Columns

Honoring Martin’s Dream Beyond MLK Day

January 27, 2015 by Ernie McCray

MLK Caricuture

By Ernie McCray

Martin Luther King. A loving man with the loveliest of dreams. After seeing “Selma,” which told the story of that chapter in the Civil Rights Movement powerfully well, I just had to write something about this dear man.

I didn’t know what I wanted to say until I happened upon a caricature that captured the very essence of how I often see him in my mind’s eye, as I think of him every now and then. How can I not in this world we live in?

The pose he struck in the portrait made me wonder what was going on in his head and based on what my friend, *Rabbi Ben Kamin, recently had to say about him in an examiner.com essay, he could have been thinking about a range of things.

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The State Of the Union: Obama is an Eisenhower Republican

January 26, 2015 by Jim Miller

obama-eisenhower3By Jim Miller

Last week, President Obama gave a pretty good speech in which he outlined a series of solid progressive policy proposals along with a few very bad ideas like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

What was most telling about the response to his speech, however, was how glowing the praise was in some quarters for what, in essence, was a fairly pedestrian list of things to do: …

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We Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Beyond Our Current Failure of Imagination

January 19, 2015 by Jim Miller
Thumbnail image for We Need Martin Luther King Jr.’s  “Fierce Urgency of Now”: Beyond Our Current Failure of Imagination

By Jim Miller

It’s the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and we will be greeted, as is the case these days, with lots of empty gestures and vanilla rhetoric that erases the radical nature of King’s legacy and neuters the impact of his ideas. As I have noted in years past, King was not a moderate whose only idea was that we should all just get along and respect each other. He was a provocative thinker and activist who challenged the core values of our society both then and now.

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“Death with Dignity” Focus of League of Women Voters

January 13, 2015 by Judi Curry
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“If You Like Sleep, You’ll Like Death Even Better”

A summary of the League of Women Voters meeting on “Death with Dignity”

The LWV has scheduled 9 different discussion places for the “Death with Dignity” topic.

On January 12th the discussion was held at the Point Loma Library. The turn-out was disappointing to me – three men and nine women, plus the three female moderators. The discussion, although slow at first, was interesting as the small audience began to participate. The moderators were Nancy Witt, Shirley Walkoe and Jeanne Brown.

Jeanne led the discussion by handing out a statistical page of Assisted Suicide Laws by State. We found out that three states have passed legislation permitting physician-assisted suicide: – Oregon, Vermont and Washington. …

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“Steal Heaven” at the San Diego Rep Is a Must See

January 12, 2015 by Ernie McCray

imageBy Ernie McCray

This New Year, 2015, was already moving along nicely for me, but it shifted into high gear the other night when Maria and I went to see the San Diego RepertoryTheatre’s “Steal Heaven,” a play written by one of my favorite theater artists, Herbert Siguenza. This multitalented actor, playwright, director and producer is a founding member of Culture Clash, a performance group known for its rich satirical look at the world and its politics – from a Chicano perspective. I’ve loved everything they’ve ever done.

Siguenza’s “Steal Heaven,” was right in line with all his good work and it was just what I needed as I look forward to, hopefully, a long future of trying to change this world into a more civil home for human beings. I know, good luck with that, Charlie, but it’s what I wake up every morning to do.

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Buyer beware – or how Match.com has me by the short hair

January 9, 2015 by Judi Curry
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A continuing saga of romance on the internet!

I have been a member of several on-line dating sites for the past 4 years. I have written about some of my experiences with the men that have responded to me, and, in fact, am in the process of completing a book based on those experiences. But today, for the first time, my beef is not with the scammers but with “Match.com” and their policies.

