Columns

A Call to Action for an Activist Kind of Thinking at San Diego City College

March 29, 2017 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Some places in our lives resonate with us in special ways. San Diego City College is one of those places for me, a place that always seems to be about creating a better world. My kind of place.

Along these lines, I heard City College’s Interim President, Denise Whisenhunt, say to an overflow audience at the school’s Saville Theatre that the campus was “at the forefront of the social justice movement.”

Those words in her short welcoming speech seemed evident as I looked around me at all the attendees at the school’s “3rd Annual Social Justice & Education Conference,” a gathering that just gets better and bigger every year.

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Hungry and Homeless in College

March 27, 2017 by Jim Miller

homeless college

By Jim Miller

Over the more than two decades I have spent teaching at the college level, the vast majority of that time at San Diego City College, I have seen a little bit of everything. From the homeless student sleeping in Balboa Park who ended up at USC to the single mother living in her car with her kids who still got every assignment in on time before transferring to SDSU, there have been far too many stories of triumphs against all odds for me to recount.

Along with those stories come sadder tales like the cab driver supporting his family who almost finished but got knocked out of the game by an unexpected financial challenge

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Restaurant Review : Buona Forchetta in Liberty Station

March 27, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Buona Forchetta
2816 Sims Road
(Liberty Station)
San Diego, CA
619-548-5770

After months of waiting for this South Park restaurant Buona Forchetta to open in Liberty Station, the wait has come to an end. And even though I don’t like to do a review only a few days after opening, I couldn’t resist having lunch there with two widows on this day.

I felt that if it was adequate I just would not send in the review. As you can tell, if you are reading this, the meal must have been good because here is the review.

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Weathering Storms

March 22, 2017 by Ernie McCray

storms

By Ernie McCray

A hawk flies on gentle breezes outside my window, crowing away, perhaps seeking its prey or a mate, all unfolding on one of those “Reasons Why I Live in San Diego” kind of days: so lovely and warm, giving an appearance that, when it comes to weather, all is well with the world.

Then I think of the other day when my son and I ducked into the theater at the Reuben H. Fleet Museum to see “Extreme Weather,” an IMAX movie that took us on a breathtaking 360-degree tour of scenes that remind us that, climate-wise, we earthlings are in deep ca-ca.

All is definitely not well. We’ve jabbed and danced around and clowned, burning coal and oil and natural gas and bulldozed and chopped down our rain forests, backing Mother Nature up against the ropes, leaving her no choice but to come off those ropes and huff and puff and blow us and our houses down!

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Restaurant Review – OB Surf Lodge

March 20, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

OB Surf Lodge
5083 Santa Monica Ave., #1F
Ocean Beach, CA 92107
619-955-5475

One of my favorite restaurants in Ocean Beach was Shades. It was my “go-to-it” place for everything – celebrations, brunches, breakfasts, dinners, romantic interludes, etc. There were a lot of us that were sorry to see it close, and hoped that a similar place would take over when the new restaurant opened. I am sad to say, in my opinion, that this is a place that I will not be patronizing again.

In the first place the noise was deafening! I was sitting right next to Eric and we could barely hear each other.

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A Deeply Immoral Budget

March 20, 2017 by Jim Miller

budgetBy Jim Miller

They say that budgets are moral documents, and if that is the case, then the Trump administration just released the most immoral budget in the history of the United States.

While there are many things to condemn in Trump’s depraved plan, starting with the way it pays for a completely unnecessary, massive increase in funding for the military industrial complex by eviscerating programs that help the poor, fund education, and maintain the social fabric of the country, there is still something worse than all that contained within it.

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The Widder Curry on Petitions and Pollsters: “The Frustration Is Mounting!”

March 16, 2017 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for The Widder Curry on Petitions and Pollsters: “The Frustration Is Mounting!”

The Frustration Is Mounting!

