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THUMBS UP! To an excellent idea by Lincoln Mayor Seth Goodman. Goodman acted on an idea to ask local businesses to make donations that could then be donated to local residents. Expecting maybe a dozen responses, he wound up with 186 donations valued at $25,000. The execution of the idea also gave people a better idea of the variety of businesses that make up the Lincoln community. 

THUMBS DOWN! To the federal government partial shutdown and the mixed messages coming from the White House. You're absolutely justified in being confused about what the debate is, because it seems to change by the day. Amounts President Donald Trump appears to demand for his wall at the Mexican border seems to be in constant flux. This does not augur well for the next two years in Washington, D.C.

THUMBS UP! To enthusiastic candidates. We're about to enter campaign season locally with elections for school board, mayor and city council. We continue to be encouraged by the number of candidates. Just a year ago, some civic leaders were quietly wondering whether any quality candidates would decide to make runs at elected positions. We appear ready for competitive races.

THUMBS DOWN! To fat-shaming, this time by Egypt President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. The general-turned-president said too many of his citizens are overweight, and suggested TV shows shouldn't show presenters or guests who are overweight. One in three Egyptians are overweight, the highest percentage of any country in the world. But Egypt is also a struggling country where foods high in carbs and sugars are considerably cheaper than healthier options. This is tantamount to blaming the victim. 

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