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.