Spuds & Duds 2011 

Looking back on the highs and lows of the year that was

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Frack It!

click to enlarge ADAM ROSENLUND

One big, smelly, combustible, toxic Dud to the fracking extraction method proposed for getting natural gas out of the ground over in Payette County, and to the frackers who insist it won't affect the ground water in spite of contrary testimony from all over the country, and to the fracking state leaders who won't even consider putting any restrictions on the practice (such as a ban on horizontal fracking), and finally, to all those motherfrackers in the fossil-fuel business who come up with one damn thing after another for us to worry about.

Broncos Going BIG! And EAST!

click to enlarge ADAM ROSENLUND

I want to congratulate the Boise State Broncos football team and its noisy fan base, Bronco Nation. As I understand it, it is an enormous feather in its helmet to be invited into the Big East Conference. Way to go, Broncos. Wow. I am so happy for you, and I mean that, despite being a Vandal. And having spent a spell back East when I was younger, let me tell you how much you will enjoy living and playing your silly football games wherever you end up ... uh, hold on. Ah, jeez, I should have figured it was too good to be true.

I have just been informed that being in the Big East Conference will not require that you pick up and move your entire operation--Bronco Nation included--to the other side of the Mississippi. I guess I misunderstood. And here I was looking forward to some quiet autumn weekends without all those pennants and windsocks and Blue Elvises flapping in the breeze. Darnit. Oh, well, go ahead and keep your Spud. I imagine you had it in the locker room so I don't want it back.

Gene Bleymaier

click to enlarge ADAM ROSENLUND

And while we're talking about boring sports crap and such, too bad about Athletics Director Gene Bleymaier getting the ax ... I, uh, guess. I mean, I know how popular he was among Blue Turfers, and I understand that not many of you think those NCAA rule violations were worth all the hubbub. But then again, they don't call 'em "rules" for nothing, do they?

Bob Kustra

click to enlarge ADAM ROSENLUND

One last thing, a Spud must go to Boise State President Bob Kustra, who had the fortitude and principles to can the man who in 30 years took Boise State sports from small-time irrelevance to the exalted position of being investigated for NCAA rule violations. Bronco Nation may never forgive you, Mr. Kustra, but some of us recognize where frenzied sports idolatry can lead. Best to nip it in the bud before it reaches Penn State levels, I say.

Marv Hagedorn

click to enlarge ADAM ROSENLUND

Like other gun-touting bozos who race like randy monkeys into recommending more guns on campuses whenever a shooting occurs on a campus, Meridian Republican Rep. Marv Hagedorn gagged up the NRA party line the very day after Katy Benoit's death. Of course, the conspicuous point Hagedorn misses is that, with what we now know about the killer Ernesto Bustamante, it's very likely he was one of those macho meatheads who, before he shot Benoit, imagined himself to be a gun-toting, crime-stopping hero the likes of which idiots such as Hagedorn are always wet-dreaming about.

Aaron Tribble

click to enlarge ADAM ROSENLUND

And speaking of macho meatheads, we have a Dud to spare for one Aaron Tribble, a University of Idaho law student who, in January, brought suit against that university for banning firearms from campus, thereby denying him his Second Amenblah blah blah, blah blah blah, and blah blah blah.

U.S. Department of Justice

click to enlarge ADAM ROSENLUND

Way to go, DOJ, for doing what Idaho Republican legislators have refused to do--hold Athol Republican Rep. Phil Hart accountable for being a self-serving bum and a criminal to boot.

As you will recall, Hart (who was awarded 2010's Dud of the Year for his tax-evading, public timber-stealing crime spree) has been getting away with stuff that would have landed you or I in the hoosegow years ago, and he's been doing it with a wink and a grin from other anti-government fanatics in our Legislature.

But thankfully, somebody in the Justice Department has decided this grifter has pulled the faux-patriot wool over Idahoans' eyes long enough and has filed a lien to get the half-million-plus bucks that Hart owes the people of America. It remains to be seen if there are any local authorities with the guts to go after the tens of thousands he owes the citizens of Idaho.

Rebel Rex

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"It would appear I have become Idaho's poster child for government insubordination, a reputation I am proud to accept." --Rex Rammell, boasting on his website about what a bad-ass he is.

Sometimes, I get to wondering if the Masters of Idaho--and in your heart, you know who they are--don't hire a guy to bounce around like a demented baboon to say the most outlandish things so that, in comparison, they don't look so bad themselves. If there were such a job, it would explain so many past and present quirks in Idaho politics, wouldn't it? Bill Sali, for instance, and Helen Chenoweth.

So is it possible that the current holder of that hypothetical position might be Rex Rammell? You remember Rammell, I'm sure. He's that odd, mouthy man who keeps running for office in spite of never getting any votes to speak of. In 2009, Rammell earned the Dud of the Year award for his veiled threats against Obama, but this year, he might have outdone himself. He got busted for poaching, jury tampering, criminal contempt and assault.

For Running Out of Space Before I Could Hand out Duds or Spuds to:

click to enlarge ADAM ROSENLUND

• The Occupy Boise faithful.

Oscar Ortega, the Idaho Falls boy who, by taking a pot shot at the White House, declaring Obama to be the Antichrist and himself to be Jesus, once again confirmed to the world that, yes, there may indeed be more than a few screws loose in Idaho.

Poachers coming all the way from Tasmania to bag Idaho elk.

• The towns of Meridian and Kuna for becoming crap-ass lousy places to raise children by failing to pass school levies.

• Harmon Killebrew, 1936-2011.

• Tim Woodward's retirement, giving us one less reason to read that paper he worked for.

• And many, many more.

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