Van Dyke sentencing / Fired / Polar vortex watch

Chicago Public Square will take a few days off. Next issue: Thursday, Jan. 24. Meanwhile, get Squarish updates on Twitter and Facebook. And now, the news:

Van Dyke sentencing. Updating coverage: At Square’s email transmission deadline, ex-Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was to learn his fate for the murder of Laquan McDonald.
Video from the courtroom here.
A Sun-Times editorial on the acquittal of three cops accused of covering up the murder: “The only one of the three defendants still on the force … should be fired.”
Columnist Mary Mitchell: “That the state brought these police officers to trial in the first place was a major step toward … justice.”
Other cases where Cook County judges have acquitted or gone easy on cops accused of wrongdoing.
Mayoral candidates got the news in real time as they met with journalists.
The lawyer who forced release of the video at the heart of the case: Chicago’s next mayor must “end the city’s culture of illegal secrecy.”

‘Amara has the rhetoric … while Vallas has the nitty-gritty ideas…while Toni Preckwinkle has a real record of progress.’ The Beachwood Reporter’s Steve Rhodes dissects yesterday’s mayoral forum at Whitney Young High School—after first dumping bigtime on the school’s principal.
Columnist Mark Konkol: Toni Preckwinkle’s claim to be “very hip” may be “the most blatant lie the 71-year-old politician has ever told.”

Fired. Two companies behind massive new Chicago building projects—the North Side’s Lincoln Yards and “The 78” in the South Loop—have cut ties with scandal-seared Ald. Ed Burke’s cash-cow law firm.
Architecture critic Blair Kamin: The process of picking a design for a big expansion of O’Hare International Airport “smells of backroom deals and smoke-filled rooms.”
The Sun-Times’ Natalie Moore: Chicago’s empty South Works steel plant site could become a utopia.

‘Even Republicans would be hard-pressed not to consider impeachment.’ The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake says BuzzFeed News’ revelation that President Trump asked his now-estranged-and-convicted lawyer Michael Cohen to lie to Congress for Trump could be “the most substantial development to date.”
One of the reporters who broke the story tells NPR how it unfolded.
The U.S. House will investigate.
The Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general says the Trump administration probably separated thousands more migrant kids from their parents at the border than made public until now—but the record-keeping was so crappy, it can’t determine just how many.
Federal courts are running out of cash during the government shutdown

Unrelated developments.
Sunday marks the second anniversary of Trump’s presidency, prompting the Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg to observe: “Trump did not take power in 2017 and wreck the country. … We wrecked ourselves first, for years and years, tearing down government, mocking authority and expertise, polarizing ourselves, spewing toxic, exaggerated rhetoric. Our body politic flatlined and nobody even noticed. … Then Donald Trump showed up to ravage the corpse.”
Sunday night brings a Super Blood Wolf Moon—and a lunar eclipse … which you can watch with expert analysis at Adler Planetarium.

‘Don’t give up.’ Despite the controversy and infighting embroiling national leadership of the Women’s March movement, The Cut’s Rebecca Traister says, “I want to scream: If you were going to march, march!
The founder of the Harvest Bible Chapel mega-church says he’s taking a sabbatical to address “certain relationships that can only be called sin.”

Polar vortex watch. This weekend brings Chicago the season’s first taste of a phenomenon that could affect the weather for the rest of the winter.
A timeline for this weekend’s storm—maybe 9 inches of snow—begins at 3 this afternoon.
Airlines are waiving change fees for travelers who want to reschedule.

How Facebook made money off kids. The Center for Investigative Reporting has won a court fight to expose documents in a suit that accused the company of profiting “from business transactions with children.”
Forbes’ Paul Tassi: “Facebook Is Terrible Not Because It’s Evil, But Because It’s Terrible.”

One of the most-clicked links ever in Chicago Public Square. Yesterday’s tip about, where you can find out if your email account has ever been compromised in a data breach. Next-most-popular: The maybe-even-more-valuable link to check for passwords that have been exposed.

The Legion of Chicago Public Squarians

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Onward, Chicago Public Squarians!

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