Saturday, May 16, 2015

McCarthy: It is both "ridiculous and insulting" that President Obama wants to strike a nuclear deal with Iran without consulting Congresss

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

"The fundamental responsibility of our government is the defense of our nation. Today, the House of
Representatives passed the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which gives our Armed Forces the tools they need to defeat any threat to our nation, whether it be a terrorist cell or rogue state. Much of the hard work that will go into translating this legislation into action will take place right here in our community, at world-class laboratories and testing facilities like those at the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and the Air Force Test Center on Edwards Air Force Base.

"The men and women in our military must have the latest technology and best equipment to achieve their mission. No matter how sophisticated our weapons become, however, it will always be the people behind the machines who are our greatest investment. This bill prohibits the Department of Defense from furloughing Working Capital Fund employees – like those who design and test weapon systems at China Lake. This bill authorizes Defense laboratories and test centers at Edwards and China Lake to hire more personnel directly, reducing bureaucracy by cutting out the Federal employment system, which is so slow and inefficient that it drives away many bright students who would otherwise serve their country. And just as this legislation strengthens those supporting the warfighter, it ensures that China Lake will have the land necessary for the Navy to continue to push the limits of revolutionary prototype technologies.

 "Keeping our nation secure and supporting the men and women who serve our country is one of Congress’ most fundamental duties. The House has acted. I hope the Senate quickly takes up the bill, so that our military community can receive the certainty they need and deserve.

 "Also this week, the House passed H.R 1191, the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act.

 "The United States began negotiations with Iran to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, but the framework for a deal that President Obama presented us would not accomplish that objective. The American people and their representatives are rightly concerned about the direction of the negotiations, the threat of a nuclear Iran, and the President’s desire to unilaterally strike a deal.

 "It is both ridiculous and insulting that the President wants to bind our country to an agreement without even consulting the people’s elected representatives, especially since so many are concerned about the terms of a proposed deal. That’s why the House has acted this week, passing a bill that will give Congress the authority to review the Iran nuclear deal. It will stop the President from unilaterally lifting Congressional sanctions against Iran while we review the deal. It will require regular updates from the Administration on Iran’s compliance. And it will give the people’s representatives a say—a check and balance—as the Constitution requires.

 "This legislation is a minimum. The President should take it as a message from Congress that, as the negotiations go forward, the Administration must insist on major improvements to what is currently a dangerous initial understanding with Iran.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

More on those coyotes attacking and killing stray dogs, Kris Delmhorst to appear at the Bakersfield Museum of Art and a local boy will sing the national anthem at a Dodger game

 * ... ANIMAL ABUSE: The news that coyotes are attacking and killing dogs that have been abandoned off of Breckinridge Road drew this response from John Kiearnan: "What a horrific and
terrifying death these animals had to go through and continue to go through not only on Breckenridge Road but all over our county. I think it's about time we visit mandatory spade and neuter, maybe it would make it a little harder for these ruthless people from gaining access to as many animals. Thanks for keeping this in the minds of your readers."

* ... MUSIC: Yet another interesting emerging singer is coming to Bakersfield this Sunday over at the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Passing Though Productions will be hosting Kris Delmhorst, a Brooklyn native whose music has been described as “moody, euphoric, and transcendent" by one music critic. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the live short shortly thereafter. The cost is $25 at the door.

 * ... BELTRAN: And speaking of music, Bakersfield native and Latin jazz percussionist Louie Cruz Beltran will be performing the national anthem at the Dodger's pregame show this Sunday. Beltran has performed in many notable jazz festivals and venues in Southern California.  In addition, he has hosted concerts and art workshops for kids in Los Angeles.

 * ... SPOTTED: On Twitter: "Don’t be upset that you’re single; be happy that someone isn’t ruining your life."

