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THUMBS UP! To the United States women's soccer team. Starting with the 1991 team won the Cup title in China, the U.S. women have three titles, one runner-up and three thirds. Sunday's match marks the United States' third straight final, a record. (And that's not to mention the country's four Olympic gold medals.) To make them even more American, they've been chastised by staid commentators and the British press (which asked if the U.S. was “too arrogant”) and by England's manager, who complained about their “etiquette” as team representatives scouted the hotel where they'd be housed after a win over England. We have no problem with the U.S. winning 15-0 if their best overwhelms others' best to that degree.

THUMBS DOWN! To miserably hot and humid conditions. Yes, July is our warmest month, and August will have its share of sizzling days. But we've been assailed by extensive extremes. As we pointed out in an A1 story Sunday, May was the third-wettest month on record in Illinois, and even if June precipitation turns out to be closer to normal, our precipitation for the year is well above normal. Let's hope the next couple of months provide us with simply nice, warm summer days.

THUMBS UP! To the ninth year of Come Together, Be Empowered. The event is a fundraiser for local ovarian, breast and cervical cancer programs. The event is close to a decade under that name, having evolved from the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Hundreds continue to participate in the long-running event.

THUMBS DOWN! To the vandals of “The Bean.” The iconic downtown Chicago Millennium Park sculpture (whose name is actually “Cloud Gate”) was attacked with graffiti Monday night. Fortunately, by 10:30 a.m. Tuesday morning, workers had polished The Bean clean. The good news is the violators were caught. The bad news is they committed what was, as one cleanup observer said, such a “selfish” act.

THUMBS UP! To older Americans feeling upbeat about their health. Four of five individuals aged 65 to 74 described their health as “excellent,” “very good” or “good.” (“Fair” and “poor” were the other choices.) The cost and ability to access health care remains a concern and will continue to be as the last baby boomers age. By their sheer size and enthusiasm, we're seeing that group revise what we think about aging.

THUMBS DOWN! To the Supreme Court and its decision on gerrymandering. Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, the very idea of drawing political borders favoring one party over another is decidedly un-American and extremely win-at-all-cost political. If the Supreme Court is going to leave the decisions on district boundaries to the states, a state like Illinois needs to place a Fair Maps amendment to the voters and let them decide what's right, and hope the voters do better than the politicians.

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