Friday, December 29, 2023

Musical interlude

Sofia Kourtesis - Madres

Friday Afternoon Links

 Assorted content to end your 2023.

- Shannon Hall discusses new research showing that the positive effects of COVID-19 vaccination include a reduction in long COVID in children. And Erin Prater warns about the building Pirola wave which is already causing record-high infection levels in some countries. 

- Meanwhile, Carly Weeks reports on the dire state of Canada's health care system even before that wave crests. And Larissa Kurz details the cascading failures within Saskatchewan's emergency care system, as the spillover effects from overwhelmed and under-resourced hospitals and emergency rooms has led to a lack of ambulances available for people in urgent need of care.  

- Lucy McAllister et al. examine the coverage of climate issues in English-speaking countries, with the National Post getting called out as inflicting particularly inaccurate coverage of the climate breakdown including more outright denialism than any other outlet. 

- Emily Chung reports on new data showing the industries which spew the most carbon pollution in each of Canada's provinces and territories - with fossil fuels taking the top spot in most jurisdictions due to factors including oil and gas production, coal-fired power and vehicular fuel consumption. And Shawn Fluker, Drew Yewchuk and Martin Olszynski discuss the Alberta Auditor General's conclusion that the Alberta Energy Regulator has failed to meet any outstanding recommendations to ensure that polluters pay the cost of closing down oil and gas well sites.  

- Finally, Sally Younger discusses how warming Arctic waters are resulting in yet another climate feedback loop as more melting results in increased carbon dioxide releases. And Alec Luhn reports on the climate-driven releases of iron and sulfuric acid which are turning many of Alaska's rivers most pristine rivers into a rusting orange froth. 

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Thursday Night Cat Blogging

Cat in perspective.

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jessica Wildfire offers a reminder of the breadth and depth of harm continuing to be caused by COVID-19. Julia Doubleday calls out the role of the media in normalizing perpetual reinfection, while Arijit Chakravarty and T. Ryan Gregory discuss the importance of naming things in the context of the termination of any effort to identify new variants for public awareness purposes. And Paul Withers reports on new research warning of the potential for a COVID-related heart failure pandemic, while Stephanie Soucheray discusses the revelation that brain injury markers show up in the blood even of people who are lucky enough to avoid neurological symptoms during the acute phase of COVID. 

- Chris Russell and Joel Tansey interview Akshat Rathi about his optimism based on the reality that it's now cheaper to fund a clean energy transition than to keep spewing the carbon pollution that's causing a climate breakdown. And Amanda Stephenson discusses the potential for geothermal energy to be a major part of Canada's transition. 

- But Graham Thomson offers a reminder that Danielle Smith and other petropoliticians are determined to spend obscene amounts of money on laughable promises of carbon capture and storage in order to avoid the affordable and feasible path to clean energy. And Ainslie Cruickshank reports that Fernie, B.C. is now searching for potable drinking water due to the ongoing leaching of selenium from a Teck Resources coal mine. 

- Finally, Katharina Maier, Carolyn Greene, Justin Tetrault and Marta-Marika Urbanik make the case to treat violence targeted at unhoused people as a hate crime. And Kyle Swenson reports on the right's attempts to systematically punish both people facing housing challenges and the communities who make any effort to help them. 

Friday, December 22, 2023

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jackie Ruryk reports on the push by public health officials to have people take precautions against COVID-19 and seasonal illnesses only after there's already been a massive degree of uncontrolled spread. And Alanna Smith exposes how Danielle Smith's UCP is so deeply in denial as to have ordered any reference to COVID-19 or seasonal influenza to be removed from a fall public awareness campaign.  

- Matthew Rosza juxtaposes the increasing urgency of trying to avert a total climate breakdown with the U.S.' continued expansion of fossil fuel production and associated carbon pollution. Jessica McKenzie interviews Raymond Pierrehumbert about the dubious spin from the fossil energy sector which attempts to lock in long-term production (and associated spewing of greenhouse gases) with the promise of limited cuts to operational emissions. And Graham Redfearn reports on a new analysis confirming that in Australia (like elsewhere) renewables offer the prospect of a far quicker and more affordable transition to clean energy than a bet on future nuclear development. 

- David Zipper examines how vehicle bloat has pushed U.S. pedestrian fatalities to levels not seen in over four decades (among other pernicious effects on public health and safety). 

- Jim Stanford weighs in on the connection between corporate profiteering and increase food prices. And Andrew Stevens points out how unionization helps to counter corporate power and give workers a better deal in terms of both wages and working conditions. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow takes a look at the material entering the public domain in 2024, while lamenting how cultural monopolists continue to abuse intellectual property rules and in some cases destroy works before they're ever freed. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Katherine Wu discusses how the U.S. is facing a particularly grim set of winter illnesses as people have failed to get vaccinated against known threats, while Lauren Pelley reports on the low number of Canadians who got new COVID-19 vaccines this fall. Ewen Callaway writes that inhaled COVID vaccines may be able to shield against infection and spread. And Daniel Altmann and Christina Pagel point out that there's ample potential for controlled trials in treating long COVID - but seemingly little appetite to pursue them. 

