Let's just bounce around this week, starting with this:

Gov. Pete Ricketts fared well in Morning Consult's latest online survey of registered voters.

Ricketts held a 56-29 approval rating edge compared to a 54-35 average for the nation's governors.

Sens. Ben Sasse and Deb Fischer scored below Ricketts in terms of approval and lagged below 50 percent.

Sasse was 46-34 and Fischer was 45-35.

The survey was conducted from July 1 through Sept. 30.

Margin of error scored at 3 percent.

* * *

The Kansas City Star last week urged the Senate to act quickly on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's nomination to be ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

Delay leaves Kansas "in limbo" at a difficult time, the newspaper stated.

"Kansas has serious challenges — a looming crisis over schools, a still-squeezed budget and deteriorating public services," the newspaper wrote.

It is time for Kansas to move on now, the newspaper said.

* * *

Few people have more power over the level of funding for state government programs, including the University of Nebraska, than the unelected members of the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board.

When the board reduces its revenue projections for the state, the Legislature automatically reduces budget allocations for state programs.

There's no requirement that it do so; there are plenty of increased revenue options available to state senators. But senators have chosen to accept those estimates and then turn immediately to budget cuts.

In effect, members of an advisory board who may or may not accurately forecast the state's future revenue flow based on a collection of individual economic projections and opinions are triggering those decisions and shaping state priorities.

That is a ton of informally delegated power.

* * *

Stan Matzke, public and private servant, good friend.

Stan died in Lincoln last week after living a life devoted to family first and followed by individual, public and community service.

No one I know was ever more alert to daily opportunities to make a difference in people's lives and in the life of the community.  

He was always a source of personal challenge and support and encouragement and his ready laugh brightened almost every conversation. 

His life was a virtual lesson in mentoring. 

Stan lived a rich and rewarding life that leaves rich and rewarding memories for his family. And they are very proud of him.  

Stan was the very definition of a good and decent man.

* * *

Looks like the Senate might be headed toward essentially a party-line vote to confirm Steve Grasz as a member of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit.  

Although it's too early to see exactly how it ends up, this could be a presidential nomination that benefits from the 2013 Democratic decision to change the Senate's rules and eliminate the power to filibuster Circuit Court and District Court nominees.

* * *

With baseball done, there's more reading time.  

One of the learning moments in "Last Hope Island," a new book about the gathering of leaders of Nazi-occupied European nations in London and their efforts to wage a war of resistance from there, is the relentless battle waged by Poles and Czechs.  

Polish pilots, who were stiffed at first by the Royal Air Force, turned out to be the most daring and effective pilots defending Britain when Nazi bombers blitzed London with night after night of bombing raids that set the city afire in 1940 and 1941.

Finishing up:

* Already under state budget duress, University of Nebraska leaders spoke up last week and firmly declared that the university will not silently stand by and allow itself to be turned into a political punching bag. 

* As state revenue projections decline and the Legislature prepares to consider tax cuts while the Congress wrestles with major tax reform, it might be a good idea to try to keep an eye on the consequences — and the unintended consequences.

* So, Iowa and Michigan State put on their big-boy pants on Saturday and stood in the company of Wisconsin, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan.  Five of them will be on the schedule next year, four of them on the road.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.


Political reporter

Don Walton, a Husker and Yankee fan, is a longtime Journal Star political and government reporter.

Load comments