Friday, November 13, 2015

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy raps President Obama ignores Congress, chooses to go it alone while disrespecting elected officials

 House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy gives us his weekly view from Capitol Hill:

 "We’ve all taken civics or at least watched Schoolhouse Rock, so we know that the legislative branch passes laws, the executive branch executes them, and the judicial branch interprets.

 "But I don’t think we realize the degree to which this system has been lost under the Obama Administration.  There are good reasons why the founders did it this way. It means no one branch has the power to do whatever it wants. That is a bulwark against tyranny.

 "But the Obama Administration has turned this system on its head. When faced with Congressional opposition, the President doesn’t try to reach an agreement. He goes it alone and is proud of it.

 "By design, Congress works slowly. But the President’s actions have been so blatantly wrong that the courts have stopped them before they could be implemented. From immigration to the Waters of the U.S. rule that threatened private property to regulations on hydraulic fracturing, the House worked to block the actions AND the courts said “no.” Two branches were unified saying that the other went too far.

 "And all the while precious time has been spent fighting to stop executive actions that are illegitimate and should have never been attempted in the first place.

 "The President’s disrespect for the people’s directly elected representatives, for the law as written, and for our constitutional system has become more and more obvious throughout his years in office.

 "But that does not mean Congress will stop working. As Speaker Ryan said, we will be a proposition party, putting forward big ideas done the right way. Then, the people will choose not just between two different ideas of policy, but also choose whether they want our constitutional system to work as intended or whether it will break down into rule by whatever the executive branch decides to do that day.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Supervisor Leticia Perez, a Democrat in the oil patch, takes a balanced view to the energy sector and some really good form around town on Veterans day

 * ... LETICIA: I had a nice chat the other day with Supervisor Leticia Perez, a Democrat in a conservative county who has successfully balanced the interests of the energy sector with concerns over the environment. Perez voted in favor of streamlining oil and gas regulations, despite the fact
that so many in her party have condemned fossil fuels and in particular hydraulic fracturing. How does a loyal Democrat in the oil patch explain herself to the left wing of her party? "I am raising my son here," she explained, "and I want a respectful conveyance of the facts." Among those facts: the energy sector contributes a third of the county's property tax revenue, which benefits rich and poor alike, and Kern County leads the state in the total output of renewable energy like solar and wind. That's an admirable track record that cannot be dismissed, she said. Getting off fossil fuels is an admirable goal, she added, but it is a long process and those concerns must be balanced with the interests of a long-entrenched energy sector.

 * ... EL NINO: We are starting to see the early effects of El Nino this year, and we are off to a good start. Mammoth received about 36 inches of slow during this latest storm, while Lake Tahoe recorded about a 20-inch snowfall. All this is good news for these resort areas, but we will have a long way to go and meteorologists warn we will need a steady series of storms before we make a dent in the drought. That said, the Los Angeles Times reports the wet weather will lead to fewer high smog days this year, and that itself is something to celebrate. (photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times)

 * ... GOOD FORM: Navy veteran Eugene Jackson and his wife Mavine were treated to a free breakfast at Denny's on Mount Vernon in honor of Veterans Day. "Our waitress came by our booth, picked up our ticket and said 'A young woman paid for your wife's breakfast.' We did not have the opportunity to meet her and we would like to thank her and Denny's for the breakfast treat."

 * ... MORE GOOD FORM: And Mike Swen, a veteran of the Korean War, wrote that he too was treated to a meal at a restaurant near Stine and Planz "by a young Hispanic couple that didn't look like they had anything more than we do. It was so generous." Later, at Marie Calendar's, customers insisted he go to the front of the line and someone paid for his pies. "People need to know how generous people are in Kern County," he said. "I want to thank all of them."

 * ... SEVEN  OAKS: It is easy to underestimate the impact that Castle and Cooke and its Seven Oaks development has had on the growth of the city. And now it is breaking ground on the latest extension of the master planned community with Highgate at Seven Oaks, built on 443 acres on the west side of the corner of Ming Avenue and Allen Road. No one doubts that Highgate will be a quality community, but the relentless push west, aided by the Westside Parkway, has changed the face of the city forever.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "You can go anywhere you want if you look serious and carry a clipboard."

 * ... BAKERSFIELDISM: George Culver says you might be a Bakersfield old timer "if you remember the Bakersfield High Drillers basketball team warming up to the tune of 'Sweet Georgia Brown' when they played their home games. Not sure when they stopped doing it but it was in the 1950s and 1960s.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

California poll shows those who live along the coast are more optimistic about the future, and is all the dustup about those red Starbuck cups much ado about nothing?

 * ... OPTIMISM: Would it surprise you if I told you that Californians who live on the coast are happier than the rest of us? I didn't think so, and that is precisely the conclusion of a new USC
Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll. The poll found that folks who live along the coast were most hopeful about their personal finances, while those of us who live in the Central Valley and Inland Empire were the most anxious about the future. The poll found that of those Californians who had a college education, 33 percent said they were getting ahead, "while just 13 percent of those with a high school degree or less said they were."

