Thumbs up ... to a joyous Christmas, especially those whose family members came home from a deployment in Afghanistan. This holiday season certainly was extra special for them and their families.

Thumbs up, thumbs down ...

Thumbs up ... to a joyous Christmas, especially those whose family members came home from a deployment in Afghanistan. This holiday season certainly was extra special for them and their families.

Thumbs down ... to travel problems, mainly in the eastern U.S. As one who has suffered through a 10-hour delay to get a standby flight over holidays, the reaction from travelers who were inconvenienced by the blizzard that hit New York and New Jersey are right to be upset but wrong to blame those states’ leaders for an act of God. Uncertain conditions this time of year are something everyone traveling — regardless of mode of transportation — deals with during the winter. But blaming the states for not responding quickly enough to the blizzard seems shortsighted. Perhaps these people would have been better served by not taking planes to their destinations.

Thumbs up ... to improvements coming to the local theaters. The Mall Cinema 8 is already a pretty nice, reasonably priced venue to watch a movie, and Showplex Cinemas pledging to make improvements helps enhance the experience even more.

Thumbs up ... to the local churches who put on the community Christmas dinner last Friday as well as Girard National Bank for serving that community. Not everyone has family with which to spend the holidays, and these efforts show great compassion for fellow residents of this area.

Thumbs up ... to other acts of kindness locally, such as Via Christi’s helping out a Coffeyville family and allowing the husband and father to spend Christmas at home with them.

Thumbs up ... to the luminaries in the Winwood Drive and Olive Street area. These lights are frequently seen in the southwest U.S., and always put a special glow on the Christmas holidays.

Thumbs up ... to patient retail workers handling the many unhappy returns after Christmas. It takes a strong constitution to deal with unhappy customers, and for those who are making returns, please be kind and patient when returning merchandise. Remember that the retail worker will accommodate you to the best of his or her ability, and also remember that they had nothing to do with your receiving the unwanted gift.

Thumbs up ... to Christmas lights staying lit into 2011. The festive touch should not just be limited to a few days in December, but if some people keep theirs up until July, then that’s just plain lazy.

Thumbs up ... to the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s water resources division lifting a six-year moratorium on new aquifer permits. This will benefit Pittsburg, so it is nice to see that the state will have this community’s best interests at heart.

Thumbs down ... to bad behavior by basketball players at KU and K-State. Marcus Morris’ ejection against Cal was pretty cut and dried, but the game was filled with cheap shots by both sides all night, but only Morris was severely punished for his retaliation. K-State doesn’t exactly have choirboys, either, what with the revelation of standouts Curtis Kelly and Jacob Pullen receiving outrageous discounts at the local Dillards department store. Being suspended for a handful of games is fairly minor, when one considers that what was done by the Dillards clerk and the players amounts to stealing, which is a criminal act.

Thumbs down ... to conservative commentator Tucker Carlson for making one of the most outrageous statements of 2010 — with only a few days remaining in the year. Carlson’s saying that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick deserved to be “executed” over dog-fighting charges is way out of line. This is not to downgrade the charges against Vick, who has paid his debt to society for his transgressions. But for Carlson to flat-out say that Vick deserves the death penalty over the charges boggles the mind. Here in Kansas, we have a couple of convicted murderers of human beings who are serving life terms only because our system saw fit not to sentence them to death. The Carr brothers terrorized the Wichita community 10 years ago, killing five people. And then there’s BTK, who was finally captured and sentenced for serial killings. It would seem to a logical mind that these three individuals are better candidates for being executed than Vick. One has to wonder whether Carlson made this statement in response to President Obama’s praise of Vick earlier in the week.

Thumbs up ... to the New Year. Also, thumbs up to designated drivers. But a thumbs down to anyone who drinks too much and tries to drive. It’s bad enough that such rash behavior will stretch the resources of local police and county sheriffs, but these actions also imperil other motorists as well. Let’s end 2010 on a high note and begin 2011 the same way. Specifically, alive.

Lionel Tipton, for the Morning Sun