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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 […]

Never patriotic: The real meaning of the Confederate flag

By Joe Conason In the intensifying debate over the Confederate flag, important clues about the true meaning of this seditious symbol are staring us in the face. Dozens of those clues were posted by an angry, glaring Dylann Storm Roof on the “Last Rhodesian,” website, where the confessed Charleston killer pays homage to certain flags […]

California Rambling: Southern California’s Lake Tahoe

Northern California has Tahoe, and Southern California has Big Bear. Though Big Bear Lake is a reservoir (created in 1884 by damming seven-miles of the San Bernardino Mountains’ Bear Valley) and Lake Tahoe is a natural Sierra Nevada basin, the two mountain lakes and their resort communities have much in common to compare and study. […]

The Weekly Daley: Ain’t love grand!

“I’m in love with at least one if not two or more convicted murderers. He and/or they are who I want to spend the rest of my life with, maybe have his/their baby or babies one day. We’ll be so happy. Ain’t love grand! But first I have to help them bust out of prison, […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: Will my marriage survive?

My Nov. 20, 2014, stroke resulted in my driving privileges being taken away until I can convince DMV that I am ready to safely drive on the roads again. This suspension resulted in my wife, Monika, taking over as my unpaid chauffeur. “Unpaid” does not mean she hasn’t paid an awful price for the “privilege” […]

Legal vs. illegal immigration

EDITOR: I take exception to the article in the Mountain Democrat on July 13 by Mark Shields titled “Donald Trump: In the ‘American’ tradition.” Mr. Shields makes a compelling argument for immigration in that it has made this country great by bringing a disparate group of people to this country. He is also correct in the discrimination suffered by many […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Moral myopia

Wanton killing always causes me to think about morality, or the lack of it. There is a belief, by some, that without religion there is no morality. And whether as self-justification or sincere belief, many, if not most, people of faith hold that their own religion is the foundation of morality. Much as I hate […]

Publisher’s Ink: To the back of the bill Mr. Hamilton!

It’s nice to see our federal government hard at work tackling worrisome financial issues. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew is soliciting public feedback to determine which woman to place on the $10 bill. An election year is just around the corner. From 1886-1891 Martha Washington’s portrait appeared on the $1 silver certificate. A picture […]

The balancing act: The transparency of the opaque

It’s been about three months since former Chief Administrative Officer Pamela Knorr obligated the taxpayers to a contract for legal services, except it appears the contract was for investigatory services. The contract, executed by Knorr and County Counsel Robyn Drivon, had a spending limit of $50,000. A$15,627 bill for services has already been received. It’s not […]

Belltower: Some news that will give you fits

All the people running for president are being put on the spot when they come to Iowa. The big question is where they stand on ethanol. It is not ethyl and it is not high octane. And gas stations don’t give away glasses anymore. Ethanol is a worthless additive made from corn. It might as […]

Something to think about: Summer freedom

The longest day of the year has come and gone; the hottest temperature of the year has yet to be. The county fair was last week; the state fair is next month. For children, summer is ripe — most of the summer possibilities are still waiting and boredom has yet to set in. School is still […]

The weekly Daley: Excuse me! What?

Think you’ve heard it all? I kind of thought I’d heard it all until Wednesday morning. While driving to work I heard on NPR that state Attorney General Kamala Harris was hoping not to have to deal with a proposition titled the “Sodomite Suppression Act.” Excuse me! What? She was hoping a judge would grant […]

My turn: The fire fee shell game: You lose!

Democrats in the California Legislature seem to be facing the reality that the fire tax they passed with the governor’s help in 2011 is unfair. Californians who live in rural areas rely on a range of public services from multiple levels of government to combat fires. These residents already pay taxes to fund essential fire […]

Publisher’s Ink: Got water? I’ll drink to that.

As Ag Tours go, this year’s topic and agenda was most enlightening. Attendance was a tad lower than previous Ag Tours I’ve attended. This was likely the result of including only one wine-related venue on the tour. Participation always seems to increase in direct proportion to the number of wineries visited. This year’s theme “Got […]

California rambling: Feeding time

What is it about feeding time at a zoo that is irresistible? The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens lists a couple of dozen keeper talks on a busy day; many include a feeding. Fascinated zoo goers line enclosures to watch keepers measure mackerel to penguins at Penguin Island, toss apples to bears at Hearst Grizzly […]

The rural life: Doing well by doing good

Sometimes what goes around just keeps coming around. I think of that whenever I step into the fragrant interior of Andrae’s Bakery in Amador City. Part of what keeps me and my family finding our way to this little shop are the tempting goodies inside. But an even larger part is the goodwill owner Matt […]

The weekly Daley: More nuts with guns

Like clockwork, yet another young man turns up with a gun and a killer agenda, and another nine people are dead because they went to an event at their church in Charleston, S.C. Wednesday night. Dylann Roof allegedly went to the same event and while there, it is alleged that he shot and killed nine […]

Billingsley’s Bullets: It’s better not to be stupid

Joyce Sequichie Hifler wrote the book “A Cherokee Feast of Days.” This is a book of daily meditations. She wrote, “If you argue with stupid reasoning you end up being stupid – Expressing an opinion can run you out of bounds and into areas that are not yours to argue. And no one has any […]

Charles Krauthammer: The racing form, second edition

The Republican nominating race is a mess: a strong field, but with 10 declared candidates and a half-dozen more to come, we need a bouncer to keep order. I’ve given myself the job. Rope lines separate the four categories. (A) Top tier: 1. Jeb Bush. Solid, no sizzle. Sizzle may be in less demand than […]

My turn: ‘No’ more water

In the midst of California’s worst drought in 100-plus years, El Dorado Irrigation District Directors Alan Day and Greg Prada voted “no” on pursuing additional water for the county at the board’s May 11 meeting. After giving lip service to the El Dorado Water and Power Authority’s continuing efforts to obtain 40,000 acre-feet of water for […]

The Democratic-Chronicles: Censorship by any other name

Censorship by any other name is suspect. Presently, college campuses around the country have become home to a moral movement that is shocking for its illiberal slant and because it is a perverse form of censorship in institutions that have long prided themselves as bastions of free speech. Recently aggrieved students, reacting to what they […]

The balancing act: Sneaking a raise?

On June 2 the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors did the right thing and saved the county from a mini debacle that would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars annually starting in about two weeks. Since the Board of Supervisors’ agenda is prepared by the CAO’s office at the direction of the chief administrative officer, […]

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