Bill will improve treatment and outcomes for seriously mentally ill

By Kimberly Blaker America’s mental health care system is long overdue for change. House Bill HR-2646 – Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015, introduced this month by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) is a first big step. The two broader problems with treatment for the seriously mentally ill […]

Billlingsley’s Bullets: The time to change is now

My dad was not big on talking about the past or the future. He was a “right now” person. According to him, people who still dwelled on the past were looking for an excuse to explain their present failures. Instead of improving their present circumstances, they wasted a lot of time and energy creating alibis […]

Despite second string tag, solid showing at early forum

Nobody likes to sit at the “kids’ table” or wait on the bench as the varsity players shine. For the first time in the history of primary debates seven Republican candidates for president found themselves relegated to the second tier in Cleveland. Due to the large number of candidates, Fox News selected 10 candidates for […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: An enduring question

An enduring question is what role government should play in the lives of its citizens. I twice addressed this question last year. In the first article I discussed the appropriate size of government and in the second the question of its purpose. The question that arises today is a bit different — that of the role […]

Charles Krauthammer: Just who is helping Iran’s hard-liners?

The latest Quinnipiac poll shows that the American public rejects the president’s Iran deal by more than 2-to-1. This is astonishing. The public generally gives the president deference on major treaties. Just a few weeks ago, a majority supported the deal. What happened? People learned what’s in it. And don’t be fooled by polls that […]

My turn: We need to strengthen biodefense now

The United Nations Security Council recently heard firsthand testimony from the victims of a chemical-weapons attack in Syria. A Syrian doctor spoke of his frantic efforts to treat more than 100 people who were hit by chlorine-filled bombs in the town of Sarmeen. These kinds of attacks are becoming more common and will increasingly be […]

Mark Shields: Missing Richard Nixon

John P. Sears, before he was manager of Ronald Reagan’s 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns, had spent the years from 1965 through 1970 working as a top political aide to Richard M. Nixon. Sears, a bright and witty man who found Nixon both complicated and fascinating, spoke about accompanying Nixon, then an unannounced presidential candidate, […]

Belltower: Into the mystic

Every time I make the drive from Folsom’s East Bidwell Street up the hill toward El Dorado Hills all one can see ahead is blue sky until making the crest of the hill. When there are big cumulus clouds stacked up against the Sierra as I drive up that hill I have the sensation that […]

The Balancing Act: Destroying Grand Jury credibility

The third and most insidiously false political report from the 2014-15 El Dorado County Grand Jury entitled “Putting political gain above what’s right for the county” is a perfect title to describe the Grand Jury actions. They have become a political body and a kangaroo court. In another attempted political and character assassination of the county auditor, […]

The Weekly Daley: A GOP debate preview

If you’ve been around this space for a few years, you may have noticed that before almost every big presidential debate, I receive (in a plain brown wrapper) a copy of unofficial transcripts of debate preparations. My working title is: “What you should see but won’t in the next debate.” And while there is an […]

Tough cuts ahead

“A million here, a million there, pretty soon, you’re talking real money.” Sen. Everett Dirksen is credited for this quote, said some 50 years ago. Today it’s still relevant … especially when discussing El Dorado County’s budget. In June the Board of Supervisors adopted a preliminary $253 million 2015-16 General Fund budget with the intention […]

Something to think about: No news is good news

I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the news this summer — too busy playing outside and being social. I’ve replaced CNN with gardening and the evening news with camping in the backyard. I’ve missed a few major events, but I’m not sure I really needed to know about them. When I resurfaced, I […]

My Turn: GDPUD board’s job is to watch the money

Since Georgetown Divide Public Utility District seated three new directors, the board has a new majority with little interest in watching the district’s $9 million in assets. On top of that disregard for district finances, they want to ask for two new rate hikes from customers. The board refuses to watch what is happening to […]

My Turn: Partnership and collaboration crucial to solving Tahoe’s problems

History shows time and time again our greatest accomplishments at Lake Tahoe are achieved when people work together. In the past, Tahoe was known as a place where unproductive interactions between stakeholders led to a stunning decay in our environment and our economic vitality, creating a region that seemed frozen in time. We face major […]

Charles Krauthammer: Among the ruins, a case of righteousness

Christianity, whose presence in the Middle East predates Islam’s by 600 years, is about to be cleansed from the Middle East. Egyptian Copts may have found some respite under Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, but after their persecution under the previous Muslim Brotherhood government, they know how precarious their existence in 90 percent Muslim Egypt remains. Elsewhere, […]

