Columns

Hoping a Museum Will Help My People Finally Overcome

September 26, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Black History and Culture MuseumSoon the new National Museum
of African American History and Culture
will open and stand infinitely
on the National Mall
in Washington D.C. –
sharing a home
with other grand memorials
commemorating extraordinary
Americans and events
in our nation’s history,
giving “Black Lives Matter”
fresh breath,
dignifying the humanity
of kidnapped and bought people
who toiled as slaves
in cotton fields in a long ago day,
to those, like me, who survived the evil-ness
of Jim Crow’s ways,
to those born this very day
with so many in the nation
speaking loudly of making America great again
as compared to who knows when.
Oh, it so enlivens my soul
to have my people’s stories told.

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A Water Goddess Who Appears and Disappears Suddenly

September 20, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Photo by Ernie McCray goddessOh, I remember days, just a few years ago, when memories of Nancy (my very dearly departed soulmate) would weaken me in the knees and draw heavy tears from my eyes … but thank goodness such dreary days eventually wither and die.

Now, when she comes to my mind’s eye, it’s a welcomed occasion, and she’ll usually surface at a real nice time.

Like everytime one of our grandchildren is born I can’t help but see her as a Grandma: getting little Lyric Allen or Marley Mandela or Indigo Maya (or all of them at the same time) in a headlock on the living room floor, they giggling uncontrollably; guiding them into swimmers on our Pacific shores; holding them to her breast with every ounce of the deep well of love that dwelled in her; making them pose for more photographs than should be legal; singing them silly made-up-on-the-spot ditties and songs…

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From Mission to Microchip: An Interview with California Labor Historian Fred Glass – Part 1

September 19, 2016 by Jim Miller

mission-to-microchip-cover CaliforniaBy Jim Miller

In my Labor Day column , I gave a shout out to Fred Glass’s seminal new labor history of California, From Mission to Microchip: A History of the California Labor Movement. As Glass notes in his introduction, his history of working people in the Golden State is much broader than a narrow chronicle of unions.

To learn more about this story and what about it is most important, I am pleased to present the first installment of my three-part interview with Fred Glass, author, teacher, union member, and long-time Communications Director for the California Federation of Teachers.

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Obama’s Most Impressive Legacy? Preserving Wilderness

September 12, 2016 by Jim Miller

National Parks Wilderness

By Jim Miller

President Obama’s recent stops in Lake Tahoe and Hawaii highlighted his conservation efforts, and while these activities have not received as much coverage as they deserve, one might reasonably argue that conservation and the preservation of endangered wilderness is the President’s most impressive legacy.

As the New York Times reported,

“Obama has visited more than 30 national parks and emerged as a 21st-century Theodore Roosevelt for his protection of public lands and marine reserves. His use of the Antiquities Act of 1906, which gives a president unilateral authority to protect federal lands as national monuments, has enabled him to establish 23 new monuments, more than any other president, and greatly expand a few others.”

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On the Road to Becoming A Believer (Not)

September 12, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for On the Road to Becoming A Believer (Not)

By Judi Curry

Let’s begin this article by acknowledging that I am not a believer. I am agnostic at best; still looking for answers that I haven’t yet found. With that in mind, three things have happened over the past few years that I can’t explain, and the latest still gives me goose bumps in thinking about it. Let’s start at the beginning.

Seven years ago my husband Bob died. I joined a widow support group and one of the things we decided to do was to see if a “Medium” could bring our husbands messages back to us. There were nine of us going to Harmony Grove to find out.

As we were all coming from different parts of San Diego, we met at a central location, and I drove with Rosey to meet the others. On the way there, she mentioned that she was always puzzled why she had such a bad relationship with her mother.

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We Can Display Our Patriotism In Many Ways

September 9, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Photo credit: Flickr.com / PacificKlaus PatriotismI keep thinking about Colin Kaepernick and how so many people have badmouthed him for sitting during the National Anthem rather than addressing his concerns in a “more appropriate way.”

And considering that (as I brought out in a prior piece about Kaepernick) his concern is about the oppression of black people and other people of color, those of us who are so designated really want to know how we can pursue our dream of “liberty and justice for all” in a way that suits the country’s fancy.

Because we’ve been trying like hell. For centuries.

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The Widder Curry Discovers a Solution to Robo Calls and Asks “Why Didn’t I Know About This?”

September 7, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for The Widder Curry Discovers a Solution to Robo Calls and Asks “Why Didn’t I Know About This?”

Why Didn’t I Know About This?