When I signed up with this company, I immediately stated that I did not want an automatic renewal of their “services”. There was a button to push and I did so. Or at least I thought I did so. But when I received my credit card statement yesterday I found that I was charged a $78+ fee for an additional three months subscription. When I called the company to complain they were closed. The message said that if I were to send an email they would respond the next working day. So I sent the email. And there was no call-back. Today I called them. Interesting to note they said they never got the email. …

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Still Smiling as I Look Back at 2014

January 6, 2015 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray
unnamedWhen I reflect on the last piece I wrote, “A Holiday Season with Tamales and Smiles,” I realize that pretty much all of 2014 was a year of smiles for me.

The year got off to a running start, moving like water rushing from a stream to a river to the ocean. Time truly does move fast…

Family wise, there was much to smile about as all my children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, on the whole, appeared to be moving along in life rather nicely. My granddaughter, Kinya, whom I rarely see, and her children, visited in the summer from Memphis, Tennessee, and being around them made smiles come easily. Lyric, my youngest grandson, turned one, and I can’t be around him for a second before he elicits a smile from me…

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Not So Happy New Year: Obama Pushing Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2015

January 5, 2015 by Jim Miller

TPP_finalBy Jim Miller

Last week, I wrote about Project Censored’s Top 25 most underreported stories, one of which was “Wikileaks Revelations on Trans-Pacific Partnership Ignored by Corporate Media.”

Coming in at number three on their list, Project Censored notes that what is important about this story is that :

Eight hundred million people, and one-third of all world trade, stand to be affected by the treaty—and yet only three people from each member nation have access to the entire document. Meanwhile, six hundred “corporate advisors,” representing big oil, pharmaceutical, and entertainment companies, are involved in the writing and negotiations of the treaty.

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Stumps Market Gets the Widder Curry’s Goat

December 30, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Stumps Market Gets the Widder Curry’s Goat

Doesn’t take much to get my goat any more.

And it has nothing to do with the amount of time I am spending in North Dakota with Cowboy and his herd of goats. No, in this case it has to do with a stupid “rule” that might make a difference in my shopping habits. This is what happened.

I have shopped at Stumps on Voltaire for years. I like their meat, deli and produce departments. I seldom purchase the regular staples, because their prices are higher than I pay at Ralphs or Vons. But their meat is exceptionally tasty; and their prices are better than the other supermarkets.

Over the past years, Stump’s has offered incentive programs that I have taken advantage of – items like Tupperware containers (or similar). Apparently, Stumps now – after a hiatus of many months – has brought back a new incentive program – Chicago Cutlery. …

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The Most Important Stories the Corporate Media Didn’t Tell You in 2014

December 29, 2014 by Jim Miller

Media LiesBy Jim Miller

We live in troubled times but are increasingly ill equipped to deal with them. The average American is awash in a sea of ghastly, contextless headlines punctuated by inane trivia and pointless titillation. Somewhere between the latest massacre and Kim Kardashian’s most recent booty shot we got lost.

Indeed, some studies have even shown that the more news we consume the less we actually know. That’s because so much of what we have come to think of as “news” is really a form of corporate propaganda, a depthless mass of factoids designed to not interfere with the bottom line. Thus we know less as we amuse ourselves to death.

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Restaurant Review : Fig Tree Café at Liberty Station

December 29, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review : Fig Tree Café at Liberty Station

Fig Tree Café
Liberty Station
2400 Historic Decatur Road
Suite 103

San Diego, California 92106
619-821-2044

Every Christmas season I go out to breakfast with two friends – Nancy and Stewart – and this year was no exception. We were deciding between the “Little Lion” and the “Fig Tree Café” this year and because Nancy and Stewart had been to the Fig Tree for their $5 breakfast special we decided to go there. Alas, the special was not available for the “holiday” – even though it was now Friday following Christmas. We ordered from the regular menu.

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On Torture: Deeper into the American Heart of Darkness

December 15, 2014 by Jim Miller

torture bedBy Jim Miller

A couple of weeks ago I evoked Joseph Conrad’s classic critique of colonialism when discussing the disposability of black and brown lives in the wake of Ferguson and our collective ability to dehumanize or “thingify” black and brown people at home and abroad.

