Columns

The 56th Anniversary of Ernie McCray’s School-Record 46-Point Game

February 10, 2016 by Source

Ernie McCray 46pts
Editor: Ernie McCray – one of our regular and beloved columnists – still holds an Arizona basketball record. Ernie has written about his college basketball days, plus we have posted a few about his accomplishments. One of the posts we published was entitled:

After the game that McCray won, his teammates went to a restaurant to celebrate but he didn’t join them – he knew he wouldn’t be served.

By Javier Morales / Arizona Basketball, U of A/allsportstucson.com/Februay 6, 2016

Ernie McCray was listed as a center in 1960 although he was only 6’5?. On the night, he set the Arizona record with 46 points in a 104-84 win over Cal State Los Angeles 56 years ago today, McCray said in a 2014 interview that he made “four or five shots” from beyond what is the three-point line today. No three-point line or shot clock existed back then, making the feat that much more respectable (Tucson Citizen front page screen shot)

For 56 years Arizona’s scoring record has stood, Ernie McCray’s 46 points at the old Bear Down Gym against Cal State Los Angeles.

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Grooving on a Saturday in a Child-Like State of Mind

February 10, 2016 by Ernie McCray

3829220020_a4fa84f410By Ernie McCray

Oh, I had such a beautiful day the other day. It got underway with me sitting on the edge of my bed, yawning and stretching and making grunty old folk noises in rhythm with the popping of my 77-year-old bones.

With my querida gone to a mountain retreat I found myself reminiscing, remembering how, as an only child, I was often home alone.

And I would just pass the time letting my imagination fly and roam far and wide, past all the “Yee-Ha!” I had to deal with in a day – and I’d dream of a world that didn’t put up with any of that and then, depending on the mood I was in, I would often make up a little ditty about this society that was given life in my imagination.

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Are the Planets in Alignment Causing Me to Be Out of Alignment?

February 3, 2016 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for Are the Planets in Alignment Causing Me to Be Out of Alignment?

By Judi Curry

I’m not usually a negative person.

I try to find something positive in even the worse situation, but for the past few weeks it seems that nothing is going right in my life.

Maybe it is because February, a month that used to hold romantic overtones is here, and there are none of those happenings going to occur. No one on Valentine’s Day to send me a box of my favorite candy; in fact no one to send me a card. OK – maybe I’ll receive one from my family, but that is not what I am talking about.

My birthday is also in February. That in itself is a traumatic day for the obvious reasons, …

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Making a Plea for Racial Harmony as Racism Rises from the Water

January 26, 2016 by Ernie McCray

3476867753_05c2178929By Ernie McCray

All my life I’ve heard that there’s nothing more American than apple pie. Well, I see that as kind of a lie as, based on my life experiences, there’s nothing more American than racism.

If apple pie was in my face as much as racism has been I’d be a 500-pound black guy as racism is as ever present as oxygen in a black person’s life, from the moment you’re born until the day you die.

It’s been passed along in America as a stumbling block against our human hopes and dreams like a baton in a relay race, in so many forms: slavery; Jim Crow; the constant tampering with our voting rights; white flight; execution of unarmed dark-skinned people on the streets, on a whim; mass incarceration and on and on and on ad nauseam…

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Whither 2016 Ballot Measures?: The Oracle Jerry Brown Weighs In

January 25, 2016 by Jim Miller

Photo by Freedom To Marry

By Jim Miller

As I noted in my New Year’s column, many in California’s labor and progressive circles had high hopes for ballot measures extending Proposition 30’s taxes on the rich to fully fund education and for raising the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

But it did not take long for Governor Jerry Brown to rain on his presumed allies’ parade.

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American Media in 2016: Those Afflicting the Comfortable Need Not Apply

January 11, 2016 by Jim Miller

NewsmanBy Jim Miller

Just before the New Year I highlighted Project Censored’s pick for the most underreported story of 2015—the fact that 2016 will be when the top 1% will control half of the world’s wealth).