* ... WATER WOES: It was just a matter of time before the drought-imposed water restrictions pitted neighbor versus neighbor. Consider this note from reader Janada Shepard: "I was told one of our neighbors was washing down his gutters. Since I didn't see it myself, I went to his house and asked him if that were true.  He said yes it was. He was upset, I remained calm and asked him please not to do it again. He said he was going to... it was sad. It's time we take a stand to help stop the wasting of water. Don't get angry at the perpetrator, that won't help. But then, probably talking to a person like that won't help either. But it was worth a try."

 * ... THEATER: Holly Lazzerini wrote to recommend the musical comedy "Little Shop of Horrors" playing at the Empty Space theater. "The music, acting, sets, and the 'puppet' were amazing.  It was extremely funny and entertaining, and the intimate setting made it all the more fun. Congratulation to the cast and back stage for all the creative energy that went into this production.

 * ... OLD THEATER: And speaking of theaters, Lynn Finch contributed to the discussion of old theaters in town. In her words: "The theater that you are remembering as the first theater you went to was the CALIFORNIA (no 'n') Theater which was located on Chester Avenue just slightly north of 18th Street and Chester. The Opera Meat Market was between  newly revealed historic bank building on the corner of 18th and Chester and the theater. I wonder if the very high flat fa├žade on the theater building today is concealing the tall ornate CALIFORNIA sign? Wouldn’t that be a fun reveal! In The Bakersfield Californian’s recent Birth of a City special edition the three buildings are pictured on page 31. My father, Erv Eggers, worked at Casper’s Men’s Store across the street from the theater for nearly 30 years."

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Coyotes are attacking and dining on abandoned dogs off Breckenridge Road, Terry Maxwell takes over The Mark restaurant as general manager, and I will interview Ralph Bailey on the Sinatra legacy

 * ... ANIMAL ABUSE: It is distressing enough that some people feel it's perfectly okay to dump pets on the side of the road once they tire of them. But Terrie Stoler says something horrific
is happening off Breckenridge Road when pets are abandoned there. "This has been an ongoing problem on our road for many years. Yesterday we witnessed the end of the lives for several abandoned dogs on our road. We had seen them for several days and then in broad daylight watched as a coyote killed and ate them! Is this what people that drop off unwanted pets are expecting? They would suffer less if they just shot them! To gain insight as to the hell that these abandoned pets go through please order my book,  'Rudy, the Throwaway Mutt' from Amazon. Rudy made it and found a better life but most are either run over or eaten by coyotes!"

 * ... MAXWELL: Terry Maxwell, the Ward 2 city councilman and long-time owner of TL Maxwell's Restaurant and Bar, has taken on new responsibilities as the general manager of The Mark restaurant downtown. Maxwell told me he has known the owners of The Mark for years and was eager to take on job. "I want to improve on what is already a good thing," he said. Among his early plans: revamp the lunch and dinner menus and introduce some enticing new specials. His own eatery, Maxwell's, will remain open as he spends more time just a few blocks away at The Mark on 19th Street.

 * ... SINATRA: Did you know that this week marks the 17th anniversary of the death of Frank Sinatra, arguably one of the greatest singer and entertainers this country has ever produced? And is there a bigger Sinatra fan in town than KERN radio host Ralph Bailey? If Ralph isn't singing along with Frank during his show, he is sharing fascinating tidbits of Sinatra's legendary life. On Thursday at 5 p.m., I will turn the tables on Ralph and interview him on his own show (KERN  96.1 FM.) about his deep obsession with Sinatra. Tune in and call in with your questions as we delve into Ralph's fascination with this American icon.

* ... SPOTTED: On a friend's Twitter feed: "Whenever I see a couple’s names carved into a tree, I can’t help but wonder why all these people are bringing knives on a date."

 * ... TEXTING: Greg Banks was driving on Stockade Highway recently when he "looked over and noticed an 80-plus year old woman texting on her cell phone as she was trying to maneuver her vehicle while driving about 20 mph and holding up traffic behind her. At the next stop light, she pulled up along side my vehicle still texting. I honked, she looked up, and I did the 'shame on you' gesture. She was so embarrassed she hung her head! I guess the temptation to text can occur at any age."