For the past three weeks, beginning at about 9:00pm, I have received the following calls:

“Hello. My name is Lisa. You have been awarded a full paid, all-expense trip to the Bahamas by just answering a few questions. Are you ready to begin?”

That is call number one.

Call number two comes in an hour later – or so – and it is a foreign voice telling me that he is calling from Windows 7.

“There seems to be a problem with your computer; go turn it on.”

I say that “I don’t have a windows computer” and the voice answers back, “go turn on the windows computer that you don’t have. . . .”

Then my cell phone begins to ring. The first call is from Lisa; the second call is from the Windows 7 Computer guy.

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Happy Labor Day, California Style

September 5, 2016 by Jim Miller

Labor Day Cardiff Kook

By Jim Miller

Last year my Labor Day column, “Happy Labor Day?: The Jury is Out,” began by starkly pondering the potentially devastating effects a bad Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association ruling at the Supreme Court might have had not just on public sector unions but on the labor movement as a whole.

Later, in the same column, I looked more hopefully at the potential for organizing contingent workers, like those involved in the Fight for $15 movement.

The twelve months that followed that column brought good news for labor on multiple fronts. First, with the long, strange journey of the Friedrichs case that came to the Supreme Court with a good chance of passing before everything was turned upside down by Justice Scalia’s death, a 4-4 split decision that was a victory for unions, and finally the Court’s refusal to rehear the case.

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An NFL Quarterback Was Just Added to My List of Social Heroes

August 31, 2016 by Ernie McCray
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by Ernie McCray

This is so deja vu, this state of affairs with Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49’ers quarterback who sat when one is “supposed to stand” in honor of The Star Spangled Banner that heralds a time when non-white people in our county were not seen as human beings.

I fully understand and appreciate this man’s stance although I stand whenever the anthem is played out of respect for those who get goose pimples in such moments. However, I bow out at singing about “bombs bursting in air” and “flags still being there” and the empty promises inherent in the braggadocio “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave!” at the end of the song.

That aside, I can’t help but think back to the 68 Olympics, when the quest for “liberty and justice for all,” in a spirit of today’s “Black Lives Matter” movement was pursued like never before. My soul still fills with pride remembering the image of Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the ceremony for handing out the gold and the silver and the bronze medals for the men’s 200, standing on their podiums with their heads bowed and their hands raised in the “Black Power!” salute.

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A Restaurant Review of “Jack in the Box”?

August 30, 2016 by Judi Curry
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Restaurant (?) Review

“Jack in the Box”
Voltaire/Sunset Cliffs
San Diego, CA 92107
619-223-7714

Never, ever, in a million years did I ever think that I would do a review on a “Jack in the Box”. Not that I don’t sometimes eat at Jack in the Box, but a review? Never. Until the other night.

It wasn’t because the food was good, because, at best, it was fair. I could tell you about the Egg Rolls, the French Fries, the Hamburger and hamburger patty I bought. I could tell you about the Strawberry shake that I ordered, but -I won’t. Because this is not about the quality of the food. No, this is about something else.

And to preface this by saying that more establishments should take a lesson from the people running this restaurant would just blow everyone away. But it’s true.

Here’s what happened:

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SeaWorld is Guilty of Disturbing the Peace

August 23, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for SeaWorld is Guilty of Disturbing the Peace

For years the residents of the Point Loma and Ocean Beach areas have been complaining of the noise and air pollution spewed forth nightly by SeaWorld. Some people that own dogs have complained that the dogs are scared nightly by the horrendous percussion sounds while trying to hide from the shaking windows and doors. Some people that have children and babies complain that it wakes them up, usually crying, and has affected their everyday life.

Sunday night, August 15th, was one of the worst incidents of noise that I have heard in a long time. The noise reverberated for over two minutes; and as soon as one could relax another wave hit. And it wasn’t just here on the Point. Looking over the comments made on Facebook, Laura stated that she heard it in La Mesa. She said it wasn’t real loud; more like thunder but it was from Sea World.

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Why We Need to Pass Proposition 55 in November 2016

August 22, 2016 by Jim Miller

brown prop 30

By Jim Miller

As many of us in education circles remember, before the passage of Proposition 30 in 2012, the funding situation for schools and colleges in California was dire.

The question was not IF there were going to be cuts, but rather, how large they would be and how much damage they would do to our students, our profession, and to the communities we serve.

But fortunately, in the wake of the Great Recession and the Occupy movement, the questions of economic inequality and social justice were in the air and we in the California Federation of Teachers, along with our community allies, were able to muster a successful campaign first for the Millionaire’s Tax and then for the passage of Proposition 30, the compromise measure that was forged with Governor Brown.