As I observed then, “in Conrad’s classic novel Heart of Darkness we are taken on a journey into the core of the European colonial enterprise. And while the naïve reader may expect an adventure in the ‘savage’ world of Africa, what one quickly discovers is that it is the ‘hollow men’ of Europe bent on the ruthless exploitation of the land and the people who are the real savages, whose moral emptiness and desire to ‘exterminate the brutes’ is the actual horror.”

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What a Difference a Few Decades Make – An Interview with Kevin Beiser, President of School Board

December 9, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for What a Difference a Few Decades Make –  An Interview with Kevin Beiser, President of School Board

By Judi Curry

I spent a delightful morning with Kevin Beiser, the San Diego Unified School Board President and he had many positive things to say about what has happened in the district since he has been on the board.

As a public school teacher beginning my career in the early sixties, I have seen the pendulum swing many ways in the past fifty years. (Fifty Years! My God!)

Perhaps one of the biggest swings was from the Professional Organizations of the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the National Education Association (NEA) to the American Federation of Teachers – AFT –and other labor organizations. As a member of “management” later in my career, I have been disillusioned with professionals (educators) belonging to labor organizations, …

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Maria and Me, Living a Life of Love In Our Seventies

December 8, 2014 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Maria and meI recently wrote about a few wonderful things in my life for which I’m grateful, and I’m still in a thankful frame of mind, thinking, particularly, of Maria Ester Nieto Senour, that super-fine sweetheart of mine. I’m so thankful for having someone to age with me as my everyday valentine.

I don’t know where in the arc, of the amazing occurrences in the cosmos, Maria and I began heading in each other’s direction. But I’m glad it happened.

I do know, though, that there was a time, beginning in July of 2009, that I was as low as a man could be …

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Feeling Grateful and Giving Thanks

November 26, 2014 by Frank Gormlie

By Ernie McCray

Giving Thanks

Last Saturday was a very pretty day and to celebrate the beauty of it all I took off on a walk at a nice steady pace. As I moved along I gave thanks to the very universe for my being able to take in such a sparkling day up and about on my old size 14 feet.

I thought of so many things I’m grateful for: a great childhood, athletic glory, a marriage that thrilled my soul until my soul-mate passed away and then another fine woman came my way; children, grand children, great-grand-children, leading positive lives; college degrees; having traveled to exotic places overseas.

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Thanks for Nothing (and Everything): On Walmart, Black Friday, and Thich Nhat Hanh

November 24, 2014 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

walmart binsIt’s Thanksgiving week and Walmart is getting ready to ruin the party by asking nearly one million of its workers to come in on the holiday to get a jump-start on the Black Friday consumer frenzy. Given its size and influence, Walmart’s move, if successful, is likely to set a trend in the industry and wreck Thanksgiving for millions more underpaid service sector workers in the future.

Fortunately, OUR Walmart is responding in kind by promising the biggest Black Friday Strike ever with allies in labor and the community promising to join hands with them in their protest. As Think Progress recently reported:

Workers have gone on strike and protested for the past two Black Fridays.

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Tears for Justice, Peace and Compassion

November 24, 2014 by Ernie McCray

Justice...By Ernie McCray

I found myself, a day or so ago, kind of tearing up, thinking about a passage I had read in “Just Mercy,” a story of justice and redemption, or better yet, the lack thereof.

Bryan Stephenson, the author of this incredibly revealing narrative about the inequities in our justice system, says, concerning a man who was less than a day away from being executed unbelievably wrongfully, “Why do we want to kill all the broken people? What is wrong with us, that we think a thing like that?”

I’d say that we can entertain such thinking because we have no real values of any substance to guide us as a society. Oh we have documents that say we’re high on freedom of speech and freedom of religion and so on and so on and we sing:

America! America! God shed his grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood
from sea to shining sea.

But do we really honor such thinking? Not by a long-shot.

