Google do not (did not?) provide the PR tool for "wrongdoers". They provide it as a service to their users and they advertise it as such on their website. It is supposed to be a way of gauging the quality of websites.
Google still says, "Wondering whether a new website is worth your time? Use the Toolbar’s PageRank™ display to tell you how Google’s algorithms assess the importance of the page you're viewing."
If they have pulled the plug on PR they would do well to remember that PR can have another meaning, i.e. Public Relations. If this is just a glitch or an update they could help their own PR by providing their users with a status report on their home page to let them know that their search engine is not currently doing what they claim that it can.
All this would take would be a one liner, "Our PR tool is being updated and not available at present", or something along these lines. No one would fall out with them for that. If it is being removed then they should have announced this before the event.