'We are sorry' / Cotton-picking protest / Now delivering humiliation

‘We are sorry.’ Leaders of the suburban megachurch Willow Creek have reversed their fevered defense of founder Bill Hybels, accused of sexual harassment over the course of decades: “At least some of Bill’s choices were inappropriate.”

One of the church’s pastors, quoted in the Tribune—which broke the story—now says, “God, we’re thankful for the women who shared their stories.” (2011 photo: Wikimedia Commons.)
Responding to accusations “by multiple women of sexual violence,” Spotify is yanking singer R. Kelly from its playlists under a new “hate content and hateful conduct” policy.

‘Kim Jong-un … was excellent to these three incredible people.’ That’s President Trump’s assessment of North Korea’s treatment of three Korean-Americans held prisoner for up to two years—citizens whose return to the U.S. he hailed early this morning.
Why they were held.
NBC News: The prisoner release highlights the best and worst of Trump.
(Cartoon: Keith Taylor.)

‘Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans … is disqualifying.’ Torture victim and U.S. Sen. John McCain is formally opposing Trump’s pick to head the CIA—Gina Haspel, who oversaw a secret CIA prison whose interrogation techniques some have labeled torture.
The Washington Post: Why McCain’s vote matters.
Sun-Times editorial: “If our nation hopes to move on, elevating her makes no sense at all.”
Trib editorial: Haspel is “a proven administrator. The Senate should confirm her.”
CNN’s detailed breakdown finds lots of senators undecided.

News deserts. Vox: Mostly-white rural areas that supported Trump also often lack robust local media.
Trib columnist Rex Huppke offers his alternative to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s “pay-to-play” payments from AT&T, among others: “If you’re a corporation willing to dish out cash to a thrown-together company that lazily attempts to obscure bribes, you might as well go with [Huppke’s] Absurd Consultants.”
Trib parent Tronc gifted departing—and disgraced—chairman Michael Ferro his $15 million, three-year “consulting fee” in a single payment, accounting for the company’s first-quarter losses.

Cotton-picking protest. An online petition asks the Merchandise Mart remove from its lobby or cover up a mural—present from the building’s founding—depicting African-American women harvesting cotton.
The petition’s founder tells the Trib:I see oppression, I see pain …I see my people bent over bleeding at the fingers.”

Metra fare test. The Chicago area’s commuter rail service board has approved experimental changes that will, for instance, save riders traveling between downtown and Antioch 50 cents.
Railyards in Southeast Chicago face increased scrutiny from the EPA for the presence of a potent neurotoxin.

‘This is a life-threatening issue.’ The mother of a child with allergies reacts to a shortage of EpiPens—injectors that deliver crucial relief to people suffering allergic reactions—now being felt in Chicago.
The FDA anticipates shortages will be “short-term.”
Advice for patients in the meanwhile.

Millions of dollars in comic books and art … are up for auction over the next few days in Chicago.
Here’s this year’s full Millennium Park Summer Film Series schedule.

Now delivering humiliation. Under a deal with the company that helped put it on life-support, Sears will install tires you buy online from Amazon.
In what the Trib calls “an astonishing scheme that temporarily changed the address for the global headquarters of shipping giant United Parcel Service to his tiny garden apartment”—an embarrassment for the U.S. Postal Service—a Rogers Park man has been charged with theft of mail and fraud.

Are you listening? Check out the new Chicago Public Square Newscast series—on the web, in iTunes, over Amazon’s Alexa-powered speakers or through your favorite podcast player app.

Correction. Ace grammarian Beth Austin noted a goof in yesterday’s Square: The wrong relative pronoun in the passage “an ex-con coal baron whom HBO’s John Oliver mocked over the weekend.” A passionate Facebook discussion supported her case.
Your financial support for Square underwrites more grammatical vigilance.