Saturday, February 04, 2023

Friday, February 03, 2023

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- David Wallace-Wells writes about the continued excess mortality in the U.S. beyond the million-plus deaths already attributed to COVID-19. Blair Williams calls out the "COVID hegemony" which has seen the wealthy and powerful downplay an ongoing pandemic in order to foist intolerable costs and risks on workers. Ian Welsh writes that we should be nothing but embarrassed at humanity for its collective failure in addressing a widespread and obvious threat to everybody's health. And Umair Haque notes that rather than being back to some pre-pandemic "normal", we've stumbled into the era of the polycrisis, while Zoe Cohen discusses the self-destructiveness of pursuing economic growth at all costs.  

- Julia Doubleday points out how a lack of accurate and updated information about the known effects of COVID has opened the door for misinformation to fill the vacuum. And Jaigris Hodson and Andrea Gazilia offer suggestions as to how to avoid falling prey to misinformation - though as is so often the case, we shouldn't treat individual measures as a full response to a systemic problem. 

- Geordie Dent writes that an influx of foreign money and a failure to build social housing units are primary culprits in the escalation of Canadian housing prices far past what residents can afford. 

- Mitchell Beer discusses the conclusion of the Net Zero Advisory Board that a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from oil and gas is a must for Canada to meet its 2030 targets. 

- Finally, Sindhu Sundar and Katherine Long discuss the findings of the U.S. Department of Labor that Amazon's "gamification" of its warehouses serves to make work even more dangerous than it would otherwise be.

Thursday, February 02, 2023

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Nicoletta Lanese reports on a new analysis showing that COVID-19 has become a leading cause of death among U.S. children. Ewen Callaway discusses what will be needed from the next generation of vaccines to respond to an evolved threat - but as Gregg Gonsalves notes, the Biden administration is fixated on setting an end date for an ongoing emergency with grave implications for any public health response. And the Star's editorial board highlights the immense cost of misinformation, both in relation to COVID and in general. 

- Heidi Cuda discusses the need to model and encourage action based on empathy. But Caitlin Johnstone rightly argues that we can't expect a purge of a specific set of corrupt actors to accomplish much when we've set up our power structures to reward assholery. 

- David Armstrong, Patrick Rucker and Maya Miller report on a particularly galling example of a private health insurer refusing coverage - through a combination of strategic bureaucracy and false information - for the medication needed to deal with an individual's ulcerative colitis.

- Meanwhile, Zak Vescera and Moira Wyton report on the increase in violence toward health care workers in British Columbia, as frontline care providers bear the brunt of frustration with systemic failings. 

- Radley Balko writes about the dangers of "elite" police units which are removed from normal oversight based on the false promise of crime prevention. And Katie Hyslop reports on the false assurances and explanations given to try to keep funding flowing to police in Vancouver schools. 

- Finally, Gabriel Levine studies the effectiveness of regulations aimed at structural risks which need to be designed to survive the vagaries of politics. 

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Crawford Kilian writes about the urgent need to prioritize and invest in public health and the social determinants of health - both to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and to generally prevent health issues from reaching the point of requiring acute care from an overwhelmed health care system. But the Canadian Press reports that instead of demonstrating any foresight, the Moe government delayed any cooperation with the federal government - including asking for available assistance - until long after a crisis was locked in. 

- Seth Borenstein and Saul Elbein each report on new studies showing that we're set to blow past climate tipping points within a decade (and haven't made a meaningful dent in reducing emissions to change course). And James Hansen et al. study (PDF) the dangerous amount of warming that's already "in the pipeline". 

- Meanwhile, Tamara Iungman et al. examine how urban green infrastructure can reduce experienced temperatures and produce health benefits for residents. 

- Luke LeBrun reports on the findings of the Ottawa People's Commission (as opposed to the IDU Whitewashing Commission) as to the effects of the #FluTruxKlan on the people of Ottawa. And Jeremy Appel reports on the connection between a key Edmonton developer lobbyist and the antivax convoy. 

- Finally, Max Fawcett warns that Jacinda Ardern's resignation signals a risk that the increased threat of violence from the anti-democratic right will drive women in particular out of involvement in politics. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Jumpy cats.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Richard Denniss calls out Australia's government for its "nothing to see here" approach to an ongoing public health emergency. And Falko Tesch et al. study the connection between COVID-19 infection and subsequent autoimmune diseases, while Tim Requarth discusses the multiple effects COVID can have on a body's ability to fight all kinds of threats.  

- Judy Rebick contrasts the Ford PCs' austerity for publicly-provided health care against their willingness to throw money into corporate coffers. And Don McLean highlights how Doug Ford has left no doubt that he's serving only big-money donors rather than the general public. 

- Meanwhile, Brian Doucet points out that any government actually interested in ensuring people are able to find a home would be using publicly owned land to build its own affordable housing, not turning it into a windfall for private developers. And Mariana Mazzucato discusses the need to treat the common good as the core focus of policy development, not a special interest to be addressed only to the extent necessary to enable the continued enrichment of the wealthy. 

