Million-person evacuation / Skilling’s farewell / Friday the 13th quiz

Welcome, triskaidekophobes! Let’s see how the fog of COVID-19 haunts this edition of Chicago Public Square, shall we?

Million-person evacuation. In what The Associated Press calls “an unprecedented order” applying to almost half the population of Gaza, Israel’s military has directed a million Palestinians to get out of north Gaza—and given them just 24 hours to do so.
 The Conversation: Gaza depends on UN and other global aid groups for food, medicine and basic services, but the Israel-Hamas war means nothing’s getting in.
 The AP: Weeks before launching the war, Hamas practiced its attack in plain sight.
 The U.S. defense secretary has told Israel, “We have your back.”
 Neil Steinberg in the Sun-Times: “American Jews had been souring on Israel, with its Trump wannabe president deforming the judiciary simply to keep his butt out of prison. … Then, Oct. 7.”

‘Words, when neglected, have the power to fuel hate.’ A BBC reporter has quit over the network’s refusal to refer to Hamas as “terrorists.”
 Reader Matthew Tarpy offers his take: “A militant is someone who attacks military targets and looks to minimize death and damage to innocents caught in the crossfire. Terrorists are people who put bullets in the heads of infants, while decapitating other infants. It’s left to the interested reader to determine which side of the line Hamas landed on this past weekend.”
 CNN’s Oliver Darcy: News networks have been grappling with how and whether to share graphic images from the war—including babies burned beyond recognition.

Skilling’s farewell. Iconic Chicago meteorologist Tom Skilling says he’s retiring in February after 45 years at WGN-TV …
 … and a career in which he’s come to be revered by Chicago reporters.
 Personal note: Back in the early 2000s, when many veteran Tribune Co. newspaper and TV staffers remained, let’s say, skeptical about that whole internet thing, Tom was always willing to play.
 At least he’ll be on duty through what could be some wild weather through tonight.

‘I do not believe it will be an issue in the race.’ Still under scrutiny for using city employees to run personal errands, Chicago Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin tells Politico she’s running for Congress, challenging 7th District Rep. Danny Davis.
 The Tribune reports that the fine print in Mayor Johnson’s draft budget reveals he, Conyears-Ervin, the city clerk and the majority of Chicago City Council members have accepted a pay raise for next year.
 The second-highest-ranking official in the Chicago Fire Department, Mary Sheridan, has been reprimanded for crude comments to a subordinate about an alleged sexual relationship—and her behavior during the investigation that followed.

‘It is time for every one of my colleagues in the Senate to join me in expelling Sen. Menendez.’ Sen. John Fetterman wants Bob Menendez out after accusations he acted as a foreign agent on behalf of Egyptwhile he chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
 In what Esquire’s Charlie Pierce calls a week of “unbridled crazy talk … things are coming unstrung in Congress like you would not believe.”
 The Bulwark’s Charlie Sykes on Republicans: “A political party that has lost the ability to govern even at the most basic level.”
 PolitiFact rates President Biden’s broken campaign pledge not to build “another foot of wall” along the southern border “a Full Flop.”

Friday the 13th quiz. Our usual quizmaster, past Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner Fritz Holznagel, is on vacation—so superstition expert Barry Markovsky takes the reins for this week’s edition.
If you best your Square columnist’s mediocre 6/8 correct (75%), be one of the first five readers to send a screenshot of that score (at least 7 correct) and your mailing address to and get a free sticker from The Conversation to back up your bragging rights.

Chicago’s ready for its close-up. Open House Chicago—when the Chicago Architecture Foundation grants the public free, backstage access to more than 170 of the city’s most iconic buildings across more than 20 neighborhoods—is back this weekend.
 If the weather cooperates, you may be able to see a partial “ring of fire” solar eclipse Saturday …

Sports fans’ reckoning. Acknowledging that fans have through the years accounted for roughly 10% of cable subscribers—but 100% have paid providers to carry those games—the Sun-Times’ Jeff Agrest says just finding a game to watch has become a maddening thing in the streaming era.
 Cord Cutter Weekly has a fresh batch of codes for getting streaming channels free or at a discount.

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