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John Stossel: Bake me a cake, or go to jail!

Sadly, that is the new message from “inclusive” America. If you don’t want to cater, photograph, preside over, sell pizza at, sell flowers to or otherwise participate in a gay wedding, you will be punished. If you don’t want your business to pay for a kind of birth control that you consider murder, you will […]

Charles Krauthammer: The Iran deal: What we’ve given up

“Negotiations … to prevent an Iranian capability to develop a nuclear arsenal are ending with an agreement that concedes this very capability …” — Henry Kissinger and George Shultz, The Wall Street Journal, April 8 It was but a year and a half ago that Barack Obama endorsed the objective of abolition when he said […]

My turn: Should green car drivers feel guilty?

If you own a hybrid or electric vehicle, you probably feel pretty good about yourself. After all, you’ve made a socially responsible decision to help the environment, reduce your carbon footprint and improve air quality. But you might feel a bit guilty, too. After all, you are in part responsible for the poor condition of […]

California Rambling: Play ball!

The joyful call, “Play ball!” has just returned to Major League Baseball parks across our nation, though it was being shouted a month ago at Spring Training camps in Arizona and Florida. If you’ve never been to Spring Training and you enjoy baseball, attending spring training is an experience to add to your life’s list […]

The rural life: Jurassic trees

Augustus Dowd reined his horse to a stop and gaped. Were his eyes deceiving him? There in a small clearing stood a tree three times larger than any he’d ever seen before. (And, as a backwoods hunter in California in the mid-1800s, he’d seen a lot of trees.) The specimen’s muscular, rounded top towered some […]

Mark Shields: Stop invoking Reagan; start heeding him

It was not a pretty sight. Republican officeholders in Indiana and Arkansas, having been charged by not just their political opponents but also their strongest corporate allies (think Walmart and NASCAR) with damaging the states’ images and the business climate by passing legislation to effectively give legal sanction to discrimination against citizens who are gay, […]

The weekly Daley: Hey Iran, we’re gonna count to three

Finally, someone in government has told it like it is. No bafflegab, no “let me say this about that.” Tom Cotton, the freshman senator from Arkansas and author of the famous “Letter to Iran” has moved from yack, yack to action yack. “We could bomb all of Iran’s nuclear facilities within a few days,” he […]

Billingsley’s bullets: You control the present

I guess we all know someone who allows his/her past to control his/her present life. Past mistakes continue to haunt these people. Sometimes, they repeat these mistakes and seem surprised with the results. Why would they expect different results? If they discover that the new love partner is an active alcoholic, they may believe or […]

Like a good neighbor

The proposed outdoor shooting range on tribal land just off of Shingle Springs Drive has caused quite a stir in the community. The Feb. 24 El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting addressing the topic saw more than 200 people in attendance, and we’ve received a number of letters to the editor on the topic. […]

My turn: Yes, you can help make local government better

The annual opportunity for citizens to take part in the El Dorado County Grand Jury process is here. The Grand Jury is an excellent vehicle for committed men and women to keep government accountable to all of our county’s citizens. Applicants must be United States citizens, at least 18 years of age, have resided in […]

John Stossel: The next bubble

They’re doing it again! When the last housing bubble burst, politicians blamed “greedy banks.” They said mortgage companies lent money recklessly, making loans to people with dubious credit, for down payments as low as 3 percent. “It will work out,” said the optimistic bankers. Regulators didn’t disagree. Everyone said, “Home prices will keep going up.” […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: The right to carry and the right to exit

The issue of gun control has galvanized our nation, with a vocal and bullying minority stomping for little or no restrictions. These Second Amendment absolutists keep pushing for not just concealed weapon permits without sensible restrictions (e.g no felony or domestic abuse convictions, no mental illness), but open carry. Open carry refers to the practice […]

Belltower: Art and water for a retired guy

“Michael Raffety is an arts writer for the Mountain Democrat, covering San Francisco events.” That’s what I’d like for a tag line when I write about major exhibitions at the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums — the de Young and the Legion of Honor. I decided that after reading the review in the Wall Street […]

Mark Shields: Drop-out from the Electoral College

In the cliffhanger presidential election of 1976, when Democrat Jimmy Carter defeated Gerald Ford, the Republican president, the margin of victory in 20 states (totaling 299 electoral votes) — including California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Hawaii — was less than 5 percent of the vote. In 2012, when President Barack Obama confounded the […]