- Oliver Milman reports on a new analysis that continuing to operate coal plants in the U.S. is far more expensive than transitioning to clean energy. But Umair Irfan reports on the petropoliticians in Texas (and elsewhere) who are using state power to keep dirty energy in operation even where renewables are both more reliable and more affordable. 

- Finally, Justin Ling looks at the background to the decriminalization of drugs in Vancouver - including the hope that it will at least reduce the carnage from a drug poisoning crisis which has been exacerbated by prohibitionist policies. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Jennifer Rigby report on the World Health Organization's recognition that COVID-19 remains a global public health emergency even as far too many jurisdictions pretend otherwise. Andrew Nikiforuk examines the dangers of an evolving set of variants, while David Axe points out the risk of a major new threat from widespread new infections in China. The Economist offers its recognition that the fallout from COVID is preventing people from working. And Jessica Wildfire discusses why we have reason to be angry about the avoidable harm that's still being inflicted on everybody. 

- Maia Szalavitz offers a reminder that any evidence-based approach to homelessness will focus on providing housing first. And Nojoud Al Mallees reports that the "Rapid Housing Initiative" intended to spur construction of needed homes is falling far short of its billing (due in large part to conservative provincial governments who couldn't care less about the availability of affordable housing). 

- Meanwhile, Kathryn Blaze Baum and Tu Tranh Ha discuss how Canada's building codes are outdated in accounting for an increase in extreme weather. 

- Trevor Hancock argues that the fossil fuel cheerleading so frequently given a privileged place in corporate media should come with a health warning due to the obvious effects of continued carbon pollution. 

- Finally, Moira Wyton discusses what to expect as British Columbia decriminalizes possession of small amounts of a number of drugs, including the unanswered questions as to whether the permitted quantities themselves will be used as pretexts for arbitrary police action. 

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Melody Schrieber reports on new data showing that more Americans missed work due to illness in 2022 than in any other year on record even as the pandemic causing widespread sickness was declared to be over. And Madison Stoddard et al. study the difficulty individuals have trying to shield from an infectious disease when public policy is stacking the deck against them.

- Jon Schwarz examines the assumptions underlying the use of monetary policy to prevent workers from ever sharing in increased nominal values arising out of their work. And Jim Stanford discusses the need for workers to act collectively - including funding their own unions - in order to push back against having the value of their work extracted by employers.

 - Meanwhile, Umair Haque comments on the connection between advantanges being handed to can't-fail nepo babies and the lack of any meaningful opportunity for nearly anybody else.

- Nesrine Malik laments that it's now standard operating procedure in the UK (and elsewhere) for people to be expected to pay for their own basic services due to wanton cuts to the public sector. And John Clarke discusses how the Libs are using the specter of foreign ownership as an excuse for their own glaring failure to invest in accessible and affordable housing which will never be provided by a capitalist market.

- Finally, Konrad Yakabuski writes that the approval of Rogers' takeover of Shaw Communication represents both a prime example of the oligopoly in telecommunications across most of Canada, and a step toward further entrenching that reality.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Kat Eschner interviews John Peters about the growing inequality in wealth, income and influence. And Scott Martin offers a reminder not to conflate the gross disparity in pay between CEOs and workers with anything that's actually been earned.

- Mitchell Thompson discusses how privatized surgeries are a threat to the fundamentals of Canadian health care. And John Bell writes about the human consequences of putting profits before caring for people.

- Peter Reina's review of a book on project failure includes a handy chart showing the level of cost overruns for different types of infrastructure - with renewable energy ranking as having by far the lowest level of overruns, while nuclear operations are joined only by the Olympic Games as the absolute worst.  And Nojoud Al Mallees reports on the refusal by oilsands giants to spend a nickel of their windfall projects on their much-hyped claim to decarbonization. 

- Jonathan Chait writes about the John Durham investigation as a prime example of the right looking to its own paranoid fantasies about perceived enemies as a model for its own plans. And Asawin Suebsaeng and Patrick Reis offer a look inside Donald Trump's end-of-term killing spree as a particularly cruel and violent example. 

- Finally, Meghan Krausch discusses what's been lost from the ongoing collapse of Twitter, while noting that the ultimate purpose of allowing for connections with other people can be met in new and less-corporatized ways.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Musical interlude

Jamie Woon - Shoulda (Samy Chelly Remix)

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- George Monbiot discusses how everybody is being forced to play COVID roulette due to the choice not to work toward clean and safe air. Sophie Peterson offers a personal perspective on the damage being done by the failure of governments to take long COVID seriously. And Sharon Kirkey reports on the finding by a panel led by Alex Himelfarb that even using conservative assumptions, thousands of deaths in Canada have been caused by COVID disinformation. 

- Linda McQuaig writes that Doug Ford owes Ontarians an explanation for his refusal to fund public services (concurrent with his willingness to throw money at private profiteers). Bea Bruske warns that Canadian workers can't be expected to accept an economic system which is rigged against them by allowing for price increases but not corresponding wage boosts. And Christopher Olk, Colleen Schneider and Jason Hickel discuss how universal public services help to protect people against inflation and deprivation alike - while also helping to rein in windfall corporate profits and concentration of wealth.  

