Thumbs Up ... to faith leaders in the Quad-Cities who are moving to plant the first of 1,000 trees in the area to mitigate the damage done by climate change.
A sapling will be planted on Sunday to kick off the campaign.
The Faith Leaders Caucus of Quad-Cities Interfaith is partnering with Living Lands and Waters and other environmental organizations in the area on this initiative.
Orders are being taken by the group through Feb. 14.
As we've tried to emphasize, we have a climate crisis. Unfortunately, our federal government has not proved itself to be up to the task to take on this serious challenge, which has left others to take up the fight. That includes some state and local governments.
The "Plant 1,000 Trees" campaign here is just one small step. Worldwide coordinated efforts clearly will be needed to have a serious impact. But we applaud those who have stepped into the breach, who are leading by example where others are not.
Thumbs Up ... to FBI Director Christopher Wray, who sounded alarm bells in Congress this week about Russia's continuing attempts to interfere with our elections.
Wray said Russia is engaged in "information warfare," and while he said law enforcement has not seen efforts to target election infrastructure, it is bad enough our adversaries are using disinformation and social media manipulation to affect the 2020 vote.
After the 2016 Russian interference, it's good to see that the FBI is issuing warnings.
We are nine months away from Election Day. It's only going to get louder and more confusing. We need to be on guard and be careful about who we're listening to.
Thumbs Down ... to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez for throwing a hand grenade into the already messed up Iowa caucus situation.
On Thursday, Perez demanded a "recanvass" before the final results were even in.
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It's clear to everybody that results were reported woefully late, and there are legitimate questions about inconsistencies in the data. The New York Times had an article this week that reported inconsistencies in at least 100 of the nearly 1,700 precincts.
We believe those inconsistencies need to be resolved. But there's a process for asking for an audit of results, and the DNC chair throwing a fit on Twitter isn't part of it.
Our belief is the Iowa Democratic Party needs to resolve these questions. The candidates are owed that much. More importantly, so are the tens of thousands of Iowa voters who took part in the caucuses this week.
Thumbs Down ... to President Trump's campaign manager, Brad Parscale, for suggesting that the Iowa Democratic Party's caucus reporting problems and its attempt to exert what it called "quality control" was actually a cover for corruption.
Parscale tweeted this Monday night: "Quality control = rigged?"
Trump's sons also got in on the act, too.
Frankly, as the FBI director noted, our adversaries are already trying to mess with our elections and undermine Americans' confidence in the system.
They don't need any help.
Thumbs Up ... to Illinois' tax amnesty program, which we learned this week brought in $237 million in back taxes. That's about $65 million more than what the Pritzker administration estimated it would draw.
The amnesty period took place over six weeks last fall.
The additional revenue is a sliver of the state's $40 billion budget. But the money still helps, and the Associated Press reported that the administration said the final tally could wind up being a bit more because of late payments.
The amnesty allowed people to make good on taxes they had not paid between mid-2011 and mid-2018. In return, the state is forgiving penalties and interest.
Of the proceeds, more than $60 million will go to local governments, including $7.5 million to the City of Chicago.
It's a bit hard to swallow forgiving folks who don't pay their taxes on time, but it seems pretty clear this was money that would likely never have been recovered otherwise. We're happy it ended up being more successful than what initially was anticipated.