Friday, December 23, 2011

Naughty and nice

Everyone knows that Santa keeps track of who's been naughty and who's been nice all year, but we hear that the jolly old elf welcomes a little help during the busy season.

Here are our nominations for coal and candy in certain stockings:

Naughty: Mother Nature's been in a foul mood for a month, first tantalizing the West with a fine early snowfall, then stopping all additional storms. Blue skies and sunshine are great unless you're snow farmers in mountain resorts that rely on precipitation for their livelihoods.

Nice: Gov. Butch Otter, who finally visited Sun Valley in his official capacity and made the state's premier winter visitor destination the Capital for a Day. It would only have been better if he'd done it some week besides the one leading into Christmas when it's hard for residents to pay attention to politics.

Naughty: U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, who played brinkmanship ball with a tax hike on the middle class, caved in to the radical right wing of his squabbling Republicans and only late yesterday agreed to a mere two-month extension of payroll tax cuts and federal unemployment benefits.

Nice: Local charitable organizations, staff members and volunteers who have worked hard in tough times to bring holiday cheer to neighbors facing a bleak season. Groups including the Hunger Coalition, Realtors with Holiday Baskets, the Senior Connection, Souper Suppers and the Crisis Hotline are lighting up winter's darkness.

Naughty: Politicians who repeatedly indulge in demagoguery instead of making progress on the problems that plague us.

Nice: The actors, singers, musicians, stage and lighting crews who're making the holiday weeks a joyous time for families and friends by using their time in service to others and not themselves.

Naughty: Big banks and investment firms lobbying to prevent Congress from instituting new rules and regulations to protect consumers and keep the Crash of 2008 from happening again.

Nice: Taxpayers who approved a local land, water and wildlife levy. A portion of the money raised has been used in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy to secure a conservation easement on a local ranch to protect wildlife habitat. The easement will protect a critical migration corridor for antelope.

Naughty: Drivers who endanger others by phoning and texting—even though it's legal in Idaho.

Nice: Wood River High School students who're agitating and educating in an effort to convince more people to recycle and to help the county find a cost-effective way to make recycling easier for everyone.

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