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Billingsley’s Bullets: Will my marriage survive?

My Nov. 20, 2014, stroke resulted in my driving privileges being taken away until I can convince DMV that I am ready to safely drive on the roads again. This suspension resulted in my wife, Monika, taking over as my unpaid chauffeur. “Unpaid” does not mean she hasn’t paid an awful price for the “privilege” […]

Charles Krauthammer: On lowering the flag

After a massacre like the one at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, our immediate reaction is to do something. Something, for politicians, means legislation. And for Democratic politicians, this means gun control. It’s the all-purpose, go-to, knee-jerk solution. Within hours of the massacre, President Obama was lamenting the absence of progress on gun control. A […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Moral myopia

Wanton killing always causes me to think about morality, or the lack of it. There is a belief, by some, that without religion there is no morality. And whether as self-justification or sincere belief, many, if not most, people of faith hold that their own religion is the foundation of morality. Much as I hate […]

Publisher’s Ink: To the back of the bill Mr. Hamilton!

It’s nice to see our federal government hard at work tackling worrisome financial issues. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew is soliciting public feedback to determine which woman to place on the $10 bill. An election year is just around the corner. From 1886-1891 Martha Washington’s portrait appeared on the $1 silver certificate. A picture […]

Mark Shields: Marco Rubio vs. The New York Times

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who, according to polls of Republican voters nationally, wins higher favorable and lower unfavorable ratings than any of the potential 2016 presidential candidates has shown some real nerve and more than a little brass. After The New York Times reported on Rubio’s unorthodox personal finances — including his use, as speaker of […]

The balancing act: The transparency of the opaque

It’s been about three months since former Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Knorr obligated the taxpayers to a contract for legal services, except it appears the contract was for investigatory services. The contract, executed by Knorr and County Counsel Robyn Drivon, had a spending limit of $50,000. A$15,627 bill for services has already been received. It’s not […]

Belltower: Some news that will give you fits

All the people running for president are being put on the spot when they come to Iowa. The big question is where they stand on ethanol. It is not ethyl and it is not high octane. And gas stations don’t give away glasses anymore. Ethanol is a worthless additive made from corn. It might as […]

Something to think about: Summer freedom

The longest day of the year has come and gone; the hottest temperature of the year has yet to be. The county fair was last week; the state fair is next month. For children, summer is ripe — most of the summer possibilities are still waiting and boredom has yet to set in. School is still […]

GDPUD getting it together

Despite the criticism the new Georgetown Divide Public Utility District Board of Directors may be receiving from some members of the public, we believe that GDPUD is finally getting its act together, and it’s about time. At the June 9 board meeting, difficult decisions were made surrounding the Auburn Lake Trails water treatment plant. The […]

The weekly Daley: Excuse me! What?

Think you’ve heard it all? I kind of thought I’d heard it all until Wednesday morning. While driving to work I heard on NPR that state Attorney General Kamala Harris was hoping not to have to deal with a proposition titled the “Sodomite Suppression Act.” Excuse me! What? She was hoping a judge would grant […]

My turn: The fire fee shell game: You lose!

Democrats in the California Legislature seem to be facing the reality that the fire tax they passed with the governor’s help in 2011 is unfair. Californians who live in rural areas rely on a range of public services from multiple levels of government to combat fires. These residents already pay taxes to fund essential fire […]

Charles Krauthammer: A new strategy for Iraq and Syria

It’s time for a new strategy in Iraq and Syria. It begins by admitting that the old borders are gone, that a unified Syria or Iraq will never be reconstituted, that the Sykes-Picot map is defunct. We may not want to enunciate that policy officially. After all, it does contradict the principle that colonial borders […]

Publisher’s Ink: Got water? I’ll drink to that.

As Ag Tours go, this year’s topic and agenda was most enlightening. Attendance was a tad lower than previous Ag Tours I’ve attended. This was likely the result of including only one wine-related venue on the tour. Participation always seems to increase in direct proportion to the number of wineries visited. This year’s theme “Got […]

California rambling: Feeding time

What is it about feeding time at a zoo that is irresistible? The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens lists a couple of dozen keeper talks on a busy day; many include a feeding. Fascinated zoo goers line enclosures to watch keepers measure mackerel to penguins at Penguin Island, toss apples to bears at Hearst Grizzly […]

The rural life: Doing well by doing good

Sometimes what goes around just keeps coming around. I think of that whenever I step into the fragrant interior of Andrae’s Bakery in Amador City. Part of what keeps me and my family finding our way to this little shop are the tempting goodies inside. But an even larger part is the goodwill owner Matt […]

