COLBERT’S NOT-QUITE APOLOGY. Opening his show last night, Stephen Colbert told viewers he “would change a few words that were cruder than they needed to be” in his Monday assault on President Trump. In what apparently was a reference to his phrase “the only thing your mouth is good for is being Vladimir Putin’s c_ck holster,” Colbert said only, “Anyone who expresses their love for another person, in their own way, is, to me, an American hero.”
■ Columnist George Will: “It is urgent for Americans to think and speak clearly about President Trump’s inability to do either.”
WHAT’S AT STAKE IN THE HEALTH CARE VOTE. David Nather in Axios: “Don’t get the impression this means the Affordable Care Act repeal effort is alive and well. This is Republicans just scraping by.”
■ The plan would designate rape a preexisting condition.
■ … Could endanger protections that limit out-of-pocket costs during catastrophic illnesses for people who get health insurance through their employers—about half of the country.
■ … And would kneecap special education programs.
■ New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait: Advocates’ “haste and secrecy are a way of distancing the House Republicans from the immorality of their actions.”
■ Vox: Voting on the overhaul without getting the Congressional Budget Office’s review sets supporters up for embarrassment “when the numbers actually do come out and don’t look good.”
■ Chicago-area Rep. Peter Roskam, who still hasn’t said how he’ll vote on the overhaul—faces a new challenger: A woman who lost her insurance coverage after battling breast cancer.
MORE COP FIREPOWER? Four ex-cop Chicago aldermen are proposing to give more of the city’s police clearance to use military-style assault rifles.
■ The two Chicago officers shot and wounded Tuesday were in an area where gangs increasingly use military-type guns.
CHICAGO’S AIRPORTS CHIEF ON THE HOTSEAT. Today, it’s the Senate’s chance to kick around airline executives—and Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans—over the dragging of a passenger off a United Airlines jet.
■ American Airlines employees say their uniforms are making them sick.
■ American is trimming more leg room on its new 737s.
THE IRS AND RELIGIOUS POLITICS. President Trump’s impending executive order opens the possibility the IRS could pick and choose which faiths to penalize for political activism.
■ Environmental groups are suing the EPA over rollback of pollution rules.
THEY AREN’T MARCHING THROUGH PEORIA. Protesters are planning a 15-day march from Chicago to Springfield to demand an end to the state’s budget crisis.
■ Gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker, one of whose companies has been targeted with one of those inflatable rat balloons favored by union activists, has won the endorsement of 14 unions.
■ A new web browser plug-in lets you see how political campaigns target you on Facebook.
OBAMALAND. Lynn Sweet in the Sun-Times: The first glimpse of plans for Chicago’s Obama Presidential Library shows “an architecturally significant clubhouse complex, where people can hang out, inside or outside, maybe sample a program—or maybe not.”
■ Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin: An OK start for the project design, but not “persuasive.”
■ Obama’s decision to accept $400,000 for a Wall Street speech could cost him some of his pension.
■ Is Chicago’s “Devil in the White City” really buried where history has said? They’re gonna dig up his body to find out.
BAG TAX SUCCESS. CityLab says the early line on that tax on disposable carryout bags suggests it’s cutting usage.
■ A new study warns the shift from bricks-and-mortar grocery stores to online shopping could spell fewer donations to programs that feed the needy.
GOOGLE DOCS HACK. BuzzFeed analyzes the tactics behind what might be the “fastest-spreading spear phishing campaign in history.”
■ Facebook is hiring thousands of content moderators—for a job that may be too gruesome for many.
■ ProPublica: How a major internet company helps serve up hate on the web.
HONOR—AND MEET—CHICAGO’S BEST JOURNALISTS. The Chicago Headline Club’s annual Lisagor Awards dinner next Friday is open to the public. Tickets available until tomorrow. Please note: As your Square proprietor was personally reminded traumatically five years ago tonight, the hosting venue, the Union League Club, refuses to admit guests wearing denim.
■ Chicago radio star Kathy Hart has been—without explanation to listeners—missing in action from “The Eric and Kathy Show” at The Mix since April 27.
■ Morning Joe star Joe Scarborough and his co-host Mika Brzezinski have confirmed years of rumors, gossip, and intrigue: They’re getting married. And Donald Trump offered to do the deed.
■ An Australian politician literally knocked himself out laughing at Veep.
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