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The Aberdeen Times
Aberdeen , Idaho
December 25, 2019     The Aberdeen Times
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December 25, 2019

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PINION The Aberdeen Times , Page 4 December 25, 2019 Herb, likeNature, abhors avacuum It was Herb who kicked things off at the world dilemma think tank at the phi- losophy counter in the Mule Barn truck stop. Herb is like Nature itself. He abhors a vacuum, too. “Well,” Herb said, “it’s about that time ' 99 agaln. , Three heads swiv- eled to look at him. “New Year’s resolutions you know.” , Three nods. “So Herb, what are your new re- solves for the next year?” “Glad you asked, Dud. I thought I might lose 15 pounds, take sailing lessons and come up with a good recipe for beef kidneys. How about you, Dud?” Dud took a sip of coffee. “Going to finish the rewrite of my book, I-guess.” “The Duchess and the Truck Driver?” asked Doc. “Well, Doc, its actual title is ‘Murder , in the Soggy Bottoms.”’ Dud’s struggle with the plot of this novel is well known to most of us in town. ' Steve said, “For me, I think I’ll lose some weight, too, and paint the inside walls of the turret up at the cabin.” by Slim Randles .“What color, Steve?” “Burnt orange. You know, something like sunset in winter when the leaves are gone and the trees stand like lacy filigree against the sky.” “Boys, I think we have a poet amongst us,” said Doc. “Aw Doc, come on,” Steve said. “What about your reso1utions for the coming year?” . ‘ Doc thought a minute. “Fair enough. I have some. In the coming year, I re- solve to grow grapes and make some wine for my friends. Then I believe I’ll put in a big effort to catch 01’ Lunker on a fly down in Lewis Creek. If I have the time, I’ll try to keep my patients healthy, and I’ll top it off with making a concerted ef- fort to locate Chipper.” ~ “Your imaginary squirrel?” “Yep.” “But Doc,” Herb said, “you already do those thingsnow. Did you realize that?” “Sure,” Doc grinned. “Really makes it easy to keep a resolution that wayfi’ Brought to you by the Fly Fisherman is Bucket List, available now at www. rio- grandebooks. com. Letters to the editor Thank you all for donations To the editor, , At this time of the year,we all have so much to be thankful for and appreciate! The Aberdeen American Legion Auxiliary would first off thank all the people of Aberdeen who donated gifts for the Gift Table at” the Pocatello Veterans Home! This year the reported donations of gifts and cash totaled $5,370.45. AMAZ- ING! The 54 residents at the home se- lected 200 gifts that were distributed and mailed to their families. The estimated value of those gifts were $4,873.50 and mailing costs of around $200. There were 24 NEW residents who received a beauti- ful handmade afghan or quilt. The event was the 27th Annual Pocatello Veterans Home Christmas Gift Shop. The people of Aberdeen always re- spond so generously for this special event. . Secondly, thank you all for your sup- port at the Aberdeen Light Parade! The Auxiliary sold lots of baked potatoes, hot dogs and hot chocolate. Thank you Marva Jean Mueller for doing the hot- dogs, BOnnie Medellin for the chili, and Linda Cardona for the stroganoif for the CATAUNO 2019 CREATORSBOM YUUSIILLE'EMEVE' lNGANiACtAUQ?? WAREYOUW! toppings for the potatoes, Ernie Medellin for helping with the hot chocolate, Leslie Ellis for getting the potatoes and wrap- ping them all for baking, and Mardyne Kisner for being our cashier for all of the purchases and tickets for the quilt raffle. Third and not last, thank you to ALL the people who set up booths at our Christmas Bazaar and participated v in a fun (even if it was a little slow) day! Thank you to all who came and pur- chased items from our table that is for the Veterans. Thank you for supporting the other venders that were there. A We know we can count on the generous and loving and caring people i. of Aberdeen to support the Auxiliary in our efforts to make our Veterans have an enjoyable Christmas and, really, alltheir days. That is our purpose of the Auxiliary to help our Veterans and support the Aberdeen American Legion. Once again, THANK YOU ALL OUR HERO’S THANK YOU, TOO! Thank you Linda Cardona menswear... museum: WWW / ’ Christmas Eve with Grandma Each Christmas Eve our grandma’s home was filled with family. We all knew what the next day was and waited anxiously. ' The house smelled like a juni- per, her Christmastree of choice. She would always hug and kiss us. How I loved to hear her voice. Grandma hung her Christmas stockings high up on a wire. She said, “The mantle is too warm. They might just catch on fire.” We opened presents, feasted, and then we sang a Christ- mas song. The special night was here that we had waited all year long. Grandma told us Santa Claus would soon be on his way. Rudolph and the other reindeer pulled the toy- filled sleigh. PRESIDENTTRUMP ,0 Then Grandma said, “Do you know why we have a Christmas day? It’s the