Saturday, May 27, 2023

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Gil McGowan highlights how the UCP's intolerable plans for Alberta include another four years of systematic wage suppression in order to further enrich the donor class.

- Cory Doctorow writes about the importance of having "ideas lying around" to respond to an obviously unacceptable status quo - though it's worth noting that the neoliberal exploitation of that principle has been paired with consistent corporate funding to keep ever more extreme ideas front and centre while shouting down any alternatives. And Manuela Fernandez Pinto and Daniel Fernandez Pinto explore how corporate funding distorts scientific research.

- Nikolaos Christidis, Dann Mitchell and Peter Stott study the rapidly increasing risk of extreme heat in Europe and the Middle East due to climate breakdown. And Leslie Scism reports that the combination of escalating wildfire risks and increasing construction costs has led a major insurer to stop offering home insurance in California.

- Bethany Lindsay and Christine Birak report on new research showing that access to free prescription medication more than pays for itself as a public investment. And the Canadian Press reports on the call for free school meals as a similar investment in health and well-being which would be more than worth funding even based on calculable financial returns (to say nothing of the importance of children being fed).

- Finally, Heather Mallick offers her account of life with long COVID (in case anybody was lacking for examples as to why it's to be avoided).

Friday, May 26, 2023

Musical interlude

Manchester Orchestra - The Way

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Beth Mole writes about the work being done to better define, diagnose and treat long COVID - even as different symptoms appear to be the result of different factors arising out of COVID-19 infection. And Markus Eyting et al. study the connection between infectious diseases and the development and dementia - along with the potential that vaccination could help prevent the latter.

- John Vaillant writes about the parallels between the growth of corporations and that of wildfires. Katharina Richter discusses the value of developing our political and economic systems around principles of sustainability and well-being, rather than growth at the expense of those more important measuring sticks. And Pamela Heaven points out how a boom in oil prices and profits has provided virtually no benefit to Alberta as a whole as fossil fuel operators have become ruthlessly efficient at taking any gains (and more) for themselves. 

- Jamie Mortin discusses new research showing that extreme El Nino and La Nina weather patterns have increased as a result of climate change. And Billie Sheridan offers a first-hand account of the experience of fleeing a home and community in the path of a wildfire. 

- Finally, Holly Mathias reports on the plight of rural Albertans dealing with addictions who have effectively been told by the UCP that they can't expect any treatment or support unless they're willing to move to urban, abstinence-based centers. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- David Wallace-Wells writes that the U.S.' neoliberal political consensus may finally have dissolved - though that possibility is of little comfort when the party continuing to push it is able to block change. 

- Ian Hudson examines how income inequality is worsening in Manitoba. And Richard Burgon discusses how inflation has mostly been driven by corporate profiteering in the UK just like in Canada. 

- David Moscrop points out how Doug Ford's plan to pave over prime agricultural land to funnel money to his developer cronies threatens Ontario's food supply. 

- Carl Meyer reports on the federal government's choice to suppress the fact that a TD-led consortium was pouring money into the Trans Mountain pipeline to deal with escalating construction costs. And Matt Simmons documents how the Coastal GasLink pipeline is dumping sediment into vital waterways before even being completed. 

- Finally, Erin Reed discusses how the willingness of major corporations to give in to hate campaigns demonstrates the emptiness of corporate LGBTQ+ branding as a substitute for movement-building. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Emmett Macfarlane discusses how the stakes in Alberta's election are no less than democracy and the rule of law - as Danielle Smith has made her contempt for both abundantly clear. But Andrew Nikiforuk points out that nothing in the current campaign holds any prospect of loosening the hold of petropolitics on the province.  

- Jennifer Lee reports on an open letter from 200 emergency room physicians pleading for recognition that hospitals are collapsing for lack of resources, while Taylor Lambert discusses Red Deer's overloaded facilities and exhausted providers as being emblematic of the province's health care system as a whole. And Annie Waldman's report on privatized vascular services in the U.S. offers a reminder of what happens when politicians choose treat the medical system primarily as a source of profit rather than a means of caring for people. 

