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John Stossel: Kochs and Unions

Lots of people sure hate the Koch brothers. The Kochs get death threats like this: “If I had a chance to murder a Koch brother in cold blood, I would surely take it.” Jim Dean doesn’t want to kill the Kochs, but he does want new laws to limit their influence. Dean’s brother Howard was […]

My turn: Consider hospice care at end of life

I have no qualms about the decision of an individual to opt for an alternative to traditional medicine and choose to end their life early and with dignity. After all, the hospice movement was also born as an alternative to the medical establishment, and also ushered in right-to-choose preferences for end-of-life care. I just hope […]

California Rambling: Carnaval de Québec

We Californians don’t know winter. Yes, our Sierra Nevada gets 400 inches of snow on average, but that doesn’t mean we know winter. We travel to the mountains for short escapes to play in the snow, then scurry back to our homes at lower, warmer elevations. A 40-degree day is often the coldest winter day […]

Mark Shields: America truly needs the New Hampshire Primary

The three most recently elected U.S. presidents collected in private contributions for their respective campaigns that brought them to the White House $31 million (Bill Clinton), $96 million (George W. Bush) and $746 million (Barack Obama). According to the reliable Center for Responsive Politics, total spending in the 2014 midterm elections amounted to a record […]

A hero’s bill

Rep. Tom McClintock introduced on Feb. 13 a bill to honor Marine Staff Sgt. Sky Mote, a 2003 graduate of Union Mine High School who was killed in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Aug. 10, 2012. Called H.R. 979, the legislation aims to designate a mountain peak in the John Muir Wilderness as “Sky Point.” The […]

The weekly Daley: All the views that’s fit to print

Call me old fashioned. I’ve been reading National Geographic since before I could even read, and that goes back a ways. Early on I mostly looked at the pictures which were pretty stunning back in the ’50s. Approaching puberty, of course, a young fellow was particularly drawn to the photos of the Amazonian, African, New […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Keep your negative mouth shut

When you research the teachings of American Indians, you keep running across the idea that it’s a good idea to avoid negative statements when you communicate with others. When you are tempted to say something negative, don’t complete the sentence. • In a marriage, both parties are tempted to fire back a negative statement, especially […]

My turn: Are you a Populist?

Many voters identify themselves with some established political party, yet bemoan the stands taken on issues by party leadership. Too often a politician will enter office after a campaign, which leads voters to believe some promised course of action will be taken, only to enact measures which lead America closer to One World Government. Many […]

My turn: California needs a simpler gas tax, not a higher one

With prices at the pump heading back up, news of a cut to the state’s gas tax will surely cheer California drivers. On Feb.24, the State Board of Equalization approved a 6 cent per gallon cut to the state’s gas tax. The change, which will take effect July 1, is based on a complicated formula […]

Vote no on Measure O … again?

On Nov. 4, 2014, voters in El Dorado County soundly shot down Measure O. In a landslide, the measure, which was created by local residents in opposition to projects proposed in Shingle Springs, the Green Valley corridor and parts of Highway 50, garnered nearly 40,000 no votes (39,224 to be exact) for a 66.37 percent […]

Home country: Peak performance

“There’s no sense a-tall,” said Alphonse “Windy” Wilson, “in climbin’ a mountain. Why, you can percolate up to the top and what do you get? Tired.” Windy had cornered several old ladies who were leaving the Rest of Your Life retirement home to walk two blocks to the store. They weren’t fast enough to escape […]

Home country: Fishing therapy

As a prequel to the morning coffee inhalation down at the Mule Barn coffee shop, the members of the world dilemma think tank were found at the break of day, armed with fly rods, in their other guise as charter members of the Lewis Creek Piscatorial Pursuit Alliance. “I like your presentation, Dud,” said Doc, […]

Home country: Squash, who needs it?

“It’s all watermelon’s fault,” said Steve, shaking his head and sliding in to the philosophy counter. He nodded at Loretta while flipping his mug to the upright and fillable position. She brought the pot and filled it. “I always thought you liked watermelon, Steve,” Doc said. “I’ve eaten it with you, even.” “That’s why it’s […]

Thanks, Rotary

Among the elements that make up the El Dorado County lifestyle are the enhancements provided by service organizations. A partial list naturally would include the Soroptimists, the Lions, the Kiwanis, the 20-30 Club and, of course, the Rotary. In El Dorado County, the oldest Rotary Club is the one in Placerville, having been formed in […]

Belltower: A new adventure

This is my last column. Today is also my last day as editor of the Mountain Democrat. I am retiring. By the time you read this column I will have already left the building, so any calls will not be returned. I started my newspaper career late in life. I served four years in the […]

