Death threats’ payoff / ‘Jackass’ / Scientists behaving badly

Death threats’ payoff. Citing death threats against his family, an Illinois lawmaker who’d proposed to make people who are willfully unvaccinated against COVID-19 pay their own health care costs has shelved the bill.
A move’s afoot in the Chicago City Council to require vaccination for admission to indoor public spaces.
A plan to extend the city’s pandemic-driven outdoor dining program another year is moving ahead in the council.
Suspended in the pandemic last year, the self-styled “world’s largest pub crawl,” 12 Bars of Christmas (TBOX), returns Saturday—with, as Axios Chicago notes, no capacity limits, no need to show vax records, no social-distancing rules and no mask requirements for patrons “actively drinking.”

‘There is no no risk plan.’ Epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina shares her plan to gather for the holidays with her extended family—including her two too-young-for-vaccination girls.
A professor of molecular medicine explains when to use at-home COVID-19 rapid tests.

‘Jackass.’ That’s just one of the epithets Mayor Lightfoot tossed at City Council members in a trove of scolding, swearing, sarcastic texts obtained by the Tribune.
The president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association accuses Lightfoot of abdicating responsibility for Chicago’s retail crimewave—and of advocating security measures that he tells the Sun-Times would “undoubtedly” trigger charges of racial profiling.

Um, yeah. Not. The CTA boasted in October that it was “the only major U.S. transit agency that did not reduce or cut back on service” during the pandemic. A Tribune analysis calls B.S.
Coming to Metra in February: A $6 Day Passif you use the Ventra app.

Who remembers 1982? New numbers from the Labor Department say that’s the last time prices for U.S. consumers rose as much as they have over the last year.
Illinois unemployment rates are now among the nation’s highest.
Ex-U.S. Labor Secretary turned columnist Robert Reich hails a vote by employees at one New York State Starbucks store to unionize as “one giant leap for workers across America.”
A Consumer Reports investigation that opens with Chicago’s Gage Park concludes that Amazon opens most of its warehouses in neighborhoods with a disproportionately high number of people of color and low-income residents.

‘Disappointed—and also angry.’ A Sun-Times editorial assesses the conviction of Jussie Smollett for staging a hate crime against himself and then lying to investigators about it.
Tribune columnist Rex Huppke: “State’s Attorney Kim Foxx managed to bungle things up early by exchanging texts with a relative of Smollett’s.”
Chicago Public Square on Feb. 1, 2019: “Slow progress in the police and FBI investigation of what appears to be a racial and homophobic attack  is fueling doubts about accounts provided so far.”
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is calling on carmakers to set up a hotline to help carjacking victims track stolen vehicles.

‘This will have a chilling effect.’ Five Democratic Chicago ward committeepersons are protesting pressure for potential countywide candidates who want the party’s endorsement to sign a written loyalty pledge
A new Illinois law aims to outlaw judicial candidates’ acceptance of campaign cash from out-of-state contributors and groups that don’t disclose their donors.

Scientists behaving badly. Women tell BuzzFeed News about a culture of sexual misconduct at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.
The Conversation: Deforested tropical lands can recover surprisingly quickly—and letting them regrow naturally is a cheap and effective way to slow climate change.

‘This person is the William Tecumseh Sherman we need.’ Men Yell at Me columnist Lyz Lenz says her Dingus of the Week is “Definitely Not Whoever Lit the Fox News Christmas Tree on Fire.”
The Daily Show mockingly recaps Fox’s coverage of its own misfortune.
Lenz wants your nominations for Dingus of the Year.

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Correction. Yesterday’s Square got the date wrong for a voting rights demonstration in Millennium Park; it was Wednesday. If you went Thursday because of that mistake, drop Square a note and we’ll send you a Square cap to make amends.

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