In that same column I focused on two other largely ignored stories that broke subsequent to Project Censored’s annual report that also underline the perils of domestic and international economic inequality.

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From Good to Bad and Back to Good Again

December 29, 2015 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

I sat around last night trying to think of something to write and decided to click onto a page of prompts which gave me a choice of numbers between one and three-hundred-forty-six.

Sometimes just closing my eyes and moving the little arrow around on my Mac Os X and clicking randomly does the trick but I went, this time, with selecting number fifty-six.

Fifty-six is kind of a big number in my life. I had just turned 56 when Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa. A Highway 56 is named after Ted Williams, one of my favorite baseball players. I was in the Tucson High Class of ’56 and my life changed massively that year, in the time it takes to flip a light switch.

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Censored 2015: The Most Underreported Story of the Year

December 28, 2015 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

As I wrote back in mid-October, Project Censored recently released their list of the most underreported stories of 2015. The number one story on their list features the news that 2016 will be the year when half of the world’s wealth will be controlled by the top 1%. More specifically, they document how:

According to the Oxfam report, the proportion of global wealth owned by the 1 percent has increased from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2014 and is projected to reach 50 percent in 2016.

In October 2014, a prior Oxfam report, “Even It Up: Time to End Extreme Poverty,” revealed that the number of billionaires worldwide had more than doubled since the 2009 financial crisis, showing that, although those at the top have recovered quickly, the vast majority of the world’s population are far from reaping the benefits of any recent economic recovery.

Even more staggering, the world’s richest eighty-five people now hold the same amount of wealth as half the world’s poorest population. “Failure to tackle inequality will leave hundreds of millions trapped in poverty unnecessarily,” the report’s authors warned.

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Three Progressive Literary Stocking Stuffers for 2015

December 21, 2015 by Jim Miller

Santa Claus w dogBy Jim Miller

It’s Christmas week and as we do every year, the grown-ups in my family are keeping up the tradition of buying nothing for each other.

But for those of you who must endure the fear and loathing of the consumer frenzy, here is my annual list of books that might serve as good stocking stuffers for the alienated progressives or other likely suspects on your list (with a special focus on some of the best work that received less attention than it deserved):

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“Those People”

December 8, 2015 by Ernie McCray

By Ernie McCray

Little-Boy-MeFriday after Thanksgiving, every two years. As black people and/or African Americans.

And let me tell you, it’s so nice to be among people who were at your side when you were a kid growing up trying to figure out how to make it in a world where you’re looked at as “Those people.” People to be looked down upon.

Like Muslims today, who, in the way we look at folks, could be anyone wearing a head scarf that covered their face. It’s a “They all look alike” kind of thing.

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March and Rally for Climate Justice -Sat, Dec. 12

December 7, 2015 by Jim Miller

save the planetBy Jim Miller

Last week as the big climate talks kicked off in Paris it was my pleasure to co-host with Masada Disenhouse of SanDiego350 a community screening of Naomi Klein’s new film This Changes Everything.

We used this screening to help facilitate a discussion among folks from the local labor and environmental movements along with representatives from various community and student groups that was focused on the intersection between the climate crisis and the fight against economic inequality. Many folks expressed spirited opinions on how we might join the interests of the poor and workers with those fighting to save the planet.

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Laffing it Up

November 25, 2015 by Ernie McCray

Laff it up! - Hubba Jubba decalBy Ernie McCray

My mother used to say “Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying,” and when I think back on our days of second-class citizenship she sure wasn’t lying.

The other day Maria and I gave in to that old adage as we laughed about this and that, whiling the time away during her stay in a little two-bed hospital room at Scripps Mercy, worrying about what the doctor might say.

We started laughing ourselves silly listening to a woman’s (Maria’s roommate) emotional and animated conversation in Cantonese, with all the rhythmic inflections and rapidly changing nuances intertwined.