- Unfortunately, Anna Clark points out how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is instead treating its mandate as being the protection of corporate profits rather than the public - including in failing to regulate vital screening tests. And Cory Doctorow is rightly outraged that Moderna is planning to gorge itself on obscene markups being applied to vaccines researched and developed through public resources. 

- Finally, David Wallace-Wells writes about the continued fallout from the Brexit debacle which has seen standards of living plummet - even as the alt-right everywhere continues to push blinkered nationalism with no regard for its obvious self-sabotage which results. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Rachel Brazil discusses the effect of the "imprinting" from a first COVID-19 infection on subsequent immune responses which makes the spread of highly-mutated variants all the more dangerous. And Andrew Stokes et al. highlight how the U.S. (like other countries) is likely continuing to undercount the number of deaths caused by COVID. 

- David Moscrop discusses how Doug Ford's plan to starve the public health care system and throw money at corporate profiteers is exactly the opposite of what people need to stay healthy. And Mitchell Thompson reports on Ford's meeting with lobbyists seeking to turn medical care into gig work.  

- Zak Vescera reports on a workplace death caused by a predictable elevator malfunction which prevented medical assistance from reaching an employee atop a port crane. And Kim de Laat, Carmina Ravanera and Sarah Kaplan write that remote work should help to promote employment equity for women - rather than instead being used to dump even larger burdens on them in the absence of clear boundaries between work and home life. 

- Kingsmill Bond et al. examine how we've reached peak demand for fossil fuel-based power production. 

- Finally, Armine Yalnizyan writes that there's no reason to be applying a 1990s playbook - including its attacks on workers and wages - to inflation which is caused by entirely different factors. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cuddled cats.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Anne Sosin and Martha Lincoln discuss the war on empathy embodied by the flurry of media attacks against anybody with the temerity to point out we're still in the middle of a pandemic where a lack of care for others is directly responsible for widespread illness and disability. And Pam Belluck reports on the large numbers of people whose affliction with long COVID has kept them from working for extended periods of time. 

- Damian Carrington reports on Mark Jacobson's work showing how a world fully powered by renewable energy is well within reach if we make it a priority, while Angele Alook, Emily Eaton, David Gray-Donald, Joël Laforest, Crystal Lameman and Bronwen Tucker note that Canada isn't lacking for viable options to fund a just transition. Marc Lee calls out the Trudeau Libs for instead throwing billions of federal dollars into pipeline expansion with the effect of gratuitously subsidizing pollution from the oil sector at the expense of Canadian society at large. And Carla Delgado discusses how corporations are greenwashing their plastic pollution. 

- Katelyn Burns reports on the influx of legislative attacks against trans people in the U.S., as the first approaches based on participation in sports have given way to full denial of health care and dehumanization. 

- Finally, Charles Rusnell reports on the Calgary Police Service's willingness to pay a con man for easy but wrong answers in dealing with PTSD even in the face of direct warnings. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jessica Corsetti reports on Greta Thunberg's message that the wealthiest few value their own short-term profit-taking over the future of humanity. Paul Kahnert discusses how the privatization of health care is just the latest example of conservative heists from the public. And Sophia Harris reports on the lack of progress in the Competition Bureau's investigation into bread price fixing even in the face of Loblaws' confession.  

- Jordan Uhl reports on a fossil fuel tycoon's attempt to silence Beto O'Rourke from even talking about the connection between massive donations and preferential treatment from a Republican governor. And Lisa Song examines the current state of knowledge as to the dangers of gas stoves (even as the oil and gas sector tries to shout down any inquiry into their effects). 

- The Red Deer Advocate reports on a new study showing the cost of starting up new, politically-controlled police services is far higher than assumed by the UCP (as well as the Sask Party). And Ryan Little, Adam Willis and Ben Conarck report on the impact of group violence reduction strategies in reducing the homicide rate in West Baltimore. 

- Gregory Beatty writes about the attempt by private religious schools to undermine the public education system in Saskatchewan.

- Finally, Carolyn Harper talks to Eric Topol about the lack of resources being put into preventing and treating long COVID at a point when a large proportion of the population is being set up to suffer from it. 

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Matthew Agius reports on the growing body of evidence indicating that long COVID may produce lifelong aftereffects. Henna Saeed reports on  the large number of Canadians now suffering from long COVID symptoms. And Lee Han-Soo discusses new research showing that a reinfection may be twice as deadly as an original one.

- Meanwhile, Emily Leedham reports on the Manitoba PCs' choice to lie about the motives behind an event to support health workers in order to have it shut down - even as they were happy to let antivaxxers influence their own government's policy. And Jessica Wildfire weighs in on the contrast between careful testing and environmental controls at Davos and the elite consensus throwing everybody else to the wolves. 

