Sanctimonious secrets / ‘100% empty’ / News quiz!

Chicago Public Square will take Monday off. All up in your inbox again Tuesday.


Sanctimonious secrets. The Sun-Times reports that a Chicago-based Catholic order is suppressing information about its members credibly accused of child molestation around the country.
 A Chicago church is catering to its parishioners’ Lenten obligations with a weekly fish-fry drive-thru.
 Add President Biden to the list of Catholics at odds with the church’s opposition to in vitro fertilization.

‘These proceedings have been frozen for so long they legally count as children in Alabama.’ Stephen Colbert sees irony in the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Donald Trump’s claim that he’s immune from prosecution on charges of plotting to overturn the 2020 election: “Kind of weird that SCOTUS feels the need to consider whether or not laws exist.”
 Law prof Joyce Vance: “We’re going to need more coffee.”
 Trump niece Mary L. Trump sees reasons for hope “that justice is actually coming.”

No, because that’s a right reserved for American-born Trump supporters. Taking a deep dive into the process by which immigrants can become permanent residents of the U.S., columnist Neil Steinberg learns that one 20-page form asks if applicants worked with the Nazis or want to overthrow the government.
 Noah Berlatsky at Public Notice: “Fox News’ ‘migrant crime’ hysteria is a sign of GOP weakness.”
 The Onion again: “Mitch McConnell Donates Body To Lobbyists For Research.”

About those judicial candidates. Chicago and Illinois bar associations have released their guides for the March 19 primary …
 … and you can find them linked in the Chicago Public Square Voter Guide Guide.

‘Yeah, we read it. And oh, my God.’ Diving deep into the transcript of the House Oversight Committee’s closed-door deposition of presidential son Hunter Biden, Wonkette’s Evan Hurst concludes that chair James Comer turned the session into “a real dick-stapling competition against himself.”
 Read it for yourself here …
 … and the AP’s, um, more reasoned take here.

‘Improve the democratic process in the City of Chicago.’ A trio of good-government groups—the Better Government Association, the Civic Federation and the League of Women Voters—is pushing Mayor Johnson and the City Council to change their confusing, opaque ways …
 … which, in many ways, haven’t evolved much since this award-winning 1988 WXRT News series.

100% empty.’ A lynchpin of plans to revive Chicago’s flagging downtown—the former State of Illinois Center—is ready for its makeover into Google’s Chicago HQ …
 … an announcement that came at a meeting that brought Johnson an awkward moment.

‘Poster child for monopoly run amok.’ Science fiction author and tech watchdog Cory Doctorow, long a documenter of Amazon’s “enshittification,” observes that the company “can claim that it offers low-priced, high-quality goods … but it makes $38 billion per year pushing those good deals way, way down in its search results.”
 Tesla and Twitter X overlord Elon Musk is suing OpenAI, complaining that the company has betrayed its goal to benefit humanity rather than chase profit.
 Digital ad monitor Kyle Tharp: In violation of Facebook parent Meta’s stated policy on AI, Facebook advertisers spent $80,000 last week on ads using Trump’s likeness and Biden’s voice to sell merch and scam seniors.

Skilling has retired—along with winter.’ Chicago Magazine’s Ted McClelland observes the departure of WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling.
 See Skilling’s farewell broadcast here.
 Chicago’s in for another creepily lovely winter weekend …
 … as Texas grapples with the impact of the biggest wildfire in its history.
 City Cast Chicago: A suburban therapist is helping people navigate climate anxiety.

Can we ask you a question? How ’bout 8? The new news quiz awaits you.
 Get more than your Square columnist’s seven right and brag about it on social media.

Dingus of the Week. Men Yell at Me bestows that honor on “scrambling ‘pro-IVF’ Republicans who didn’t see the Alabama Supreme Court ruling coming.”
 Men Yell author Lyz Lenz—newly enshrined on The New York Times bestseller list—visits Chicago next week.

‘If you gather up a bunch of journalists and publishers for a Zoom session … and then you impose an aura of secrecy …’ Newcity says a meeting yesterday to announce the Chicago Independent Media Alliance’s transfer of its nonprofit oversight from the Reader Institute for Community Journalism to Public Narrative (maybe best known as sponsor of the Studs Terkel Awards) “got off to a rocky start.”
 Poynter managing editor Ren LaForme assesses the impact of journalism’s more than a decade of existential dread.

