Pols in peril / 1 million gone / Somewhere, Keith’s smiling

Pols in peril. Two of the most divisive political figures in Illinois and the nation—ex-Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and ex-President Donald Trump—got bad legal news yesterday. Let’s start with Madigan …
 … who’s been charged in connection with a nearly $3 million racketeering and bribery scheme …
 … in what the Sun-Times’ Mark Brown calls “a sweeping indictment that rolls up so much of what we recognize as long-standing, everyday Illinois politics (of the corrupt variety).”
Read the government’s case here.
Columnist Eric Zorn: Brace yourself for “endless Republican attack ads linking Gov. J.B. Pritzker and Madigan, even though the two didn’t have a particularly close working relationship and Madigan has been in private life for a year now.”
Convicted ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich sympathizes: “I wouldn’t wish this on even my worst political enemy. And Michael Madigan was my worst political enemy.”
Politico’s Shia Kapos: “What remains to be seen is whether … charging Madigan will pay dividends in the broader picture of corruption.”
A Sun-Times editorial hopes “this case will move Illinois closer to the beacon of good government.”

Trump’s ‘deadly serious’ trouble. That’s the phrase former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal uses to describe what the House Jan. 6 committee has told a federal judge, alleging that the former president and his associates engaged in “a criminal conspiracy” to overturn the 2020 election.
History professor Heather Cox Richardson says the filing suggests that, although the committee can’t itself charge anyone with a crime, it will make a criminal referral to the Justice Department.
Read the brief here.

‘What kind of politician—Hell, what kind of human being?—harangues children  … especially with the cameras rolling?’ Esquire’s Charlie Pierce says Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is trying to “out-Trump the genuine article.”
Witness DeSantis’ scolding of students for wearing masks as they stood behind him at a news conference.
Poynter’s Al Tompkins assesses the Biden administration’s new approach to COVID-19, especially in light of increasingly available—and free—anti-COVID pills.

1 million gone. Updating roundup: That’s how many people have left Ukraine in the week since Russia launched a war.
Among them: Hundreds of orphans.
A biological sciences professor flags the dangers that military action in radioactive Chernobyl pose for people and the environment.
CNN covers protests within Russia: “We didn’t choose this.”
The Tribune’s Ron Grossman: The Ukrainian people deserve a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
Media writer Tom Jones surveys the latest notable journalism in the war.
Columnist Steve Chapman: Russian President Vladimir Putin “has turned an uncomfortable situation into a full-fledged disaster.”
South Park last night became the first scripted U.S. TV show to address the war, explaining that Putin is aggressive because his “dick doesn’t work the way it used to.”
Because Warner Bros. yanked The Batman from Russian theaters, Stephen Colbert’s Late Show whipped up a substitute: Vladman.

‘What the f--- were you thinking?’ A lawsuit filed by a former Chicago Park District lawyer accuses Mayor Lightfoot of making obscene remarks during a contentious meeting over a plan to let a controversial Christopher Columbus statue appear in a parade.

‘These are good people in a bad situation.’ Wheel of Fortune host—and Columbia College alumnus—Pat Sajak is defending contestants widely mocked on Twitter for repeatedly failing to solve the puzzle “ANOTHER FEATHER –N YO–R –A–.”
Star Trek: Picard’s back for a second season on Paramount+—and Q’s along for the ride.

Somewhere, Keith’s smiling. Voters in the Chicago Reader’s Best of Chicago poll have acclaimed Chicago Public Square’s late breaking-news cartoonist, Keith J. Taylor—who died in December—as Best Comics Illustrator …
 … also giving him the runner-up honor for Best Visual Artist.
Chicago Public Square itself finished as a runner-up to CHIRP Radio for Best Blog …
 … and failed to show for Best Email Newsletter, which went to Block Club Chicago, with WBEZ’s Rundown as runner-up …
 … but this is a lovely consolation.
Thanks to all who voted.

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