- Patty Winsa reports that Ontario's PCs have arranged for public health lines to direct patients toward pay-for-play corporate primary care, while Norman de Bono reports on the growing backlash against the privatization of surgeries. And Thomas Walkom writes that the Ford government's idea of health care reform completely misses the point as to how medicare needs to work to keep everybody healthy.

- Justin Chandler discusses how temporary, weather alert-based shelter systems leave unhoused people in readily-avoidable risk.

- Rupert Neate reports that there are still billionaires begging for wealth taxes to limit their own destructive class hegemony. And Umair Haque discusses how perilous our future as a civilization looks if we don't achieve major progress in the present.

- Finally, Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood discusses what a just transition means - and why it's in everybody's interest to work on putting it in place (no matter how a few well-funded extractivists scream about what amounts to a desire for short-term profits). And Guy Walton points out a few of the most immediate consequences of failing to avert a climate breakdown.

Saturday, January 21, 2023

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- William Anderson sets out a few of the most important realities about the Kraken COVID-19 variant and its place within the ongoing pandemic. Glen Pyle and Jennifer Huang confirm that infection results in a far greater risk of myocarditis than vaccination. And Julia Doubleday weighs in on the fact that the wealthy and powerful gathered in Davos demanded exactly the preventative measures for themselves that they've denied the rest of us.

- Meanwhile, Steven Lewis discusses how a focus on ensuring everybody has access to primary health care would alleviate both health inequalities and burdens throughout our health care system. But Taylor Noakes writes that the federal government may need to take the lead in building a public system where conservative premiers are solely interested in slashing and privatizing.

- David Macdonald offers a thorough look at which industries and recipients are reaping the spoils from inflation in Canada - with corporate profits predictably the main beneficiary. And Jim Stanford corroborates that conclusion with a look at how unit profit costs have soared while wages have barely budged.

- Finally, Michael Barnard discusses the decades of experience with nuclear power which make it clear it can't compete in a fair comparison to renewable energy.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Musical interlude

Marshmello, Halsey - Be Kind

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Sara Berg discusses what U.S. doctors wish the public understood about COVID-19 - including the dangers of reinfection and the continued need for protective measures. Daniel Sarah Karatsik writes about the consequences of a decimated working class as movement organizing has to push deeper into "hidden publics" to address the most pressing problems. And Walker Bragman explores the massive pools of dark money funding anti-public health conspiracies, while Meghan Grant and Elise von Scheel report on the attempt by Danielle Smith's office to use the power of government to interfere in prosecutions for violent insurrection. 

- Lisa Young points out where the UCP's concurrent decision to slant a politicized inquiry against COVID action fits into its wider plans. And Phil Tank discusses how the Moe government has relied on spin and misdirection to avoid answering for its pitiful management of Saskatchewan even by conservative standards. 

- Jack Hauen reports on the belated recognition that Maple and other private health care operators are blatantly exploiting loopholes in the Canada Health Act. Robert Hiltz recognizes that Doug Ford and other right-wing premiers are deliberately undermining any public health care system so its spoils can be turned into corporate profit centers, while Liam Casey reports on the loud and urgent warnings from hospitals that a plan to rely on private surgery clinics will only result in even more needed workers being lost from the public system. And Sheila Block points out how much more capacity Ontario in particular could build merely by funding health care at average levels. 

- Carolyn Greene, Katharina Maier and Marta-Marika Urbanik offer a reminder of the harm being done by the closure of harm reduction sites. 

- Zak Vescera discusses how efforts to better include women in the construction trades are limited by a failure to make basic safety equipment available to them.

- Finally, David Klepper reports on the escalating climate misinformation since Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter. And Geoff Dembicki reports on Shell Canada's choice to reward a history of participation in climate denial. 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Kelsey Piper writes about the U.S.' memory-holing of the successes of a vaccine program which resulted in exceptionally quick development and distribution of effective COVID vaccines (and should have set a precedent for future pandemic planning). 

- Dustin Cook and Mike Hager note that while Doug Ford tries to claim there's no alternative to turning surgeries into a profit center, B.C. is instead achieving actual improvements by investing its public health care system. And Ryan McGreal discusses how the structure of Canadian health care - including the concessions to profit-seeking baked in from the start - is facilitating the push to privatize. 

- Meanwhile, Richard Murphy points out that one-time lump sums being offered by the UK's Cons as a substitute for fair wages are intended only to lock workers into longer-term reductions in real pay. And Jeremy Appel writes about new CCPA research showing that the largest beneficiary of inflation in Canada has been the resource extraction section - which has seen massive windfall profits while passing virtually nothing along to workers. 

- Max Fawcett discusses how Danielle Smith is lying to Albertans about a just transition in order to keep public policy skewed toward the continued enrichment of oil and gas tycoons. And Hannah Ritchie points out the absurdity of spin attempting to justify continued reliance on dirty energy (and environmental destruction associated with its extraction) by complaining about the far lesser amount of mining required to supply clean alternatives. 

- Simon Enoch points out a couple of prime examples of Saskatchewan's corporate-owned politicians substituting meaningless words for policy which does anything to benefit people - including the Moe government's publicity blitz around the word "sustainable" in lieu of any plan to build an economy which is consistent with anything short of climate disaster. 

