Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Kelly MacNamara writes about the slowing of Antarctic ocean circulation as a calamitous consequence of climate change which is happening far sooner than predicted. And Alex Cooke reports on the state of emergency in Nova Scotia reflecting the immediate impact of extreme weather and unprecedented levels of heat. 

- Meanwhile, Timothy Gardner reports that the U.S.' plans for new nuclear power include the use of bomb-grade uranium - meaning that the dangers of fixating on nuclear energy include the readily foreseeable risk of weapon proliferation. 

- Talmon Joseph Smith and Joe Rennison report on the growing recognition that inflation is primarily the product of a profit-price spiral, with corporations all taking advantage of talk of limited supplies to pad their bottom lines at public expense. 

- Pete Evans reports on the CMHC's warning that household debt now exceeds Canada's entire gross domestic product - meaning that Canadians are in a far more precarious position than even their peers in other corporate-dominated countries. 

- Finally, Jessica Hamzelou reports on the plight of patients who benefited from a brain implant to help warn of epileptic incidents - only to lose the benefit of a valuable medical tool to a corporate shutdown and the failure of anybody to support its continued use. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Helpful cats.





Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Martin Sandhu writes about the development of degrowth as a viable economic organizing principle. And Kevin Drum offers a reminder that the growth we've been trained to demand has been entirely funneled into corporate coffers for over four decades, rather than creating any improvement in workers' personal incomes. 

- Meanwhile, Justin McCurry reports on the experience of Nagi, Japan showing that investments in child care and support for parents is the key to increasing birth rates for anybody treating population growth as a goal. 

- Alex Lawson reports on the EPA's findings of environmental violations by Amite BioEnergy in its wood pellet operations - reflecting a business based on claiming emissions credit for shipping and burning dirty fuel falling short of even its cynical operating model. 

- Finally, Rebecca Speare-Cole reports on the unsurprising - but still-important - reality that the corporate sector's priorities involve controlling the world first and ensuring it's liveable last. And Simone O'Donovan writes that action is ultimately the only solution both to the climate breakdown and to the anxiety it's provoking in generations who see their futures being burned for short-term profit.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Sunday Evening Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- David Cox talks to Akiko Iwasaki about the reality that we're still far from being done with major harm from COVID-19. Keith Muziguchi discusses the stories of some of the people living with long COVID and finding few receptive listeners for either their experiences or their warnings. And Dylan Lubao points out the connection between the removal of mask mandates in health care facilities, and another fully-preventable COVID surge. 

- Ian Austen discusses the choices facing voters in Alberta's election - though the apparent belief of people who recognize the dangers of the UCP that they can accomplish as much by destroying a ballot as by voting for a viable alternative bodes poorly for the province's prospects. 

- Meanwhile, Jim Stanford highlights how the UCP's corporate tax giveaway (which Danielle Smith is pushing to lock in) was utterly counterproductive, gutting public revenues while showing no evidence of encouraging investment or economic development. And Nojoud Al Mallees reports on new data from Statistics Canada which suggests that any business complaints about a labour shortage are both overblown, and based primarily on their own refusal to provide decent work. 

- Tom Sanzillo writes about a new study showing how what little major oil companies are doing to claim to reduce emissions often involves selling high-emitting assets to others to continue operations.. 

- Finally, John Cartwright and Bianca Mugyenyi make the case for investing our public resources in butter rather than guns - particularly as the greatest threats we face involve social and environmental needs rather than plausible military confrontations. 

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Gil McGowan highlights how the UCP's intolerable plans for Alberta include another four years of systematic wage suppression in order to further enrich the donor class.

- Cory Doctorow writes about the importance of having "ideas lying around" to respond to an obviously unacceptable status quo - though it's worth noting that the neoliberal exploitation of that principle has been paired with consistent corporate funding to keep ever more extreme ideas front and centre while shouting down any alternatives. And Manuela Fernandez Pinto and Daniel Fernandez Pinto explore how corporate funding distorts scientific research.

- Nikolaos Christidis, Dann Mitchell and Peter Stott study the rapidly increasing risk of extreme heat in Europe and the Middle East due to climate breakdown. And Leslie Scism reports that the combination of escalating wildfire risks and increasing construction costs has led a major insurer to stop offering home insurance in California.

- Bethany Lindsay and Christine Birak report on new research showing that access to free prescription medication more than pays for itself as a public investment. And the Canadian Press reports on the call for free school meals as a similar investment in health and well-being which would be more than worth funding even based on calculable financial returns (to say nothing of the importance of children being fed).

- Finally, Heather Mallick offers her account of life with long COVID (in case anybody was lacking for examples as to why it's to be avoided).

Friday, May 26, 2023

Musical interlude

Manchester Orchestra - The Way


Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Beth Mole writes about the work being done to better define, diagnose and treat long COVID - even as different symptoms appear to be the result of different factors arising out of COVID-19 infection. And Markus Eyting et al. study the connection between infectious diseases and the development and dementia - along with the potential that vaccination could help prevent the latter.

