Friday, January 15, 2021

Former Congressman Bill Thomas pays to send a message about our current political troubles, seniors line up for the Covid-19 vaccines and the Bakersfield Museum of Art prepares for a virtual show on the Bakersfield Sound

Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other company or publication.

 * ... BILL THOMAS: When Bill Thomas retired from Congress as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, leaving his seat to his protege Kevin McCarthy, the world was a different place.  But even Thomas could never have seen what would become of the country he loves, and the institution of

Congress that he helped mold. Now, Thomas has come forth to let the world know where he stands by purchasing a full page advertisement in The Bakersfield Californian to highlight a letter from a former staff member, Will Le. In it, Le details the story of a disaffected moderate Republican whose party seems to have abandoned him. "It saddens me to see what has happened to the Republican Party over the last four years under the grips of Donald Trump and Trumpism," he wrote. "And it is with even more sadness that those who have supported him and cheered him on are those who I once worked with and greatly respected... I am a man without a party. Both parties have stooped to the lowest levels to drum up anger against a political and economic system that has worked so well for so many people of so many different backgrounds."

 * ... COVID-19 VACCINE: The state of California opened up the coronavirus vaccine to residents 65 and older, and there was a tsunami of a response. Express Pharmacy on Brimhall was overwhelmed the first day and other urgent care centers had similar experiences; And now experts are warning that even with both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, there is no guarantee that you might still have the virus and be unknowingly shedding it. "We just don't know yet," is how Dr. Brij Bhambi of Centric Health put it, saying researchers don't know if fully vaccinated people could still be contagious. The hope, of course, is achieving herd immunity across the country.

 * ... ART EXHIBIT: If you are a history buff and interested in the Bakersfield Sound, make sure you check out a new online exhibit from the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Called The Bakersfield Sound: Roll Out the Red Carpet, the exhibit will showcase major figures and stylings of the sound with costumes, guitars and posters from the era. Among those part of the exhibit is Felix Adamo, retired Bakersfield Californian photographer whose black and white shots of the time are can't miss items. The virtual exhibit will run from Jan. 28 to Aug. 28 this year. (Felix Adamo poses with some of his work below)


 * ... PARLER: There is a lot of chatter about Parler, the new social media website that caters to disaffected Republicans fed up with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The site has become a hotbed of rumors and conspiracy theorists have found it a home for their musings. Below is just one of the postings on Parler that speaks to conspiracies. Kicked off the Amazon hosting site, Parler is currently off line and it is not known when it will go back live.

 * ... MEMORIES: Enjoy these pictures of old Bakersfield, borrowed from some of the many websites that chronicle our history.

 * ... MORE MEMORIES: And how about this picture of the old Rainbow Gardens on South Union Avenue. Date unknown.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Immigrants respond to the attack on the Capitol with warnings of false prophets, Rep. Kevin McCarthy takes heat for his support of President Trump and CSUB gets a sweet over Cal Poly in men's basketball

 Welcome to Bakersfield Observed. Our mission is to celebrate life in Kern County by focusing on newsmakers and events and the local characters who make this community such a special place. The views expressed here are strictly my own and do not represent any other company or publication.

 * ... THE LONG TAIL OF THE CAPITOL ASSAULT: Some of the more visceral reactions to the assault on the U.S. Capitol have come from immigrants and their children, many of them people who left unstable governments for the promise of an America that offered stability and predictability. But the Capitol assault has left many of them questioning whether their adopted country has changed, and some are left wondering if America is

on the road to becoming just another nation perpetually at war with itself. Raji Brar, whose parents immigrated from India only to build an impressive business of Countryside markets and other businesses in the Bakersfield area, said the January 6 assault made her rethink the idea of an America that would always offer "safety and security." Dr. Brij Bhambi, a cardiologist and co-owner of Bakersfield Heart Hospital, wrote and essay warning of the dangers of false prophets who trade in lies, conspiracies an myths. 

 * ... KMAC: In the aftermath of the assault on the U.S. Capitol last week, Rep. Kevin McCarthy has come under enormous heat for failing to denounce President Trump's role in the events that led to five deaths and dozens of arrests. While strongly denouncing the violence as un-American, McCarthy is among a handful of Trump loyalists who are sticking with Trump while many of his GOP colleagues (Senators Ben Sasse and Lindsay Graham among them) have turned on the president. In a piece in the National Journal, writer Josh Kraushaar wrote this: "Time will tell whether McCarthy pays a political price for his political cowardice. He was coming off a successful election, with House Republicans benefiting from a Trump-fueled turnout surge while maintaining enough support from more traditional Republican voters to wildly beat expectations. His party is within striking distance of the majority in two years. But the GOP is also splitting apart, with a growing number of republican officials backing a complete break from Trump after this week's events. that split is forcing Republicans to choose between democracy and Trump. If the institutionalizes prevail in the looming GOP battle for the soul of their party, McCarthy will rue the day he chose to stay on the Trump ship until the bitter end."

 * ... PARLER: Die-hard supporters of President Trump have been moving their online social media accounts off sites like Facebook and Instagram to more conservative-leaning new websites like Parler, and now Big Tech has turned on Parler saying it has become a home for threats of violence. The above mentioned Rep. McCarthy established a Parler account along with Sen. Ted Cruz and Congressman Devin Nunes as well as President Donald Trump’s family members and surrogates. But now, both Amazon and Apple have kicked Parler off their web hosting services, meaning that Parler will have to find a new home for Trump'sfollowers. Below is an example of some of the chatter being seen on Parler.

