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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A month after Gov. Bruce Rauner conveyed to Republicans his opposition to the grand bargain, Senate Democrats are rejecting his attempt to break off pieces of the deal. Meanwhile, Democrats are offering a "Comeback Agenda" as an alternative to Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda," and House Speaker Michael Madigan is taking public offense to some of the governor's remarks.

Charles N. Wheeler III
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Like a high-rolling homeowner pawning the family silver to prop up an extravagant lifestyle, Gov. Rod Blagojevich wants to sell or lease the state lottery to bring in a quick $10 billion or so for education.

State Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg, meanwhile, is pushing privatization of the state's 274-mile toll road network to garner upwards of $15 billion for transportation projects and pension funding.

Both plans hold out an almost irresistible lure for politicians in an election year — a promise of lots of cash in a hurry, virtually pain-free in the short term.

A Dubai firm's bid to operate six major U.S. ports sparked a backlash this winter so swift and stinging that President George W. Bush warned our country might ruin its international reputation. Pundits scoffed at the notion that a spate of security-minded xenophobia might do more harm than Bush's own take-charge approach to foreign policy. But the simple truth is that America is behind the curve when it comes to private — even foreign — control of major infrastructure assets.