$280 billion stolen / ‘He’s toast’ / What you missed

Chicago Public Square’s back, baby. What did we miss? Read on for a recap of the week that was. But first, news of this day.

$280 billion stolen. That’s what an Associated Press analysis concludes fraudsters made off with in COVID-19 relief funding—with another $123 billion wasted or misspent.
Five things to know about what the AP calls “the greatest grift in U.S. history.”

‘A massive step backward.’ The Better Government Association’s sounding an alarm about a potential post-pandemic end for the public’s virtual access to Chicago’s government agency meetings.
Failed conservative Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas is joining the Illinois Policy Institute …
 … an organization whose leaders ProPublica and the Sun-Times reported in 2018 have enriched themselves by moving “millions of dollars around five interconnected nonprofits they run, steering money to for-profit ventures in which they have a stake.”

Speaking of money …
The Sun-Times reports that Chicago’s hated privatization of parking meters is generating record revenue—for investors, not taxpayers.
Liberal philanthropist and the right wing’s bogeyman George Soros is turning control of his financial empire to one of his sons—who says he’s even “more political” than his dad.
 … and speaking of criminals who committed suicide in prison, add Chicago-born “Unabomber” terrorist Ted Kaczynski to the list.

‘If even half of it is true, then he’s toast.’ Get this: That’s Donald Trump’s former attorney general, Bill Barr, on Fox, assessing the indictment against Trump.
Trump’s scheduled court appearance Tuesday in Miami is raising fears of chaos …
 … and, The Washington Post says, will test social media platforms’ rules on violent rhetoric.
A veteran Chicago prosecutor offers Trump unsolicited legal counsel: “If you want to die in jail, keep talking.”
Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg writes, “Democrats need to wake up: Federal indictments against Trump are not a turning point.”
USA Today’s Rex Huppke mocks Trump’s supporters: “I’m not sure I want to live in a country where a former president can wave around classified documents he’s not supposed to have and say, ‘This is secret information. Look at this,’ and then be held accountable for his actions.”
The Post explains why Trump was charged over secret documents and Hillary Clinton and Mike Pence weren’t.

‘A targeted attack.’ Oak Park police report four shot and two critically hurt during a “targeted attack” on a funeral procession through the village Saturday afternoon.
A shooting at a CTA Red Line station yesterday afternoon injured three teenagers …
 … among at least 31 gunfire casualties in Chicago over the weekend—including four dead.

‘The police stations treated us better.’ Migrants to Chicago tell Block Club that the city’s temporary shelters suck.
A plan to move some from an old YMCA to Daley College has been delayed again.

‘If you’re going to ban books, you’re not going to get state grants.’ A bill championed by Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias—cutting off state cash to public schools and libraries that don’t adhere to the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights—was set to get Gov. Pritzker’s signature this afternoon.
The state’s Department of Innovation & Technology is still sorting out damage done by a global May 31 cyberattack that may have compromised personal info for a lot of Illinoisans.
Raise your hand if you’ve interacted with the state and have a hard time believing it has a “Department of Innovation & Technology.”

Signing off—for now. NPR’s Chicago bureau chief reporter David Schaper has taken a buyout.
A former WBEZ reporter now working for New Hampshire Public Radio investigated sexual misconduct—and then, The New York Times reported, the attacks began.

One week left to support 47 independent local media organizations—including Square—with one donation to the annual Chicago Independent Media Alliance fundraiser.

Miss Chicago Public Square over the last week? Let’s review, in roughly chronological order, some of what those who follow Square on Facebook got during this publication’s email hiatus:
A parent frustrated by book-banning efforts got a Utah school district to ban the Bible from classrooms “due to vulgarity or violence.”
The Sun-Times introduced a “right to be forgotten” policy for people featured in stories about crimes for which they were never convicted or for which charges were dropped or expunged.
Popular Information outed “25 rainbow flag-waving corporations” that’ve donated $13.5 million to anti-gay politicians since 2022.
Variety excerpted Tribune veteran Maureen Ryan’s new book, Burn It Down, exploring Saturday Night Live’s “Culture of impunity … in which abuse and toxicity are not just permitted but often celebrated.”
 The Guardian explained the shell game through which Amazon and Google fund anti-abortion lawmakers.
Google’s Illinois users—including those who followed Square counsel a year ago—are in line for privacy settlement cash on the order of $95.
Gov. Pritzker signed a bill limiting lawsuits against the state to just two counties.
Huppke offered a way forward for CNN in the aftermath of CEO Chris Licht’s ouster: “Rebrand as the No. 1 source for news about what a mess CNN has become.”
Chicago and network TV news veteran Jim Avila recapped what Licht got right—and wrong.
A Trib editorial condemned the PGA-LIV golf merger as “unconscionable.”
Chicago-born actor Jay Johnston (Bob’s Burgers, Arrested Development) was arrested and charged in connection with the January 2021 Capitol insurrection.
The Supreme Court surprisingly sided with Black voters challenging Alabama’s congressional map as an illegal racial gerrymander.
The Conversation: Mike Pence’s decision to run against Trump “has no direct equivalent in American history.”
Men Yell at Me columnist Lyz Lenz revisited past Dingii of the Week, including ex-Mayor Lightfoot.
Sun-Times consumer watchdog Stephanie Zimmermann went inside Chicago’s catalytic converter theft epidemic.
Slate: Indictment formally accuses Donald Trump of keeping national secrets near a toilet.”
Here was the full indictment.
The Trib touchingly profiled Chicago’s late, lamented Walking Man.

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