‘Political bullying’ / Controlled and ‘dangerous’ / Your weekend treat / Amy, adieu / Quiz

No Chicago Public Square Monday. Have a memorable weekend and be back here Tuesday. And now the news:

‘Political bullying.’ That’s how one Democratic lawmaker—a Northwestern University graduate—characterizes Republicans’ conduct during an hours-long House hearing at which Northwestern’s president, Michael Schill, was summoned to discuss the university’s negotiations with antiwar protesters.
The Guardian’s Moira Donegan calls the proceedings “an ugly attack on Palestinian rights.”
Schill, who identified himself as a Jewish descendant of Holocaust victims, justified the agreement for de-escalating tensions and bringing the continuing protest “in conformity with the university rules.”
Discourse Blog columnist Katherine Krueger to Democratic politicians “desperate to talk about anything” other than the Mideast war: “Sorry the genocide is starting to inconvenience you.”
Chicago’s only Jewish City Council member’s calling out another a colleague for a social media post seeking medical advice: “Looking for an anti Zionist pediatrician for this baby.”

‘We need police to enforce the laws, using whatever technology can help them.’ Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg spotlights the upside to Chicago’s controversial ShotSpotter gunfire sensors: “Ignoring gunshots isn’t a valid option.”
A Tribune editorial: Mayor Johnson’s insistence that he’ll end the deal denies the political reality of the City Council’s support for the tech.
Better Government Association CEO David Greising: Johnson “needs his police chief to succeed, with help from the costly, high-tech tool he would rather do without.”


Controlled and ‘dangerous.’ Louisiana lawmakers have sent the governor a bill that would impose fines and jail terms on people possessing “abortion pills” without a valid prescription. (Cartoon: Kathy Hirsh.)
California’s governor has signed a bill clearing Arizona doctors to travel to California to perform abortions there.
USA Today columnist Rex Huppke on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order banning all non-red, -white and -blue lights from state bridges: “If you think DeSantis is intentionally trying to undercut Pride Month, I’ve got news for you: He’s WAY too busy doing important, unifying things, like trying to make sure that trans kids feel terrible and that anyone who says the word ‘gay’ in our schools gets eaten by an alligator.”

‘It gives anyone who wants to gerrymander, Republican or Democrat, the roadmap for getting away with it.’ Law professor Joyce Vance analyzes the Supreme Court’s approval of a South Carolina congressional map that a lower court had concluded unconstitutionally diluted Black voting power.
Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich: “Republican justices have made it much harder, if not impossible, to challenge racial gerrymandering.”

‘Look, honey, the Alitos put up another treason flag.’ Wonkette’s Evan Hurst reviews what’s up with Justice Sam and Martha-Ann.
Former Sun-Times CEO Edwin Eisendrath: “The United States Supreme Court is a danger to American democracy.”
Jeff Tiedrich at Everyone is entitled to my own opinion:It’s time to impeach.”
Actually, I’m a very nice person columnist Julia Gray: “The ‘Appeal to Heaven’ flag dates back to the Revolutionary War, so it can’t be that bad, right? … Well, it is.”
Stephen Colbert: “A second flag at a second home. Alito’s second wife better watch her back.”
Handbasket columnist Marisa Kabas: “Flags are having a real moment.”

Tapped out. Seven years after its takeover by global brewer Heineken, Lagunitas is closing its Chicago brewery …
A City Winery employee faces murder charges in the stabbing death of a co-worker Wednesday night.

Your weekend treat.
Chocolate-covered-cicada ice cream, as concocted by people near and dear to Chicago Public Square.
Not recommended for those with seafood allergies—because cicadas are related to shrimp and lobsters.
Spotted in Wheaton: A “one-in-a-million” blue-eyed cicada.

Government to journalism’s rescue? New York State’s offering $90 million to help news organizations hire and retain journalists.
But, spotlighting the dangers that accompany government funding for journalism, Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple perceives “epic cowardice” in National Public Radio’s organizational changes seemingly aimed at appeasing congressional Republicans—and preserving federal funding for NPR.
Fighting an expensive lawsuit filed by Twitter X overlord Elon Musk, progressive journalism watchdog Media Matters for America has laid off more than a dozen staffers.
One of those axed posts: “There’s a reason far-right billionaires attack Media Matters.”
Veteran Chicago TV news director Jennifer Schulze: “Voters still aren’t getting the full story on Trump. Journalists need to fix that.”

Amy, adieu. After more than two decades, Amy Dickinson says she’ll sign off from her “Ask Amy” advice column at the end of June …
 … among other things, to open a library in her hometown.
Her successor: Black male playwright and screenwriter R. Eric Thomas, whose column will be called “Asking Eric.”

Dingus of the Week. Men Yell at Me columnist Lyz Lenz’s pick: OpenAI CEO Sam Altman—who, “undeterred by rejection or the wants and needs of a woman … released OpenAI with a voice that really sounds a lot like Scarlett Johansson,” who’d already told him “no.”
Vox asked OpenAI’s ChatGPT what to call it “when a man tells the public that a woman is wrong about his actions … after she publicly accuses him of doing something she didn’t consent to.”

