Fenger Pointing

Becky Fenger | December 31, 2008

Becky FengerBest and Worst of 2008

As I raise my glass to ring in the New Year, I toast the standouts and stinkers of 2008:

Best Kept Secret: President George W. Bush kept under wraps the discovery of a large stockpile of concentrated natural Uranium (yellowcake) at a former Iraqi nuclear complex near Baghdad in order to keep terrorists from knowing about the find and preventing him from getting it out of the country. Retired Major General Jerry Curry praises Bush for keeping his mouth shut---while he was being trashed--- about the two-week airlift and crossing of two oceans to get the material safely to Canada. Yes, Virginia, Sadam Hussein did have weapons of mass destruction.

Worst Christmas Present: Arizona Corporation Commission gave utility consumers huge surcharge increases (more than doubling monthly charges) to pay for the renewable energy regulations they mandated. Furthermore, the ACC gave Arizona Public Service Company even more funding than they requested. (Mandates are evil dictates that skew market forces and are perpetrated by "people who know best" for the world.)

Best Proof That Not Everyone is Participating in the Down Economy: On the menu at Bistro 24 in the Ritz Carlton at the Esplanade there is a selection of bottled water offerings from around the world to pair with the appropriate foods and wines you are ordering. For instance, sparkling French Perrier is "perfect for a strong dessert or cheese," whereas Voss water from a glacial-fed aquifer in Norway is recommended to accompany "complex" foods. Now you know.

Worst Idea Congressional Leaders Have Glommed Onto: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House GOP Minority Leader John Boehner and others have filed a brief on behalf of Rep. Rick Renzi, R-Ariz., that would permit him to escape prosecution for his extortion, fraud, and money laundering charges on the grounds that investigators broke the "Speech and Debate Clause" of the Constitution. Simply put, it is a "Get-Out-of-Jail-Free" pass to all of Congress to claim immunity from the consequences of their (criminal) actions while serving their terms. Why do you think Madam Pelosi is defending Rick Renzi? Because she thinks he's a stud muffin? No. If Renzi can get off on this technical argument, so can they.

Best Perversion of the Bailouts: Michael Moynihan, director of the Green Project for the New Democrat Network, has seized the opportunity to call for major federal spending on energy efficiency as a way to "address climate change and spur a lagging economy." He wants a national infrastructure bank which some have called nothing more than a permanent Green earmark. Environmental extremists are also trying to use the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers to block the construction of the first nuclear reactor built in the U.S. in 30 years by arguing that emission-less nuclear power actually worsens global warming. Go figure.

Worst Photo Ops: Any shot of a Hollywood elite embracing murderous dictators like Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro.

Best Fix for a Sweet Tooth: The bread pudding with Jack Daniels whiskey lime sauce at Sierra Bonita Grill in Phoenix at Glendale and 7th Street.

Worst Act of Misguided Loyalty: President Bush not pardoning U.S. Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean because of his friendship with Texas U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton. The two men are in solitary confinement and facing more than a decade in prison for wounding a deadbeat Mexican National drug runner who smuggled even more drugs over the border while getting white-glove treatment to come back to testify against the agents.

Best News for the Little Taxpaying Guys 'n' Gals: The Arizona Court of Appeals unanimous ruling that the nearly $100 million taxpayer subsidy bequeathed to CityNorth development violated the Arizona Constitution's Gift Clause. The big boys of development have to be worried that schmoozing city council members statewide may no longer get them millions in goodies.

Worst Suggestion on Heels of Light Rail Frenzy: The idea that we should use a huge chunk of the stimulus package to build more light rail systems around the country instead of those silly freeways and bridges. What we should do, if we must have a make-work program, is pay workers not to build rail lines, thereby saving us the resultant added pollution, congestion and deficits.

Best Idea for 2009: Give a good forever home to a rescued animal. Lordy they're grateful when they get to live free of fear and pain. You'll never be sorry.