Friday, August 14, 2015

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy travels to Israel and returns warning the proposed nuclear deal with Iran is a dangerous idea

 House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield gives us his weekly report from Capitol Hill:

 "As I have written before, one of the pressing issues facing our nation and the world before Congress is our concerns with the agreement with Iran that is being put forth by the Obama Administration.

 "Despite the continual concessions the Obama Administration made to Iran during nuclear negotiations, one concession in particular poses large risks for regional stability and the safety of our allies in the medium-term: the eventual lifting of the arms and missiles embargoes against Iran.

 "Under the agreement the embargo against arms would be lifted in five years and against ballistic missiles—the kind that can carry a nuclear warhead—in eight years. But it looks like even these small delays are only a parchment barrier without the threat of real enforcement. Even Secretary Kerry revealed, “The arms embargo is not tied to snapback. It is tied to a separate set of obligations. So they are not in material breach of the nuclear agreement for violating the arms piece of it."

 "I have always said that if Iran ever obtained a nuclear weapon, the world would never be the same. That is why I traveled to Israel this week to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other leaders along with traveling to the Golan Heights and other parts of the Middle East to see first-hand what is happening in the Middle East.

 "We were able to meet with United Nations observers and other military advisors to get the latest updates on our battle with ISIS and the civil war in Syria. While I have traveled to the Middle East in the past, we continue to see a reoccurring theme of what happens if American leadership is perceived as weak.

 "Earlier this week, we toured an Iron Dome battery, a key pillar of Israel’s military defenses. During the summer of 2014 as Hamas indiscriminately launched rockets at civilian population centers, the Iron Dome protected innocent lives by intercepting roughly 90 percent of Hamas’s rockets. As we visited the towns of Ashkelon and Sderot near Gaza, we saw firsthand that without the Iron Dome, many more people would have lost their lives. Congress stands united with Israel, not only in support of its Iron Dome defenses, but also in preserving Israel’s security and ensuring the safety of its people. In these dangerous times, Israel can always be certain that the American people are by their side.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Forecasters believe this winter's El Nino will be a whopper, and before your send your kids off to college, make sure you check out the top party schools

* ... EL NINO: The signs are improving that California will experience a significant El Nino this fall and winter, so strong that one forecaster is predicting a "Godzilla El Nino" event. In fact, The Los Angeles Times reported the "strengthening El Niño in the Pacific Ocean has the potential to become one of the most powerful on record, as warming ocean waters surge toward the Americas, setting up a pattern that could bring once-in-a-generation storms this winter to drought-parched California... After the strongest El Niño on record muscled up through the summer of 1997, the following winter gave Southern California double its annual rainfall and dumped double the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, an essential source of precipitation for the state’s water supply."

* ... PARTY SCHOOLS: Now that so many local families are preparing to send their children off to college in the fall, it's time to review yet another list of the top party schools in the country. Starting from No. 10 down to No. 1, the list goes like this: Tulane, University of Illinois, Louisiana State University, Iowa State, Penn State, Colorado, Arizona State, University of Georgia, West Virginia and the top party school, University of Wisconsin at Madison.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: A sign at a Nebraska elementary school ushers in the school year with this message: "School resumes August 12. Resistance is futile. You will be educated."

* ... BAD FORM: Carol Knapp read a story recently about how texting and walking can lead to weight gain, and then she witnessed this: "When I was going into Walmart two weeks ago I was in a hurry... (but) I couldn't get past a woman who was texting leaning on her cart in the doorway. She was moving at a snails pace. She was about 150 pounds overweight. Leaving Walmart I was unfortunate to get behind another woman in the doorway speaking on her cellphone moving almost as slow... she was about 50 pounds overweight.  I hope I don't pack on the pounds now for making these rude comments but I bet I eat as much if not more than these two women.  I think I am able to keep the pounds at bay because I move at a faster pace and I also mow my own yard, dance and I don't text.  I used to belong to Weight Watchers so I know the struggles with the pounds so I am really not try to insult anyone."

