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Billingsley’s Bullets: I want my health back

Medical progress report: Doctors have informed me that my hand infection has healed — no more infection in my system. Several methods were utilized to combat the infection, including antibiotic pills and daily intravenous applications of antibiotics. The infection continued to spread and it eventually required surgery. I remained in the hospital for six days (over Christmas). I feel grateful and […]

Federal budget deficit, national debt to soar

The omnibus budget deal and accompanying tax breaks for businesses and individuals that congress agreed to in December will put a greater strain on the national debt, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest budget and economic outlook for 2016-2026. Under the CBO’s forecast, the annual budget deficit will increase, as a share of the […]

Looking like rainy days ahead for economy

It’s time to cut and save at all levels of government. The reason: The economy may be slowing. A Feb. 3 report by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office found “December and January income tax collections came in modestly short of projections.” And for fiscal year 2015-16, which ends June 30, “to date, based on […]

The Weekly Daley: Torture anyone? Everyone?

I watched the Saturday night GOP debate last week. I don’t mind admitting that I was shocked that several candidates agreed that torturing our enemies or alleged enemies is not only OK, but apparently a preferred and necessary technique in today’s evil world. Donald Trump said he’d waterboard anyone who might need it in an effort to […]

My Turn: A $5.5 million training center for EDH Fire?

A presentation of the final draft of a training facility plan was made to the El Dorado Hills Fire Department Board of Directors on Jan. 21 for a training facility to be built on property the department owns in the El Dorado Hills Business Park for a cost of at least $5.5 million.  The question […]

Charles Krauthammer: The ‘establishment’ nonsense

The reigning idiocy of the current political season is the incessant tossing around of “establishment,” an epithet now descending into meaninglessness. Its most recent abuse is by Donald Trump supporters rationalizing his Iowa defeat with the following consolation: If you tally up Trump and Ted Cruz (and throw in Ben Carson), a whopping 60 percent […]

Publisher’s Ink: Jefferson — Just another ‘lost’ state

Several proposals calling for secession were advocated during the Civil War, primarily from regions straddling the front lines between the Union and the Confederacy. In southern Illinois, for example, counties siding with the confederacy sought to split from Illinois and establish a new state called Little Egypt. Conversely, five Arkansas counties voted against the state’s […]

Belltower: Icebreakers

When I was stationed at McMurdo Station with the Navy there were few things to do after the workday at the avionics workshop ended. Dart games and dart tournaments were the big thing. After first disembarking on the ice runway from the C-121 Super Constellation, the first thing I noticed was sunrise – all day […]

Mark Shields: Cracking the code of campaign-speak

“Do you ever get the feeling,” asked humorist Robert Orben, “that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?” But even after real, live Americans actually do vote in Iowa and New Hampshire, somehow we always seem to be left with more winners than losers. Because you, dear […]

The Balancing Act: Bizzaro county

Some habits are hard to change, like our county government making a habit of violating the law. One of the most recent transgressions is what appears to be the illegal hiring of interim Chief Administrative Officer Larry T. Combs. Combs is a CalPERS annuitant, meaning he has retired from a government job that has its pension system run […]

Help wanted

El Dorado County lost something important in November 2014 — a permanent, full-time chief administrative officer. When will we get it back? That’s a question for interim CAO Larry Combs and the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, both of which have taken minuscule steps toward filling that post thus far. On Dec. 15, 2015, the […]

Something to Think About: Looking for the third stooge

Two veterans of reality shows team up to represent the Republican party for the presidency of the United States. One has no political experience and the other bailed out of her governorship early to host a reality show. Both Donald Trump and Sarah Palin have loud voices and mouths that release whatever comes into their heads […]

The Weekly Daley: Life after Iowa

So the post-Iowa hype has instantaneously evolved into the pre-New Hampshire hype. Other than the presidential campaign there doesn’t appear to be anything else going on in our world. Oh, Super Bowl of course, but whatever happened to that ISIS thing that was all “front page” not so long ago? And although the stock market […]

The three-cornered fight for the soul of the GOP

It’s hard to believe that the United States, having resisted the siren song of socialism during its entire 20th-century heyday (the only major democracy to do so), should suddenly succumb to its charms a generation after its intellectual demise. Indeed, the prospect of socialist Bernie Sanders, whatever his current momentum, winning the Democratic nomination remains […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: The system is rigged

One of our essential freedoms is the right to vote. With the 2016 campaign season now in full swing it is appropriate to take a close look at this core constitutional right. The right to vote is far from perfect. No, that is too wimpy a characterization — actually the system is rigged. If you think […]

