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The Democratic-Chronicles: Free market nonsense

The concept of a Free Market economy is central to the very fabric of American conservative orthodoxy. But as I pointed out previously this is a fantasy, for there never has been, nor can there ever be, a completely Free Market economy. This fantasy is a classical zombie that keeps rising from the graveyard of discredited […]

My Turn: Hillary Clinton’s ‘New College Compact’ raises an important question: Did she ever take Econ 101?

Today’s version of “A chicken in every pot” is Hillary Clinton’s proposed plan to “make college affordable and available to every American.” This is political catnip, pure and simple. And it is a more delusory form of catnip than Herbert Hoover’s “chicken,” for while everybody needs enough to eat, not everybody needs to go to […]

Belltower: The China Syndrome

The 1979 Michael Douglas movie of the same name about a nuclear plant meltdown featured the fanciful notion that it could melt all the way through the earth to China. Now we are left to ponder if a Chinese stock market meltdown could go all the way to the United States. By Aug. 29, 1929, […]

The Balancing Act: Hang on to your wallets

The Clean Energy and Pollution Act of 2015, Senate Bill 350, has passed the California Senate and should be coming up for a vote in a week or two in the Assembly. This bill really means the cost of California energy (electricity and gasoline) will skyrocket, as will the cost of cars . And it could outlaw older […]

Something to think about: Job requirements

People love watching a train wreck, wanting to see what will happen next — like watching the baby mamas on Maury Povich and Jerry Springer or Snookie and the other house stooges on “Jersey Shore.” It’s fascinating to see people behaving outrageously without seeming to care about the consequences. I blame reality TV for The Donald […]

The Weekly Daley: In favor of human rights

We really like human rights here in the ol’ U.S. of A. Human rights is a cornerstone of our Constitution, our values both spiritual and secular, our morals and ethics — pretty much some of the time. We count among our friends lots of nations who also treasure human rights as written into their own constitutions […]

My Turn: An excise tax on marijuana could make sense

California lawmakers are finally considering legislation to regulate medical marijuana, which has been legal under state law for nearly two decades. Among the proposals is a bill calling for an excise tax on marijuana that could raise nearly $60 million in revenue each year. As a fiscal conservative and opponent of recreational marijuana, I’m an […]

Publisher’s Ink: Playing chess in Placerville

It was hard to miss the “Going out of Business” advertisement for Evergreen Footwear Store appearing in this newspaper last month. It’s something everyone hates to see. Much changed since Judy Stanfield took over the shoe store in 2002. Online shopping took a bigger slice of her retail pie. According to Judy, it wasn’t uncommon to […]

The rural life: In praise of poles

Walking, the best exercise, is now better than ever. Walking has always been easy to do (no learning curve), versatile (do it indoors, outdoors, anywhere) and safe (low risk of injury). Plus, it requires no gym membership, and “free” is always good. Its one weakness? The lack of a rigorous upper-body component. Now, however, you […]

California Rambling: Less is more

Like Tim “The Toolman” Taylor, the accident-prone handyman in the 1990s TV sitcom “Home Improvement,” the error most binocular buyers make is demanding “more power.” Vickie Gardner, vice-president of Stuff at Alpen Optics, a California-based binocular producer says buying too much binocular is the biggest mistake first-time buyers make. “People often think they need the highest […]

Defending StemExpress

EDITOR: I write in defense of StemExpress, one of the few innovators with job-growth prospects in all of El Dorado County. The wild speculation and outright lies about the use of aborted fetal tissue needs to stop. Implying the “harvesting of tissue” is the motivation for abortion simply ignores the facts. It all started with […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Tom McClintock on Iran

EDITOR: Yes, I know Tom McClintock is a Republican and must therefore reject everything our president proposes, even if it can keep us from another war. But a little better grasp of history would sharpen his game. For example, the standard GOP theme that Iran and its threats make it more of a dangerous rogue […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

More grand jury gobbledy-gook

While the precursor of the grand jury system dates back beyond the Magna Carta (which just had its 800-year anniversary on June 15), after reading the political claptrap from the 2014-15 El Dorado County Grand Jury it appears that its usefulness has passed. One of the 2014-15 reports, “Time to Admit & Correct a Mistake,” […]

The Weekly Daley: Terror on the 4th of July

The terror that wasn’t became the terror that was. We were warned well in advance that the 4th of July was a prime time for prospective terrorists to do their evil works. The FBI, law enforcement and emergency agencies were told to be on highest alert before and during the holiday. The Department of Homeland Security described […]

My Turn: Protecting privacy rights

Technology’s miraculous leaps forward bring unimaginable benefits to us all. Life-saving medical procedures, limitless entertainment options, wealth building productivity tools and more change our lives for the better. But as with all tools, their benefit — or harm — depends on the intent of the user. That is why this legislative session I’m paying special attention to […]

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