Can I just tell you guys that I love Christmas Eve?
I mean I really love it. Probably even more than the big day itself.
The anticipation. The extra-cheery salutations. Tracking Santa on the NORAD website. Sprinkling reindeer food on the front lawn in the moonlight.
I eat all that stuff up with a tinsel-covered spoon!
In fact, I'm in such a good mood today that I'm going to see if I can work my way through this week's political news without losing a single ounce of holiday cheer.
Spending: It's all relative
Up first, we have state legislators trying to pass laws to cap spending. Not just their spending, mind you. No, guys like Senate President Mike Haridopolos want to place restrictions and caps on how local governments are allowed to spend their money as well.
Normally, non-holiday Scott might suggest that those hypocritical hacks in Tallahassee get their own house in order before meddling in the affairs of others. Or that, if Haridopolos is so concerned about what local government is doing, maybe he should've run for a seat on the Melbourne City Council.
But hey, this is Christmas Eve! And I'm cheery Scott! So I'll just take another swig of cocoa and listen to what they have to say.
Except one of the things I hear is former Sen. Carey Baker complaining about "unacceptable government spending." Now I can't help but think about how Baker — who was term-limited out of office just last month — got his buddy Haridopolos to give him a $90,000 "consulting" contract to keep him on the public payroll.
And how Haridopolos raised eyebrows for scoring a $75,000 gig as a "guest lecturer" at University of Florida … and another $150,000 from Brevard Community College to write a book.
And these are the guys lecturing others about the need to turn off the spending spigot?
Well, ain't that just one big steaming pile of … figgy pudding.
OK, now that I've taken a deep, peppermint-infused breath, let's stuff some stockings.
•Candy for former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, who disclosed Wednesday that he's joining the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness. The group needs the help. So does the cause.
•Candy also for Gov.-elect Rick Scott's suggestion to stop jailing juveniles guilty of misdemeanors. The St. Petersburg Times cited praise for the idea from fiscal watchdogs, who said it could save taxpayers $30 million, and from social-justice advocates, who argue that imprisoning children convicted of minor crimes only makes them more likely to re-offend. The idea is worth exploring.
•Coal, however, for Scott's decision to put insiders and lobbyists in key parts of his administration … after vowing not to do so. To be honest, most of us didn't really expect him to keep his word in the first place. But it takes a special brand of delusion or deception to place a couple of former lobbyists in top positions and then claim you've just sent a message about "the end of business as usual in Florida's Capitol." How do you gift-wrap a reality check?
And to all a good night
A parting thought that garnered plenty of Christmas cheer among my Facebook friends:
I love when people wish me "Merry Christmas."
But not so much when they tag on something like: "IF I'm still allowed to say that anyway!"
All of a sudden, your greeting sounds a bit more like a gripe you want to air than an expression of warm wishes on my behalf.
So let me just end by wishing everyone a full-throated and unconditional Merry Christmas!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to rustle up some reindeer food.
Scott Maxwell — whose secret family recipe for reindeer food is eight parts oatmeal and one part glitter — can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-6141.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun