Free is back / Unclean hands / Christmas, cheap

Free is back. Facing a rising pandemic tide, the White House is shuffling bucks to revive a program that will mail Americans COVID-19 tests at no charge.
Here’s where to order yours.
President Biden hopes to persuade state and local governments to get back in the game—and Congress to unleash more emergency funding to fight the coronavirus.

‘If you park in a bike lane, you’re going to get … something.’ A Chicago alderman hails City Council passage of an ordinance giving cops more authority to ticket and tow drivers who block bikeways.
Streetsblog Chicago: Council approval of a plan to fund extension of the CTA’s Red Line makes it “very likely that Far South Siders will finally get the rapid transit service they’ve been waiting for for 50-plus years.”
In a duh development about 48 years overdue, the CTA and the suburban Pace bus service are finally getting around to creating passes that work on both their systems.
Metra is rebuilding three South Side train stations.

‘The most successful strategy for ending homelessness is under attack.’ Vox: Researchers have never had stronger evidence about the best way to house people who need it, but “it takes money, commitment, and, well, housing.”
The City Council’s signed off on a home for a casino along the Chicago River …

‘One path for people with the means to pay their fines and move forward and another for people who cannot afford to pay their fines.’ The American Civil Liberties Union and others are raising a flag about a new Chicago ordinance that would slap fees and jail time on anyone caught in illegal possession of a firearm.
A judge has denied bail to a man accused of “brutally, coldly” shooting four people at a Chicago bar last weekend.

Unclean hands. A WTTW/ProPublica investigation spotlights potential legal transgressions by the CEO of a Chicago “safety net” hospital.
Expat Illinois billionaire Ken Griffin is suing the IRS, alleging “unlawful disclosure” of his tax information to ProPublica.

TikTok tack. Citing security concerns, the U.S. Senate is sending the House a bill to forbid installation of the TikTok app on U.S. government devices.
People who enjoy using Twitter to track the private planes of Twitter overlord Elon Musk and other plutocrats were briefly out of luck yesterday.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is a Square advertiser.

The Found’s Chicago Pigeon Pin is just one of the many gift ideas from local artists and designers at the MCA Store. Your purchase at the MCA Store sustains Chicago’s creative ecosystem and supports the museum’s programs and exhibitions as well. Visit in-person and check out the newly opened Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s–Today, or shop online now.

‘I was a Black man who dared to challenge the newly minted executive editor.’ Columnist John Fountain isn’t backing down in the dispute that prompted his departure from the Sun-Times.
Nationally syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts Jr.—whose work appeared in the Tribune—is retiring from the Miami Herald … with thanks to, among others, Dave Barry.
CNN: Washington Post reporters are livid at their publisher for the manner in which he announced layoffs.
Semafor: The Post’s top editor asked staffers whether they think she should leave.

‘A sham.’ The Sun-Times’ Neil Steinberg mocks news organizations’ tendency to make predictions about the year to come.
The Onion Magazine’s cover: “Could Something Bad Happen?

Christmas, cheap. Consumer Reports rounds up some well-rated gifts under $50 …

The rising cost of free. Twitter’s shuttering the longtime free newsletter platform it bought just last year, Revue.
Mailchimp, the competing—paid—service that helps bring this newsletter to thousands of readers for free, is raising rates next month by more than 14%.
You can help cover that increase with a contribution to support Chicago Public Square.
Pitch in any amount—even $1—and you get $5 off a Square cap or T-shirt, which makes a great gift.

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