- Christopher Ketcham points out that climate breakdown is just one of the problems with an economy system based on perpetually increasing extraction and waste emission. And Robert Constanza singles out the blinkered focus on economic growth as an obstacle to the pursuit of sustainable well-being. 

- Meanwhile, Shannon Osaka writes about the consistent pattern of refusal to take even the most basic steps to transition away from reliance on dirty energy. Kurt Zenz House, Josh Goldman and Charles F. Harvey highlight how direct air carbon capture schemes serve no useful purpose (except to the extent they allow denialists to pretend there's a magical solution just around the corner). And Geoffrey Diehl discusses how reliance on that type of wishcasting is one of the main problems with the work product from COP28. 

- Finally, Aishwarya Dudha reports on Jim Clifford's observation that Saskatchewan would have no problem building enough electrical infrastructure to fit with the federal government's timeline for EV adoption if it weren't governed by compulsive obstructionists. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cat with company.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Ryan Meili discusses how a blinkered focus on austerian "efficiency" and exit strategies prevents the development of care systems capable of meeting long-term needs. And Dione Wearmouth reports on the fallout from the UCP's insistence on putting performative politics over even those restrictive policy goals. 

- David Climenhaga points out that Danielle Smith's reflexive Trudeau-bashing has reached the point of actively criticizing her own government's actions where they're approved of by a federal department. And Arno Kopecky offers a reminder that it's the greed of the Cons' corporate backers - not a carbon tax which is more than fully rebated for most people - that's made life ever less affordable for Canadians. But Alan Westwood, Manjulika Robertson and Samantha Chu discuss how the experts who could better inform the public about the urgency of the climate crisis and the viability of the available solutions are being muzzled. 

- Dan Zakreski reports that the Moe government's idea of investing in supportive housing is to take over and clear out a building with over a hundred tenants so it can be flipped (presumably for a friendly developer's profit).  

- A.R. Moxom discusses how fascists use denial and both-sidesing to play the victim while avoiding answering for their eliminationism. 

- Finally, Katie Baker rightly questions how a steady stream of prosecutions of previous crypto pitchmen has had little apparent effect on people's willingness to throw money at the concept. And Cory Doctorow notes that the key question in evaluating AI isn't whether it's a bubble at all, but what type of bubble it will prove to be. 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Geoffrey Johnston examines how the latest wave of COVID-19 is swamping Ontario's health care system while its cumulative effect is reducing life expectancies. Philip Moscovitch discusses the dangers of repeat COVID infections. And Zaki Arshad, Joshua Nazareth and Manish Pareek offer a reminder that the same vaccination, masking, and testing which have been vital to limiting the spread of COVID for the past three years remain so now even if they're being treated solely as individual choices rather than ongoing public health necessities. 

- Martin Lukacs interviews Eriel Deranger about what happened at COP28, with fossil fuel interests and their fully-owned politicians looking to block progress at every turn. And Binoy Kampmark points out that the end product is both non-binding, and ineffective even to the extent it were treated as having any effect (as also noted by the experts surveyed by Carolyn Gramling).

- Topher Sanders et al. expose the combination of bullying and bribery used by major rail companies to prevent the accurate reporting of worker injuries so they can avoid safety regulation and keep dangerous conditions in place. 

- Finally, Kenan Malik discusses how the hesitancy to challenge the class power of the wealthy has sapped politics of any meaningful effect. And while Rachel Cohen's interview with Brent Cebul rightly challenges the neoliberal view that the sole focus of policy development should be to gesture toward a given problem as cheaply and profitably as possible, it's worth noting the problem with trying to co-opt business interests by handing them even more money and power. 

Friday, December 15, 2023

Musical interlude

Bully - Days Move Slow

Friday Morning Links

 Assorted content to end your week.

- Damian Carrington confirms the consensus among climate experts that the outcome of the fossil-dominated COP28 was an utter failure, while Paige Vega interviews Bill McKibben about the reality that it's long past time to be counting on empty and vague words to reverse a breakdown in progress (and the continued carbon pollution which is exacerbating it). And Alaa Al Kourdajie, Chris Bataille and Lars Nilsson warn that weasel wording is likely to be used as an excuse to actually expand production and pollution. 

