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On our new website, ignorance & the vote

We hope that readers like our new website, which went live on Thursday.

Among the features are larger and more photos! Check it out if you haven’t already!


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It’s vacation time for many.

Personally, I took time off last week to go hiking in Yosemite National Park and am just now getting my legs back.

Whether you’re off to Saloon #10 in Deadwood, South Dakota, Hilo, Hawaii, the Grand Canyon in Arizona, the Moon Caves of Idaho, the Florida Keys, or someplace local like Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park in Coloma, the cables of Half Dome, or Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, we’re asking our readers to share a few of their favorite vacation photos to be published in our newspaper.

Not only do we think it’s interesting to see where you’ve been, you just might inspire other Ceres Courier readers to follow in your footsteps.

Sharing photos with us is easy. Just send them in an email to and tell us a bit about who is in the photo, where you’re at, what you were doing and when you were there. If we need more information we’ll email back or call.


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Saw a man on the street interview in Hollywood. It was a simple question: Who is our current vice president? The interviewer targeted younger people. A number had no clue. One said he “I have no mother f------- idea.” An older woman got it right.

Most of the comments were not kind, nor should they be. People like this should not be encouraged to vote.

Something Luke Stockdale wrote resonated with me. He said “Some also vote ....which I love Thomas Sowell’s ideas that the misinformed emotional voters simply screw up the whole voting process, yet they urge all these idiots to get out and vote.”

I’ve said that before. I don’t think the voting age should be lowered. I think it should be raised.

And if you want to allow illegal aliens to receive amnesty to become U.S. citizens, no voting rights for 10 or 20 years. That’s the price they should pay if and when amnesty is offered.


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Did I call it or did I call it? I told you Sue Zwahlen wasn’t going to win in her quest to take our congressional district. I said the same of Virginia Madueno.

I guess the Democrats just thirst for a victory so bad that they’ll throw money at bad candidates to do so.

I received a ton of campaign flyers from Zwahlen, a registered nurse turned expert on healthcare reform, and she only received 8.6 percent of the vote while Madueno, a former Riverbank mayor, did only a little better at 9.1 percent. The district again showed that they don’t like Michael Eggman, now a three-time loser and carpetbagger. He received just 10.2 percent of the vote.

You can bet the Dems will be throwing TONS of money at Josh Harder, a liberal who wants to give away free everything.

Rep. Jeff Denham is in a difficult spot given that so many conservative Republicans dislike his stand on “amnesty” for illegal aliens. That’s why Ted Howze, a local veterinarian, received 14.4 percent of the vote. Still, there is no way those conservatives can ever support a Josh Harder.

I still say Denham is the favorite to win. We’ll see.


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I find it interesting how close the race for sheriff ended up. Jeff Dirkse, Adam Christianson’s hand-picked successor, received 35,861 votes compared to Juan Alanis’ 32,063 – a difference of just 3,798 votes.

I suspect that many people were concerned that Dirkse favored a limit to the number of weapons a concealed weapons permit holder can have. I also suspect that there quiet undercurrent of distaste for Adam Christianson who oomes across as supremely arrogant. That bore out this week when he tastelessly tweeted some comments while gloating that his man won. One photo shows him wearing sunglasses and this odd look on his face with the words, “WHEN 75,000 VOTES ARE COUNTED AND JUAN STILL LOSES!” I contacted Christianson to make sure he actually made the post and he deflected the issue, touting his record of service and saying “The election is over. Jeff Dirkse is the Sheriff-elect. It’s time to re-focus our efforts on much more important things like public and community safety.”

That’s a disappointing reply to say the least.

I’m still waiting for his pledge to to arrest the person who murdered single mother Lauren Grace London and left her burned body in an orchard near Central Valley High School in March 2015. On Jan. 20, 2016 the sheriff issue told me “to trust us that we solve this case.”


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I really liked this one meme on Facebook: “Enough already with women’s rights, gay rights, transgender rights, white rights, black rights, green rights, children’s rights, etc. Everyone wants to be equal and yet everyone demands rights, which segregate themselves! How about just plain old human rights? We’re all on this planet together and none are getting out alive! Stop wasting your life trying to prove you’re more special!”


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Graduations are over. If you are a senior who just graduated, think twice about becoming one of these so-called “crusty punks,” “crusties,” “gutter punks,” “crumb bums” and “dirty kids,” that are populating our streets. You see them. They are able-bodied emaciated bums who hang out in parks, in shopping centers and want you to feed them with change that you earned. Their itinerant lifestyle and choice of not working means they don’t get to eat.

