Rats! / Fecal matter / ‘A desperate appeal’

About yesterday’s multiple Chicago Public Square email dispatches. So, after Mailchimp failed twice—at 10 and 11 a.m.—to send out the regular edition, we jumped to Substack to see if it could, as a trial run, send a modified version out. But Substack took its time absorbing the Square mailing list and didn’t send readers a welcome advisory until late afternoon, followed by something like the regular edition. Meanwhile, we’d manually dispatched a kludged-together issue via Mailchimp.
 If Mailchimp’s solved its problems—also encountered at a number of other newsletter organizations, by the way—you’ll get this edition as usual. But if not (in which case, yeah, you’re probably not reading these words) look for a backup dispatch via Substack.
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 Thanks for bearing with us.

And now, the news:

Rats! A joint Better Government Association/Block Club Chicago/WGN-TV investigation finds that government in the city declared the rattiest city in the U.S. (October link) has been overwhelmed by a record flood of complaints about rats. (Photo: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago.)
 Meet a north suburban woman whose real estate empire has racked up $15 million in unpaid rat-related tickets for South and West Side properties.
 East Coast cities are trying a high-tech solution.

And … fecal matter in the rivers. A real-time monitor website will tell you just how filthy the Chicago and Calumet Rivers are.
 A nearby Chicago resident is suing Amazon over plans for a West Humboldt Park delivery facility, demanding a public approval process to review its potential “unreviewed and unstudied environmental, traffic, noise … and other social impacts.”

‘Rich people trying to pit Black and white against Latinx, and they want us to fight each other.’ Chicago South Siders last night expressed outrage at plans to shelter migrants in the Lake Shore Hotel.
 Columnist Neil Steinberg says his columns celebrating Chicago’s influx of migrants “shook the nuts out of the trees.”
 Expect company from Indiana, too: Abortion, Every Day notes that the state’s pregnant rape victims seeking abortions will have to “find a way out of state.”

Who needs flood relief? Four Chicago-area disaster recovery centers are open for business.
 Updating coverage: After ravaging Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, Tropical Storm Idalia was descending on North Carolina.
 The Conversation: The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s running out of money.

‘Something is going on with Mitch McConnell, and no one seems to have a clue.’ Politico reflects on the Senate Republican leader’s latest “blue screen” moment and the “untenable silence” surrounding whatever his problems are.
 On the other side of the aisle: Enfeebled Sen. Dianne Feinstein “is a silent character in her sad and messy final chapter.”

A front page ‘everyone is talking about.’ The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s student paper, The Daily Tar Heel, is winning praise for its coverage of the campus lockdown following the shooting death of a faculty member.
 At a campus rally for gun safety yesterday, students recounted hours of terror.
 A grad student’s been charged with murder.

‘A desperate appeal to newsroom leaders.’ Press watcher Dan Froomkin surveys journalists and other news critics for ways to yank reporters out of the business-as-usual coverage that has brought us to the threshold of “a chaos election.”
 Historian Heather Cox Richardson: “Today’s white supremacist violence has everything to do with the 1965 Voting Rights Act. … Minority voting means a government … that white men don’t dominate.”
 Chicago hate crimes last year topped a 29-year record—after a jump bigger than that experienced by any other top-10 U.S. city.

‘Responsible news organizations should not have published it.’ Columnist Eric Zorn says distribution of Donald Trump’s mug shot continues a lousy journalistic tradition.
 He adds: If the president’s weight at his arrest was truly important enough to list, why not have Trump step on a bathroom scale instead of letting him pick his own number?

‘Unfair, deceptive and unlawful acts.’ A class action lawsuit challenges Tribune Publishing’s habit of charging subscribers extra fees.
 Ex-Trib staffer Zorn: “Judging from my email inbox, the plaintiffs … will have no trouble rounding up witnesses.”

Employment not guaranteed. The Trib reports that, amid a big slowdown for housing sales, Chicago-based mortgage company Guaranteed Rate has, for more than a year, been quietly laying off employees nationwide.
 Axios Chicago on the shootings at Guaranteed Rate Field: “Did a gun get past security? If so, who’s at fault?
 The cops seem stumped.

‘Just by breathing, you’re discarding DNA in a way that can be traced back to you.’ A Harvard researcher is among those sounding an alarm about the FBI’s growing collection of DNA samples—on a scale that matches that of China’s authoritarian government.
 The Delaware News Journal: DNA from 17th-century graves stands to rewrite history.

‘America’s in much better shape (at home and abroad) than you probably think.’ Daily Beast columnist David Rothkopf says the U.S. is far stronger than it was before the pandemic.
 Also: Consumer Reports rounds up the best Labor Day bargains you can get already.

‘This litigious approach to swimming … needs to stop.’ Chicago Humanities Festival artistic director Alison Cuddy decries the city pressure that killed the Friday Morning Swim Club.
 Zorn again: “Up to 2,600 people reportedly have attended these watery meet-ups, so collect a buck or two from each one of them, pay a dozen lifeguards.”

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