City Hall’s Mideast tension / Trump concedes a point / Quiz

City Hall’s Mideast tension. Politico’s Shia Kapos lays out the stakes as the City Council prepares to deal with a resolution supporting a ceasefire in Gaza.
Illinois’ two U.S. senators voted to block Sen. Bernie Sanders’ resolution to scrutinize Israel’s record on Palestinian human rights.

She’s back. Ex-Mayor Lightfoot’s launching the Chicago Vibrant Neighborhoods Collective—a nonprofit aimed at providing “tools, resources and opportunities for collaboration” for community organizations.
Here she is, explaining it before the City Club of Chicago yesterday.
She’s calling for the feds to help the city help asylum seekers find legal employment.

Cook County judge shortage. In a year with near-record-low numbers of judicial candidates, Injustice Watch notes that seven of them are getting an early start on the job.

Caught in the middle. Exploring the racial ramifications of the school choice debate, WBEZ’s Sarah Karp explains that Chicago’s Black families bypass neighborhood schools for other options more than any other group.
Two west suburban Catholic grade schools are closing, and the church blames the expiration of the state’s tax credit for private school scholarship donations.

Not dead yet. After another winter blast of accident-spawning Chicago-area snow, dangerous windchills follow tonight.
It’s no better on the East or West Coasts.

Trump concedes a point. In another of his unhinged social media rants, the ex-president acknowledged for the first time that maybe he did “cross the line.”
A vote for Nikki Haley is a vote for a Trump pardon.
In what Mediaite founder Colby Hall calls “flat-out douchebaggery, and nothing we haven’t seen from this guy before,” Trump’s rolled out a new nickname for Haley.

‘The conservative plan to ban abortion without Congress.’ New nonprofit news organization NOTUS says that’s the goal for “every single state in America.”
Project Democracy has released “The Authoritarian Playbook for 2025,” which The Bulwark’s Charlie Sykes says everyone should read, download and share.

‘A travesty, and worse.’ Tedium’s Ernie Smith dissects what Condé Nast has done to the formerly Chicago-based Pitchfork.
Ex-Pitchfork intern Parker Molloy: “There was good. There was bad. A lot of what people are mourning … died long ago.”
Platformer’s Casey Newton—newly departed from Substack: “Pablum created with generative AI is now rising up through Google News results, depriving websites written by actual people of revenue.”
Amazon’s reportedly working on a supercharged, subscription-supported AI-powered version of Alexa—and, in Gizmodo’s words, “it’s already a disaster.”
NewsGuard: Beware an AI-produced podcast plagiarizing mainstream news.

‘Chicago … is among the 20 metro areas with the largest loss of news sources per capita.’ Better Government Association president David Greising calls on Illinois government to take urgent action to address journalism’s sorry state.
The Los Angeles Times union is calling for a one-day strike to protest a fresh round of layoffs.

Macy’s closures. It’s shuttering five stores—none in Illinois
… and cutting its workforce by 3.5%—about 2,350 people.

Safety kit recalls. Millions of furniture anchors—designed to keep dressers and other items from tipping over onto little kids—are being recalled because their plastic can deteriorate over time.
Get free replacements here.

Restaurant rip-offs. ‘Choose wisely.’ A Tribune editorial warns about eateries whose offers during Restaurant Week—which begins today—aren’t really deals.

Iceland, Australia, The Hague and Iowa. This week’s news quiz takes you to all those places, courtesy of your inquisitive tour guide, past Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner Fritz Holznagel.
Don’t miss the final question if you’re a fan of Mohandas Gandhi or Wayne LaPierre.
Get a score better than 75% and you can brag on social media that you beat that Chicago Public Square columnist guy.

Square mailbag. Reader and Chicago journalist Mark Miller writes: “I’ve been laughing a bit at the media’s Tesla Charge-gate frenzy this week, culminating in a front-page NYT story! I’ll admit I’m probably biased as the owner of two EVs myself. But is it really front-page news that EV batteries don’t perform as well (yet) in sub-zero temperatures? The media just can’t resist an opportunity to poke a stick in the eye of a promising climate-positive business like EVs … And the Times waits ’til the very end to note, ‘Oh, by the way, the efficiency of gas-powered cars also plunges poorly in subzero temps (in other words, more emissions).’”

A correction—and a disclosure. Reader Judy Graf flagged a mistake in yesterday’s Square regarding Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s past relationship to Boeing Co. It was his client
… speaking of which, your Square columnist is overdue in acknowledging that he did a few hours’ consulting for Boeing in 2016—in partnership with The BRIEF Lab.
American Prospect editor-at-large Harold Meyerson (no relation) explains why Boeing has become, in the words of his friend and former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, “such a shitty corporation.”

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