 * .. FOX THEATER: Peter Parson reminded me that the new FLICS season will start this September at the historic Fox Theater. Part of the show will be a documentary featuring the history of the Fox. "The film includes several shots of the original interior the walls of which were painted to look like an avenida in Old Mexico with balconies, ivy etc. leading to the stage. I believe the new interior was done in the early 1950s fortunately just prior to the onset of the Uglification Project  which destroyed historical architectural details of Brock's, Penney's, Sears, etc. (they missed The Californian) and replaced them with facades of stucco, plastic and worse materials.  For a mere $6 the public can see it for themselves or $50 will get a season pass for up to 17 excellent foreign films. By far the best entertainment deal in town!"

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The tribute to Mother's Day, two local boys earn college degrees and some really good - and poor - customer service at Valley Plaza

 * ... FOREVER YOUNG: The best of all of us was on display on Mother's Day, when folks took to Facebook and other social media to pay tribute to their mothers. So many pictures, many old photos
in black and white taken in the war years of the 1940s, showing our mothers in their prime, smiling and seemingly unaware of the fleeting aspect of life. Though perhaps gone, our mothers live with us in our memories, an image freeze frozen in our minds when life without a mother would have seemed impossible. So here is to my own mother, the late Julia Jean Swysgood, born in Ohio and taken from us five years ago in Arizona, a victim of cancer. Never was there a more joyful, and hopeful, person.

* … ACHIEVERS: Hats off to my friends Ray and Lisa Karpe who are on the road living the dream of most parents: they headed east to attend the college graduations of their two boys. Robert Karpe graduated from the University of South Carolina this past Sunday, and a week  later brother Adam will graduate from the University of Arizona. Both boys are products of Garces Memorial High School. Well done, lads.

 * … SPOTTED: Today's gem from Twitter: "When I was little, I used to sing in the shower. Now I make life decisions in there."

 * ... VALLEY PLAZA: There's no better service in town than the folks who work behind the "Genius Bar" at the local Apple Store at Valley Plaza. There is normally a wait, but the young people behind the counter could not be nicer or more technically skilled. On the downside, try to stay out of the public restrooms at the mall's food court: broken doors, broken hand dryers, no towels, an altogether forgettable experience. Two good examples of how to treat customers, and how to ignore them.

 * ... ART: If you think art among young people is dead, you should have headed over to Metro Galleries for the 34th Annual Congressional Art Competition-An Artistic Discovery. More than 240 entries from high school students throughout the congressional district were hanging, some of them showing remarkable artistry. Congressman Kevin McCarthy holds this event each year and was on hand at Metro Friday evening to meet all the students an present the awards. The best of show entry will hang in the U.S. Capitol for the next year.

 * … DOWNTOWN: Judy Wert wrote to to remind everyone about the First Presbyterian Church on 17th Street downtown. "We have occupied the same location for over 100 years, maintaining the historic elegant beauty of our buildings. A portion of our land was given to us by the widow of Colonel Thomas Baker, after whom the city is named. We host and support numerous activities that appeal to various groups and people who populate downtown. Pastor Jeff Chandler, along with the entire staff, are dedicated to being a beacon of hope to our community."

 * ... THEATERS: At least a dozen folks responded to Ronal Reynier's request trying to identify and old Bakersfield theater. His response: "Readers submitted good guesses on my quest to locate which theater in Bakersfield had trellises down its side aisles. They were the Granada, Rex and the Rialto; all are wrong. These three were known as 'shoebox' theaters and were too narrow. I lived across the street from the Granada in 1943-45 and enjoyed movies there before it was remodeled. While in
high school I worked at the Tejon and pulled some shifts at the Granada. The Rialto was even less than a 'shoebox' and I also went to movies there. In my feeble mind is the first theater I can remember going to... the Californian."