Articles by Guests

Dr. Michael Taylor speaks out for doing your best!

Dear Patients and Friends,

Ok, I'm going to say it.  Just being average is not acceptable in my book.  What in the world has happened where we don't expect excellence in ourselves anymore?  It's frustrating sometimes when I see people accepting average or ordinary in their lives.  More and more often these days I'm coming across the kid who thinks a "C" or "D" is just fine. Unless that is the absolute best you can do, it's not fine!!   The usual comment I hear is, "it's passing isn't it?"  Or, how about the person who has an opportunity to better themselves in their job or career, but they don't do it because they "don't want to have to work that hard."

Why is it ok to be just ok?  It's a choice we all make in whatever we're doing.  We can go through the motions and just get by, or we can expect the best out of ourselves in everything we do.  I guess I wasn't raised that way.  I won't expect less than my best effort no matter what I'm doing.  I do it for me...nobody else.  I do it because it makes me feel good. I do it because I don't want to be just ok.  I do it because I go to sleep every night knowing that I went the extra mile at everything I did that day.  It's a fun and fulfilling way to live.

Don't allow yourself to ever give less than your best, and don't ever accept that from your children.  They're our future!!   Don't settle for average no matter what you're doing.  It will change your life dramatically for the better, and it will make the world a better place.   The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is very small.  It's simply that little extra!


Michael Taylor, D.C
Michael Taylor Chiropractic




MID Water Watch-Dog Growls Again

Submitted by John Duarte

MID interested parties,

Tomorrow, MID will discuss a review of a falling water credit that water users receive for the value of the hydroelectric power generated at Don Pedro.  This sudden “crisis” follows a series of fast moving action on the part of MID following the failed (board vote 5-0) water sale proposal previously championed by Board President Tom Van Groningen.  Many participants in the water sale dialogue/debate requested that the district form advisory groups to review district issues more in depth, over longer terms and with better access to district experts than the board meetings allowed. 

The current advisory committee proposed by the board, selecting representatives from local groups to form a committee of committees, is more likely to be an effort to weight the group against ag in order to extract a particular outcome, rather than to improve the dialogue surrounding complex and important issues.   In addition to a selected membership with no guarantee of transparency, the committee will be charged to address speculated claims under Prop 26.   It appears that some district leaders would like to see the equivalent of six wolves and a lamb vote on what’s for lunch, while piping the scent of simmering lamb into the room.

A review of the district history and current situation is in order.  Irrigation districts frequently possess riparian water rights that can be used to generate hydroelectric power.  With the available water flow, technology and marketability of electricity, any irrigation district that did not develop hydroelectric power from these resources would be negligent towards its irrigation customers and the public for the lost opportunity.

Irrigation districts have multiple options as to how they choose to market the generated hydroelectric power.  The two most frequent choices are to market it wholesale to a second party (as does SSJID and OID from their New Melones project), or to form local power authorities and market it retail to local customers (as does MID and TID from the Don Pedro project). 

SSJID and OID use the revenue from wholesale power sales to benefit their agricultural water users, to the point where water costs are negative and rebates are often sent to customers from the power revenues.  PG&E buys the power wholesale and delivers it to its customers as part of a supply blend over a large market area.  All sales and costs are established in free market transactions.  Electric ratepayers in the irrigation district boundaries are served by a
for-profit utility and do not enjoy any financial benefit from the cheap hydroelectric generation.

Many OID and SSJID area electric customers are served by MID power delivery per the four cities annexation that MID executed in the 1990s.  Other OID and SSID customers are now considering options to form their own power distribution company.  I do not believe that these efforts will lead to the irrigators giving up the benefit of the hydroelectric power to the retail electric customers.   There are few voices in the PG&E power service area that would not prefer to be in a locally run municipal service area.   

MID and TID chose early on to provide retail delivery of their hydroelectric power to in-district electricity customers.  This has given our communities the advantage of locally governed municipal power.  For many decades MID and TID ratepayers enjoyed enviably low electric rate in contrast to those served by for-profit delivery, particularly those served by PG&E.   MID and TID irrigators have gained from the value of the falling water based on their well-established senior water rights.  This arrangement has provided great benefit to the community in affording low rates for both electric and irrigation customers, local control and better accountability.

MID now faces a number of financial challenges.  The district is increasing costs of operating beyond the growth of its power deliveries.  From 2010 to 2011, MID increased overhead costs by 20 percent or six million dollars as it delivered slightly less electricity than the year before.  MID projects to increase total costs of operations by 5% per year from 2013-2017 while it delivers only slightly more (0-1% per year) electricity.  This is all on top of an already bloated budget that is absorbing a number of past strategic errors (Mountain House, over purchase of green power, four cities, Phase 2 Water Plant…). 

