Saturday, January 10, 2015

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy: President Obama should approve the Keystone Pipeline, a job producing critical infrastructure project

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

"This week was the first week of a new Congress, and we hit the ground running. One of the most
important things we did is to honor our founding document by reading the Constitution on the floor of the House.  Members of Congress were sworn in on Tuesday and the House got right to work passing the Hire More Heroes Act, which helps small businesses grow and veterans get jobs by excluding veterans from the employer mandate threshold if they already have health care through TRICARE or the VA.

 "Ultimately, we will only be able to fix our broken health care system by repealing and replacing Obamacare. But until then, this bill makes a fix now that will help our heroes who have served our country from a particularly harmful part of this failed law.

 "This week also marked the announcement of my nominations to the United States Service Academies.  I submitted one principal nominee for each academy, as well as a series of alternates. These fine young men and women make our community proud, and I congratulate each of them in their pursuit of becoming future leaders in our Armed Services.

 "We ended the week by passing a bill to restore the 40-hour workweek destroyed by Obamacare, and approving the Keystone pipeline. Today, Nebraska’s Supreme Court ruled that the governor had the authority to approve the pipeline, removing the last legal obstacle stopping Keystone from being built. Now the only thing in the way of Keystone is President Obama.With 42,000 American jobs, strengthened ties with our ally Canada, and increased North American energy independence all on the line, I hope the President will put away his veto pen and finally approve this critical infrastructure project.

 "But some of the biggest news for our community this week came on Tuesday, when Governor Jerry Brown broke ground on California’s already over-priced and under-performing high-speed rail project. As the costs of this project have continued to rise and the promised benefits began to unravel, even some of the project’s most ardent supporters are now opposed to it.  And now, Sacramento is forcing the good people of California to write a blank check for a project that has already failed to meet its promised speed and may never get done.

 "This week I renewed my commitment that no federal money would be spent on this unworkable project. Now, Governor Brown should listen to the people of California, scrap this high-speed rail plan, and protect California taxpayers.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Does being married actually make you happier? And a happy ending when a rescue cat goes missing but turns up in a recliner stored in a warehouse

 * … MARRIAGE: So does being married make you happier? Or is it simply that happier people are more likely to be married? Those were the questions put to the National Bureau of Economic Research, which came to this conclusion: "Being married makes people happier and more satisfied with their lives than those who remain single - particularly during the most stressful periods, like midlife crises." As
reported in The New York Times, the irony is that fewer people are getting married these days, particularly if they are younger. Fully a quarter of today's young adults "will never have married by 2030," the highest ever.

* … HAPPY ENDING: Here's a lost cat story that should put a smile on your face. It was shared with me by Steve Williford, who runs the local ServPro franchise and also serves as president of the downtown Rotary Club. In his words: "Last weekend I received a call from my security company at 4 a.m. informing me that my motion detector was tripped, thus triggering the alarm in the warehouse.  I then hustled down to the shop only to find nothing disturbed. I re-set the alarm at this time and six hours later the alarm was tripped again. The following day, I received a text message from a customer for whom we had just performed a pack-out. (Moved furniture and contents from a residence to our warehouse).  She was missing her cat and had a notion the feline might have stowed away in a recliner during the move-out. This all made perfect sense, given the two 'false alarms' on the prior day. Turns out the cat's name is Buddy and he was a rescue and apparently still very skittish around strangers. The initial search of the shop came up empty, but a liberal offering of cat food did the trick, as the kitty immediately surfaced to scarf down a long-awaited meal. After two days in a cold dark warehouse, I am certain Buddy has a renewed appreciation for the comforts of  home!"

 * … DINERS: Bakersfield was abuzz this week when Food Network celebrity chef Guy Fieri brought this film crew to town to film episodes for Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. By last count, he had visited Moo Creamery, Muertos, Pyrenne's Cafe, 24th Street Cafe and KC Steakhouse. Even without Luigi's (which declined the offer) that's a pretty good representation of our local eateries.

* … SPOTTED: On Facebook: "I’m glad I don’t have to hunt for my food. I don’t even know where sandwiches live."

 * … SERVICE: Elinor Grant dropped me a nice note to thank the employees of the See's Candy outlet on California Avenue. Always jammed during the holiday season, Grant said the employees could not have been nicer.

 * … BAKO? Count reader Ronal Reynier among those who detest the nickname "Bako" for our hometown. Said Reynier: "The search should be on for person or organization that gave the great city of Bakersfield the name Bako. They deserve an award for the worst abomination of a cities
name in the country. Is our arch enemy Fresno, Fres? Don't go to San Francisco and say Frisco if you expect service of any kind. I'll admit that I am one of those that calls Los Angeles, L.A. Yes, I also use San Luis for San Luis Obispo… They have to be more correct than Bako."

 * … BAKERSFIELDISM: You know you're from Bakersfield "if you could find out who was engaged to whom just by coming across the Olcott's advertisement in The Californian."