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Remembering a Sad Moment in ‘Gay Paree’

August 15, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Photo credit: flickr / Sean X. LiuParis. Maria and I and her family spent 16 days there in late June, literally taken by its beauty and its charm.

I have such sweet memories of our time there:

Our cursing the five flight of stairs to our apartment every time we returned from somewhere;

All the sights, the art, the culture, the fashion, the cuisine; the Metro; the soccer madness created by the Euro-Games;

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A Little Bit of “Fluff” – the Four Paw Spa Mobile Pet Salon

August 12, 2016 by Judi Curry
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Four Paw Spa
Mobile Pet Salon
858-699-3400

Getting away from restaurant reviews for a few days, allowing the wounds to heal, I thought it might be better for me to talk about another topic – and what do I like to talk about almost as much as restaurant reviews, grandchildren, fishing, cooking, jamming, etc. – but my 4 year old Golden Retriever, “Shadow.”

Shadow is a rescue dog from the Baja Sanctuary in Rosarito Beach, Mexico. The feeling was that he fell off of an American’s boat and swam to shore. When found he had bee stings – so severe that he had to have surgery to remove one of them.

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Here’s City’s Announcement of Taking Down Torrey Pine

August 11, 2016 by Source

Here’s the announcement – without our comment – by the City that the Torrey Pine on Saratoga will be chopped down on Friday morning, August 12th.

Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016

Contact:
Katie Keach at 619-847-8274 or kkeach@sandiego.gov

Unsafe Tree to be Removed

Tree Cannot Be Saved, Must Be Removed to Protect Homes

San Diego – The City of San Diego today alerted community members that a failing tree would be removed from 4652 Saratoga Avenue in Ocean Beach on Friday, Aug. 12, starting at 7 a.m.

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Another Landmark Sails Away as Local Restaurant Families Develop “Monopolies”

August 9, 2016 by Judi Curry

PL Red Sails Inn

Many of us have heard awhile ago about how Anthony’s Fish Grotto has to move out of their prime location along Harbor Drive by the end of 2016. What I hadn’t heard was that the property was taken over by the owners of the Brigantine restaurant network, the Morton family.

I became appalled when I heard this not too long ago – and I was even sitting at a window seat at the Grotto – and I honestly think that I could see the Brigantine on Shelter Island from that window.

Now just more recently, I have heard – and it’s verified by an employee – that the Red Sails Inn on Shelter Island is closing on August 31st and will be revamped and sold.

And guess who is buying it? Yeah, the same owners of the Brig.

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Summer 2016 Chronicle 8: Walking With a Fiery Love

August 8, 2016 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

walking pathFor better or worse, I have always favored sacrificing money for owning as much of my time as possible, stealing it from those who would suppose my life was better spent doing their business or serving some purpose that someone has deemed to be more important than my petty little existence.

Because of this, I love to walk. Walking is free and fundamentally grounded in the world. When you walk unencumbered you are present and open. With each step you take, you are more alive.

Of course this is a Romantic notion with a capital “R,” but as I enter middle age, I find that nursing the part of myself that still knows how to dream is neither impractical nor immature. It is, in fact, crucial to staying alive rather than dying while I’m still breathing.

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Voting my Conscience for my Grandson and All the Children of the World

August 5, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

unnamedI don’t usually run scared but it frightens me to the bone when I hear so many people say that there’s just no way they would ever vote for Hillary Clinton for president.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m voting my conscience too. But I’m doing it in behalf of children, people like my little three-year-old grandson and his contemporaries.

My vote is based on what’s in front of me as possibilities, like the possibility that Donald Trump could, in reality, become the president and set the tone for how things are going to be in a society wherein my grandson is going to learn about his world. Well that’s terrifying to me – especially considering my 78 years of struggles in this country.

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Restaurant Review: “Sunnies” on Point Loma Avenue in South OB

August 2, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review: “Sunnies” on Point Loma Avenue in South OB

Restaurant Review

“Sunnies”
4723 Pt. Loma Ave.
San Diego, CA 92107
619-693-5298
www.sunniesoceanbeach.com

I can hear the comments already about this review. Let me preface it by saying I know that they have only been opened one week. Let me say that I know there are a lot of kinks to still work out. Let me say that I will return at a later date. Let me say that I went to visit “Sunnies” now because I was told about it by 4 other people in this first week. Let me also say that I did not go alone; I went with Scott Hopkins, a reporter for the Beacon – well known in this area, and someone that I have gone with before to review restaurants. With all that in mind here is my review:

Sunnies is a very small establishment with several tables inside the restaurant, a few tables on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, and still a few more tables to the side of the restaurant next door to “Rosario’s Pizza.” This area is covered and they were installing lights while we were there.

