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Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during The Family Leadership Summit, Aug. 9, 2014, in Ames, Iowa.

Louisiana's Jindal sues over Common Core, despite previous support

08/29/14 09:45AM

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) loved the Common Core education standards. He embraced them, decided to implement them, persuaded his state's education officials to adopt them, and even sought federal funds to incorporate them into Louisiana's curricula.
 
Then, however, Jindal discovered just how much the Republican Party's far-right base disliked Common Core, at which point the governor (and likely presidential candidate) decided it was time for a reversal: Jindal abandoned the same education policy he'd previously championed.
 
But apparently, a rhetorical reversal only goes so far. This week, the conservative Republican went just a little further to demonstrate his opposition to the standards he recently supported.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday accusing the U.S. Department of Education of illegally coercing states to adopt the Common Core academic standards by requiring states that want to compete for federal grants to embrace the national standards.
 
Jindal also accused the department and Education Secretary Arne Duncan of forcing states to adopt the Common Core standards to win a waiver from some of the restrictive aspects of No Child Left Behind, the federal education law.
The governor now claims Louisiana has been illegally coerced, but as the Washington Post's report added, 'When Louisiana applied multiple times for a grant under Obama's Race to the Top program, Jindal never mentioned overreach, illegality or coercion. His state superintendent of education at the time wrote to the U.S. Department of Education "we proudly submit this application to Race to the Top because Louisiana's children can't wait.'"

If Jindal is so opposed to the standards he used to support, why doesn't he just pull out of Common Core altogether? The governor tried that, but state lawmakers wouldn't let him -- Jindal was so persuasive in pitching Common Core on the merits, the legislature, the state education board, and the Jindal Administration's education superintendent all remain Common Core backers.

Of course, none of them are preparing a run for national office and looking for ways to pander to far-right activists.
Tom Corbett

Pennsylvania's Corbett strikes deal to expand Medicaid

08/29/14 08:45AM

Republicans expect to have a successful year in 2014 congressional races, but the gubernatorial terrain looks far less favorable. A fascinating analysis this week found that incumbent GOP governors who've accepted Medicaid expansion are in far better electoral shape than Republicans who refused to embrace the health care policy.
 
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) has been in the latter category -- the Republican had balked at Medicaid expansion and he's trailing badly in most polls -- though as Greg Sargent reported yesterday, the governor just announced a big shift.
In another sign that the politics of Obamacare continue to shift, the Medicaid expansion is now all but certain to come to another big state whose Republican governor had previously resisted it: Pennsylvania.
 
The federal government has approved Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett's application for the state's own version of the Medicaid expansion, without a handful of the conditions Corbett had hoped to impose.... Corbett just announced that he will accept the expansion that has been offered, perhaps with some last-minute changes -- expanding coverage and subsidies to as many as half a million people.
As a substantive matter, this is an important breakthrough. Pennsylvania is the nation's sixth-largest state by population, and with a stroke of the governor's pen, nearly 500,000 low-income adults are poised to gain access to medical care. For many, this may ultimately be a life-saving policy.
 
Corbett's move also means there are now 27 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have embraced Medicaid expansion, including every state in the Northeast except Maine.
 
As for the politics, it's fascinating to see the degree to which health care politics have been turned on their ear. Here we have a Republican governor, down in the polls, looking to improve his standing with voters. What does he do? Corbett runs towards the Affordable Care Act, not away from it. For all the assumptions about "Obamacare" being an electoral albatross, the evidence to the contrary keeps getting in the way.
 
Indeed, this is arguably part of an important emerging pattern.
President Obama Delivers Statement At The White House

Obama crafting plan for ISIS threat in Syria

08/29/14 08:02AM

For good or ill, President Obama sometimes offers candid, shorthand assessments without much regard for how they'll be perceived by the political world -- or how easily the comments might be taken out of context. From a distance, I get the sense he just doesn't care what offhand phrase might send the Beltway into a tizzy and generate a half-dozen Politico items. After nearly six years on the job, Obama just seems to have bigger things on his mind.
 
But those of us who regularly swim in these waters -- and who've internalized Republican talking points to the point at which we can visualize Fox News segments before they even air -- tend to see the pointless uproars coming.
 
Take yesterday, for example.
President Obama pushed back against media reports of planned U.S. military action against ISIS in Syria on Thursday, stressing that the administration is still determining the next steps to take in the region.
 
"We don't have a strategy yet," Obama said at a Thursday press conference, adding that there would be "military, political, and economic components" to the fight against ISIS.
The moment the six-word sound bite was uttered, you could almost feel the manufactured outrage take shape, which is a shame because in context, this latest shocking development wasn't especially shocking.
 
Look at the transcript. A reporter asked the president, "Do you need Congress' approval to go into Syria?" Obama's obvious point was to challenge the premise of the question -- to assume that the United States is poised to use military force in Syria is premature. The Obama administration has already spent three weeks launching several dozen airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq, but because Syria is a much different story, the White House is still consulting with allies and talking with Pentagon officials about the next step.
 
And in a nutshell, that's the story. That's the basis for the latest political-world uproar. A reporter asked whether Congress needs to approve a mission in Syria and the president said there is not yet a mission to approve. Why is this scandalous? It isn't.

Ferguson firing and other headlines

08/29/14 07:58AM

One officer resigns, another is fired after actions taken during Ferguson protests. (St. Louis Post Dispatch)

Autopsy results released on the botched execution of Clayton Lockett. (Tulsa World)

Lawyers present closing arguments in the Bob McDonnell trial today. (Richmond Times Dispatch)

U.S. identifies citizens joining rebels in Syria, including ISIS. (NY Times)

Putin commends the "New Russia" militia in Ukraine. (NY Times)

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Middle class voices boost political ad clout

Middle class voices boost political ad clout

08/28/14 10:47PM

Rick Tyler, former director of the "Winning Our Future" superPAC, talks with Rachel Maddow about the effective use of middle class, working Americans in political advertisements, like those being run by Michelle Nunn against David Perdue in Georgia. watch

Former Virginia Governor Tim Kaine speaks during a reception prior to the Jefferson Jackson Dinner Saturday. Feb. 19, 2011 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Va.

The TRMS running tally of calls for congressional responsibility

08/28/14 09:59PM

The Rachel Maddow Show has decided to start a running whip-count for members of Congress who have signed letters, or said publicly, that Congress must vote on military authorization for the use of force in Iraq or more recently for potential U.S. military action in Syria. Below is our running tally so far.

We hope that you can help us keep our running tally up-to-date. If your member of Congress joins or drops off this list, please let us know. We hope this can be an authoritative source of members of Congress who are not wussing-out of their constitutional responsibilities to take a vote on these matters. Keep us posted!

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Ahead on the 8/28/14 Maddow show

08/28/14 08:18PM

Tonight's guests:

  • Rick Tyler, former director of the "Winning Our Future" superPAC
  • Craig Carper, Capitol reporter for WCVE Public Radio in Richmond Virginia

Sorry, no preview video tonight.

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