Hail, tornadoes? / Michigan’s message / WBEZ cuts / ‘Totally nutty’

Hail, tornadoes? As many as five twisters touched down in Illinois when storms—including lots of hail—ravaged the Midwest.
 The National Weather Service was working to confirm which—if any—were actual tornadoes.
 The storms sent hundreds huddling into O’Hare’s emergency shelter …
 The second-largest wildfire in Texas history forced evacuations, blacked out power and briefly shuttered a nuclear weapons facility.
 New maps of the U.S. show where lightning strikes the most—and Illinois is getting its share.
 The spectacularly bad weather has been like Mother Nature’s parting gift to WGN weathercaster Tom Skilling, who’s retiring today.

‘We know our system better than most people who criticize us.’ CTA President Dorval Carter was not the picture of humility as he faced a skeptical Chicago City Council yesterday.
 He promised more service “in just the next few weeks” …
 … and, down the line, mass transit service in Chicago to rival Paris and London.
 Reader columnist Ben Joravsky rips into coverage of Mayor Johnson’s administration: “The only thing the mainstream media (or at least the owners) want Mayor Johnson to succeed at is failure.”

Michigan’s message. A strong showing for “uncommitted” in yesterday’s Democratic presidential primary—a protest of President Biden’s support for Israel—signals what Notus calls “a real weakness for Biden in a crucial state come November.”
 Wake Up to PoliticsGabe Fleisher on the vote: “Biden is struggling among constituencies angry about the war in Gaza, and Trump is struggling among suburban voters.”
 USA Today’s Rex Huppke: “Wake me when the general election starts.”
 Mary L. Trump says her uncle’s hand-picked House speaker “received illegal money from at least one Russian oligarch. There could be more.
 Law and Chaos columnist Liz Dye: “Trump prosecutors are learning to hunt in packs. Clever lawyers!
 ProPublica: “Republicans hatched a secret assault on the Voting Rights Act.”

Been AI pranked? Consumer Reports invites you to share your story if you’ve ever received a phone call impersonating the voice of someone you know.
 John Oliver this week sliced into “pig butchering,” a financial scam that involves befriending victims on social media—before fleecing them for all they’re worth.
 If your internet service sucks, the Illinois government wants to hear from you.

‘Public square’ in the news. The Washington Post’s Will Oremus says this week’s Supreme Court review of Florida and Texas laws to restrict online platforms moderation of users’ speech revived a longstanding debate over whether social media constitute the new “public square.” (Gift link courtesy of Chicago Public Square supporters.)
 NewsGuard founder Steve Brill: The court seems inclined to let platforms keep the freedom to “edit” recklessly.

Apple car dead. After blowing billions on the notion over the last decade, Apple’s reportedly unplugging plans to develop an electric vehicle …
 … even as Gov. Pritzker puts pedal to the metal on Illinois’ transition to EVs.
 The Lever: The billionaire-backed Koch network has spent almost $10 million to kill the bipartisan Railway Safety Act.

WBEZ cuts.
Axios reports that the station’s trimming its locally produced, daily on-air talk programming—namely, Resetfrom two hours to one.
 Disclosure: Like the Axios Chicago team, your Chicago Public Square columnist has worked for WBEZ—as a blogger and, briefly, as guest host.
 The Hollywood Reporter: If you wanna know how Vice went bankrupt after being valued at $5.7 billion in 2017, “look no further than its brash (and still highly paid) founder.”

‘Totally nutty.’ That’s how critic Richard Roeper describes the plot of Dune: Part Two—which he nevertheless gives three stars and declares “an impressive and at times gloriously beautiful piece of work.”

Pitch your digital tent. Presale tickets for this summer’s Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday.
 Headlining the Illinois State Fair in August: Mötley Crüe.

Update. The Oscar-nominated documentary The ABCs of Book Banning, which yesterday’s Chicago Public Square noted was to have been streaming free on YouTube through Thursday, was no longer available as of this morning’s email deadline.
 Mike Braden made this edition better.

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