Friday, September 5, 2014

House Majority Whip: Obama must act to destroy the Islamic State; the American people are looking for leadership

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Whip, gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill. In his words:

 "Congress will tackle several important issues facing our country as members return to Washington.  The overwhelming concern across the country is the threat posed by terrorist organizations in the Middle East, specifically ISIS. Within the past several weeks, this group has terrorized tens of As the House takes action on this issue, the President must present his strategy to destroy ISIS to Congress. The American people and our allies are looking for leadership and we cannot afford to wait any longer.
thousands through intimidation, displacement, and murder. They have metastasized into the largest terrorist threat since before 9/11, and of course, the murder of two American journalists represents the latest attack on the United States and our way of life. In Washington, the House will hold several hearings on the extent of the threat ISIS poses to our country and our allies, and the actions our nation must undertake.

 "As Americans look with concern to the events overseas, there is still anxiety here at home on the state of the economy and opportunity for future generations. This week, the Department of Labor released the employment report for the month of August and the results were nothing to celebrate. Last month had the smallest job gains for the year and the number of Americans actively in the labor force is a rate not seen since in the 1970’s. That is why the House will continue to act on legislation that helps our communities get back to work. We will look to the energy revolution that is economically transforming communities across the country as a catalyst for future growth. Right here in our community we know the value that energy can bring in terms of jobs, good pay, and tax revenue to support local services and schools. The House is committed to ensuring energy continues to be a driving force in our economy and we will fight the Obama administration’s plans to make it harder to produce oil and gas and to deliver the affordable energy that comes with it.

  "The House will also vote on a package of bills that provides certainty to important tax credits, reduces the regulatory role of the Federal government, and empowers small businesses to continue to take risks and pursue the American Dream.

 "This month, Congress will act to strengthen America’s economy by removing regulatory burdens and lowering energy costs.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Valley Republic Bank sponsors another Latination at The Metro Galleries, remembering the comedic genius of Joan Rivers and lamenting more deaths from drunk driving

 * … LATINATION: It's the biggest First Friday of the year this week and Metro Galleries on 19th Street is having its 6th annual exhibit Latination. Metro owner Don Martin tells me that this has been the best
year of entries overall and that the judges had a difficult time picking their top choices. In six short years this event has become something of a Bakersfield tradition. As always, you can expect Luis Aguilar and his restaurant El Pueblo serving the food and drinks and popular local band Mento Buru performing throughout the evening. For the second year in a row I will be presenting the top three awards along with KERO-TV 23 anchor Jackie Parks.

   * … JOAN: RIP Joan Rivers, a woman whose sharp wit and humor left us laughing. Three of my favorite Joan Rivers jokes: "The first time I see a jogger smiling, I’ll consider it… My best birth control now is just to leave the lights on... I've had so much plastic surgery, when I die, they will donate my body to Tupperware."

 * … DRUNK DRIVING: Suzanne Bierley was one of a handful of readers who wrote to express their outrage at the number of deaths caused by accidents involving drunk drivers. "The laws must be tougher on drunk drivers! The horrific accident on Rosedale Highway early Saturday morning may not have happened if stricter penalties were imposed the first time. What is it going to take? Sure we will put out candles, balloons and stuffed animals at the scene – but that does not account for the two lives that were unnecessarily taken from their family and friends. What about six months in jail and $15,000 fine for first offenders and it goes up from there? Too many innocent victims are dying because someone wants to irresponsibly drink and then get into a car. My heart goes out to the three passengers and their families."

 * … GOOD FORM: Florence Diaz asked me to thank the anonymous Good Samaritan who aided her when she took a tumble. "There is an angel walking around the Southwest part of town." she wrote. "I don't know her name but I would like to thank her profusely for staying with me during my unfortunate spill in front of Von's at the Marketplace. She not only stayed with me, but she got a friend to pick up her daughter after school, called 911, and informed my son of the accident. I'm sorry I didn't get her name in all the confusion. I wanted to thank her and let her know how much she is appreciated."

 * … COKE, NOT PEPSI: And speaking of Good Samaritans, I singled out John Moralez the other day for single handedly directing traffic at an accident site. The problem, a witness identified him as a driver for Pepsi. His wife, Donna Moralez, told me he works for Coca-Cola, not a small distinction in the beverage industry.

 * … GRAMMAR: The University of Oklahoma was left red faced this past weekend when it ran an advertisement on its academic programs but misspelled a word in the process. While beating Louisiana Tech in football, the university ran a banner advertisement reading: "You're degree is within reach." Ouch.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hysteria over hydraulic fracturing leads Germany to consider a moratorium on drilling, Judi McCarthy to receive the John Brock award and head to Goose Loonies for a special burger and gyro

 * … FRACKING: Environmentalists are hailing a proposal in Germany to ban the practice of hydraulic tracking, the oil and gas extraction method that has been practiced in Kern County for decades without incident. The proposal comes from Germany's environment minister, critics say if it becomes law it will put the country at the mercy of Russian president Vladimir Putin, who would then become the country's largest supplier of natural gas. Said the Wall Street Journal: "The proposed move comes in response to widespread green hysteria over claims that fracking poisons groundwater with methane gas. Yet as the U.S. has developed its fracking industry, it has become clear that most groundwater pollution is caused by faulty wells, regardless of drilling method. And even the Obama Administration's activist Environmental Protection Agency has downwardly revised its estimates of fracking-related methane emissions."

