The Sphinx blinks. The Sun-Times reports that Illinois’ powerful, sphinx-like House Speaker Michael Madigan is suggesting for the first time that he’s open to reducing the pension benefits of current state employees. Employee unions say that would be illegal under the state constitution.

Lights, camera, action. Also in the Sun-Times, Mayor Daley defends the safety and security benefits of the city’s 10,000 surveillance cameras in the wake of the ACLU’s challenge to their legality and efficacy.

Rummy’s reflection. Last but not least in the Sun-Times, news that former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s memoir laments the fact that Afghan president Hamid Karzai didn’t use the “Chicago way” to tame the warlords by withholding goods, services and programs if they didn’t play ball with his government.

Budget battle. The Daily Herald reports that Anita Alvarez, the Cook County state’s attorney, is resisting a 10 percent cut in her office budget, prompting County President Toni Preckwinkle to accuse Alvarez of “reneging” on a budget deal.

Dirty deal? SouthtownStar columnist Phil Kadner writes about a paltry settlement payout of only several hundred dollars to Crestwood residents involved in a class action lawsuit against village officials for failing to protect them from contaminated drinking water.

Fed file. The New York Times reports that President Obama wants to relax the repayment schedule for states that have borrowed money from the federal government to continue paying unemployment benefits. The president’s also proposing a pilot program that would reimburse nonprofit groups for launching and managing government programs if the programs are successful.