Posted on the west wall was a huge menu, listing all of the items that were available for purchase.

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Outside Spaces, Hacienda del Sol, Cocktails, and Eternity – 2016 Summer Chronicles 7

August 1, 2016 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

roadrunnerAs I noted last week in my reminiscence about my Ocean Beach hideaway, the contemplation of outside space is sometimes intensified when put in sharp contrast with a small inner space.

And the quality of immensity that comes with this is, à la Bachelard, a kind of meditation –

“Far from the immensities of sea and land, merely through memory, we can recapture, by means of meditation, the resonances of this contemplation of grandeur.”

So if the sea provides local access to immensity on the coast, the Anza Borrego Desert is the home of our immensity of land. Vast, varied, and full of wonder, the largest desert state park in the United States covers 600,000 acres from the Lagunas to the lowest point of the floor below sea level. While lovely during the periods of spring wildflower bloom, one might best experience the solitary heart of the desert during the peak of the scorching summer heat.

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A Vacation of Joy and Misery and Hope

July 27, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Ernie McCray (in Arles?)

Maria and I just spent 38 days in Europe with a stop in Philly on the way home, a vacation that had a combination of both joy and misery and ended with notions of hope.

It began with a man driving us from the Madrid-Barajas Airport to our hotel, talking about politics all the while. He wanted us to know that Spaniards, as we Americans do, have a few Donald Trumps around town. He had a lot to say about our president, a man he admired “for how he stepped up and got the U.S. out of the recession.”
All that made us feel very welcomed and eager to explore the city. Then came Orlando, news that weakened our knees. Our tragedies, kind of, I think, seem even more dismal when you see them from far away, in another culture. You kind of feel that it reflects on you in some way.

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Outside Spaces, the Bold Vista of Ocean Beach, and Other Wonders : 2016 Summer Chronicles 6

July 25, 2016 by Jim Miller

sunset in OBOne of the great pleasures of my life to date was having access, for a period of several years, to a dingy little studio by the sea in Ocean Beach.

It was so small that when you rolled out the futon, it took up the entire room. The kitchen was too tiny for a dinner table, the hot water frequently didn’t work in the bathroom, and the constant noise and pot smoke from the neighbors streamed through the cracked, paper-thin walls.

It was paradise.

The saving grace, no, the miracle, of this claustrophobic hovel was that you opened the door to the ocean and within a few steps you arrived at a disheveled patio full of rusty tables and moldy plastic chairs overlooking the cliffs and the pounding surf below. As with the dramatic difference between the cell-like studio and the big blue sea, on the patio, the juxtaposition of grit and grandeur was striking, and somehow perfect.

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The Spaces We Live In – 2016 Summer Chronicle 5

July 18, 2016 by Jim Miller

houseBy Jim Miller

Where we live is who we are. Surely, the country, state, city, and neighborhoods we occupy profoundly shape us, but does not the house craft our being in the most intimate of ways?

Gaston Bachelard observes in The Poetics of Space:

For our house is our corner of the world. As has often been said, it is our first universe, a real cosmos in every sense of the word.”

Hence, the kind of space we choose to live in has a particularly profound impact on our identity. Bachelard again notes,

Thus the dream house must possess every virtue. However spacious, it must also be a cottage, a dove-cote, a nest, a chrysalis. Intimacy needs the heart of a nest.”

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Bush League Nation – 2016 Summer Chronicles 4

July 11, 2016 by Jim Miller

The Modesto Nuts. Now THAT's baseball!

By Jim Miller

The Major League Baseball All-Star Game is in San Diego and despite the glaring lack of Padres on the team, many local and visiting fans will be taking in the pricey spectacle in all its corporate glory (confession: I will be there). With a huge Fan Fest, the Home Run Derby and the main event itself, San Diego will be baseball central for the week, at least on paper.

But if you really want to get to the heart of the game, I suggest you go bush league.

One of my favorite places to see a baseball game is in Arcata, California up in the Redwood Empire where the Humboldt Crabs have played in the same collegiate summer league since 1945.

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“I’m Just Saying … What about All the Lonely People with No One to Celebrate With?””