- Rob Miller discusses how carbon capture and storage is far less effective and more costly than shifting to existing renewable energy technology - meaning that the fossil fuel stooges hyping the former and seeking to suppress the latter can only be treated as climate vandals. And Anna Aglietta highlights how the addiction to constantly growing extraction is at the root of both the climate crisis and the failure of efforts to combat it.  

- Tammy Robert exposes how the Saskatchewan Party has destroyed the province's crop insurance system by taking insurance premiums into general revenues - even as it's also managed to blow up the provincial budget and destroy public services. 

- Finally, Yan Jie, Taeyoung Choi and Ziyad Al-Aly find that the long-term outcomes from COVID-19 remain far more severe than those from seasonal influenza. And the John Snow Project points out Statistics Canada's survey results showing that nearly everybody will know somebody who has suffered from long COVID - even if that reality has rarely been acknowledged. 

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jessica Wildfire examines how employees are being illegally forced to put their health at risk by employers determined to impose policies which facilitate the spread of COVID-19. And Craig Ellingson and Chelan Skulski report on the Alberta Medical Association's warning that the province's health care system is on the verge of collapse, while Timm Bruch reports that the UCP is trying to spin naturopathy and other quackery-for-profit as a substitute for the availability of public health care. 

- Jake Bittle calls out the large number of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP28, while Nina Lakhani reveals that hundreds of the attendees charged with working out a global response to the climate crisis have a history of actively denying its existence. So it's no surprise that the output has been grossly insufficient - according to the International Energy Agency as well as other expert participants. And Oliver Milman reports on the continued establishment focus on magical future technology as a substitute for near-term cuts to carbon pollution. 

- Andrew Nikiforuk points out that Alberta bears the dubious distinction of having the world's single most harmful methane leak. And Bob Weber reports that Saskatchewan too continues to report fictitious figures while spewing far more methane than it's bothering to measure. 

- Ryan Hogg reports on new research by IPPR and Common Wealth showing that large companies predictably capitalized on messaging about inflation by extracting massive windfall profits far exceeding any increase in costs. And Trevor Tombe and Jennifer Winter discuss the Canadian twist on  the exploitation of inflation to further enrich the already-wealthy, as the Cons use a false narrative blaming carbon pricing rather than corporate greed to try to transfer even more wealth to the top. 

- Christopher Cheung examines how the non-profit industrial complex is a poor substitute for public programs with the resources to meaningfully address social needs.

- Finally, Ian Kreitzberg reports on the UAW's ambitions to organize every automaker in the U.S. to spur broad-based gains in wages and working conditions.

Friday, December 08, 2023

Musical interlude

Elderbrook - Numb

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Matthew Rosza reports on the continued toll of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including over 1,000 deaths per week in the U.S. alone along with massive numbers of hospitalizations. Lauren Pelley highlights how health care workers are being burdened with unmanageable case loads and understaffing due to their own illnesses as part of the post-acknowledgement-of-COVID "new norm", while Louella Vaughan and Nigel Edwards implore governments to reverse the trend of emergency services being shuttered for lack of staff. And Joe Vipond, Julia Wright and Dan Furst rightly argue that it's long past time to recognize that the determination to operate in denial of COVID in the name of the almighty dollar has proven disastrous for the economy and public health and well-being alike.  

- Victoria St. Martin reports on the recognition at COP28 that air pollution linked to fossil fuel consumption produces devastating health impacts in addition to precipitating the ongoing climate breakdown. But Soma Marla discusses how fossil fuel conglomerates are dictating the conference's agenda, while Arthur Zhang points out how the oil and gas sector is singlehandedly destroying any hope Canada might have of living up to its climate commitments. 

- Pete Evans reports on the latest Parliamentary hearings into food prices - featuring Loblaws and Walmart both trying to enshrine "the nastiest of men for the nastiest of motives will somehow work for the benefit of all" as a settled foundation for public policy.

- Finally, Cory Doctorow warns about the trend of manufacturers unilaterally removing features and downgrading products even after consumers have already bought them - and points out how the law perversely encourages that consumer abuse. 

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Adam King discusses how governments and employers have memory-holed some of the most important lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic as to the need for paid sick leave to ensure workplaces don't exacerbate the spread of dangerous diseases. 

- Debbie Cenziper, Michael Sallah and Michael Korsh examine how the FDA put millions of people at risk by failing to regulate the use of tainted breathing machines. And Carey Gillam reports on new research showing how the use of glyphosate herbicide endangers pregnant women and their children even who merely live near fields which have been sprayed. 

- Joe Vipond discusses how an actual cap on carbon emissions would have massive spillover health benefits, while Arthur Neslen reports on a push to put climate policy in the hands of experts rather than politicians and their donors. But Peter Zimonjic reports that the Libs are instead watering down existing targets for the oil and gas sector (even setting aside their continued blithe ignorance of emissions at the consumer level). 