My Turn: Despite snow, Tahoe’s climate still changing

The new year got off to a phenomenal start with snow falling at Lake Tahoe. It seems long ago since we’ve had snow around the lake, but as California and Nevada continue to grapple with four years of drought and water shortages, the snow couldn’t be falling at a better time. A snow survey this […]

John Stossel: Running on empty

Cars run on fuel. Politicians run on votes, and they’ll do almost anything to get them. That includes supporting mandates that force us to use ethanol, a fuel made from corn that Iowa farmers grow. They support ethanol because Iowa is the first state to vote on presidential candidates. Candidates want to look strong at […]

California Rambling: El Dorado explorer

Jedediah Strong Smith spent much of his short life blazing trails throughout the West, though — considering the times in which he lived — he would have never imagined how his accomplishments are remembered, 185 years later. Each day, thousands walk, cycle, ride and run along the 32-mile Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail, also known as the American […]

The Rural Life: What did I download, then?

My daughter, recently returned from a semester in France, is quite fluent in French. Still, as a nonnative speaker of it, she faces challenges — such as getting her mouth into that poochy, smushy form that makes French sound French. I’m fluent only in English (and sometimes not even that) but I do know how […]

Staying true to our anthem

Is America still the land of the free and the home of the brave? Do we really live up to those words from our national anthem? For a few years now, columnist George Will has been writing about how rulemaking-obsessed governments at all levels are creating an infantilized citizenry. In a recent column, he provides […]

The Weekly Daley: It’s getting weird out there

I’m not sure if the term bizarre does justice to the current state of the Republican presidential campaign. It’s every bit of that and then some. By the time this sees the light of day, we will know whether or not Donald Trump kept his word about “maybe not attending” last night’s GOP debate hosted […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Learning from the little ones

Recently my 2 1/2-year-old great-granddaughter Daisy came into the living room and saw my infected hand bandaged from fingertips to elbow. Without saying a word, she came over to me and patted my hand, which she described as my “owie.” After she patted my hand she went into the kitchen, returned to me and gave […]

My Turn: EID rate hikes neither modest nor needed

The El Dorado Irrigation District’s recent news release regarding new rate increases for 2016-20 stated, “A number of ratepayers expressed their concerns at the public hearing, but I think a large majority of our customers understand the underlying needs for these modest increases.” Well as one EID ratepayer and one EID board director I take a […]

Charles Krauthammer: The GOP gets the Iran prisoner swap wrong

Give President Obama credit. His Iran nuclear deal may be disastrous but the packaging was brilliant. The near-simultaneous prisoner exchange was meant to distract from last Saturday’s official implementation of the sanctions-lifting deal. And it did. The Republicans concentrated almost all their fire on the swap sideshow. And in denouncing the swap, they were wrong. […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: The Grand Old Party no more

The Republican Party is “in play” — a Wall Street term for a company ripe for a takeover. Watching the Republican Party self-destruct is disheartening and sad. There is a distinct probability, not just a possibility, that the Party of Lincoln will be reduced to a gaggle of warring factions and we will witness the demise of […]

Belltower: Cab driving past and present

The last cab ride I took was in Paris. I had figured out the subway system and my wife and I were able to get to every art museum on our list. The only exception was the Musee Marmottan Monet. No subway stop and I couldn’t find its exact location on a map. This was […]

The Balancing Act: Worthless surveys

Money is so tight in El Dorado County that Chief Administrative Officer Larry Combs recently decided that no General Fund money will be used to repair county roads (Combs letter, Sept. 9, 2015) but that didn’t stop our Board of Supervisors from conducting a Citizens Engagement Survey at a reported cost of $15,000 to “help” with determining a […]

Mark Shields: Campaigns do matter, but so do candidates

If you’ve heard this story, please don’t stop me. A major pet food company, after years of secret laboratory research by an expert crew of canine scientists, had actually formulated a new and manifestly better dog food. To introduce its creation, the company recruited an all-star marketing, packaging and advertising team. The label for the […]

Something to Think About: Can’t get no satisfaction

What happens when you get what you want? When what you’ve hoped for, wished for and worked for happens are you in a state of euphoria, thrilled that the world appears to be turning your way at last? Of course you are … for about 90 seconds, maybe an entire day. Then you notice that there […]