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Post Election Notes from the Left Coast: Apocalypse Now? Just Say No

November 10, 2014 by Jim Miller

Creative Commons image by Kevin Crumbs

By Jim Miller

Last week progressives in California rightfully felt a bit relieved that their state served as a seawall against the ocean of red that washed across America. Outside of our reactionary little backwater here in San Diego where Carl DeMaio can pretend to be moderate and almost win despite multiple scandals, there were bright spots in the rest of the state …

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#Dear Congress

November 5, 2014 by Ernie McCray

For Al JareezaBy Ernie McCray

Al Jazeera America inquired “If you could ask Congress to take on one thing – one policy, one issue, one bill, one idea, one principle – what would it be and why?”

They then recommend that contributors start their “one thing” request with: “#Dear Congress…” and submit a picture of themselves holding the message.

So I sent:

“#Dear Congress, I want you to …”

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A Feeling of Satisfaction As the Widder Curry Finishes Her 3rd Cookbook

November 3, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for A Feeling of Satisfaction As the Widder Curry Finishes Her 3rd Cookbook

For the last 2 years, I have been working on my third, and final cookbook.

How fitting it is to think that I finished it on the 5th anniversary of my husband’s death and received it today, his 87th birthday.

In between writing the book, I was also writing for the San Diego Free Press and the OB Rag; volunteering as a “Front Office Manager” for the Moxie Theatre of Performing Arts every now and then; critiquing restaurants; and seeking other diversions to keep my sanity after a 46 year marriage.

Many of you are aware that I also run and own my own “Jamming” business, making unusual jams with wines and champagne

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3 Critical Votes Where You Can Make a Positive Difference on November 4th for California and San Diego

November 3, 2014 by Jim Miller

go voteBy Jim Miller

Most political observers are predicting bad results for the Democrats at the national level, but there are a few important races where progressives might be able to win key victories that will have a real effect here in California and a number of largely ignored down ballot contests where we can elect solid people while keeping some dangerous, incompetent characters out of public office.

More specifically, tomorrow we can:

1) Take a significant step away from the colossal stupidity of the last several decades of the war on drugs, senselessly draconian three strikes laws, a ballooning prison industrial complex, and surging economic inequality by passing Proposition 47. …

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How Many Times Did You Flush The Toilet Today?

October 31, 2014 by Judi Curry
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Do We Want Neighbors Spying On Each Other?

Really, how many times did you flush the toilet today?

I remember reading Orwell’s “1984” many years ago, and laughing as I read page after page of things that I thought were impossible to occur during my lifetime. After all, who expected to have drones following your every move; computers able to pinpoint just where you were standing in the Universe. Well, another joke on me!

I have been accepting of most of the “1984” happenings, but I think the one thing happening now that really ticks me off is the offer of an “App” that you can use to report that your neighbor is using too much water.

Neighbors spying on each other?

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Restaurant Review: The Old Venice in Point Loma

October 30, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Restaurant Review: The Old Venice in Point Loma

Old Venice
2910 Canon Street
San Diego, CA 92106
619-222-5888

A friend and neighbor – Jim – called me a few days ago and wanted to take me out to dinner as a thank you for taking care of his house while he was away. He suggested a new restaurant in Ocean Beach, but when I looked at the menu, even during “restaurant week” I felt it was too expensive for what was being offered. I said I would go with him, but not to the restaurant he chose. He didn’t care where we went so I looked thought those listed that were under $35. The “Old Venice” restaurant was listed at $25 per person, and had a nice selection of items. It seems to me that I reviewed this restaurant before but it was at lunch time, so I felt this time would still be a review of a what was being offered.

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Goodbye San Francisco Bay Guardian; Hello Wankergate

October 27, 2014 by Jim Miller

Bay Guardian Front PageBy Jim Miller

Recently, California lost one of its last remaining, genuinely progressive weeklies, the San Francisco Bay Guardian. As [people.power.media] tells the story:

The San Francisco Bay Guardian, the prize-winning newspaper and progressive voice, was shut down immediately by the San Francisco Media Company, after 48 years of “printing the news and raising hell.”