- Meanwhile, Carl Meyer points out the recognition by the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and Greenpeace Canada that there's no effective plan to counteract fossil sector greenwashing. And Ani Dasgupta sets out the crucial myths which have been exploited by the oil and gas sector to excuse the continued expansion of an industry which is already the leading cause of an ongoing climate breakdown. 

- Robson Fletcher talks to Trevor Tombe about the distributional impact of the carbon tax currently on the books - with the inescapable conclusion being that the Cons are looking to hand free money to the rich rather than helping those who are less well off. And Tracy Smith-Carrier examines the myths used to perpetuate poverty and block wide-scale implementation of a basic income. 

- Finally, David Climenhaga rightly notes that the Alberta NDP should have far more important things to do than to pursue a name change. (Though I'd raise an additional point on the futility of rebranding: to the extent the UCP's mantra of a "Trudeau-Notley-Singh alliance" carries an ounce of weight, the inclusion of the Trudeau Libs signals that nothing about a different party name or structure will change the messaging one iota.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Monday, December 04, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Nandini Gautam discusses the World Health Organization's research showing how COVID-19 damages the human immune system. And Adam Kucharski takes a look at historic accounts of the 1918-19 influenza pandemic as a grim foreshadowing of how history books will look back on the public policy response to COVID. 

- Doug Cuthand calls out the Moe government as falling squarely into the group of obstructionist governments looking to derail COP28 and any other work to avert a climate breakdown, while Jeremy Appel examines the idiocy of Danielle Smith's invocation of a Sovereignty Act to try to avoid any path to reducing emissions from the power sector. Chris Kruszewski and David Ellis point out how the wealthiest and greediest few are the only people who benefit from false solutions and delay. And Arielle Samuelson documents some of the fossil fuel lobbyists who are being allowed to set global climate policy, while Jon Queally points out the particular absurdity of a fossil fuel-sector greenwashing effort based on gradually reducing only the carbon pollution caused by the extracting of fuel intended to release massive amounts of CO2 into atmosphere when it's burned. 

- Clarrie Feinstein reports on the reality that condo construction in Toronto is doing nothing to alleviate the housing crisis when half of the units are being snapped up as investment properties. And Liam Casey reports on the Ford PCs' conclusion that it's far too inconvenient for construction firms to face an investigation into *every single fatality* on their work sites, such that deaths will be lumped together as part of what's apparently expected to be a regular inquest process. 

- Finally, Dylan Matthews discusses the results of a large-scale basic income experiment in Kenya - with multiple payment structures producing economic benefits, but long-term security in monthly payments also creating gains in well-being and mental health. 

Friday, December 01, 2023

Musical interlude

PVRIS - Things Are Better (Alt Version)

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Damian Carrington reports on Antonio Guterres' warning to COP28 that we're already in the midst of a climate collapse. Katelyn Reinhart discusses new research showing how existing climate studies underestimate the effects of extreme heat. And Nicholas Beuret writes about the unequal responsibility between countries and people for the emissions that are putting the planet at risk.

-  But Benjamin Shingler reports on the justified concern that a climate conference has been captured by fossil fuel lobbyists bent on long-term destruction in the name of continued windfall profits. And Markham Hislop notes that Danielle Smith is among the attendees determined to keep carbon pollution spewing for decades to come. 

- Crawford Kilian reviews Chris van Tulleken's Ultra-Processed People, while highlighting how much of what's sold to us as food doesn't deserve the name.

- Nabhan Refaie discusses how an increasing number of people are channeling their frustration and anger with an unfair economic system into union activity and other collective action.

- Finally, Cory Doctorow points out how the loudest debates over artificial intelligence are set up to avoid any discussion of how AI is used primarily to reinforce the wealth and power of those who already have the most. 

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Mark Sumner discusses the World Health Network's recognition that the damage from COVID-19 includes harm to people's immune systems which has made the effect of other diseases more severe. 

- Patrick Metzger examines how the climate crisis is accelerating faster than anticipated. And George Monbiot calls out the billionaires using their wealth and power to push for continued (and even increased) carbon pollution, while Kevin Anderson notes that any path to avoiding a climate breakdown requires an immediate and profound shift in productive capacity toward both cleaner energy and more equal allocation of resources. 

- Meanwhile, Bill McKibben points out how petrostates are using what's supposed to be a climate action conference to make deals to exacerbate our dependence on fossil fuels. And Graham Thomson discusses how Danielle Smith is using yet another set of laughable promises about carbon capture and storage (along with wilful blindness toward end-user emissions) to try to lock in decades of fossil fuel extraction

- Lisa Young calls out Smith and Scott Moe for pantomiming civil disobedience in their effort to serve their corporate masters. And David Fraser reports on the newly-revealed text messages showing that both Brad Wall and Saskatchewan Party MLA Hugh Nerlien were actively involved in advising and supporting the #FluTruxKlan. 