The balancing act: Water, water everywhere, but here

Let’s get one thing straight: Droughts are caused by nature, water shortages are caused by humans. While this has been another below-average year for California, it seems the rest of the United States received massive amounts of water, especially many areas east of the Rockies recording record rain and snowfall, with Boston setting a new […]

The courthouse ‘debate’

The community is up in arms about relocating the county courthouse away from Main Street. The ramifications are a legitimate concern, but at the end of the day, much of the focus has been on the wrong issue. Let’s face reality. The current courthouse is done. As much as the community would like to preserve […]

Something to think about: The year without a winter

The first day of spring in El Dorado County this year was … spring-like — warm and sunny with daffodils and flowering quince welcoming the day. In my memory, the first day of spring is hardly ever spring-like and when it is, it’s regarded as brief reprieve from the dark coldness of winter before the […]

The weekly Daley” SHOCKING … 8 Celebs …

Being attracted to words, I get easily distracted when I go online to look up things, or read the latest news, or check the meaning of that word that Gene Altshuler used last week in his “My turn” column. “Ensorcell,” yeah that was it. Indeed I kind of get ensorcelled by those pop-ups with the […]

My turn: Making progress

It has now been four months since the new Board of Directors for the GDPUD was seated. I believe that we have made some progress, although sometimes it feels like “pulling teeth” — and I should know, being a dentist. We have voted to buy new computers; the old ones had hieroglyphics on the keyboards […]

Charles Krauthammer: The GOP racing form: First edition

With Ted Cruz announcing and Rand Paul and Marco Rubio soon to follow, it’s time to start handicapping the horses and making enemies. No point in wasting time on the Democratic field. There is none. The only thing that can stop Hillary Clinton is an act of God, and he seems otherwise occupied. As does […]

Mark Shields: Laughter, still pretty good medicine

“There are three things which are real,” said John F. Kennedy, “God, human folly and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension, so we must do what we can with the third.” As a national candidate, the then-senator did just that. Sensitive to the charge that his multi-millionaire father was trying to buy the […]

The rural life: New birds on the block

When the new birds began showing up, I realized how familiar I’d become with the old ones. After 35 years in Latrobe, you can’t mistake that bald, red face of our turkey vulture, for example, for anything else. And I’d never confuse the black phoebe, that petite, two-note songster in black-and-white evening attire, for any […]

California rambling: The Rhônes of Pleasant Valley

Wine has been made in El Dorado County since the start of the Gold Rush, though it took until the 1970s to discover that Pleasant Valley, southeast of Placerville, is ideal “terroir” for Rhône style wines. These are the wines made in southeast France’s Rhône River Valley, from Côte Roti south to the legendary Châteauneuf-du-Pape. […]

Fire Fee returns inadequate

As we reported Wednesday, Cal Fire awarded about $1.05 million worth of grants from the State Responsibility Area fees to El Dorado County organizations for projects aimed at reducing wildfire threats. While that’s great news, it’s just not good enough. Pat Dwyer, chair of the El Dorado County Fire Safe Council, pointed out that amounts […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Some conversation is very important

When someone important in your life says, “You just reminded me that there is something important that we need to discuss,” drop whatever you are doing and pay close attention to what is about to be said. • Do not interrupt the speaker, and do not become immediately defensive. You can speak your piece after […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: The sweet smell of success

Success is pregnant with meaning and nuance. We wish it for our children, our friends and relatives, and ourselves. While most people equate success with material wealth, for others it is recognition and accomplishment. We have grown up with the aphorisms about success that formed our national ethos: the Horatio Alger stories of rags to […]

Charles Krauthammer: No peace in our time

WASHINGTON — Of all the idiocies uttered in reaction to Benjamin Netanyahu’s stunning election victory, none is more ubiquitous than the idea that peace prospects are now dead because Netanyahu has declared that there will be no Palestinian state while he is Israel’s prime minister. I have news for the lowing herds: There would be […]

Mark Shields: Wanted: An emotionally secure leader

The late Rep. Morris Udall of Arizona, who finished second in the campaign for the 1976 Democratic presidential nomination, warned his fellow citizens with the wisest of advice: “Beware of the presidential candidate who has no friends his own age and confidants who can tell him to go to hell.” That same year, an emotionally […]

The balancing act: How to balance the budget

Public Safety is the primary function of county governments. Before the expansion of governments 60-70 years ago, the sheriff was the majority of county spending. Currently in EDC, the sheriff is about 20 percent of General Fund spending. Other departments directly related to public safety are the District Attorney, the Public Defender and the Probation […]

Coloma Post Office a gem

The Coloma Post Office, still standing after 165 years, is a historical gem in El Dorado County. From its rich history to its still-functioning capabilities, the community office is a symbol of what makes the county so great. “When tourists come to Coloma, they think the post office is just a display,” former Coloma Post […]

The weekly Daley: One more time, what were they thinking?

