‘There was no talk of gun control’ / Feeling stupider? / A health bill bargain

‘There was no talk of gun control.’ The AP recounts a vigil in Nashville last night for the three kids and three adults killed in a school shooting Monday.
A couple of hundred benighted souls gathered outside the Illinois Capitol yesterday to protest the state’s gun-control law.
Popular Information: Right-wing pundits have been responding to the slaughter with anti-trans propaganda. (Cartoon: Charis JB.)
USA Today’s Rex Huppke channels a Republican lawmaker: “Please stop asking me to address gun violence. I’m busy banning books.”
Also at The Nib, cartoonist Rob Rogers reflects on Second Amendment authors’ lack of imagination.
Columnist and Tribune alumnus Charlie Madigan to National Rifle Association spokesgun Wayne LaPierre: “It’s just not human to wish you a future burning in hell. Your soul needs saving.”
Your Local Epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina: Schools’ “active-shooter drills” may do more harm than good.

‘It’s a terrible strategy. It’s an illegal strategy.’ A University of Chicago law professor condemns Chicago cops for making millions of traffic stops while searching for guns …
 … a practice that Block Club Chicago and Injustice Watch say yields just one arrest in every 156 stops.

Feeling stupider? New research from Northwestern University concludes that, reversing three-quarters-of-a-century’s progress, Americans’ IQs dropped between 2006 and 2018 …
 … although one professor explains: “It could just be that they’re getting worse at taking … these kinds of tests.”
On the other hand, The Intercept’s James Risen suggests, “America may finally be done with Donald Trump.”
On the other other hand, The Intercept also reports: Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz has hired a convicted war criminal as a legislative aide.

‘If Twitter finally dies, where do we find the smart people?’ Matt Pearce at the Los Angeles Times: “We … may never again have … another one-stop watering hole where many of the planet’s most interesting celebrities, politicians, activists, scientists, journalists, comedians and other assorted smart people will rub elbows with one another and also with you.”
Twitter chief Elon Musk and other tech industry leaders—including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists—are calling for a six-month pause to consider the risks of artificial intelligence tech.
Their open letter warns that AI labs are “locked in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one—not even their creators—can understand, predict or reliably control.”

‘Wrongheaded, divisive and … counterproductive.’ In his “final thoughts” on the Chicago mayoral contest, columnist Eric Zorn condemns Paul Vallas’ “fondness for privatizing public education”—but he adds that the more he hears Brandon Johnson talk, “the less confidence I have that he’s got the policy chops and political skill to be the mayor.”
 … including Trump’s bear-fearing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Reform for Illinois executive director Alisa Kaplan: “Voters have a right to know who’s trying to buy their vote and why.”
The only Black mayoral candidate in one Chicago suburb says the village has racially targeted his campaign signs.
Ready to vote? Check the Chicago Public Square voter guide for the city and the suburbs.

‘No responsible journalist can accept or excuse this behavior.’ The Society of Professional Journalists—of which your Square columnist is a member—condemns Fox for “allegations” that it gave its audience “false and misleading information, apparently out of concern that fact-based reporting would damage the company’s brand.”
Fresh evidence of Fox’s atrocity: The company’s CEO emailed a programming executive condemning the channel’s fact-checking of Trump’s lies as “bad for business,” demanding “this has to stop now.” (Image: Dominion Voting Systems.)
The ratings for what Puck’s Dylan Byers calls CNN’s “increasingly irrelevant domestic linear product” are in the toilet.
The muckraking Texas Observer has been spared to observe another day.

Who wants the domain name ‘Radio.com’? The awkwardly punny-named broadcaster Audacy’s auction has been a bust …
 … which reminds us this is the fifth anniversary of the debut of the award-winning—but short-lived—Chicago Public Square Newscast.

A health bill bargain. First Aid Kit explains how you can cut your medical expenses by telling a provider: “Don’t run this through my insurance.”
 … which University of Pittsburgh experts call “an important step in the effort to combat the U.S. opioid crisis” …
 … and which prompts columnist Matt Baron to reflect on Narcan’s role as a “miracle” for his brother, who’s “been homeless for long stretches of time while consuming enormous quantities of alcohol and drugs.”

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