We made it to another Friday. Congratulations to you and you and you, and you, too.
• “The United States needs to step up and be counted (in Ukraine).” — Ohio Sen. Rob Portman on Thursday to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Portman also insisted that the U.S. is in a “weaker position all around the world” today than four years ago. “I can’t think of a single place in the world where we’re better off today than we were four years ago.” Portman added that the issue isn’t about military power, but about remaining consistent in implementing American principles. “When you say something as America, you need to stand behind it,” he said. But the appetite in this country for a more aggressive military policy? It simply isn’t there.
• “The governor is sensitive to the concerns regarding the overreach of the federal government into the education standards in Kansas. He will carefully review any bill passed by the legislature.” — Gov. Sam Brownback in a statement this week on the Common Core education standards aimed at providing a clearer sense of what students are expected to learn.
The Kansas Legislature is re-opening the debate over Common Core. Last year, a bill aimed at banning the new standards failed. A new bill would ban math and English standards. At a hearing this week, Common Core foes said the standards were diluting their children’s education while infringing on local control of schools. Proponents argued that the standards encourage more rigorous education that goes beyond rote learning. Brownback is facing a tough call here.
• “We just got started a couple of years ago and we're struggling to make it as it is. And the companies already have their niche. Why do they have to take everybody else's niche?” — Tim Beall, who owns a small liquor store in Wichita, criticizing a bill before Kansas lawmakers that would phase in beer, wine and liquor sales at grocery and convenience stores across the state.
The meaning of capitalism is on the line here as lawmakers once again debate a liquor issue. Owners of small businesses like Beall say the bill’s passage would wipe them out. Lots of grass-roots action on this one as representatives from both sides reach out to their local lawmakers.
• “Shortchanging our schools is not the way to build an economy of the future.” — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, on Thursday criticizing the GOP-led House Budget Committee, for the second day in a row over a budget cut. This time, Nixon was upset at a $44.1 million trim to K-12 funding.
The day before, Nixon got into a scrap with the committee over funding to rebuild the Fulton State Hospital. Republicans shot back that they hadn’t cut anything and that Nixon, essentially, was lying. On Thursday, Nixon called the cut to schools as “both unnecessary and unacceptable.” The Jeff City rhetoric is reaching a fever pitch these days.