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For the week of Feb. 9 through Feb. 15, 2000

Helen’s hops

Idaho’s own lame duck, U.S. Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage, has itchy feet.

Even though she will soon leave her seat in Congress, she has determined it is essential for her to tour Australia and New Zealand as part of the House Resources Committee. She will visit plantations and hear from New Zealand forestry experts, according to an Associated Press report.

The trip comes just two months after touring Africa.

Chenoweth-Hage’s chief of staff said he anticipated criticism of the trip.

He justified it by saying, "The New Zealanders apparently have been able to satisfy both the environmental concerns while maintaining access to and sustainable production from the forests."

Allow us to give her chief of staff what he expected.

The field trip would be fine if Chenoweth-Hage weren’t headed for retirement. Does this mean she will soon sponsor a bill to fund foreign study for seniors?

Apparently Chenoweth-Hage goes easy on herself when it comes to frivolous spending of taxpayer dollars. After all, she’s worked hard to support every radical right-wing cause that came down the pike. That’s tiring. She could use a rest.

Like a lot of people, she’s probably sick of winter in the northern hemisphere. The trip to the sun will be lovely, especially after that nasty storm on the East Coast that dropped snow in a lot of places like Washington D.C., where she lives.

The trip will hardly register with weary taxpayers used to news of federal boondoggles. As we go to work each day, it will warm our hearts to know that our labors are buying Helen a little time in the sun.


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