There is no question that the results of the Presidential Election sent me into a tailspin. And I can’t help but feel that I am in an eddy, spinning, spinning, spinning out of control.

No, I am not going to do anything that I will regret – except change my party affiliation to that of a Republican in the election in 2018 so I can vote against all the “balless” people running for office. That I might regret – temporarily, but I can always change it back if I can even find a candidate that I support. (Just to throw it out – how about Robert Kennedy Jr?)

What has really pissed me off – and I use the word advisedly – is the number of petitions that have come my way in the last TWENTY-FOUR hours.

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Where’s The Love? Dehumanization, American Style

March 13, 2017 by Jim Miller

dehumanizationBy Jim Miller

The last time I saw Hunter S. Thompson speak before he died, he threw out a good line about how in the post-AIDS world, the New Right began to flourish because people were afraid to touch each other.

And how Thompson mused, can we ever expect people to stand together in any other way when they are afraid to do that?

Now, years later, what seemed like a bit of insightful hyperbole appears to be backed up by social research.

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Restaurant Review – Pepe’s Italian Restaurant in Ocean Beach

March 13, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Pepe’s Italian Restaurant
1830 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92107
619-221-1926
www.pepesitalian.com

It’s been many years since I ate at “Pepe’s.” I do not even think that I was doing restaurant reviews at that time, and I have been doing reviews for almost 8 years. When Irene called and suggested that we get together for lunch I knew just where to go. And I am certainly glad that we went there.

We were early; just a little bit past 11:00am, and there was one other diner in the restaurant. We were greeted by “Ed/Pepe” with a smile and exuberance that had us feeling good before we ever sat down.

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“Sunset Cliffs Living” – New Magazine Devoted to Southern Point Loma to Be Published

March 6, 2017 by Judi Curry

Guess what’s coming to Sunset Cliffs? It’s Sunset Cliffs Living– a magazine devoted to Sunset Cliffs!

I just spent a delightful hour with Brenna Vega, a young, Point Loma High School Graduate, (2002) with a vision of bringing the community closer together. (Not only did she go to PLHS, she also went to Loma Portal and Correia.)

After spending time in Los Angeles, New York, and China for the past 7 years, the draw of home brought her back to San Diego where she is fulfilling a dream of a magazine devoted to our community. She deems it a “social magazine for the residents of Sunset Cliffs, and is focusing on the areas of Sunset Cliffs east to Catalina; south to the college; and Sunset Cliffs to the end at Ladera.”

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The National Democratic Party Is Missing in Action

March 6, 2017 by Jim Miller

DemocraticBy Jim Miller

Many progressives were upset after the national Democratic party leadership recruited Obama’s Labor Secretary Tom Perez to block Minnesota’s Keith Ellison in the race for DNC chair and even more dismayed when Ellison lost very narrowly in the second round of voting.

While Perez immediately made Ellison Deputy Chair and did what he could to foster unity, it was evident to numerous observers that putting in a guy who, despite a pretty solid record on policy, supported the TPP and clearly represented the interests of the Clinton wing of the party was a mistake.

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It’s Back! “Hugo’s Cocina” (formerly “Rancho’s”) Is Open

February 27, 2017 by Judi Curry

Hugo’s Cocina
(formerly “Rancho’s”)
1830 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92107
619-370-1603

Coming home from a bitterly cold birthday trip to Fargo, North Dakota, I disembarked the aircraft at 11:34am. And as I was being driven home by Michael from Uber, I noticed the “Grand Opening” balloons and signs in front of the old Rancho’s. For five months I have been craving their salsa, and I was in the house for only a few minutes when I grabbed Hitomi and we drove to “Hugo’s Cochina.” But … there were no parking places, and the place was jammed, so we went home to return after the rush hour was over. And I am so glad that we did!

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The Real Fake News

February 27, 2017 by Jim Miller

Fact-checking is a feeble response in a world where what we think we see and know is more important than the actual truth.