- John Vaillant writes about the parallels between the growth of corporations and that of wildfires. Katharina Richter discusses the value of developing our political and economic systems around principles of sustainability and well-being, rather than growth at the expense of those more important measuring sticks. And Pamela Heaven points out how a boom in oil prices and profits has provided virtually no benefit to Alberta as a whole as fossil fuel operators have become ruthlessly efficient at taking any gains (and more) for themselves. 

- Jamie Mortin discusses new research showing that extreme El Nino and La Nina weather patterns have increased as a result of climate change. And Billie Sheridan offers a first-hand account of the experience of fleeing a home and community in the path of a wildfire. 

- Finally, Holly Mathias reports on the plight of rural Albertans dealing with addictions who have effectively been told by the UCP that they can't expect any treatment or support unless they're willing to move to urban, abstinence-based centers. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- David Wallace-Wells writes that the U.S.' neoliberal political consensus may finally have dissolved - though that possibility is of little comfort when the party continuing to push it is able to block change. 

- Ian Hudson examines how income inequality is worsening in Manitoba. And Richard Burgon discusses how inflation has mostly been driven by corporate profiteering in the UK just like in Canada. 

- David Moscrop points out how Doug Ford's plan to pave over prime agricultural land to funnel money to his developer cronies threatens Ontario's food supply. 

- Carl Meyer reports on the federal government's choice to suppress the fact that a TD-led consortium was pouring money into the Trans Mountain pipeline to deal with escalating construction costs. And Matt Simmons documents how the Coastal GasLink pipeline is dumping sediment into vital waterways before even being completed. 

- Finally, Erin Reed discusses how the willingness of major corporations to give in to hate campaigns demonstrates the emptiness of corporate LGBTQ+ branding as a substitute for movement-building. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Emmett Macfarlane discusses how the stakes in Alberta's election are no less than democracy and the rule of law - as Danielle Smith has made her contempt for both abundantly clear. But Andrew Nikiforuk points out that nothing in the current campaign holds any prospect of loosening the hold of petropolitics on the province.  

- Jennifer Lee reports on an open letter from 200 emergency room physicians pleading for recognition that hospitals are collapsing for lack of resources, while Taylor Lambert discusses Red Deer's overloaded facilities and exhausted providers as being emblematic of the province's health care system as a whole. And Annie Waldman's report on privatized vascular services in the U.S. offers a reminder of what happens when politicians choose treat the medical system primarily as a source of profit rather than a means of caring for people. 

- Nina Lakhani reports on new research from Corporate Accountability showing that most of the carbon offset credits claimed by Chevron as its excuse to keep pollution are worthless (if not actively destructive). And Patrick Greenfield reports on the resignation of the CEO of the world's largest provider of carbon credits Verra as its business model was shown to be a sham. 

- Finally, Emily Peck writes about the belated recognition by the economic powers that be that inflation rooted in price gouging is the main reason people are struggling with affordability - no matter how antithetical the very concept is to free-market idolatry. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Aligned cats.






Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Antoine Flahault et al. offer a reminder that we can't afford to be complacent about an ongoing COVID pandemic which continues to cause serious and sustained harm on a mass basis. And in case we needed another reminder of the aftereffects of infection, Andreas Weiss et al. study the connection between COVID-19 infection and the development of type 1 diabetes in children. 

- Katharine Hayhoe writes about the twin crises of the climate breakdown and plummeting biodiversity - with both reflecting the desperate need to plan based on environmental well-being rather than profit motives. But Julia Steinberger's discussion of the important work being done at Beyond Growth 2023 (h/t Alison) includes recognition the near-total media blackout on the idea that our society could be shaped by anything but the ideology of the cancer cell. 

- Therese Raphale reports on the exodus of doctors fleeing the UK Cons' deliberate destruction of public health care - and their arrival instead in Australia where they're being promised that their work will be valued. 

- Finally, Naama Weingarten reports on the flood of false information in Alberta, as both the public safety emergency created by wildfires and the ongoing provincial election have been turned into opportunities for propaganda and disinformation. And Trevor Harrison writes that Danielle Smith's laughable denials shouldn't persuade Alberta voters that a UCP win will result in anything but the destruction of national institutions and benefits based on the whims of the fanatical fringe. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Fiona Harvey reports on the World Meteorological Organization's warnings that we're more likely than not to breach 1.5 degrees of global warming over the next five years. And Alex Wigglesworth reports on new research concluding that 40% of the land burned by wildfires in western Canada and the U.S. is the direct result of fossil fuel production and use.  

- Meanwhile, David Thurton reports on the recognition by Health Canada and Environment Canada that "forever chemicals" are making their way into Canadians' bodies, and the first steps to start regulating their spread.