- Finally, Cat Zakrzewski, Cristiano Lima and Drew Harwell report on what the U.S. House of Representatives' January 6 committee learned about the actions of social media giants in allowing violent rhetoric to appease the alt-right. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- The World Health Organization has updated its guidelines for COVID-19 prevention and response - including recommendations for masking and isolation periods even when these have been largely abandoned by governments. 

- Mitchell Thompson reports on the Ford PCs' plans for health care privatization which include facilitating corporate providers in upselling costly and unnecessary services to patients. And the Star's editorial board and Robert Bell each highlight the lack of any justification for privatized surgical operations even without that additional source of greed-based health care. 

- Sean Tucker writes about the need for far more to be done to keep workers safe in Saskatchewan. And Zak Vescera discusses the insufficient policy response to one of British Columbia's most prominent workplace fatalities. 

- Patrick Greenfield reports on an investigation finding that one of the largest carbon offset funds in the world is based on phantom emission reductions (and may in fact be worsening the climate breakdown). Robert Reich calls out the media's failure to connect California's severe storms to climate change. 

- Meanwhile, Oliver Milman offers a reminder that the healing of the Earth's ozone layer represents an important success story in cooperative environmental policy - with the near-elimination of the use of the substances responsible as a vital element of the achievement. 

- Finally, Kelvin Chan reports on Oxfam's push for a windfall tax on food companies. And D.T. Cochrane points out how price increases on existing products can be expected to correlate with economic stagnation due to corporate herd effects. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Angled cats.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Courtney Shea interviews Colin Furness about the combination of immunity theft and negligent public health messaging that's resulting in widespread avoidable illness, while Ashleigh McMillan reports on new research suggesting one in ten people infected with COVID-19 will end up with chronic health issues as a result. And Alexander Quon talks to Cory Neudorf and others about the causes of Saskatchewan's record COVID death toll in the year our government proclaimed the pandemic to be over. 

- Anam Khan reports on Nova Scotia's move to push newborn babies toward mobile clinics due to a lack of family doctors. And Mitchell Thompson reports on Doug Ford's plans to turn surgery into a corporate profit center - based specifically on his hostility toward publicly-administered health care. 

- Meanwhile, Bill Curry reports on the escalating amount of money being handed to McKinsey by the federal government (now over $100 million since the Libs took office) as a substitute for building the civil service. 

- David Farenthold and Talmon Smith report on how American food service workers have been conscripted to fund corporate lobbying against their own wages and working conditions. 

- Finally, Nicole Goodkind reports on the record levels of debt which have been accumulated globally - and the dangers of systemic collapse as interest rate hikes increase the cost associated with a larger amount borrowed. 

Monday, January 16, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Raywat Deondanan discusses some of the lessons which we should have taken from the COVID-19 pandemic (if it wasn't being forcibly disappeared down a memory hole for all practical purposes). And Nicole Sarden and Bryan Yipp have found that the lasting effects of COVID include compromising the ability of people's immune systems to fight common invasive fungal infections. 

- Meanwhile, Larissa Kurz reports that Saskatchewan's death toll in 2022 includes a record number of lost lives due to drug poisonings. 

- Steven Staples discusses how the military-industry complex has pushed the Trudeau Libs to break their promise not to pour billions of federal dollars into F-35 fighters of questionable utility. And John Woodside investigates how the financial sector is pushing to water down regulations to avoid any consideration of whether fossil fuel extraction is compatible with meeting Canada's international climate commitments. 

- Finally, Umair Haque writes about the decline of disruptive science and innovation, as the power exerted by people profiting from the status quo is both resulting in new ideas being squelched and the essentials of life being priced out of the reach of a large number of people. 

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Ed Browne examines the differences between the Kraken variant and the forms of COVID-19 which have come before. Char Leung, Li Su and Munehito Machida study how transmission different types of venues in Japan was reflected in further spread. And Benjamin Mateus discusses the readily-available options to clear air of COVID and other pathogens which are being ignored in favour of a strategy of denial.

- Michael Howard discusses how a basic income would effectively eradicate the U.S.' persistent poverty problem (among other social ills). 

- Meanwhile, Edward Keenan asks why Toronto (like so many other municipalities) is using force to destroy temporary encampments, rather than putting any resources into ensuring people have a safe home.  And Jason Vermes talks to Kayla DeMong about the need for support programs which don't insist on a miraculous, single-handed recovery from substance addiction as a precondition to any help.

- Katie Pedersen, Virginia Smart and David Common report on soaring cell phone bills across most of Canada as a narrowing corporate oligopoly squeezes consumers for every possible nickel. And Clement Nocos makes the case for a national public telecom provider to ensure people aren't systematically ripped off.