Fake News 1 and 2By Jim Miller

Donald Trump’s continued attacks on the American news media as “the enemy of the American people” have generated quite a stir in mainstream media circles as one might expect.

And surely there is good reason to be disturbed by this administration’s punitive stance towards the press.

But what virtually none of the analysis of Trump’s attacks on “fake news” or Steve Bannon’s assaults on what he calls “the corporatist global media,” which both he and the president label “the opposition,” note is the irony that while the new regime is attacking the power of the corporate media, they are also busy installing corporatists in nearly every position of power and pushing an agenda that is every right-wing billionaire’s wet dream.

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Restaurant Review – “Noodles & Company” in the Midway District of Point Loma

February 22, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

“Noodles & Company”
3650 Rosecrans
San Diego, CA 92110
619-223-3200
Noodles.com

On this day, after a busy whirlwind trip to purchase items that I needed for my trip to Fargo this week, Hitomi and I found ourselves to be quite hungry. I hadn’t been to “Noodles and Company” for quite some time and since we were in the Midway district decided to give the restaurant a try.

It was relatively late for lunch – 2:00pm – and a few of the tables outside had patrons eating, but only one table was occupied inside. (While we were there I noticed a steady stream of take-out orders, and two Uber drivers picking up deliveries.)

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An Answer For Election Depression : “House of Blues Gospel Brunch”

February 20, 2017 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for An Answer For Election Depression :  “House of Blues Gospel Brunch”

“House of Blues Gospel Brunch”
1055 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
WWW:heretopraise.com

A Review

People that know me know that I have been extremely depressed over the outcome of the presidential election last November. Couple that with a birthday coming up this week, the depression only became deeper. And we can throw in another depressing situation in that the friend that I thought would be coming here to help me “celebrate” my birthday is unable to come after all. I have been walking around in my own “house of blues.”

However, just by chance, I happened to see that the “House of Blues” was having their monthly “Gospel Brunch” the weekend of my birthday and I called my daughter Michele to ask her whether the price of $50 included the brunch and entertainment.

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Inequality in America: Incomes Collapsing for Bottom 50% as Top 1% Soars

February 20, 2017 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

While most of us were busy watching the Trump administration and their crack team of “populist” millionaires light the world on fire, a new study released by Thomas Piketty, Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, and Emmanuel Saez underlined the fact that the steep costs of our historic level of economic inequality are being borne by those at the bottom of the economic system, particularly here in the United States.

As the Market Watch story on this new research outlined:

In the U.S., between 1978 and 2015, the income share of the bottom 50% fell to 12% from 20%. Total real income for that group fell 1% during that time period.

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Hiking as Resistance

February 13, 2017 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Over the last few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of speaking at a variety of forums along with folks from other activist groups about what needs to be done in the age of Trump. During one of these events at Grossmont College, I was struck by something a colleague of mine who leads nature expeditions for the Sierra Club said about his students and their relationship or lack thereof to the natural world.

Ten years ago, he observed, about half of the students he dealt with had had some experience hiking in the backcountry, roaming the desert, or visiting a state or national park, but that number has been consistently shrinking over the last decade or so.

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We’ve Got to Stay Ahead of this Devil Named Trump

February 9, 2017 by Ernie McCray

DevilBy Ernie McCray

I was watching Stephen Colbert the other night, laughing away at his brilliant witticisms and daffiness, and a segment came on wherein a visual, referring to Trump’s “ban,” read, in part, “…a five year old was handcuffed…”

I stopped chuckling for a moment in reaction to such a terrible statement, trying to picture a five year old being shackled. But Colbert was on a flow so I had to let that go and next up on the show was White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, commenting on the little boy’s inhuman predicament with these words:

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How Not to Be the Resistance: Local San Diego Democratic Party and Union Leaders Fail Early Test

February 6, 2017 by Jim Miller

Head of Democratic Party Bashes Unions … While American Federation of Teachers Joins Calls for Kasparian to Take Leave of Absence

By Jim Miller

Last week I dedicated my column to outlining how, despite the emergence of inspiring protests in the streets and amongst the progressive base, many key Democratic figures in Congress and in the national leadership of the building trades unions still didn’t seem to understand what time it was. Sadly, it only took a few more days to see a couple of stunning examples of how not to be the resistance right here in San Diego.