- Finally, Jeremy Simes reports that breast cancer screening is just the latest area where the Sask Party is choosing to funnel money to private Alberta operators rather than investing in a functional health care system in Saskatchewan. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- The Canadian Press reports on Statistics Canada's findings that Canadian life spans have fallen for three years in a row - with Saskatchewan continuing to face the most extreme decline. And Codi Wilson reports on Toronto's closure of its remaining COVID-19 vaccination clinics due to the Ford government's decision to stop funding prevention of avoidable transmission and illness. 

- Norm Farrell discusses how the push to expand liquid gas production may be the most dangerous fossil fuel plan in the world, while Oliver Milman writes about the U.S.' expansion of fossil fuel extraction while the world tries to work on a phaseout. Markham Hislop calls out Danielle Smith's enshittification of energy policy as a means of stalling any transition to clean energy. And Cory Doctorow points out that insurance companies are exacerbating the climate breakdown by funding oil and gas extraction while constraining public mitigation and remediation efforts. 

- Chip Colwell offers a reminder that individual-level behaviour can only accomplish so much in a system designed to encourage consumerism and waste. But David Danelski notes that one all-too-familiar form of corporate manipulation appears to be backfiring, as payment for "sponsored" product positioning in search results produces a justified aversion among users.  

- Meanwhile, Merissa Daborn writes that we should be ensuring that people have access to the necessities of life including food, rather than focusing on policing and punishing people who lack them. 

- Finally, Amanda Marcotte discusses why it's entirely healthy that so many U.S. women expect more for themselves than to settle for a MAGA reactionary in order to get married. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Andrew Nikiforuk discusses the 10 inescapable laws of pandemics - and the grim future they portend in light of our pitiful response to the social challenges posed by COVID-19. And Jessica Wildfire writes that the effects of repeated COVID infections on people's immune systems will reverberate for decades to come. 

- Lucas Henneman writes about new research showing that pollution from coal-fired electricity produces even more health problems than previously identified.  

- Lynn Boylan and Alma Dufour point out that Amazon is a massive cause of carbon emissions and avoidable waste - even as it tries to greenwash its operations through selective reporting and PR. Oliver Griffin reports on the targeted killings of environmentalists in Colombia and elsewhere by corporate forces determined to destroy anything and anybody who might call attention to their destruction. And Radio Ecoshock discusses the fossil fuel sector's plan to wreck the Earth's atmosphere, while Leyland Cecco reports on Canada's worsening contribution to carbon pollution as oil companies ramp up production in the midst of a climate crisis. 

- Michelle Cyca writes about the reality that real estate windfalls represent a massive source of unearned wealth - as well as an opportunity for cynical politicians to divide the working class based on homeownership. And Max Fawcett highlights how the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is entirely a political tool of right-wing parties, rather than a remotely principled critic of unconscionable waste when it emanates from the likes of Danielle Smith. 

- Paul Wells discusses how Pierre Poilievre has paired Stephen Harper's contempt for accountability with the antisocial buffoonery of the Joker, while Deveryn Ross calls out Poilievre's combination of serial lying and determination to foment fear and hate. And the Economist writes about the appalling rise of Geert Wilders' party - including through the normalization of bigotry by "mainstream" parties. 

Friday, November 24, 2023

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Stephanie Soucheray examines how COVID-19 can cause lasting damage to the brain even without causing severe initial symptoms, while the British Heart Foundation points out the soaring rates of cardiovascular disease during the course of the ongoing pandemic. And Lisa Lundberg-Morris et al. find that vaccination helps to prevent long COVID. 

- But while there has been (and remains) ample room for public policy to reduce the spread of COVID, Alanna Smith reports on the complete lack of return on the UCP's $80 million investment in giving Ottawa the middle finger. 

- Jason Markusoff highlights how Preston Manning's publicly-funded COVID inquiry report is a work of fiction. And Bob Hepburn rightly asks why the Canadian media is largely giving Pierre Poilievre a pass on his refusal to engage with the real world of policy development. 

- Markham Hislop talks to Janet Annesley about the culture of secrecy in Alberta's oil sector which precludes any honest discussion of the dangers of fossil fuel extraction and dependency. And Marco Chown Oved points out the folly of building new carbon pollution infrastructure (including fossil gas electricity generation) and pretending it's somehow a climate solution. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow discusses how the dominant tech giants have succumbed to long-foreseen enshittification - and points out how institutions can be set up and managed to avoid that outcome. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Crawford Kilian discusses what Canada's long-term climate policy needs to look like as it becomes abundantly clear that relying primarily on consumer-based carbon pricing has failed both as a means of reducing carbon pollution, and as a political calculation. Celeste Young and Roger Jones discuss the reality that providing people with accurate information about the climate crisis has done little to spur any systemic change. And Graham Readfearn talks to Lesley Hughes about the importance of maintaining hope even while recognizing the immense work ahead of us to avert a full climate breakdown. 

