March 2, 2017

Jeff Sessions' problems / Chicago's most endangered / TV anchors away

JEFF SESSIONS’ PROBLEMS. In confirmation hearings on his nomination to become President Trump’s attorney general, Sessions told Sen. Al Franken, “I didn’t have communications with the Russians.”

 But the Washington Post now reports Sessions did indeed speak “twice last year with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.” (Photo: Gage Skidmore.)
 … Prompting several top Republicans to call on Sessions to recuse himself from investigating Russia-Trump ties.
 … And prompting House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, citing the crime of “lying under oath to Congress,” to call on Sessions to quit—something pre-confirmation Jeff Sessions apparently would’ve considered a good idea.
 The Post’s Chris Cillizza: “It’s now political suicide for Republicans if they don’t call for deeper investigations on Russia.”
 The New York Times reports outgoing Obama administration members “scrambled to spread information about Russian efforts to undermine the presidential election … across the government.”
 The White House counsel has told the president’s aides to preserve any such emails and other materials.

‘WE DECIDED NOT TO SH*T ON OURSELVES.’ A top Trump aide tells Axios that post-speech euphoria prompted the president’s team to put off announcement of a new executive order on migrant travel.
 Minutes after speaking at a news conference about Trump immigration policies, a young “DREAMer” was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Mississippi.
 Chicago Cardinal Cupich is telling priests not to let Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents onto church property without a warrant.

‘HE’S STILL EMBRACED AND LAUDED BY RACISTS AND WHITE NATIONALISTS, AND HE’S STILL UNPREDICTABLE AND WILDLY SELF-OBSESSED.’ The Tribune’s Rex Huppke says Trump’s address “was not a great speech. It was just a speech.”
 Mark Brown in the Sun-Times: Oprah vs. Trump might be the race you want.
 White House admits it intentionally misled—a.k.a. lied to—reporters ahead of the president’s speech.
 Trump may—or may not—have accepted U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush’s invitation to return to Chicago.

BEN CARSON’S IN THE HOUSE. The Senate’s confirmed Trump’s Housing and Urban Development nominee, putting another outsider with no government experience in the Cabinet. (Photo: Gage Skidmore.)
 A source tells CNN Trump’s considering cutting the EPA budget by 24 percent and its staff by 20 percent.
 Protesters have managed to force Sen. Marco Rubio out of his Tampa office.

CHICAGO’S MOST ENDANGERED. Preservation Chicago’s new list of at-risk properties includes the site of the Obama presidential library.

‘RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU RECEIVED A $28,000 PAY INCREASE LAST YEAR.’ A Tribune editorial condemns the Metra board members who approved one for Metra’s retiring CEO.

THE OSCARS SPEECH YOU DIDN’T HEAR. The writer-director of “Moonlight” shares what he would have said had everything not gone to hell during the Best Picture announcement.
 AP: Two accountants “will never work the Oscars again.”

TV ANCHORS AWAY. Two Chicago TV newscasters will be off the air for weeks to undergo medical treatment.
 The Tribune’s Steve Johnson: Stephen Colbert “seems more at ease in his role, even as he parades nightly his discomfort with the direction in which the nation is heading.”
 On last night’s show, Colbert and Patrick Stewart acted out “Waiting For Godot’s Obamacare Replacement.”

UNRELATED ITEMS.
 A University College London team reports finding the oldest fossil ever.
CORRECTED, 10:13 a.m.: Antarctica had what Gizmodo considers a terrifyingly pleasant day yesterday. (Corrected by Gizmodo. It was last year.)

PIZZA RULES. Oh, sure, you say you care about President Trump’s big address to the nation and its impact on Chicago. But this was the most-clicked link in yesterday’s Chicago Public Square email. (In fairness, this was No. 2. But with only about half as many clicks.)
 But, hey, we all gotta eat. So check out this report on Wisconsin’s forbidden butter.
 … And this one about McDonald’s vow to better its burgers.
 … And this, about Oberweis milk bottles’ new color, which takes a cue from beer packaging.

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