Recently, a water sale of a significant amount of the district’s water was proposed by the district.  The revenues from this sale were to go to the district’s general fund to serve a long and exhaustive list of financial needs.  The sale was opposed by local interests and failed.  The proposal that failed would have raised $1.5 million dollars per year.  This amounts to
one-fourth the increase in the districts overhead in one year.

Adjusting the falling water charge will not provide equity between customer groups within the district.  It may not be required by prop 26.  If it is required by prop 26, there may be a number of irrigation districts that need to take a broad look at the beneficiaries of their hydroelectric generation.  It will also not substantially alter the financial course of MID or the obligations of its electric ratepayers. 

This demand by MID Board President Tom Van Groningen for an extremely urgent review of the policy appears to be simply his own personal tantrum over the failure of his ill-considered water sale.  It must have be a very personal failure for him, as he may have seen it as a last ditch effort to redeem his decades of failed service and a litany of ill-considered and costly MID initiatives adopted under his reign.

Just my thoughts.

John Duarte
October 22, 2012

One Man's Living is Another Man's Pastime  

Submitted by Dr. Michael Mason 

I have been thinking about your distinction between banjoists and players.  And I have been mentally ‘playing’ with your definitions.  Please don’t take this as a criticism, because I haven’t come up with anything remotely better.  But, watching Roy Clark last night got me to thinking in a different direction. 

The trouble is that I like to think of myself as a ‘player’ as well as a ‘banjoist’.  But we’ve come to use the words ‘play’ and ‘player’ in so many different and often pejorative ways.  A ‘player’ is someone who is a con man, who is insincere and manipulative, or who flaunts the rules of chance and responsibility. 

Or we talk about ‘playing’ sports when no one is really at ‘play’.  We are actually out to kill, injure, or humiliate someone else in the most drastic and ultimate way.  Which also belies the term ‘sport’!  But that’s another rant! J

I mean ‘play’ in the sense of joyous abandon, the freedom of laughter and the immersion in elation.  Again my dog Chip, has reminded me of how much fun pure play is; to run at top speed in circles around the yard for no apparent objective,  just for the ecstasy of speed and freedom.  To hurl himself on his back and roll in the grass just for the utter happiness of the experience. 

But back to Roy Clark.  My intellectual side recognized that Roy is six months short of eighty, but I still think I was expecting a strong, confident man to swagger onto the stage and dazzle everyone with his virtuosity.  But it was his eyes and his smile.  He had to be helped onto the stage by two members of his band and then helped up onto his stool.  He wore a cowboy hat, I’m sure to cover the hair plugs [did you know that?] that have probably gone south.  He missed some of the arpeggios, he got out of tempo, he struggled with bits of music, the drummer sounded like he was pounding with a jack-hammer to keep everyone in time… 

But his band loved and adored him and it was obvious.  And he loved them.  He kept talking about his ‘family’ and he invited us into that family circle for an hour and a half.  And the band was having fun!  They were ‘playing’ in the truest sense of the word, enjoying every moment.  And the audience loved it.  That charismatic smile of his lit up the stage and you couldn’t look away from those eyes.  He loved the audience and the audience loved him.  Maybe that only comes with age, I’d have to look at some of his early stuff and think about that. 

That made me think of some of the ‘banjoists’ or ‘players.' The first one I thought of has the twinkle in his eyes and the dazzling, winning smile.  But when I thought of him in this context an image popped into my mind from an old movie or TV show, long since forgotten.  All I can remember is a short clip where a couple is “making love” and all the while, behind his head, she is looking at her watch.  [Hence the quotes.]  So he reminds me of the fickle lover who smiles and woos and strokes and then the smile fades and he moves on to another.  The relationship is all about what he can get out of it, how he will feel, how he will be adored, not about the reciprocity or mutuality.  Maybe that’s a majority of performers and maybe I am being unjustly harsh in this situtaion.  I’m sure Roy gets all of that, but he returns the adoration to the audience.

Then I thought of one who is just like a hooker, with a smile that never reaches the eyes. Those ‘banjoists’ like women of the evening dazzle and befuddle, draw us in with their promises of pleasure and ecstasy, but there is no love or reciprocity and it’s all for the power, money or control.

And then I thought, maybe that’s what Bud Wachter has been trying to tell me for the last couple of years.  He keeps saying that I have something to say that is deeper, more important and more meaningful than just hammering away on a banjo as fast as I can.  But over the past several years I have lost the fun and the love.  I began to spend all my time comparing myself to other banjoists.  So it was no longer ‘playing’ the banjo, it was drudgery and work.  Even though I know I am probably as good if not better than ninety percent of the banjo players out there [and if I actually ever practiced, might actually be very good] I was comparing myself to professionals with thirty years of experience, playing their same, standard fast licks.  [John Becker always told me that, no matter how good a banjo player seems, he only has six good licks!] 