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Clinton and the New Democrats’ Tired Third Way

November 23, 2015 by Jim Miller

dem socialismBy Jim Miller

Recently I noted how movements like the Fight for $15 and the insurgent Bernie Sanders campaign have revealed a widespread thirst for an overtly left politics that makes the battle against the billionaire class a central rallying cry.

Indeed, Sanders has continued to force Hillary Clinton to tack to the left on multiple issues, and he has had a genuinely transformative impact on the national political discourse by unashamedly bringing democratic socialism to the stage.

This is why Harold Meyerson argues that the Sanders’s campaign represents “the largest specifically left mobilization—and by ‘specifically left’ I mean it demands major changes in the distribution of income and wealth and major reforms to U.S. capitalism—that the nation has seen in at least half a century.”

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Can Our Children Learn to Study War No More from Mice?

November 17, 2015 by Ernie McCray

Mural of two young girls writing "PLEASE NO MORE WAR" "LOVE" on a wall (Photo: txindoki/Flickr/cc)

By Ernie McCray

As we opened our hearts, this past Veteran’s Day, to our nation’s warriors with hearty “Thank you for your service” like cliches, alongside heaping praise on them for being strong heroic and brave – I kept thinking of two young men I met a little over a decade ago.

They were among the first to die in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

I met them at career fairs at their schools, while I was sitting at a table letting kids know that they …

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A Renaissance Man in a Sports Hall of Fame

November 12, 2015 by Ernie McCray

FTS Dave BaldwinBy Ernie McCray

One of my most cherished honors is being among some pretty good Wildcat athletes in the “University of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.”

I’m a member because I could snatch rebounds like a machine and get the ball in the hoop as a routine. But what does it really mean? For me, it hasn’t been something I’ve thought that much about day to day.

But a few months ago I got a little excited seeing a very familiar name on the list of super-jocks who were to join the club this year.

Dave Baldwin is the name. Pitching a baseball was his game. And I’m stoked that he and I are going to be in such a place of esteem together – because we go back before our college days, back to the Class of ’56 at Tucson High. Back to when I was stepping high, doing teenage boy things, testosteroned to the bone.

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What Do You Mean It’s Too Early for Dinner? Daylight Savings Takes Its Toll

November 4, 2015 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for What Do You Mean It’s Too Early for Dinner? Daylight Savings Takes Its Toll

By Judi Curry

Once again we set our clocks back an hour last Sunday, but my dog Shadow cannot help but wonder why, just the other day, it was okay to have dinner at 6:00pm only to find that today he cannot have dinner at the same time. He said that he is not a farmer that needs more daylight to farm his crops.

In fact, my very intelligent dog said that there are very few small farms left in the entire United States that are maintained by Mom and Pop operations that need their children to help pull in the crops.

Many people, as well as animals, intensely dislike Daylight Saving Time.

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The Day After the Day of the Dead

November 2, 2015 by Jim Miller

day of the dead robot

By Jim Miller

It’s the day after the Day of the Dead, a Mexican holiday which traditionally is both a time of remembrance of lost loved ones and a moment when the dead mock the pretenses of the living. Death is the leveler of rich and poor, proud and humble.

It reminds us that, in the end, all our bones are equal.

As Octavio Paz observes in “The Day of the Dead” from his classic book The Labyrinth of Solitude, “Death is a mirror which reflects the vain gesticulations of the living. The whole motley confusion of acts, omissions, regrets and hopes which is the life of each of us finds in death, not meaning or explanation, but an end.”

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The Widder Curry Bids a Fond Farewell to Director of Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery

October 26, 2015 by Judi Curry
Thumbnail image for The Widder Curry Bids a Fond Farewell to Director of Ft. Rosecrans Cemetery

By Judi Curry

On August 21, 2012 I wrote my first article about the deplorable conditions at Fort Rosecrans Cemetery. The trees we dying; the grass was dying; and the one place I found solace after my husband Bob’s death was no more.