The balancing act: ‘Climate change’ is killing us

Climate change, a term used in place of anthropogenic global warming (AGW, meaning human produced carbon dioxide is causing the world to warm which will cause disastrous effects to the Earth) has come to the forefront of California politics again, like it wasn’t already every other word out of a liberal politician’s mouth already. It seems […]

The weekly Daley: Freedom of speech and press; good things

We’ve taken a little heat lately here at California’s Oldest Newspaper — “Since 1851.” We’ve been publishing letters to the editor and columns by regular contributors that have offended readers along a fairly broad spectrum of politics and concerns. Several complained about Gene Altshuler’s offerings on the Opinion page. In general, they think Gene is […]

Thanks, Jeep Corp.

The late Mark A. Smith wasn’t the sole founder of the Jeepers Jamboree. There were other notable individuals in addition to Smith who founded the Jamboree, originally an economic development idea of the Georgetown Rotary. Smith, however, was its first wagon master and held that position for a number of years. The Jamboree has since […]

Tahoe landmark reopens

Long known as the De Webb Sahara Tahoe and Horizon Casino-Hotel, the venue has reopened after six months of remodeling. The $60 million investment employed 700 construction workers. Now called the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, it will feature some pretty fascinating rock memorabilia, including Elvis’ caped suit that he wore at Madison Square Garden. […]

Something to think about: Signs and portents

Punxsutawney Phil and Sarah Palin — what do they have in common? Signs and portents of the future. On Feb. 2, while Punxsutawney Phil, the nation’s Furry Weather Guesser, was predicting six more weeks of winter and then biting his handler in Gobbler’s Knob, Penn., Jimmy the Groundhog was biting the mayor’s ear in Sun […]

Oak woodlands overrated

On Jan. 26, the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to essentially switch from measuring “oak canopy” to measuring “oak woodlands.” The real distinction is looking out for what is beneath the oak trees. As explained by the county’s biological resources consultant Cathy Spence-Wells, a principal with Dudek & Associates, in a Jan. 20 […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Nihilists and naysayers

Recently when addressing the issues of balanced and sustainable economic development, I labeled myself as a “Wise Growth” person. One of the comments I received was what did I mean by that? Growth seems like such a simple word, just one syllable and yet it is crucial to all things. From living organisms to the […]

Home country: Squirrely friends

When Steve and Dud got up to go get a paper, it left just Doc and Bert sitting at the philosophy counter of the Mule Barn truck stop. Bert turned his head and smirked a little, being careful not to let Doc see him. Doc also didn’t see Dud outside, punching in a number on […]

Home country: Squirrel jacking

It might have been the winter doldrums that did it. You can never be sure of these things. It’s just that … well, Doc is one of those guys who can’t stand to see anyone bored. He claims it’s bad for their inner chemistry, and since he has more initials after his name than anyone […]

Home country: The beauty of snow

Somehow the snow is a little like Christmas. We can expect it. We can listen to the television weather and expect it. But still, when it comes it’s like a gift, a wonderful unwrapped gift, because it is the wrapping. Doc found it when he turned on the porch light before dawn and the sheer whiteness of […]

Home country: Time and the wind

Mabel Adams was out the other day, with her new walker, the one with the basket on it, and a seat for sitting when she gets tired. It’s a purple kind of walker and she likes it. It has hand brakes, too, just like a bicycle. She was headed for the Curl Up ‘N Dye […]

Eating away at reserves

El Dorado County government began the year where it ended it — facing a General Fund deficit. As explained by then-Interim CAO Pamela Knorr and Chief Budget Analyst Laura Schwarz, the county has appropriated $4.7 million more than it is receiving in property, sales taxes and miscellaneous other revenue sources. Between now and then we […]

Rock doc: Plants respond to sounds of insects eating leaves

Plants are not as dumb as they look. At least to me, plants have never seemed like the brightest bulb in the box. They stand around, looking green, hoping for a sunny day but not able to walk, talk or turn on the TV. However, due to a recent university press release, I’ve got to […]

Home country: Waltzing through life

Mrs. Doc watched the dancers swirl around the cleared hardwood floor of the Legion hall, and smiled to see her husband, Doc, waltzing with Ardis Fisher. But Mrs. Doc was never one to sit out a waltz, so she looked around at the menu. Over in the corner, smiling and tapping his foot, was Pop […]

Home country: What’s in a name?