On January 26th, Jessica Hayes, the newly elected chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, took advantage of her presence at a forum hosted by the Democrats for Equality entitled “#The Resistance: Women Lead the Way” to attack not the dangerous plutocrats running the country, but a key element of the Democratic base: unions.

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I Do Not Remember Ever Being this Depressed Over the Results of an Election as this One.

January 31, 2017 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for I Do Not Remember Ever Being this Depressed Over the Results of an Election as this One.

I Do Not Remember …

In all of the years I have voted – and I have voted in 31 scheduled elections plus special elections – ever being as depressed over the results of an election as I am of this one. I do not ever remember the feelings of despair every time the candidate of my choosing lost. I do not remember the tremendous depression that I feel now; the feeling of helplessness; the feeling of doom.

Every single time I pick up a newspaper, listen to the radio or television I am greeted with another horrifying statement by Donald Trump. It is all I can do to even type the words “President” and his name on the same line.

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Feckless Democrats and Business Unionists Fail Early Trump Era Tests

January 30, 2017 by Jim Miller

Making Deals with the Devil

Feckless Democrats PoliticianBy Jim Miller

As inspiring as the big marches were last week, it didn’t take long for evidence to emerge that there are still plenty of folks in the Democratic party and elsewhere who just don’t get what time it is.

As I noted in a post I wrote on Martin Luther King Jr. day, it was dismaying to see prominent Democrats like Senator Cory Booker and twelve of his Big Pharma funded friends vote against Bernie Sanders’ effort to reduce prescription drug prices before the inauguration.

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Restaurant Review: Ortega’s Cocina in Ocean Beach

January 18, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

Ortega’s Cocina
4888 Newport Ave.
San Diego, CA 92107
619-222-4205

Ever since Rancho’s closed, I have been craving Mexican food. That used to be my “go to” place and I have felt lost without them. I tried Nati’s, but it was too “gringoized” for me, and the service was not good.

I saw where people had written on Face Book that Ortega’s was a good substitute for Rancho’s, so with a new friend, Frank (not my editor-dude Frank) we embarked on an eating journey that I hoped would satisfy my craving.

Like Rancho’s, they have an extensive menu, with Appetizers

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A Little Bit of Aristotle’s Philosophy for the Ethically Challenged GOP

January 18, 2017 by Ernie McCray

EthicallyBy Ernie McCray

Aristotle was of the belief that “Achieving good character is a process of clearing away the obstacles that stand in the way of the full efficacy of the soul.”

He came up with such an ethical notion somewhere between 384-322 B.C.E. And here we are, as a nation, in the 21st Century, facing GOP powers-that-be in Washington D.C. who, instead of seeking ways to ethically tend to our society’s political and social needs, choose to do whatever they desire whenever they please.

“To hell with the rules,” is their operating policy.

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On the Topic of the GOP and Ethics

January 10, 2017 by Ernie McCray
Thumbnail image for On the Topic of the GOP and Ethics

By Ernie McCray

It makes perfect sense to me that the House Republicans tried to secretly curtail the powers of the Office of Congressional Ethics because, if you have no ethics, you damn sure don’t want some nosy person poking around documenting it.

And these GOP characters are as to ethical behavior as a sea turtle is to Death Valley. They’ve demonstrated for decades, which anyone can google, that they are not, by any means, on speaking terms with anything anywhere near synonymous with “ethics.” They are, in a word, ethic-less, if you will.