- Finally, Andrew Leach highlights how work toward a just transition is intended to make sure people who have previously depended on a declining fossil fuel sector have viable options for the future - in stark contrast to the desire of the UCP, Saskatchewan Party and their backers to focus solely on wringing short-term profits, then stick the workers and citizens who are left with all of the cost and risk of cleaning up the mess left behind.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Hannah Davis et al. review what we know so far about long COVID - and how much work remains to be done in making treatments and support available. And Phil Tank discusses some of the myths and distortions which continue to distract people from an ongoing pandemic in Saskatchewan. 

- Meanwhile, Bill Hodgins reports on a staff report from Peterborough Public Health pushing for improved indoor air quality to deal with COVID and other health issues. 

- Anupriya Dasgupta examines how fossil fuel companies are allowed to disseminate blatant disinformation through mainstream media channels. And Dana Drugmand reports on the appointment of an oil CEO to oversee the next round of global climate talks.

- David Schlissel examines the inordinate cost of modular nuclear reactors compared existing clean energy options. Yet as the Moe government insists on pouring money into nuclear vaporware, Carla Shynkaruk reports on a Saskatoon group home which is shutting down and displacing nine residents due to a lack of provincial funding.

- Finally, Andrea Pinochet-Escudero writes about the limitations of organizing solely for an election campaign. 

Friday, January 13, 2023

Musical interlude

Flight Facilities - The Ghost

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Oscar Grenfell discusses how Australia is among the countries which has seen a declining life expectancy due to COVID-19 - with a distinct trend based on when it chose to let the pandemic run rampant. Jonathan Shaw examines the evidence showing greater risks of more severe outcomes arising out of reinfections. And Ollie Williams reports on arbitral decisions out of the Northwest Territories rejecting government arguments to dispense with COVID leave merely because it has chosen to lift any declaration of a public health emergency while the pandemic rages on. 

- Meanwhile, Chandra Philip reports on the continuing crisis at Saskatchewan's children's hospital which is having to warehouse patients in spaces not intended for care. And Parry Winsa reports on research showing that patients who try to address their conditions with virtual "walk-in" clinics - which privateering governments and corporations are pushing instead of funding primary physicians - are twice as likely to end up in the emergency room as those who are able to consult with a family doctor. 

- Colin McKerracher reports on the increase in electric vehicle sales over the past few years, while David Wallace-Wells points out that a fuller picture needs to include an even more substantial movement toward electric bikes. And Emily Pointecorvo discusses how a transition process will require far more electricians - which represents a challenge in meeting the new need, but also an obvious opportunity to create new skilled jobs (where the fossil fuel sector is relentlessly slashing them even while pocketing massive profits). 

- Bill McKibben and Oliver Milman each examine the latest revelations about Exxon's detailed knowledge of the global warming caused by fossil fuel use even as it spent massive amounts of money on lobbying and disinformation to prevent any action to combat it. And Aliaksandr Herasimenka et al. study the public-facing funding and infrastructure behind vaccine misinformation. 

- Ram Singh studies (PDF) the systemic gap between reported income and wealth among the wealthiest few - signaling that documented income inequality far underestimates the real disparity in resources.  

- Finally, Akansha Batra, Kaitlyn Jackson and Rita Hamad find that the U.S.' 2021 child tax credit expansion which put a substantial dent in poverty rates also had a marked positive effect on mental health. And Elaine Power, Jennifer Brady and Dian Day write that while a national school food policy would be a plus, it would cover only a small part of the need for support for lower-income families. 

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Andrew Nikiforuk writes about the need for a revolution in ventilation practices to limit the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses. Emmanuel Heilmann et al. study the risks of relying on antiviral drugs rather than preventative measures, as it fuels the evolution of newer and less controllable variants. And Gregg Gonsalves calls out far too many media outlets for making a concerted choice to silence any continued discussion about the COVID-19 pandemic and other avoidable risks to health which are crying out for policy solutions. 

- Stuart Benson talks to David Fisman about the need for any federal health-care funding to Canada's provinces to be paired with accountability measures - particularly based on the provinces' choice to pocket pandemic resources rather than actually using them for their intended purposes. And Isaac Callan and Colin D'Mello report on the Doug Ford PCs' infuriating refusal to even acknowledge how many workers are needed to fill in existing gaps in the province's health care system. 

- Tracy Sherlock and Xavier Richer Vis report on the fossil fuel sector's lucrative lobbying which resulted in it being handed billions of federal dollars. And Robert Ascah discusses how oil and gas companies are pocketing windfall profits while sticking consumers with intolerable prices and demanding that governments clean up their pollution at public expense.  

- Finally, Robert Reich writes about the coalition of oligarchs and violent bigots which dominates the U.S.' Republican Party. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Chinta Sidharthan discusses new research on COVID-19 reinfections, showing that subsequent infections tend to produce similar immediate effects to a first one but with earlier long COVID effects. Ellen Phiddian reports on Brendan Crabb's observation that current immunity levels - through both vaccines and prior infections - are falling far short of managing the ongoing pandemic. And Andre Picard writes that the most virulent force that's been unleashed is glaring indifference toward others' health and well-being. 

- Meanwhile, Linda Silas points out that there are readily-available options to ameliorate Canada's health crisis. And Steven Staples discusses some of the public health care issues we should be watching in 2023. 

