Illinois’ ‘October surprise’? / ‘Subvariants that you don’t know about are spreading fast’ / Save Chicago Media finale

Illinois’ ‘October surprise’? Politico’s Shia Kapos says fresh criminal charges against ex-House Speaker Michael Madigan alleging a conspiracy with AT&T Illinois (a.k.a. Illinois Bell) is a boon to the state’s Republicans.

‘A perennially unsuccessful candidate.’ With a stinging rebuke of Republican (this time) Bob Fioretti, the Tribune editorial board endorses Democrat Toni Preckwinkle’s bid for another term as Cook County Board president.
Back in 1974—in what now seems cringe-worthy college radio—a future Square columnist interviewed University of Illinois student government leader Fioretti.

‘Republicans are spending Democrats into the ground on economic issues.’ The Lever reports that, nationwide, Democrats running for Congress this fall have barely amplified their position on the economy.
The Conversation: If the House had kept pace with population growth since 1913, it’d be 1,560 seats big now—and changing that number is a matter of simple law, not constitutional amendment.
Author, filmmaker and columnist Michael Moore calls for Illinoisans and other Midwesterners to head to states “where we can take a U.S. Senate seat back from the election-denying, woman-hating, Democracy-destroying Trumplican Party” …
 … and he offers a list of organizations helping people “to get out the vote and support Democratic candidates remotely” (bottom of the column).
Moore has COVID.

‘COVID-19 subvariants that you don’t know about are spreading fast.’ Poynter’s Al Tompkins sounds a warning about new versions that “don’t have the same symptoms that you may have experienced if you were infected before.”
Scientific American: COVID and overdose deaths have sharply cut U.S. life expectancy—reversing 26 years’ progress.

‘Twitter would be the Apple TV+ of Elon Musk’s enterprises.’ Noting that “Apple TV+ … has a rule that none of its content can portray China negatively”—to insulate Apple’s manufacturing business there—Slow Boring columnist Matthew Yglesias sounds an alarm about Musk’s potential acquisition of Twitter.
Suspended by mainstream social media platforms over his antisemitic posts, the artist formerly known as Kanye West claims to have a deal to buy Trump-friendly Twitter-wannabe Parler.
Forbes: Four days before Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner’s book hit the bestseller list, a Trump political committee spent $131,000 on books.

Square mailbag. Reader Ken Hildreth writes: “One of the most confusing things for my wife and me on every ballot is the judicial retention section. In every election since we can remember, we believe we’ve just blindly marked every judge to be retained, thinking that unless we somehow became aware of one of them doing no good by being called out Big Time in the news media, they must be OK. … However, in trying to research the issue online, I’ve found nothing helpful on the current Illinois overall situation for judicial retention. … I don’t see anything on judicial retention highlighted in your Chicago Public Square voter guide.”
Law blogger Jack Leyhane has addressed this with a number of posts, including this overview …
 … and, at Ken’s suggestion, he’s added fresh guidance for voters outside Cook County.
The Square guide’s been updated accordingly.

‘Black communities … usually suffer.’ Critics of a merger between Kroger and Albertson’s—in Chicago, think Mariano’s and Jewel—see unfortunate consequences for the city’s minority neighborhoods.
The FTC seems likely to sue to block the deal.

‘What happens when you don’t want to get anything in downtown Chicago?’ Columnist Mike Fourcher worries: “Without some major changes, Chicago’s downtown … will never be able to lure the crowds back.”
Illinois moves up a notch in the League of American Bicyclists’ ranking of states friendly to biking.

Hey, student debtors! If you qualify for college loan relief under the Biden administration’s plan, you now can apply …
 … but the feds’ new website is still in beta, which means your application won’t be processed for a while.

Flaky Chicago. It snowed today—a bit …

Save Chicago Media finale. The third annual fundraiser draws to a close at 11:59 p.m. Central time tonight. Special deal until then: $100 earmarked for Chicago Public Square gets you a Square T-shirt and a cap. Here’s how.
Here’s reader Mark Mueller fashionably sporting both.

Did you know? Today marks the 10th anniversary of the Chicago Public Square account on Twitter.

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