Help (maybe) on the way / ‘Trump Is Losing His Mind’ / ‘We are sorry’

Help (maybe) on the way. Congress was closing in on a $900 billion pandemic relief bill that would send individuals making up to $75,000 per year and couples making $150,000 per year $600 in direct payments—plus $600 per dependent child.
Also in the plan: $14 billion in aid to the nation’s struggling mass transit agencies and, yes, $1.4 billion for a border wall.
Crain’s (behind a hard paywall): Downtown Chicago apartment hunters in the pandemic are getting deals unseen in decades.

New virus strain. Concerns over a new and evidently dramatically more contagious strain of the coronavirus have prompted countries around the world to clamp down on people and things from Britain.
Vaccinations for the old strain will probably protect from the new strain.
President-elect Biden was to get the shot on live TV today.

Who’s next? A federal panel says the next wave of vaccinations should go to essential workers—like firefighters, teachers and grocery store workers—and people 75 and older.
A Michigan State University medical professor addresses vaccine concerns for people allergic to food, pets or insects.
Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg warns against anti-vaccine fallacies: “While Tom Hanks thought he was doing a public service by coming out with his COVID diagnosis, what really would have helped Americans, to be blunt, is if he had died from COVID.”
The Conversation: Senior citizens are enduring social distancing better than you thought.

‘Trump Is Losing His Mind.’ The Atlantic’s Peter Wehner says the president “has become even more destabilizing and dangerous” in the waning days of his administration.
The Washington Post: Trump is leaving Biden “a real mess.” (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)

‘The whole tape thing.’ Mayor Lightfoot’s top lawyer and longtime friend, Mark Flessner, is quitting, blaming the “firestorm” around his department’s efforts to block CBS Chicago from airing video of a botched police raid on a social worker’s home.
Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington: Lightfoot’s behavior in this case “resembles, far too closely, Rahm Emanuel’s fierce attempts to cover up the infamous 2014 video of white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Black teenager Laquan McDonald.”
Washington’s colleague Mark Brown: Lightfoot and Gov. Pritzker are getting tastes of their own campaign medicine.

‘It was the only economy that they had.’ Newly reelected Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx says she wants to automatically wipe clean the records of convicted pot dealers.
The suburb of Naperville, which was slow to embrace legalized marijuana, now has its second dispensary—with a third on the way.

‘We are sorry.’ In a milestone multipart report, The Kansas City Star apologizes for a history of racism …
 … including its support for a developer’s whites-only neighborhoods.

Tuesday brings the final 2020 edition of Chicago Public Square. (Probably.) We’ll be back Jan. 4. Know why? Because generous readers’ support keeps this service coming. You can join them with a one-time tip (merry!) or a continuing pledge (merrier!) here.
Don’t count on a white Christmas for Chicago.

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