Friday, March 27, 2015

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. […]

Community meetings ongoing in Dollar General proposal

By Meg Anderson Democrat correspondent “The community has spoken and Placerville has heard your voices,” said Michael Ranalli, El Dorado County District 4 supervisor, speaking to more than 50 people crowded in front of Worton Market on Tuesday, March 10 to discuss putting a stop to the Dollar General Corporation’s proposal to build a 9,100-square-foot […]

Best in Basin nominations accepted through March 31

Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is accepting project nominations for its 2014 Best in the Basin awards program through Tuesday, March 31. The Best in the Basin awards program is in its 25th year. It was created to recognize projects that demonstrate exceptional planning and design and compatibility with the environment and TRPA guidelines. The program […]

Grand opening for new animal shelter on Sunday

El Dorado County Animal Services is inviting the community to celebrate the grand opening of its new facility in Diamond Springs this Sunday, March 29, from 2 to 4 p.m., according to a press release from El Dorado County Animal Services. A much-anticipated event, the celebration will include tours of the facility, animal demonstrations, presentations, informational booths, […]

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 […]

DSA donates $100K to Boys & Girls Club

The members of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of El Dorado County donated $100,000 to the Boys & Girls Club for a new facility. “The DSA is proud to be a part of this huge community campaign to bring a much-needed expanded facility to the children in El Dorado County,” stated Todd Crawford, DSA president. “We […]

Valley View Elementary in EDH closer to opening

For two years Valley View Elementary has been ready to accommodate students, but hasn’t had the bodies to fill its classrooms. Finally, the school in the Blackstone community is closer to opening. “We are accepting registrations next year for Valley View,” said Buckeye Union superintendent David Roth by phone. “However the numbers remain fairly low […]

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 […]

John Stossel: Raping culture

Apparently, new laws are needed because at colleges, sexual assault is “epidemic.” Rape is so common that there is a “rape culture.” I hear that a lot. It is utter exaggeration. Fortunately, AEI scholar Christina Hoff Sommers is around to reveal the truth. “This idea of a rape culture was built on false statistics and […]

The balancing act: More county mischief

On Feb. 10, a rather innocuous item was on the Board of Supervisors consent calendar agenda. It was item No. 5 and its purpose was to receive and file a development impact mitigation fee report for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014 and authorize reimbursement to the El Dorado Hills County Water (Fire) […]

Leadership at MLUSD

Parents and teachers in the Mother Lode Union School District have had enough. Expressing concerns about the leadership of the district since October of 2014, they’ve gotten the school board’s attention to the point where special meetings have been held specifically to hash out the issue. What’s the issue? The leadership at MLUSD is dropping […]

The weekly Daley: Who are those guys?

Like the Pinkertons in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” severely conservative lawmakers all over are relentlessly pursuing regressive policies to enforce their will and values on their fellow citizens. One house of the Georgia State Legislature adopted language in a Freedom of Religion bill that is seen as a way to bar the LGBT […]

Something to think about: Walking the lines

Sometimes it’s hard not to think of the world as a bad place filled with violent people, especially after listening to the news on TV. Fortunately for me, that perception only lasts a few seconds because there are plenty of examples around me to show that it’s a beautiful place filled with generous, helpful folk. […]

My turn: A squandered opportunity

Editor’s note: Congressman McClintock delivered the following remarks on the House floor following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address in January. I rise to express my deep disappointment in the address by the president last night in this chamber. Twenty years ago, President Clinton was in a similar position. He realized his policies […]

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, […]

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 […]