Friday, March 03, 2023

Musical interlude

Cannons - Love on the Ground

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Jonathan Lambert discusses how politicized messages have been used to weaponize uncertainty and changing information during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jonathan Howard points out how successful mitigation practices have been used to serve a misleading narrative downplaying the actual risks of COVID-19. Matt Gurney discusses the Canadian federal government's questionable decision to end supplies of rapid antigen tests while the pandemic rages on - as well as the lack of much apparent interest in challenging the choice. And Cara Murez reports on the research showing that reduced oxygen levels in the brain are among the effects of long COVID.

- Amy Westervelt reports on the fossil fuel sector's nine-figure capture of universities in the U.S, while Amy Mann writes that Canada too needs to stop letting oil and gas companies with a vested interest in continued carbon pollution fund and direct climate research. And Danielle Paradis reports on the choice by both Imperial Oil and the UCP government to inform First Nations and other affected parties of an unprecedented series of tailings pond leaks. 

- Trevor Tombe points out that the UCP's budget is designed to make the boom-and-bust cycle even bumpier than it was before. And Nick Warino discusses how Nordic countries are instead seeing large and stable returns from their investment in public enterprise.  

- Paris Marx warns against accepting Elon Musk's plan for a future which shifts to electric energy without otherwise disturbing the entrenched wealth structures which concentrate so much power in the hands of so few. 

- Finally, Alexander Quon surveys some experts about the claims of Regina's Catalyst Committee, and finds that nobody outside of Sandra Masters' backroom bunch thinks for a second that any returns from a downtown arena would come remotely close to justifying the expense. 

Thursday, March 02, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Chris Stanford responds to the alt-right's demonization of liveable communities by pointing out what a 15-minute city actually means. And Monika Korzun and Farzaneh Barak discuss how to ensure more equitable and sustainable access to food. 

- Tyler Buchana points out the long history of train derailments around East Palestine prior to last month's catastrophic chemical spill and fire - as well as the pleas for safety measures which were dismissed in order to cater to corporate owners. And Cory Doctorow discusses how corporate recycling programs can be found on the plausibility scale between greenwashing and outright fraud. 

- Andrew Nikiforuk calls out the use of plastic words to gloss over the government infrastructure devoted to promoting oil and gas - a point which is all the more clear when petrostates are deliberately leaving anybody outside of the fossil fuel sector from "energy" advising

- Ian Bailey reports on the Calgary Petroleum Club's belated and mealy-mouthed expression of regret for providing a venue to Christine Anderson and her convoy reunion. And Luke LeBrun highlights a few details from the Emergency Act inquiry which have otherwise been largely overlooked - including how #FluTruxKlan drivers were handed cash-stuffed envelopes from as-yet-undisclosed sources as they occupied Ottawa.

- Finally, Charles Rusnell follows up on Calgary's funneling of money to a con man to deliver quack PTSD services - and the ensuing "investigation" which seems to have been little more than a coverup even after the swindle has become public knowledge.  

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- David Wallace-Wells discusses how the U.S. is woefully unprepared to deal with the real prospect of another pandemic (particularly on top of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which is the subject of a policy of denial). 

- Peter Frankopan writes that climate is a crucial aspect of history which we ignore at our own peril both in assessing past events, and planning for our own futures. Tessa Koumoundouros reports on new modeling showing that the melting of large ice sheets may result in a far more rapid climate breakdown feedback loop than already anticipated. And Jamey Keaten reports on Antonio Guterres' rightful opprobrium toward climate-wrecking corporations.
- Meanwhile, Susan O'Donnell and M.V. Ramana write that New Brunswick (and other governments) shouldn't give in to the demands of nuclear operators seeking to lock down massive funding for projects which will almost certainly fall short of being worth their immense cost.  

- Joel Lexchin offers a reminder of the cozy relationship between the Canadian government and big pharma which has once again been leveraged to prevent any action to make needed medications more affordable. And Lyndsay Armstrong reports on the concern by Nova Scotia social workers that one-time access to for-profit counselling represents more of a corporate recruitment strategy than a plan to help citizens. 