John Stossel: The anti-science left

This year is the 10th anniversary of a book called “The Republican War on Science.” I could just as easily write a book called “The Democratic War on Science.” The conflict conservatives have with science is mostly caused by religion. Some religious conservatives reject evolution, and some oppose stem cell research. But neither belief has […]

The weekly Daley: More nuts with guns

Like clockwork, yet another young man turns up with a gun and a killer agenda, and another nine people are dead because they went to an event at their church in Charleston, S.C. Wednesday night. Dylann Roof allegedly went to the same event and while there, it is alleged that he shot and killed nine […]

Round and round we go

El Dorado County has a new chief administrative officer — the third in less than a year. Almost immediately after Larry Combs’ name was released, the speculation and rumors began. People jumped to defend former CAO Pamela Knorr; another group applauded the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors’ unanimous decision to hire someone new; others […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: It’s better not to be stupid

Joyce Sequichie Hifler wrote the book “A Cherokee Feast of Days.” This is a book of daily meditations. She wrote, “If you argue with stupid reasoning you end up being stupid – Expressing an opinion can run you out of bounds and into areas that are not yours to argue. And no one has any […]

Charles Krauthammer: The racing form, second edition

The Republican nominating race is a mess: a strong field, but with 10 declared candidates and a half-dozen more to come, we need a bouncer to keep order. I’ve given myself the job. Rope lines separate the four categories. (A) Top tier: 1. Jeb Bush. Solid, no sizzle. Sizzle may be in less demand than […]

My turn: ‘No’ more water

In the midst of California’s worst drought in 100-plus years, El Dorado Irrigation District Directors Alan Day and Greg Prada voted “no” on pursuing additional water for the county at the board’s May 11 meeting. After giving lip service to the El Dorado Water and Power Authority’s continuing efforts to obtain 40,000 acre-feet of water for […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Censorship by any other name

Censorship by any other name is suspect. Presently, college campuses around the country have become home to a moral movement that is shocking for its illiberal slant and because it is a perverse form of censorship in institutions that have long prided themselves as bastions of free speech. Recently aggrieved students, reacting to what they […]

The balancing act: Sneaking a raise?

On June 2 the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors did the right thing and saved the county from a mini debacle that would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars annually starting in about two weeks. Since the Board of Supervisors’ agenda is prepared by the CAO’s office at the direction of the chief administrative officer, […]

Mark Shields: Tap-dancing on immigration

Let me begin by confessing my own prejudices on the matter of immigration: I never personally had any decision to make, but — to my great good luck — my ancestors made the bold decision to leave their homeland and be Americans. So I benefit, every day, from the precious and totally unearned gift of […]

The Weekly Daley: Funny you should say that

“Openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay established absolute dominance as they racked up 239 without loss for India against Bangladesh on day one of the lone test on Wednesday. Dhawan was not out on 150 and Vijay on 89 when bails were drawn for bad light, after 34 overs were lost after lunch to heavy […]

Belltower: Birds gone wild

Monday morning on my way to the weekly breakfast meeting of the Taxpayers Association of El Dorado County I saw a crow pecking at French fries. Rather than interfere with the crow’s breakfast I parked in a non-French-fried space next to it. What resulted was a bird confrontation. Two starlings eyed the French fries and […]

Something to think about: Time for something new

June 9 was my last official day as a Mountain Democrat reporter. I started a decade ago on June 4, 2005. My second day on the job included covering a City Council meeting. With no instructions, I went off to the meeting and was briefly captured by Joe Stancil, who was very excited about the […]

AB 357 bad for business

California Assembly Bill 357, called the Fair Scheduling Act of 2015, is anything but fair. In fact, it’s an unfair burden on employers in our state — the few remaining who haven’t taken their business elsewhere. AB 357 would require a food and general retail establishment to provide its employees with at least two weeks’ […]

The balancing act: CAO Knorr’s questionable dealing

El Dorado County Interim Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Knorr, with a sign-off from the new county counsel Robyn Truitt-Drivon, has hired a private investigator, the Balancing Act has learned. The PI contract was hidden under a “consultant” contract with a law firm that Knorr has dealt with before when she was CAO of Alpine County. […]

Publisher’s ink: The ‘WMD’ has been located — it’s in Chicago

After several failed attempts purchasing subway passes, my wife and I were aided by a friendly Chicago Transit Authority employee. Trying to navigate the subway token vending machine was more difficult than traversing the city and its outlying neighborhoods. “I hope that was the most challenging part of our visit,” I stated as we boarded […]

