Friday, March 01, 2024

Musical interlude

Strontium - Phenomenon

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Ziyad Al-Aly offers a reminder of the immense body of evidence showing that COVID-19 leaves a lasting impact on the brain. And Hannah Devlin reports on new research on the sustained impact of "brain fog" in particular. 

- Ryan Meili writes about the syndemic effects of communicable diseases and poverty. And Scott Santens exposes the billionaire-funded campaign to prevent local governments in the U.S. from alleviating poverty through basic income projects. 

- Drew Anderson examines the absurdity of Danielle Smith's ban on clean energy, as the same government pushing through open-pit coal mining on the side of mountains declares that renewable energy will be stifled in the name of "pristine viewscapes". And Jason Wang writes that the attack on renewables is contrary to any desire to keep utilities affordable, while Duane Bratt points out that it's also irreconcilable with any interest in economic efficiency. 

- Meanwhile, Anderson also notes that the nasty surprises in the UCP's budget include making Alberta the latest province to target a specific tax toward emission-free vehicles, confirming their desire to subsidize carbon pollution. And Graham Thomson observes that the UCP is managing to break promises and defy belief by simultaneously imposing austerity, borrowing more and relying more heavily on one-time resource royalties. 

- Finally, Andrew Gregory reports on new research into the large number of health risks from ultra-processed foods 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Susan Riley points out the glaring gap between the urgency of the climate crisis, and the Canadian political response which (Charlie Angus aside) ranges from mealy-mouthed corporatism to outright sabotage. And Gillian Steward calls out the UCP's continued climate denial which is preventing Alberta from responding to fires, droughts and other disasters caused by the climate breakdown. 

- Meanwhile, Andrew Nikiforuk discusses the UCP's insistence on barging ahead with a coal mine repeatedly rejected by the courts as a painful example of how petropoliticians will never accept any environmental regulation on fossil fuel extraction, while Amanda Stephenson reports on the continued escalation of the up-front cost of the Trans Mountain pipeline which the Libs insist on funding at public expense.

- Max Fawcett discusses why a federal wealth tax would represent both good politics and good policy. 

- Linda McQuaig highlights how the Cons' claims to care about responsible public spending and affordability are utterly irreconcilable with their determination to shovel public money into the military-industrial complex as a sop to Donald Trump. And Rhianna Schmunk, Angelina King and Lori Ward report on the exploitation of Doug Ford's corporatist health care plans by systematically billing for unnecessary medication reviews (at rates far higher than doctors receive for prescribing). 

- Finally, Luke LeBrun exposes how Ottawa's police once again allowed right-wing extremists the run of the city - and are only now reviewing their lies about that course of action after they've been exposed in the media. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Trapped cat.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Andre Picard highlights the dangers of treating the return of measles (and other threats to health exacerbated by anti-science zealotry) as something to be mocked rather than taken seriously. And John Paul Tasker discusses the widespread frustration Canadians are experiencing trying to get access to primary health care in an overwhelmed and undersupported system.

- Markham Hislop highlights how China's long-term plans to ramp down the use of fossil fuels makes the UCP's plan to entrench dirty energy (including by stifling the development of renewables) into a fool's errand. But David Climenhaga notes that Danielle Smith's priority isn't so much to develop a sustainable economy so much as to ensure the public pays the long-term price for the oil industry's extraction of profits. 

- Roland Berger examines how the most carbon-intensive industrial activities on the planet can be converted to less harmful alternatives.

- Adam Cseresznye et al. study the ubiquity of persistent organic pollutants in electronic waste even in Europe where disposal of electronics is subject to some regulation. 

- Finally, Joan Westenberg asks how politicians who are determined to shut down any reliable income supports (including basic income programs) can claim to have any interest in affordability and economic security. And Crawford Kilian discusses Ingrid Robeyns' Limitarianism as providing a model to rein in income and wealth inequality while also ensuring the resources are available to meet people's needs. 

Monday, February 26, 2024

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Kevin Jiang reports on the results of the largest-ever study into the effects of COVID-19 vaccines - which concludes they've been extremely safe (while serving to prevent far worse outcomes). But Gregg Gonsalves laments that public health authorities are under attack by the forces of ignorance - and taking a dangerously defensive posture as a result. And sadly, Patrick Butler's summary of issues facing children in England reinforces the false and anti-health message that the effects of a pandemic on child development should be blamed solely on public health measures to control the spread of COVID, rather than the dangers and effects of the disease itself. 

- Leigh Phillips discusses how wealthy countries are sabotaging work on a global pandemic treaty by insisting that drug manufacturers' profits take precedence over people's health. And Helen Santoro reports on new research showing that big pharma has made over $70 billions in profits off of $11 billion in public research expenditures to develop ten drugs - and has the gall to be demanding that it be entitled to avoid negotiating those drugs' prices to make them remotely affordable to patients. 

- Mark Olalde and Nick Bowlin examine how the oil industry's profits are similarly based entirely on extracting subsidies from, and dumping environmental costs on, the general public. 

- Matthew Rosza weighs in on the need to stop treating ineffective recycling programs as an excuse for permitting the mass pollution generated by plastics. And Gerry McGovern notes that the default assumption that we should accept waste in the name of convenience serves as a source of easily-avoidable energy use. 

- Gil McGowan writes that the UCP's corporatist zealotry represents a grave threat to basic public services. And Joan Westenberg calls out "side hustle" culture for seeking to squeeze even more out of workers while the rich accumulate more and more unconscionable fortunes. 

- Finally, Cory Doctorow offers a much-needed response to the establishmentarians who spout "horseshoe theory" to falsely equate work at building equality with its polar opposite.