- Severin Carrell reports on the increased concentration of land ownership in Scotland as an expected driver of worsening inequality. And Lauren Klein reports on the development of Rate The Landlord as  an important means for tenants to share information - though the effectiveness of mere reporting figures to be limited when rental housing is increasingly concentrated in a limited number of corporate hands.

- Finally, Len Gillis offers a warning for Ontario as to what it can expect from privatized surgical care based on Alberta's experience.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Karl Nerenberg writes about the Parkland Institute's research showing how privatization has undermined  Alberta's health care system. And Mitchell Thompson warns that the UCP has a similar plan to turn what's already a housing crisis into a profit extraction extravaganza at the expense of the people living in what little public housing already exists.

- Meanwhile, Brandon Drenon reports on the disastrous wildfires sweeping across Alberta, while Ian Austen points out the provincial election campaign's glaring lack of discussion of the climate breakdown which is causing them. And John Vaillant writes that there's no excuse for feigning surprise that a refusal to rein in global warming is producing exactly the effects which have been predicted for decades. 

- Julia Simon reports on the damage caused by a ruptured CO2 pipeline in Satartia, Mississippi. And Mark Olalde notes that taking into account only site cleanup (and thus excluding air pollution and climate damage), the liabilities created by California's oil industry far exceed its profits - meaning that the perception of economic value is purely the result of failing to account for real costs. 

- Jonathan Barrett reports on new research showing how Australia's grocery giants have used the pandemic and associated inflation to goose their profit margins. And Delphine Strauss points out a similar story in the UK's milk market, which has seen an unprecedented gap between retail prices and the amount paid to producers.

- Finally, Cory Doctorow discusses how any reasonable utilitarian evaluation of well-being would focus far more on how policies affect a wider range of people, rather than treating the accumulation of extreme wealth by sociopaths (disguised as "GDP" or other cumulative wealth measures) as the most important consideration.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Nicolas Banholzer et al. study the dramatic impact of COVID-19 measures in schools - with a mandatory mask policy reducing transmission by nearly 70%, and air cleaners by 40%. And Maryam Zakir-Hussain discusses new research showing the unequal impacts of long COVID, with people working in the health and education sectors and/or living in poorer areas facing a greater burden.

- Bob Woods discusses the work to be done to ensure that the products of wind and solar energy are themselves recycled - though the potential to do so signals another massive advantage over dependence on non-renewable power sources. 

- Nina Lakhani reports on research showing that if oil companies made reparations for the harm they've caused to communities, they'd be paying at least $209 billion per year (instead of rolling in public subsidies to keep polluting). And Bill McKibben warns that we're in the midst of a dangerous experiment on the effects of rapidly-warming oceans which may exacerbate the expected effects of climate change.

- Finally, Nathaniel Meyersohn writes about the immense impact of mandatory parking requirements on the development of car-dependent culture in the U.S.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Musical interlude

Royksopp - Me&Youphoria


Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- David Slater and Charles Rusnell write about the unconscionable lack of any meaningful discussion of the climate breakdown in Alberta's provincial election even as much of the province has been ablaze and/or facing extreme air quality warnings. Brad Plumer reports on a new study showing how temperatures are likely to soar even further in the next 5 years even as emission targets are pushed far past that point. And Nicole Kearney and Hannah Blair discuss the health impacts of fossil gas as its pushers try to avoid any discussion of either its harms or the obvious alternatives. 

- Meanwhile, Deonie Allen, Melanie Bergmann and Steve Allen examine how microplastics have collected in shockingly large quantities in Arctic ice algae, offering a reminder that there's nowhere on the planet that's escaping the effects of the reckless disposal of waste without regard for its impact on the environment. 

- Sam Pizzigati points out that the wealthy haven't always run roughshod over workers in the U.S.' class war - and that in fact the country isn't far removed from an era where the working class made massive gains (until the full weight of the rich was focused on taking those off the table). But Gillian Petit and Lindsay Tedds note that the UCP is planning to distort Alberta's tax system to further favour wealthy males over everybody else. 

- Corin Faife reports on the dystopian prospect of AI-driven debt collection, simultaneously reducing the cost of constant harassment to near zero and taking any hint of humanity out of the drive to squeeze money from people already lacking it. 

- Finally, Linda McQuaig highlights how the Ford PCs' health care privatization schemes - like those in other provinces - are making care both more expensive for the public and worse for patients. 

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Omar Mosleh discusses the growing damage being caused by repeated wildfires in Canada, while David Wallace-Wells writes that there's no escape from the air pollution being spread across the continent. And Don Pittis points out how public accounts which don't assess the non-pecuniary costs of climate change have resulted in a grossly distorted framework for discussion of climate policy.  

- Meanwhile, Frank Corini discusses Rhode Island's version of secretly-funded fossil fuel lobby groups who are polluting any effort to move to clean energy. 

