* WINNERS: The environmental movement. And the economy. This week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reported that the nation's air became steadily cleaner during the prosperous 1980s, proving that cleaning up the environment need not hinder economic growth.
LOSERS: The environmental movement. And Utah. Despite the progress in curtailing air pollution, an estimated 84 million Americans still breathe air that exceeds the standards for at least one of the six major pollutants monitored by the EPA. As for Utah, the air along the Wasatch Front has been getting dirtier in shameful contrast to the progress elsewhere.LOSER: Dickinson County Jail in Abilene, Kan. Inmate Herbert Ross Montanye cut his way out with smuggled hacksaw blades and was gone eight days before jail authorities noticed he had escaped.
LOSER: Escapee Herbert Ross Montanye. He was captured this week in Green River, Utah, after burglarizing - of all places - a Utah Highway Patrol office. With such ineptitude on both sides, Montanye and Dickinson County Jail would seem to deserve each other.
* WINNER: The temperance movement. Why did America so easily win the war in the Persian Gulf? The usual answers range from sophisticated weapons to tough generals and an adroit President Bush. But don't rule out the impact of Saudi Arabia's bans on drinking. As President Stephen Trachtenberg of George Washington University noted this week:
"U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia were the most orderly American force of the 20th century because of prohibitions against alcoholic beverages there."
LOSER: The temperance movement. Just to see how firmly the law is enforced, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety sent youths under the legal drinking age to 100 liquor and grocery stores to buy a six-pack of beer. They succeeded, if that's the right word, 97 times.
- MOST TELLING OBSERVATION: The one expressed in the latest joke being circulated on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.:
"There's good news and bad news for Saddam Hussein. The bad news is that he's being investigated for war crimes. The good news for him is that the investigation is being pushed by the Senate Ethics Committee."