Stephan Savoia, AP
Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney takes the stage to concede his quest for President of the United State at his election night event at the Boston Convention Center in Boston, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012.

Winner: During virtually every election in the United States, the courtesy and orderliness go unnoticed. People take for granted how power is transferred in the most powerful nation on earth, but the process truly is remarkable. No sooner had news services declared Barack Obama the winner of a close presidential race Tuesday than they began wondering when his challenger, Mitt Romney, would call to concede. It didnt take long. Romney, like the runners-up before him, graciously offered congratulations to the winner and relinquished all claims to the office. This tradition in the handling of power is the very definition of civilization, and it deserves greater attention.

Loser: As if to underscore how remarkable it is for power to be transferred in a civilized nation, Syrian leader Bashar Assad dug in his heels this week in the face of mounting opposition and declared he would never be forced into exile. I am Syrian, I am made in Syria, and I will live and die in Syria, he said. Because of that, unfortunately, many other people will die in Syria as a result of the civil war Assad has fomented in his relentless pursuit of power.

Winner: Being on a short list is not the same as getting the job, but it was no small thing to read an Associated Press report that former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr., is being considered as President Obamas next secretary of state. Huntsmans expertise on China would make him an attractive candidate for the job, while giving the president a unique claim to bipartisanship in his administration.

Loser: David Petraeus has served his country admirably, especially leading troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he no doubt had much more to give as director of the CIA. That makes his sudden resignation this week all the more sad. As of Friday afternoon, all that was known was that Petraeus had admitted to an extramarital affair. His resignation adds to the list of positions President Obama must fill as he begins his second term.

Loser: After irregularities were uncovered at Timpview High School recently, the Utah state auditor decided to examine four more high schools handling of athletics and activities funding. What they found was not encouraging. Each had different ways to handle funds and different internal controls, and in some cases, those rules were routinely ignored. The auditors office issued a statement that said it believes similar problems exist in every district. The state school board is researching ways to make financial rules and regulations uniform statewide. That sounds like a great idea.