HIT: Rep. Kevin McCarthy continues to put the pressure on the Department of Veterans Affairs for its unacceptable backlogs and delays in processing the disability claims of veterans. McCarthy and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., have introduced legislation that would establish an independent task force or commission to analyze the VA's disability benefits claims processing system.

It currently takes about nine months for a veteran's claim to be processed, and nearly 900,000 are waiting for decisions. More than 500,000 of those are considered overdue. "Our veterans deserve the care they earned while protecting and defending our country, and continued failure by the VA cannot and will not be tolerated," McCarthy said. We couldn't agree more.

MISS: 50 percent is a failing score

The Boy Scouts of America got it half right. Their decision last week to allow openly gay Scouts in the organization is certainly a step forward, and a significant one at that, given the Scouts' past history of discrimination against gays and the highly publicized battles that drew unflattering attention on the organization.

The continued exclusion of gay Scout leaders, however, is unacceptable. Putting an "age limit" on discrimination hardly seems to be "progress." You're in if you're under 18, out if you're over 18? That makes no sense. Obviously, the same common denominators are at work here that have fueled all instances of discrimination throughout history: misinformation and fear. The assumption seems to be that homosexuals are more prone to pedophilia than heterosexuals. That has no basis in fact. That realization is one factor in society's change in attitude and acceptance of gays. The Boy Scouts got it half right, but by almost any standard, 50 percent is still a "fail."

MISS: Sunshine for the mountain

It seems the Bear Valley Community Services District has been doing a little governing outside the law. A report issued by the Kern County grand jury found numerous questionable practices by the public agency, including violations of the Brown Act, the California law requiring that public business be conducted in public. Other areas of concern, according to the grand jury report: harassment by board members and overcharging for police dispatch services. A little sunshine needs to fall on that mountain.

HIT: A crew cut and a smile

The early days of television represented a new frontier of sorts, and a person hoping to make his mark in the new medium could have chosen just about any path. Don Rodewald chose to do it with a smile, a cheeriness and a trademark crew cut that made him one of local television's true on-air pioneers. Following his days at KERO-TV, he remained a visible and beloved member of the community through his remaining years, which included a long career as a teacher at Bakersfield College.

A "local" fellow, he was inducted into East Bakersfield High School's Hall of Fame earlier this year. Rodewald died last week at 86. He will be missed, but his signature line, "Until tomorrow at 3, when it's just you and me," will remain with us forever.