They were warned / ‘How can I be safe?’ / Radio nowhere / One week left

They were warned. The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Max 9 that suffered a midair blowout Friday had registered pressurization problems on three previous flights.
 The “door plug”—a piece covering an unused exit—has been discovered in a Portland schoolteacher’s backyard.
 One woman on the flight—where no one died—texted her parents: “Please pray for me.”
 CNN: “A terrifying 10-minute flight adds to years of Boeing’s quality control problems.”
 At least it’s not Chicago’s problem anymore (2022 link).
 Update/correction, 4:11 p.m.: … except it is.

‘We’re not really seeing folks save.’ Illinois’ consumer advocate agency, the Citizens Utility Board, recommends a critical look at those “alternative energy supplier services” offering to cut people’s gas and electric bills.
 Get help analyzing those programs from the CUB and the Illinois Commerce Commission.

Pledge hedge. In filing for a slot on the Illinois presidential ballot, Donald Trump failed to sign a pledge not to advocate for the government’s overthrow.
 With a strategy that Popular Information says is “rooted in a white nationalist conspiracy theory,” Republican officials in several states are threatening to yank President Biden’s name from ballots.
 Author and activist filmmaker Michael Moore: Make Jan. 6 a federal holiday, “Democracy Day.”
 Condemning NBC News’ Kristen Welker for “one of the most egregious (and dangerous) displays of journalistic incompetence I’ve ever seen,” Trump niece Mary L. Trump explains “Why MAGA loves Meet the Press.”

Chicago Public Square
loses a reader.
Friday’s edition triggered this unsubscribe note from someone who subscribed almost three years ago: “Trump Derangement Syndrome kicking in with content. Not interested in affirming that mental illness.”
 Speaking of which: Conservative Bulwark columnist Charlie Sykes surveys the “countless ways to measure Trump’s transmogrification of the Republican Party: The acceptance of the Big Lie, the abandonment of Ukraine, the ideological nihilism, the polls.”

‘A Jan. 6 conspiracy theory that … has never been disproven.’ Press Watch columnist Dan Froomkin notes that Congress and the news biz have failed to explore the possibility that the insurrection of Jan. 6, 2021, happened because “certain officials effectively allowed it to happen by insufficiently securing the Capitol.”
 Archival video: A panel of Chicago journalists commented on the events of that day live as they happened.

‘How the hell does the Secretary of Defense end up in the hospital for multiple days and nobody tells the White House?’ Politico ponders the strange case of Lloyd Austin’s still-mysterious disappearance.
 Considering a second Trump presidency, columnist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich suggests “perhaps we should be grateful that we live in a society where a secretary of defense can go missing for three and a half days, and no one notices.”

‘I’m not ready to pound the panic button yet.’ But Tribune columnist Laura Washington says the clock’s ticking on Mayor Johnson’s ability to demonstrate he can assemble a viable coalition capable of leading the city.
 The Tribune reports that the Johnson administration fired three city staffers after they complained of “definitely … degrading” treatment.
 Columnist Neil Steinberg appeals to a federal judge for mercy in the case of the City Club of Chicago’s ex-president, convicted in a years-long conspiracy to bribe former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (May link).

‘How can I be safe?’ Complaining of antisemitism in the wake of the Mideast war, an Israeli student is suing the School of the Art Institute.
 Under growing pressure from the U.S., Israel says it’s scaling back its Gaza offensive (gift link, courtesy of Chicago Public Square supporters).

‘The real reasons the GOP suddenly pretended to care about Harvard.’ Columnist Will Bunch: “A takedown of Harvard’s black president wasn’t about bettering college but preserving hierarchies around race, class and gender.”
 Facing a growing deficit, the University of Chicago plans a hiring freeze and budget cuts.

‘My Lyft driver doesn’t like guns and he didn’t want to buy any, but that’s why he’ll always be a loser.’ Author Michael Rosenbaum offers 10 “surefire insights” for becoming more American.
 A Chicago cop was one of two people shot early today as officers responded to a reported smash-and-grab burglary at an Oak Street store.
 Veteran reporter Andy Shaw: “In 40 years as a journalist, I visited every Chicago neighborhood. For the first time, I now fear for my safety.”
 Gun sellers and others tell the Sun-Times tens of thousands of Illinoisans are likely now in violation of a new law requiring registration of assault-style weapons.
 The National Rifle Association and its longtime—now resigned—leader Wayne LaPierre go on trial for corruption today in New York.

Radio nowhere. The giant radio and podcast company Audacy—formerly Entercom, formerly CBS Radio, parent of a bunch of Chicago stations—has done gone and filed for bankruptcy.
 Cindy Morgan, who rose to fame as a Chicago radio DJ and later as an actor in Caddyshack, among others, is dead at 69.
 Among big winners at last night’s Golden Globes, the Chicago-set Hulu series The Bear.

Snow call. Don’t be surprised by two rounds of the white stuff beginning tonight.

One week left. Just a few days remain for you to back Square for Best Email Newsletter and Best Independent Website or Blog in the Reader’s Best of Chicago poll …
 … and it gets you $5 off on the collectible—this style won’t be restocked—Square hoodie, of which just six remained at deadline time …
 … and which longtime reader Mike Braden sports so fashionably here:

A Square public service announcement …

Marking 50 years of its Austin Scholars Award program, Third Unitarian Church hosts Austin High School alumna and CBS2 Chicago investigative reporter Dorothy Tucker Sunday at 301 N. Mayfield, Chicago——near the Austin stop on the CTA Green Line. To join online, email

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

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