The winners and the losers

Published: Saturday, May 7 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Loser: As expected, Utah lawmakers voted Friday to override Gov. Gary Herbert's veto of a bill that will set aside 30 percent of any future growth in sales tax revenues for road projects. This strange codification of future spending priorities will make it more difficult to fund other legitimate needs as the economy begins to rebound.

Winner: Reports about the nation's economy can be clear as mud sometimes. On Friday, the Labor Department said the nation added 244,000 jobs last month, and that those were spread among retailers, factories, financial companies, education, health care and construction. Good news, right? But in a separate measure, the government found that unemployment rose back to 9 percent in April, from March's 8.8 percent. Bad news, right? Actually, things are even worse. Unemployment figures can be misleading because they don't include people working part-time who would rather be full-time, as well as people who have given up looking altogether. Add those in and unemployment really stands at 15.9 percent. But overall, these reports add up to good economic news, despite rising gas prices. At least the stock market seemed to think so on Friday, surging just after the news was released. That ought to be clear, right?

Loser: At press time, it was hard to know for certain whether a student at Payson's Park View Elementary School had the measles. Just the possibility, however, was going to keep 10 teachers, 15 staff and 22 students home on Friday because they haven't been immunized. Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 2011 is on track to see more measles cases in the United States than at any time during the last decade. The world ought to be ridding itself completely of this and other contagious diseases that typically affect children. However, too many parents, for whatever reason, fail to immunize their children.

Winner: Dog lovers won't be surprised to learn that at least one specially trained canine was among the Navy Seals who killed Osama bin Laden. Dogs are becoming indispensable parts of military missions against terrorism, given their keen ability to sniff out explosives. Reports say the Seals' dogs are equipped with waterproof body armor, infrared cameras and ear buds through which they can hear commands. Man's best friend, indeed.

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