Friday, May 05, 2023

Musical interlude

Purple Disco Machine & Kungs - Substitution

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Beth Blauer writes about the continuing need for accurate and timely data about COVID-19 as it represent an ongoing threat. And Rachel Bergmans et al. examine the impact of long COVID on Black Americans in particular, while pointing out a few ways to make treatment more effective. 

- Justin Wiltshire examines how higher minimum wages produce massive benefits in increasing pay and reducing inequality, while actually increasing employment levels as well contrary to the corporate spin which is typically taken as gospel. And Andrew Perez, Matthew Cunningham-Cook and David Sirota call out how corporate talking points have been applied in preference to all evidence in explaining inflation, with the result that the policy response has locked in windfall profits at the expense of workers. 

- David Roberts writes that none of the world's largest industries would be profitable if they properly accounted for the natural capital destroyed by their operations. Markham Hislop reports on Alberta's comical level of corporate capture as the regulator theoretically responsible for environmental issues in the resource sector has been ordered to cheerlead and cover up for the companies it's supposed to be regulating, while Robert Ascah warns that the public is being left on the hook for massive cleanup costs while operators ship their profits out of the province. And Paige Parsons reports on the federal investigation which is just starting to address the oilsands tailing leaks hidden from public view by the UCP.  

- Michelle Cyca discusses how residential school denialism is being propagated to excuse the ongoing structural disdvantages imposed on Indigenous peoples. And Dennis Ward reports on the Neskantaga First Nation's multi-decade boil-water advisory as having corroded public trust. 

- Finally, Tim Requarth writes about the growing scientific recognition that alcohol creates a clear detriment to health - and the difficulty spreading that message when a large industry is dedicated to maximizing its sales regardless of the social cost. And Sally Wadyka discusses the connection between ultraprocessed foods and risks to mental health. 

Thursday, May 04, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Gregg Gonsalves writes that rather than spurring the development of more effective public health mechanisms, the COVID-19 pandemic has instead seen massive backsliding as a culture of denial has overtaken even existing programs.  And Justin Ling points out the painful inability of the Canadian federal government to actually solve problems, rather than merely treating them as communications issues to be managed and ultimately suppressed. 

- Yet even that pattern is less pernicious than the pattern of right-wing governments actively exacerbating unfairness - including the Saskatchewan Party's choice to direct a fire hose of money toward private schools which consider themselves entitled to reject high-needs students (while slashing resources from the public system), and the UCP's decision to eliminate any type of support for people facing addictions in rural Alberta.  

- Andrea Bennett interviews Ricardo Tranjan about the housing crisis facing so many people - including the reality that it's being perpetuated because it's so profitable for a wealthy few. And Irina Wang writes about the problems with funding for a climate transition being directed toward glitzy consumer goods rather than systemic interventions. 

- Andrew King and Steven Sherwood discuss how we're pushing the Earth out of the "Goldilocks zone" of energy inputs and outputs. Craig Stanbury writes about Elizabeth Cripps' entirely-justified concerns that it's not possible to be a good parent without acting to ensure a viable future for one's children. Stefan Labbe reports on a new study documenting the lack of accurate emissions data from the logging sector. And Carl Meyer and Rianna Lim report on the dozens of MPs whose decision-making on climate policy is influence by substantial investments and family income from the oil and gas sector. 

- Michael Roberts makes the case for publicly-owned banks as a replacement for a financial system built on gambling with depositors' money for private profit (with the expectation that the government will step in if there's any trouble). And Noah Smith writes about the lessons governments are finally re-learning about the need for industrial strategy and policy beyond laissez-faire dogmatism. 

- Finally, Juliana Kaplan weighs in on the corporate greed at the root of the inflation hitting the American public. 

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Ewen Callaway writes about the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic - with both a high baseline of cases, and frequent "wavelets" in comparison to seasonal diseases as new variants develop and spread with little resistance. 

- Tina Yazdani and Meredith Bond report on the unsurprising revelation that privatized surgery costs far more than public-sector health care - while also recognizing the Ford PCs' determination to keep enriching private operators rather than funding care. And Raisa Patel reports on the Libs' refusal to act on the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board's work to reduce drug prices. 

- Meanwhile, Mike de Souza discusses how the UCP has coordinated efforts to enrich fossil fuel operators while concealing the government meetings used to discuss them. And Cory Doctorow writes about the problems with the breakdown of strong institutions, particularly in transferring effective power to weak institutions which can easily be taken over by corrupt or extreme actors.  