On August 15, 2014, I wrote a subsequent article about the same place, still unhappy about the conditions of the cemetery. I sent a copy of that article to Doug Ledbetter, the Director of the Cemetery, and what followed was a miraculous change for the better. (Not because of my letter, but because Doug also recognized the problems and set forth to correct them.)

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Sunshine/Noir II: A Continuing Exploration of Literary San Diego and Tijuana

October 12, 2015 by Jim Miller

San Diego City Works Press Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Anthology:
“Sunshine/Noir II: Writing From San Diego and Tijuana”

Friday, October 16th at the Glashaus Mainspace
1815 Main Street in Barrio Logan
Sunshine Noir IIBy Jim Miller

This fall, San Diego City Works Press marks its 10th anniversary with the release of Sunshine/Noir II: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana, an anthology of local writing about San Diego edited by Kelly Mayhew and myself.

As we note in the introduction to the anthology:

It’s been ten years since San Diego City Works Press published its first book, Sunshine/Noir: Writing from San Diego and Tijuana and, much to our surprise in many ways, we are still here.

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Taking the Leap: Imagine a New World

September 28, 2015 by Jim Miller
Thumbnail image for Taking the Leap: Imagine a New World

By Jim Miller

Last week the Pope came to America and delivered his groundbreaking message about the interrelated problems of climate change and economic inequality as well as the moral imperative to act to address them.

We heard this message at the same time we learned that we have lost half the world’s marine animals since 1970 and that Exxon’s own research had confirmed the human role in climate change decades ago even as they were heavily funding efforts to block solutions.

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Answering Earth’s Call: An Interfaith Forum on Climate Justice

September 21, 2015 by Jim Miller

interfaith treeBy Jim Miller

Drawing inspiration from Pope Francis’s encyclical, the San Diego Coalition to Preserve our Common Home (SDCPCH) is holding an interfaith forum on climate justice this Thursday, September 24th at 7:00 PM at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The SDCPCH is comprised of people from many faith traditions as well as activists from local environmental, labor, and social justice organizations.

We’re presenting this forum in the face of increasing opposition to climate action on the part of those linked to fossil fuel interests. As Joe Romm recently pointed out in Climate Progress, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and his allies now “apparently believe the role of the ‘exceptional’ and ‘indispensable’ nation is to actively work to undermine the world’s best chance to save billions of people — including generations of Americans — from needless misery.” This is, Romm rightly notes, extraordinary:

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Against Work: We Need to Stop Glorifying the Wasting of Our Lives

September 14, 2015 by Jim Miller

worked to deathBy Jim Miller

Recently the New York Times did a thorough exposé of life inside Amazon’s “bruising workplace” where the managers celebrate what they call “Purposeful Darwinism.”

The focus of the piece was not on the poor folks turning around the goods in the warehouses but on the presumably more privileged white-collar workers who are encouraged to regularly challenge and report on one another when they are not busy answering texts at 3:00 AM or pushing themselves to work 80 hours a week.

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How Can We Call Our Country Great When There’s No Equality and Justice for All?

September 9, 2015 by Ernie McCray
Thumbnail image for How Can We Call Our Country Great When There’s No Equality and Justice for All?

By Ernie McCray

Donald Trump, on the stump, has been talking about making “America great again.”

And I’m thinking, again? We were great once and that greatness came to an end? When? I mean, I’ve been hearing about how great America is all my life, with no let up.

And I was a believer for a while, with all the fireworks and all. All the parades. All the “Oh say can you see” at the beginning of games and “God bless America” at the 7th inning stretch near the end.

And we love to say “That’s what makes America great” or “Only in America,” especially when some one of us: takes to a stage and makes us cry or laugh or jump up and boogie; gives forth with paintings and sculptures that are pleasing to our souls and our eyes; wins a noteworthy award like the Nobel Peace Prize.

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Happy Labor Day? The Jury is Still Out

September 7, 2015 by Jim Miller

By Jim Miller

Toward the end of June, as many liberals were cheering the Supreme Court’s unexpectedly nonpartisan legalization of same-sex marriage and its equally surprising upholding of the Affordable Care Act, they missed the signal of some potentially very bad news to come this fall.

