Three twisters? / DuSable divide / ‘A controlled burn’

Three twisters? The National Weather Service is piecing together what happened in the Chicago area Sunday night—including the possibility as many as three tornadoes touched down …
Photos convey the storm’s sorrow and devastation.
The Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg on the material losses: “We are, many of us, surrounded by such enormous shoals of stuff that its utter superfluousness seldom occurs to us unless … some natural disaster suddenly sweeps it into the street.”
Anticipating a climate-change-driven increase in damage from extreme weather, President Biden is pledging to “bring every resource to bear.”

‘Staggering.’ That’s the Justice Department’s word for the increasing violence in Chicago and around the country.
Politico: The Biden administration is setting up strike forces to stem the flow of illegal guns.
The Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet: Weapons from elsewhere “make the city’s ban ineffective.”
The Associated Press: Background checks across the country last year blocked a record high 300,000 gun sales.

Streetsblog Chicago’s John Greenfield: “Lakefront museums are freaked out about DuSable Drive”—but shouldn’t be.
See the meeting here.

Stayccination. Chicagoans 12 and up now can get vaccinated against COVID-19 for free at home—and get a $50 gift certificate in the process.
If that doesn’t persuade you, maybe a visit from the nation’s “second gentleman” (the vice president’s husband) will.
Bloomberg: Pockets of “unvaccinated America” threaten the nation’s recovery.
 Even for some who’ve been vaccinated, “to mask or not to mask” remains the question.
Chicago’s indoor public pools will stay closed through the summer—for want of lifeguards. (Cartoon: Keith J. Taylor.)

A cheer for student speech. The U.S. Supreme Court has sided, 8-1, with a cheerleader kicked off the squad after unleashing a profanity-filled rant against the program on Snapchat.
Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the court: “It might be tempting to dismiss [her] words as unworthy of the robust First Amendment protections. … But sometimes it is necessary to protect the superfluous in order to preserve the necessary.”
Guess which one justice dissented.

‘A controlled burn.’ In a joint WTTW interview—alongside fellow departing Tribune columnists Mary Schmich, Eric Zorn and Dahleen Glanton—Heidi Stevens uses that analogy to describe the buyouts that will see almost 40 journalists leaving the Trib voluntarily.
Among the latest to reveal their acceptance of buyouts: Arts and culture writer Steve Johnson and sports columnist Phil Rosenthal.*
Poynter media business analyst Rick Edmonds: “This sounds like a wipeout.”
On a new Chicago Public Square / Rivet360 podcast, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jamie Kalven expresses “sympathy for those who wagered their lives and their careers on the stability of legacy media,” but he sees “no reason to despair.”
A piece in The Guardian by a previous Square podcast guest, Deborah Douglas, quotes Kalven and one of the podcast’s cohosts, Sheila Solomon: “Chicago is reimagining the future of local journalism as papers decline.”
Ex-Trib editor Gerry Kern: “The new ‘green shoots’ of journalism  … will take a long time to fill the present gap.”

‘Conan proved to be the best insider source I ever had.’ TV critic Aaron Barnhart shares personal memories as Conan O’Brien’s late-night run concludes …
 … before he returns with a streaming show on HBO Max.

No winner yet. So far, no one has nailed when the 1,000th edition of Chicago Public Square—counting from this first public January 2017 issue (and not including corrections and vacation notices, but, yes, including a couple of April Fool’s things)—will hit inboxes. Doesn’t everyone save every issue? The first person to guess in an email to gets … this prize.

* Who wrote this lovely piece in 2009.

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