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The winners and the losers

Published: Saturday, Oct. 13 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

In this July 18, 2008 file photo, calories of each food item appear on a McDonalds drive-thru menu in New York.

Associated Press

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Winner: Nutritionists argue over whether it helps the nation's fight against obesity for restaurants and soda makers to post calories on menus or on walls. McDonald's began listing calories in September. But the argument seems silly. Posting the information is a step in the right direction. The rest is up to consumers, who really can't be forced one way or the other. A lot of popular items are hideously high in calories. They still remain popular. But for people sincerely trying to watch their caloric intake, the information is a valuable and useful tool.

Winner: If you haven't voted in 12 years, should your name still remain on registration rolls? We understand the concerns of some that the decision by Utah elections officials to purge the rolls of about 70,000 voters this week may disenfranchise some people, but the state has a need to keep voter rolls current and uncluttered. The purge doesn't mean those people can't vote. If they show up, they will be given a provisional ballot. Their names can later be verified with a database containing the purged names.

Loser: It may be symbolic more than anything, but it's hard to argue against a bill that recently passed Congress, keeping millionaires from collecting unemployment. According to the Congressional Research Service, more than 2,300 millionaire households received such benefits in 2009, which was, at most, only 0.03 percent of all tax filers that year who reported receiving unemployment. The savings from cutting those people off amounts to a scant $20 million over 10 years, which pales in comparison even to, say, cutting funding for Big Bird. But it's the principle of the thing. No one wants to see someone in tails in the unemployment line with a chauffeur waiting outside.

Loser: Are you the kind who uses the same, simple to remember password for everything from your email to your bank account? You could be making life easy for thieves, as well, who want to rob you blind. The U.S. fraud-detection vendor CSID says 60 percent of customers make themselves vulnerable by using the same password for just about everything. The recommendation is to mix things up a bit, and to use passwords with upper and lower case letters with numbers and symbols thrown in. Of course, you may quickly find yourself locked out of your own accounts as you try to remember each fail-safe combination.

Winner: Nine states so far have seen the formation of religious liberty caucuses within their state legislatures, according to a Deseret News story this week. Utah is expected to follow this trend in January. The purpose is to make states more aware of legislation that might inhibit the free exercise of religion, which is a key part of the Constitution's First Amendment and a foundational principle for liberty. The caucuses were created in response to recent state laws that require doctors to provide treatments that violate their beliefs, or insurance companies to cover procedures they are opposed to on moral grounds. An official for the American Religious Freedom Program said matters of conscience are under greater attack in state Legislatures than in Congress, which makes the formation of caucuses both timely and necessary.

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