TREBEK: Alex Trebek, the popular host of the long-running game show Jeopardy!, has developed a love affair of sorts with Taft College. Trebek has long had a fascination with oil and gas production, and in October he showed up as the emcee of the West Kern Petroleum Summit sponsored by the Ta…

DEMOGRAPHICS: Howell Raines, the Alabama-born former editor of The New York Times, penned an opinion piece for the Times this Sunday in which he succinctly summed up the challenge facing entrenched Southern Republicans (and there are lessons for California and the rest of the nation as well)…

FIREWORKS: The Fourth is behind us but the heated passions over fireworks live on. Consider this note from R. Craig Lincoln: "I can't tell you how disappointed I am of the city and county to allow fireworks. What's wrong with our council and supervisors? Not only because of the drought but B…

ANIMAL ABUSE: The news that coyotes are attacking and killing dogs that have been abandoned off of Breckinridge Road drew this response from John Kiearnan: "What a horrific and terrifying death these animals had to go through and continue to go through not only on Breckenridge Road but all o…

SCAM: Gilbert Alemao shared with me yet another scam, this one an email from "The Internal Revenue Service" informing him of a $1,900 refund. The catch? It asked for all his personal information, bank account number, etc. "I wasn't born yesterday but I have to admit the attachment is pretty …

FRACKING: The Environmental Protection Agency issued a report saying hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has not resulted in widespread damage to drinking water, but that won't stop the anti-fossil fuel crowd from claiming otherwise. In what can only be described as an example of extreme chutzpa…

MOBILE: Get ready for a whole new line of "smart TVs" designed to leverage the growing time we spend on our mobile devices. The new flat screen TVs, from manufacturers like Sharp, Samsung, Sony and Insignia are designed to take advantage of a growing trend by consumers to ditch traditional T…

DROUGHT: Here is a real head-scratcher, compliments of Heather Van Arkel, who recently replaced her lawn with artificial turf: "California Water Service recently sent out an informational flier on water use during the drought. I read it thoroughly and was excited to read that they are now of…

ESTHER: Our community lost a terrific person recently with the passing of Esther Gamez, a daughter of the founders of Mexicali restaurant and quite possibly one of the most gracious, and kind, people I have been fortunate to have met. She was 84. Esther was a Bakersfield success story, born …

UNIONS: In what one commentator called "sheer, naked chutzpah," the same unions that helped pass a $15 an hour minimum wage law in Los Angeles are now asking to be exempt from the law. That's right, the county Federation of Labor is saying collective bargaining agreements should trump the lo…

ANIMAL ABUSE: If you want to get someone's attention, turn the conversation to how some people treat their pets. This note from Jean Hughes Gutierrez hit home: "Your recent comment on dogs being dumped on Breckenridge Road and being attacked and eaten by wild animals was typical of what is g…

FOREVER YOUNG: The best of all of us was on display on Mother's Day, when folks took to Facebook and other social media to pay tribute to their mothers. So many pictures, many old photos in black and white taken in the war years of the 1940s, showing our mothers in their prime, smiling and s…

THEFT: Whoever snatched the package off Earl Absher’s front porch may have messed with the wrong man. Absher, a retried Fresno police officer, was smart enough to install security cameras on the porch of his Northwest Bakersfield home and they recorded the young brunette who calmly walked up…

BAD FORM: What happened on Truxtun extension the other day is not only bad form, but also extremely bad karma for the driver of a white pickup truck. Consider this: Anyone who commutes on Truxtun knows about the ducks that occasionally cross the road to the medical offices on the other side.…