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The winners and the losers

Loser: Every parent from a certain generation must have felt vindicated by an Associated Press story this week quoting numerous experts on the growing problem of hearing loss. Yes, all that loud rock 'n' roll music really is bad for you, especially if you crank it up and listen for long periods of time — and especially if you listen through head phones attached firmly to your ears.

A Purdue University professor said he is seeing many young people who have "older ears," meaning they have experienced the type of hearing loss one would expect to encounter in an older person.

It might take a lot of convincing to get a young person to squelch the volume on the iPod. Maybe a new generation of nagging deaf parents will speak with more authority than their predecessors.

Winner: Glendale Middle School serves as a good argument for tough accountability standards among schools. Despite a large population of low-income and non-English-speaking students, it passed the federal No Child Left Behind requirements this year. That was due mainly to its success in raising the percentage of math-proficient students from 56 percent to 80 percent.

The No Child law has its problems, and it remains galling that Congress dictates to the states on a matter that ought to be a local concern. But it's difficult to argue that Glendale would have made similar progress without this kind of public accountability.

Winner/Loser: The city of Orem has the right idea, outlawing the practice of "Dumpster diving" in an effort to curb identity theft. Criminals can obtain credit card numbers and other personal information from garbage that didn't come from them, and that can lead to a lot of suffering for an unsuspecting victim. But the city needs to be sensitive to the homeless and the poor, some of whom regularly visit the trash outside restaurants and other eating establishments. The act of going through the trash itself shouldn't be as important as what a person removes.