- Angela Symons reports on a new UN Environmental Programme report showing how an 80% cut in plastic waste is entirely feasible by 2040 - though again getting there will require pushing back against the self-serving spin of the pollution industry. 

- Charles Rusnell offers a reminder that the UCP's history of bullying and dehumanization dates back to its founding and entire time in office. And Joel Dryden reports that even a normally-placid ethics commissioner accepting the UCP's preferred version of events without question has found Danielle Smith to have violated conflict of interest legislation by attempting to interfere in the prosecution of anti-public health extremists. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow discusses how the U.S. has eventually reached the point of providing a free tax filing service (over the furious objection of the corporate monopolist which was otherwise taking a massive tithe on mandatory tax returns). And Tom Malleson writes that Canada has the ability to ensure that the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes - as long as we don't accept the excuse that it's not worth the political will to make it happen. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Jakub Hlavka and Adam Rose examine the $14 trillion just in direct economic costs of COVID-19 in the U.S. - making clear how much long-term damage is being done even on an economic front in a futile attempt to avoid taking responsible steps to protect public health. And Geoffrey Johnston writes that the resurgence of tuberculosis reflects both structural inequality and a failure to provide targeted resources which could eradicate it altogether.

- Kathleen Dean Moore discusses how the fossil fuel industry has manipulated public opinion about climate change, while Jessica Scott-Reid reports that industrial meat producers are following the same playbook. But Emily Lowan reports on new polling showing that the Canadian public isn't buying the oil industry's demand to expand carbon pollution - meaning that the main effect of its lobbying has been to pressure governments to act contrary to both the interests and wishes of their citizens. 

- Marc Lee examines British Columbia's new housing plan - including some steps toward availability and affordability, but also a continued failure to build non-market housing at the necessary scale. And Cory Doctorow points out the ample evidence that rent control is both viable and essential to ensure people have homes. 

- David Climenhaga discusses the Parkland Institute's new study showing that the UCP's privatization of surgical procedures has actually reduced Alberta's surgical capacity at massive expense (while doing nothing to improve wait times).

- Finally, David Macdonald and Martha Friendly point out that the promise of $10 per day child care remains an illusion for many parents in child care deserts. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Grounded cats.





Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Lisa Young writes about the stark difference in how Alberta's main party leaders approach the role of women in politics and society. But Drew Anderson laments the lack of a meaningful willingness on the part of any substantial party to engage in an adult conversation on the climate crisis.

- On that front, Clifford Krauss reports on the fossil governments who are standing in the way of a needed clean energy transition, and in fact using their power and the public's money to keep pollution spewing.

- Damian Carrington reports on the IPCC's affordable and achievable path to meeting the promise to limit climate change to 1.5 C - with a shift to less expensive clean energy as the core task. And Nathasha Bulowski reports on the Canadian Labour Congress' push for an ambitious climate plan. 

- John Burn-Murdoch notes that while the pervasiveness presence of guns explains the difference in gun suicides between U.S. states, the rate of homicides also reflects differences in the social trust which Republicans have been working feverishly to destroy.

- Finally, Krista Hessey reports on the benefits of a right to repair - while noting that it's manufacturers who are standing in the way of ensuring products can be maintained and restored to use.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Susie Madrak writes about the continued recognition by experts that the COVID pandemic is far from over. Chengliang Yang et al. examine how COVID-19 may be persisting (and causing havoc) in patients' bodies long after it ceases to be detectable through current testing. Libby Smith reports on the challenges facing young people afflicted with long COVID. 

- David Climenhaga points out Danielle Smith's longstanding plans to trash universal public health care in Alberta. And Bethany Lindsey reports on the growing use of exorbitantly-priced private labour suppliers to provide nurses as a result of conservative governments' refusal to fund long-term positions within the public health care system. 

- Meanwhile, David Thurton reports on the continually-growing cost of the Trans Mountain pipeline - and the certainty that the Libs' early promises of it paying for itself are far out of reach, meaning that they've instead chosen to subsidize fossil fuel use. 

- Jamie Bradburn writes about the privatization of Ontario's Highway 407 as a prime example of public resources and assets being turned into a private monopoly to gouge the citizenry. And Henry Belot reports on yet another example of a major accounting firm using its insider knowledge obtained by working for governments to allow private clients to game the system. 

- Finally, Mitchell Thompson discusses why landlords and speculators (and the politicians who put their demand for ever-increasing profits ahead of the right to a home) are to blame for Canada's housing crisis. 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Musical interlude

Tove Lo - Borderline


Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Dave Davies interviews Jason C. Jackson about the widespread damage from long COVID - and the lack of remotely sufficient efforts either to prevent its spread, or respond to its effects. And Crawford Kilian weighs in on what we've failed to learn while normalizing avoidable harm to large numbers of people.  

- Manpreet Gill discusses how hallway medicine dehumanizes patients - and how the UCP has chosen to force health care workers to make it the norm. And the Canadian Press reports on the Ford PCs' legislated push to divert public health care resources toward private surgical providers. 

