Friday, August 21, 2015

House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy denounces proposed Iranian nuclear deal a "sham"

 Rep. Kevin McCarthy, House Majority Leader, addresses the proposed nuclear deal with Iran.

 "In my conversations with people in our community as well as with my colleagues in Congress, there remains continued focus and concern on the ongoing review of the Iran agreement. Yesterday, the
Associated Press released the text of a secret draft agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency regarding inspections at the Parchin military site.

 "Congress should not be finding out about the details of a secret side agreement with Iran through media reports. The House has already demanded that the Administration give Congress the text of these agreements, as is required by the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act that the President signed into law. On its face, this agreement seems to give Iran much too much authority in determining how and when inspections happen at the Parchin military site. Though President Obama claimed that this agreement is not based on trust but on verification, this side deal makes it look like the exact opposite. We cannot and should not trust Iran with any authority to police itself, whether at Parchin or elsewhere.
These secret side deals reveal that Iran nuclear verification is a sham.

 "However, in another development that we should focus on is this Administration’s proposal for additional regulations on oil and gas production.

 "Earlier this month, President Obama unveiled his plan to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. In his speech announcing this regulation, he referred to the threats of job losses and higher energy bills as the 'same stale arguments.'

 "However, this week’s announced proposal of more regulations on America’s energy production could indeed have similar effects. But so as not to bore, here is a fresh reason the President’s plan is unnecessary: What the president wants to achieve with more government intervention is, well, already happening thanks to free-market forces.

 "The President’s own Environmental Protection Agency has reported that methane emissions from natural gas production have decreased by 38 percent since 2005. That’s right. In the heart of a natural gas boom in our country, methane emissions have actually gone down.

 "But this isn’t the first time that intended goals of a White House regulation are already being achieved.

Two days after the White House announced its ‘Clean Power Plan,’ the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that carbon dioxide emissions reached a 27-year low in April 2015.

So thank goodness for innovation and ingenuity. Without it our environment would be less healthy and the great American energy renaissance non-existent. We should pocket these important achievements and continue to build on a safer and more energy secure country. We should not swamp energy producers with new bureaucratic and unnecessary rules to achieve a goal that is already being accomplished without government intervention.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Tempers rise on the first day of school, KBAK steals an anchor from KGET and a good citizens dresses down a litterbug in a city bus

* ... BACK TO SCHOOL: The rush to get our kids back to school this week brings out the worst in some of us. Listen to this rant from reader Mike Glinzak: "This morning, the first day of school at Centennial Elementary, I witnessed the worst parking of MANY I have seen today when mommies brought their kids to school. The white SUV shown was parked and left unattended for 10 plus
minutes at the corner of Westdale Drive and Cardigan Avenue while a perfectly healthy young woman took her apparently perfectly healthy 8-year-old to class. When she returned, I told her she was illegally parked and was blocking the intersection and handicapped street crossing. Her comment: 'I didn't know I was parked illegally'  REALLY! ... I know this is a problem at many schools, but after living across from Centennial, I see the same dangerous conditions occur several times a day. Complete disregard for parking in NO STOPPING zones, created so school buses can have proper sight lines in the area, parking in front of fire hydrants, double parking, and of course, parking in an intersection at a 45 degree angle between two streets."

 * ... BILL THOMAS: The public slap down that former Congressman Bill Thomas gave to City Councilman Terry Maxwell has been brewing a long time, and chances are this is not the last we will hear of it. Thomas is immensely proud of the $600 million-plus in road improvement funding he arranged before leaving office, and the 24th Street widening process is among the crown jewels on the project list. Maxwell opposes the project, which led to the rare public rebuke from Thomas, who singled out Maxwell as the member of the City Council who most loves hearing his own voice.

 * ... BAD FORM: There are few things that get past the attention of my downtown neighbor Bettina Belter. So it shouldn't surprise anyone that when a passenger in a GET bus casually tossed a wad of garbage out the window, she chased the bus down to the downtown terminal to let the driver know "that a passenger had just broken the law and trashed not only my 'hood, but our city."

* … DOGS: Liz Keogh had this response when she learned her dog was on the list of the breeds deemed "least obedient." Said Keogh: "That explains it! My 'problem child' is a beagle/dachshund mix. I suppose it could be worse: he could be a beagle/borzoi mix."

 * … SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I love sleep because it's a time machine to breakfast."

 * … LOCAL TV: More musical chairs among the local TV anchors. It looks like one of KGET's weekday anchors, Rachelle Murcia, is headed to KBAK, which recently lured Erin Briscoe away from cross-town rival KERO TV. She will share the anchor desk with incoming anchor David Gonzales.