Missing link found. Yesterday’s Chicago Public Square failed to provide an informative hyperlink for the item about Consumer Reports’ warning that some doorbell cameras let others spy on you.
 It’s launched an online petition drive asking the Federal Trade Commission to cut off those products’ sales.

A ‘massive gift’ to Trump / 11 tornadoes / Oprah’s weighty problem

Happy Leap Day. We got you an extra day of February news:


A ‘massive gift’ to Trump. That’s how columnist and Pod Save America co-host Dan Pfeiffer sees the Supreme Court’s decision to consider Donald Trump’s claim that presidents are immune from criminal prosecution for things they did while in office.
The court’s decision could push his trial for interference in the 2020 election close to—or after—Election Day 2024 …
 … or, in Politico’s words: “As voters cast ballots this fall to decide whether … Trump should win another presidential election, a federal jury may be weighing whether he attempted to steal the last one.”
But Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin says the court’s wording “sets up the case to disadvantage Trump.” (Gift link, paid for by Chicago Public Square supporters—of which you could be one.)

Trump dumped. A Cook County Circuit Court judge has ordered his name stripped from the Illinois primary ballot …
 … but she put her order on hold pending Trump’s appeal.
Historian Heather Cox Richardson: “This moment looks much like the other times in our history when a formerly stable two-party system has fallen apart.”
Ex-Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger: “It’s OK to be politically homeless.”
The Sun-Times has uncovered a list of perks in store for big donors during the Democratic Party’s Chicago convention this summer.

Don't bar groups want to influence voters with their ratings?’ Invoking Star Trek and Japanese animation along the way, law blogger Jack Leyhane calls out lawyer associations for their tardiness in publishing judicial candidate ratings—even though early voting’s already begun.

Mitch unhitched. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s decision to step down as Republican leader—but not from his Senate seat—is a victory for Trump-aligned senators.
Vanity Fair’s Bess Levin: “Never forget: McConnell could have rid us of … Trump, but simply chose not to.”
Daily Beast’s self-identified “pro-life Reagan conservative” columnist Matt Lewis: “McConnell could have been one of the greats, but Trump beat him.”
President Biden says he’ll miss McConnell.
Stephen Colbert: McConnell’s “not stepping down till November because, at 82, that’s how long it takes him to step.”
Odds are good McConnell’s successor will be someone named John.

11 tornadoes. That’s the National Weather Service’s count of just how many twisters descended on Illinois Wednesday.
Temps may hit 70 again by the weekend …
 … which could make Chicago’s “Polar Plunge” … um … not so polar.
A couple of environmental studies professors explain how comedy can help address the world’s climate crisis.

Pritzker: Get your babies here. Illinois’ governor invites aspiring parents in other states—like Alabama, where in vitro fertilization is an endangered practice—to come to Illinois.
But if you’re a migrant family in need of shelter, bring your own diapers.
Popular Information: “Trump’s pick for chair of the Republican Party opposes ‘the destruction of human embryos.’”

COVID shot time again? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people over 64 “should” get a booster with the updated vaccine that became available in September—if it’s been at least four months since their last.
Your Local Epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina says “may” might’ve been better than “should.”
In its first look at Medicare, the Arm and a Leg healthcare podcast finds that “some folks who pick Medicare Advantage later regret it, big-time—but find there are no do-overs” (January link).

‘Urinating on our legs while telling us it’s raining.’ Columnist Eric Zorn is skeptical of WBEZ’s rationale for cutting its flagship show, Reset, by half.
Alt-news organizations The Intercept, Raw Story and AlterNet are suing OpenAI, accusing it in essence of stealing their journalism to train chatbots to answer user questions.

Oprah’s weighty problem. Weeks after disclosing her use of a prescription drug to manage her weight—apparently in violation of a multimillion-dollar deal—Oprah Winfrey’s quitting her seat on the Weight Watchers board of directors …
 … and donating her stock in the company to the National Museum of African American History …
 … sending the company’s stock downward in early trading.

Clutch that phone. Chicago police have sounded an alert about armed street robberies during weekend mornings on the Near North Side—where suspects first engaged victims with conversation, then took cell phones by force or deception before using banking apps to steal cash …
 … which you could consider a reminder to turn on an iPhone’s Stolen Device Protection.
Consumer Reports flags doorbell cameras that let others spy on you (link corrected) …

Thanks. Mike Braden and Judith Graf made this edition better.

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