- John Gibbons highlights the dangers of allowing the imperative of maintaining a survivable environment to be subordinated to the capital class' demand for perpetually growing wealth extraction. And Fiona Harvey discusses Thomas Piketty's ideas which can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and inequality together. 

- Amber Bracken and Drew Anderson offer a reminder of the carnage being wrought in the Alberta tar sands - even as the perpetrators greenwash themselves and their destruction. And Matthew Taylor reports on new estimates showing that even based on its own spin, the fossil fuel sector is centuries away from zeroing out its emissions with carbon capture. 

- Beth Mole reports on big pharma's massive dark money donations being used to try to avoid any steps to make needed medications more affordable in the U.S. 

- And finally, Arman Hamidian discusses the need to tackle our common challenges with a whole-of-society approach, rather than an assumption that individual incentives and choices are our only options. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Warming cats.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Archie Mitchell and Adam Forrest report on the revelation from the UK's COVID inquiry that now-Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was entirely eager to let people die, and considered it more important to control scientists than COVID-19 itself. And Luke LeBrun highlights how the Poilievre Cons are recruiting anti-public-health cranks into their candidate pool, while Janet French reports on Preston Manning's use of his supposedly non-partisan, multi-million dollar inquiry into a partisan tool. 

- Damian Carrington reports on the UN Environment Programme's warning that we're currently on course for 3 degrees of global warming. And Andrew King writes about the significance of yet another set of temperature peaks and spikes, while David Dodwell discusses the "doom loop" resulting from the combination of hotter weather, drier vegetation and increased storm activity. 

- Meanwhile, Bill McKibben calls out Canada and other petrostates for refusing to take responsibility for carbon pollution they're actively promoting and subsidizing. Seth Klein discusses how yet another round of posturing over consumer carbon prices is causing us to miss the bigger picture of a climate breakdown in progress. And Carrington and Jonathan Watts each examine how wealthier people contribute disproportionately to greenhouse gas emissions. 

- Finally, Rebecca Solnit discusses how the combination of immense power and utter detachment from the reality of most of humanity makes billionaires dangerous to everybody else. Eric Burdon points out how the uber-wealthy pitch self-help hokum in order to distract people from the systemic burdens they impose on the working class. Jason Linkins discusses how billionaire philanthropy is a scam. And Adam King reports on the growing gap between the rich and the rest of us in Canada. 

Monday, November 20, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Elizabeth Payne reports on yet another COVID-19 wave in Ottawa which is far exceeding both the case numbers and harmful effects of seasonal viruses. And Brian To-Dang et al. confirm that the lasting coronary artery impacts of a COVID infection.  

- Nicole Mortarillo reports on the repetitive pattern of record-breaking temperatures, while Sana Pashankar and Eric Roster discuss the uncertainty as to whether even a shift to net zero emissions will be enough to avert a climate breakdown. And Markham Hislop highlights how Australia is far ahead of Canada in the U.S. in converting to clean solar power, while Bob Weber reports that Alberta is continuing to massively undercount its carbon pollution in an effort to pretend its fossil fuel sector is anything but a blight on our living environment. 

- Mark Winfield points out how right-wing premiers are determined to prevent Canada from having any effective climate policy. And Kristoffer Tigue reports on the Republicans engaged in the systematic burning of any science textbooks which dare to include accurate information rather than fossil-fuel sector propaganda. 

- George Monbiot discusses how humanity is currently a test subject in a reckless experiment as to the effects of toxic chemicals on food supplies. And Claire Thornton notes that environmental and economic policies based on complete submission to corporate interests in the name of growth aren't preventing record numbers of Americans from going hungry. 

- Finally, Justine Toh writes about the importance of preserving one's humanity in a world designed to see people solely as objects to be exploited. 

Friday, November 17, 2023

Musical interlude

Lastlings - Far From Falling

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Crawford Kilian reviews Ryan Meili's A Healthy Future as an important account of the insufficient political response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while David Climenhaga calls out the absurdity of Preston Manning's prescription for disaster in pushing for even to be done to protect public health. And Andrew Nikiforuk discusses what we can learn - and what dangers we face - as COVID continues to circulate in deer and other animal populations. 

- Andrew Dessler writes about the scariest climate plot in the world - though it's all the more alarming for assuming that governments will take enough action to limit warming to a total of 3 degrees Celsius. On that front, A.L. Lee reports on research showing that a majority of the world's largest and richest companies are lobbying against effective climate policy. And Jake Johnson points out how the fossil fuel sector is planning massive expansion which would exacerbate our current course toward destruction.  

