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Doc Sportello

Doc Sportello's Journal
Doc Sportello's Journal
July 18, 2023

Robert Reich: The larger meaning of the Hollywood strike


In fact, what’s happening now in Hollywood is a microcosm of what’s happening across America in the emerging digital economy — which is rapidly replacing the production of things with the production of digitized ideas.

The workers in this emerging economy are some of the worst paid and worst treated anywhere, while the top owners and managers are among the fattest cats outside Wall Street.


Consider: Stock gains this year have been concentrated among five giant digital firms: Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, Amazon, and Meta. Their combined market capitalization is now over $8 trillion, a figure that exceeds the GDP of every country but the United States and China. They are cash rich. All but Amazon have a combined $200 billion net cash-to-debt balance.


The biggest variable in all this is the law — in particular, what limits it places on digital monopolies, and whether it facilitates or limits the power of creators.

In both these respects, the Biden administration has been terrific. It has been more aggressive against monopolists and in favor of unions than any administration since that of Franklin D. Roosevelt. But much of the law is still in the 20th century, and the federal courts have tended to be on the side of the corporate giants.


July 12, 2023

It's almost like there is a climate crisis

Here is a list of climate-related posts from just the past two days. More than I ever remember. I think maybe something is going on with the climate, no matter how much repubs want to bury their heads in the sand.

"A Climate-Changed World": Vermont Confronts Historic Flooding Again, 12 Years After Hurricane Irene - Democratic Underground

FL Ocean Temperatures In Mid-90s, And Peak Heat Stress On Remaining Corals Still Months Away - Democratic Underground

Deforestation in the Amazon in June returns to pre-Bolsonaro levels while fires are a concern - Democratic Underground

More than 100 rescues due to Vermont flooding - NBC News - Democratic Underground

Extreme US weather live: Vermont flooding 'nowhere near over', says governor - Democratic Underground

Record Florida ocean temperatures may be 'death knell' for coral reefs, expert fears - Democratic Underground

Number of wildfires surges in British Columbia after weekend of lightning strikes - Democratic Underground

Vermont flooding: Dangerous flash floods across the state - Democratic Underground

Florida ocean temperatures at 'downright shocking' levels - Democratic Underground

Phoenix Heatwave Threatens, May Surpass 120F Through Sunday 7/16 - 122F All-Time High

Seriously it is unbelievably hot - it will be 96F tomorrow in Kingston - Democratic Underground

US swelters as south-west braces for record-breaking heatwave up to 120F - Democratic Underground

Antarctic ice levels see "massive decrease" in June. - Democratic Underground

July 12 8PM ET - LIVE Climate Change Roundtable (Sanders, McKibben, AOC) - Democratic Underground

Live In An Area usually Not Prone to Natural Disasters - Democratic Underground

Microplastics Are In The Air, Drinking Water, Dust, Food: How To Reduce Your Exposure - Democratic Underground

July 7, 2023

Joe Biden's quiet success goes much further than Bidenomics

The best commentary I've seen touting Biden's accomplishments and refuting the ageist attacks on him. Many more good reads in the whole article.


But if he's so over the hill that he's unable to function, how come he's done such a good job in his first term under very trying circumstances? It's not that these worries aren't legitimate but it feels as though any positive news is required to be followed by something designed to keep people from feeling too optimistic about the future. So it's been difficult to make the case that Biden's presidency has brought material improvement to most people's lives even though it manifestly has done so.


I was like many progressive types who didn't expect much from Joe Biden but I reconciled myself to the idea that it would be enough to have a caretaker president who would allow the country to calm down a little bit after the tumultuous Trump years. I was wrong. Biden has been one of the most active presidents in recent memory, making changes that are abrupt departures not only from Republicans but Democrats as well, including his old boss Barack Obama.


There were reports a couple of weeks ago that Hollywood producer and big Democratic donor Jeffrey Katzenberg was advising the Biden campaign to lean into the age thing pointing out that people aren't as ageist as we may think. After all, the biggest box office draw this past weekend was 80-year-old Harrison Ford reprising his role as Indiana Jones. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, both 79, are about to go on tour again and can be expected to sell out. Paul McCartney at 81 is producing AI Beatles records.

Some people just have a strong life force no matter what their age and if they're lucky they have wisdom, confidence and judgment too. Joe Biden seems to be among that group and his bucket list is to leave a legacy of major improvements in the way government works. For an old guy, he sure is getting a whole lot done and he wants to do more. The country will be much better off if we let him.


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