Madigan quitting / 11½ minutes / Biden’s numbers problem

Breaking at Square’s email deadline: Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is quitting his legislative seat at the end of the month.

‘A blight on America.’ Esquire’s Charlie Pierce sheds no tears for broadcast bloviator Rush Limbaugh …
 … one of Cigar Aficionado’s “Top 100 Cigar Smokers of the 20th Century” …
Historian Heather Cox Richardson: Limbaugh “popularized the idea that hardworking white men were under attack in America.”
FiveThirtyEight’s Perry Bacon Jr.: He was “Trump before Trump.”
Media watchdog Robert Feder: Limbaugh’s death leaves WLS-AM up a creek …
 … but not without Limbaugh’s voice—for at least a while.

‘Never have the mighty fallen so far as the Tribune Company over my adult lifetime.’ In a sweeping history of Chicago media over the last 35 years—since he cofounded Newcity—publisher Brian Hieggelke observes that “the Tribune has been in an accelerated state of self-destruction for a very long time.”*
Ex-Trib editor Ann Marie Lipinski** calls a pledge by the paper’s likely next owner, Alden Global Capital, to sustain “robust local journalism” “an audacious lie.”
As tension increases between social media companies and struggling legacy news organizations—some of whose leaders are demanding payment for the sharing of their content—Facebook has blocked Australians from posting news stories …
 … but Google’s cut a deal to pay Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
Journalism visionary Jeff Jarvis: “Murdoch … would ruin the web for the rest of us.”

11½ minutes. That’s the tense time-lag between the NASA Perseverance Rover’s planned landing on Mars just before 3 p.m. Central time today and the arrival on Earth of a signal confirming its success.
Its friends call it “Percy.”
See the landing (close to) live on NASA’s website.

Snow’s final rest. Desperate for someplace to put all that plowed white stuff, Chicago’s hauling it to designated spots like the White Sox parking lot.
Most of the Lakefront Trail was open again.
A petition calls for a change in city policy: “It’s time for … Chicago to … begin clearing public sidewalks.”

Power’s coming back, but water’s still a problem there.
Experts tell The Associated Press: Brace for more deadly storms. (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)
Facebook is gearing up to clamp down on lies about climate change.

COVID’s cost. The pandemic contributed to the loss of a full year from the average U.S. life expectancy in the first half of last year—the biggest drop since World War II.
ProPublica: Doctors around the country have to decide who gets a lifesaving COVID-19 treatment and who doesn’t—and people are dying on the waitlist.

Pandemic penny-saving. Politico surveys the high points—but mostly low points—in Gov. Pritzker’s budget proposal for 2021-22.
Among the Trib’s five budget takeaways: No state income tax hike …
The Sun-Times’ Mark Brown: “Pritzker’s budget immediately came under attack from both the right and the left, which suggests some measure of equilibrium.”

Biden’s numbers problem. CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale says the president made at least four false claims at his Tuesday town hall in Milwaukee—and they were all statistical.
Updating coverage: Biden and Democratic leaders of Congress were set to introduce a major reform to the nation’s immigration policies—including an eight-year pathway to citizenship.

Sears clears out. Once the nation’s dominant retailer, Chicago-born Sears is closing its next-to-last Illinois store.
Sears’ parent company is now going by the movie-villainish name “Transformco.”
McDonald’s is tieing executive pay to goals for building a workforce that better reflects the diversity of the population.

About yesterday’s Chicago Public Square. A reader takes issue with a link to Neil Steinberg’s column about Mayor Lightfoot: “Yes, it’s absolutely important to criticize our elected leaders. But his characterization of her came off as misogynistic (sexually, violently so: ‘ram it … up her ass’). Plus, he falls into the same trap as many people when he called her ‘charmless’—as if women leaders must be smart and strong and sexually attractive at the same time.”

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 Thanks to Pam Spiegel for making this edition better.
* With a gracious nod to Square about three-quarters of the way in.

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