Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 2:35 pm
As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union speech Tuesday evening, he does it against a backdrop of some of the lowest voter-approval ratings of his presidency, with a divided Congress that has largely stalled his second-term agenda and with Washington's collective focus starting to shift toward the midterm elections and beyond.
Here are five things to expect from the president in his fifth State of the Union speech:
Supporters of the new Common Core education standards adopted by 45 states say the standards hold American students to much higher expectations, and move curriculum away from a bubble-test culture that encourages test preparation over deeper learning.
All that took was a two year delay. House and Senate negotiators last night reached a compromise on the Farm Bill. That legislation deals with agriculture, of course, and also governs the federal food stamp program, from which billions will be cut. Derek Wallbank of Bloomberg News has been covering this story. He's on the line. Welcome to the program.
DAVID WALLBANK: Thank you very much for having me.
During President Obama's speech Tuesday night, Sen. Carl Levin will be doing what he's done at every State of the Union for decades: sitting with his older brother and fellow Michigan Democrat Rep. Sandy Levin.
No two siblings in the nation's history have served longer than the 32 years the brothers Levin have been together in Congress. Both have held powerful committee chairmanships.
But this will be their last State of the Union together. Carl, who was first elected to Congress four years before his brother, has decided to retire at the end of the year.
An effort by the international coalition in Afghanistan to teach Afghan security forces to read and write has had limited success and has been plagued by problems, a new report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction finds.
The $200 million effort was funded by the U.S. and after more than three years of the program, the report found that about half of the members of the Afghan National Police are still illiterate.
Nick Goepper is headed off to the Olympics in a couple of days, but he's not taking it easy: He spent the weekend hurtling through the air on ESPN at the X Games.
The sport is slopestyle. If you've watched any extreme skiing on television, you'll know it well: Skiers hit rails and walls and massive jumps; they seem to spend more time in the air than on the snow.
It's been a good month for U.S. figure skater Jason Brown. At only 19, he placed second at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, securing a spot on the team going to Sochi for next month's Winter Olympics. But it was his free skate at the national competition that electrified the crowd and made a YouTube star of Brown.
Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 6:53 pm
Internet companies that receive U.S. government requests for information about their customers will be able to disclose more details about surveillance than has been allowed, according to a deal announced today by the Justice Department.
The shift will allow technology and communications companies "to publish the aggregate data ... relating to any orders issued pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)" â€” and in more ways than had been previously allowed.