Winner: Utah State University moved quickly recently after a 17-year-old girl was rushed to the hospital with apparently alcohol poisoning. The school suspended the Gamma Epsilon chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha. Students who quickly got the girl to the hospital deserve some credit, as well, although whoever allowed an under-aged girl access to alcohol had a serious lapse in good judgment. Thankfully, the girl survived, which is different from three years ago when an 18-year-old USU student died from excessive alcohol. The good news is how people reacted to this incident. The bad news is that irresponsible drinking continues at Utah's colleges.
Loser: Venezuela continued its spiral into totalitarianism this week as President Hugo Chavez announced he was seizing expensive private homes on the resort island of Los Roques. His excuse is that the homes were "illegally built." But of course no independent court has made such a ruling. Chavez has expropriated many privately owned businesses during his 12 years in office, but this is the first time he has taken private homes.
Loser: Liberal marijuana laws in Holland are gradually giving the world a test case that ought to discredit such things in the rest of the world. The Dutch government this week said it is going to classify high-potency marijuana as a hard drug and crack down on its use. But it may prove difficult for the nation's "weed cafes" to determine what is extremely potent and what is mild. Meanwhile, Dutch scientists are drawing connections between THC, marijuana's main active chemical, and mental illness. It's hard to believe many parts of the United States seem willing to move down the liberalization road.
Winner: Reacting to pressure from Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah Board of Regents has reversed its earlier decision to increase the salaries of Utah's higher-ed presidents. The regents had a good case to make about offering competitive salaries, but Herbert was wise to say current economic conditions ought to be a bigger factor.
Loser: Iowa is said to be poised to move its GOP presidential caucuses to Jan. 3, thus ensuring the presidential campaign season extends even longer. Perhaps Utah ought to trump all states and take this trend to its logical conclusion. Schedule a primary for this Christmas Day, and make it for the 2016 election, instead.