Phone failure / Defenestrated / Poop puzzle / Close, but no big Я

Phone failure. Chicago was among several metropolitan regions grappling with cellular phone outages on the networks of, among others, AT&T, Cricket, Verizon and T-Mobile.
 They began around 3:45 a.m.
 AT&T’s counsel: Use Wi-Fi calling if you can.
 Metra board members reamed out the company behind the Ventra ticketing app for the “embarrassment” of the app’s failure as the system rolled out new fares at the start of the month.

‘Bulls__t’ crackdown. The City Council’s OK’d new restrictions on dollar stores’ operation in Chicago.
 A Sun-Times editorial calls out Mayor Johnson for “blowing off the media or giving confusing answers to reporters’ questions,” leaving him looking like a leader “who doesn’t value transparency or accountability.”
 Columnist Eric Zorn: “It’s amateur hour on the 5th floor.”
 Johnson says he’s open to giving the White Sox at least a few public bucks to move to the South Loop.

‘I will not … slam shut an immigration door that was once open to our ancestors.’ Gov. Pritzker’s State of the State address included unwavering support for migrant refugees.
 Pritzker’s budget would raise Illinois taxes—mostly on businesses and state-regulated sports gambling …
 Read his speech here.

Defenestrated. Weeks after a door panel near a window seat on one of its 737 planes blew out over Oregon, Boeing has shown the door to the head of its 737 program.
 A United Airlines Boeing 787-10 made an emergency landing in Chicago yesterday after an apparently unfounded bomb threat was found left in a restroom.
 Passengers on an American Airlines flight headed to Chicago from Albuquerque duct-taped the legs of a man who tried to open a plane door midflight.

Ancillary characteristics? Is that what they call women now?’ Columnist Jessica Valenti on the Alabama Supreme Court’s historic ruling to limit in vitro fertilization: “If you’re not already worried about fetal personhood, you should be.”
 Columnist Mike Fourcher ponders the question of who’s a person and who isn’t.
 Popular Information: “The criminalization of IVF” has prompted an Alabama clinic to stop offering the service.
 Personal commentary in the Tribune from Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs, new father to twin sons conceived through IVF: “Government should not deny women the medical help they need.” (Gift link courtesy of Chicago Public Square supporters.)
 Law professor Joyce Vance: “What’s heartbreaking in Alabama … is its Supreme Court justices’ decision to abandon the Constitution … in favor of advancing a religious agenda.”
 In Tennessee, every House Republican has voted to require that child rape victims carry pregnancies to term.

‘Moses Mike and his delusions of religious grandeur are making people very nervous.’ Esquire’s Charlie Pierce on Republican House Speaker Johnson’s vision of the future: “The politically active evangelical splinter Protestantism with whom the GOP made a bargain back in the late 1970s has come finally to collect what has been owed to it since the election of Ronald Reagan.”
 NOTUS: Reagan-era Republicans fear Nikki Haley’s the end of their road.

Poop puzzle. Your Local Epidemiologist Katelyn Jetelina: “COVID-19 wastewater levels are … higher than they were this time last year. … We don’t know why.”
 The Washington Post: “Tax records reveal the lucrative world of COVID misinformation.” (Another gift link from Square supporters.)
 The U.S. death toll from COVID is likely at least 16% higher than the official count …
 … according to research conducted in part by a University of Minnesota sociology professor named—really—Elizabeth Wrigley-Field (2022 link).

Tribune layoffs. As the paper plans to abandon its downtown Freedom Center printing plant to make room for a casino, it’s cutting almost 200 jobs.
 ProPublica founder and Wall Street Journal alumnus Dick Tofel mourns “the brutality of the current purge” at the Journal.
 At the threshold of a takeover by Capital One, Discover is cutting 108 Chicago-area jobs.

Doonesbury undone. Y’know that comic strip imagining the classroom of a courageous Florida teacher—the one that was the most-tapped item in Tuesday’s Square? Several regional papers owned by the Gannett chain didn’t run it.
 Nieman Lab spotlights a new study on the intersection of journalism and satire.
 With radio behemoth Audacy in line to come under the control of liberal billionaire George Soros’ investment firm, Axios surveys the political complexion of the city’s broadcast dial.
 The Sun-Times profiles Roz Varon, Chicago’s first morning news traffic reporter, planning to retire in April.

Close, but no big Я. Chicago Public Square didn’t take top honors in the Reader’s 2023 Best of Chicago poll, but we did get a nice discount on an ad celebrating the winners:
Best independent website or blog
 Winner: Block Club Chicago
 First runner-up: Chicago Public Square
 Second runner-up: CHIRP Radio Blog

Best email newsletter
 Winner: Block Club Chicago
 First runner-up: WBEZ’s The Rundown
 Second runner-up: Chicago Public Square

Thanks. Reader Garry Jaffe made this edition better.

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