- Jeff Lagerquist reports on Suncor's plans to slash its workforce no matter how many policy concessions it takes or how much windfall profit it accumulates. Diane Orihel, Chloe Robinson and Chris Elvidge report on the harm caused by Imperial Oil's hidden tailings pond leaks - along with the virtual certainty that there are many more similar incidents that have remained concealed from public view. And Emma Jackson writes about the desperate need for political vision to put an end to the damage caused by dirty energy operators, even as Alberta goes through a provincial election where the spectrum of positions on the wanton destruction of our planet ranges from "friendly acquiescence" to "championing with religious zeal".  

- Finally, Andrew Perez exposes how pension fund money is being used to buy and operate facilities using child labour. And Anjeanette Damon, Byard Duncan and Mollie Simon report on the manipulative and deceptive business model used by home flippers to exploit seniors. 

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Alex Hemingway offers a reminder of the urgent need for a wealth tax - and the opportunity to fund important social priorities by implementing one. But Cory Doctorow points out how our economic system is structured to favour people seeking to get rich off of avoiding responsibility - including through the same firms being responsible for performing audits as for advising corporations on how to beat them. 

- Gwynne Dyer writes about the threat to our living environment posed by warming oceans, while Isla Myers-Smith notes that the release of greenhouse gases from permafrost stands to accelerate the cycle of warming and extreme weather. 

- But while the world burns, Carl Meyer reports on how the UCP has allowed oil lobbyists to take any discussion of even distant and loophole-riddled net-zero emission targets off of their policy agenda. And Trina Moyles reports on the direct connection between the UCP's cuts to firefighting and the calamitous wildfires which struck last week.

- Meanwhile, Jason Markusoff discusses how the UCP under Danielle Smith is now controlled by Take Back Alberta, which is pushing the limits of anti-science and authoritarianism even compared to both the UCP and the past Wildrose party. 

- Finally, Emma Bowman comments on how the dehumanization of homeless people results in many avoidable deaths - even if few receive as much publicity as Jordan Neely's.

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Slumbering cats.








Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Matthew Oliver, Mark Ungrin and Joe Vipond write about the overwhelming evidence that masks offer protection from airborne viruses - even as anti-public-health forces attack them as part of their general denialist project. And Dan Diamond reports on expert warnings that in the absence of precautions, the U.S. may face another massive COVID wave in the next couple of years even from a far higher baseline. 

- Matthew Rosza offers a grim look at what humanity's next century looks like if we don't avert a climate breakdown. Michael Barnard discusses the absurdity of Alberta's establishment refusing to mention fossil fuels as a cause of devastating wildfires - while the anti-science movement stoked by the people profiting off ignorance is turning its denialism to those as well. Geoffrey Diehl writes about the illusion that fossil fuels are a necessary part of our social and economic fabric, rather than an avoidable source of damage to both. And Mitchell Beer notes that far too many people are already facing energy poverty, and stand to benefit immensely from a shift to less dependence on dirty and volatile fuel sources. 

- Meanwhile, Nikki DeMarco reports that Florida's sacrifice of citizens' health to corporate interests has reached the level of allowing corporations to use radioactive waste in road construction. And Michael Grabell examines the price of tires as a case study in the factors which have caused inflation - with corporate concentration and price gouging of consumers who lack any practical choice as a major piece of the puzzle. 

- David Moscrop interviews Cory Doctorow about tech giants' deliberate enshittification of the Internet.

- Finally, Dru Oja Jay discusses how a strong public sector workforce produces spillover benefits for the population as a whole. 

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Will Stone writes about the role viral reservoirs may be playing in both prolonging individual long COVID symptoms, and allowing for the development of new variants. Simran Purewal, Kaylee Byers, Kayli Jamieson and Neda Zolfaghari highlight the need for people talking about the effects of long COVID to be believed rather than dismissed. But Apoorva Mandavilli reports on the CDC's choice to simply stop observing the effects of an ongoing pandemic.

- Meanwhile, Pete Evans reports on the latest push by employers to take away the benefits of remote work in order to force daily commutes and constant control on workers. David Macdonald discusses how public sector strikes have represented primarily an attempt to defend real wages from the effects of inflation, while Mitchell Thompson reminds us that Danielle Smith has made clear that the infliction of pain is the point in dealing with education and health care workers. And Paige Oamek talks to some of the younger workers organizing to ensure they're not at the mercy of callous employers.

- Eva Wiseman writes about the folly of trying to match even the most banal forms of consumption by the obscenely wealthy. And Paul Waldman discusses why the right to repair movement may be the unifying point for all kinds of people with a healthy skepticism of corporate control over our lives.

- Tom Perkins reports on research showing that toxic "forever chemicals" are included in the pesticides sprayed on crops.