“The Texas state Senate gave preliminary approval Monday to legislation that would allow licensed handgun owners to visibly bear their firearms, in a move that would repeal a 140-year-old open carry ban. If the bill succeeds, the more than 800,000 Texans who have a concealed handgun license would be able to exhibit their guns in a […]

Something to think about: Choose both

It’s the first day of spring — the season of new growth, for the birth of something new to burst forth from old branches. Is it time for spring in your life? As I grow older I notice more and more often that people my age and older have stopped — stopped their mental and […]

My turn: Shouldn’t California have the best roads by now?

If high taxes guaranteed results, then California should have some of the best roads in the nation. For years we’ve had one of the highest gas taxes, yet our freeways consistently receive failing grades. It makes no sense unless you admit that high taxes don’t guarantee good roads. That’s one of many reasons I had […]

My turn: Benefits of reading and singing to your child

Can you recall a favorite nursery rhyme from childhood? How about a favorite book? Some of my early favorites were the “Incy Wincy Spider” song and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?” picture book. Early language development is intricately linked to a child’s exposure to reading, talking, and singing starting from infancy. Though […]

Charles Krauthammer: Early onset Clinton fatigue

WASHINGTON — She burned the tapes. Had Richard Nixon burned his tapes, he would have survived Watergate. Sure, there would have been a major firestorm, but no smoking gun. Hillary Rodham was a young staffer on the House Judiciary Committee investigating Nixon. She saw. She learned. Today you don’t burn tapes. You delete e-mails. Hillary […]

California Rambling: Vitamin S

There’s a healing property in the Sierra Nevada that John Rice, general manager at Sierra-at-Tahoe, calls “Vitamin S.” “I believe in Vitamin S,” he said. “Whatever ails you, Vitamin S helps in so many ways.” Rice is speaking about the therapeutic effect that skiing and snowboarding has on people. He said it’s more than just […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Does God snore?

At times my mind operates in strange ways. After watching a NASCAR auto racing recently, I thought about God’s sleeping habits. Since God isn’t human, I assume He doesn’t need to sleep. Besides, He should be available to answer prayer requests 24 hours a day. Some part of me cannot accept the idea that God […]

Mark Shields: Irish eyes — not always smiling

There was a lot more drinking in Washington, D.C., before May 15, 1978. That was the date, as of this writing, I had my last drink. This may help explain why I, as an Irish-American, so dread March 17 and St. Patrick’s Day, which has regularly been turned into an excuse for officially sanctioned public […]

The weekly Daley: Rascals in high places

Far be it for me to criticize any duly elected representatives of the American people, especially 47 traitorous members of that otherwise august body known as the United States Senate. Taking it unto themselves to conduct foreign policy in direct competition with an ongoing and legitimate exercise of foreign policy, such Constitution-haters should be summarily […]

My turn: Change in EID election cycle

There are pros and cons to the proposed change of EID’s (the El Dorado Irrigation Districts) election date from odd years to even-year general elections, which would also extend the terms of current EID board members an extra year. Saving money, perhaps $40,000 saved once every two years out of a $42 million dollar annual […]

Even-year elections better

The El Dorado Irrigation District Board of Directors got it right when it voted 3-2 on Feb. 9 to switch to an even-year election cycle. The proof of this is in the numbers. While a typical voter turnout for an odd-year election might net 20-30 percent, it’s expected to jump to 63-85 percent in an […]

Charles Krauthammer: Netanyahu’s Churchillian warning

WASHINGTON — Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress was notable in two respects. Queen Esther got her first standing O in 2,500 years. And President Obama came up empty in his campaign to pre-emptively undermine Netanyahu before the Israeli prime minister could present his case on the Iran negotiations. On the contrary. The steady stream of […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Spin doctors, haters and the First Amendment

The point and purpose of this article is not to refute the odious, anti-semitic screeds, or the crude and obnoxious rants by various letter writers to this paper. My focus is on the bigger question of freedom of speech and its limits. The use of direct quotes from the various letter writers is simply for […]

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