- Meanwhile, Martin Olzynski highlights how Danielle Smith and other petropoliticians are using their bully pulpit to goose the profits of the oil sector at public expense. And Oliver Haynes points out that the neoliberal attempt to treat consumer pricing as the only acceptable mechanism to change behaviour has made people vulnerable to that type of message. 

- Maria Farrell examines the tech sector's ideology of "libertarianism for me, feudalism for thee" - though for all of Silicon Valley's claim to innovation, it's hard to see that as representing any distinction from most of the corporate world. 

- Finally, Philip Bump discusses the rise of toxic masculinity and the normalization of political violence. And Amelia Hansford points out how the result of the right-wing project of using a culture of fear and hate to distract from material losses makes for a dangerous environment for trans women and other targeted out-groups. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Al Jazeera reports on the World Meteorological Organization's analysis showing that greenhouse gas emissions reached yet another new high in 2022. Fiona Harvey reports on the findings in the World Resources Institute's State of Climate Action report, including the reality that transitional steps are several times short of what's needed to avert a climate catastrophe. (On that front, Chuck Squatriglia reports on the promise of acceleration by the US and China - but it's far from sure that will be the subject of either sufficient follow-through by the parties or general acceptance by climate obstructionists.) And Mike Joy highlights how there's no prospect of offsetting continued carbon pollution from fossil fuels with tree-planting or other sequestration schemes.  

- Casey Ross and Bob Herman expose how the U.S.' largest health insurer is using algorithmic decision-making to cut off needed rehabilitation for patients. And Helen Santoro reports on another insurer's lobbying efforts to avoid covering mental health care in Michigan. 

- Katherine Rowland interviews Naomi Klein about how profit-based individual wellness culture has served as a platform for anti-social misinformation. 

- Finally, Amanda Marcotte writes about the suicide of a gender non-conforming Republican mayor after he was outed and made the subject of public abuse by the GOP's anti-LGBTQ+ media. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Francesca Paris examines the cognitive disability facing many younger American adults (among others) as a result of long COVID. 

- Trish Hennessy discusses the need for a focus on social investments and preventative action to improve public health.  

- But both Graham Thomson and Gillian Steward warn that Danielle Smith is instead trashing Alberta's existing health care system to cater to anti-vaxxers and corporate interests alike. And in case there was any doubt as to the damage which will result from ideological anti-socialism, Bryn Levy reports on research showing how important vaccine mandates were in overcoming systemic barriers to basic preventative action.  

- Meanwhile, Gaye Taylor reports on the call for a fossil fuel phaseout from 46 million health professionals - which figures to be another reason why the very concept of health is in the crosshairs of petropoliticians. 

- Finally, Clara Pasieka reports on the continued escalation of food bank reliance in Toronto, as 1 in 10 people are unable to afford food for themselves. And Ximena Gonzalez points out how a punitive "welfare" system produces worse outcomes both for the people trapped in poverty, and the society which allows it to fester.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Possessive cats.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Cory Doctorow discusses how the concentration of wealth and power in corporate hands represents a threat to individual freedoms and the pursuit of social justice. And Pete Evans reports on new Statistics Canada showing that the gap between the wealthy few and the rest of us continues to grow - due to both escalating incomes at the top of the spectrum, and outright losses at the bottom.  

- Michael Mann discusses how there's still an opportunity to avoid the worst-case climate scenarios - but only by actually reducing the carbon pollution we spew into the atmosphere. Will Greaves and Yvonne Su write that we can't afford to keep treating regular and predictable climate calamities as unanticipated events. And Scott McGrane and Christopher White examine the causes and consequences of the hottest autumn in recorded history. 

- Joseph Winters examines how the costs of excessive plastic consumption are being dumped onto the developing world. 

- Finally, Andre Picard rightly notes that Danielle Smith's plans for Alberta's health system appear to be aimed more at exacting vengeance than at ensuring the provision of care. And Mike Crawley reports on the Ford PCs' choice to shower politically-connected for-profit clinics with far more money than public-sector providers for the performance of the same services. 

Friday, November 10, 2023

Musical interlude

Lisa Miskovsky - Still Alive

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Adam Bienkov highlights the evidence from the UK's COVID-19 inquiry which has demonstrated the utter neglect for public health from Boris Johnson and the political system around him, while Andrew Nikiforuk offers a reminder that the pandemic is still roiling around us. And Tinker Ready interviews Ziyad Al-Aly about new research showing that multiple infections exacerbate the risk of long COVID. 

