Saturday, March 18, 2023

Saturday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.

- Alejandro de la Garza writes about the devastation continuing to be wrought by COVID-19 in Lamb County, Texas even as the powers that be pretend the pandemic is in the past. And John Michael McGrath discusses why Ontario shouldn't count on the Ford government allowing any progress on indoor air quality - no matter how obvious that step would seen as a means to prevent readily-avoidable health problems.

- Steven Johnson writes about the tragically flawed inventions of Thomas Midgley - including the adoption of his leaded gasoline solely because it allowed for patent protection in contrast to a safer substitute. And Ben Webster, Jon Ungoed-Thomas and Lucas Amin report on the aviation industry's predictable refusal both to acknowledge the question of how vapour trails contribute to climate change, and to do anything but obstruct the research which would be needed to provide a fuller answer.

- Fiona Harvey reports on new research showing that fresh water demand will exceed supply by 40% as soon as 2030. And Kevin Philipuppilai reports on the soaring price tag for the Trans Mountain pipeline as escalating costs have to financed at far higher interest rates.

- Steve Burgess offers his take on the reasons for the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, while Henry Mance focuses on the right's attempts to blame diversity for a phenomenon plenty familiar to corporations dominated by privileged white men.

- Finally, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association examines how the Communications Security Establishment has been systematically prioritizing the sharing of information with foreign security services over Canadians' privacy - frequently to the point of breaking the law.

Musical interlude

Bob Moses - Hanging On

Friday, March 17, 2023

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Al Shaw, Irena Hwang and Caroline Chen discuss how forest loss and changing interactions between people and wildlife could be the trigger for a future pandemic. Christian Elliott points out that thawing permafrost is likely to release neurotoxic methylmercury in addition to a carbon bomb. And Dyani Lewis reports on research showing that wildfires in Australia caused a breakdown in the ozone layer - indicating that even our greatest environmental successes are in danger of being lost due to other forms of damage. 

- Howard Lee offers a helpful list of the many ways in which any attempt to treat climate change as a natural phenomenon is indefensible. Andrew MacLeod fact-checks the fossil fuel sector's attempt to brand fossil gas as "green". And Nicola Jones notes that the environmental fallout from microplastics may include direct contribution to a climate breakdown, while Tom Perkins reports on the EPA's steps to set limits on PFAs in drinking water. 

- Sharon Lerner reports on the rightful outrage that the only testing for aftereffects of the East Palestine toxic explosion and burnoff has been done in the service of Norfolk Southern. 

- Finally, Whizy Kim discusses how in the U.S. as in Canada, food conglomerates have used inflation as an opportunity to goose their own profits while falsely pointing the finger at outside forces. 

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Rosemary Boyton and Daniel Altman discuss how any immunity from prior COVID-19 infection is waning as time passes and ever-changing variants circulate for want of any attempt to limit their spread. Bobbi-Jean Mackinnon reports on the rising number of COVID-related workers' compensation claims in New Brunswick even as any protections have been wound down. And Steve Wilcox laments that so many Canadian universities have joined the post-truth COVID denialists rather than acknowledging and reducing the ongoing risk to students and staff. 

- Cory Doctorow points out some of the most glaring examples of corporations using inflation as an excuse for blatant profiteering. And Robert Faturechi and Ellis Simani comb through IRS records and find distinct patterns of CEOs cleaning up on conveniently-timed trades in the shares of competitors and industry partners.

- Meanwhile, Tom Malleson writes about the need for a wealth tax to ensure that increasingly-concentrated wealth can be directed to the public good.  

- Finally, Ryan Cooper makes the case for a banking public option in order to ensure the need to access financial services isn't yet another tax and burden on the less wealthy. Guy Dauncey offers some promising ideas to make healthy food more available and affordable for the people who need it most. And Christopher Patterson and Lance Barrie highlight the advantages of 15-minute cities in response to the laughable fear campaign from the petropolitical right. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Kevin Jiang reports on the reality that COVID-19 has resulted in a crash in life expectancy (which has already been stagnant due to the failure to reduce the harm of the drug poisoning crisis). And Victoria Wells points out that even ruthlessly selfish employer shills should be concerned about a disease whose effects are devastating the labour market. 

- Meanwhile, Rowena Mason and Jessica Elgot expose how at the start of the pandemic - when most themes were ones of "we're all in this together!" - the UK Cons were actively pressuring the BBC to both echo government talking points about public health measures, and engage in partisan attacks and coverups on their behalf. 

- Caroline Hillier reports on the particularly dangerous stressed on parents facing perpetual burnout and illness as the default expectation of their corporate overlords. And Stefanie Davis reports on the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses' call for a meaningful response to understaffing and exceeded capacity in hospitals. 

- Finally, Rebecca Solnit writes that we should be treating a just transition to a clean economy as an opportunity for abundance and well-being, not a threat of deprivation (which better describes the oligarchical system in which we're currently trapped). Janetta McKenzie and Scott MacDougall examine (PDF) how Canada already provides more fossil fuel subsidies than the U.S. - even as the oil and gas sector continues to demand more. And The Breach offers an honest ad about Canada's treatment of toxic tar sands leavings:

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Hibernating cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Aria Bendix examines the state of current knowledge as to how likely people are to suffer from long COVID after being infected - with a seemingly declining risk for any given infection being more than counterbalanced by the threat from repeated reinfection. And the Lancet discusses how much more there is to learn about long COVID, while Caora McKenna shares the stories of some of the people currently afflicted with it.

- Meanwhile, Brennan Doherty reports on the fight of federal employees to be able to continue minimizing unnecessary spread by working from home where possible. And Zak Vescera discusses the prospect of a four-day work week. 

- Matthew Yglesias writes that contrary to the assumptions of people looking to find complicated solutions to poverty in the U.S., the real problem is that current programs are effective but underfunded. 

- Inori Roy reports on the private deals which are making long-term care in Ontario even more oriented toward enriching connected corporations rather than ensuring people have the homes and care they need.

- Bob Wells points out how the covered-up Kearl tar sands leak exposes dangerous gaps in environmental regulation, while Adrienne Tanner calls for accountability for the people responsible. Danny Halpin reports on new research finding that the effects of a climate breakdown include a quadrupling of extreme rainfall events. And Matthew McClearn writes about the consequences of disappearing ice cover over the Great Lakes.

- Finally, Umair Haque examines the UK Cons' takeover of the BBC as a prime example of the fascist tendency to break the institutions of civil society. And Chelsea Nash reports on Faiz Shakir's message that progressives need to recognize public anger and its causes - while turning it toward positive ends rather than the hate and destruction peddled by the right.