‘A giant leap for humanity’ / ‘Skyway robbery’ / Xfinity hacked

‘A giant leap for humanity.’ Esquire’s Charlie Pierce hails Pope Francis’ “slick maneuver” to OK blessings for same-gender couples.
 Although it comes with plenty of catches, Chicago Catholics are celebrating.

‘He sounds like a Nazi.’ Analyst Lauren Martinchek says “It really doesn’t get much more disturbing” than Donald Trump’s recent campaign rhetoric.
 Esquire’s Pierce: “What do his opponents have to say about that? Absolutely nothing.”
 Law professor Joyce Vance on Trump’s fascist pledges: “That’s the leading GOP candidate saying he intends to stay in office for longer than the Constitution allows.”
 Trump niece Mary L. Trump has assembled “a list of all of Judge Engoron’s best burns” against Trump and his legal team in that New York fraud trial.

‘After marrying his cousin, giving a press conference at a landscaping company and almost masturbating in the Borat movie, Rudy Giuliani has finally slipped up.’ Late Night host Seth Meyers assesses the massive defamation verdict against Trump’s henchman …
 … which could be compounded, because the Georgia election workers he defamed have filed another suit in connection with the additional crap he’s been spewing since that verdict came down. (2019 cartoon: The late Keith J. Taylor.)
 Columnist Liz Dye: “The throughline of his entire career has been racism.”

Chicago’s cease-fire call. To what the Sun-Times reports were the cheers of Palestinian and Jewish-based supporters, a City Council committee’s voted to send the full council a resolution in support of “lasting peace in Gaza starting with a permanent cease-fire.”
 Students at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago complain that administrators have been limiting their freedom of speech in antiwar protests.
 The New York Post: Early-acceptance applicants to Harvard Some applicants accepted early at Harvard are turning down their offers as antisemitism charges plague that campus.

Death and disease. Chicago’s most crowded migrant shelter, in Pilsen, has an undiagnosed problem: A 5-year-old dead and at least four other kids and a woman in hospitals.
 The city says its “investigation is ongoing.”
 Hey, guess what WTTW reports is awaiting migrants at a so-called “winterized base camp” taking shape on Chicago’s South Side: Pollutants from an underground oil tank, a defunct dry cleaners and a shuttered gas station.
 In what a City Council member calls “a big step forward,” Chicago yesterday dismantled a West Loop encampment of the homeless.
 Axios Chicago has some (unanswered) questions about how and where the city’s spending money to care for and house more than 25,000 newcomers.
 Texas’ governor has signed a law letting cops arrest migrants who’ve entered the U.S. illegally.

‘Skyway robbery.’ Columnist Eric Zorn questions the Jan. 1 increase in Chicago Skyway tolls.
 Thank ex-Mayor Richard M. Daley (June link).
 For the second year in a row, Chicago’s asking the public to help nickname its snowplows.

‘Football’s risks continuing to be borne by boys in places that tend to be poorer and more conservative.’ A Washington Post investigation finds that “race, politics, culture and money are shaping which kids abandon tackle football.” (Gift link, courtesy of Chicago Public Square supporters.)
 Cultural analyst Bob Lefsetz: “Tackle football is time-stamped. It’s just a matter of when it dies.”

‘More people in the South are feeling crappy than in the North.’ Your Local Epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina checks the nation’s respiratory health heading into Christmas week.
 A white Christmas for Chicago? Don’t count on it.
 Block Club: How Chicago’s Pullman neighborhood inspired The Polar Express movie’s look.

Xfinity hacked. The company’s notified customers that their “usernames and hashed passwords … contact information, last four digits of social security numbers, dates of birth and/or secret questions and answers” may have been stolen …
 … so, yeah, it’s time to change passwords and switch to two-factor or multi-factor authentication.

Celebs behaving badly.
 Beloved (until now, anyway) children’s singer Raffi posted a swastika to his Instagram account.
 Actor Jonathan Majors’ conviction for assault and harassment has tossed Marvel Studios and its parent Walt Disney Co. into a casting crisis.
 Stephen Colbert’s February interview with Majors hasn’t aged well.

Chicago Public Square mailbag. Monday’s item about Arlington Heights-born reactionary Charlie Kirk triggered this memory from media columnist, Chicago radio veteran and author of the acclaimed new book The Loop Files: An Oral History of the Most Outrageous Radio Station Ever, Rick Kaempfer: “My wife and kids helped Charlie Kirk on his Eagle Scout project. (They were in same troop.) He borrowed our cooler and bar clamp and never returned either, despite repeated attempts to retrieve them. Kills me that his name is on the same list as my two sons, who later became Eagle Scouts in same troop.”

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 Mike Braden made this edition better.

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