‘An extraordinary opportunity’ / School wars / Journalism’s ‘bastard stepchild’

‘An extraordinary opportunity.’ That’s how Illinois’ Dick Durbin, the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, describes the candidacy of his choice for Chicago mayor, Paul Vallas.
 Vallas’ campaign is counting on that to help dispel questions about his links to Republican activists and donors.
Brandon Johnson appeared with the Rev. Al Sharpton—who stopped short of an actual endorsement.
Johnson addresses a City Club luncheon today, Vallas tomorrow—with live streams here.
City Cast Chicago interviewed Johnson at a different venue: A West Side barber shop.

‘Wherever he goes, he leaves and there’s … a mess.’ A veteran of Vallas’ time overseeing New Orleans schools talks to The Triibe about his “trail of school privatization.”
Axios: Johnson’s campaign tests the value of the Chicago Teachers Union’s embrace.
The director of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab calls on both candidates to address public safety inequality.
A Sun-Times editorial: “Environmental issues should be among the items at the top of the agenda for the next mayor.”
WTTW takes a closer look at the candidates’ environmental plans.
 Columnist Laura Washington: Where are this year’s campaign buttons?

School wars. The Tribune surveys the ways in which conservatives are targeting suburban school board elections.
Columnist Neil Steinberg: “My education involved seeing footage of the naked bodies of my relatives being bulldozed into pits. Given that, I believe schools can spill the beans about segregation without Republican children crying themselves to sleep.”
Election Day’s next Tuesday, so now’s time to check the Chicago Public Square voter guide—for Chicago and the suburbs.

‘Ticking time bomb.’ Politico reports that a state audit describes the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office’s antiquated cybersecurity infrastructure as—in the words of newly elected Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias—“held together by toothpicks and bubble gum” (second section in today’s Illinois Playbook).
Twitter’s hunting the person who leaked parts of its source code—the foundation on which the service runs.

Climate, climate, climate. As Earth warms, U.S. tornadoes—like the massive one that ravaged Mississippi Friday—are shifting south.
Climate change gets credit for the rapid spread of Candida auris, a fungus that was first reported in the U.S. in 2016 and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now calls an “urgent threat” to human health …
 … and, yeah, you’re forgiven if this makes you think of The Last of Us.

Scotland’s offering spring COVID booster vaccinations to at-risk people—including those over 75 and others with weakened immune systems.

A little Trump went a long way. Donald Trump’s first major political rally of the year failed to hold the attention of some fans who’d waited hours to see him …
 … even though Semafor’s Shelby Talcott says it delivered “everything that his Republican critics had once claimed would be his undoing.”
Digging into Trump’s speech, PolitiFact found a series of nothingburgers.
Popular Information rounds up a list of corporations supporting congressional Republicans who are backing Trump’s “scorched-earth campaign to intimidate Alvin Bragg, the district attorney … likely to indict Trump for a hush money payment to former adult film actress Stormy Daniels.”
Public Notice: Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have the same authoritarian plan, referred to as “Schedule F”—under which the president could “fire tens of thousands of career bureaucrats within the federal government and replace them with loyalists.”

Journalism’s ‘bastard stepchild.’ That’s how Chicago’s Bill Zehme—who died Sunday after a long run against cancer—once described the celebrity profiles at which he excelled.
His subjects included Frank Sinatra, Jay Leno and Andy Kaufman.
Columnist Eric Zorn: “All Chicago writers stood in awe of Bill Zehme.”
The legendary crusading liberal magazine Texas Observer has observed its last. (Update, March 29: Not so fast.)

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