‘Devastated’ / Dead malls / Swift changes

‘Devastated.’ The principal of a downtown Chicago charter high school announced its closure for today after two of its students were shot and killed Friday afternoon.
 Police were still seeking suspects and had yet to suggest a motive.

Illinois, too? A state hearing officer—a retired longtime Republican judge—says that Donald Trump did indeed participate in the insurrection of 2021, but that the courts and not the state elections board should decide whether to kick him off the primary ballot.
 Here’s his full opinion.
 Stop the Presses columnist Mark Jacob counts off a dozen reasons Trump’s dictator threat is real.
 Popular Information sees Texas’ implementation of its own immigration policy, “Operation Lone Star,” as “the second insurrection” and the birth of a “new confederacy.”

‘Thanks for your agency’s strong recommendation against funny signs, Secretary Buttigieg, which we strongly recommend that everyone ignore.’ A Tribune editorial rails against the U.S. Federal Highway Administration’s push to end jokey roadway advisories.
 Minneapolis’ Star Tribune differs: “Humor is late-night comedians’ job.”

Dead malls. Axios Chicago tours three shopping centers that feel like “an episode of The Last of Us and surveys suburban efforts to breathe life back into some.
 Chicago Public Square in May 2017: Photos captured the haunting remains of what once was a thriving Chicago-area shopping center.
 Now underway: A National Trust for Historic Preservation campaign to gather Americans’ stories of the legendary Route 66, which connected Chicago to Santa Monica, California.
 Here’s where to share yours.

‘A warning alarm for an America devolving into violence.’ Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Will Bunch sarcastically hails Alabama’s execution by nitrogen as “one giant leap for the science of better dying through chemicals—coming soon to a death chamber in your neck of the woods.”
 The state’s attorney general describes the process as “textbook,” despite first-person accounts that the prisoner shook and writhed for minutes.

The UN’s Hamas problem. An Israeli document accuses at least a dozen employees of the United Nations’ agency for Palestinian refugees of participating in the Oct. 7 assault on Israel.
 The Sun-Times: Chicago-area college students who’ve supported Palestinian rights say they lost out on jobs for their activism.
 Pro-Israel Political Update publisher Steve Sheffey: “Israel cannot remain Jewish and democratic and in permanent control of the West Bank.”

Plants’ ‘cry for help.’ A biochemistry researcher says that smell of freshly mowed lawns or cut flower stems is one of the signals that plants use to communicate—and that could work as a less-toxic pesticide.
 Chicago’s days are getting longer and temperatures are on the rise.

Swift changes. 404 reports that Microsoft’s tweaked its AI Designer tool to block users from generating nude images of celebrities, such as Taylor Swift.
 Overrun with AI-generated deepfake videos featuring Swift, Twitter X was blocking searches for her name.
 Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg mocks X overlord Elon Musk’s “aspirations” to be Jewish.

‘Will journalism become a hobby … done on the cheap or for donations?’ Politico’s usually sanguine Jack Shafer reluctantly concludes, “The news business really is cratering.”
 A bipartisan Illinois task force recommends lawmakers consider tax breaks for subscribers and advertisers as a way to avert local journalism’s decline.
 Wired tracks down a Serbian DJ who’s snarfed up 2,000 abandoned web domains, cramming them with AI-generated crap.
 Tech rebel and science fiction author Cory Doctorow: “I assure you, an AI didn’t write a terrible ‘George Carlin’ routine.”

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 Reg Davis made this issue better.

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