- Charlie Angus writes that the push toward a clean energy economy has passed the point of theoretical transition to reach the development of large-scale employment. And Brian Potter discusses how nuclear power has done nothing but become more costly with time - making it absolutely useless in the context of plummeting prices for renewables and storage. 

- Finaly, Linda McQuaig writes that Doug Ford's to turn the public Ontario Place into a for-profit spa may eclipse the Highway 407 debacle as the most appalling handover of public assets for private profit in Ontario's history.

Friday, May 05, 2023

Musical interlude

Purple Disco Machine & Kungs - Substitution


Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Beth Blauer writes about the continuing need for accurate and timely data about COVID-19 as it represent an ongoing threat. And Rachel Bergmans et al. examine the impact of long COVID on Black Americans in particular, while pointing out a few ways to make treatment more effective. 

- Justin Wiltshire examines how higher minimum wages produce massive benefits in increasing pay and reducing inequality, while actually increasing employment levels as well contrary to the corporate spin which is typically taken as gospel. And Andrew Perez, Matthew Cunningham-Cook and David Sirota call out how corporate talking points have been applied in preference to all evidence in explaining inflation, with the result that the policy response has locked in windfall profits at the expense of workers. 

- David Roberts writes that none of the world's largest industries would be profitable if they properly accounted for the natural capital destroyed by their operations. Markham Hislop reports on Alberta's comical level of corporate capture as the regulator theoretically responsible for environmental issues in the resource sector has been ordered to cheerlead and cover up for the companies it's supposed to be regulating, while Robert Ascah warns that the public is being left on the hook for massive cleanup costs while operators ship their profits out of the province. And Paige Parsons reports on the federal investigation which is just starting to address the oilsands tailing leaks hidden from public view by the UCP.  

- Michelle Cyca discusses how residential school denialism is being propagated to excuse the ongoing structural disdvantages imposed on Indigenous peoples. And Dennis Ward reports on the Neskantaga First Nation's multi-decade boil-water advisory as having corroded public trust. 

- Finally, Tim Requarth writes about the growing scientific recognition that alcohol creates a clear detriment to health - and the difficulty spreading that message when a large industry is dedicated to maximizing its sales regardless of the social cost. And Sally Wadyka discusses the connection between ultraprocessed foods and risks to mental health. 

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Gregg Gonsalves writes that rather than spurring the development of more effective public health mechanisms, the COVID-19 pandemic has instead seen massive backsliding as a culture of denial has overtaken even existing programs.  And Justin Ling points out the painful inability of the Canadian federal government to actually solve problems, rather than merely treating them as communications issues to be managed and ultimately suppressed. 

- Yet even that pattern is less pernicious than the pattern of right-wing governments actively exacerbating unfairness - including the Saskatchewan Party's choice to direct a fire hose of money toward private schools which consider themselves entitled to reject high-needs students (while slashing resources from the public system), and the UCP's decision to eliminate any type of support for people facing addictions in rural Alberta.  

- Andrea Bennett interviews Ricardo Tranjan about the housing crisis facing so many people - including the reality that it's being perpetuated because it's so profitable for a wealthy few. And Irina Wang writes about the problems with funding for a climate transition being directed toward glitzy consumer goods rather than systemic interventions. 

- Andrew King and Steven Sherwood discuss how we're pushing the Earth out of the "Goldilocks zone" of energy inputs and outputs. Craig Stanbury writes about Elizabeth Cripps' entirely-justified concerns that it's not possible to be a good parent without acting to ensure a viable future for one's children. Stefan Labbe reports on a new study documenting the lack of accurate emissions data from the logging sector. And Carl Meyer and Rianna Lim report on the dozens of MPs whose decision-making on climate policy is influence by substantial investments and family income from the oil and gas sector. 

- Michael Roberts makes the case for publicly-owned banks as a replacement for a financial system built on gambling with depositors' money for private profit (with the expectation that the government will step in if there's any trouble). And Noah Smith writes about the lessons governments are finally re-learning about the need for industrial strategy and policy beyond laissez-faire dogmatism. 

- Finally, Juliana Kaplan weighs in on the corporate greed at the root of the inflation hitting the American public. 

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Ewen Callaway writes about the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic - with both a high baseline of cases, and frequent "wavelets" in comparison to seasonal diseases as new variants develop and spread with little resistance. 

- Tina Yazdani and Meredith Bond report on the unsurprising revelation that privatized surgery costs far more than public-sector health care - while also recognizing the Ford PCs' determination to keep enriching private operators rather than funding care. And Raisa Patel reports on the Libs' refusal to act on the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board's work to reduce drug prices. 

- Meanwhile, Mike de Souza discusses how the UCP has coordinated efforts to enrich fossil fuel operators while concealing the government meetings used to discuss them. And Cory Doctorow writes about the problems with the breakdown of strong institutions, particularly in transferring effective power to weak institutions which can easily be taken over by corrupt or extreme actors.  

