Winner: Who says Congress can't get anything done? When people start standing in lines at airports, and when it becomes clear that neither side is going to win the blame game, and — perhaps most importantly — when lawmakers themselves are going to see their own flights delayed, action follows. Both the House and Senate passed a bill late this week giving the Transportation Department more flexibility in its funding to avoid furloughing air traffic controllers. The bill also heads off a move to close 149 control towers at smaller airports as a money-saving measure. On the one hand, it's disturbing to see how quickly Congress will retreat from anything that causes even minor pain. (Although more than 863 flights were delayed by the furloughs on Wednesday, that paled compared to the 2,100 or so that were delayed by weather.) But on the other hand, no sane budget-cutting plan would target the nation's air infrastructure, which is so important to commerce.
Loser: Even when the economic news looks good, it really isn't. The Commerce Department said Friday the economy grew at an annualized rate of 2.5 percent during the first quarter of 2013. Growth is good, and this is certainly better than the 0.4 percent of the last quarter of 2012, but it's not nearly good enough. Economists said much of it came from businesses restocking inventories that were low at the end of last year. The long-term average growth of the economy since World War II is 3.2 percent, but the current economy would have to grow much faster than that to recover the millions of jobs lost during the Great Recession of 2008.
Look at it this way. It would be as if you picked your car up after a repair on a long road trip. The mechanic tells you the good news is the car will move again. The bad news is it can't go faster than 25 mph. Perhaps the best we can do is try to enjoy the view.
Winner: It isn't often that bad guys turn themselves in. Then again, it isn't often that bad guys can escape from jail and remain on the loose for 14 years. David Lee Kemp was awaiting trial on murder charges in Oklahoma when he used a barbecue fork to overpower a guard. That was on March 11, 1999, and he was 29. He turned himself in Friday to authorities in Comanche County, Oklahoma, about 80 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. He's now 43. No word yet on why he came back, or on how he eluded authorities so long.
Loser: Sometimes, modern technology helps criminals take advantage of people. Sometimes, the technology takes advantage of them. Someone trying to buy marijuana in Logan recently tried to do it by texting. But he entered the wrong number. The innocent person on the other end figured out what was happening and notified police, who set up a sting and nabbed the would-be buyer. Texting, as any parent will tell you, can be dangerous.