birthday of our Savior, who was born so far away.” She talked about the little child and of his humble birth. Then told us how the angels sang of love and peace on earth. I loved to hear my grandma tell the story every year. I know why there is Christmas ‘cuz she made it very clear. Those Christmas Eves were years ago. I’ve grandkids of my own. But I’ll cherish all those memories, no matter how I’ve grown. We buy our children Christmas gifts, but really of What worth? Maybe we should ask their grandma, “Teach them of His birth.” From our family we send wishes for a Christmas of good cheer. Let’s resolve to make the next twelve months the very best New Year. flatly. iiirihune ' IMPEAWCHED! ‘Most Be Ree/ectedl In praise of competence ' Not long ago, I was in a meeting to talk about a public policy issue. It was a little complex, and as we consid- ered the various angles I began to think about what it would take to translate talk into change on the ground. I wasn’t analyzing the politics of it —— I was focused on the types of people who’d have to roll up their sleeves. What I came away with was a list of skills, none of ' them unusual, but all of them vital to getting things done in the increasingly complicated world that government faces. Here’s some of what it takes: You need a legislative drafts- man, someone who understands the specialized language of bill-writing and how to translate ideas into law; V You’ll almost certainly need several lawyers involved to steer clear of legal shoals, as well as budget experts who can handle cost estimates and projections; It’s helpful to have someone who understands whatcon- stitutes ethical and unethical behavior in the field you’re ad- dressing; There are a lot of subject matters that play a role in almost any major problem: environmental, financial, security and military, logistics, health, education, international dimensions andyou’ll want to be able to consult with experts in all of them; Because, almost invariably, you’re dealing with com- puter systems or actual machinery, it’s helpful to have the appropriate types of engineers on hand; It’s often helpful to work with a historian or two who can put the problem in context; You need people who are familiar with the private sector and understand what businesses and corporations can and cannot reasonably achieve, since so many issues today involve both the public and private sectors; You have to be able to understand and cover the poli— tics of your approach, meaning you need people who can bridge the White House and Congress or the governor’s office and the legislature; Somewhere along the line you’ll need PR experts who understand radio, print, TV, and social media, since you’ll have to enlist the public, or at least win its sup- Port; And, of course, you’ll need to figure out how to raise ( ' 3 the money you’ll need, both through the public purse and from the private and nonprofit worlds. My point is simple: To make our system and this country’work, we need a lot of experts and competent bureaucrats to deal with the problems that come cascad— ing down on government. And here’s what I can tell you, after decades of close contact with federal civil servants: We have them. By and large, this country is served by a professional and dedicated group of public employ- ees, whether you’re talking about the National Weather Service, the Foreign Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Defense Depart- ment. .. We’re blessed with a lot of talented people. Which is why'I’ve never shared the contempt and, outright hostility toward federal bureau- crats that is so often expressed in the public arena these days. They deal with very tough prob- lems and they’re usually good at what they do. They just don’t toot their own horns about it. ‘ This was on full display in the recent House Intelligence Committee hearings on impeachment. As New York Times columnist DavidBrooks put it recently, “[T]he civil servant witnesses answering questions inspired a lot more confidence than the elected officials who were ask- ing them.” He went on to quote political scientist Hugh Heclo, “It is when you deal with someone who does not perform in a ‘professional’ manner that you learn to ap- preciate those who do.” This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some bad apples within the bureaucracy. There always are, but they’re rare. And most of the time, inspectors general, adminis- trative processes, and, when it’s working, congressional oversight address the problems reasonably well. Attack— ing cabinet officials and civil service employees publicly, the way President Trump seems to enjoy doing, seems counter-productive. These are, after all, the very people he has to depend on to move his programs forward. In the face of the many challenges we confiont, the professionalism, talent, and competence of our civil ser- vants matter. We’ve been fortunate: many of them have withstood attacks on themselves and the systems they depend onfor support. So far. Guest! Comment Hamilton a