Friday, October 18, 2013

House Majority Whip McCarthy: President Obama fiddles as our spending continues and debt piles up

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Bakersfield Republican and House Majority Whip, wraps up the week with some words from Capitol Hill.

 "The fight to put America on a better and more prosperous path will and must continue.
 "The fact that Congress must vote to raise the debt limit is the same reason why some Americans need to call their credit card company to request an increase in their credit limit:  we are still borrowing too much.  We know that the status quo – continued spending, continued deficits, continued
borrowing – won’t make our credit rating better; in fact, it will be the cause for a credit rating downgrade down the road, and ultimately higher interest rates for Americans, making it more difficult for Americans to get loans to purchase their first car, their first house, their first opportunity at the American Dream.

 "Instead, the President tells us that any talk about cutting spending, cutting deficits, and cutting borrowing are irrelevant to the debt limit debate.  He is wrong.  It is relevant.  We will continue to talk about how to control spending in the short-term and the long-term so that our nation’s credit remains intact, and America’s financial standing remains second to none. Negotiations are underway between the House and the Senate to work out a budget that will seek to address our critical fiscal issues including the disastrous impact of Obamacare.

 "When it comes to Obamacare, proponents of the law should end its fixation that this is the perfect law, a law that cannot be changed even if it suffers fatal flaws.  I am adamantly opposed to Obamacare, and with the flawed roll out and the increase in premiums that are occurring, this issue will not go away.  With error messages, blank screens, and skyrocketing prices, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has proven our fears of Obamacare to be true, and must immediately provide explanations to the American public and Congress.

  "This week, I wrote and sent Governor Jerry Brown a letter along with 13 California congress members on the importance of energy production in California.  And when we talk about jumpstarting our economy, we should look at our ability to increase energy production right here in our own state. With new technological advancements in methods of safely and cleanly producing oil and natural gas, California should be focused on the economic potential of the Monterey shale formation which, according to the Energy Information Administration, is “the largest shale oil formation” estimated to hold 15.4 billion barrels or 64 percent of the total shale oil resources in the United States.  Unlike other oil and natural gas producing states, California still persistently experiences high unemployment and today relies on 50% of its oil from foreign sources, sending billions of dollars overseas that could otherwise be invested in our state’s economy to create jobs and build energy infrastructure.  According to an American Petroleum Institute (API) report from May 2011, the oil and natural gas industry in California created over 908,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2009, with an associated labor income of $62.3 billion.

 "I shared the importance of harnessing our state’s energy potential at the inaugural West Kern Petroleum Summit at Taft College today, and when it comes to revitalizing our nation’s economy, the economic opportunities are right here in Kern County.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center celebrates a silver anniversary and it's time for another drive for towels and blankets for rescue animals

 * ... CBCC: There was a big turnout for the outdoor "silver celebration" for the Comprehensive Blood and Cancer Center at its Truxtun Avenue campus. CBCC was an early pioneer in cancer care in Kern
County and has grown into a venue of hope over the past 25 years. Among those I spotted at the event, catered by Steak and Grape, were Supervisor Mike Maggard, Clinica Sierra Vista's Steve Schilling, pilot Steve Loyd, Memorial Hospital President Jon Van Boening and wife Phillis, Mercy Hospital CEO Russell Judd, CBCC director Ravi Patel, Mercy Foundation's Stephanie Weber, CASA director Colleen McGauley, clothier Tracy Walker-Kiser, Memorial's Sue Benham, Carney's Rick Kreiser and wife Lori, accountant Geoff King and wife Lisa, and the Hispanic Chambers Jay Tamsi.

  * ... DOGS: The popularity of dog breeds come and go (chihuahuas are still big) but here is a list of five breeds that one veterinarian misses. According to Dr. Marty Becker on the veterinarian website vet, he sees "a lot of Chihuahuas over the exam room table these days, along with Labradoodles, Pit Bulls, Bulldogs and the eternally popular Labrador Retriever. I love them all, but I have to admit I do miss seeing some of the dogs who used to be in my waiting room, pets I rarely see now that they’ve lost the cachet they once enjoyed." Those breeds he misses: Irish Setters, Scottish Terriers, Collies, Brittanys and Cocker Spaniels.

 * ... SPOTTED: On Twitter I spotted this political tweet: "At least House Republicans managed to dismantle the Jonas Brothers."

 * ... KINDNESS: Elinor Grant wrote me a note to thank a Bakersfield police officer for watching after her and two friends. She was leaving church, headed for her car when a BPD officer slowed and made sure the three friends made it to their cars. "When he, or she, was sure we were safely on our way he continued on. A big thank you to the officer for taking the time to watch out for our safety."

 * ... SCHOLARSHIP: Good to hear that East Rotary held yet another successful event to raise money for its Joe Alexander Scholarship Foundation. The event, call the Elegant Evening of Wine, was held at the downtown home of Mark and Sue Ashley. Meir Brown of Cafe Med provided the pairing of food and wine.

 * ... SCRUFFY: Mary Moreland shared this story of 'all bark, no bite.'  "While walking my dog Scruffy in my neighborhood east of Bakersfield College,  I noticed a 'Beware of Guard Dog' sign on a home’s side gate. Behind it was a small Yorkie yapping at us. Scruffy is about 20 pounds and really sweet. I was thinking how pretentious the sign was, when the Yorkie ran to his back yard and a second later a very large German Shepard was at the gate fiercely barking! Scruffy and I went quickly on our way."