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Researchers say getting cancer for many people may just be plain bad luck, Guy Fieri rolls into town looking for good bar food and another random act of kindness gets a nod

 * … CANCER: I am not sure if this is good news or bad, but researchers now say that in most cases, coming down with various types of cancer may just be plain bad luck. In fact, random genetic mistakes may account for "two thirds of the risk of getting many types of cancer, leaving the usual suspects -
heredity and environmental factors - to account for only one third," reported The New York Times. Said one researcher: "For the average cancer patient, I think this is good news. Knowing that over all, a lot of it is just bad luck, I think in a sense it's comforting." Of course, some cancers like lung disease can largely be avoided by our own personal behavior, but other deadly forms of cancer appear to be tied to random luck.

 * … KINDNESS: A reader whose wife underwent a recent liver transplant in Los Angeles reached out to thank his longtime neighbors in the Polo Grounds, Vickie and Mike Taylor, who have been caring for his 4-year-old dachshund while they have been away. (He asked not to be identified since he is out of town so much). "Frannie (the dog) got out of the yard Friday and Vickie called in tears. Bakersfield City Animal Control called and said a nice lady had Frannie at her home and was holding her for Vickie to pick up. Thank you to the unknown Bakersfield good Samaritan and the Taylors for keeping our pet well cared for."

 * … GUY FIERI: It looks like a number of local restaurants will be featured on Guy Fieri's popular Food Network show Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. In addition to Pyrennes Cafe, I have heard the show will also be filming at Mama Roomba downtown, 24th Street Cafe and Salty's BBQ. This doesn't guarantee that all the restaurants will make the cut, but film crews are about town chronicling some of our favorite lunch spots.

 * … NARDUCCI'S: More local restaurant news; the popular lunch spot Narducci's has opened a second location called Narducci's North Beach Cafe on 21st and O streets.

 * … OVERHEARD: At the Garden Spot recently and man is overheard talking about reading the newspaper: "I always check the obituaries. Mainly to make sure I'm not in there."

 * … SPOTTED: From reporter Steve Mayer's Facebook wall: "Someone has invented a smart belt with a buckle that automatically loosens when you've eaten too much. First, this is a sad commentary on our society. Second, where can I get one?"

 * … BUCKEYES: I always hear from reader Sunny Kapoor when his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes post a victory (which is often these days) so it was just a manner of time before his email landed in my in-box. "The Buckeyes were amazing last night," he wrote after OSU upset Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, "and the victory was very much enjoyed at my household, where I watched the game with my wife, and sons Arie (Chico State) and Nigel (Ohio State). I hope to be able to go watch them play in the National Championship game in Dallas, but if not, I am sure they will make this Buckeye proud. Go Bucks!"

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell questions the wisdom of local communities banning tracking, and Guy Fieri heads to Bakersfield to feature Pyrenne's Cafe on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

* … FRACKING: In the disinformation war on hydraulic fracturing, I was interested to read that President Obama's chief custodian of federal lands thinks that regional bans on fracking are misguided and not supported by science. KernTax passed along a new story by KQED quoting Interior Secretary Sally
Jewell as saying: “There is a lot of misinformation about fracking. I think that localized efforts or statewide efforts in many cases don’t understand the science behind it and I think there needs to be more science.” The story continued: "The recent move by New York to extend a statewide ban does not sit especially well with Jewell, who, as a former petroleum engineer, has hands-on experience with fracking."

 * … DINERS: One of our storied Basque restaurants, the Pyrennes Cafe, will be featured on the popular Food Network program Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. A film crew from the program was there testing lighting over the weekend. The program host, Guy Fieri, has announced that he is opening an outlet of his own restaurant, Johnny Garlics, at The Marketplace this year.

 * … EATERY: And speaking of eateries, =nother new restaurant is opening downtown, this one specializing in sushi. Jin Sushi will be located on the northwest corner of 19th and Eye streets next to The Metro Galleries and across the street from Chef's Choice Noodle bar. No word on the exact opening date.

 * … GOOD FORM: Bobby Blackmon shared this uplifting story that I feel compelled to pass along. In his words: "I am writing to tell you about some great form from a group of coaches, student athletes and parents at Stockdale High School. My wife was diagnosed with (AML) leukemia last year and spent many months in the hospital. She recently relapsed, along with valley fever causing pneumonia which sent her back to USC Norris Cancer center for six weeks. We have two boys attending Stockdale, and a daughter that graduated in 2013. All three run cross country and play soccer. As a show of support and ultimate kindness, coaches, student athletes, and the parents of those young men and women gathered dozens and dozens of gas, food and gift cards and put them in a gift bag and sent them home with my sons for our family! I was speechless when they showed me (I’m never speechless). Please send our thanks and gratitude and LOVE to all the people who helped out with this amazing show of support for our family! We would also like to thank the MOPS moms from Valley Baptist Church for all the meals and amazing show of support over this past 18 months. We want everyone that’s helped to know how much it means to us!"

 * … MEMORIES: Ronal Reynier wrote taht the new AAA Westways magazine featured a story on the state's citrus crop. Said Reynier: "Do you remember the orange stand on 'old' Highway 99  in Greenfield? They not only served orange drinks but also the greatest cheese burgers in the country. Their sauce was so secret that when they closed, they would not say how they made their sauce to anyone.

 * … BAKERSFIELDISM: You may be a Bakersfield old timer if "you got your television tubes tested at the Thrifty's in Hillcrest."