Congressional 'chaos' / 'Stop the insanity' / Put. Down. The. Phone.

Congressional ‘chaos.’ Republicans barged into a closed-door committee hearing yesterday, disrupting testimony from a top Pentagon official overseeing policy in Ukraine …

 … and then they ordered pizza. (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)
But she eventually testified for more than three hours.
NBC News: Republicans are running out of ways to defend President Trump.
Novelist and lawyer Scott Turow: Republican dismissal of respected diplomats talking to Congress as “mere paper-pushers” out just “to smear the president” ignores the truth.
Journalism critic Jay Rosen: “There is no White House,” so stop using those words in news reports.

Not even for murder. Defending Trump from legal action to release his tax returns, his lawyers asserted that, while he’s president, he has sweeping immunity from investigation by any law enforcement agency—for any reason.
Hear how it went down here.
Trump said yesterday he’s building “a border wall in Colorado”—prompting that state’s governor to tweet, “Colorado now offers free full day kindergarten so our kids can learn basic geography” …
 … and Trump to tweet this morning that he was just kidding.

#CivalWarLetters. That satiric tag has arisen on Twitter since a Major League Baseball umpire threatened—with lousy spelling—to buy an AR-15 rifle “if you impeach MY PRESIDENT.”
MLB’s code of conduct for umpires (downloadable PDF): “Be courteous, impartial and firm, and so compel respect from all.”

So much for swamp-draining. ProPublica: “Several Trump political appointees violated the administration’s ethics pledge.”
The National Archives and Records Administration is investigating Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ use of private email for official business.
U.S. air pollution-related deaths are up under Trump, according to a new study—but Obama policies may have contributed.
A freshman Democratic congresswoman faces an investigation over charges of an “inappropriate” relationship with an aide.

‘Stop the insanity.’ A top Trump administration education official is quitting, labeling the student loan system “fundamentally broken” and calling for cancellation of $925 billion in student loans.
The parents of an ex-Northwestern University student have pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering after cheating their daughter’s way in.

‘So you would say that white supremacist-tied publications meet a rigorous standard for fact-checking?’ Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was among those turning up the heat on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a congressional hearing yesterday.
A rash of prominent resignations suggests “the end of the imperial and untouchable CEO.”
Accounting behemoth Ernst & Young is bailing on a training program that encouraged its female executives to conform to gender stereotypes.

‘Strong and creative.’ That’s how government watchdog and Civic Federation President Laurence Msall—often skeptical of Chicago mayors’ budgets—describes Lori Lightfoot’s property-tax-increase-free spending blueprint …
 … even though her plan depends on help from the state.
See her full budget address (begins at 39:50), or read it …
 … or see the highlights at a glance.
Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell: “Lightfoot delivered a budget address that was full of inspiration.”
The CTA’s new budget comes with no fare hikes or service cuts, even though ridership is down.

It’s not just teachers. Also (still) on strike: Chicago Public Schools security officers, custodians, classroom assistants and bus aides …
 … one of whom tells the Tribune in tears that she spent three months living in her car last summer because of her financial struggles …
 … but the strike is an opportunity for indoor gyms and newly formed daytime camp businesses.

Put. Down. The. Phone. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is ordering his cops to step up ticketing of people driving while texting or using their phones.
The Verge: Drivers are killing pedestrians at the highest rate in almost 30 years.

‘You can’t even get to the bathroom.’ A resident of one street in Logan Square describes just how nuts it gets on Halloween in his neighborhood, which Block Club Chicago says may be Chicago’s best trick-or-treating spot.
Chicago’s hosting a “Beer Culture Summit” beginning today.

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