- Paul Hannon discusses how inflation is "sticky" due to its connection to corporate price-fixing rather than other factors - representing a noteworthy step toward recognition of the obvious on the pages of the Wall Street Journal. 

- Finally, Michael Spratt calls out Pierre Poilievre's reality-deficient attempts to stoke fear over crime as an excuse to make nonsensical policy demands. 

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Angled cats.






Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Alec Connon discusses how anger is an entirely appropriate response to the capitalist imperative to impose constant costs and burdens on people and the planet. And Alexandra Digby, Dollie Davis and Robson Hiroshi Hatsukami Morgan write that the collapse of First Republic Bank and other financial institutions can be traced directly to an incentive structure which rewards reckless risk-taking rather than responsible management and long-term planning. 

- Alex Lawson reports on yet another quarter of obscene windfall profits for BP, while Reuters reports on similar results for ExxonMobil and Chevron. And Geoff Dembicki exposes an Alberta group - known for shilling for the oil industry with false accusations against pipeline activists - is itself funded with hundreds of thousands of dollars of secret contributions from CNRL. 

- Lisa Young writes about the choice facing Alberta voters in the election campaign which began this week - with the oil-funded good ol' boy network being challenged in its assertion of perpetual dominance by a coalition seeking to at least expand the range of voices involved in shaping the province's future.  

- Finally, Cory Doctorow writes about the bondage fees used to keep workers from pursuing anything better than exploitative current jobs. And Bob Egelko reports on a court's determination that a single Marriott hotel stole over $9 million in tips from its banquet workers - with the typical consequence being nothing more than a belated requirement to pay it back. 

Monday, May 01, 2023

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Cassandra Willyard writes about the dangers of repeat COVID-19 infections. Kieren Williams reports on new research confirming how COVID-19 stiffens arterial walls, resulting in an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Erin Prater reports on Deborah Birx's observation that COVID will almost certainly evade the effect of Paxlovid (and lead to another spike in an already-alarming fatality rate) if it's allowed to run rampant. Sanjiv Gandhi, Cameron Morhaliek and Joe Vipond highlight why masking in hospitals and other health care facilities should still be a must. And Shihan Deng et al. find a strong connection between improved ventilation in schools and reduced illness-related absences. 

- Crawford Kilian discusses a new book on the commercial determinants of health, and the need to be better aware of the effect of corporatism on the well-being of people. And U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy writes about the harms of an epidemic of loneliness - and the need to rebuild social connections as a matter of public health

- Eric Carlson writes about the tragedy of parking, as the U.S.' habit of catering to cars has rendered communities inaccessible for any other form of transportation. 

- Roshan Abraham reports on a worthwhile effort to allow tenants to rate their landlords - offering the prospect of at least somewhat evening out the power imbalance between the people who need housing and the owners in a position to deprive them of it. 

- Finally, Don Braid points out how privatized lab services have resulted in far longer waits for Alberta patients - even as the UCP pushes to extend the corporate model to more areas of health care. 

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Tara Kiran et al. examine the use of virtual care in Ontario, and find no evidence to support the anti-public-health claim that interactions being pushed back in person served any purpose in avoiding emergency room visits. And CBC News reports on a whooping cough outbreak in Alberta as one of the actual health crises caused by anti-vax extremism.

- Stephen Magusiak reports on the reality that the UCP's education plans involve starving the public school system in order to funnel money to the wealthy and their exclusive private enclaves. Matt Gurney discusses how Doug Ford (like Danielle Smith and other anti-social rightists) is destroying any hint of accountability in order to grease the skids for a kleptocracy. And Allison Jones reports on the documents available for now which show that Ford's excuses for trashing the Ontario Science Centre have no basis in fact.

- Emma Paling highlights how the National Farmers Union can show the windfall profits being squeezed out by corporate giants (through both their food processing operations and their retail grocery stores) while the people who grow the food have seen virtually no increase in income.

- Aaron Clark reports on the satellite surveillance showing that the fossil fuel sector is dumping far more methane in the atmosphere than it's reporting. (Though I'd be worried the policy outcome will be a ban on accurate satellite imagery in the name of corporate privacy, rather than any steps to deal with the actual carbon pollution being emitted by the oil and gas sector.)

- Finally, Pete Evans reports on the prospect of a tax filing system which makes it easy and free for people to file their returns - with the goal of ensuring people have access to tax-based benefits rather than being denied for a lack of past filings.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Musical interlude

John Summit & Hayla - Where You Are


Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- The Canadian Health Coalition weighs in on the recent study showing that privatized surgeries in Quebec cost more than twice what public procedures would. And Matt Bruenig discusses the U.S. Democrats' development of a layer of bureaucracy for a child care subsidy program intended to exclude only 1% of applicants as a painful example of prioritizing the limitation of access to benefits over the effectiveness of the benefit itself.  

