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The [Thursday] Papers

"State Comptroller Dan Hynes said the legislation would help eliminate the 'perception that our government is for sale and that politicians are corrupt."

Story next to that: "State Lawmakers Set For Another Hefty Pay Raise." To the tune of $7,000. And get this: the governor would see his salary go up by $22,000.

Museum Moxie
The Chicago Journal has an excellent piece on the manueverings behind the Chicago Children's Museum fight.

Among the highlights:

* "They do not have 26 votes to pass this through city council and as it stands today," Ald. Brendan Reilly says.

* Reilly's political future - as well as that of other aldermen being lobbied - is being threatened. "I've been reminded there are a number of wealthy, powerful interests at play here and if I have an interest in political longevity, I better take another look," Reilly said.

* "Natalie Kreiger, the museum's public relations manager, said the All Chicago Children's Museum Committee is the primary vehicle for museum backers to express their support of the Grant Park move.

"According to the museum, more than 80 organizations from all 50 of the city's wards are members of the committee, which Kreiger said was created last summer by Lois Wille, a Pulitzer Prize-winning local writer, and Adele Simmons, of the Global Philanthropy Partnership, to bolster the museum's arguments."

Q. Did Wille just decide to do this out of the goodness of her heart or is she being paid? Does she have some personal connection to the museum? In other words, why, Lois? Why do you care so much?

* "[Krieger] called the committee an 'independent entity' that operates separately from the museum, though she and an employee of the museum's public relations firm are the only contacts listed on a press release about the group."

Is this a good lesson for the children, Natalie?

* "The Children's Museum has hired two different public relations firms to bolster its arguments. From July 2007 until this March, the museum retained the firm ASK before switching to Hill and Knowlton in mid to late February, Kreiger said."

ASK, by the way, is David Axelrod's firm. In a recent BusinessWeek Chicago article, Reilly called it "the gold standard of Astroturf organizing." (Paging Obamaphiles!)

Axelrod refused to return phone calls and e-mail messages from BusinessWeek about the museum effort.

* "Dick Simpson, a political scientist at the University of Illinois-Chicago and a former alderman himself, said the Daley administration is lobbying aldermen through its Intergovernmental Affairs agency to back the proposal. Simpson said 25 aldermen have voted with the mayor 100 percent of the time in 2008.

"'All the mayor needs to do is keep that block with him and pick up one vote,' Simpson said of the museum proposal. 'And the odds are in his favor.'"


There once was a Mayor named Rich
A kids museum was his pitch
A tall building in Grant
Is something you shan't
So he put all the kids in a ditch


Allstate said they needed more fame
In Grant Park they wanted their name
Fifteen million is small
For breaking the law
And putting their good hands all to shame


See more of our fabulous Children's Museum Limericks!

Obama's New Neighbors
John and Marjorie Poulos.

Wright Wronged
The New York Times this morning has a front-page story about Obama's split with Jeremiah Wright that paints Wright as the more sympathetic character.

Clout HMO
Once known as The Health-Care Hustlers . . . former Chicago HMO execs populate the Rezko trial. Tim Novak of the Sun-Times takes a look.

The CTA responds to Sleeping Beauty at Rockwell Station. Scroll down for the update.

Read our fantabulous ode to birds, complete with video. From our Westward Ho! columnist Leigh Novak.

Rookie Mistake
Apparently this is Mary Mitchell's first campaign.

Quick Takes
Zay Smith is on fire this morning as he poses and responds to such questions as "Are you better off now than you were eight days ago?" and "I feel a need to panic and loot. Do you have any suggestions?"

Unqualified Operators
Cook County Commissioners Forrest Claypool and Mike Quigley appeared on Chicago Tonight last night, but panel moderator Eddie Arruza noted that repeated calls to the office of Todd Stroger to invite a representative of his office - or god forbid, him! - went unreturned.

A) Which proves he needs just one more PR person on his staff to answer the phones.
B) Maybe he has 16 phone lines and his 15 PR people were busy on all the others.
C) Operators apparently not standing by.

School Pool
This is actually a good idea, if only for the celebrity yearbook photos.

Extra Ball
"Being inside a pinball machine factory sounds exactly as you think it would. Across a 40,000-square-foot warehouse here, a cheery cacophony of flippers flip, bells ding, bumpers bump and balls click in an endless, echoing loop. The quarter never runs out," the New York Times writes from Melrose Park.

"But this place, Stern Pinball Inc., is the last of its kind in the world. A range of companies once mass produced pinball machines, especially in the Chicago area, the one-time capital of the business. Now there is only Stern. And even the dinging and flipping here has slowed: Stern, which used to crank out 27,000 pinball machines each year, is down to around 10,000."

The Beachwood Tip Line: Operator standing by.


Posted on May 1, 2008

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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