Thumbs up to a Mankato man becoming a Lego master.

Although Caleb Schilling and his twin teammate Jacob didn’t take home the “Lego Masters” trophy, the two of them achieved third place out of 12 teams competing on the FOX reality show.

They also can be proud that they stole the title of the “castle brothers” from the winners. They built a castle on the side of a cliff.

For six months Caleb had to keep secret how far they advanced in the nationally televised Lego-building contest. Their fate was finally revealed Tuesday night.

Caleb is a recent Bethany Lutheran College graduate. He drew positive attention to the college and the city by doing so well in the competition — and by obviously having fun while doing it and inspiring other young builders.

Booster shots

Thumbs down to the confusion created over the COVID-19 booster shot.

The rollout of booster shots was to begin next week according to an earlier announcement by the administration. But the Food and Drug Administration has struggled with the issue. On Friday a key advisory panel said boosters should only be offered to seniors and others at elevated risk of severe illness.

There are also questions about the ethics of making a third shot available to Americans when so many countries have given few or no vaccine shots to their citizens.

The whole thing has left the public confused. We hope the administration and top health officials will soon agree on specific, clear recommendations for Americans.

Gen. Milley protects

Thumbs up to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley for his vigilance in communicating a message to China of U.S. stability in light of crazy things President Donald Trump was saying in the final weeks of his administration.

According to excerpts from a new book, Milley twice called his counterpart in China in the final months of the Trump administration to let them know the U.S. was not threatening China, despite Trump’s rhetoric and his fueling of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The calls were coordinated with the Department of Defense and other interagency groups and across the government. They are part of the chairman’s responsibility to maintain strategic stability, according to a spokesman for Milley’s office.

According to the book “Peril” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, Milley also had phone calls with various high ranking military officials about procedures and security involved in launching nuclear missiles.

Trump called for Milley to be tried for treason or otherwise prosecuted. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called for his firing. But President Joe Biden said he has full confidence in Milley.

The episode illustrates once again that Trump was an out-of-control madman who had no conscience about risking American democracy and its standing in the world.

Restricting the pardon power

Thumbs up to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which this week upheld the long-standing tradition of requiring unanimity on the state Board of Pardons.

Unlike many states (and the federal government), Minnesota does not vest its pardon powers solely on the chief executive. Back in the 1890s it established a three-member board, consisting of the governor, the attorney general and the chief justice, to weigh requests for clemency. It has always required all three members to agree to grant a pardon.

A woman convicted of killing her husband and thus at risk of deportation to Ethiopia (and a possible revenge killing there) was recently denied a pardon on a 2-1 vote. Her attorney convinced a lower court that a majority vote was sufficient to grant a pardon. The high court, with the chief justice not participating, overturned that ruling.

Limiting the pardon power as Minnesota does is wise. We have seen in other states, and from too many presidents, a wanton misuse of pardons. The existence of the board, and the unanimity rule, is a valuable check and balance.

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