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Doc Sportello

Doc Sportello's Journal
Doc Sportello's Journal
July 23, 2024

Kamala Harris is not "childless"

She is a stepmother to Doug Emhoff's two children, Ella and Cole. They are not her biological children but she has been a parent to them for the past 10 years, since Cole was 20 and Ella was 14.

Sometimes parents are not beloved by their children and sometimes step parents are like in the bad stepmother fairy tales. Kamala is so beloved by her stepchildren that they gave her the nickname "Momala".

Kamala Harris is not childless.


July 22, 2024

Bobby Kennedy's tear-jerking reception at the 1964 Democratic convention

The applause went on and on in an emotional outpouring of love shown for the slain President and his brother. A short intro from C-Span, then the speech.

I bet the welcome Joe Biden receives at this year's Democratic convention will be similar.


July 11, 2024

Wow, Gretchen Whitmer is IMPRESSIVE!!

On Colbert right now. I have not seen her in an extended interview before. Michigan you have a great governor.

And oh yeah, a full throated backing of Biden.

July 7, 2024

Why is the pundit class so desperate to push Biden out of the race?

... it does seem like the pundit class of the American media is suffering from severe memory loss. Because they’re doing exactly what they did in the 2016 presidential race – providing wildly asymmetrical and inflammatory coverage of the one candidate running against Donald J Trump.

They have become a stampeding herd producing an avalanche of stories suggesting Biden is unfit, will lose and should go away, at a point in the campaign in which replacing him would likely be somewhere between extremely difficult and utterly catastrophic. They do this while ignoring something every scholar and critic of journalism knows well and every journalist should. As Nikole Hannah-Jones put it: “As media we consistently proclaim that we are just reporting the news when in fact we are driving it. What we cover, how we cover it, determines often what Americans think is important and how they perceive these issues yet we keep pretending it’s not so.” They are not reporting that he is a loser; they are making him one.

According to one journalist’s tally, the New York Times has run 192 stories on the subject since the debate, including 50 editorials and 142 news stories. The Washington Post, which has also gone for saturation coverage, published a resignation speech they wrote for him. Not to be outdone, the New Yorker’s editor-in-chief declared that Biden not going away “would be an act not only of self-delusion but of national endangerment” and had a staff writer suggest that Democrats should use the never-before-deployed 25th amendment.

Since this would have to be led by Vice-President Kamala Harris, it would be a sort of insider coup. And so it goes with what appears to be a journalistic competition to outdo each other in the aggressiveness of the attacks and the unreality of the proposals. It’s a dogpile and a panic, and there is no one more unable to understand their own emotional life, biases and motives than people who are utterly convinced of their own ironclad rationality and objectivity, AKA most of these pundits.


The interesting thing about this push from pundits (including those who think they are pundits or part of some elite ruling class) is that it is very much top down. The great unwashed - meaning most of us on here and rank-and-file Democrats - appear to greatly oppose these efforts.
Also, there is an insightful take in the article about Biden's speech issues and views from gerentologists who say his speech is part of normal aging and not signs of dementia.
June 28, 2024

The best response to questions about Biden's performance?

Ignore it!

Use deflection, both siderism, ignoring and moving to another talking point. Anything else to change the topic. If asked again, then keep it up and after awhile this attention deficited nation will move on. That's what the other side does and suffers little to no consequences. That is not "turning into them" as if Democrats are doing one of the hundreds of malicious to democracy tactics the repubs and dump are doing. Biden had a cold and is 81. That's it, and then slough it off as everything from treasonous acts to felony convictions to cavorting with our enemies have been sloughed off by the evil people we are facing in November.

Enough with the handwringing and talk of replacement. Fuck that. We need full throated support for Biden from Harris and Newsom, Congressional leaders and everyday supporters. Nothing, nothing Biden has said or done deserves replacement. If he is somehow not able to go on, then the decent man that he is, his wife and advisors will make that decision.

Ignore ignore, ignore. And keep pushing the incredibly stark differences between a man who has had a miraculous four years in getting things done versus a criminal, evil conman who is intent on turning our democracy into a dictatorship.

April 23, 2024

What Is Really Going On at Columbia University?

From Slate, an interview with the current editor of the student newspaper, Colin Roedl and the former editor, Milène Klein, on what is going on at Columbia. They paint a different picture than the frenzied media reporting and internet postings here and elsewhere.

