Competition in transition / Free Paxlovid’s end? / Chicago (later) Tonight

Competition in transition. The Federal Trade Commission is formally proposing to forbid companies from imposing noncompete provisions, typically used to keep workers from quitting for better jobs.
The New York Times: If the change wins approval, it could raise wages and increase competition among professions as diverse as sandwich makers, hair stylists, doctors and software engineers. (Image: AI-driven DALL-E; pixelation added.)
Want a Portillo’s hot dog at a drive-thru window after Jan. 16? Your cash is no good.

YIMBY. The new government funding package includes millions for communities that agree to relax restrictions on the density of housing that can be built in areas historically limited to single-family homes.
In a move that could mark an end to Chicago-suburban competition for corporate headquarters, the city and public, private and civic entities from Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Will, McHenry and Kendall counties are joining a partnership with a “no poaching” pledge.
Spotlighting a Chicago bridge made iconic by the Blues Brothers movie, Vice President Harris celebrated a $1.2 trillion infrastructure program led by the White House.
Columnist Matt Yglesias: The only way to get American transit agencies’ costs under control is to prioritize ridership over everything else.

So far, his firstborn’s (reportedly) safe. In his long-running quest to become House speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy has offered the hard right what The Washington Post calls “stunning” concessions that would weaken the job and make his hold on it even more tenuous.
As of Chicago Public Square’s email deadline, he’d failed six times.
Among those blocking him: Illinois’ reactionary Rep. Mary Miller.
A Fox News host declared the standoff “a disaster” for the Republican Party …
 … and a Tribune editorial says it’s even worse for America as a whole.
Update: For now, the House effectively has no members and no rules.
One of the Democrats gaming out what’d be in it for them if they cast some votes to break the stalemate tells the Daily Beast: I’m not a cheap date.”
Esquire’s Charlie Pierce: “McCarthy will look dumb if he has to move his stuff out of the speaker's office.”

Free Paxlovid’s end? That and other government COVID-19 protections could disappear next week if a group of Republican governors have their way.
Your Local Epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina sums up the “triple-demic” state of affairs: “It’s still looking rough out there.”
Beijing’s hospital beds are in short supply as COVID spreads through China.

‘There’s people that want to play, and there’s people that don’t.’ The plight of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is fueling uncertainty in NFL locker rooms.
Update: Hamlin’s reportedly showing “remarkable improvement.”
The Tribune reports that, in a move complicated by Chicago’s ethics rules, Mayor Lightfoot’s team unsuccessfully tried to get her Bears tickets “updated.” (Link corrected.)

Don’t read gay. Under a repressive new Florida law, school libraries there have begun purging books with LGBTQ characters.
Go figure: Now that some Chicago Public Schools have stopped effectively forcing kids to enroll in the controversial military-run Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program (2021 link), enrollment has plummeted.
Also from the school system’s watchdog, as Block Club Chicago puts it: “Three Marine Leadership Academy Teachers abused students—and educators covered it up for years.”

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is a Square advertiser.

Make sure to visit Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s–Today at the MCA in 2023. Called “both ravishingly beautiful and discomfiting,” in Hyperallergic’s “Top 50 Exhibitions of 2022.” Vogue also featured it saying, “what the exhibition does well is invite an open dialogue: [Curator Carla] Acevedo-Yates and the 37 artists cast light on the intricacies of the Caribbean in a way that is both imaginative and literal.” Learn more and then book your tickets today.
Chicago (later) Tonight. Effective Jan. 23, Ch. 11 moves its flagship newscast to 10 p.m.
Hear the show’s cohosts interviewed in a Square podcast from 2021.
Ex-Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger—a rare breed of Trump-critical congressional Republican—is joining CNN.

A not-so-fine thank-you. In thanking James VanOsdol for his kind words about Square, this publication yesterday misspelled his name.
Check out his podcast here …
 … including this 2018 episode, where he spelled Square correctly.
Ted Cox and Elizabeth Austin made this edition better.

Subscribe to Square.