- Sarah Wakeman discusses by the involuntary treatment requirements being pushed as a draconian alternative to harm reduction are dangerous. And Duncan Kinney reports on the deaths resulting from the UCP's insistence on abstinence-only public policy, including ones caused by facilities' lack of training and supplies to deal with drug poisonings.  

- Meanwhile, David Climenhaga writes about the utter refusal of Alberta's energy regulator to answer even the first questions about its coverup of toxic tailings pond leaks. 

- Martin Regg Cohn calls out the Ford PCs' combination of cuts and neglect which is undermining Ontario colleges and universities. 

- Zak Vescera examines what's at stake in the strike among federal employees. And Cory Doctorow discusses how workplace democracy can serve as the foundation for the broader application of democratic principles.

- Finally, Liana Hwang highlights how the availability of food shouldn't be a matter of charity - even as governments are increasingly leaning on food banks and other charities to provide the necessities of life so they can spend lavishly on luxuries for billionaires. 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Arielle Dreher reports on the findings of the U.S.' COVID Crisis Group that the U.S. fell short of the mark in coordinating its COVID-19 response and figures to do so again in future pandemics without improvement. And Leigh MacMillan reports on research showing how COVID produces changes in respiratory tract microbes which can in turn cause additional health problems.  

- Nathan Robinson offers a reminder that the means to end homelessness through a housing guarantee are readily available. And Max Fawcett discusses how the choices we've made around housing - including the expectation that it serve as a risk- and tax-free investment - have led to the lack of homes for far too many. But in case we needed a reminder of the forces working to make matters worse, David Sirota examines Blackstone's plans to extract even more intolerable rents from university students and others in order to goose profit margins. 

- Meanwhile, Christine Boyle and Jim Stanford discuss why Vancouver's abandonment of a living wage is bad economics. 

- Josh Gabbatiss notes that Shell has effectively acknowledged that we can't avoid breaking the 1.5 C barrier without ended new fossil fuel development (though of course it wants to instead count on future carbon removal to excuse further pollution). 

- Finally, Geoff Salomon makes the case for Alberta to save the proceeds of non-renewable resources rather than relying indefinitely on temporary revenue sources. And Doug Johnson writes about the immense potential to integrate solar power into agricultural operations to meet Canada's energy and food needs. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Braced cats.








Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Australia's Inquiry into Long COVID has produced a report (PDF) confirming the obvious needs both to limit the continued spread of COVID-19, and to provide support for the people suffering ongoing effects of the coronavirus.  

- Michele Friedner writes about the people being extorted to preserve their hearing as corporate health equipment providers discontinue the cochlear implants they've come to rely on. And CBC News reports on new Quebec data showing that even after cherry-picking only the easiest cases and shedding , private surgery clinics are charging more than twice the cost of performing operations publicly:

- Bob Weber reports on new research showing that the oil sector is grossly understating the amount of carbon pollution it's currently spewing (even as it plans to keep increasing its emissions). Adam Morton reports on the false promise of the world's largest carbon capture and storage system which is failing to capture anywhere near as much carbon dioxide as claimed. And Natasha Bulowski reports on the Parliamentary hearings into Alberta's toxic substance coverups - which unfortunately continued through a refusal to answer simple questions about when the Alberta Energy Regulator knew about the leaks it concealed. 

- Ann Pettifor debates - and gets the best of - Nick Macpherson in discussing whether the UK's austerity imposed in the course of a downturn produced anything but needless suffering. And Erin Weir points out how Scott Moe is using the assertion of control over natural resources to hand out windfalls to his corporate donors, rather than to benefit actual people in Saskatchewan. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow writes about the tax-loss harvesting which is being used by the wealthiest few to avoid paying any taxes on massive capital gains. 

Monday, April 24, 2023

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Trevor Hancock discusses the need to treat the economy as a means to human well-being, rather than an end worth sacrificing our health and our living environment.

- Henry Killworth writes about new research confirming that the lost sense of smell arising out of COVID-19 is associated with brain impairment. And Simran Purewal et al. discuss how long COVID is being dismissed or ignored by far too many physicians, resulting in patients facing stigma and receiving no effective treatment. 

- Aaron Wherry writes about the latest national inventory report on greenhouse gas emissions - though it's worth noting that even the math which shows Canada falling far short of its existing climate commitments fails to account for the further harm caused by fossil fuel exports which are also linked to continued domestic emission increases. Cory Doctorow notes that the capitalists profiting from dirty energy appear far more willing to invest in preserving and expanding their wealth through violence than in any transition to clean alternatives. And Leyland Cecco reports on the justified fears of Indigenous communities that the oil sector (and its fully-owned subsidiaries in the UCP) would rather poison vital water supplies in secret than admit to the environmental consequences of its operations. 

- Finally, Rachel Cohen points out that any push to respond to the housing crisis needs to include the availability of affordable homes for families. And Brian Doucet and Laura Pin comment on the need to act against renovictions to ensure developers don't make matters worse.