‘Admire the barrage’ / Smile / College debt relief

No Chicago Public Square Monday. Back Tuesday. And now the news:

‘If you were wondering when … the Department of Justice was going to suit up and get after the people who invaded the Capitol … sit back and … admire the barrage.’ Esquire’s Charlie Pierce assesses the charges against 11 people—including the leader of the Oath Keepers—for their actions last Jan. 6.
Stephen Colbert cheered: “Until now, the most serious charge any of these guys has gotten is impersonating a Flintstone.”
The Associated Press: “The charges rebut … Republican lawmakers … arguing that since no one had been charged yet with sedition … it could not have been so violent.”
The Daily Beast: The accusation of seditious conspiracy takes these cases to “a whole new level” …
 … but, the AP notes, “that Civil War-era charge is … hard to prove and harder to win” …
  … partly because it faces a steep First Amendment hurdle.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has refused to cooperate with the House committee on Jan. 6, told a California radio station last Jan. 12 that Donald Trump “told me personally that he does have some responsibility” for the insurrection.

‘Acting outside of its competence.’ Three dissenting Supreme Court justices say the court overreached with its ruling yesterday blocking a Biden administration order that employees of big businesses get a COVID-19 vaccine or test regularly and wear a mask on the job …
Amazon has begun paying U.S. workers $40 to get vaccinated—plus (gosh!) an optional unpaid day off.
At least 10 Chicago restaurants have been cited for violating the city’s vax mandate for customers.

‘Under national scrutiny.’ Block Club reports that a locally based chain of pop-up COVID testing sites across the country has been shut as the feds investigate a growing pile of complaints.
The Sun-Times dispels four myths about the omicron variant—including “Omicron is like chickenpox—better to get it now so I’m immune.”

Smile. Cardiff University research suggests people find men and women with masks covering the lower half of their faces more attractive …
 … which is news that three women arrested at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport last fall apparently had not heard.
Europe’s tightening its mask rules in the face of the pandemic’s surge.
As the experts recommend people skip plain cloth masks in favor of N95s and KN95s, beware fakes.
The CDC recommends wearing the real things no more than five times …
 … but they can last longer if just worn briefly and stored properly.

Shutdown sampler. OK, Chicago Public Schools are open again, but:
With more than 10 percent of its staff out, Oak Park elementary schools have gone remote at least until Tuesday.
Illinois secretary of state offices will stay closed until at least Jan. 24.

CTA stabbings. Over the course of a few hours overnight, four people were stabbed in two incidents at downtown train stations.
Remember how, back in 2020, news media declared time up for the responsiblity-obscuring phrase “officer-involved shooting”? Yeah, well, the news media seem to have forgotten.

College debt relief. A big student loan collection company has agreed to cancel $1.7 billion in debt for 66,000 borrowers …
 … including almost $5 million in paybacks and $133 million in debt cancellation for close to 25,000 Illinoisans.
A recent graduate at the University of California at Berkeley asserts in the Tribune: Colleges owe reimbursement to students who paid “the price of an in-person education for an online education.”

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