Why she cried / Comcast consumer corner / Snow!

Why she cried. Illinois’ top doc, Ngozi Ezike, talks to Politico (second item in today’s Illinois Playbook) about her emotional breakdown during Friday’s COVID-19 briefing: “I have not been able to convey the message in the right way … to win over those that are not fully on board yet.” Witness:
The Conversation: Rural resentment toward public health recommendations is now on a crash course with rising case numbers in the Midwest.
At least five staffers for Vice President Pence—you know, the chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force?—have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Fox News’ president and at least four of the network’s talking heads are in quarantine after exposure last week to someone who tested positive.

Santas’ setback. The Trump administration considered—and then abandoned—a plan to give Santa Claus performers early access to a COVID vaccine if they helped promote it.
President Trump’s chief of staff concedes—or maybe asserts—“We are not going to control the pandemic.”

Full-court press. Updating coverage: The Senate was poised today to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the ninth seat on the Supreme Court—even as Democrats asked Pence to reject tradition and skip the vote, to avoid spreading the coronavirus around Capitol Hill.
Chicago magazine asks: Is the city Barrett-proof?

‘Read fewer columns and more news stories.’ That’s Poynter columnist Tom Jones’ counsel for staying sane through the election. But if you must:
Neil Steinberg in the Sun-Times: The Inauguration Day outcome I can see most clearly is Donald Trump and Joe Biden, in formal attire, wrestling over the Bible on the steps of the Capitol, each trying to shout the oath louder than the other, before a sea of red-and-blue Americans all fighting in a mad, massive free-for-all.”
Blogger Charlie Madigan’s questions for Trump supporters: “‘Am I willing to kill for this president? Am I willing to die for this president?’ I think the answer will come back ‘No. Not at all.’
Trib columnist Dahleen Glanton drills down on the long list of judges up for retention in Cook County*: “Some people leave the entire section blank. … But we cannot afford to do that this year.”
A Chicago Public Square editorial: Back the Fair Tax Amendment.
Ready to vote? Do so smartly with the Square voter guide.

‘If he wades too far in the water around this subject, he might … get fired.’ The chair of the House Homeland Security Committee tells The Daily Beast that, under embattled director Christopher Wray, the FBI is sitting on a report detailing the domestic terror threat from white supremacists.
Accused of tolerating relentless racism, the superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute—whose cadets served the Confederate army during the Civil War—is quitting. (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)
Chicago’s Second City and Saturday Night Live are teaming up for a scholarship to nurture “up-and-coming diverse comedic talent.”

Coal casualty. Anti-environmentalist coal magnate Bob Murray is dead—after applying for health benefits for a disease from which he sought to deny his workers government protection.
Or you may remember him as the guy who sued—and then dropped a suit against—HBO’s John Oliver …
 … who then performed the unforgettable musical number Eat Shit, Bob.

Comcast consumer corner. If you’re a cable TV subscriber upset about the company’s plans to charge you another $6.20 a month for the Cubs’ Marquee Sports Network, you can call 800-934-6489 to complain and get (just) a one-month waiver.
There’s also a Change.org petition.
Hulu’s dropping Marquee and other Sinclair-owned regional sports channels.
Looking for a cable alternative? Here’s CNET’s guide.

Amazon’s windfall—from you. A Better Government Association investigation details how the company’s massive Chicago-area expansion is fueled by $741 million from taxpayers—most of it from Black communities.
An international aid charity estimates Google, Facebook and Microsoft are dodging billions in taxes for developing nations.

Snow! It was falling this morning over Chicago, but more warmth and sun awaits.

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