The problem is especially bad in Berkeley and San Francisco. They are also crawling all over Modesto and Turlock as well. In fact, the park in downtown Turlock is used nightly as a Motel 6 for both young and old bums.

I don’t know what the solution is but it’s obvious that long-term solutions are needed instead of short-term bailing them out with pocket change. No doubt some of these kids suffered from a rough home life, sometimes abusive parents, drug abuse and unchecked mental health issues.


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I lost a lot of time because I took three days off last week and so I decided to dig into an oldie but goodie. It follows:


After spending a ton of money on a quality education, many college graduates may not find jobs that pay the big bucks.

Absolutely the world needs graduates - they are the future of our world. But it’s true that we live in a world that is definitely changing.

I, do, however, have some advice for graduates entering the world that still applies in a changing society.

• No one is going to make it happen for you. If you want something in life, you must be intentional and as focussed as a laser beam. And trust me, there is a world of distraction ready to break your concentration.

• It’s time to grow up. You like playing video games but I don’t know anybody who makes money doing it. And you may think it’s cool to invest hundreds of dollars in body piercings and tattoos out to look cool, but they don’t impress those who are doing all the hiring.

• It’s not all about you. Sorry to say but you have not arrived. It’s quite rare for any of us to end up as a Bill Gates or a Walt Disney type. Humble yourself and picture yourself merely joining the end of a long line of soldiers who’ve been marching along, with those at the head of the line dropping off to the side, tired and dying.

• Be a person of your word. Do what you say you will do. And does anyone really have to tell you that you need to show up for work when you’re scheduled to? Really? Yes, even if all your friends are going to the lake on Saturday and you’re scheduled to work that day? You’ll stand out among a generation of promise breakers and people will take notice. Take responsibility and you’ll be given responsibility. Do your best. If you work at Wal-Mart, work as if you owned the company. And honestly, you’ll feel better about yourself if you do your best, no matter if you feel you’re underpaid for the work you do.

• Don’t let others think for you. Challenge what your teachers tell you.

• Seek some spiritual aspect to your life. God if you haven’t already. The Bible is full of wisdom for life, not just preparation for the afterlife. He who dies with the most toys still dies.

• Take care of your body; it’s the only one you’ll get. Seems like a no-brainer for a twenty-something but take a look around and see how many people who two or three decades later are pathetic physical specimens because of smoking, drug use, lack of exercise, lousy food choices and sleep deprivation.

• Practice physical and mental disciplines. Practice the art of denying yourself at least once a day.

• Do something every now and then that challenges your comfort zone. Routine is the enemy of creativity.

• Be respectful of others. Ever hear of the Golden Rule?

• Appreciate what you’ve got. Studies reveal that happy people tend to be grateful for the little things in life. Smile. Have a personality that people want to be around. Don’t live life so fast that you fail to smile when a child bats bashful eyes at you. Or that you fail to see flowers along the side of the road. And it goes without saying that you should – no must – say “I love you” to family and close friends. Live without regrets.

• Get outside of yourself. We live in a world of people who only love themselves. Trouble is they don’t love others. Volunteer for a worthy cause. You’ll be amazed at how your open eyes - and heart - will see need and want to help others.

• Consider yourself blessed for the opportunity you have in the U.S. Whenever you feel sorry about your position in life, realize you’re wealthy by world standards.

• Know what’s going on in the world and take a stand.

Here’s someone else’s thoughts. A poster I saw in a sandwich shop in Springfield, Illinois, titled, “Food for Thought,” is worthy of required reading for graduates.

RULE 1 – Life is not fair – get used to it.

RULE 2 – The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

RULE 3 – You will NOT make $40,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice president with car phone, until you earn both.

RULE 4 – If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure.

RULE 5 – Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping they called it Opportunity.

RULE 6 – If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.


RULE 7 – Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

RULE 8 – Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

RULE 9 – Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.


RULE 10 – Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.


RULE 11 – Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.


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I’ve mentioned before that I’ve dabbled in the world of and have a show I call “History Hunters.” I do it in my free time and it consumes a lot of it. This week I posted my latest show on the history of Knott’s Berry Farm and show a bit of my vacation taken in March. I also recently put together a show on Merle Haggard. All of my shows can be found by searching for “jbenziggy.”

Each show runs about a half-hour and makes for great evening viewing. If you wish to subscribe (it’s free of course).


Do you have any feedback about this column? Let Jeff know by emailing him at He will read it, promise.