And with my focus on technique came an obsession with not making a mistake.  I had forgotten the meaning of ‘play’ and with that fear of failure, the audience became the enemy and not the lover. 

After not performing for the last four or five years at banjo conventions, I need to go back to loving an audience again.  Maybe I’m finally ready [or at least getting there.]

October 20, 2012

(submitted by Dr. M. Mason after attending a recent class Athens conducted in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in which the topic of what defines a banjoist was discussed. August 2012) 

Water Concerns Continue

Submitted by Jackie A. 

Yesterday I found a book entitled, Battling the Inland Sea (1986) by Robert Kelly, a history professor from UC Santa Barbara.

The book addresses the history of the Sacramento Valley and the floods which it used to undergo each spring. The rains which poured into that large flat land and the snow melt that filled all the creeks and rivers that inundated the crops created havoc annually until private efforts and governmental agencies combined forces to harness the floods. The time frame for this story runs from 1850 though 1986.  Had men not set about to control those floods Northern California would have continued to be subject to perpetual ruination annually.  As it is, extraordinary crops grow there and people can live and prosper there in comparative safety.

Aside from the engineering that went into a network of dams and weirs and levees the opposing political views have played into the drama throughout that long history.  One statement in the text says "depending upon the amount of money one stands to make on one action vs. the other, men take the political position that is to their advantage."  And that pretty much sums up the way the movers and shakers think or act still today.

From the book The King of California, essentially the story about the impoverished southern cotton farmer who transformed the southern 'California valley, San Joaquin, there is a story about an admiring visitor to his home in Centerville.  Mr. Boswell had built a home reminiscent of a southern plantation, akin to Tara, which stood at a bow in the Kings River.  The admirer commented that it was fortuitous that the river bowed in just that manner in that location, thus making a picturesque setting for the farmer's home. Mr. Boswell replied that the visitor had it all wrong.  He said, "I made the river change its course and flow toward the house till it got to the right place. There I forced the river to bow where I wanted it to."

Water wars and egos have caused mighty changes to take place.  Much to be admired and much to be regretted. In all these skirmishes somebody is seeking money, power and political advantage.

As to the current conflict, I do not see any advantage that the citizens of Modesto will gain from the 20 pounds of silver San Francisco is using as bribe to deplete the aquifer in your area.  Will cross my fingers, hold my breath and even PRAY that MID will hold on to your own drinking water.

Gas goes up, up & up on Obama's Watch

Submitted by Frank Aquila

On the day of Barack Obama’s inauguration, gasoline prices averaged $1.83 per gallon nationally.  In two short years, prices have more than doubled and today it is $4 and even $5 per gallon.  Obama’s Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, stated in 2008 that it is his desire to boost gasoline prices to the $7 to $9 per gallon.  Obama followed Chu’s statement that he would prefer a “gradual adjustment.”  Well, America is getting the “gradual adjustment” and if Obama gets another four years, we will have $7 to $9 per gallon gasoline.

In spite of the Obama administration’s attempt to pass blame on others, he can’t hide from the truth.  He has no energy policy. America is dependent on foreign oil.  Currently, 70% of the oil we use in America is imported from foreign nations.  However, we have the ability to become energy independent and drastically lower the cost of oil, as there is more oil in America than in all of the Middle East combined.  There are abundant oil and natural gas reserves in the Outer Continental Shelf off the California coast, the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and many other locations throughout America. 

In the Colorado Rocky Mountain Region, the Green River Formation, which spreads through Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming, there is an estimated two trillion barrels of untapped oil, which is the equivalent of eight times the amount of oil in Saudi Arabia alone. 

In 1995, Republicans attempted to open a desolate area in Alaska (ANWR) for drilling and the Democrats blocked it stating it would take 10 years before we start getting oil.  That was 17 years ago!  America could be energy independent today; but all attempts have been blocked by Democrats and environment wackos.  

Today, Obama has vetoed the Keystone Pipeline from Canada through America that would not only assist America with oil but also would have assisted Americans with much needed jobs. 

The Democrats’ policies are blocking America from placing her own oil on the world market, which would stabilize our own economy, re-fund Social Security, pay off our national debt, and place millions of Americans at work in the oil and gas industries while we bridge the gap to alternative forms of energy.

Instead, the Democrats’ non-existent energy policy will continue to be a problem for all Americans

Frank Aquila is the president of the South San Joaquin Republicans & author of "Sarah Palin Out of Nowhere"
He can be reached at

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