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Restaurant Review – Oceana Restaurant at Catamaran Hotel in Mission Beach

January 10, 2017 by Judi Curry

Oceana Restaurant
Catamaran Hotel
3999 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109
858-488-1081

As so often happens to those of us living in San Diego, we have friends and relatives that come to visit and we go out to eat with them. Usually when that happens to me I make a suggestion as to where we might like to go, depending on their preference for food. But this time my friend Nel was staying at the Catamaran Hotel with her children and while they were at the beach, we were going to have lunch together.

She suggested the Oceana, because it is the restaurant in the hotel. It wasn’t until I began writing this review that I found it was listed as an “upscale eatery.” It talked about the beautiful view – it is – and the seafood is their specialty.

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The Hip School Where the Arts Rule

January 9, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Arts classroom scene with handful of young children and an adult

By Ernie McCray

I had moments not too long ago when I thought that I just might not be around in 2017 – based on the complete lack of energy I was enduring day after day, with my belly under siege by some bacteria that just didn’t want to leave.

But I’m still here on the scene, happy as a lark, slowly getting back to my routines. Wanting to write something regarding my making it to 2017, I checked a writing prompt website and chose number 17 of the choices, as a symbol for 2017, and it read: “In 400 words create your ideal place.”

That put me in a nice place because the prompt could have been something like “Write a 150 word profile on somebody named ‘Margaret Mallory’” or write about “something wrapped” which would have called on more creativity than I wanted to own. I just wanted to kick the new year off in a nice tone.

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My New Year’s Resolution for 2017: Abandon Hope

January 2, 2017 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Abandon HopeThe era of hope is over. We are done with the messianic rhetoric about the arc of history bending toward justice and the false notion that, despite all signs pointing to the contrary, we were making real progress toward the grand goals of addressing the deep inequities in our society or moving toward a more sustainable future and becoming more just. We weren’t.

We bought hope and got polite neoliberalism with some padding on its sharp edges, and the delusion that we were better than we are.

Now the gloves are off and the wolves’ teeth are bared. There is no pretty bullshit to mask the fact that the future is grim and the worst are full of passionate intensity. Being responsible and respectable won’t save us; neither will looking to make a deal with the devil.

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”Re-review” of Pure Thai and Vegetarian Cuisine

January 2, 2017 by Judi Curry

”Re-review” of
Pure Thai and Vegetarian Cuisine
3704 Voltaire
San Diego, CA 92107
619-542-9499
www.purethai.com

In my quest to revisit restaurants that I reviewed in the past, Hitomi, my student from Japan and I were out shopping and decided that we wanted to eat Thai food for dinner instead of coming home and cooking. Since we were at Stumps, it was just a natural to turn the corner and enjoy a meal at the “Pure Thai” restaurant.

In looking over my review of November 20, 2013 I rated it very high, and was curious to see if it would appeal in the same way now as it did then. Another former student of mine had eaten there about six months ago and said she had chunks of plastic in her food, and would never eat there again. I know from experience that accidents can happen in the kitchen, but I must admit I entered with a jaundiced eye.

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We Have to Stop Lamenting and Keep Hope Alive

December 30, 2016 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

The last two months of this year have been a living hell for many people, including me, considering our social and political sins but I’m definitely not going to classify 2016 as the worst year of my life – as a lot of people seem to be doing.

I mean by nature I tend to give very little value to my crummy times and tons of bonus points to the moments wherein my soul is filled with hope. Where there’s hope there’s got to be a good year. And I’m pretty much hoping for this and that all the time.

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Buyer Beware!

December 28, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Buyer Beware!

How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said to yourself that you will not be caught up in any type of scam or fraud scheme because you are too smart for that?

I’ve said it a dozen times, and wouldn’t you know it – I got caught twice this week. Damn fool!

The first time was when I purchased a skin ointment to erase my wrinkles. (See my article on my New Years Resolution . A “free” trial and just pay shipping. That has been resolved, after I saw a $89.90 bill on my credit card.

But let me tell you about this other one.

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