Columns

Learning How to Resist Trump’s Shock Politics

September 18, 2017 by Jim Miller

Lessons from Naomi Klein – Part One

Last week at the San Diego Free Press, Sharon Carr provided a nice overview of Naomi Klein’s new book No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. These next two weeks, I’d like to follow up Ms. Carr’s good work by underlining what I see to be the two central insights in Klein’s book and why they matter.

In essence, Klein’s book is centered on two key points: 1) Despite all the drama and spectacle, Trump is nothing new; and 2) Neoliberal incrementalism is a dead end and we require bolder vision and practice to win the world we need. This week, we’ll consider the first proposition.

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The War on Public Sector Unions Is a War on Progressive Politics and Democracy Itself

September 11, 2017 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

As the Trump circus keeps people focused on daily scandals along with assaults on immigrants, transgender folks, and a myriad of other battles, the right is busy trying to quietly win the long war. Last week in my Labor Day column, I noted how the upcoming Janus v. AFSCME decision will help make it possible to gut public sector unions and the labor movement as a whole in order to change the power structure of the entire country and rig American politics in favor of the interests of the rich and our corporate oligarchy.

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Pillars of the Community: Seekers of Unity in a Climate of White Supremacy

August 23, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Group of people gathered in front of mural

I heard talk on TV about people being “stunned” that the president would say that both sides were at fault when he had “rebuked” (if you really want to call it that) the white nationalists’ stunningly violent and reckless behavior in Virginia just the day before.

Stunned about what? I would have been stunned if he hadn’t taken his words back. What happened was the dude desperately had to get back to his true self, back to speaking from the dark places in his mind.

And the way his mind works

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Higher Education and the American Political Imagination

August 21, 2017 by Jim Miller

As I enter my thirtieth year as a professor at a public college of one kind or another, I’m used to the constant political fray that comes with being in the middle of funding battles, debates about education reform, and the culture wars, but this may be the first time in my long career that I have begun a new semester with the knowledge that a large number of Americans no longer see higher education as a public good.

Over the summer, the Pew Research Center released an interesting poll that helps explain where we are at this political and cultural moment in America. The survey revealed that most Republicans now believe that institutions of higher education have an adverse effect on the United States.

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Beauty in the Age of the Anthropocene: Summer Chronicles #6

August 14, 2017 by Jim Miller

We live in a world of profound beauty and horror. One can turn on the news and view famine, war, and terror attacks and then stroll down the street to the park and revel in a glorious summer day.

Of course, it must be said that this is evidence of our privilege as citizens of the first world nation where we live in relative comfort compared to our fellow humans and across the globe, millions of whom don’t have enough to eat or have been forced to flee their homes due to circumstances beyond their control.

Here in San Diego, our own homeless are

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Summer Chronicles #5: Two Conversations

August 7, 2017 by Jim Miller

Two recent conversations that stayed with me for some reason.

One was with a man who told me that he knew what it was like to feel so empty that the fragile construct that was him, his identity, could fall apart at any moment. He knew this, of course, because that is what happened to him. He had a breakdown; he broke down and the pieces of him fell off, down on the ground all around him — inexplicable shards of what used to be that thing he called himself.

It is remarkable when someone tells you such a thing. I was struck by the courage of the confession and also by the rawness of the moment, the trembling intensity that accompanied the admission and the heightened anticipation of what I don’t know.

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A Genealogy Adventure with Slave and Super-centenarian Moses Williams

August 4, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Members of the Jubilee Singers, nine men and women sitting or standing before the camera.

By Ernie McCray

Donya Williams, the four-times great-granddaughter of a man named Moses Williams, asked me if I would help draw attention to some research she and a cousin are doing titled: Stronger Together: The Moses Williams Genetic Genealogy Project.

So I started reading a bio she sent me of their work and can’t help but think they already know what they’re doing.

I was barely into reading other information when the names Strom Thurmond, 50 Cent, Al Sharpton, and L.L. Cool J jumped out at me – names I wouldn’t ever expect to appear in the same sentence.

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Restaurant Review: Hector’s Mexican and Seafood Restaurant in Point Loma

August 1, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Hector’s Mexican and Seafood Restaurant
1224 Rosecrans St.
San Diego, CA 92107
619-221-9138

Several weeks ago I met someone that asked me if I had tried Hector’s. He said it has been in Pt. Loma for years, and, to be honest, I had never even heard of it. (It is located on Rosecrans as per address, but I was directed to take Locust Street and then Carlton to get to it. It is very close to West Marine, and it is easy to miss because it is on the back of the parking lot of the Mail Boxes Express.)