- Erin Bartram writes about the deteriorating working conditions for university adjuncts and graduate students - and how even professors with tenure and other formal protections are far worse off due to the precarity facing their colleagues.  

- Suzanne Shoush, Semir Bulle and Naheed Dosani highlight how it's investment in people - not in policing - that makes a community safe. And Jen St. Denis reports on how Vancouver-area police have harassed an individual for having the temerity to film an officer's violent assault on a citizen which had otherwise been covered up. 

- Finally, Rose Abramoff tells her story of being fired from a scientific research position merely for imploring fellow scientists to translate their knowledge into climate activism. And Damian Carrington reports that while authorities crack down on any effort to repair the harm we've done to our climate, the Earth's oceans have again reached a record high temperature in 2022. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Fluffy cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Stephanie Desmon interviews Ziyad Al-Aly about the reality that anybody infected with COVID-19 faces a substantial risk of heart problems as a result. And Moira Wyton examines what British Columbia could be doing to limit the spread of the Kraken sub-variant, while Paul Faulkner reports on Ian Watkinson's call for air cleaning units to reduce the transmission of respiratory infections in schools. 

- Meanwhile, F. Douglas Stephenson offers a reminder that the pharmaceutical industry has every incentive to see people get sick and require treatment, rather than acting responsibility to avoid the spread of disease. 

- Ari Natter reports on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission's work examining whether gas stoves should be regulated due to their contribution to asthma and other respiratory ailments. And Oliver Milman notes that many U.S. cities are finally pushing back against the spread of parking lots which encourage vehicle use while disincentivizing any other form of transportation - even as Peter Walker observes that policies aimed at reducing avoidable vehicle traffic are met with a particularly virulent strain of conspiracy theory in response.  

- Finally, Vivian Unger discusses how an electoral system which awards absolute power based on a minority of votes can be expected to break down trust between the public and the politicians who are supposed to be serving it. 

Monday, January 09, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Erin Durkin writes about the failure of the U.S.' government to deal with the growing impact of long COVID - and the likelihood that matters will only get worse with Republicans able to unilaterally refuse funding. And Lisa Young wishes that Alberta's government could better be classified as a meerkat which is alter to its surroundings, rather than an ostrich determinedly avoiding information which didn't match its ideology. 

- James Galbraith comments on the difficulty of trying to respond to inflation with interest rate hikes under an ologopolistic economic system. And Robert Reich writes that the response to inflation should involve breaking up corporate behemoths which are extracting windfall profits, not attacking workers in their attempts to tread water. 

- Zoe Williams discusses how body image distress (particularly in young people) can be traced almost entirely to corporations looking to turn self-image problems of their own creation into long-term profit centres. And the Economic recognizes that the generation of young adults in the UK is rightly outraged at having its present and future put at risk in order to extract wealth for older generations.  

- Mitchell Thompson writes about the critical state of Canada's health care system. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow comments on the rise and fall of social media platforms - and how the demise of Facebook and Twitter is a predictable result of their being managed to serve the interests of investors and advertisers rather than users. 

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Nicholas Frew reports on the wholly-unsurprising news that the XBB.1.5 COVID-19 variant mad its way into Saskatchewan before the holidays with zero timely public notice. And Scott Larson reports that Saskatoon's pediatric hospital is among the many medical institutions swamped with respiratory illnesses even as a new COVID wave forms.

- Umair Haque discusses how we should see the collapse of the UK's National Health Service as a warning to the world. And Shanti Das and Jon Ungoed-Thomas report that the NHS itself is promoting privatized, pay-for-play services to patients to avoid the delays caused by the government's perpetual neglect.

- Jennifer Ackerman writes about the widespread recognition of glaring gaps in Saskatchewan's social safety net which made the news in 2022 - though sadly the only end result has been for callous politicians to go out of their way to make matters worse.

- Bloomberg News points out the severe and avoidable risk from the world's reliance on a dwindling number of crops for food, including three which make up half of humanity's calorie consumption.

- Finally, Sam Levin reports on the U.S.' new record high in civilians killed by police in 2022 - even as the public discourse about law enforcement was hijacked by corporations seeking to paint themselves and the police as victims.

Saturday, January 07, 2023

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Tisse Wijeratne et al. discuss what we know - and have yet to discover - about long COVID's effects on our brains three years into a pandemic which is being allowed to run rampant. And Mary Van Beusekom writes about the lengthening list of organs affected (and harms possible) when children get infected.

- Thara Kumar warns about Danielle Smith's plans to put health care behind a paywall. And Julia Rock offers a reminder of big pharma's example as to how corporatized health care profits will be used, with far more of its massive revenue from exclusive control over necessary medications going to shareholder payouts and lobbying than to research and development.

- Justin Ling discusses how McKinsey and Company is operating as a richly-compensated shadow government (thanks in no small part to decades of cutbacks and "efficiencies" which have left the public sector with challenges in trying to plan and strategize for itself). 

