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. 

Monday, January 02, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Zhenguo Nie, Yunzhi Chen and Meifeng Deng study the relative merits of COVID precautions, finding upward ventilation and masking to be the most effective combination in reducing the concentration of infectious particles. And Pascal Irrgang et al. find an altered immune response after multiple vaccinations which consists increasingly of a non-inflammatory antibodies.

- Peter Armstrong writes about the reasons for concern that 2023 will be an even more grim year than 2022 from an economic standpoint, with most people having to face continually-increasing prices amidst declines in employment and real wages. And Sam Meredith reports on the efforts of the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership to work on a more meaningful definition of well-being to measure policy choices - while noting that the background to that work is a "polycrisis" which has largely been ignored in favour of GDP-only measurement.

- Charley Adams reports on the increasing recognition among health care providers in the UK that its national health service is under intolerable (if deliberately-chosen) stress. And Simon Jenkins writes that anybody interested in saving public health care would approach the crisis with a war footing - making the minimization and denial from the Cons a clear indication that they're willing and eager to see the system fail so its spoils can be handed out to donors. 

- Finally, Philip Drost and Craig Desson discuss what the history of rail transportation in Canada can tell us about its future prospects - with past decisions to privatize passenger rail service and tie its operation to other railways' operations making rail travel less desirable than heavily-subsidized highway use.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your New Year's reading.

- Bartley Kives reports on the most deadly year of the COVID-19 pandemic yet. And the BBC reports on the admonition that vulnerable people in Wales should avoid going to hospitals due to the lack of measures in place to avert the spread of COVID-19.

- Meanwhile, Rowan Williams writes that we should take the principle of "nobody is safe unless everybody is safe" and apply it to economic decision-making - though the most plausible interpretation is that exactly that message has been cut out of pandemic decision-making to prevent it from being considered elsewhere as well. N.J. Hagens points out (in a March 2020 piece) that we need to see the economy as a subset of a sustainable living environment, rather than treating the environment as a luxury within an economy built to maximize the immediate extraction and concentration of wealth. And James Meadway warns that anybody expecting 2023 to be better for personal budgets than the previous year may be in for a rude surprise.

- Brian Osgood examines the state of the U.S. labour movement at the end of 2022 - with overall unionization rates still looking grim, but with some reason for hope in new forms of organization and widespread public support which could change the bigger picture in short order.

- Finally, Chuka Ejeckam highlights how the far right is trying to capitalize on socio-economic disruption. But John Burn-Murdoch discusses how millennial voters are shattering the expectation that voters will become more conservative with age.