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We're making a list

A helpful guide to who's been naughty and nice.

December 25, 2009

Being the worldwide arbiter of Christmas rewards is a tough job, so we're giving Santa Claus a break this year. To supplement his list of who's been naughty and nice, we've compiled a helpful guide. Here are our suggestions on who deserves a pony under the tree today, and who should get a big lump of coal.

Naughty: Tiger Woods. His image as a family man took a beating with his mysterious "accident" in Florida, but it was pulverized by the accusations and tabloid confessions of his alleged girlfriends. Tiger's apparent unconcern for his vows are giving heterosexual marriage a bad name.

Nice: Houston, which recently became the biggest U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor. Annise Parker has two adopted children with her partner of 19 years, Kathy Hubbard, though unlike Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren they aren't legally allowed to marry.

Naughty: Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), a vacuum for oil industry political contributions whose nonsensical denials of climate-change science in the face of vanishing ice sheets and decaying coral reefs make him Earth's Public Enemy No. 1.

Nice: Sens. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who are working diligently to craft a bipartisan climate bill despite obstructionism from the likes of Inhofe.

Naughty: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose sometimes-blind allegiance to organized labor led him to back a $300-million contract with Italian firm AnsaldoBreda to make rail cars for L.A. despite its shoddy performance record.

Nice: L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich. The conservative north county supervisor seldom gets much love from this page, especially when it comes to transit issues, but he was dead right in staunchly opposing the AnsaldoBreda deal.

Naughty: The voters of Maine, who overruled the state Legislature and voted to take away the right of gays and lesbians to marry.

Nice: The Washington, D.C., City Council, which voted this month to legalize same-sex marriage over the objections of dozens of religious leaders.

Naughty: Kanye West, who interrupted singer Taylor Swift's acceptance speech for best female video at the MTV Music Awards by implying the award should have gone to Beyoncé.

Nice: Beyoncé, who called Swift onto the stage after winning the video of the year award and let the 18-year-old country singer finish her interrupted speech.

Naughty:  Bernard Madoff, the 71-year-old swindler who stole some $13 billion from private investors, which he used to buy a Manhattan penthouse, a beachfront house in the Hamptons and a yacht off the French Riviera. "I live in a tormented state knowing all the pain and suffering I have created," he said before being sentenced.

Nice: U.S. District Judge Denny Chin, who wasn't fooled by Madoff's apology, called his crimes "spectacularly evil" and handed down the maximum sentence of 150 years. "I have a sense Mr. Madoff has not done all that he could do or told all that he knows," said Chin, noting that the Ponzi scheme had taken a "staggering toll."

Naughty: The U.S. Catholic Bishops, whose insistence on antiabortion language in the Senate's massive healthcare bill threatened to derail legislation that promises to fulfill a long-standing ambition of, yes, the U.S. Catholic Bishops, who have traditionally been strong supporters of broadened healthcare coverage. Now that makes a whole a lot of sense, doesn't it?

Nice: Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony, who wrote on behalf of immigrants in the healthcare debate: "When undocumented immigrants are intentionally excluded from healthcare coverage, they are forced to go to the only place where they will be accepted for care: trauma centers and emergency rooms -- the most expensive healthcare delivery systems in the country."

Naughty:  David Letterman. First, he told an off-color joke about Sarah Palin's daughter and had to apologize for it, then he fended off an alleged blackmail attempt but had to admit to misbehaving sexually with members of his staff.

Nice: Letterman again. Whatever one thinks of his humor or his conduct, you have to admire the way he handled his brush with scandal. An on-air admission, a few jokes at his own expense, and it was on to the next story. Tiger Woods, take note.

Naughty: The U.S. government, for seeking to sell oil and gas leases that would have permitted drilling on more than 110,000 pristine acres of public land in Utah, including some of America's most beautiful and environmentally sensitive red-rock desert.

Nice: Tim DeChristopher, for upending the auction and throwing the proceedings into chaos by pretending to be a bidder, winning 14 parcels worth $1.8 million -- and then announcing that he had neither the intention nor the money to pay for them. He is now on trial in Utah.

Naughty: Roman Polanski, for allegedly taking topless photographs of a 13-year-old girl, feeding her a Quaalude and then sodomizing her.

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