A generous start to the new year

The 2016 fundraising season has begun for El Dorado County’s many non-profit organizations and already local generosity has impressed us. At the recent Boys & Girls Club Heroes Night, generous supporters kept the bids going during the live auction and raised thousands for the organization that reaches out to our young people and helps them become productive, responsible and […]

The Weekly Daley: The gloves are coming off

Although I’ve heard otherwise, I don’t believe Republican candidates eat their young, but they sure do seem to be munching on each other these days. For example, despite his seemingly overwhelming popularity with conservative prospective voters, Donald Trump apparently is a RINO of the first order. That is, a Republican in Name Only. Hence  Ted […]

Charles Krauthammer: The state of the presidency: spent

President Obama’s Tuesday night address to Congress was less about the state of the union than the state of the presidency. And the state of this presidency is spent. The signs of intellectual exhaustion were everywhere. Consider just three. After taking credit for success in Syria, raising American stature abroad and prevailing against the Islamic […]

My Turn: Safe and reliable service for another 90 years

As I write this column, El Dorado Irrigation District’s 90th year is coming to a close. In 1925, just a few generations after Marshall discovered gold in Coloma, and in the face of growing competition for water from hydropower producers, El Dorado County residents voted to form the El Dorado Irrigation District. Why did they do it? To protect […]

My Turn: Reinventing our business districts

A new police substation has been approved at Carriage Trade Center (where Grocery Outlet and Dollar Tree are core tenants) to help curb the spike in criminal activity. This last year alone, the Placerville Police Department responded to 543 calls for service — vandalism, public intoxication, burglary, theft and assault. In a creative attempt to get […]

John Stossel: Optimism and Obama

In the commercial that President Obama released prior to his final State of the Union address, Obama said he would tell Congress how “optimistic” he is about America’s future. Good. Politicians and the media are at their most dangerous when they try to scare us, telling us disaster is on the way unless we follow, […]

California Rambling: I Have a Dream

American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson is said to have called out to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. interrupting him as he neared the end of his prepared speech at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, “Tell them about the dream!” Speaking to more than 250,000 civil rights supporters, Dr. King had just called […]

The Rural Life: Cat tales

I have a cat problem. The kitty in question, Locket, is one of two family cats. Locket “belongs” mostly to my daughter, while her litter-mate, Leo, is more “my” cat. Now that “her” human is away at college, Locket has become a problem child. Both our cats are coal black with green eyes. Leo is […]

An appealing project

How would you like to live in a comfortable apartment within walking distance of a grocery store, movie theater, great restaurants and shopping? Did we mention live, summer night concerts and a host of community events right in your front yard? The planned apartment complex in El Dorado Hills Town Center is perfect for those who […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: I am starting a vampire club

One morning last month, when I got out of bed at 5:30 a.m., I twisted my knee when I stood up, fell down and fell into the nightstand next to the bed. I realized immediately that my front teeth hit the top of the nightstand. When I stood up I checked to see if my teeth […]

The Weekly Daley: A few observations

As a news and politics junkie, I try to keep up to date on news and politics, especially when the news is mostly politics. But, after listening to the pundits and experts and big-heads and others of their ilk month after month for what seems like two years, I’m beginning to weary of it all. […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: The politics of hate

Fear and hate, hate and fear — which comes first? Actually they are palindromic. Fear engenders hate and hate motivates the simplistic and uninformed, and so goes the dance. Not a stately minuet but the chaotic sweaty mosh pit called Republican politics. Fear and hate are bad enough in and of themselves, but the right chooses […]

Charles Krauthammer: Defy America, pay no price

If you’re going to engage in a foreign policy capitulation, might as well do it when everyone is getting tanked and otherwise occupied. Say, New Year’s Eve. Here’s the story. In October, Iran test-fires a nuclear-capable ballistic missile in brazen violation of Security Council resolutions prohibiting such launches. President Obama does nothing. One month later, […]

The Balancing Act: From frying pan into the fire

About or shortly after the time Larry Combs was dismissed from his two-year stint as Merced County’s chief administrative officer he was asked by the Sutter County Board of Supervisors to help find a new CAO. It was a paid consultancy. Combs recommended a man named Jim Arkens, who at the time was Mono County’s CAO. […]

Mark Shields: When Americans really were exceptional

David Brooks, a New York Times columnist and my valued colleague on PBS’ “NewsHour,” has told of having heard a rebroadcast of “Command Performance,” a radio show that went out to U.S. troops everywhere during World War II. This particular show was aired on V-J Day — when the Japanese surrendered, ending the war. David […]

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