- Nina Lakhani reports on new research from Corporate Accountability showing that most of the carbon offset credits claimed by Chevron as its excuse to keep pollution are worthless (if not actively destructive). And Patrick Greenfield reports on the resignation of the CEO of the world's largest provider of carbon credits Verra as its business model was shown to be a sham. 

- Finally, Emily Peck writes about the belated recognition by the economic powers that be that inflation rooted in price gouging is the main reason people are struggling with affordability - no matter how antithetical the very concept is to free-market idolatry. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Aligned cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Antoine Flahault et al. offer a reminder that we can't afford to be complacent about an ongoing COVID pandemic which continues to cause serious and sustained harm on a mass basis. And in case we needed another reminder of the aftereffects of infection, Andreas Weiss et al. study the connection between COVID-19 infection and the development of type 1 diabetes in children. 

- Katharine Hayhoe writes about the twin crises of the climate breakdown and plummeting biodiversity - with both reflecting the desperate need to plan based on environmental well-being rather than profit motives. But Julia Steinberger's discussion of the important work being done at Beyond Growth 2023 (h/t Alison) includes recognition the near-total media blackout on the idea that our society could be shaped by anything but the ideology of the cancer cell. 

- Therese Raphale reports on the exodus of doctors fleeing the UK Cons' deliberate destruction of public health care - and their arrival instead in Australia where they're being promised that their work will be valued. 

- Finally, Naama Weingarten reports on the flood of false information in Alberta, as both the public safety emergency created by wildfires and the ongoing provincial election have been turned into opportunities for propaganda and disinformation. And Trevor Harrison writes that Danielle Smith's laughable denials shouldn't persuade Alberta voters that a UCP win will result in anything but the destruction of national institutions and benefits based on the whims of the fanatical fringe. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Fiona Harvey reports on the World Meteorological Organization's warnings that we're more likely than not to breach 1.5 degrees of global warming over the next five years. And Alex Wigglesworth reports on new research concluding that 40% of the land burned by wildfires in western Canada and the U.S. is the direct result of fossil fuel production and use.  

- Meanwhile, David Thurton reports on the recognition by Health Canada and Environment Canada that "forever chemicals" are making their way into Canadians' bodies, and the first steps to start regulating their spread.

- Severin Carrell reports on the increased concentration of land ownership in Scotland as an expected driver of worsening inequality. And Lauren Klein reports on the development of Rate The Landlord as  an important means for tenants to share information - though the effectiveness of mere reporting figures to be limited when rental housing is increasingly concentrated in a limited number of corporate hands.

- Finally, Len Gillis offers a warning for Ontario as to what it can expect from privatized surgical care based on Alberta's experience.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Karl Nerenberg writes about the Parkland Institute's research showing how privatization has undermined  Alberta's health care system. And Mitchell Thompson warns that the UCP has a similar plan to turn what's already a housing crisis into a profit extraction extravaganza at the expense of the people living in what little public housing already exists.

- Meanwhile, Brandon Drenon reports on the disastrous wildfires sweeping across Alberta, while Ian Austen points out the provincial election campaign's glaring lack of discussion of the climate breakdown which is causing them. And John Vaillant writes that there's no excuse for feigning surprise that a refusal to rein in global warming is producing exactly the effects which have been predicted for decades. 

- Julia Simon reports on the damage caused by a ruptured CO2 pipeline in Satartia, Mississippi. And Mark Olalde notes that taking into account only site cleanup (and thus excluding air pollution and climate damage), the liabilities created by California's oil industry far exceed its profits - meaning that the perception of economic value is purely the result of failing to account for real costs. 

- Jonathan Barrett reports on new research showing how Australia's grocery giants have used the pandemic and associated inflation to goose their profit margins. And Delphine Strauss points out a similar story in the UK's milk market, which has seen an unprecedented gap between retail prices and the amount paid to producers.

- Finally, Cory Doctorow discusses how any reasonable utilitarian evaluation of well-being would focus far more on how policies affect a wider range of people, rather than treating the accumulation of extreme wealth by sociopaths (disguised as "GDP" or other cumulative wealth measures) as the most important consideration.