- Finally, Trish Hennessy introduces the latest issue of Monitor Mag with a reminder as to the importance of income inequality and the options available to tackle it. And D.T. Cochrane makes the case for a minimum tax on corporate book profits to limit corporate tax avoidance and fund social priorities. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Bed-ridden cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Lucky Tran offers a reminder not to take seriously the anti-science cranks determined to claim that COVID-19 mitigation measures (including masking) should be dispensed with. And Joy Jiang et al. find that COVID vaccination helps to lower the risk of cardiac events based on future infections.  

- Alan Morris examines the connection between housing status and inequality in Australia. And Nick Falvo offers an explainer on emergency shelters - and the limited role they should play compared to more secure housing.  

- Clifford Krauss offers a reminder that while the oil sector is swimming in windfall profits and paying out executives and shareholders, that isn't translating into a restoration of the jobs which have been slashed over the past decade. 

- Regan Boychuk examines the story behind Danielle Smith's planned eleven-figure Rstar giveaway to her oil and gas backers, while Bob Weber reports on the predictable reality that her largesse with public money is translating into a spike in oilpatch donations to her lobby group. And Stephen Magusiak and Luke LeBrun expose how a developer flouted donation rules to pool funding through multiple corporations in order to advertise on Smith's behalf. 

- Finally, Luke Savage points out how even the most partisan of media are more likely to indulge in propagating fake news where that choice fits with its profit motive. 

Monday, February 27, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Michael Kempa discusses Justice Paul Rouleau's findings on federalism in his report on the use of the Emergencies Act - though the hope for province to provide better governance within their jurisdiction seems rather empty when so many of them are focused on stoking alt-right hate rather than caring for the well-being of their citizens. And on that front, Peter Prebble and Glenn Wright highlight how the Moe government's talking points about federalism and sovereignty are primarily oriented at stifling any effective climate policy. 

- Barry Saxifrage examines how electric vehicles reduce carbon pollution compared to gasoline cars - though he also rightly notes that an upswing in sales of the former hasn't done anything to stop an overall increase in vehicular emissions. And Catherine McKenna discusses the need for corporations to stop favouring greenwashing over actual steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

- Julia Conley reports on the entirely justified public perception that the East Palestine train toxic train crash is the fault of the rapacious corporate operator profiting from the erosion of safety standards. 

- Henry Grabar points out how the shredding of the civil service and consequent outsourcing of project decision-making to self-interested consultants has made it more costly and difficult to build major transit projects. 

- Finally, Naomi Fowler discusses how financial secrecy serves to enable both what's already recognized as organized financial crime, and the general ethic of greed and entitlement which results in "legitimate" businesses profiting from it as well. 

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Eric Reinhart discusses the importance of approaching public health from a collective perspective, rather than presuming health is simply a matter of individual-level choices. And Michael Hiltzik highlights the usual combination of dishonesty and ignorance behind yet another set of talking points intended to undermine masking as a protection against COVID-19 and other communicable diseases.

- Daphne Bramham writes about the dangers of allowing the corporate sector to take over health care, while Alex Ballingall and Raisa Patel report on the apparent big pharma takeover of Canadian prescription drug policy. And Ryan Gabrielson and J. David McSwane offer an appalling look at what happens when for-profit healthcare meets a religious-based immunity from regulation. 

- Armine Yalnizyan writes that the most important headwind facing Canada's economy is a lack of affordability, rather than any concern about inflation. But Peter Armstrong reports that the Bank of Canada is bent on hiking interest rates with the theoretical intention of meeting inflation targets - no matter how much damage it does to people, and how little it accomplishes as corporations continue to profiteer.

- Stefan Gossling and Andreas Humpe examine the carbon emissions of the wealthy, and find that millionaires alone stand to eat up over two-thirds of humanity's remaining carbon budget by 2050.

- Finally, Don Braid discusses how Danielle Smith and the UCP are determined to squelch any criticism of their plans to take pensions and policing under politicized provincial control. And Howard Leeson writes that the spin being used to push Scott Moe's plan to expel the RCMP from Saskatchewan (again in favour of a provincially-controlled police service) doesn't hold water.