25 lousy percent. That’s the best your Square columnist could score on this week’s news quiz, courtesy of past Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner Fritz Holznagel.

Do you ever worry that Square won’t return after a holiday? One thing that keeps this service coming is your support—even just $1, once. (That’s cash that pays for gift links above to paywall-blocked content at sources like the Tribune, The Washington Post and more.)
See ya Tuesday.
Thanks. Readers Walt Fyk, Mike Braden and Jim Parks made this edition better.

‘My God’ / Naperville, sued / Google, disenshittified

‘My God.’ Gobsmacked by fresh New York Times reporting that Samuel Alito’s beach house displayed a flag associated with a push for a more Christian-oriented government, law professor and former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance writes: “When you’re a Supreme Court justice, you’re supposed to avoid giving off even a whiff of partisan bias. Or religious favoritism. … Alito flunks the test and flunks it badly.”
 Law Dork columnist Chris Geidner: Alito’s a problem Chief Justice John Roberts must solve.
 Today: Justices rejected a lower court ruling that found a South Carolina congressional district discriminated against Black voters.
 An Illinois judge has temporarily blocked an election law that could favor Democrats in November.

Ticketblaster. The Justice Department and dozens of states are suing Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment, accusing them of an illegal monopoly over live events.
 The news conference was set to stream live on the web at Chicago Public Square’s email deadline.

‘The only thing more shocking to find in Donald Trump’s bedroom would be a current wife.’ That’s Stephen Colbert on revelations that the ex-president still had classified docs in his Mar-a-Lago bedroom four months after an FBI search.
 ProPublica: “For the women who accused the Trump campaign of harassment, it’s been more harassment.”

‘For the security of Israel and the sake of innocent people on both sides, this war does need to end.’ One of Hollywood’s most outspoken Jewish leaders, super-agent—and brother to Chicago’s ex-mayor—Ari Emanuel, split the audience last night as he accepted the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Humanitarian Award with what The Hollywood Reporter calls a fiery speech slamming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
 Northwestern University’s president was to testify today before a Republican-controlled House committee hearing billed oh-so-objectively as “Calling for Accountability: Stopping Antisemitic College Chaos.”
 See the proceedings here.
Naperville, sued. ProPublica: “It took four years and a jury trial for Amara Harris to beat the ticket that accused her of stealing another girl’s AirPods. Now she’s heading back to court in the hope of stopping schools from using police to discipline students.”
 On its way to Gov. Pritzker, a bill that would change the term “offender” to “justice impacted individual” …
 … a shift that columnist Eric Zorn says suggests “the law has impacted the person who broke that law, which is Orwellian.”
 The Chicago City Council’s voted to give itself a bigger say in the deployment of safety tech, including the controversial ShotSpotter gunfire detection service.
 CWBChicago’s spin: “Most aldermen voting in support of Johnson’s cancellation of ShotSpotter represent areas that don’t even have the devices. Meanwhile, aldermen who represent neighborhoods with the most ShotSpotter activity largely voted to keep it.”
 Chicago’s inspector general wants to know how government can serve you better—via a survey you can take here.

Google, disenshittified.
Tedium columnist Ernie Smith has built what he calls “a pseudo-search engine” that connects you directly to “essentially Google, minus the crap” …
 … a shortcut to Google’s own newly deployed “web” filter, which delivers only text-based and AI-free results.
 Try it here.
 Coincidentally, Google competitors Bing, DuckDuckGo and ChatGPT all went down for a time today.

More mailbag. Treatment in Tuesday’s Chicago Public Square of—and reader comment in Wednesday’s edition on—coverage of Red Lobster’s bankruptcy continued to draw feedback:
 Michael Rosenbaum emailed: “It’s interesting that the same people who complained that you couldn’t just blame one thing—endless shrimp—… are also blaming just one thing—land sales. The Business Insider piece emphasized property sales, but also listed a long array of problems that Red Lobster was facing. … If a restaurant cannot make enough money to pay rent, it isn’t making enough money to survive. Yes, Red Lobster probably had some advantage from paying only a portion of their ownership cost for real estate, but you have to cover your full costs long-term or you don’t have a business. I don’t know all the details here, and neither do most commenters, but the company simply couldn’t draw enough traffic to survive and a disproportionate share of revenue generated a loss for them. If they had more traffic, they would have failed faster. I know a lot of restaurants that made it through the pandemic and are still in business, even though they always had to pay rent. Putting the blame on rent payments is simplistic at best.”
 Chicago Reader columnist Ben Joravsky texted (links added): “The CNN article that you linked to did have a few paragraphs dedicated to the role of private equity and leaseback in Red Lobster’s demise. Which is more than The New York Times coverage had. I don’t think you made a mistake. I think all in all you and your readers did us all a service” …
 … and then he extended an invitation to talk about this and more on his podcast—which drops here Saturday.
 One more from author and “[dis]enshittification” coiner Cory Doctorow: Businesses like Red Lobster “are easy pickings for looters because the people who patronize them have little power in our society—and because those of us with more power are easily tricked into sneering at these places’ failures as a kind of comeuppance … to tacky joints that serve the working class.”

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