 * ... JURY DUTY: A few thoughts after spending some time on jury duty this week: there is no quicker mood killer than getting caught in the jurors' parking lot by a slow moving train; the healthiest snack in the courthouse vending machine seems to be spicy "flamin" Cheetos; and somebody, somewhere, must have an idea how to speed up the selection process.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Researchers find walking improves your mental capacity, the list of the 'least obedient dogs" and recognizing the nation's top public universities

 * ... WALKING: If you needed some encouragement to exercise more, consider a new study from the Kansas Alzheimer's Disease Center as reported in The New York Times. In a controlled study of
otherwise healthy people who were put on a walking regimen, mild exercise not only improved overall health but also improved our ability to think clearly. "In general," the paper said, "most of the exercisers showed improvements in their thinking skills, especially in their ability to control their attention and to create visual maps of spaces in their heads, two aspects of cognition that are known to decline with age." So there you have it. Grab your walking shoes and make it part of your routine.

 * ... DOGS: Does your dog have a mind of its own and does whatever it wants? If so it may be on the list of the the "least obedient" dog breeds as reported on the website The top 10 least obedient breeds include the Beagle, Borzoi, Welsh Terrier, Dachshund, Pekingese, Bloodhound, the Bulldog, Basenji, Chow Chow and the Afghan Hound.

 * ... COLLEGE RANKINGS: Students are streaming back to colleges across the nation so it must be time for the annual rankings of the best public universities in the nation. And once again California performs well. According to USA Today, here are the top ten in descending order: University of North Carolina, UC San Diego, University of Michigan, College of William and Mary, UC Berkeley, University of Virginia, Air Force Academy, West Point, UCLA and the Naval Academy. (file photos of Michigan, Berkeley)

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: The local restaurant Valentien's displayed some savvy advertising on one of the hottest days of the year when it posted this on Twitter: "It is WAAAY too hot to turn on your oven at home. You should absolutely eat dinner at a restaurant tonight."

 * ... COST OF WATER: I noted this fun fact in the latest water bill from Cal Water Service. One gallon of tap water costs .0003 cents, where one gallon of bottled water runs $1.21, a gallon of Coke sells for $2.58, a gallon of milk $3.39, a gallon of gas $3.42 and a gallon of your favorite latte, $32.

* ... BARGAIN BOX: I am a big fan of the Assistance League and what this organization does to help the needy in our community. So here is how you can help. The League's Bargain Box Thrift Store has reopened and is fully stocked with clothes and other items. The store is located at 1824 Q Street, and all proceeds help support the philanthropic programs of the Assistance League, including its signature Operation School Bell which provides school clothing to local students.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Embattled Bakersfield College president Sonya Christian picks up some support from the public and new faces coming to KBAK TV

 * ... SONYA: It looks like the Kern Community College District's trustees are encouraging Bakersfield College president Sonya Christian to seek work elsewhere, but there is a loud chorus of those who support her in our community. This note, from local historian Gilbert Gia, reflects how
many folks feel. Said Gia:"What a shame that the KCCD board encouraged an acclaimed leader to seek other work. Are seven changes of president in ten years not enough? And has BC's ascendant excellence under the leadership of Dr. Sonya Christian interfered so terribly with the needs of the other two colleges in the system? Step back and get some perspective."

* ... EL NINO: Ronal Reynier weighed in on the chances that California will experience a strong El Nino this winter: "Every day now we read and hear the predicted El Nino could be as strong or stronger than the one in 1997. It was just 18 years ago; do you remember? Seventeen people died and there was $550 million in damage. Should we be worried? No, the simple reason is so far this year weather forecasters' have been wrong 95 percent of the time. Each time they have forecast rain
we have received enough to spot-up our car's windshields or none at all. People who can afford and choose to live next to our beaches, on cliffs and on hillsides, know the risk and gladly take them. I only wish I was one of them. Come on El Nino; we may not be ready for you, but
here in the valley we welcome you."

* ... ANCHORS: KBAK TV has hired longtime Los Angeles news anchor David Gonzales to anchor its evening newscasts, replacing Kurt Rivera who left the duopoly a few weeks ago after his arrest in a domestic incident. The gig for Gonzales is temporary while KBAK searches for a permanent replacement, but I am told he could stay if things work out. Gonzales is married to long time Los Angeles news director Nancy Bauer-Gonzales. Meanwhile, KBAK is losing another evening anchor, Courtney Bryant,  who is moving to St. Louis to join KMOV.

 * ... RADIO: Speaking of local media, popular morning deejay Tony Manes (Tony in the Morning) has left KGFM and moved with his family to Fresno, where his wife landed a new job.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "It’s hard to trust humans; even the blind prefer to be guided by dogs."

* ... DOGS: Susan Peninger dropped me a note about a good program sponsored by the Kern County Aminal Control facility on Fruitvale. In her words: "With all the negatives surrounding animal control and issues related, I thought I’d share something positive. I received a renewal notice for one of my dogs and on the postcard was information I wasn’t aware of; I’m certain I’m not alone in this so maybe this could go in your blog. Every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at the Kern County Animal Control facility on Fruitvale there’s a rabies/licensing clinic for county residents. Rates differ for altered and unaltered dogs, so proof of spaying/neutering is needed.  Microchips are FREE and anyone over 62 can license at a reduced rate. The staff was friendly, helpful and the line went quickly.  This is definitely a one-stop operation and one that people should take advantage of to ensure the safety and health of their pets."