The WonkLine: January 29, 2009

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 10 a.m. roundup of the latest news about health care, the economy, national security and climate policy. This is what we’re reading. Tell us what you found in the comments section below.




The wind industry now employs more people than coal mining in the United States.

Duke University scientists found that “the sludge from the Kingston Fossil Plant fly ash spill contains radium and arsenic at levels high enough to affect human health.”

We need the world to put a price on carbon,” BP chief executive Tony Hayward told assembled leaders today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

National Security

Marc Lynch looks at “the institutional pushback against Obama’s attempt to change Iraq policy,” specifically Gen. Odierno’s moves to slow play the Iraq withdrawal.

Danger Room’s David Hambling looks at reports of civilian casualties in Gaza, and the various Israeli weapons which may have caused them.

Mexico’s biggest drug bosses may have declared a truce in Mexico’s deadly drug war, which has killed almost 7,000 people since January 2007.


“Despite crippling losses, multibillion-dollar bailouts and the passing of some of the most prominent names in the business,” Wall St. employees collected $18.4 billion in bonuses in 2008.

According to a study by the National Council on Teacher Quality, “States are not doing what it takes to keep good teachers and remove bad ones.”

The International Monetary Fund warned that governments “must adopt more aggressive crisis-fighting measures to prevent the wounded financial system and the stalled economy from feeding on one another.”

Health Care

The Washington Post reports that without health-care reform, “most Americans can expect to pay health insurance premiums that will double by 2016.”

NPR reports on how the stimulus package can get the uninsured to use COBRA coverage, which is “often the best health insurance available.”

Urban and rural Democrats are wrestling over how to divvy up $87 billion in Medicaid funding, according to The Wall Street Journal.