This week is another edition of “We’re all thumbs,” in which the editorial staff of Current Publishing picks proverbial winners and losers, heroes and villains from recent news stories:

Thumbs DOWN to those who betted and bellyached against the Broncos. Patriots fans can take comfort in knowing it took a Super Bowl-winning team to take down Brady & Co. We also think the Patriots’ comeback effort against Denver looked heroic, compared with the Panthers’ wilting performance.

Thumbs DOWN to the winter weather we’ve had until this past snowy, cold week. Many festivals, sled dog races, ice fishing derbies and even the iconic toboggan world championships in Camden have been affected by lack of ice and snow. We know the weather can change in an instant, as well as from year to year, but really, what’s up with one of the worst winters on record being followed by one of the wimpiest?

Thumbs UP to all our local student-athletes who are competing in regional and state championships. Basketball and hockey championships are upcoming, but the competition is peaking right now for indoor track and field, wrestling, swimming, cheering and skiing. Sports are a metaphor for life, and while schooling must take precedence in teens’ lives, competition helps round them out as individuals.

Thumbs DOWN to the endless presidential campaign. The length of the contest spreads across two years. The TV commercials are like Chinese water torture. The two-faced candidates change depending on what state they’re in. And people are sick of the whole process long before Election Day. Our neighbor to the north has it right in this arena. Canada limits the campaign to a specific number of days. Less than three months, in fact. Their media companies might not profit as much, but the electorate surely benefits.

Thumbs UP to those who have so beautifully overhauled the Thomas Memorial Library in Cape Elizabeth, which celebrated a ribbon cutting Monday. Libraries are one of the pillars of a well-functioning community, and Cape residents, who footed the $4 million renovation bill, will be stronger – and more knowledgeable – thanks to the expansion.

Thumbs DOWN to the technocrats hired to help the city of Flint, Mich., avoid financial ruin and who instead have likely sunk the city by contaminating the water system. Talk about penny-wise and pound-foolish. Water is precious. Mainers especially know how priceless a bounteous supply of healthy water is. What was really egregious in Flint is how the local and state government in Michigan denied there was a problem for so long. It’s just another example of how government can be the bane of those who trust it to do right.

Thumbs UP to the University of Southern Maine High School, a proposed program at the University of Southern Maine designed to attract international high-school students to the Gorham campus. The program would cost $36,000 a year, which would strengthen the system’s struggling finances. But it would also broaden cultural opportunities for area residents, as well. That sounds a win-win for all.

Thumbs DOWN to the white bread Oscar nominees. As has been well publicized, the few dozen actor nominees are all white. If the selection process for the Oscars weren’t so biased toward a certain kind of movie (namely auteur and avant-garde) and actors (the same crowd gets nominated every year) we might give the selection process a pass, but the process is far from pure. While the Academy Awards have been the most coveted in the entertainment business, we’re thinking more stock should be put into the Golden Globes or the People’s Choice Awards, since those are more representative of what the average moviegoer and TV buff find praiseworthy. Let the people decide, not the entertainment elites.

Thumbs UP to the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, which last week launched an online tool to help Maine residents track the income sources of their legislators. The site, which also lists the bills each legislator has filed, can be found on the group’s home page. It was a gargantuan effort due to the difficulty of cobbling together the information. Comparing the two can be an education in how the legislator either uses his expertise to aid the public or abuses his connections to further his own interests. Lawmakers lose their anonymity when they become representatives of the people, so while some may argue this release of information violates their privacy we think the greater good is fulfilled. Thanks, Maine Center. Your effort is definitely in the spirit of reporting the public interest.


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