Out of options / ‘Shut up, you fascist’ / Thanks, Obama

Chicago Public Square will take the next few days off—to give thanks for, among other things, your attention and your support. Watch for the next edition Monday—but catch updates through then on the Square Facebook page. And now the news:

Out of options. After weeks—in the words of The Associated Press—“testing the boundaries of American democracy,” President Trump has finally cleared the way for Joe Biden’s transition to the presidency …
 … even as Trump’s team keeps pushing seemingly baseless claims of election fraud.

Climate of change. Former Secretary of State John Kerry—one of the architects of the Paris environmental agreement Trump has trashed—is Biden’s pick for a new role, climate envoy for national security.
Biden’s early picks represent a series of U.S. firsts …
 … and, CNN says, prioritize expertise over big names.
Updating coverage: Biden was set today to reveal his national security team.

Durbin’s desire. Illinois’ Sen. Dick Durbin, 76, says he hopes to become the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee …
 … replacing 87-year-old Dianne Feinstein, under fire for her behavior during confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.
A gun-loving congresswoman-elect from Rifle, Colorado (yes, Rifle) is seeking permission to carry her weapon on Capitol grounds.

The AP: Thanksgiving could make or break the U.S. fight against COVID-19.

‘You should fly.’ Southwest Airlines’ CEO didn’t get the memo.
Count the niece of Naperville’s mayor among those criticizing him for traveling to Naples, Florida, for his daughter’s wedding.
Except for “extraordinary or compelling circumstances,” Cook County Circuit Court matters are going all-virtual.

‘We have to listen to what the virus is telling us.’ A geneticist explains to The New York Times that a mutation near the beginning of the pandemic made COVID-19 harder to stop—and that more changes may be on the way.

‘Illegal and unethical conduct.’ That’s the charge against Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin from the chief of staff she unceremoniously fired last weekend.
Conyears-Ervin—who’s married to Ald. Jason Ervin—denies it.
Prosecutors want 3 1/2 years in prison for ex-Ald. Ed Vrdolyak for his second felony conviction in a little more than a decade.
A Tribune editorial calls on Biden to keep Trump’s appointee as Chicago’s U.S. attorney, because “no other law enforcement official is doing the corruption work here.”

Relief on the menu. The City Council has approved a 10% cap on the delivery fees third-party services like Grubhub can charge Chicago restaurants …
 … but one alderman wants to slap “ground delivery taxes” of up to $2.50 on Chicagoans’ online purchases.
The council was set today to vote on Mayor Lightfoot’s “pandemic” budget.
You can see the meeting online …
Lightfoot’s appeal in an open letter to Chicago: “We have made some tough decisions. But I am confident that we have made the right ones.”

Thanks, Obama. During a surprise virtual appearance before Chicago high school students, President Obama announced they’d all get free access to digital editions of his new book.
First in a series of guest interim hosts for Jeopardy! following host Alex Trebek’s death: The game’s greatest-of-all-time champ, Ken Jennings.
Variety on how the pandemic has transformed the theater biz: “All arts organizations are media companies now.”

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