No warning for staff, just pack your boxes and get out. Boom. This historic independent newspaper, so long a pivotal force in San Francisco progressive politics and culture was suddenly treated as a corporate portfolio item, and lopped off the balance sheet . . .

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Utopia Revisited: Rethinking the Response to Faulconer’s Climate Action Plan

October 20, 2014 by Jim Miller

climate action plan sdBy Jim Miller

Since I last wrote on the People’s Climate March in late September, the grim environmental news has just kept coming in, whether it’s the revelation that September was the warmest month ever on planet earth, the Stanford study linking California’s grueling drought to climate change, the World Wildlife Federation report that the earth has lost half of its wildlife in the last fifty years, or the unpleasant surprise that, “In what could be termed as the worst effect of degrading climatic conditions and global warming, a new study has showed that fish in large numbers will disappear from the tropics by 2050”—it just doesn’t let up.

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Reflections of Love

October 17, 2014 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

I was asked to write something that rhymes for Steve, a friend of mine, who was celebrating entering his 70’s and these words came to me:

Love SignIn a spirit of love,
with feather weight ease,
I say to my dear friend, Steve,
who has just turned 70,
that he
has reached an age
where you can truly
do or say pretty
much anything
you damn well please.
Cuz the world doesn’t
give a hoot
about an old-assed coot.

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“I’m Not the Least Bit Grateful for Being Smacked on My Behind!”

September 30, 2014 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Woman spanking child

It seems the NFL, of all institutions, is drawing our attention to social situations in our society that we’ve generally overlooked for far too long: domestic violence and corporal punishment when it comes to disciplining our children.

Regarding the latter of these matters, I’ve been in several conversations lately where someone expressed how “grateful” they were for their parents taking the belt to their behind.

It did them no harm, they say, and it made them the person they are today -

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Ocean Beach Restaurant Review : “Taika Sushi”

September 29, 2014 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Ocean Beach Restaurant Review : “Taika Sushi”

Restaurant Review:
“Taika Sushi”
4953 Newport Ave.
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
619-221-1288
http://www.taikasushi.com/ menu-2

It is amazing to me that one block in Ocean Beach can support three Japanese restaurants. But that seems to be the case, with the newest, “Taika Sushi” filled to capacity Friday evening at 6:45pm. I had wanted to try the restaurant ever since it opened, and particularly after reading a review by [Reader writer] Mercy Baron but it just never happened. Until last night.

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San Diego City Works Press, Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana

September 29, 2014 by Jim Miller

cityworks

November 1st Deadline Approaching

By Jim Miller

San Diego City Works Press is still accepting submissions for Sunshine/Noir II until November 1st. In particular we are looking for creative non-fiction pieces about underrepresented communities in San Diego and generally uncovered topics with regard to life in our region. We are also looking for good fiction, poetry, and artwork that runs against the grain of San Diego’s official story.

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America’s First Banned Book and the Battle for the Soul of the Country

September 22, 2014 by Jim Miller

New English Canaan CoverBy Jim Miller

It’s Banned Books Week and what better way to kick it off than with a salute to America’s first banned book: Thomas Morton’s New English Canaan published in 1637? New English Canaan is a three-volume affair containing Morton’s sympathetic observations about Native Americans along with a celebration of the beauty of the natural world and a fierce satire of the Puritans.

While some scholars point to other books such as John Eliot’s The Christian Commonwealth (written in the late 1640s) or William Pynchon’s The Meritorious Price of Our Redemption (1650)as the first books to be banned by the Puritans for theological or historical reasons, Morton’s New English Canaan precedes both of these texts and the conflict surrounding it is far more important and illustrative with regard to the political and cultural history of the United States.

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