Biden’s _____ speech / ‘What the hell am I watching?’ / News and Oscars quizzes

Brace yourself for a weekend an hour shorter than usual—because, you know, daylight saving time (2007 guidance).

Biden’s _____ speech. Choose your adjective to describe the president’s State of the Union address: “Feisty” (The Guardian), “fiery” (Reuters and Semafor), “muscular” (Politico), “sharply partisan” (Fox News), “pugilistic” (columnist Dan Pfeiffer).
 Veteran Chicago-born journalist Jonathan Alter: “The president didn’t just clear the senility bar, he demolished it.”
 Mother Jones’ David Corn: Dark Brandon was in the room.”
 Reuters: The president had “tough words for Israel”—in what the Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet calls “a reset” in the war.
 HuffPost: “To some Republicans who’ve called him everything short of a walking corpse, Biden … was too vigorous” …
 … but the evening brought Biden what Politico says were his two biggest fundraising hours of this election cycle.
 Stephen Colbert, going live after the president’s address: “Justice Clarence Thomas did not attend. It’s nice to know he’s willing to recuse himself from something.”

Take a bow, Illinois. The president gave a shoutout to a Belvidere auto assembly plant’s “great comeback.”
 Illinois U.S. Rep. Delia Ramirez is among those criticizing Biden for an off-script remark in which he referred to a migrant as “an illegal.”
 The Tribune reports the influx of migrants has left Chicago charitable food pantries out of food.

‘What the hell am I watching?’ Rolling Stone says that it was inundated “into the late hours of the night … sometimes completely unprompted, with messages from longtime GOP operatives, right-leaning pollsters, conservative Capitol Hill staff, MAGA lawyers and even some senior members of Trump’s own 2024 campaign absolutely torching” Alabama Sen. Katie Britt’s melodramatic State of the Union rebuttal.
 Historian Heather Cox Richardson: “Republicans had a female senator give what could be the most important speech of her life in a kitchen.”
 Some have identified Britt’s affected presentation as “fundie baby voice.”
 Semafor: “By the end of the evening, there seemed to be less talk about her vice-presidential chances than about who might play her on Saturday Night Live.”

He’s baaaaaack. Serial liar and expelled member of Congress George Santos was there last night—and announced right after that he’s running for the House again.
 Disenchanted ex-Illinois Republican Rep.—and now columnist—Adam Kinzinger: “The sane right, center and left need to unite in defense of our way of life.”
 Add a Downstate man to the roster of nearly 50 Illinoisans charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection—in his case while allegedly swinging a pole with a “Trump” flag at law enforcement officers.

Measles spotted—in Chicago. The hunt’s on for those who may have been exposed to the first cases here in five years.
 The city encourages everyone to check their—and their children’s—measles vaccination status.

Who runs Chicago’s schools? A plan to create a transitional Chicago School Board—half elected, half appointed by the mayor—is on Gov. Pritzker’s desk.
 In a tacit admission that City Hall’s communication under Mayor Johnson has been, um, less than great, he’s bringing in a new “chief strategy officer,” whose experience includes guiding the election of U.S. Sen. John Fetterman—despite Fetterman’s campaign-threatening health problems.
 Columnist Neil Steinberg opted against chatting up the mayor: “He’s a man under pressure, someone to be pitied, not confronted.”

‘Go 8 for 8 and you must rise and give an acceptance speech, wherever you are.’
So commands past Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner Fritz Holznagel to those who dare take this week’s Oscars-inspired news quiz.
 Know who gets early access to these quizzes? Chicago Public Square supporters at the Advocate level or better.

And then how about a real Oscars quiz? It’s time for entertainment journalist Mark Caro’s annual test of your cinematic wits.
 In a recipe for confusion—on the same day daylight saving time returns—the Oscars will begin an hour earlier than usual.

Clarification. In suggesting readers opt out of Roku’s onerous new dispute resolution terms, yesterday’s Square exaggerated the work necessary to identify devices for the letter the company insists be mailed—you know, with a stamp.
 In fact, if you have an online Roku account, you can find an index of your registered Roku things—and their model and serial numbers—by scrolling down this page.
 Updating another item yesterday: The Lever reports that U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s retreating from her support for legislation to gut antitrust funding.

Fake news. Representing what The New York Times calls “a technological leap in the Kremlin’s efforts to spread false and misleading narratives,” a raft of mock news sites with Russian ties (gift link) are showing up around the U.S. …
 … including a site to which Chicago Public Square will not link, the “Chicago Chronicle,” falsely claiming to have been “reporting the news since 1880”—and not to be confused with Columbia College Chicago’s Columbia Chronicle.
 Press critic Dan Froomkin: “Why is New York Times campaign coverage so bad? Because that’s what the publisher wants.”

A new way to support Square.
By popular demand, you can now back this service via PayPal—in addition to other services. See the bottom of this page.
 Please include your full name and your chosen level of support in PayPal’s “What’s this for?” field.
 Readers Reg Davis and Al Robinson made this edition better.

Subscribe to Square.