Home Country: Darwinian gardening

Days like this, said Doc, a guy has to get out and get his yard work done early — before it gets too hot. “So when does it get too hot, Doc?” “Oh, about three o’clock in the morning. Makes it a toss-up. Do you get up early without the benefit of coffee and conversation […]

California Rambling: Missouri’s Bull Run

Time ran out for Nathaniel Lyon, 154 years ago, next Monday. As commanding general of the United States’ Army of the West, based in Springfield, Mo., Brig. Gen. Lyon had been running out of time since taking command in May. Missouri was neutral when the Civil War began four months earlier on April 12, 1861, […]

John Stossel: Governed by zealots

The government’s environmental rules defeat even environmentalists. Thomas Collier is a Democrat who managed environmental policy for Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Then he noticed a mining opportunity in Alaska, one he calls “the single largest deposit of gold and silver that is not being developed in the entire world.” Tom’s company hired hundreds of […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Is your world too small?

Mother Teresa once said, “The problem with the world is that we draw our family circle too small.” I am not sure what Mother Teresa meant by her statement. Knowing her, I suspect she had compassion for everyone, especially those in need. All of us were potentially part of her family. At times, my compassion […]

My Turn: A breathtakingly dangerous act

The following is a statement Congressman Tom McClintock shared on the nuclear deal with Iran shortly after the agreement was announced: I don’t know how adequately to express my alarm and outrage at the president’s agreement with Iran. It is a breathtakingly dangerous act. Some have compared it to Neville Chamberlain’s Munich Accord with Nazi […]

Adopt a pet

We at the Mountain Democrat are fully behind the movement to help animals find a permanent, loving home. That’s why we continually publish animals available for adoption in the newspaper. It’s been a longtime service and we appreciate the kindhearted advertisers and supporters who make this possible. Seeing animals waiting for adoption pulls at the heart-strings. Finding good […]

Publisher’s Ink: Grave robbing — no shovels required

Victor Frankenstein, the young student of science portrayed in Mary Shelley’s novel, was on a quest to create life. The movie based on Shelley’s work depicts Frankenstein robbing graves in search of human body parts to use in his scientific experiment. The result of his endeavor was an 8-foot creature stalking the countryside and terrorizing […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Ideology-driven policy

What do you call a person who will not learn from experience? One who causes pain and suffering to others because of their indifference? Think drunk driver or the radical Republicans, who have raised indifference to an art form. When it comes to the minimum wage, conservatives have long advocated policies that treat companies’ employees […]

Charles Krauthammer: The price of fetal parts

“Thank you Planned Parenthood. God bless you.” — Barack Obama, address to Planned Parenthood, April 26, 2013 WASHINGTON — Planned Parenthood’s reaction to the release of a clandestinely recorded conversation about the sale of fetal body parts was highly revealing. After protesting that it did nothing illegal, it apologized for the “tone” of one of […]

The Balancing Act: Attack on a supervisor

Supervisor Ron “Mik” Mikulaco doesn’t always vote with the majority of the Board of Supervisors. His most important vote was a dissenting no vote on the last budget (FY 2014-15 that had a large structural deficit) which happened to be the last budget submitted by ex-CAO Terri Daly. Someone during this last Grand Jury term […]

Mark Shields: The trap of becoming only a congressional party

In five of the past six presidential elections, the Republican Party has lost the nation’s popular vote to the Democrats. In those same six presidential contests, 18 states and the District of Columbia, totaling among them 242 electoral votes (you need only 270 to win the White House), have voted every time for the Democratic […]

Belltower: Didn’t know that

It took an Associated Press story about drought in the desert to give me the tidbit that Joshua trees were named by the Mormon Battalion after heading back to Utah via the Cajun Pass in 1857. “They saw the trees as shaggy prophets stretching their limbs to point the way to their promised land,” AP […]

A rewarding experience for everyone involved

In June we published a three-part series about foster care in El Dorado County. We felt it was an important message for the county, and one that deserved more than just one article. Part 1, called “Superman was a foster child,” focused on a young man named Sirrele Steinfeld, who was in foster care for […]

The Weekly Daley: Trumping the chumps

“EARTHQUAKE virtually wipes California off the map. Oregon, Washington next?” “Yawn! Did you hear what Donald Trump called Lindsey Graham? A lightweight and an idiot who in the private sector would be a poor man.” “TERRORISTS blow up Switzerland’s cheese and chocolate reserves. Experts claim it will take 20 years to recover.” “Boring! Trump said […]

Something to think about: Wake up, sleepyhead

We woke up at 6:40 a.m., waited around for a bit and then walked downstairs. I made coffee and we let the dog out. We talked with our daughter. Something was wrong, very wrong. At 7:30 a.m. one of them appeared — a tousle-headed granddaughter with mischief in her eyes. This was more like it. […]

My Turn: Is it time for a new state?