 * ... GOOD FORM: Plez Taylor Jr. was at Red Lobster recently to celebrate his wife Vivian's birthday as well as their 67th wedding anniversary. "When we asked for check was informed a young couple had pad our check," he said. "It really made our evening and wish there was a way to thank them."

  * ... SNAILS: And finally, my friend Mary Helen Barro submits this interesting tip for your flowerbeds: "My flowerbeds were a breeding ground for snails, until landscaper extraordinaire Olga See of O’See Em Bloom on Calloway Drive introduced me to Cocoa Shell Mulch, which she sells for about $11 a bag. When cocoa beans are roasted, the shells separate from the beans.  The roasting process sterilizes the shells, which makes them weed-free and organic.  Within a few weeks, my garden was snail-free.  The flower beds look lovely, and my garden smells delicious!  The recycled cocoa bean hulls also help retain moisture, which means less watering, and also reduce weeds organically, so I don’t have to use chemicals.  Be careful, though if you have dogs, since cocoa mulch contains caffeine and theobromine, which could be toxic. Thanks to Olga See, my flowerbeds are now snail and bug free!"

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Polls show a majority of whites now believe more change is necessary to protect minorities, remembering Frank Gifford and more on the rash of burglaries around town

* ... RACE: In the wake of several high profile shootings of black Americans by police, there seems to be a major shift in how white Americans feel about race. Two polls, one by Pew Research and the second by the Washington Post/ABC News, concluded that a majority of white Americans
now believe more change is needed to protect minorities. According to The Los Angeles Times,"the shifts are significant. For the last several years polls had shown that fewer than four in 10 whites said the country needed more change to achieve equality." That has grown significantly, and the largest shift in attitude has come among Republicans, where the number of people who feel more change is needed has grown 15 percent.

 * ... GIFFORD: Here's something about the life of the late Frank Gifford you might not know, compliments of Rick Van Horne's book Halley Street Heroes. Said Van Horne: "Frank Gifford (Bakersfield High and Bakersfield College) was a first round draft choice in 1952, (but) also in that draft was Gifford's good friend and high school teammate Bob Karpe. In the same draft also was legendary Taft College coach Al Baldock. Baldock and Gifford were teammates at USC." (file photos of Gifford, Karpe)

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: "Fear the man wearing velcro strapped sandals, for he has nothing left to lose."

 * ... BAD FORM: Here is another sign of the times. A woman posts a note on Facebook looking for a small urn bearing the ashes of her father that was stolen along with other items during a burglary at her home.

 * ... LOST MAIL: Ever wonder why your mail service is spotty sometimes? Consider this note from reader Elton Kelly, who took the time to compliment two employees of the Stockdale Highway post office (Darlene and her supervisor Brad) despite what happened. Turned out he was waiting on a package from eBay that was shipped to the Stockade Highway office but ended up downtown. But rather than send it to Stockade just a few miles away, it was shipped to Pasadena, then to Santa Clarita, then to Opa Locka, Fla., back to Santa Clarita and finally to Stockade, a journey of eight days. "Granted this was only an eBay purchase but what if it had been my stroke-medications or replacement-parts for my wife's insulin-pump? Something needs 're-thinking' and fixing."

  * ... BURGLARS: With all the reports about burglaries and car theft, here is a bit of good news from Nancy Bellue. "One morning I recognized that a certain car had gone around and around our block many times while I was on the driveway getting my kids into the car, etc.  Then, as I drove on down the street I asked myself, 'What if that was a burglar who saw me load up and leave home?' So, I circled back home, locked the kids in the car, and (foolishly) went to my front door and hollered into  the house where the bad guy was, sure enough! He hadn’t had time to pack up anything...  hearing me he ran out the back door.  In court later (I had his car license  number) i was told ’sorry’… I should have given him time to steal SOMEthing, as evidence. Recently at our son’s home in Westchester, the perp walked in at 6 a.m. (construction crew forgot to lock up), robbed a few electronic toys quickly and drove away…. but, happy, stupid, and high on meth he came back for more an hour later! Kelly welcomed him that time, and began a conversation, all the while snapping iPhone photos of the guy and his car, which he forwarded to the police immediately. They caught him an hour later and he was sent back to jail!"