Saturday, December 10, 2022

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Richard Smith highlights how there's no general connection between the cost of health care and patient incomes across different models of funding and delivery, but an obvious connection between profit motives and increased expenses which don't produce improved outcomes. 

- Meanwhile, K.J. Aiello discusses how increased discussion about the importance of mental health has all too often excluded the people facing the most severe illnesses.

- Jason Warick reports that the Moe government has chosen a program with a 26% graduation rate as the basis for online instruction across the province, signaling once again that it's more interested in promoting cronies' failures than anybody's successes. Jeremy Simes reports on the reality that a provincial tax agency will create increased costs for businesses and the province alike, with little apparent purpose other than to ensure that giveaways to the fossil fuel sector aren't rolled back through federal action. And Martin Been writes about the folly of eliminating both jobs and profits from public liquor stores in the name of an ideological crusade against non-corporate economic activity.

- Marc Lee discusses how the combination of higher consumer prices and higher interest rates is creating devastating effects on household finances (while capital takes advantage of both phenomena to goose its own returns).

- Finally, Emily Leedham exposes how the Globe and Mail's "top employer" awards represent little other than pay-to-play self-promotion which overlooks workplace abuse and even death to reward corporate sponsors. And it should be no surprise that the most notorious examples are found in the fossil fuel sector given its pattern of disinformation and deception in the name of preserving profits.

Friday, December 09, 2022

Musical interlude

Andain - You Once Told Me

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Philip Aldrick reports on the UK's belated recognition that long COVID likely bears responsibility for a massive and sustained spike in inactive workers. And Nora Loreto discusses how provinces have stopped reporting on COVID-19 deaths in institutional settings, meaning that we have less information now than two years ago about the risks and harm caused by the ongoing pandemic. 

- Meanwhile, the UK's chief medical officer's annual report focuses on the importance of reducing air pollution - both outdoors and indoors - if we have any interest in keeping people healthy. 

- Al Jazeera reports on another spill from the Keystone XL pipeline, this time into a creek in Kansas. Natasha Bulowski reports on the federal government's plan to end oil and gas funding overseas - as well as the exceptions and baked into any concept of limiting fossil fuel subsidies. And Marco Chown Oved discusses how the level of industry capture has reached the point where the Libs have chosen to put the natural gas supplier Enbridge in charge of running a home efficiency grant intended to wean people off of its core product. 

- Finally, Daniel Denvir interviews Nancy Fraser about the spread of capitalism into every aspect of our lives. Moya Lothian-McLean highlights her imminent eviction by a "good" landlord as an example of the folly of relying on corporate largesse to meet people's needs rather than fighting for the interests of the population at large. And Adam King writes that the labour movement needs to work on new means of organizing to boost union density and bargaining power. 

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Angella MacEwen discusses how the Bank of Canada is fighting a class war on the side of the rich by pushing to reduce employment and wages while corporations continue to profiteer off the backs of the public. And Armine Yalnizyan interviews Tiff Macklem about the choice to do so. 

- Jason Warick interviews Tony Dagnone about the need for Saskatchewan Health Authority board members to stand up for medicare rather than running interference for the Moe government's destruction of health services, while Mickey Djuric reports on the severe understaffing issues facing the province. Kyra Markov reports on another deadly week of COVID-19 in Alberta - both as a direct cause of death, and as an intolerable strain on an already-overloaded health care system. And Tina Yazdani reports on the Ontario family doctors who are abandoning patients due to their own intolerable workloads. 

- John-Baptiste Oduor interviews Tommie Shelby about the case for abolishing prisons, including the connections between incarceration and other means of oppressing vulnerable groups. But Thom Hartmann writes that the U.S. Supreme Court is going out of its way to facilitate and stoke bigotry. 

- Finally, Noah Smith is right to recognize the value of public utilities to both ensure a reliable power supply and support large-scale research - though it's sad that he has to see the concept as "wacky" rather than self-evidently desirable. 

