Roller-coaster weather / ‘Dangerous and life-threatening’ / SNL’s ‘giant miss’

Roller-coaster weather. Chicago temperatures today will flirt with 70—with high winds and “a significant fire weather risk” …
 … and then maybe snow Wednesday.
 The experts see a dark side to the region’s indisputably warmer winters.
 An atmospheric scientist explains where snow comes from.

$5 phone refund. AT&T’s voluntarily crediting its customers that much to compensate them for last week’s service outage.
 It says that covers the average cost of a full day’s service …
 … but the credit’s on a per-account basis, so customers with multiple phones on one account still get just that …
 … which has left customers angry.
 Gizmodo explains why you don’t need to use airplane mode on airplanes—but you should, because you’ll be violating (outdated) federal law if you don’t.

‘Dangerous and life-threatening.’ A Chicago Public Square reader who’s been unable to refill an important prescription since Friday flags the impact of an almost weeklong information systems outage at UnitedHealth’s Change Healthcare and its Optum network: “It exposes the question, ‘How do we help innocent people when there is a cyberattack?’ Right now, the answer seems to be throwing up hands while shrugging.”
 The company’s updating its plight here.
 And this is dragging on:

Trump’s next victim. Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel—Mitt’s niece—is quitting that job …
 … clearing the way for Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, to (partly) take over.
 An anthropologist who attended last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference to “understand Trump’s base” concludes that “they believe, more than ever, he is a savior.”

Referendum cliffhanger. A Cook County Circuit Court judge today was set to determine what’ll happen next, now that she’s ruled against a referendum on whether the city should adjust its real estate transfer tax to fund programs for the homeless—some votes on which have already been cast.

‘A tool for mass dragnet surveillance.’ A senior policy researcher at the think tank Surveillance Resistance Lab, Ed Vogel, sounds an alarm about Illinois State Police plans to expand the use of automated license plate readers.
 The American Civil Liberties Union warned earlier this month: Dozens of California police agencies are sharing driver locations with anti-abortion states.
 Popular Information on the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen embryos are “children”: “Fixing the situation … may require repealing Alabama's 2022 constitutional amendment. That's something no Republican on the state or federal level has supported.”
 Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth is on the front line of a congressional push to protect in vitro fertilization and other reproductive services.

‘The best of Chicago’s spirit.’ A Sun-Times editorial celebrates two women who saved a commuter dangling from the CTA’s Green Line tracks.

Digital-age free speech on the line. The Supreme Court today was considering a pair of cases that could overhaul how social media platforms police content.
 The Washington Post was analyzing the arguments live on its website. (Gift link, courtesy of Chicago Public Square supporters.)
 Hear the proceedings here.

SNL’s ‘giant miss.’ Poynter’s Tom Jones says this weekend’s Saturday Night Live host, Shane Gillis—fired by the show in 2019, before he ever made it to air—blew a chance to address his history of racist remarks …
 … but NPR’s Eric Deggans says that, “in some ways, it was an ingenious response to the backlash.”
 See Gillis’ monologue here.
 Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx tells The Marshall Project she’s frustrated that her staff filed criminal charges—since dropped—against Northwestern University students who wrapped a parody article around copies of the school’s student newspaper.

‘Private equity scumbags.’ Author and tech revolutionary Cory Doctorow celebrates a goof by the “incompetent owners” who shut down Vice, locking workers out of the company’s editorial system “and then forgot to lock down the podcasting back-end” …
 … allowing laid-off veterans to tell thousands of YouTube fans “what the fuck just happened.” (Update, Feb. 27: Video no longer available.)
 Note: The Vice website was back still up this morning …
 … including a 2019 video report on the presidential campaign, featuring an interview with your Chicago Public Square columnist’s sister.

Correction. Friday’s Chicago Public Square misattributed a piece skeptical of Jon Stewart’s return to The Daily Show. The author was Poynter managing editor Ren LaForme.
 Thanks to reader Rick Baert, first to note the error.
 Ken Paulson, Mike Braden and Angela Mullins made this edition better.

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