Saturday, April 08, 2023

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Esther Choo and Scott Duke Kominers are the latest to point out the need for a focused effort (comparable to the Operation Warp Speed project to develop the original COVID-19 vaccines) to respond to the public health emergency that is widespread long COVID. Phil Tank highlights how the Moe government's elimination of masking protection in Saskatchewan health care facilities is a purely political decision to cater to anti-science cranks (which figures to produce disastrous health consequences). And Josiah Mortimer reports on the UK's apparent coverup of workplace COVID infections and fatalities in health facilities.

- Max Fawcett writes about the clear connection between strong social safety nets and people's happiness and well-being. Claire Cain Miller and Alicia Parlapiano chart how the U.S. built a functioning welfare state at the outset of the COVID pandemic - and has since dismantled it based on the perceived imperative to stop helping people. Andre La Rosa-Rodriguez reports on the rightful concerns by food banks that governments are entrenching the need for private charity rather than doing anything to ameliorate systemic deprivation. And Moira Welsh reports on the high rates of poverty and precarious housing among older women - and some of the options available to ensure a reasonable standard of living.

- Monica Potts discusses how rural America's combination of moral puritanism and limited economic development traps women based on their family backgrounds and sexual choices.

- Finally, Ann Pettifor writes about the importance of applying the principle that "we can afford what we can do" to the task of transitioning to a clean energy society. And Michael Mann discusses how climate change deniers seem to have finally been left behind in Australia's policy discussions - though many of us know from experience how other delay and obfuscation tactics can temporarily take the place of outright denial with a substantially similar effect.

Friday, April 07, 2023

Musical interlude

Skylar Grey - Show Me Where It Hurts

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Linda McQuaig calls out the Ford PCs for making it even more difficult to hold corporate health care operators to account for sub-par service. And Emma McIntosh, Fatima Syed and Denise Balkissoon discuss Ford's latest sketchy step to turn farmland and industrial areas into new suburban sprawl, 

- Guido Lorenzi and Ivan Werning theorize (PDF) that inflation is best seen as conflict-based, representing the accumulation of price increases by parties with the perceived market power to impose them. And Duncan Kinney offers a reminder that the largest set of money stolen is that pilfered from workers by employers. 

- Colin Woodard discusses how car payments are taking up an increasingly large share of already-strained U.S. incomes. And Paul Kiel examines how the ultrarich are able to claim private jets and yachts as tax deductions while most people have to pay for transportation from after-tax incomes. 

- Finally, J.W. Mason discusses why socialists should be eager to see industrial policy as a tool to ensure that productive capacity is used to meet human needs and develop desirable economic activity (including the tools for a just transition). And Kevin Anderson offers an overview of what an effective plan to limit warming to 1.5 degrees will require - while noting that what's needed far exceeds what any major actors currently have on the table. 

Thursday, April 06, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Lisa Schnirring reports on new research showing how infection with COVID-19 tends to lead to extended sick leave, while Helen Twohig et al. survey the prevalance and effects of long COVID among children. And Alec Salloum reports that workers and experts alike are rightly appalled at the Moe government's political order to expose patients and staff to needless risk by removing masking requirements. 

- Justin Chandler interviews Marilyn Struthers about the role municipalities and non-profit organizations can play in ensuring people have homes. Ximena Gonzalez reports on the UCP's choice to make matters worse by paying to privatize existing housing and enrich landlords. And Annette Desmarais and Andre Magnan report on the takeover of prairie farmland by institutional investors, squeezing out anybody who doesn't have multi-billion-dollar pools of capital to to throw around. 

- David Ho highlights why we can't accept the theoretical possibility of future carbon dioxide removal as an answer to the urgent need to reduce emissions now. Damian Carrington reports on new research suggesting that ice sheets may be collapsing far faster than expected. 

- Meanwhile, Rob Miller calls out Danielle Smith for deliberately blocking any transition to cleaner and cheaper renewable energy in order to serve her party's fossil fuel donors. And Alex Robinson writes about the corporate lobbying aimed at undermining any international effort to reduce plastic pollution. 

- Finally, Owen Jones writes that there's ample reason to fear the decline of the West - not because of trumped-up claims about morality, but because of real losses in health, well-being and equality. And Michael Harris discusses how Pierre Poilievre has bet his leadership and his party on MAGA politics - even in the absence of much reason to think Canadians are willing to let them carry the day.

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- IOS Press discusses new research showing that COVID-19 accelerates the cognitive decline in people already living with dementia. F. Perry Wilson examines how COVID has both directly exacerbated the U.S.' fatality rate, and further exposed existing deficiencies in public health. And John Klein is duly scathing in responding to the Moe government's decision to eliminate masking protections in Saskatchewan health facilities (particularly just in time for a holiday in the midst of a wave to maximize the resulting damage). 

