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The winners and the losers

Published: Saturday, Aug. 11 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Winner: You don't need a license to braid hair in Utah, after all. Jestina Clayton, who grew up in Sierra Leone, challenged Utah's requirement to obtain a license for braiding and won this week. The judge called the requirement "irrational and a violation of her constitutional rights." Obtaining a license would have required 2,000 hours of irrelevant schooling at a cost of $16,000, which sounds like a nice way to ensure job security and minimize competition for those already in the hair business. Clayton said the ruling showed her the "system works." Indeed it appears to have in this instance.

Loser: Was it hot enough for you? The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said July was the hottest month ever recorded in the continental United States, beating the old record set in 1936 by two-tenths of a degree. Let's see, a bad economy, a heat wave reminiscent of the dust bowl — all we need now is for Fred Astaire to start tap dancing to prove that history really does repeat itself.

Loser: The U.S. Postal Service lost another $5.2 billion during the most recent quarter of the year and missed a payment for health benefits due to the U.S. Treasury for the first time ever. The outlook couldn't be more bleak, and yet members of Congress don't want to deal with the necessary cutbacks with a big election looming. They went on summer recess without tackling the problem or considering suggested reforms that would allow discontinuing Saturday service. This is one case where doing nothing is far worse than even simply mailing it in, so to speak.

Winners: For America's war heroes, it's never too late to receive commendations. Retired Air Force Sergeant David Chung of Hamilton Fort, Utah, finally has the Purple Heart he earned in Vietnam 40 years ago. Chung risked his life pulling two wounded soldiers to safety, suffering shrapnel wounds to his face and chest. He was denied treatment at first because he is an Asian-American and was feared to be the enemy. Then the documentation of what he did was lost until recently. Meanwhile, Jim Lamph of Bountiful finally received the medals and ribbons he earned in World War II and Korea — a delay caused by a fire that destroyed documentation of what he had done. For both men, the medals are tangible reminders of real sacrifices, the fruits of which all Americans now enjoy.

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