COVID weirdness? / Lead pipe dream / ‘Go f**k yourself’ / Strictly personal

COVID weirdness? Your Local Epidemiologist surveys evidence that COVID-19’s messing with immune systems.
 The pandemic’s waning has been accompanied by an uptick in U.S. life expectancy.
 For the first time since the COVID lockdowns, Chicago yesterday held a ceremony honoring police and fire department bravery.

Dog disease. A still undiagnosed illness has stricken canines in Illinois and across the country.
 Fruit sold at Aldi stores in Illinois has been linked to a Listeria outbreak.

Kissinger dead. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has executed his final exit strategy at 100.
 Discourse Blog proprietor Jack Mirkinson: The Kissinger obits are rage-inducing.
 HuffPost declares him “America’s most notorious war criminal.”
 Ex-Tribune and Sun-Times editor Mark Jacob explained in 2022.
 Vladimir Putin calls Kissinger “a wise and far-sighted statesman.”
 The AP: “He had to think twice before traveling to certain countries to be sure that he would not be summoned by judges seeking to question him about Nixon-era actions.”
 The Washington Post: In a previously undisclosed phone call, Pope Francis told Israel’s president that it is “forbidden to respond to terror with terror.”

‘The kind of things they do in countries with dictators.’ Media watcher Tom Jones sends up a flare about Donald Trump’s threats against MSNBC.
 The Daily Beast: Trump’s just been caught “paying himself so he could pay his taxes.”
 Trump’s niece, Mary—who’s launched a newsletter “exposing my family in order to keep them out of power”—says Trump kids’ mortgages shatter the myth of their wealth.

‘A sensible statement they can release explaining why hearing from the man they’ve been itching to hear from is actually a terrible idea.’ USA Today’s Rex Huppke channels a statement on behalf of congressional Republicans out to get President Biden’s son Hunter.
 Columnist Lauren Martinchek analyzes the flop of Trump acolyte Marjorie Taylor Greene’s book.
 Law professor Joyce Vance previews today’s version of Festivus in the House of Representatives.

Lead pipe dream. Under what would be the biggest such regulatory change in decades, the Environmental Protection Agency is pushing a requirement that utilities replace—within 10 years—every toxic lead pipe connecting U.S. homes to water mains.
 Chicago, where drinking a simple glass of water poses a health risk, could get more time than that.

‘We got sent into a battle with no proper gear.’ Black workers at Chicago’s Peoples Gas are going to court, alleging discrimination, sexual harassment and disproportionately dangerous service assignments.
 After two years of fruitless contract talks, Second City teachers have authorized a strike.

‘I can understand why some may feel the temptation to say screw it when it comes to COP28.’ But climate journalist Emily Atkin says fossil fuel interests “would love nothing more than for us to look away” from the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
 Chicagoan Mike Foucher, in Dubai for the conference: “Business interests like the size, since lots of deals are getting done.”

Park carefully. Chicago’s winter overnight parking ban returns Friday morning at 3 a.m.
 Here’s a map showing the 107 miles of roadway affected.
 Columnist Matt Baron praises the practice of backing into parking spaces.

‘Go f**k yourself.’ Twitter X overlord Elon Musk accused corporations that’ve fled his hate-filled platform of trying to “blackmail me with advertising.”
 His hapless CEO defends him as having been “candid.”
 CNN’s Oliver Darcy: “Musk killed Twitter long ago,” and now maybe he’s “doing the world a favor by quickening its demise.”
 The company’s sales team has reportedly suffered a wave of resignations.
 Democratic strategist Keith Edwards: Musk “remains an amazing Director of User Acquisition for Threads.”*
 Threads, Facebook and Instagram parent Meta’s flipped the switch on a billion-dollar data center in DeKalb.
 Groupon’s withering away in Chicago.

Finally, AI uses its power for good. Doritos—yes, Doritos—has launched an artificial intelligence app capable of suppressing the sound of you crunching chips during a work call or a networked video game.
 It works with other crunchy foods, too—but, for now, just with Windows PCs.

‘Grotesquely abused his authority.’ Columnist Eric Zorn says a suburban family’s suit on behalf of a kid cut from a high school basketball team exposes a man “clearly far too spiteful and immature to be a coach.”
 Axios’ Justin Kaufmann: The Blackhawks’ latest case of “inappropriate” conduct exposes continued flaws in the team’s culture.

Strictly personal.
Twenty-five years ago today, your columnist joined the Chicago Tribune staff—specifically, the innovative Trib internet team—with the mission of developing a news roundup that foreshadowed today’s Chicago Public Square. Without that transformative work with that pioneering team at Tribune Tower, Square wouldn’t exist.
 And this service would’ve folded years ago without readers’ financial support to keep it coming. Join their ranks today—for as little as $1, once—and see your name here tomorrow, atop a climactic roll-call like this:
 John D. Abel, Anne Frederick (again!), Stephanie Goldberg, Victoria Long (again!), Bernard Schoenburg (again!), Marcie Dosemagen, Jim Grimes, Deborah J. Wess, Thom Clark, John Meissen, Sherry Nordstrom, Joan Richmond, Cynde Seegers, Darold Barnum, Michael Levin, Patricia Winn, Leslie Sutphen, Thomas Gradel, Victoria Engelhardt, Nancy Burns, Martha Swisher, Jeffery Angevine, J. Michael Williams, Neil Parker, Maureen Kennedy, Mary Dedinsky, Sandy and Jeremy Lipschultz, Craig Koslofsky, Rebecca Ewan, Walter W. Gallas, Kathleen Hogan, Bruce Pfaff, John Jaramillo, Alternative Schools Network, Tim Spencer, Dave Connell, Maureen Stratton, Ron Castan, Dave Aron, Harlene Ellin, Joanne Rosenbush, Jeanette Ruby, David Weindling, Paul M. Moretta, Anton Till and Don Moseley.

A Square public service announcement …

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon speaks. He’ll provide a legislative update and address social justice issues in Illinois—online and in-person—Sunday, Dec. 10, at Third Unitarian Church, 301 N. Mayfield, Chicago (just off the Green Line’s Austin stop). To join online, email

… brought to you by Square Boosters David and Mena Boulanger.

Thanks. Michael Rosenbaum made this edition better.

* Where you’ll find Square’s beachhead here.

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