The WonkLine: July 26, 2010

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 9:30 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.


National Security

Whistleblower website Wikileaks has posted more than 90,000 leaked military documents about the war in Afghanistan, revealing “unreported incidents of Afghan civilian killings and information about secret operations against Taliban leaders.”

The first Khmer Rouge commander to face a U.N.-backed tribunal — a prison chief known as Duch — “was sentenced to 35 years in prison on Monday for overseeing 14,000 deaths in the 1970s, but he’ll serve about half that.”

Yesterday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki indicated that the country “will be ready to hold negotiations with world powers on its nuclear program after the month of Ramadan ends in early September.”

Health Care

“The legislative battle over the health care overhaul ended months ago, but it is hard to tell from the intense effort now under way by insurance companies to retool a critical provision.”

“House lawmakers moving legislation to lure physicians to medically underserved areas are hoping the politics of tort reform don’t sink their proposal — again.”

“The new healthcare reform law will shake up the health insurance industry, squeezing profits of smaller insurers while boosting fortunes of larger plans, and possibly leading to further market consolidation, according to a study by Weiss Ratings.”


The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency expects it will deport approximately 400,000 people this fiscal year, nearly 10 percent more than the Bush administration deported in 2008.

Both Arizona and Mexico are preparing for the implementation of Arizona’s new immigration law, set to go into effect later this week.

Human Rights Watch and the ACLU reveals that “[t]housands of mentally disabled immigrants are entangled in deportation proceedings each year with little or no legal help, leaving them distraught, defenseless and detained.”

Climate Change

BP is firing CEO Tony Hayward, according to reports.

“About 40 BP-government teams are cataloguing seemingly everything touched by the oil” to determine BP’s liability, but though BP claims “we want to know exactly what the impact is,” their “duty to their shareholders is to make money.”

California Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina “has obtained about $63,000 in donations this year from Appalachian coal-mining interests,” much of the money from an outspoken Ohio mine owner who dismisses global warming as “hysterical global goofiness.”


The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission has threatened to bring in accountants to comb through Goldman Sach’s books for data on its derivatives business, while new documents show that Goldman “depended on banks including Citigroup Inc. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. for protection against a failure of American International Group.”

A new survey shows that “even as the economy began to collapse in 2008, most states found a way to protect from cuts the grant aid they give state residents to attend college.”

D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee announced that “she has fired 241 teachers, including 165 who received poor appraisals under a new evaluation system.”