July 5, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for “I’m Just Saying … What about All the Lonely People with No One to Celebrate With?””

By Judi Curry

This should not be construed as a “poor me” article. It isn’t meant to be seen that way; rather it should be an insightful message to those more fortunate to have people around them that care, that are concerned, and are aware of mental status.

The Fourth of July. It used to be such a fun day when my husband was alive. We did all of the things that people do on the fourth; BBQ, watch the fireworks, and, when legal, even had our own show. Frequently we would take the boat out and catch some fish for homemade ceviche or sushi.

He’s been gone almost seven years now and the Fourth of July is only another day; a day of keeping my dog calm because of the assh*les that insist on shooting off fire crackers all day by the beach. Shadow doesn’t mind the fireworks – Sea World in their infinite wisdom of continuing with their polluting noisy 9:50 pm show – has allowed him to become somewhat immune to the percussion’s he feels every evening. Oh yeah, he still tries to get away from it, but he is much better than my other dogs that tried to get under the carpet to hide.

No, this is not about Shadow, but about all of the lonely people that have no one to celebrate with.

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In the Dark Forest of the Self – 2016 Summer Chronicles #1

June 20, 2016 by Jim Miller

dark forestBy 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 last year, 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.

The general tone is one of greater freedom and intimacy than one finds in comparable articles or columns in the European or U.S. Press.”

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Ice Cream Parlor Review: Hammonds

June 14, 2016 by Judi Curry
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A Quick and Icy Review

Hammonds Ice Cream
3740 Sports Arena Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92110
858-717-5063

Hitomi and I were out shopping and I asked her if she was hungry. When she said “yes” I decided we would go to Phil’s BBQ since she had never been there. It was 3:00pm on a Sunday afternoon.

Needless to say that the line was around the building and when I called them to see how long it would take for “take out” I was told 30-45 minutes. Too long for us on both accounts.

I remembered that Hammonds Ice Cream had opened up a few weeks ago and since it shares the parking lot with Phil’s decided to go there. And I realize that this review will not be popular with a lot of folks, but the scars have healed from the Liberty Public Market so am ready for the onslaught of comments about this one.

The offerings of ice cream were numerous, and on paper – or on the board – they looked delicious. It was difficult to make a decision.

Hitomi loves coconut so she decided to have the coconut/pineapple ice cream on a regular cone.

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Is Tragedy in Ocean Beach Over the Weekend Linked to Multitude of Alcohol Establishments?

June 13, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Is Tragedy in Ocean Beach Over the Weekend Linked to Multitude of Alcohol Establishments?

A Tragedy Over the Weekend

A sad incident took place over the weekend in Ocean Beach. The information I have is second hand, but several people that I talked to gave me the same version of the incident.

Apparently a man was walking his dog and crossed the street at Newport and Sunset Cliffs. A man driving a jeep made an erratic left hand turn and almost hit the man.

The pedestrian, apparently scared and angry, yelled at the driver and kicked at the car. (One person told me he made contact with the car; another wasn’t sure.)

The driver swerved to the curb and pulled over and he jumped out of the car, screaming and threatening the pedestrian. The pedestrian dropped the leash of his dog and told him to run away.

The driver got back into his car, after yelling more threats. The dog was scared and as he was running away, got hit by a car.

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Dream Big: Why Voting for Sanders Still Matters, Despite the Electoral Math

May 31, 2016 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

bernie sanders big ideaWhat struck me the most about the recent Sanders rally in National City was how much the crowd embodied the notion of the beloved community.

As opposed to the corporate media caricature of Sanders’ supporters as a group of mostly angry, white “Bernie bros,” this huge gathering of over ten thousand people was diverse in age, gender, sexuality, race, and class.

It was also a kind, gentle crowd that fell silent when Sanders, in a moving gesture, stopped his speech when …

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We’ve Got to Get Out and Vote Folks!

May 31, 2016 by Ernie McCray

People lined up to enter building to vote

By Ernie McCray

What’s up with us liberals? We’ve freaked out over a chair supposedly being thrown in protest of shenanigans involving voting in Nevada. And we’re beside ourselves that Hillary got booed and hissed by folks whom we say “aren’t really democrats.”

I don’t like all that but I’ve learned over the years that politics can get rather mean and we democrats are proving that based on how we’re treating each other just discussing matters I’ve just described: talking to each other in caps and exclamations, littered with a few vulgarities.

Shouldn’t we be celebrating a campaign that’s been marvelous if, for no other reason, because of the important questions that are being raised regarding and by two very passionate democratic candidates?

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