 * ... SHELTERS: Here's something worth putting on your calendar. It's that time of year again when a group of well meaning folks are gathering up blankets and supplies for animal shelters around our county. Operation Blankets of Love will be outside Petco on Gosford Road between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 9. All the towels and blankets donated there will go to shelters, rescues and sanctuaries. The group is also looking for pet toys, pet beds, crates and carriers and leashes and collars.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Former House Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Thomas: I wouldn't know how to operate in such a toxic environment that exists in Congress these days

* ... THOMAS: Bill Thomas served in the House of Representatives for 28 years and left widely regarded as an expert in tax policy and health care. As chairman of the House Ways and Means
Committee, he was instrumental in influencing some of the biggest pieces of legislation that passed in the Clinton presidency. His view of the mess in Washington now? "I wouldn't know how to operate" in that toxic of an environment, he said, referring to the stalemate and  extreme views on both sides of the aisle. Truth is, Thomas just might bring an adult influence were he to return to Washington, but his statement is indicative of the frustration we all have with the inability of our elective representatives to compromise. He also called the Republican strategy of trying to defund the Affordable Care Act a mistake. The ACA is so flawed, he said, the Republicans should have simply allowed it to roll out so Americans could view the mess it is and blame the appropriate party.

 * ... MERGER: Two locally owned and high powered engineering firms are merging effective Nov. 3. Innovative Engineering Systems, Inc., founded here in 2002, is merging with Technical Services and Management, Inc., a local company that was founded here in 2008. David Wolfer, president of IES, will remain president of the combined entity. "Combining the expertise and knowledge of both companies will be very valuable to us and to our clients," he said.

 * ...GRAFTON: The latest book by novelist Sue Grafton spends a lot of time in Bakersfield. Called "W is for Wasted" the novel is the twenty-third entry in the long-running Kinsey Millhone series. In it, she talks about visiting Bakersfield, Beale Park, driving along Truxtun and the Central Valley.

* ... NAVY: From Navy veteran and submariner Gene Bonas comes this: "Thought you'd like to know that our United States Navy is celebrating its 238 years of service to our country. It was 1775 when early American leaders foresaw the importance of a fighting force at sea.  On October 13, George Washington commissioned a small fleet to intercept British supply ships off the coast of Massachusetts. The Continental Congress approved two additional armed vessels, and the U.S. Navy was born.
For 238 years since, the Navy has excelled at its mission of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas."

 * ... OVERHEARD: A woman is talking about being stuck in the Sears elevator last week along with 100-year-old Connie Narez. "I asked her if this was ever on her bucket list," the woman said. "She was just fine and I think I was more worried than her!"

 * ... COOKOUT:  The Taft College Foundation is putting on its annual Alumni and Friends Cougar Ribeye Cookout to salute veterans and soldiers this Thursday. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students and children. You can buy them by calling (661) 763-7700. The following day, on Friday, the West Kern Petroleum Summit will be held on the Taft College campus.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Former House Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Thomas to appear on First Look to talk what is going on in Washington, and Bakersfield rallies around the St. Vincent de Paul homeless center

* ... THOMAS: The ongoing stalemate in Washington that has shut down the government has left the country dismayed and plunged the popularity of Congress to an all-time low. What got us to the point, and why has Congress seemingly lost the ability to cooperate to get things done? Those are some of the questions I will be addressing with former House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas when he appears as my guest on First Look with Scott Cox. The show will air at 9 a.m. Tuesday on KERN NewsTalk 1180 and will be broadcast live on

 * ... HOMELESS: Bakersfield loves to rally around a good cause, and last week it was the St. Vincent de Paul homeless center that benefitted from our community's generosity. More than 800 people showed up last Thursday to dine on Gary Icardo-cooked steaks to raise money for the Baker Street center, a turnout that came as a pleasant surprise to event chairwoman Deborah Leary. "It was a perfect night and we were all thrilled," she said. The center serves breakfast and lunch for the homeless, as well as providing showers and other essentials.

 * ... BIRTHDAY: Hank Pfister, longtime tennis pro at Stockdale Country Club, celebrated his 60 birthday this weekend in typical Pfister style. He convinced a group of 32 cyclists to ride into the Sequoias for a grueling, 106-mile ride. In exchange for his family providing food at rest stops, each rider wrote checks to support Links for Life.

* ... GIRLS' FUND: If you run a nonprofit and your focus is on educating local women and girls, The Women's and Girls' Fund is planning a new round of funding in 2014 for the right programs. The fund is a leadership initiative of the Kern Community Foundation and expects to award at least $25,000 to local nonprofit charitable organizations in 2014. The focus should be on literacy, educational attainment, dropout prevention, high school graduation, college prep or job skills training. The deadline for applications is Nov. 6. For more information go to

 * ... CSUB: Make sure to mark your calendar for this Thursday, October 17, when Cal State Bakersfield will put on a tri tip fund raiser for the men's soccer team. The event will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Lengthwise Brewing Company on Schirra Court. Former House Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Thomas will help run a live auction to support the college soccer program.

* ... BAKERSFIELDISM: Reader Marsha Wiswall says you may be a Bakersfield old timer if you remember the drug stores run by Jules Reufener, who she described as "a most kind and unselfish man." She said Ruefener owned the drug store on the southeast corner of Baker and Sumner streets and also the one inside the Green Frog on Alta Vista. (He later had stores in Arvin, Lamont and Fresno.) "Each Halloween Jules was as happy as the revelers as he handed out Fleer double wrapped bubble gum. Inside were coveted cartoon strips. We would have contests who could blow the biggest bubbles."