Polluter unpunished / 606 robberies / 'Truly astonishing'

POLLUTER UNPUNISHED. Environment watchdog Michael Hawthorne reports President Trump’s EPA has stalled a crackdown on a major contributor to the Chicago area’s chronically dirty air—a case a former agency enforcer says “should be a slam-dunk.”

A year after launch of cleanup efforts in East Chicago, the EPA still can’t certify the water’s safe.

‘THIS MAN IS NOT A RACIST.’ So says a hunting pal of a State of Illinois worker under investigation because his personal email account is, the Tribune reports, the source of offensive emails at the center of a Chicago Water Department scandal.
Today brings Gov. Rauner’s “High Noon” deadline on Illinois school funding reform.

606 ROBBERIES. Chicago police have issued a warning about thieves who’ve been knocking people off their bikes along the Bloomingdale Trail, then beating and robbing them.
Chicago homicides—including at least six over the weekend—are outpacing last year’s, even though police brag they’ve taken 5,000 illegal guns off the street and made 10 percent more murder arrests this year.
But in New York City, an aggressive—possibly rabid—squirrel has attacked at least five people, including a 7-year-old girl.

WE’RE NO. 1. Chicago’s named first on the acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement chief’s list of “un-American” cities that have declared sanctuary for undocumented immigrants.
Neil Steinberg: U.S. immigration policy may “determine whether we remain a country that people flee to, or become a country that people flee from.”

‘I DID NOT COLLUDE.’ Developing: In remarks prepared before he goes before Congress, the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has copped to four meetings with Russians but says they ain’t no thang.
Full text of Kushner’s statement.

RUDY GIULIANI FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL? Axios reports Trump is mulling the idea.
A veteran of the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations advises Attorney General Jeff Sessions: “Your commitment may not always be to the man, Donald Trump, but to the institution that you serve and to the presidency itself. Hang in there. Don’t quit.”
A former Republican U.S. senator to the incumbents: Resist the bullying. Don’t vote for a mystery health care bill.
Politico: “Senator Kid Rock. Don’t laugh.” (Photo: U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael R. Holzworth.)

‘TRULY ASTONISHING.’ That’s the way Richard Dawkins, whose The Selfish Gene last week was named the most influential science book of all time in a Royal Society poll, reacts to news a Berkeley radio station has canceled his appearance because of his criticism of Islam.
The New York Times is demanding an apology from “Fox & Friends” over a report the Times was to blame for an ISIS leader’s escape.
A Moraine Valley Community College art project will spotlight the perception of Muslim artists in the U.S.

Longtime Chicago-area reporter Bill Paige (and friend of Square), who “borrowed” an album from a suburban library in the ’70s, returned it just this month—and got off with no fines. Not so coincidentally, he’s also given the library a copy of his new book, Everything I Know I Learned from Rock Stars, a retrospective on his conversations with icons of the business between 1975 and 1995.

POKEMON? GO FIGURE. A Chicago festival in Grant Park for fans of the Pokemon Go game went so, so badly.
… And the disruption was worldwide.

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