Saskatchewan is sharing the experience of other provinces in having ambulance service delayed by the wait to get patients seen in ERs.

- The Star's editorial board weighs in on the need to stop exploiting and abusing temporary foreign workers. 

- Finally, Ian Welsh discusses how our ongoing (and escalating) problems can be traced not to a lack of technological development, but to a failure to use the technology and resources we have for the betterment of people's lives. And David Sirota and Joel Warner highlight the need to end the flow of dark money which ensures that the U.S.' political system serves only the interests of the wealthiest few. 

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Wency Leung asks how much more of a human toll we're willing to accept in order to operate in denial of a continuing pandemic. And Phil Tank discusses how the Moe government has chosen to frame the constant stream of preventable disease and death as merely a monthly report beneath any direct comment or action.

- Zak Vescera has been digging into the shady history of the Sask Party-boosted churches and private which have been caught in a child abuse scandal - including their exploitation of donors, and their links to longstanding reporting of violence against children. 

- Andrew Longhurst points out the dangerous rise of corporate health care in British Columbia. And Frances Bula reports that the building of social housing alone hasn't been enough to help people who can't realistically be expected to avoid the myriad of pitfalls which can be used to throw them back out on the streets. 

- Sarah Jones writes that the real story behind "quiet quitting" is the near-universal expectation on the part of employers that workers will willingly suffer to the point of burnout. And Greg Jericho discusses how Australia is among the many countries where workers have been seeing little if any benefit from consistent productivity increases.

- Finally, Charles Rusnell reports on the right-wing rage farming behind the increasingly violent attacks on any political figure even faintly tethered to reality. And David Sirota offers a reminder how the U.S. is subsidizing the massive dark money network drowning out any meaningful political discussion with fascist propaganda.