* … ROTARY: The Twilight Rotary Club has two projects that are worthy of community support. The first is the club's king drive to collect clothes for exploited and neglected children sent to the Jamison Center, and the second is a drive to install new benches at Pioneer Village. If you are interested in the clothes drive, contact the Jamison Center. To help with the benches, call Mike Foster at (661) 201-8774. Thanks to Barry Rosenfeld for keeping me updated on the Twilight club's projects.

 * … NACITA: Tom Schroeter wrote to add another name to successful local athletes playing college football. "Just to add to the county excitement over Brian Burrell and Cody Kessler leading two top national football programs, Silas Nacita (Driller 2012) scored a touchdown for the Baylor Bears last night in their win over SMU."

 * … FOODIE BEST BET: I stopped by Goose Loonies on 18th Street over the weekend and forgot just how good a restaurant it is. The gyro is always a best bet as is the Alejandro burger. Worth checking out.

* … JUDI'S NIGHT: Congratulations to Judi McCarthy who will be honored with the John Brock Award for Community Service this week. Judi is one of the founders of the Womens' and Girls' Fund of the Kern Community Foundation and is a tireless advocate for a number of worthy causes about town. Proceeds from the Thursday night event will benefit the John Brock Endowment Fund for the School of Business and Public Administration at CSUB. Judi and her husband Rob own Lightspeed Systems.

 * … PASSING THROUGH: There is a terrific Indie band passing through Bakersfield on Sunday, Sept. 14, that is worth checking out. It's Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line, a Nashville-based quintet that was honored with a a blue ribbon at the prestigious 2010 Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition (previous winners include Nickel Creek and The Dixie Chicks). Check out Passing Through Productions on Facebook to find a link to buy tickets, or pay $20 at the door. The event will be held at the Bakersfield Museum of Art.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Two Bakersfield quarterbacks square off in the USC-Fresno State game, the rash of horrific drunk driving accidents continue and the ride sharing service Uber comes to town

 * … ACCIDENT: The madness of reckless and drunken driving continues, with the latest incident claiming two lives on Rosedale Highway and Verdugo Lane. In that case, early Saturday morning, police with 29-year-old Dontrell Collins was speeding going west on Rosedale when he slammed into a compact white car, causing it to burst into flames. Two passengers were killed and a third was
hospitalized with burns. These kind of tragedies are all too common, and in fact some folks in the Southwest have taken to calling Ming Avenue "blood alley" because of the high number of accidents involving alcohol or simply reckless driving.

 * … HOMETOWN BOYS: How fun was it to watch the USC-Fresno State game this weekend featuring two outstanding quarterbacks from Bakersfield? Cody Kessler, the former Centennial High standout, led the Trojans to victory but former Driller Brian Burrell represented the Bulldogs well in the loss. Two more young men in a long line of great local athletes.

 * … ROLE MODEL: Hats off to Katie Arriaga, a young mother who spent last weekend picking up trash and litter in the Riverlakes area. Katie took along her three daughters - 10-year-old Briony and 7-year-old twins Brevony and Bregan - to give them a lesson in community service. Thanks to Katie's proud mother, Bobbie McWhorter, for passing this along.

* … BAD FORM: Steve McCalley spotted someone driving an ATT Prius the other day, going 35 mph while texting. "Clearly the massage hasn't been received by the cell phone providers," he said.

 * … UBER: Über, the San Francisco-based ride sharing service that compete directly with local taxi cabs, is now servicing the Bakersfield area. Uber is wildly popular among consumers because no cash is exchanged (the transaction is completed via a cell phone app) and Uber is much cheaper than conventional taxis. To use the service, download the Uber app and when ready for a car, simply use the app to have one pick you up wherever you are.

* … DMV: Ruth Fee wrote to share how government bureaucracy: "I was heartened by your experience with an 'appointment' with DMV and I hoped I would have the same quick result. I needed a California ID and not knowing about appointments, I first waited in line for two hours, presented my paperwork and was told I needed my marriage certificate. I had not been told that when I called the DMV initially. A little more savvy, I made an appointment via internet and arrived with the required certificate. I was told by the clerk that I needed a 'certificated' marriage document. I was more than a little miffed as that was not specified by the first clerk. I was then given a number to call in California to get the required form and told to make another appointment. I called that number and was told I needed to call a number in the county I had been married in. (  didn't see the point as my husband was deceased.)  Calling the San Francisco number, I was given yet another number to call.
Rather than doing something uncivil, I threw up my hands and decided to try another day. To be continued - or not."

 * … HISTORY: Navy veteran Gene M. Bonas asked me to remind everyone that Tuesday will mark the 69th anniversary of the Japanese surrender of World War II aboard the USS Missouri.

 * … NOTE: I received a beautifully written letter, in cursive, from a woman who wanted to be known only as "Grandma." She only wanted to thank several women who came to her aid when she took a tumble. In her words: "I found that day there are some good caring people in Bakersfield. That's one of the reasons my late husband and I moved here. I have never seen any other town where people come to your aid like in Bakersfield."