 * ... CSUB ROADRUNNERS: The CSUB Roadrunners swept Cal Poly this weekend to improve to an overall record of 6-4 (2-1 in the Big West Conference). The great tragedy this year is that no fans can enjoy CSUB's entry into the Big West Conference, where CSUB will play more regional rivals like Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and Cal State Northridge.

 * ... SPOTTED ON FACEBOOK: Some fun from Facebook.

 * ... RIP TOMMY: There have been lots of tributes to the late Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda, but few as sweet as this picture of the late Nick Uricchio posing the the legendary great. Thanks to his grandson, Bryan Porter, for sharing this.

 * ... MEMORIES: Some classic old pictures from the Highway 99 Facebook page of life on the road back in the day.

Dr. Brij Bhambi shares his thoughts on the attack at Capitol Hill: American exceptionalism and the dangers of false prophets who traffic in conspiracies, lies and myths

 Dr. Brij Bhambi is a cardiologist and one of the physician owners of Bakersfield Heart Hospital as well as an owner and director at Centric Health. He is a regular guest on The Richard Beene Show, which airs weekday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KERN NewsTalk 96.1 FM/1180 AM. He appears Fridays at 2 p.m. What follows are his thoughts on the attack on the U.S. Capitol, American society and American exceptionalism.

"I  have been raised in double speak of third world politics. Flag and religion are the usual failsafe drapes that hide ugliness in the guise of populism. Corrupt agendas are adorned in digestible slogans. Divisions are created. Divisions are exploited. A few win. All else lose. Always!

 Never occurred to me that wheel could come a full circle in a place that birthed modern democracy.
Democracy is founded on the sacred covenant that outcomes have to be accepted. Allegations repeated and amplified don’t erase reality that actually transpired. Hugo Chavez may have risen from dead to reprogram Dominion voting machines to the benefit of Biden. 
 And yet be dumb enough to recklessly let down ballot vote go unchanged. Either way he left no crumbs. None that any election officer, any court of law, all the way to SCOTUS could find. Remember SCOTUS was purposefully packed to find the crumbs, when none existed. Third branch of government redeemed itself by just not lowering itself into gutter. Courage in any incarnation is worthy of applause. Thank you SCOTUS.
 At personal level, I have been awed by a lot of things. Three memories figure prominently.
 A visit to Nagasaki is a spiritual exercise. It grabs your soul, wrenches your guts and compels kindness as human-speak. Devastation begs not to be repeated. Sombre.
 A visit to Vatican is divine. The beat that sustains your heart feels a different flutter there. Sublime.
 A visit to Oval Office... speechless! That little real estate is sacred. Thats where Right is Might has been practiced. Like life, it's a work in progress. Yet it symbolizes the best in pursuit of human endeavors. Awe inspiring and humbling.
 I have not had an occasion to visit Capitol Hill yet. I intend to. The desecration of Jan 6th, 2021 has accelerated that impulse.

 The spectacle of violent assault on Capitol Hill was a repulsive actualization of vitriolic rhetoric. A rhetoric built on manufactured grievances and considered lies. Lies repeated and amplified in echo chambers of the faithful. Faithful to a false prophet.
 The crescendo was carefully choreographed to deliver the democratic republic a decapitation strike.
To witness dystopian events of January 6, 2021, unfold at the sanctum sanctorum of the birth place of modern democracy convulsed mind and singed soul. The nation that cultivated the notion of “government of the people, by the people for the people” witnessed a disfigured interpretation. Government of the people incited insurrection against government for the people to perpetuate a corrupt regime through deception and intimidation.

 Faithfuls were misled in to embracing the conspiratorial and contrived myths, to the ill of the country.
For years, naked greed, narcissistic self aggrandization, nepotism, authoritarian tendencies, flood of lies and sophisticated marketing of snake oil succeeded in building a large constituency of the committed believers. That, Trump would sell these believers for profit, was obvious.
 Trump equalled a historical precedence of losing big, AFTER first term AND taking down both houses with him.
 As the flame flickered, it laid bare the core of Ttrumpism. There was no soul. Never was. Only swamp. And selfishness.

 In due time, shock will wear off. Politicians will go back to political dealings. Jan 6, 2021 will remain the abyss. A routine day that had ceremonial duty of electoral vote count was denied rendezvous with destiny. No destiny, it joined Pearl Harbor to live in ignominy.
“Remember the day”, outgoing president tweeted; to adorn the proceedings of an inglorious day.
Injury to insult.

The democracy was shaken not stolen. Republic stood unsteady. Resiliency endures. Sanctity will be restored.
 Let's rebuild decency as the foundation to politics. Let's rebuild camaraderie as foundation to governance. Let compromise be the bridge. Let love be the strength.
Whats good for goose is good for the gander. Access to equality is foundational. Jan 6th was not our finest moment. Let's not respond in kind but with kindness. Let's unclench the fist and reach out with an open hand.
We don’t need to regress to trial by combat. Aaron Burr won a version of that. Nation lost Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr walked a dead man’s walk to his final death.

 Pathetic ambition seeking furtherance on the ruins of decency and democracy is un-American to the core. At the end, when we do inventory of life, it's the good deeds we did, comfort us the most. America I came to had an inner beauty, an exalted message, a propulsive energy that encouraged the best in a person. That America is eternal. The carnage in Capitol Hill, the desecration of sanctum sanctorum is not demolition of American dream. Its an opportunity to write the next chapter. We need a time out from hate. We need to make time for love. We need to listen. We need to be humble. We vote once every two years but we live every moment. We need to regain equilibrium.
 The Jeffersonian prophecy prevailed. The temple was bloodied by the reviled. Instigator got away.
A few can’t win at the expense of all else this time.
This time let “all else” change the paradigm.