WBEZ’s Rundown Of Today’s Top News: USA! USA! USA!

Tokyo Olympics
Dancers perform during the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Charlie Riedel / AP Photo
Tokyo Olympics
Dancers perform during the opening ceremony in the Olympic Stadium at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, July 23, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. Charlie Riedel / AP Photo

WBEZ’s Rundown Of Today’s Top News: USA! USA! USA!

Hey there! It’s Friday, and be careful this weekend, my friends. It could feel like it’s almost 100 degrees in the Chicago area. And a heat dome is expected next week. (More on that below.) Here’s what you need to know today.

(By the way, if you’d like this emailed to your inbox, you can sign up here.)

1. The Summer Olympics officially begin

The biggest reason I love the Summer Olympics is how everyone seems to come together for a brief moment.

According to a poll released today by Axios and Momentive, 82% of Americans are rooting for Team USA, and 63% said they would have a “very positive” reaction when they see the American flag.

But the survey did find a generational divide. Younger Americans are more likely than older ones to support athletes taking a stand on social justice issues during the Games. [Axios]

Meanwhile, if you missed the Opening Ceremony this morning, NBC will air a repackaged version at 6:30 p.m. CT. Here’s how you can watch. [NPR]

Speaking of the ceremony, Tonga’s oiled-up flag bearer once again stole the show during the Parade of Nations. [Buzzfeed]

You can find some spectacular photos of the Opening Ceremony in this link. [NPR]

The ceremony largely focused on a message of hope as the world battles the pandemic. But outside the stadium, hundreds of protesters gathered and called for an end to the Games, which have been very unpopular in Tokyo. Click the link to find that story and other updates from the Games. [NPR]

Meanwhile, more than 80% of U.S. Olympians have been vaccinated. [Washington Post]

2. Delta variant will fuel a rise in COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. through the summer and fall, researchers say

New projections from a highly respected consortium of researchers indicate that the current surge in COVID-19 cases will peak in mid-October, with daily deaths more than triple what they are now.

“What’s going on in the country with the virus is matching our most pessimistic scenarios,” says Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina who helps run the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub. “We might be seeing synergistic effects of people becoming less cautious in addition to the impacts of the delta variant.” [NPR]

In Chicago, public health officials say the delta variant is on track to soon become the most dominant strain. The city is averaging 115 cases per day, up 69% from the previous week. The positivity rate is nearly 2%. It was 1.1% last week. [COVID Dashboard]

3. A heat dome will hit Chicago and much of the U.S. next week

A large-scale heat wave will park itself over many parts of the country next week, with temperatures hitting highs up to 15 degrees above average. And when factoring in humidity, temperatures could feel like they’re in the triple digits for millions of Americans.

This heat dome will reach Chicago by the middle of next week, as it stretches from the Pacific Coast to the Appalachians.

Scientists say that while heat waves are a normal staple of summer, their intensity and duration are on the rise as global temperatures become warmer due to climate change. [Axios]

4. Mississippi asks the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade

The state of Mississippi this week formally asked the high court to reverse its landmark 1973 abortion decision, Roe v. Wade, as it seeks to maintain a state law that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, reports NPR’s Nina Totenberg.

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case in the fall, giving its new conservative majority a chance to confront one of the most heated issues in the U.S.

Mississippi had originally asked the court to weigh in on a narrower question over whether bans on pre-viability abortions are unconstitutional. [NPR]

5. Former Blackhawks player provides new details in sexual misconduct case against ex-coach

A former Chicago Blackhawks player has leveled new accusations against the NHL franchise in his ongoing legal battle against the team for how it handled complaints that he’d been sexually attacked by an assistant coach in 2010, reports WBEZ’s Dave McKinney and Tony Arnold.

The unnamed ex-player’s revised complaint goes into greater depth about alleged “lewd and lascivious” sexual misconduct by ex-coach Bradley Aldrich during the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup-winning season.

Neither the Blackhawks nor Aldrich’s attorney immediately responded to WBEZ’s requests for comment after the amended lawsuit was filed Thursday afternoon. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The head of the CIA told NPR he wants to get to the bottom of a mysterious set of ailments that has afflicted more than 200 U.S. officials and family members around the world. [NPR]
  • Chicago Public Schools will require face masks for all students, teachers and staff regardless of vaccination status. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team changed its name to the Guardians. [NPR]
  • Cockatoos have mastered the art of dumpster diving. [AP]

Oh, and one more thing …

If you’re looking for something to listen to this weekend, a bunch of WBEZ podcasts have new episodes out.

Nerdette unpacks this week’s news — from the Olympics to aliens — with Joanne Freeman, a historian and co-host of Now & Then, and Kat Chow, a reporter and writer formerly with NPR’s Code Switch who now has an upcoming memoir called Seeing Ghosts. [WBEZ]

Art of Power talks to Justin Baldoni, best known as the bad boy heartthrob from Jane The Virgin. [WBEZ]

Speaking of Art of Power, host Aarti Shahani was on Hear & Now about her much-talked-about interview with Democratic power player Stacey Abrams. [WBUR]

And Curious City looks at the unlikely places in Chicago where people got their drink on during Prohibition. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good …

I have to do a performance review for work because apparently showing up everyday isn’t enough. But I’d like to know: What was the first job you had, and did you learn anything meaningful from the experience?

Gwen N. writes:

“One of my first jobs was a student-aid job filing LPs at a small NPR station in Northern Michigan on the campus of Michigan Technological University (WGGL). I eventually worked on-air nights and weekends to continue paying for my college expenses. Best college job ever because most of the programming was taped or live feed, so I could get homework done once a program started! I learned to LOVE NPR and it opened up a much broader world for me.”

And Bill Heffernan writes:

“My first job was as a part-time porter (GRUNT) at a car dealership. I was a 16-year-old high school kid. I learned many things, including how to drive a manual transmission vehicle, a skill that I suspect eludes most carjackers!

“I also learned lessons I keep relearning; the person in charge doesn’t always know the most, and you will learn from everyone if you pay attention. Kindness can come from people from whom you least expect it.”

Thanks for all the responses this week! I’m sorry I couldn’t get to everyone, but it was nice hearing from y’all!

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