Biden has it / Summer finale / ‘The CTA is in crisis’

Biden has it. The president’s tested positive for COVID-19.
His symptoms are “mild,” according to his press secretary.

Signs of congressional life. After a surprising and overwhelming House vote to write same-sex marriage protections into law …
 … passage in the Senate isn’t unthinkable.
CNN surveyed all 50 Republican senators on the question.
A bipartisan group of senators is backing an overhaul of post-Civil War rules for certifying presidential elections—safeguarding against fake elector slates and boosting security for election officials facing a rising tide of threats and violence.
Men Yell at Me columnist Lyz Lenz: “Just sign the damn ERA [Equal Rights Amendment] already.”

A ‘staggering partisan divide.’ Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet—who was at the Highland Park 4th of July parade when the mayhem began—says yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing vividly demonstrated how split lawmakers are on the matter of an assault weapons ban.
Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering’s testimony: “We need these weapons out of civilian hands.”

Summer finale. The U.S. House Jan. 6 committee’s last scheduled hearing of the summer tonight reportedly will dissect the 187 minutes that Donald Trump ignored aides, allies and relatives’ pleas for him to try to end the insurrection …
 … including outtakes documenting his “extreme difficulty” crafting a taped message to supporters …
 … and more about what the Secret Service did or didn’t do that day.
Watch live beginning at 7 p.m. tonight, Chicago time.
Esquire’s Charlie Pierce: Secret Service agents “may have been the last people on Earth who found Donald Trump to be cool.”
If you were expecting TV ratings for these hearings to dwindle over time, CNN’s Reliable Sources says you were wrong.

Chicago: Ready for some reform. Contradicting corrupt Chicago Ald. Paddy Bauler’s mid-century assessment, the council unanimously overhauled the city’s government ethics ordinance to quadruple the maximum penalty.
The Better Government Association: Nice, but still not enough.
Mayor Lightfoot on cops’ complaints that they’re getting second-guessed on the job: “When you sign up for an organization like law enforcement … where we have to abide by people’s civil rights, if … you feel like we’re holding you back, it’s probably not a job for you” (second item in today’s Politico Illinois Playbook).

Kind of a drag. Tough new penalties for people caught drag racing or drifting in Chicago streets have passed the City Council.
A Tribune editorial welcomes NASCAR to Chicago—and addresses people who almost certainly aren’t reading the Trib: “Let’s leave the flashy driving on Chicago’s public streets to the pros … paid to take risks they fully understand.”
Axios Chicago maps car crashes by neighborhood, noting that fatal crashes are way up.
The City Council voted down a plan to raise the 6 mph limit for speed-camera tickets …
 … and Streetsblog Chicago editor John Greenfield credits traffic safety activists.

‘The CTA is in crisis.’ Rider—and Chicago Public Square supporter—Ed McDevitt: “It’s time for CTA President Dorval Carter to cease issuing the usual boilerplate ‘the safety of our customers is paramount’ memoranda.”
A 19-year-old woman faces felony charges, accused of hitting a man on a Red Line train as a group stole his phone.
You can fill out a survey to help Metra overhaul its train line schedules for a post-pandemic world.
Lightfoot’s floating a plan to tack an extra $1 on taxi fares to help drivers buy gas.
The Illinois Public Interest Research Group’s director: “It’s time for Illinois to catch up to the rest of the country by enacting basic car insurance consumer protections.”

Endangered. Monarch butterflies are now on The International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s list of species facing extinction …
 … partly because of climate change.
Much of America—including the Chicago area—faces dangerously hot weather into the weekend.
Heat threatens the effectiveness of medicine—especially prescriptions delivered in hot trucks or left in oven-like mailboxes.
President Biden’s biding his time on formally declaring a climate emergency.

Smashing benefit. Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins frontman and Highland Park resident, is planning a benefit concert next Wednesday for victims of the massacre there …
 … and it’ll stream live and free—but with appeals to donate—on the Pumpkins’ YouTube channel.
Yes veteran Jon Anderson plays the Des Plaines Theatre Saturday night—with a 25-piece band of gifted musicians aged 14 to 18.
Anderson performed a mini-concert in 2010 on a Tribune Tower balcony, caught on BlackBerry(!) video.

‘Audacious, wickedly funny and utterly outlandish.’ Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper bestows four stars on Jordan Peele’s new science fiction horror fable, Nope.
The New York Times: Hell yes.”

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