 * ... STARBUCKS: Has Starbucks declared war on Christmas, or do we have our knickers in a twist over nothing? That's the question on social media after the company removed all references to Christmas on its seasonal red coffee cups, opting instead for a simple solid red design. One "social media personality" posted a video on Facebook on asking people to give their name as "Merry Christmas," forcing baristas to write it on the cups. The video has been viewed more than 12 million times. But not so fast. Starbucks says the redesigned solid red cups are in keeping with its policy of changing the design every year. So before we jump to conclusions, maybe a red cup is simply that: just a red cup.

 * ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "I’m in a long distance relationship. Sure, some people refer to it as a restraining order, but still."

 * ... ENERGY: Here's another take on the debate over the use and future of fossil fuels, this one from Stephen Montgomery, chairman of the local Sierra Club. "The deliberate ignorance, as expressed by commentator Carole Cohen, of the important issues being addressed by the environmental community continues to be disappointing. Dismissing the issues we are addressing by calling us hypocrites for using fossil fuel in its varied manifestations foster the notion that it’s all about oil or we go back to the caves... Any intellectually honest observer can clearly see we aren’t going to solve tomorrow’s issues only with yesterday’s solutions. Citing jobs as a reason for fostering or engaging in unhealthy practices is poor policy. Dismissing science citing human impacts on global warming and air quality by some who are casting this as an ideological issue by citing so-called experts bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industries isn’t just an issue of freedom of expression or opinion. It’s dishonest... The environmental community and the vast majority of those with a sound scientific background in climatology are advocating a transition from carbon based energy to sustainable energy sources. It’s being advocated as a gradual process and attempts to accuse environmentalists of trying to shut down all fossil fuel extraction and refinement is nonsense except in the minds of the rabid right who seldom let bothersome facts get in the way of a good narrative."

 * ... MARINES: Happy birthday to the Marine Corps, which celebrated its 240th birthday this week. The Corps traces its roots back to the Second Continental Congress in 1775, which established a resolution stating that 'two Battalions of Marines be raised' as forces to land with the fleet. The Marines were on hand for the first amphibious raid into the Bahamas in 1776 under the command of Capt. Samuel Nichols. Semper Fidelis, Latin for 'always faithful,' became the Marine Corps motto in 1883.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Catholic Charities of Bakersfield dedicates a new food pantry downtown, KERO anchors Todd Karli and Jackie Parks heading east and where are those party schools?

 * ... CATHOLIC CHARITIES: Hats off to the folks over at Catholic Charities of Bakersfield who dedicated a new food pantry recently on Chester Avenue. The building was dedicated in honor of Monsignor Craig Harrison, and its opening marked the end of an extensive two-year renovation.
Beverly Camp, who serves on the board of the Fresno Diocese, said the building was totally gutted "and now it has allowed us to get going and get everything on track." The diocese held its annual Harvest of Hope fund raiser at the Kern County Fairgrounds this weekend. Last year the event raised $340,000 for the charity.

 * ... ENERGY: The debate over the role of fossil fuels in our society is nothing if not passionate. Consider this from reader Carole Cohen: "Thank you for your succinct and relevant take on fossil fuels. If your readers are truly adamant about the high risks of using fossil fuels, then I would invite them all to rid themselves of any appliance, vehicle, or other object that is either reliant upon fossil fuel to operate or was made from or with the use of fossil fuel. That will, of course, include all motor vehicles, all electric appliances, large and small, including but not limited to heating and air conditioning units, and while they are at it, they should level the house, give the clothes to the Goodwill and then stand naked on their plot of ground and enjoy life. When everyone has evolved to that state, we will then be free to replace our previous fossil fuel use with some other totally risk-free technology that is abundant and affordable enough to provide energy to all seven billion people who inhabit this planet - not just the privileged few who live in the industrial world - and has the technological potential to create a cleaner environment than already exists. Please let the rest of us know what is devised.  Incidentally, for those of you who were not alive during the 1970s, the big concern at that time was global cooling."

 * … ADIOS: Longtime KERO anchors Todd Karli and Jackie Parks are leaving the station and moving to the East coast. Karli has accepted an anchor position at WBOC-TV in Salisbury, MD., and his last day at KERO will be December 18. Parks, his wife, will stay in town until the end of the school year and join her husband then. These are two class acts in the local TV market and both will be missed.

* ... SPOTTED ON TWITTER: "That depressing moment when you dip your cookie into milk for too long, it breaks off, and you wonder why bad things happen to good people."

 * ... BAD FORM: On L Street downtown a 30-something woman opens her driver's side door at a stop light and spits on the road. I could have done without that on my morning commute.

 * ... PARTY SCHOOLS: If you are getting ready to send your son or daughter off to college, you might consider this new list the nation's biggest party schools. In no particular order: Tulane University, University of Michigan, University of Colorado-Boulder, Ole Miss, Syracuse University, Florida State University, University of Wisconsin, University of Texas, Ohio University and the University of Iowa.

 * ... MORE BAD FORM: This note showed up in my mailbox from a frustrated reader: "Drivers, if you hear a fire or ambulance siren blaring pull over to the right! Chances are the ambulance or fire engine really needs to get somewhere... Once I watched a woman cross in front of the ambulance pushing a stroller."