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Founding Fathers were right to separate church and state

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 — For days now I’ve watched the talk shows that pretend to be news shows, and I’ve listened to the partisan gibberish from the talking heads on both the left and the right as they shout and pound ad nauseam about the recent United States Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case.

Unfortunately, I think the pundits on both sides have completely missed the point — this case is not about abortion, Obamacare, politics, the struggle between the left and the right, the alleged personage of corporations or any expression of religious freedom. This is simply a horrible decision in which religious beliefs have been thrust upon the state and all the rest of us.

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the court’s ruling grants a religious exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate because the corporation’s owners object to some forms of contraception the law allows. That statement itself points out the grievous error of this decision — that one’s religious beliefs have the power to negate the law of the land.

We need to support our local county fair

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 — Once again, the recently passed California state budget failed to fund county fairs across the Golden State, including our Lassen County Fair held next week in Susanville.

The California Fairs Alliance reports $32 million dollars a year was eliminated from the state budget as a result of recession-related cuts in 2011. That funding was not restored despite support from many lawmakers and a healthier general fund.

According to the Western Fairs Association, more than 30 million people will visit a California fairground sometime during 2014 and not just at fair time. Fairgrounds drive local economies and provide a venue for a wide range of activities and essential services, especially during natural disasters when they serve as evacuation centers for residents and staging areas for emergency workers.

Happy birthday, America

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 — This week we celebrate the founding of our nation — the Declaration of Independence.

All across this great land of ours, most of us will celebrate America’s birthday Friday with fireworks, barbecues and a fine summer day and evening with family and friends free from the toil of our labors. But we also should remember the reason for the holiday.

While the Declaration of Independence, mostly credited to Thomas Jefferson, the nation’s third president, recites a lengthy catalog of grievances against the British crown and government and provides the colonists’ justification so the rest of the world might understand their decision to “dissolve the political bands” between the colonies and England, it is the second paragraph’s opening words that have become the underlying principle of this great land of ours — even though they have no real legal standing and were not included in the Constitution, the supreme law of the land.

Unexplained illnesses continue to plague Gulf War vets

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 — A prominent condition affecting Gulf War veterans is a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders and memory problems. VA refers to these illnesses as "chronic multi-symptom illness" and "undiagnosed illnesses." The term “Gulf War Syndrome” is used when referring to medically unexplained symptoms reported by Gulf War veterans.

Gulf War veterans who meet the criteria below do not need to prove a connection between their military service and illnesses in order to receive VA disability compensation. VA presumes certain chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for six months or more are related to Gulf War service without regard to cause. These presumptive illnesses must have appeared during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by Dec. 31, 2016, and be at least 10 percent disabling.

Come celebrate the glory days Detroit steel

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 — Now that I’m in my 60s it seems as if nearly everyone I know is quick to point out I’m old. I accept it as a little good-natured ribbing and accept I’m probably going to have to listen to those kinds of comments from now on.

But being old means I remember a lot of things younger folks have never really experienced. One of the things I remember well is the glory days of the American automobile industry and its effect on our culture back in the 1950s and 1960s. Wow, that was a time. And we can all revisit a little piece of those days this Saturday when the Lassen County Chamber of Commerce hosts the Main Street Cruise. You sure won’t want to miss this one if you love those great old cars from yesteryear.


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