- Meanwhile, Andrew Nikiforuk examines how Danielle Smith and the UCP are doing their utmost to systematically any expectation that elected officials will operate with even a modicum of honesty or public concern, rather than exploiting every available weakness in order to funnel goodies to supporters.  

- Dylan Scott discusses how the development of limited private-sector competition has barely made a dent in price-gouging for EpiPens in the U.S. And Nicholas Frew reports on the growing recognition that work as a firefighter should be treated as a risk factor for cancer. 

- Molly Crabapple reports on the growth of a tenants' movement in New York to counteract the abuses of greedy landlords, while Jen St. Denis exposes the brazenness of one Vancouver landlord which attempted to use its own failure to comply with building codes as an excuse to declare a building "decommissioned" in order to clear out tenants. And Jeral Poskey examines how the U.S.' focus on parking over all other planning considerations has led to immense costs in health and well-being. 

- Finally, Andrew MacLeod reports on a new study showing the connection between children facing preventable risk factors at age 10, and a lifetime of social issues. (Though it's worth noting that the case for providing support to children at risk shouldn't be taken as an argument against universal or broad-based programs which aren't designed to devote resources to exclusion.)

Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Stretching cats.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Andre Santa Cruz et al. study the immunological dysfunction that looks to be the norm for up to six months after a COVID-19 infection. And Geraldine Nouailles et al. find that there's substantial room for improvement in the types of vaccines currently available, both in the use of live-attenuated vaccines and a shift to nasal delivery. 

- Holly Williams reports that more UK workers are facing long-term sickness than ever before. Dawn Bowdish calls out how Canada has allowed needless suffering and death by refusing to take basic steps to limit the spread of COVID, with particularly dire effects for elderly people. And Yvette Brend points out how we're falling behind other wealthier countries in avoiding infant mortality. 

- Cory Doctorow discusses how the acceptance and propagation of the laughable assumptions underlying laissez-faire economic models has produced disastrous consequences for the people faced with the resulting decisions. And Annie Nova talks to Matthew Desmond about the reality that poverty is highly profitable - meaning there are vested and well-funded interests fighting to ensure people continue to be trapped in it. 

- Finally, Vivian Underhill and Lourdes Vera discuss how many Americans are drinking water contaminated with toxic chemicals due to governments' refusal to regulate fracking. Kiah Lucero discusses the UCP's choice to conceal the Kearl toxic chemical leak from communities and other governments. And Julia Kane, Lina Tran and Diana Kruzman note that the effects of climate change include dangerous changes to groundwater. 

Monday, April 03, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Umair Haque writes about the implications of facing a deliberate decline in both environmental and economic well-being for the sole purpose of facilitating the short-term extraction of profits. Daniel Gilbert, Todd Frankel and Joseph Menn report on Silicon Valley Bank's choice to discard any risk modeling that accurately pointed out the dangers of its lending strategy before its collapse. Bryce Covert weighs in on how the Federal Reserve's determination to squelch economic and wage growth (but not the profiteering which is the actual cause of inflation) represents little more than class war against workers. And Peter Hannam reports on a study showing how Australia's tax system has been set up to make taxpayers fund inheritances for the super-wealthy at the expense of social programs and benefits. 

- Zia Weise and Federica Di Sario report on Antonio Gutteres' call for wealthy countries to accelerate their commitments to stop emitting carbon pollution. Geoff Dembicki's Senate testimony highlights the need to investigate the fraud of the fossil fuel sector in sowing doubt about science that it knew to be accurate. Yves Smith discusses why market fundamentalism is utterly incompatible with averting climate breakdown. And Stephanie Roe offers a reminder of the ways to help at the individual level - even if they need to be paired with major systemic progress. 

- Euan Thomson and Petra Schulz comment on Pierre Poilievre's rage farming in the face of any empirical reality when it comes to harm reduction - though of course the principle applies to all kinds of policy areas. 

- Shawn Micallef points out John Tory's grim legacy as the mayor of Toronto bent on impeding any social progress in the name of austerity while still harming the city's finances in the process. And Mario Canseco discusses new polling showing that a strong majority of Canadians favour 15-minute cities and the underlying principle of accessible communities (even in the face of the petro-right's rage machine). 

- Finally, John Sewell writes that anybody actually wanting to reduce crime (rather than stoking an environment of fear) should be working on ensuring people have the necessities of life, rather than pouring money into arming police forces.