Aymann Ismail (interviewer): What is the mood on campus right now?
Milène Klein: Actually, pretty good. We’re in the newsroom right now. The mood on campus is actually high. There’s a lot of energy. People are chilling on the lawns.
This weekend is the first time the NYPD had been called to actually break up a protest. There had already been arrests around campus, if not actually on campus, so I think many people are very distressed and extremely disappointed—but not surprised. The university introduced security forces to disrupt peaceful protest simply because they want to appease the people who are watching the congressional hearings and who are asking questions in bad faith. This is the audience they are kowtowing to. I think that’s what people are more distressed by than the police presence, to be honest.

Roedl: Actively calling for more police contributes to feelings of unsafety. And those feelings of unsafety are contributing to more police. So we’re seeing a feedback loop with absolutely no communication from our administration. That is the uniting point for a lot of people, regardless of politics, that we’re seeing complete silence from our administration. They made the decision to authorize NYPD on campus, and that’s the last time we have heard from her.

Klein: There’s a lot of discussion about what is happening at Columbia campus. Like, “There’s crisis at Columbia”—you have this image of students hunting each other in the street, like absolute chaos. There are alarmists framing this all around antisemitism, or a crusade against Jewish students, whom are hiding or being pushed out of campus. I don’t think any of us have seen that. The reality is that we’re a community of people who live together, eat together, and go to class together every single day. And for people who want to hear what Columbia students have to say, you have to read what they’re saying in their own words.


February 9, 2024

Thanks to those who gave me hearts

I'm pretty angry right now so the recent one helped to calm me down.

January 30, 2024

N Scott Momaday, Pulitzer-winning Native American novelist, dies aged 89

N Scott Momaday, a Pulitzer prize-winning storyteller, poet, educator and folklorist whose debut novel House Made of Dawn is widely credited as the starting point for contemporary Native American literature, has died. He was 89. Momaday died on Wednesday at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, publisher HarperCollins announced. He had been in failing health.

He was born Navarre Scott Mammedaty, in Lawton, Oklahoma, and was a member of the Kiowa Tribe. His mother was a writer, and his father an artist who once told his son: “I have never known an Indian child who couldn’t draw,” a talent Momaday demonstrably shared. His artwork, from charcoal sketches to oil paintings, were included in his books and exhibited in museums in Arizona, New Mexico and North Dakota. Audio guides to tours of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of the American Indian featured Momaday’s avuncular baritone.

He saw writing as a way of bridging the present with the ancient past and summed up his quest in the poem If I Could Ascend:

Something like a leaf lies here within me; / it wavers almost not at all, / and there is no light to see it by / that it withers upon a black field. / If it could ascend the thousand years into my mouth, / I would make a word of it at last, / and I would speak it into the silence of the sun.


The Way to Rainy Mountain is one of my favorite books of all time. The PBS American Masters doc on him from 2019 is an excellent memorial to one of our greatest writers and a tremendous human being.
January 16, 2024

Werner Herzog: Radical Dreamer review - master director's passionate idealism

With pop-culture brand recognition like no other auteur, he walks the walk and talks the talk … in that inimitable voice. Werner Herzog – film-maker, visionary, adventurer and first among equals of the New German cinema – is now the subject of a highly enjoyable new documentary from Thomas von Steinaecker, who has assembled an A-list gallery of interviewees to talk about knowing or working with the great man; these include Wim Wenders, Volker Schlöndorff, Nicole Kidman, Chloé Zhao, Joshua Oppenheimer, Robert Pattinson and many more.

There’s something almost Wellesian or Hitchcockian in the way Herzog uses celebrity to keep getting pictures made, and his work rate is one of the marvellous things about him. Calling a film-maker a “dreamer” sounds hackneyed, but it does justice to his idealism. Perhaps no other description will do.


Herzog breaks the mold in another way: he proves wrong the saying about never meeting your idols. I've been a big fan of him ever since I saw Stroszek back in the late 70s. I got a chance to meet him at a film festival and he was as gracious and open in person as he appears on tv and other interviews. I was just going to say how much I admired his work and then walk away, but he engaged me in conversation and asked me questions about my work. It was memorable for me. He does indeed walk the talk.

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