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Belinda Smith writes about the effect COVID-19 has on the immune system - including its making subsequent infections more severe. Karen Landman makes the point (which seemed obvious until COVID denialists started undercutting the very idea of public health) that there's no such thing as a good cold. Lidia Morawska and Guy Marks ask why we're still ignoring the potential to limit the harm from COVID-19 and all kinds of infectious diseases through improved ventilation. And Spencer Kimball reports on the CDC's belated restoration of a mask recommendation as multiple respiratory illnesses run wild in the U.S.  

- Meanwhile, Jennifer Lee reports on the dire circumstances facing Alberta's children's hospitals (like so many parts of our health care system). And Andrew MacLeod reports on the evidence showing that Telus Health has been capitalizing on the lack of medical care by engaging in extra-billing. 

- Luke Savage discusses the growing number of Canadians living in hunger - and the choice to promote and entrench food banks rather than working to make sure they're not necessary. And Nicola Seguin reports on juxtaposition of a large number of empty rental units in Nova Scotia with over 6,500 households in need of a home, while Susan McNeil reports on the Moe government's similar failure to provide available homes in Saskatchewan. 

- Finally, Nahlah Ayed interviews Anand Giridharadas about the importance of persuading people of the importance of democracy and social awareness even if there's too wide a gap to reach agreement on policy. 

Monday, December 05, 2022

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Beth Gardiner discusses how the oil industry has long understood how much fossil fuels would damage the Earth's climate (even while fighting tooth and nail to avoid mitigating the damage). And Norm Farrell points out that the U.S.' worsening water shortages pose significant risks to Canada's food supply. 

- Dr. Chinta Sidharthan discusses how new COVID variants are becoming more and more resistant to existing vaccines. 

- The ILO studies wage trends around the globe over the course of the COVID pandemic to date, with real wage growth falling into negative territory while inequality worsens. But Sara Jabakhani reports on the Ford PCs' rejection of every single recommendation to prevent reoccurrences of a construction worker's death in a trench collapse as a prime example of how right-wing governments couldn't be less interested in the safety or well-being of workers. 

- The Star's editorial board makes the case for warning labels on alcohol in light of its outsized contribution to social harms. 

- Finally, Aaron Wherry discusses how Danielle Smith's obsessions with "sovereignty" over substance represents at best a game of political chicken. 

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Sunday Evening Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- The OECD issues a report on the importance of avoiding climate tipping points - and the reality that we're on pace to far overshoot them. Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood notes that lobbying on behalf of fossil gas is the latest version of climate denialism masquerading as pragmatism, while Stewart Phillip and others write that David Eby has to choose between responsible climate action and fossil fuel development. And Lylla Younes discusses the unusually high cost of extreme weather events and natural disasters which are becoming ever more common.

- The Globe and Mail's editorial board points out how some conservative governments have lost their minds - though there are plenty more cringe-inducing policies across right-wing governments which presumably had to be cut for space. Althia Raj asks why any principled conservatives who may still exist aren't calling out the combination of heavy-handed intrusion and abject dishonesty underpinning Danielle Smith's power grab. Don Braid points out that Alberta itself fought against a far more limited version of sub-legislative decision-making at the federal level just last year. And Martin Regg Cohn thinks that Doug Ford will pay the price for overplaying his own hand in trampling on Charter rights and democratic structures - though the evidence to date suggests little reason for optimism.

- Russell Lansbury discusses how Australia has moved toward sectoral bargaining which figures to ensure gains are shared widely among workers. But Luke Savage calls out the U.S. Democrats for trampling collective bargaining rights while pretending to be allies of the labour movement. 

- The Economist discusses how the deliberate elimination of public testing for COVID-19 is leaving responsible people to look to indirect measures like reviews of scented candles to determine current levels of spread.

- Finally, Oliver Darcy reports on the dramatic increase in hate speech on Twitter in the wake of Elon Musk's takeover.