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The [Friday] Papers

"State lawmakers spent the final day of the spring session failing to act on the crucial issue of pension reform, instead approving a major gambling expansion that wasn't at the top of the agenda," the Tribune reports.

Here's what it looked like.

"The gambling expansion would authorize Mayor Rahm Emanuel's city-owned casino in Chicago along with new casinos in the south suburbs, north suburban Park City, Rockford and Danville, as well as slots at horse tracks."

Governor Pat Quinn opposes the bill, which passed six votes short of being veto-proof. Which doesn't mean six votes can't be found. Just add more cups.


"John Schomberg, Quinn's general counsel, told the Senate Executive Committee that revenue estimates were overstated."

Probably done by Deloitte. Can't wait to see their Super Bowl study. Just add more balls.

Kirk Perk
"U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk was a leading sponsor of congressional legislation that has meant $5.3 million for two clients of his onetime girlfriend, and he is backing another bill that could bring millions of dollars to a third group she represented," the Tribune reports.


"Kirk supported bills directing the Treasury Department to mint and sell collectible coins, with a surcharge for three nonprofit groups - all of which had hired Arcadian Partners, a public relations firm led by Dodie McCracken, Kirk's ex-girlfriend and former congressional staffer."

Vs. John Edwards. Just sayin'.

"Kirk, 52, who suffered a stroke Jan. 21, declined to be interviewed about the coin legislation. Instead, his staff asked for written questions and answered them in writing."

Why, did they suffer strokes too?

"Eric Elk, Kirk's chief of staff, told the Tribune that any suggestion Kirk was trying to help his onetime girlfriend was 'a baseless and unfounded allegation.'"

They probably didn't even talk about it!

Hey honey, how was the Senate today?"

Oh, just the usual. Introduced a bill. Nothing you'd be interested in.


"[Elk] downplayed Kirk's role in backing the coin legislation, noting that the disabled veterans bill passed the House 416-0 and the Medal of Honor bill passed on a voice vote."

Which is both irrelevant and disingenuous:

"Kirk had characterized himself as a key player when he spoke on the House floor before votes on the two bills. He called the disabled veterans' bill the 'Moore-Kirk bill,' a reference to himself and then-Rep. Dennis Moore, D-Kan., and said the two of them 'worked many weeks' to find more than 290 co-sponsors."

And while Elk is "downplaying" Kirk's role in the legislation now, the Tribune notes that "Kirk, in his final speech on the House floor in November 2010 before entering the Senate, cited the disabled veterans coin act as one of his achievements."


The backdrop:

"The Tribune reported this week that McCracken received more than $143,000 in consulting fees and expenses for working on Kirk's 2010 Senate campaign, but that she was not listed as a recipient in federal disclosure reports because she was a subcontractor to a firm the campaign hired for advertising. The Federal Election Commission is reviewing the payments after Kirk's ex-wife, Kimberly Vertolli, complained that Kirk may have purposely hidden the payments to McCracken - an allegation he disputes."

(Link mine.)

Flyover Country
"An influential alderman warned Metra's executive director on Thursday that 'people are going to get hurt' if the commuter rail agency fails to bolster minority participation on a $133 million South Side railroad bridge known as the Englewood Flyover," the Sun-Times reports.

"Earlier this year, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) was threatening to stop Metra 'in its tracks' unless black contractors get a piece of the pie."

(Link mine.)

Lab Schools
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel's star power within the Democratic Party has put a national spotlight on the fight over the future of public schools in Chicago and attracted support from education reform groups eager to see how much change can be effected in a pro-labor city," the Tribune reports.

"'The headlines from Chicago are emailed around to mayors and policymakers every morning,' said Joe Williams, head of Washington,D.C.-based Democrats for Education Reform, a group started by Wall Street hedge fund managers."

I hope that includes this dispatch:


Also, let's make a deal: We'll all start listening to hedge fund managers' ideas for education reform when they start listening to teachers' ideas for hedge fund reform.

Another Ball 'N Cup
While you weren't looking.

Casting Calls
End Zones And Bibles.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Poi Dog Pondering and Kelly Hogan.

Bacon Fat And Buttermilk
My Mind Is Like A Rhododendron.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Mind-blowing.


Posted on June 1, 2012

MUSIC - Lyric Opera Strike Settled.
POLITICS - USA Today's Op-Ed Disaster.
SPORTS - SportsMonday: Come On, Vic!

BOOKS - Chicago Book Haul: The Dial.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Chicagoetry: West Town Blues.

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