Indeed, while it was fun to see the Republicans being frustrated by a high court of their own making, that very same court reserved the right to bring some serious pain to progressives for the long term by agreeing to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association in its next session.

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Straight Outta Compton to Right Now

August 27, 2015 by Ernie McCray

N.W.A.

By Ernie McCray

I saw Straight Outta Compton
the other night.
It was a trip, fly, tight.
Kickass.
Jamming.
Hip.
Got to it
from the git with
“You are now about to
witness the strength of
street knowledge”
coming through the theater’s
wall rattling
surround sound
with funky
downhome,

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Why Teach? In Defense of the Public Good

August 24, 2015 by Jim Miller

normal_education

By Jim Miller

These days it seems a new school year can’t start without being greeted by yet another pronouncement that my profession and/or higher education itself is heading for the dustbin of history.

Last year around this time, I pondered the proclaimed death of the English major and this year the front page of the most recent issue of Harper’s is bemoaning “The Neoliberal Arts: How College Sold Its Soul.”

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A Nice Little Trip Up Highway 1

August 21, 2015 by Ernie McCray
Thumbnail image for A Nice Little Trip Up Highway 1

By Ernie McCray

Maria and I just got back from San Francisco, my favorite city on the globe, and as far as road trips go, this one was as pleasant as it gets.

The weather was like a gift from Mother Nature herself, an absolute delight, so warm and embracing, featuring cool breezes in the late afternoons and at night.

The trip got underway on the 805, at Governor Drive, then came the merge with I-5, just an hour or so away from the 405, which drops down to the 101 which takes you to Highway 1 for the real fun: a drive alongside the ocean and on cliffs high above it, privy to jaw-dropping views that exhilarate your very soul, your spirituality.

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Staring Over the Brink: Obama, Brown, and High Stakes Climate Politics

August 10, 2015 by Jim Miller

on the brink 2By Jim Miller

President Obama made big news last week when he unveiled his plan to significantly reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants as part of his strategy to address the climate crisis. His speech was urgent, moving in fact, and showed that, at least rhetorically, he is committed to making this part of his legacy:

[W]e’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it. And that’s why I committed the United States to leading the world on this challenge, because I believe there is such a thing as being too late.

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Ten Moments in Places that No Longer Exist in Downtown San Diego – Summer Chronicles #7

August 3, 2015 by Jim Miller

The maps of our memories fray like fine gauze

open signBy Jim Miller

We are where we are from. Place, our place or “home,” gives us a sense of rootedness and identity, but it is also transient, always moving and changing as we ride the river of time and space.

Some places are fundamentally grounded in a central idea of what “home” is, of what defines a locality—the people in such places hold fast, perhaps futilely, to some notion of what it means to be there.

Not us though, not here in San Diego where history and tradition outside of empty tourist spectacles are cast off like a snakeskin and our sense of place is transformed by the whims of boosters and marketing schemes, sometimes erasing whole communities in the service of civic marketing.

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Thankful That I Have No Regrets Such as These

July 31, 2015 by Ernie McCray
Thumbnail image for Thankful That I Have No Regrets Such as These

by Ernie McCray

The other day I saw a graphic on facebook titled the “Top Five Regrets of the Dying” and they are:

  • I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  • I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  • I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  • I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Oh, how sad to be burdened in one’s last days with regrets such as these. My heart goes out to anyone who suffers such disappointments. I can see how one might regret that he or she didn’t travel more or go for a doctorate degree or blew some opportunity to hit it rich or the like.

But I can’t imagine living a life not true to oneself, or a life according to someone else’s desires. I mean I’ve gone after all my hopes and dreams, full-out, simply as me. Who else could I be?

I sure couldn’t have been that foot shuffling “Yassuh, Massa” character Jim Crow wanted me to be.

And it had nothing to do with “courage.” It was just me being me.

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