Charles Krauthammer: Why doctors quit: Chapter 2

I rarely do follow-up columns. I’m averaging one every 10 years. And while my last such exercise resulted in a written apology from the White House (for accusing me of making up facts over its removal of Churchill’s bust), today’s is not a complaint. It’s merely a recognition that the huge response elicited by last […]

California rambling: Surprising Branson

Branson may be the bowl of kettle corn you’ve put off tasting. However, once you do, odds are you won’t be able to put it down. What makes Branson (population 10,000) so tantalizing is its down-home authenticity. Branson is located in the Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri near the Arkansas state line. This is a […]

John Stossel: Social ‘justice’

Protestors demand “social justice.” I hate their chant. If I oppose their cause, then I’m for social “injustice”? Nonsense. The protesters usually want to punish capitalism. “Spread those resources,” says Hillary Clinton. Even capitalists often make the mistake of talking about “social justice” as if it’s the opposite of free markets or a reason to […]

The weekly Daley: Is it or is it not?

I’m following up on last week’s piece suggesting that climate change is an actual thing, that it’s happening and maybe we ought to think about crafting some realistic responses. A number of commenters took me to task on a range of issues such as promoting the notion that we humans are to blame to some […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Avoid doomsday people

Every morning we choose an attitude to start the day with. We can have an optimistic approach and look forward to the day unfolding, or we can dread the day, assuming there is no joy ahead. • You start each day in bed. If you share a bed, one of you may say, “You snored […]

Long live the Wagon Train

In a county that exudes history, the Highway 50 Wagon Train continued to be a breath of fresh air as it rolled down the mountain this week on its way to Placerville. The annual reminder of where we came from is much appreciated and continually anticipated by much of the area’s residents. Set to arrive […]

Charles Krauthammer: Why doctors quit

About a decade ago, a doctor friend was lamenting the increasingly frustrating conditions of clinical practice. “How did you know to get out of medicine in 1978?” he asked with a smile. “I didn’t,” I replied. “I had no idea what was coming. I just felt I’d chosen the wrong vocation.” I was reminded of […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Why am I a liberal?

Why am I a liberal and not a conservative? Well a belief system can be defined as much as what it stands for as what it is against. First, I do not consider the current right wing of the GOP to be conservative by any understanding of Abraham Lincoln, Edmund Burke, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight David […]

My turn: Talking to your teen about stress

Any parent will tell you raising teenagers is a stressful time! Are you in that stage? Talk to your teenager about it. Your stress may be similar stress for your teen. A recent American Psychological Association (APA) online survey shows today’s teenagers experience greater levels of stress. Stressors include academic pressures, feeling overscheduled, financial pressure […]

My turn: The Cancer You Haven’t Heard About

Cancer from the neck up is typically associated with the tongue, throat and voice box. But oral, head and neck cancers can also occur in the mouth, lips, thyroid glands, nasal cavity or sinuses. Traditionally, tobacco and alcohol users were considered the populations at greatest risk. Now, according to new research from the American Academy […]

The balancing act: The Veerkamp deficit

Having deficit budgets are commonplace in the federal government. They just effectively print more money to cover it. (They do it by borrowing money such as selling T-bills.) But in subordinate governments, while borrowing is sometimes done and some jurisdictions even end up going bankrupt (making future borrowing even more expensive and many times next […]

Mark Shields: Chris Christie channels Ralph Perk

History, just by what it selects to remember, can indeed be cruel. Consider, for example, Republican Ralph Perk, who, during the 1970s in heavily Democratic Cleveland, was elected mayor three times. But what Mayor Perk is mostly remembered for was that day in 1972 when, while using a blowtorch to cut the steel ribbon to […]

Belltower: Rain records provide some optimism about next year

Season rainfall has gone over the 22-inch mark, according to the Mountain Democrat’s rainfall stats. That moves the current 2014-15 rain year into seventh place in the past 141 years of Mountain Democrat rainfall stats. Last year was the fourth lowest. The rain-year ends June 30. At this point it is a low-water year, but […]

The weekly Daley: Spare ‘climate’ change?

I’ve had a couple of interesting conversations lately with two climate change deniers. Smart, respectable, world-wise guys who have been around as many, if not more, blocks than I. They simply do not believe any of the reports of climate change, melting glaciers, rising seas. Lies, all lies, they say. Cooked up by corrupt “greener […]

Attention graduates

Many El Dorado County high schools and even area colleges will be hosting graduation ceremonies this weekend. Years of hard work have been completed, and a bright future lies ahead for many. We wish all graduates good fortune going forward. For the high school graduates, welcome to adulthood. Whether you’re off to college after the […]

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