The person that told me about Hector’s said that he makes the best breakfast burrito in town, and has an excellent homemade salsa.

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Summer Chronicles #4: Crossing Coronado Ferry

July 31, 2017 by Jim Miller

One of the great pleasures of San Diego in the summer is joining the gaggle of tourists and bike riders for the short trip across the bay from downtown to Coronado.

Like Allen Ginsberg who, in his poem “A Supermarket in California,” touches on Walt Whitman’s book and feels absurd–but wanders through the aisles dreaming nonetheless—I stand in line with young couples holding hands and whole families grinning and gabbing in the midday sun and muse about that which connects us all without our knowing it.

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The Utopia of the Next Moment: Summer Chronicles # 3

July 24, 2017 by Jim Miller

What would we do without wishful thinking?

Not much apparently. According to some of the most recent science on the way our brains work, the Zen Buddhists and psychoanalysts are up against it. No matter how much we try to focus on the present, we’ll be pulled away by the Utopia of the next moment.

As a New York Times piece on some of the most recent science of the brain explained:

[I]t is increasingly clear that the mind is mainly drawn to the future, not driven by the past. Behavior, memory and perception can’t be understood without appreciating the central role of prospection. We learn not by storing static records but by continually retouching memories and imagining future possibilities. Our brain sees the world not by processing every pixel in a scene but by focusing on the unexpected.

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Restaurant Review : Jake & Eggs in Ocean Beach

July 17, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Jake & Eggs
1774 Sunset Cliffs
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
619-419-1207
Open 8-1 – Wednesday – Sunday

By Judi Curry

When this restaurant closed down a few months ago I was sorry that I had not patronized it more often. I was thrilled to see that it reopened in May, and when Marilyn came into town from Ohio today I decided to go back and see if it was as good now as it was originally. I am happy to say it is!

While not a standard breakfast menu, there are plenty of items to choose from. And, for those of you that need gluten free meals, almost all of the items have a “gf” designation.

The menu starts out with French Toast ($10); and goes to Short Rib Machaca Burrito ($11); Sweet Potato Hash is $12 as is Biscuits and Gravy. There is a Kimchi Fried Rice ($14); Chilaquiles Stack for $13;

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The Wilderness of Silence : Summer Chronicles #2

July 17, 2017 by Jim Miller

Our noise is everywhere. Just try to sit for a moment in your house and experience a moment without some kind of artificial noise, whether it be passing traffic, the sound of your neighbor’s television or stereo or the now nearly ever-present buzzing of somebody’s ear buds.

But let’s say you want to head out beyond the sprawling reach of the homogenous exurban landscape, past even the glow of the Walmart on the edge of Small Town, Anywhere to what is left of the great American wilderness.

Any peace there?

Apparently not, according to the most recent research on our never-ending din.

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Everybody’s Talking About the ‘I’ Word

July 13, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Crowd with person holding sign: "impeach donald trump now .org

By Ernie McCray

Hey, y’all, have you heard?
Everybody’s talking ‘bout the “I” word.
“Impeachment,” in other words:
throwing The Donald to the curb;
finally fed up
with him on our last nerve
like a cowboy riding a wild bronco
wrangled from the herd;
realizing it is
extraordinarily absurd
continuing to let this “I” word
be deferred and deterred and misheard and/or
unheard and slurred and unstirred,
considering that we have a leader
who is emotionally disturbed,
who, on his own,
has made himself the last word
when it comes to
lacking political decorum…

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Summer Chronicles #1: When Things Fall Apart

July 10, 2017 by Jim Miller

Summer is here and it’s time to take a break from my usual column and stretch the form a little with some chronicles. As I explained when I started this summer series a couple of years ago, the chronicle is a literary genre born in Brazil:

In the summer of 1967, the great Brazilian writer, Clarice Lispector, began a seven-year stint as a writer for Jornal de Brasil [The Brazilian News] not as a reporter but as a writer of “chronicles,” a genre peculiar to Brazil. As Giovanni Pontiero puts it in the preface to Selected Chrônicas, a chronicle, “allows poets and writers to address a wider readership on a vast range of topics and themes.

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What’s Love Got to Do With It?

July 6, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Sign: LOVE with a peace sign for the letter O

By Ernie McCray

Tina Turner once sang “What’s love got to do with it?” And, ordinarily, as one who is a “love my neighbor as thyself” kind of guy, I’d answer: “Everything.” Giving my love is pretty much how I’ve managed to survive in the Milky Way. I don’t know any other way. But how loving am I? Really? I had never asked that question before receiving an email recently from an old friend, a high school classmate — in response to something I had written about The Donald. She wrote:

Dear Ernie. I believe that Mr. Trump is a deeply disturbed man. The only way I know of to soften that pain in my heart and gut is to send him love.