- Seth Borenstein and Mary Katherine Wildeman examine how fossil fuel lobbyists (whether or not labeled as such) have derailed any effective international action to avert a climate breakdown. And Mitchell Anderson points out that Alberta's emissions policy involves preferential treatment for the conscience-free polluters who are singlehandedly preventing Canada from having any hope of being anything but a climate laggard. 

- Noah Smith writes about the asymmetric propaganda war which has allowed Russia and China to pollute the U.S.' information ecosystem (and lay the groundwork for the rise of fascist politics). And Karl Nerenberg offers some suggestions as to how the CBC can respond to the Cons' fixation on silencing any distinct and independent Canadian voices. 

- Meanwhile, Jason Garcia exposes how a billionaire-funded "think tank" is behind Florida legislation to facilitate the use of child labor. 

- Finally, Juste Rajaonson discusses the need to develop housing policy based on the social importance of the right to a home, rather than focusing solely on how to generate immediate returns for developers and landlords. 

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Bryan Harris, Steve Bernard and Chris Campbell discuss the danger that a drying Amazon rain forest will accelerate the climate breakdown. 

- Jordan Omstead reports on Canada's place of shame as one of the countries looking to increas carbon pollution in the face of the climate emergency. And Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood writes that the current state of politics around carbon pricing is undermining support for any climate action at all. 

- Meanwhile, Marc Fawcett-Atkinson points out that a group of corporate-friendly MPs are pushing eliminate any requirement that pesticides or GMO seeds be assessed by regulators for safety or environmental risks before they're used in Canada. 

- Drew Anderson exposes how Danielle Smith and the UCP lied about their explanation for banning renewable energy development. And David Climenhaga examines the PR apparatus being assembled to paper over the plan to sell off public health care - even as Emanuel Maiberg reports on the reality that privatized providers operate only by abusing workers and neglecting patients in the name of squeezing out profits. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow discusses how the Biden administration is making some effort to root out the most unscrupulous investment advisors - but also notes that the greater problem is an "every man for himself" system of retirement income. 

Wednesday, November 08, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Ajit Niranjan reports on the Copernicus Climate Change Service's findings that 2023 is on pace to be the hottest year on record, with October's temperatures at 1.7 degrees above the pre-industrial level. 

- Damian Carrington highlights a UN report warning of the destructive insistence of petrostates on increasing fossil fuel production even in the midst of an ongoing climate breakdown. And while the International Energy Agency's new World Energy Outlook is being spun as good news in projecting a decrease in the share of energy from fossil fuels, it too anticipates that carbon pollution from oil and gas will keep getting worse for the balance of the 2020s. 

- Ecojustice makes the case for Canada to actually live up to its climate commitments, rather than accepting a trajectory toward failure. And John Woodside reports on Quebec's call for the federal government to finally look beyond fossil fuels. 

- Hulya Gilbert and Marco te Brömmelstroet write about the norms of vehicular supremacy that make our communities needlessly dangerous for people in general, and children in particular. 

- Bob Weber reports on an academic assessment which calls out the pseudo-science of the UCP's harm exacerbation approach to drug policy. Which makes it all the more damning that the party is shifting even further away from reality-based policy (as Max Fawcett observes). And Phil Tank notes that the Moe government is going out of its way to impose destructive mandates on Saskatchewan residents. 

- Finally, Dean Bennett reports on the revelation (since confirmed as a matter of policy) that the UCP's plans include the demolition of Alberta's health care system. And Eric Stober reports on a new Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives study which reminds us that health privatization tends to both increase costs and harm service. 

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Dozing cats.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Peter Zimonjic reports on the latest audit from the federal environment commissioner showing that Canada is falling far short of meeting its greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments. And Brendan Haley discusses how a focus on a transition to heat pumps could provide a needed push in the right direction, while Max Fawcett points out the flaws in the attempts by petropoliticians to prevent the use of any clean heating options. 

- Dave Cournoyer discusses how Danielle Smith's UCP is more a hard-right call-in show than a political party. And Robson Fletcher writes about Nate Horner's musings about converting Alberta to using heating oil as an indication that there's just as much ill-thought-out blubbering coming from the cabinet as from the membership. 

- Don Mitchell reports on the Ontario Living Wage Network's latest study showing that workers' pay is falling ever further behind a reasonable standard of living. And Charles R. Davis reports on the transformative effects of a basic income in a Baltimore pilot project (among so many other examples). 

- Freddy Brewster examines how U.S. banks are able to trap customers and prevent them from seeking out better options elsewhere. 

- Finally, Samantha Beattie reports on the Ford PCs' practice of copying and pasting from developer wishlists, while Isaac Callan and Colin D'Mello reveal how they rushed through a zoning order which would have allowed a skyscraper in the middle of Pearson International Airport's flight path. Which naturally means it's time for Ford to start complaining that others aren't letting him unilaterally dictate what housing is built and where.