'Obamacare': The controversy over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is revealing the dark underside of dealing with the insurance carriers. As my friend, former Congressman Bill Thomas, reminds me, no one wants to see how sausage is made but that is where the details are. Insurance companies are now hitting businesses and individuals with hefty annual increases to comply with the ACA, or canceling their policies outright, forcing many people unwillingly into the exchanges. That is certainly not what the president once promised when he said "if you like the insurance plan you have now" you will be able to keep it. This story is just getting started and chances are we are all in for more surprises.

Watchdog: And speaking of sausage making, the Kern Citizens for Sustainable Government was formed a bit over a year ago to keep tabs on local government. Jenifer Pitcher, the community liaison for the group, told me on "First Look with Scott Cox" that the focus remains on public pensions, effective education and efficient government. She also told me that when she pulled the top 30 highest paid county employees, 29 of them were doctors on contract with Kern Medical Center.

On a friend's Facebook page was this: "Overheard in the kitchen when teen daughter was asked if she saw something on Facebook: 'Oh, No, Facebook has been taken over by Moms!'"

Street sweepers: Reader Jim VanderZwan submitted this lament about city street sweepers: "Recently our neighborhood streets were resealed and the city or whatever contractor completed the work did a great job. The streets were clean and a pristine black, that is, until the street sweepers came through. Not only were taxpayer dollars wasted 'cleaning' a just-resurfaced neighborhood, but they left a large ugly brown streak where they 'cleaned' all throughout the neighborhood, leaving me and the neighbors just shaking our heads."

Achievers: I misspelled a name of a local achiever in an earlier blog, so I want to get it right today. Here is the full item: I got a call from proud grandmother Christine Nichols, who updated me on her two grandsons. Josh Medrano, a 2006 Centennial High graduate, just graduated from the Navy's Nuclear Power Program in Goose Creek, S.C., while his brother, Frontier graduate Matthew Medrano, is studying agronomy at the University of Kentucky.

Events: Two events to keep on your calendar: This Saturday out at Minter Field in Shafter is the annual "fly-in" featuring some really interesting aircraft. Gates open at 7 a.m., and it is all free. Then next Saturday, Nov. 9, make sure you remember the drive to collect blankets, pet treats, leashes and collars for stray, sick and abused dogs and cats. It's called Operation Blankets of Love and it will take place at Petco on Gosford Road from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Richard Beene is president and CEO of The Bakersfield Californian. He blogs at www.bakersfieldobserved.com. These are his opinions, not necessarily those of The Californian. Email him at rsbeene@yahoo.com.