While California government grows larger, so do debt obligations. Corporations and small business continue to move to other states, taking jobs and dollars with them. In its infinite wisdom, the state Legislature introduced more than 25 “Job Killer Bills” — deterring new business and infrastructure projects. Rural counties are hardest hit, with regulations and environmental […]

Charles Krauthammer: Worse than we could have imagined

When you write a column, as did I two weeks ago, headlined “The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history,” you don’t expect to revisit the issue. We had hit bottom. Or so I thought. Then last Tuesday the final terms of the Iranian nuclear deal were published. I was wrong. Who would have imagined we […]

My Turn: Rate your public services

If you are like me, you are inundated with surveys and questionnaires from service providers or product manufacturers. The inevitable question and the one they most value is: “Will you recommend us to your friends?” I was even sent a two-page questionnaire after a recent colonoscopy. I checked the box “recommending our services to your […]

The Rural Life: Got groundwater?

I’ve been a dunce about groundwater. I’m embarrassed to say that, but it’s true. My family’s water needs are supplied by a water well. In fact, how we came by that well was the topic of my second-ever column — “Bewitched, bothered or befuddled?” — in September 2004. It recounted how, as we were preparing to build […]

California Rambling: Americans, ugly or not?

In Eugene Burdick’s 1958 novel, “The Ugly American,” a fictitious Burmese journalist says, “For some reason, the (American) people I meet in my country are not the same as the ones I knew in the United States. A mysterious change seems to come over Americans when they go to a foreign land. They isolate themselves […]

John Stossel: Progress

Obamacare! The War on Drugs! A War on Poverty! Prohibition! The idea that government will bring social progress isn’t new. Europe’s monarchs believed in big government long before there was a Soviet Union or a welfare state. Eighteenth-century philosopher Voltaire praised “enlightened” monarchs like Prussia’s Frederick the Great. Since the nineteenth century, so-called “progressives” have […]

Minimum wage hike proposal a new low for California

Senate Bill No. 3 introduced on Dec. 1, 2014 has employers and business owners shaking in their boots for good reason. The bill, which revolves around raising the minimum wage in the state ultimately to $13 an hour, is aimed at helping young and under-skilled workers earn a “fair” living. Unfortunately, it’s only going to […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Avoid letting pain define you

Do not allow pain or illness to define who you are. You are more than the pain or illness that attacks you. My current dealing with my stroke is quite an education. I feel like I am earning a PhD on who I am. When the stroke hit me on Nov. 20, 2014, it felt […]

The Weekly Daley: The Iran deal makes for strange bedfellows

Saudi Arabia, one of our staunchest allies in the Middle East, doesn’t like the deal the United States and other world powers have cooked up with Iran. Many on the right bitterly complain that we have poked the Saudis in the eye with a sharp stick just as we’ve done to our other staunchest Middle East […]

My Turn: Bad policies fuel California’s drought crisis

We are currently in the midst of the fourth year of serious drought in California. Our politicians have worsened the crisis associated with this drought through bad policies for decades. Our state population has nearly doubled since 1979 but not a single storage reservoir has been built since then because of environmental opposition and lack […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Understanding SCOTUS

In the aftermath of the recent Supreme Court rulings on Marriage Equality and the Affordable Care Act, liberals are almost giddy and vibrating with joy in the afterglow. For those on the right, there is a palpable sense of sadness, resignation and, for a defiant few, a refusal to follow the law of the land. […]

Charles Krauthammer: Pluto and us

We need a pick me up. Amid the vandalizing of Palmyra, the imminent extinction of the northern white rhino, the disarray threatening Europe’s most ambitious attempt ever at peaceful unification — amid plague and pestilence and, by God, in the middle of Shark Week — where can humanity turn for uplift? Meet New Horizons, arriving at Pluto […]

Mark Shields: Donald Trump: In the ‘American’ tradition

Lately, blows have been dealt to the conventional wisdom surrounding billionaire and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. First, the smart money told us that Mr. Trump just enjoyed all the media attention a potential White House run brought his way, that he would never actually become a real candidate. Then after Trump’s rambling announcement speech […]

Something to think about: ISIS and the bird wars

An unidentified gray bird with a long tail we’ve named ISIS for her irrational, self-destructive behavior has been attacking our black 4Runner and, like the United States, while we’re bigger and have more resources at our disposal, we don’t seem to be able to do anything about it. Day one — I’m writing in the office and […]