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The Widder Curry Asks: ‘What’s a Service Dog?’

July 3, 2017 by Judi Curry

“I Love My Dog, but….”

Let’s get one thing straight. I LOVE MY DOG, SHADOW. And I love his playmate “Rolle”. I love Shadow’s cousin “Toby”. There have only been two dogs in my lifetime that I did not love – the German Shepard that bit me when I was 5 years old, and the Pit Bull that attacked Shadow two years ago causing me to break my leg in three places, as well as my ankle and the cheek bone.

Other than those two dogs, I cannot think of any dog I don’t go “gaga” over. So when I received a note from a neighbor – Barb – saying that there is a lot of discussion about “service dogs” and other animals being brought EVERYWHERE, I decided to do some investigation and see what I could find out.

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Stream of Consciousness as a Brief Getaway

June 30, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Blue monochromatic image of three people in rowboat on calm water with man's face subtly appearing in the surface of the water

By Ernie McCray

PRELUDE: What’s written here are words that poured from me when I tried to, just for a few moments in time, air my mind of all the mania that seems to come from the White House from time to time aka all the time. It’s as written, word for word, with punctuation added to tidy it up a bit.

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Are We Witnessing the End of Public Education as We Know It? — Part One

June 26, 2017 by Jim Miller

Public Education

By Jim Miller / Kelly Mayhew

These are dire times for public education. With Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education leading the charge for big budget cuts, charter schools, and a radical privatization agenda, the possibility that free quality public education for all in America could soon be a thing of the past is real.

One would think that such clear and present danger to a cornerstone of our democracy coming from the right would unite Democrats behind the mantle of defending public education.

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The Truth Can Set Us Free

June 19, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Truth

By Ernie McCray

Jim Comey. My man! I wish I could shake his hand. I mean I’ve got to put aside my deep deep deep disdain for the FBI to give props to a man who has come through with something I’ve so much wanted somebody from a high place to do — call Donald J. Trump out for what he is: a liar. For all the world to hear and see.

Of course he was stating the obvious but it needed to be said just as he said it: out loud – because some of us and the media keep cutting him slack with witty intellectualizing about what a lie really is, how a lie might not be a lie if it wasn’t intended to be a lie. What a lie all of that is.

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The Top 5 Stories Getting Buried by the Trump Carnival

June 19, 2017 by Jim Miller

Carnival

By Jim Miller

Trump is a train-wreck, I know.

But while the pathetic carnival that is the White House continues to distract and horrify Americans, some hugely important news is getting lost in the din.

Here are a few of the stories that should be getting equal time but have been drowned out by the drama of the Disaster in Chief.

1. American public education is under an unprecedented assault.

Through a combination of budget cuts and calculated policies to encourage rapid and wide-ranging charterization, the Trump administration’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is no joke when it comes to seeking to “disrupt” public education and …

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Restaurant Review : A Second Look of the Supannee House of Thai in Point Loma

June 14, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Supannee House of Thai
2907 Shelter Island Drive #110
San Diego, CA 92106
619-795-8424
www.sdthai.com

By Judi Curry

It’s been about four years since I last reviewed Supannee House of Thai. A new friend – Marie – suggested that we meet there for lunch and I am glad that we did.

We arrived at 11:45am, and it was already busy. There was a large group of people at one table, and five other tables were already taken. I noticed while we there that there was a steady stream of people coming in for take out as well as dine in. After looking at the extensive menu I could understand why.

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Fear and Loathing in America

June 14, 2017 by Jim Miller

LoathingBy Jim Miller

A couple of weeks ago I saw Dead and Company open their tour in Las Vegas. The trip was filled with a bit of personal nostalgia for the many other times I came see the Grateful Dead play two or three show runs there before Jerry Garcia died.

Of course, all of those trips, taken with friends steeped in the larger history of the band, were full of easy, ironic references to Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas where he tells the tale of his own savage journey into the Heart of the American Dream.

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Cheers to the San Diego Free Press, a Player in My Life’s Journey

June 8, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Editors’ Note: The staff of the OB Rag launched the online San Diego Free Press five years old this week. This is one in a series of posts reflecting on the paths we’ve traveled.

By Ernie McCray

San Diego Free PressMy journey in life has been down many a highway, leading me this way and that way. Mostly wonderful, though, I must say.