  The speculating began Thursday again. You see, when it’s either too hot or too cold or too windy or the snow’s too deep or we just get tired of thinking about work, we speculate. It’s one of our favorite sports. There’s speculating about why Sarah down at the Read Me Now book store has […]

Home country: Hunter and chatterer

Every hunter knows places to look for in the woods … places where game is more likely to be approached or surprised. It’s that way with Windy Wilson, too. Windy is a hunter, but he just hunts audiences, and he does believe in the catch-and-release system. Only with Windy the release comes only after he’s […]

Home country: Here comes the rain

We walked quietly out and looked toward the west. It seems as though everyone did. Neighbors were out and the dogs were racing around trying to set new yard-to-yard speed records. Yes, it was getting dark there in the west. But no one really wanted to say it. No one wanted to jinx it. Oh, […]

Home country: Farmer’s ‘recliner’

Harley pulled the tractor over to the ditch and cut the engine. He climbed down stiffly, walked to the water and soaked his head and shirt. Then he looked around. No cars were coming down the county road. No one at the house could see him. So he smiled, sat on a rock and leaned […]

Home country: Retirement has its challenges

Things were going kinda slow down at the Fly Tying Love Center and it bothered Marvin Pincus a lot. He found it hard to believe that, out of all the people in the valley, none of them needed love advice and the proper type of fishing fly to illustrate it. He had the sign made […]

Home country: Planting for the glory of it

Like a doctor removing something important, Herb Collins gently peeled the wrapper back from the root ball and tenderly placed the baby tree in the hole. Then he stood and walked around it to see which way he should align it. Actually, looks pretty good just the way it is. So he took his bucket […]

Home country: A recumbent factotum

Windy Wilson was on the prowl, this beautiful Independence Day morning, searching the neighborhood for something to do for others. He decided to let his weekly day helping others come on the Fourth this week, because he was feeling very American. Let’s see … he thought … I can circumlocute over to Mrs. Hennessey’s and […]

Home country: Not exactly Shake Shack

On a good, warm Saturday morning, you have your choice here in our valley: yard saling or livestock saling. Since Windy didn’t need have much of a need to rummage through stacks of doilies or record albums starring Patti Page or the Kingston Trio, he headed for the sale barn. You see, Alphonse “Windy” Wilson […]

Home country: A truck-driving novel

Dud sat at the computer and went over the several hundred pages of his novel for three straight days. Then he had a cup of coffee or two with the guys down at the Mule Barn, and followed that with a walk around town. That night, when he got back from work, he kissed Anita, […]

Home country: The uncatchable trout

“What do you figure he’ll weigh now, Doc?” said Steve. Mavis topped off their cups at the philosophy counter of the Mule Barn coffee shop. “A good 3 pounds, if my guessing is any good,” Doc said, shaking his head. “Your dog?” asked Mavis. “No, Hon,” Doc said with a smile, “Ol’ Lunker, that big […]

Home country: Fly tying and love advice

“You seem kinda low this morning, Sweetie,” Marjorie said. “Business has been kinda slow for a while now, and it’s wedding season,” he said. Marvin Pincus’s “business,” of course, is free love counseling combined with free fly tying, in hopes of bringing connubial jocularity to anyone who might need it. Hey, a retired guy has […]

Rock doc: Resurrection ecology revives ancient organism

The Michael Crichton book “Jurassic Park” and the movie based on the best-seller presented what might happen if scientists were able to clone extinct dinosaurs, bringing them back to life. While nothing like that is possible at this time — a good thing when you recall the mayhem the dinos caused in the world Crichton […]

The rural life: Treating people like animals

“Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr….” The muffled, one-note growl comes from Sadie, my Pomeranian/Chihuahua. She’s struggling not to bark. She desperately wants to (birds out the window!), but she also knows I won’t approve. We’ve been over this and, like most dogs, Sadie wants to please. She tries to understand what I want, then do it — to the […]

The weekly Daley: Another limited war?

Welcome to 2015, the first year under the new Congressional Authorization for War anywhere and everywhere it may be necessary — if the president gets his way. Having sent that request to Congress this week, we don’t know, as of yesterday, whether or not those worthies will go along with it. On one hand, if […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Does boredom rule your life?

Look around your daily life. When was the last time newness entered your emotional world? Do you have the energy or the inclination to create newness? Do you believe you deserve an interesting or fun-filled life? • When you research American Indians’ “Rules of Life,” you will discover that they believe asking the right question […]

Good bridge plan

We are pleased to hear the city is moving ahead on installing a new Clay Street Bridge. It is discouraging how long it has taken the city to replace this bridge. The Placerville City Council has been talking about this project since at least 2006, if not longer. The city had to return more than […]

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