The WonkLine: April 7, 2010

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



U.S. agriculture is facing a labor crisis and “without an immigrant labor force, much of the nation’s food production would not make it to supermarket coolers and shelves.”

Now that Suffolk county executive Steve Levy seeks a Republican path to the governorship, prominent Democrats have begun to hammer away at his past statements, policies and positions on illegal immigration.

The San Jose Mercury News points out that, through their hard-line immigration stance, both California gubernatorial candidates and the three Republicans vying to take on three-term Sen. Barbara Boxer this fall “made certain few Latinos will vote for them.”


In its latest annual report, Goldman Sachs “denied it bet against clients in the mortgage-derivatives market.” At Naked Capitalism, Yves Smith calls Goldman’s arguments “problematic. To put it politely.”

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee and the Washington Teachers’ Union “have reached tentative agreement on a new contract, ending more than two years of closely watched and often-rancorous negotiations.”

Melissa Lazarin explains why the 2011 appropriations process is an opportunity for education reform and takes on some myths about education innovation.

Climate Change

At least 95 people have died in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro after the most torrential rain for decades caused landslides and flooding,” when 9 inches of rain “fell on the city in less than 24 hours, which is more than what meteorologists said was expected for all of April.”

ABCNews has discovered that banking giant UBS “appears to be Massey’s sole primary investment banker at present,” after JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup stopped funding the coal company notorious for its dangerous and deadly mines and emphasis on mountaintop removal.

Calling their effort “the storm,” 1Sky climate activists ” have rallied outside the regional offices of 10 senators and seven House members,” getting Rep. Mike Schauer (D-MI) and Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN) to commit to defending Clean Air Act enforcement of global warming pollution.

Health Care

“The standoff between Massachusetts regulators and health insurance companies intensified yesterday, as most insurers stopped offering new coverage to small businesses and individuals, and state officials demanded that the insurers post updated rates online and resume offering policies by Friday.”

“New figures from the National Center for Health Statistics indicate that teen birth rates are dropping — welcome news that seemingly reverses the increase in teen pregnancies that took place between 2005 and 2007.”

“HHS will be opening up new Medicaid options to cover low-income adults later this week as part of its latest effort to implement the new healthcare reform law, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced at a news conference.”