- Gabrielle Fonrouge reports on Walgreens' belated admission that its complaints about inventory theft were overblown - which comes far too late (and too quietly) to make up for the disproportionate effect the initial spin had in buttressing tough-on-crime messages in key elections.

- Finally, Trish Hennessy discusses what we can do to avoid being duped by misinformation. An Dan Dunsky reviews two books addressing the deliberate falsehoods spread by the populist right (and the damage they've done to democracy).

Friday, January 06, 2023

Musical interlude

The Paper Kites - Give Me Your Fire, Give Me Your Rain

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- David Wallace-Wells examines a few of the false narratives which are limiting our response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Sarah Wulf Hanson and Theo Vos write about new research showing that most cases of long COVID have arisen out of seemingly mild initial infections. And Rich Haridy discusses new revelations from autopsies showing pools of the COVID virus in many parts of the body. 

- John Clarke writes about the need for working people to mobilize and stand up for their own interests, rather than accepting class compromise which serves only to further entrench the power of the rich. Kim Siever examines how the UCP's tax giveaway to business produced absolutely nothing for Alberta's workers. And Jeremy Appel and Mitchell Thompson each discuss the CCPA's report on the gap between CEO and worker compensation. 

- Meanwhile, Noam Scheiber reports on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission's move to ban noncompete agreements which prevent workers from seeking improved pay and working conditions with a new employer. 

- Rudy Perez offers a reminder that keeping people homeless costs far more public money than providing shelter. 

- Finally, Karl Nerenberg points out that there's still time to implement a fair and proportional electoral system before Canada's next federal election. 

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Andrew Nikiforuk examines what we know about - and what we should be doing in response to - the Kraken COVID-19 variant which is running amok in parts of the US and beginning to spread in Canada. 

- Whizy Kim writes about the worsening race to the bottom among U.S. states in allowing the wealthiest few to avoid paying taxes (forcing people with less resources to foot the bill for whatever public services remain available). And Romain Schue and Thomas Gerbet report on the escalating amount of money being paid to McKinsey & Company as a substitute for a functional civil service at all levels of government in Canada. 

- hopebuilding discusses how Housing First policy is ultimately about valuing the people otherwise lacking one of the essentials of life. And Patrick Condon points out the glaring lack of evidence that funneling large amounts of money into private housing produces measurable improvements in making units available and reducing homelessness. 

- Izzie Ramirez writes about the trend toward perpetually inferior consumer products as businesses optimize a system based on constant replacement rather than the provision of what people actually want. And Leslie Kaufman highlights the damage we're doing to our climate through an addiction to cheap plastics (which petropoliticians are only looking to worsen). 

- Neal Lawson discusses how UK Labour can't credibly claim to be offering change from the Cons without committing to a fair electoral system - a point which applies equally to other parties claiming to be a progressive alternative to top-down, corporate cronyist governments. 

- Finally, Owen Jones writes that the younger generations which have been made the object of conservative scorn and spite are unlikely to reward that enmity with future support. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jessica Wildfire discusses how the U.S. and Canada are following the UK's healthcare collapse due to a combination of public health negligence and destruction of existing health care institutions. And CBC News reports on how Quebec's already-overburdened emergency rooms are again preparing to face an influx of new illness after the holidays. 

- Meanwhile, Patty Winsa reports that corporate health operators in Ontario are taking the opportunity to shift toward pay-for-play for virtual care. And Janet Conrad and Devon Mitchell recognize the steps British Columbia is taking to push back against paywalled health care. 

- Angella MacEwen charts how workers have been systematically falling behind GDP growth. And Zak Vescera discusses the potential for 2023 to be the year of the union as workers recognize the need to fight back. 

- Robert Saunders points out that even after her speedy departure, Liz Truss's ascent to power reflects the core of the UK Cons and their right-wing media ecosystem rather than a deviation from it. And Murray Brewster reports on a Eurasia Group report documenting how Canada is seeing the spillover effects of the U.S.' march toward disinformation and violence. 

- Finally, Umair Haque writes that the overall impact of the Internet so far has been to destroy our ability to function as a civilization. And Paula Simons discusses her decision to leave Twitter and other social media behind. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Surrounded cats.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Brendan Crabbe and Mike Toole discuss how COVID-19 has been able to spread and evolve due to people's willingness to live dangerously, while Marisa Eisenberg and Emily Toth Martin offer a reminder of the continued value of masks in reducing spread. And Dawn Brotherton weighs in on how widespread long COVID is placing massive burdens on workers and employers alike.  

- Pat Armstrong and Majorie Griffen Cohen remind us that privatization of long-term care only undermines service while turning people into profit centres. And Taylor Noakes makes the case for the direct provision of health services by the federal government to overcome the unmistakable pattern of provincial neglect. 

- David Macdonald finds that CEO pay has once again hit new highs - both in absolute terms and in comparison to the pay received by other workers. 

- Finally, Zeynep Tufecki points out that Southwest Airlines' service failure is a direct result of corporate concentration and a blinkered focus on paying out shareholders even as workers fought to keep a business functional.