R.I.P., Keith J. Taylor / ‘Seems high to me’ / Mistleterror

Square will take a few days off to bid farewell to 2021. Back Jan. 3. Meanwhile, catch Chicago-centric news updates through the holidays by following Square on Facebook. (No Facebook membership required.)

R.I.P., Keith J. Taylor. Chicago Public Square’s award-winning breaking-news cartoonist died at 6:33 this morning, ending a long run with oral cancer and, more recently, COVID-19.
From his first contribution to Square, in March 2018, to his last, on Nov. 22, he made this publication better—and funnier.
His work in 2020 earned him a Chicago Headline Club Peter Lisagor Award for Best Illustration. In 2019, he took top spot in the Chicago Reader’s Best of Chicago Poll for Best Visual Artist and was a co-honoree in Square’s Lisagor Award for Best Independent Blog.
Memorial plans were pending at Square’s email deadline. [Update: The afternoon of Jan. 15.] (2015 photo: Lynn Tripoli Young on Facebook.)

‘The models … are flashing bright red.’ New York’s David Wallace-Wells warns: “Omicron is about to overwhelm us.”
A surge in Britain is, in the AP’s words, “fueling a familiar dread.”
Reason editor Robby Soave: “Everyone is going to get COVID eventually—and when you get it, you’re either going to be vaccinated or you’re going to wish you were vaccinated.”
Chicago Public Schools are sending kids home for the holidays with 150,000 at-home COVID tests.

Do you smell what I smell? The National Weather Service warned that Chicagoans could sense smoke today—likely blowing in from Kansas, courtesy of strong southwest winds.
Minnesota observed its first-ever December tornado.
The climate-watch newsletter Heated asserts that Chicago-based PR firm Edelman—the world’s largest—is breaking a promise on the environment.

‘Seems high to me.’ Columnist Eric Zorn compares the Chicago City Council-approved payout of $2.9 million to social worker Anjanette Young—who was handcuffed, naked, in a botched police raid—with “just $2 million to the family of a pedestrian struck and killed in 2018 by a vehicle being chased by Chicago Police because an officer smelled marijuana in the car.” (Middle of Zorn’s email today.)
The city’s second-most-senior alderperson, Carrie Austin, collapsed in her seat during yesterday's meeting.
Austin’s been indicted on charges of taking home improvement bribes from a developer seeking her help.

‘A defeat for segregation.’ A Tribune editorial celebrates the City Council for breaking with regressive tradition and approving an “ideal” affordable housing project over the objections of the neighborhood alderperson.
Parting words from the departing president of the Metropolitan Planning Council: “Confront exclusion.”

Thompson Center reprieve. The State of Illinois is near a deal to sell its Chicago headquarters—to developers who’ve pledged not to demolish it.
A Sun-Times editorial bemoans a “lack of transparency” in the selection process—and a design plan that would cost the building “its distinctive color scheme, both inside and out.”
Sears’ HQ—120 acres in Hoffman Estates—is going on the market.

Not-so-hard times. Sure, Chicago Transit Authority ridership and service have been in a slump through the pandemic, but the CTA board nevertheless is giving its president a 33% pay raise—to $350,000 a year.

Lie of the Year. If you guessed PolitiFact would point to Jan. 6, congratulations.
Its editor-in-chief: The lie was propagated by many—but “above all was Donald Trump.”

Garlin gone. Chicago-born comic actor Jeff Garlin is leaving ABC’s The Goldbergs following multiple complaints about his behavior on the set.
Earlier this month, he told Vanity Fair’s Maureen Ryan—a Tribune alumnus—“There really is no big story. Unless you want to do a story about political correctness.”

Mistleterror. The Conversation: “Mistletoefamous for stolen holiday kisses—is a parasite that steals water and nutrients from other plants.”

Dollar Flight Club is a Square advertiser.

A personal note. As Chicago Public Square disappears from your inbox for the rest of the year: Profound thanks to everyone who’s gifted this service with attention since its January 2017 debut, including those whose financial support keeps it afloat—most recently, Eric Davis and David Walker. You’re the reason Square marks its fifth anniversary next month. Let’s reconvene in 2022.
■ And thanks to Pam Spiegel for making this edition better.

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