August 31, 2017

And now, explosions / Last call / A dark threat

… AND NOW, EXPLOSIONS. A flooded-out Houston-area chemical plant suffered fires and two explosions—or maybe “chemical reactions”—overnight, sending up a plume federal authorities described as “incredibly dangerous.”
Houston’s floodwaters now constitute a sea of health and environmental danger.
Harvey looks like the costliest disaster in U.S. history.
Yale law prof Stephen L. Carter: Looting by hungry people in a disaster is literally not a crime.
The White House concedes President Trump lied about “witnessing first hand” Harvey’s devastation.

A Pulitzer winner is under fire for a cartoon critics say shamed Harvey’s victims.
The French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo says the drowning of “all the neo-Nazis of Texas” demonstrates God’s existence.
Chicago’s flood planning is far from foolproof.

‘MUELLER IS PLAYING CHESS AND TRUMP IS PLAYING DONKEY KONG.’ Historian Jon Meacham comments on news that special counsel Robert Mueller is cooperating with New York’s attorney general—a move that could create “a pardon-proof trap” for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, because presidents can’t pardon state convicts.
A Bloomberg investigation documents the Kushner family’s hunt for cash across the globe as it’s grappled with deep debt.
Fact-checking the president’s speech on tax reform.
A campaign law expert says the president’s invocation of politics—a call to oust a Democratic senator if she doesn’t support his still-vague tax plan—means his political funds ought to pay for at least some of what was supposed to have been an official government trip.
Despite tough talk from the president and his attorney general, drug prosecutions have dropped in the Trump era.
A historian says Trump’s teammates are publicly disagreeing with him at a frequency unprecedented in modern presidencies.

LAST CALL. The CTA says that, after the new Loop station opens at Washington and Wabash, the final train to the Randolph/Wabash station will arrive at 2:30 a.m. Sunday. (2011 photo by David Wilson.)
A man has been charged with a shooting at a Red Line station earlier this month.
The pregnant victim of an attack on a CTA bus has asked the stranger who helped her to be the child’s godparent.
The Chicago City Council is moving to rein in ridesharing companies—requiring driver fingerprinting and limits on “surge pricing.”

SCHOOLS CASH. Developing: Gov. Rauner plans to sign into law today a bill overhauling the system by which the state shares money with local schools.
… Including a tax credit scholarship program that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy has called unconstitutional.
Chicago Tonight: How it would work.
Steve Rhodes at The Beachwood Reporter:GOP finally brings gym class reform to Illinois!
But despite such concerns, the Tribune’s Eric Zorn says, “I’m not vibrating with indignation.”

A DARK THREAT. On Facebook, a white Democratic Georgia lawmaker warned a black former colleague that those who talk of removing Confederate statues could “go missing.”
A Georgia cop has been suspended for telling a white motorist, “Remember, we only shoot black people.”
ProPublica wants your help investigating Facebook censorship: Have you experienced hate speech on Facebook?

GOODBYE, COLUMBUS. Los Angeles says arrivederci to Columbus Day. From now on, it’s Indigenous Peoples Day.
How the concept has spread since 1977.

BEST WISHES TO A CHICAGO NEWSMAN. Journalist Zay Smith, whose work on the Sun-Times’ Mirage Tavern investigation is legendary, and whose QT (Quick Takes) column inspired Chicago Public Square (and, before that, Tribune Daywatch), is in the hospital with what his son calls a fight “for his life.”
The CEO of the conservative LifeZette website is under fire for talking about employees’ “boobs” and “butts.”
The Poynter journalism education website: “‘Don’t call me dear, f**kface,’” and other ways to approach anger at work.”

WHAT’S NEXT FOR iPHONE. CNET runs down new features coming with the software update due in a few weeks.
The New York Times: The future of the smartphone is all about the camera and the stuff it can do.
Google has a new, cheaper Nest thermostat.


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