Unmasked / Tax time / Unrelated developments

Unmasked. In what President Biden hailed as “a great day for America,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Thursday announced that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

CNN’s Brian Stelter: The CDC announcement took the White House by surprise—by design, because “Biden came into office vowing to restore the CDC’s independence.”
Gov. Pritzker is down with that: “I firmly believe in following the science and will revise my executive orders. … If you are vaccinated, you can safely do much more.”
Get vaccinated, get free Six Flags tickets.
Chicago’s downtown is steadily coming back to life.

Lollapafounda. Chicago’s reportedly green-lighted the Lollapalooza Festival for a near- or full-capacity return to Grant Park, July 29-Aug. 1 …
Trib critic Chris Jones says he hopes theaters’ embrace of letting people shift or cancel their tickets outlasts the pandemic.
Jones’ colleague, Michael Phillips, gives four stars to Amazon Prime’s “hypnotic, stunning” The Underground Railroad series.

‘It’s about as far away as [he] can be sent without leaving the earth’s magnetic field.’ Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg assesses reports ex-Mayor Rahm Emanuel could become the U.S. ambassador to Japan.
Nikkei Asia: Emanuel’s exactly what Tokyo wanted: A Japan neophyte with a direct line to the White House.

Underwood overcomes. The U.S. House has rejected milk magnate Jim Oberweis’ challenge to the reelection of Illinois Rep. Lauren Underwood.
Replacing Trump-critical Rep. Liz Cheney as Republicans’ No. 3 in the House: N.Y. Rep. Elise Stefanik …
 … who said after her election today: “Voters determine the leader of the Republican Party, and President Trump is the leader that they look to.”

Tax time. It’s easy to have forgotten: Monday’s the extended deadline for filing your U.S. income tax returns.
Tribune columnist Eric Zorn: The federal government should “offer its own, user-friendly but free version of TurboTax.”

$20/hour. A Chicago City Council committee has advanced a plan to turn the Millennium Park bicycle center over to new management—despite concerns that the new rental fees are prohibitive for all but, for instance, wealthy tourists.
Streetsblog Chicago: Metra is getting bike-friendlier.
The Museum of Science and Industry has overhauled its vintage Boeing 727 exhibit.

Rest in peace.
Dick Kay, longtime political editor for NBC 5 and, more recently, radio host on WCPT-AM, is dead at 84.
Delmark Records founder and Jazz Record Mart owner Bob Koester is gone at 88 …
 … but remembered by WXRT’s Terri Hemmert as “one of my friends and heroes.”

Congrats, Keith! Chicago Public Square’s unstoppable breaking-news cartoonist, Keith J. Taylor, is the winner of the Chicago Headline Club 2020 Lisagor Award for Best Illustration (Non-Daily Newspaper, Magazine or Newspaper).

Unrelated developments.
With the Chicago Tribune possibly just a week away from being engulfed by the predatory Alden Global Capital hedge fund, Trib employees plan a rally Saturday at 5 p.m.—hoping to, in the words of columnist Mary Schmich, “rouse the civic conscience of some billionaire.”

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