Columns

What’s the Matter with Labor in San Diego?

May 15, 2017 by Jim Miller
…there is no great philosophical debate over principle at stake here in San Diego. In fact, principle or coherent strategic thinking has nothing to do with the current state of affairs at all.

laborBy Jim Miller

In one of my first columns of the year, I made a plea that San Diego labor should not allow itself to be distracted by the trials and tribulations of Labor Council President Mickey Kasparian.

With everything from a looming anti-labor shift on the Supreme Court and at the National Labor Relations Board, to “right to work” legislation in Congress along with a host of other perils, I argued that the Trump era simply holds too many dangers for labor to get bogged down in the petty drama surrounding one leader

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Restaurant Review : The Gourmet Bagger in the Midway District

May 1, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

The Gourmet Bagger
3357 Rosecrans
San Diego, CA
Midway in Loma Square
619-523-0590
Thegourmetbagger.com

Time to have lunch with the widows again, except that this time there were only two of us. Irene and me. We started out the day going to garage and estate sales, and then went to the Police Department to drop off some very old prescriptions. As we were driving to the police department we noticed that traffic on Highway 8 going west was backed up all the way to Hotel Circle. That changed where we were going to eat lunch, and decided to try “The Gourmet Bagger” instead of our original plans.

Parking at Loma Square is difficult at any time, but Saturday is the worst. Luckily we found a place relatively easy and were pleasantly surprised to see that tables outside and inside had diners, but there were still a few tables left.

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Remembering Who Brought Us the 8-Hour Day, Resisting Trump, and Fighting for a Just Future

May 1, 2017 by Jim Miller

9:00 AM to 2:00 PM Teach-in, Rally and March at San Diego City College
3:00 PM Rally at the Federal Building
4:00 PM March to Chicano Park followed by Rally in Chicano Park

By Jim Miller

May Day

Usually May Day comes and goes with a small march that most people barely notice. Indeed, most Americans don’t know much about May Day and if they do, they associate it with the state sponsored holiday in the former Soviet Union.

The truth of the matter is, however, that May Day has deep American roots. It started in 1866 as part of the movement pushing for the 8-hour day.

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Happy Birthday, Ernie McCray: Still Pushing for What’s Good in the World at 79

April 18, 2017 by Ernie McCray

Ernie McCray 79

Streams of Consciousness the Day Before Turning 79

By Ernie McCray

Tomorrow. April 18th. If I make it I’ll be 79. 79.

Can’t wait to jam as a 79-year-old man. No, indeed. Time flashes at some kind of supersonic speed. Glad I’ve got me a beautiful woman and some mellow weed…

And there’s so much greed with people in need… And they choose to shoot at each other and drop bombs on each other in all kinds of weather, no thoughts of whether a timeout should be called at some point in human history…

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Restaurant Review : ‘Swami’s’ in the Midway District

April 17, 2017 by Judi Curry

Restaurant Review

“Swami’s”
Midway Towne Center
3924 W. Point Loma Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92110
619-222-6600
Swamicafe.com

“Widow” get-together time again for Irene, Candy and myself. I have tried to eat at all of the restaurants in Ocean Beach proper, and find that I have reviewed most of them during the six years I have been writing for the OB Rag. There are still two that I want to visit, but found that neither of them are open at lunch time.

I have been to Swami’s in La Mesa and Encinitas. This time I decided it was time to try the one in my “own back yard.”

I have fond memories of Embers, and not so fond memories of its replacement, so went into this restaurant with a little excitement and trepidation. Some people told me it was good; others were not so nice.

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Plant the Seeds for a Progressive Future in San Diego: Support Students for Economic Justice

April 17, 2017 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

In the age of Trump I have heard many a progressive ponder: “What went so wrong?” How in 2017 can we be fighting and, in many cases, refighting battles over basic economic rights and civil liberties? Whatever happened to women’s rights? How can we still be arguing about whether or not climate change exists? How did things get this bad?

In the political realm, as I have written here many times, a big part of the problem is that the Democrats have no bench of talented, young candidates. Indeed, rather than appealing to young voters and activists, it sometimes seems like the party is bent on alienating them. We saw this with the disdain heaped upon the idealism of millennial Sanders supporters in some quarters, and we can still see it in the national party’s frustrating inability to reinvent itself by bringing in new energy.

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The Widder Curry Thanks You for Your Replies

April 6, 2017 by Judi Curry

Earlier this week my “editor-dude” published my story asking you what you would have done in a situation that I found myself in a few days earlier. I was curious to see if there was a difference in the “male” way of looking at the situation vs the “female” way of looking at it. I was a little surprised by the outcome.

There were 92 respondents – several on the OB Rag; more on “Next Door” and a few more on Facebook. I also had eight telephone calls regarding the problem. Of the 92, 78 were women and 14 were men. I was very surprised by total answers given to me. Let me share with you:

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The Widder Curry Asks: What Would You Have Done?

April 3, 2017 by Judi Curry

What Would You Have Done?

Throughout our lives we are faced with making decisions. Some are important; some are not. Some will change our lives forever; others will make no difference. Some of our decisions will haunt us forever; some of our decisions we will never remember making.

I had a decision to make last week. I will not tell you the outcome in this article, but I will respond to it after I hear from you, the reader. Here is what happened:

For the past four years I have talked to – or texted – a man every single day. In those four years there were only two days that this event did not happen. We were good friends; discussed many different topics.

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The American Epidemic of Quiet Desperation Continues Unabated

April 3, 2017 by Jim Miller

Quiet Desperation

By Jim Miller

America is an increasingly unhappy place and much of what we are currently doing politically is bound to make us feel worse. And while our malaise is surely not just the product of the Trump presidency, it is highly likely that his policies will continue our negative trajectory.

As the Guardian recently reported, “Happiness in the US is declining and is expected to continue on a downward path, with Donald Trump’s policies forecast to deepen the country’s social crisis.”

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The Widder Curry: My April Fool’s Day Story for the Year – Looking for a Man

March 31, 2017 by Judi Curry

By Judi Curry

It has been no secret that I have been terribly lonely since my husband died 7 ½ years ago. Our 51st wedding anniversary will be April 5th.

I was married at 17, (to my first husband) and have been married many, many years. I really never lived by myself, and have always been a “pair”. The past few years have been very difficult.

Last night I was reading an article on how you can order just about anything from “Amazon.com”.

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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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