‘A significant blow’ / COVID’s Republican toll / News blues

‘A significant blow to Jones’s ability to continue spreading lies.’ Historian Heather Cox Richardson puts in context the almost $1 billion verdict against mendacious podcaster Alex Jones, who repeatedly insisted that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre—which left 20 first-graders and six adults dead in 2012—was a hoax.
 … but a former U.S. attorney says he sees no way Jones “winds up anything but basically broke now for the rest of his life.”
 … people Jones mocked even as the verdict was read.

‘A continuing threat.’ The House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol planned a “closing argument” this afternoon that Donald Trump remains “a clear and present danger” leading up to next month’s election.
Updating coverage: The committee promises “surprising” details about the attack.
Here’s where to watch, beginning at 1 p.m. noon Chicago time.
One of the challenges facing the committee before it closes shop: What to do with the millions of documents and hundreds of interviews it’s amassed—most of which the public’s never seen.
A Trump employee has reportedly told federal agents—and security camera footage supports the claim—that boxes of sensitive documents were moved at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate at Trump’s specific direction.
Trump’s Twitter-like Truth Social app has won a place in the Google Play Store.

‘If Trump runs again, do not cover him the same way.’ Ex-Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan offers a manifesto for journalists.
Columnist Parker Malloy flags “bizarre … sloppy and partisan” coverage from The Associated Press in the Philadelphia Senate race between John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz.
Fourteen relatives of Arizona Nevada Republican Senate candidate Adam Laxalt are endorsing his Democratic opponent.

‘Kind of feels like a bad idea for Herschel Walker to be telling any stories about multiple random pregnancies.’ Late-night comedians had a field day with the benighted Georgia Republican Senate candidate’s story about a promiscuous bull in a field.
Stephen Colbert played the whole sordid tale, calling it “the most inappropriate animal story I’ve heard since The Very Horny Caterpillar.
Tonight, he’ll visit the rival Tonight Show.

‘You shouldn’t pay attention to the polls.’ Columnist Robert Reich offers three reasons to be skeptical.
Which brings to mind columnist Mike Royko’s counsel 30 years ago this month: “If a pollster calls you, lie your head off.”
The once reliably Republican Tribune editorial board’s endorsement today of Alexi Giannoulis for Illinois secretary of state makes it a sweep—so far—for Democrats seeking Illinois’ top offices.
Ex-Tribune columnist Eric Zorn endorses an end to newspaper endorsements.
The Chicago Public Square voter guide is tracking who’s endorsing whom.

COVID’s Republican toll. The Intercept: Citing the anti-vaccine movement, a new study concludes the pandemic has killed more Republicans than Democrats.
Axios Chicago finds the pandemic has left downtown Chicago surprisingly empty on Fridays—meaning “you can eat lunch pretty much anywhere without a reservation.”

Open House Chicago returns Saturday. Axios offers pro tips for navigating the biggest event of its kind in the world.
Time Out: Chicago’s Avondale neighborhood on the Northwest Side is officially one of the world’s 20 coolest.

Biggest in 40 years. Social Security recipients are in for an 8.7% hike in their benefits for 2023.
It’ll come in handy against an 8.2% increase in consumer prices last month compared with a year before.

News blues. The nation’s biggest newspaper publisher, Gannett—with 11 papers in Illinois—is offering buyouts and requiring workers take a week of unpaid leave in December.
It’s also freezing hiring.

Amplify Chicago.
Pitch any amount into the Chicago Independent Media Alliance’s third annual fundraiser and it’ll be doubled by civic-minded donors.
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Square mailbag. Tuesday’s edition drew this feedback: “I am really enjoying Public Square (and yes I have donated) but enough with the Zorn links. Do we really need to hear what another cranky old white man thinks?  … — Victoria Long (a cranky old white lady).”
Concern about multiple links to a single columnist in one edition of Square noted. But some bonds are not easily broken.
Friday’s Square will be abbreviated so your columnist can head south for the day.
 John Ruberry, Mike Weiland and Randy Volz made this edition better.

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