Loser: An IRS official admitted this week that the agency harassed conservative political groups, asking them for lists of donors and making them disclose their postings on social media in election year reviews of whether those groups should retain tax-exempt status. Lois Lerner made the disclosure at an American Bar Association conference this week, blaming the policy violations on low-level workers in Cincinnati, according to the Associated Press. She later said no high-level officials knew this was going on. We're guessing they found out at some point or Lerner wouldn't have been able to make her cavalier announcement. She apologized for the extra scrutiny. Frankly, that isn't good enough. The IRS holds a unique status among government agencies. It collects revenue and enforces compliance to tax laws, all with little of the oversight one would expect in a free society. We expect a full-scale, independent investigation into these admitted violations, but we're not holding our breath.
Winner: Kudos to the Fourth Street Clinic, which was recognized recently as the first primary care clinic in the region to reach the benchmarks of the Utah Beacon Community Program, which aims to cut health care costs and improve services through technology and best practices. The clinic serves the health needs of homeless men, women and children. The clinic has increased blood sugar and cholesterol screenings by 20 percent. Also, 10 percent more patients are controlling their cholesterol and blood pressure than previously. Given the transient nature of the community the clinic serves, as well as the many other challenges that stand in the way of providing them with health care, these results are astounding.
Loser: Can bad behavior, stereotyping and a hatred for the poor be good for business? Apparently, the folks at Abercrombie & Fitch think so. CEO Mike Jeffries made comments to Salon back in 2006 that resurfaced and went viral this week. He said his stores won't carry large sizes for women because he doesn't want fat people advertising the store's brand and because he wants to cater to beautiful people, like those who always were popular in school. This is along the same lines of what an unnamed district manager said two years ago when asked if the company donated any clothing to the poor. "Abercrombie & Fitch doesn't want to create the image that just anybody, poor people, can wear their clothing," he said. Outraged groups are petitioning the store to change its policies. A better tactic might be just to ignore the brand and shop somewhere else.
Winner: Human beings can be remarkably resilient. That was evident this week when workers in Bangladesh found a seamstress alive in the rubble of a collapsed building after 17 days. No other survivors had been found there since late April.