I could go on and on for days about the stops I’ve made in this voyage, about the human connections that have sat well in my soul: like my relationship with the San Diego Free Press, SDFP, which, by the way, is celebrating it’s fifth year of treating us San Diegans to an array of progressive news and views.

Propositions we can use.

I remember how the San Diego Free Press came to be, how we, at meetings of the OB Rag, with its major focus on Ocean Beach, thought about reaching out to all of San Diego.

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Why the ‘San Diego Free Press’ Matters Now More Than Ever

June 5, 2017 by Jim Miller

Free Press
Editor’s Note: The San Diego Free Press is five years old this week. This is one in a series of posts reflecting on the paths we’ve traveled.

By Jim Miller

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the San Diego Free Press and that’s something to celebrate. I first started writing for the OB Rag and then subsequently became part of the birth of the SD Free Press because I loved the way that those outlets both paid homage to the legacy of San Diego’s countercultural press and continued its legacy into the digital age.

As part a key part of the local New Left and counterculture in the sixties and early seventies, Doug Porter, Frank Gormlie, and others offered a space for radical voices and cultural threads that were not acceptable in the mainstream, commercial media of the time.

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We Have Entered the Trump Zone

June 1, 2017 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Trump ZoneI don’t know about y’all but, with all the Three Stooges kind of shenanigans going on in the White House, I feel like we’ve entered the Trump Zone.

It’s definitely not the Twilight Zone, that’s for sure. The Trump Zone’s stories go way beyond any episode I’ve ever seen on the Twilight Zone.

No character in the Twilight Zone comes close to the main character in the Trump Zone, an orange faced villain with hair a scarecrow would refuse to wear, a man who, wherever you look, he is there.

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A Farewell to a Friend of Point Loma and Ocean Beach – Katie Klumpp

May 30, 2017 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

I first met Katie over 43 years ago when she was my daughter’s BlueBird/Campfire Leader. She was one of the most intelligent women I had ever met, and I was in awe of all the things that she managed to do in 24 hours. She seemed to volunteer for anything that she believed in, and did an outstanding job in all areas.

She received her Master’s in speech pathology and Audiology way before women were receiving Master’s degrees.

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What’s the Matter with San Diego Labor (Part 3): A Divided Movement Hurts Us All

May 30, 2017 by Jim Miller

South Bay Democrats Show the Way with Resolution in Support of a United Labor Movement

By Jim Miller

Last week, the first meeting of the newly reorganized San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council was a refreshingly upbeat gathering as the local movement recommitted itself to weathering the storm and reinventing the Labor Council as a far more democratic and activist organization that will do everything it can to engage union members and organize the unorganized.

One of the most encouraging moments of the night came when Doug Moore of the United Domestic Workers spoke about the pressing need to rebuild real, less transactional relationships with our allies in the community. This is a very good thing.

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Making our Schools Safe for Muslim Students in a Climate of Hate

May 18, 2017 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Muslim studentsThere’s a survey highlighting that a large number of Muslim students are being bullied at school.

Our school district picks up on it and looks at ways to make them feel safe on their campuses. And before you can say “Way to go!” to the school system, a bunch of hateful folks come up with some “reverse discrimination” kind of BS.

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Keeping a Tucson Neighborhood’s Spirit Alive

May 17, 2017 by Ernie McCray

be the best neighborhood

By Ernie McCray

Recently I received an email from a friend asking me if I would lead a conversation that would begin with a piece of art, next April, on issues important to Dunbar, the neighborhood in Tucson, where I spent the first 24 years of my life.

I couldn’t get back to her with the answer, “Yes,” quick enough. I can’t think of anything I’d rather do, in life, than take part in a rap session on behalf of a community that resides at the core of who I am as a human being.

I mean, I am Dunbar personified.

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Restaurant Review : Breakfast Republic

May 15, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Breakfast Republic
4839 Newport Ave.
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
619-255-7255
Breakfastrepublic.com
/ocean- beach/

By Judi Curry

Sometimes you want things to be so good that you are disappointed when they do not turn out the way you wanted them to be. A little of that happened today when I went to breakfast with Stuart and Nancy at the new Breakfast Republic in Ocean Beach.

The restaurant is where the old Portugalia and OB Warehouse used to be. (Those of you that have been here as long as I have been may remember that it was originally a Christian Science Monitor Reading Room!) The restaurant is on the top floor, accessible by steps or an elevator. Currently the bottom floor is still empty, but the word is that Coin Haus will be opening there soon.

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