- Paul Hannon discusses how inflation is "sticky" due to its connection to corporate price-fixing rather than other factors - representing a noteworthy step toward recognition of the obvious on the pages of the Wall Street Journal. 

- Finally, Michael Spratt calls out Pierre Poilievre's reality-deficient attempts to stoke fear over crime as an excuse to make nonsensical policy demands. 

Tuesday, May 02, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Angled cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Alec Connon discusses how anger is an entirely appropriate response to the capitalist imperative to impose constant costs and burdens on people and the planet. And Alexandra Digby, Dollie Davis and Robson Hiroshi Hatsukami Morgan write that the collapse of First Republic Bank and other financial institutions can be traced directly to an incentive structure which rewards reckless risk-taking rather than responsible management and long-term planning. 

- Alex Lawson reports on yet another quarter of obscene windfall profits for BP, while Reuters reports on similar results for ExxonMobil and Chevron. And Geoff Dembicki exposes an Alberta group - known for shilling for the oil industry with false accusations against pipeline activists - is itself funded with hundreds of thousands of dollars of secret contributions from CNRL. 

- Lisa Young writes about the choice facing Alberta voters in the election campaign which began this week - with the oil-funded good ol' boy network being challenged in its assertion of perpetual dominance by a coalition seeking to at least expand the range of voices involved in shaping the province's future.  

- Finally, Cory Doctorow writes about the bondage fees used to keep workers from pursuing anything better than exploitative current jobs. And Bob Egelko reports on a court's determination that a single Marriott hotel stole over $9 million in tips from its banquet workers - with the typical consequence being nothing more than a belated requirement to pay it back. 

Monday, May 01, 2023

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Cassandra Willyard writes about the dangers of repeat COVID-19 infections. Kieren Williams reports on new research confirming how COVID-19 stiffens arterial walls, resulting in an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Erin Prater reports on Deborah Birx's observation that COVID will almost certainly evade the effect of Paxlovid (and lead to another spike in an already-alarming fatality rate) if it's allowed to run rampant. Sanjiv Gandhi, Cameron Morhaliek and Joe Vipond highlight why masking in hospitals and other health care facilities should still be a must. And Shihan Deng et al. find a strong connection between improved ventilation in schools and reduced illness-related absences. 

- Crawford Kilian discusses a new book on the commercial determinants of health, and the need to be better aware of the effect of corporatism on the well-being of people. And U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy writes about the harms of an epidemic of loneliness - and the need to rebuild social connections as a matter of public health

- Eric Carlson writes about the tragedy of parking, as the U.S.' habit of catering to cars has rendered communities inaccessible for any other form of transportation. 

- Roshan Abraham reports on a worthwhile effort to allow tenants to rate their landlords - offering the prospect of at least somewhat evening out the power imbalance between the people who need housing and the owners in a position to deprive them of it. 

- Finally, Don Braid points out how privatized lab services have resulted in far longer waits for Alberta patients - even as the UCP pushes to extend the corporate model to more areas of health care. 

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Tara Kiran et al. examine the use of virtual care in Ontario, and find no evidence to support the anti-public-health claim that interactions being pushed back in person served any purpose in avoiding emergency room visits. And CBC News reports on a whooping cough outbreak in Alberta as one of the actual health crises caused by anti-vax extremism.

- Stephen Magusiak reports on the reality that the UCP's education plans involve starving the public school system in order to funnel money to the wealthy and their exclusive private enclaves. Matt Gurney discusses how Doug Ford (like Danielle Smith and other anti-social rightists) is destroying any hint of accountability in order to grease the skids for a kleptocracy. And Allison Jones reports on the documents available for now which show that Ford's excuses for trashing the Ontario Science Centre have no basis in fact.

- Emma Paling highlights how the National Farmers Union can show the windfall profits being squeezed out by corporate giants (through both their food processing operations and their retail grocery stores) while the people who grow the food have seen virtually no increase in income.

- Aaron Clark reports on the satellite surveillance showing that the fossil fuel sector is dumping far more methane in the atmosphere than it's reporting. (Though I'd be worried the policy outcome will be a ban on accurate satellite imagery in the name of corporate privacy, rather than any steps to deal with the actual carbon pollution being emitted by the oil and gas sector.)

- Finally, Pete Evans reports on the prospect of a tax filing system which makes it easy and free for people to file their returns - with the goal of ensuring people have access to tax-based benefits rather than being denied for a lack of past filings.