The WonkLine: July 30, 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.



Yesterday, Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) filed an expedited appeal to Wednesday’s court ruling that blocked the most significant and controversial provisions of the state’s new immigration law.

Corey Stewart, chairman of Virginia’s Prince William Board of County Supervisors, introduced legislation that “outlines how Virginia can crack down on illegal immigration yet avoid the pitfalls Arizona has faced.”

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), an ardent opponent of SB-1070, was forced to close his district office in Yuma after a bullet shattered a window and was discovered inside.


The SEC charged Sam and Charles Wyly, billionaire Texas brothers who gained prominence spending millions of dollars on conservative political causes, with committing fraud “by using secret overseas accounts to generate more than $550 million in profit through illegal stock trades.”

Citigroup agreed yesterday “to pay $75 million to settle federal claims that it failed to disclose vast holdings of subprime mortgage investments that were deteriorating during the financial crisis and ultimately crippled the bank.”

Mike Elk reports that an international coalition of unions, led by SEIU, is trying to unionize capitalism’s core: the banks.

Health Care

“The law Congress adopted this spring to reshape the nation’s health-care system will be especially beneficial to women, because they traditionally have relied on health care more than men.”

“Congressional Democrats may water down or repeal new tax-reporting rules that are supposed to raise $16 billion for health-care legislation, facing a chorus of criticism about the rules.”

“As millions of Californians continue to cope with surging costs for health insurance, state lawmakers, consumer advocates and lobbyists in Sacramento are haggling over how tough to get with companies seeking large rate increases.”


Flooding from extreme rains has killed at least 313 people in Pakistan and killed 29 people and displaced more than 254,000 in northeast China, as forest fires caused by Russia’s worst heatwave in history killed 18 people, and Japan’s extreme heatwave has killed 66 people.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has smacked down petitions by conspiracy theorists who argue global warming is a hoax.

Republicans, with the potential support of Democrats dependent on oil money, are gearing up to block oil disaster reform bills in the House and Senate.

National Security

Neoconservative hawk Robert Kagan calls on Senate Republicans to support the New START treaty: “Republicans can and should take the high ground and set a better standard. The treaty has its problems…and so did the treaties negotiated by the two Bush administrations. But New START is not so badly flawed as to warrant rejection.”

“Almost unnoticed, this strategic northern province is slipping away from government control… Baghlan Province contains two of the crucial north-south routes in Afghanistan…Deprived of jobs and local government services, people here are turning to Taliban courts for speedy justice and drifting toward those who will pay them.”

“Shipping officials said Thursday that they were examining the hull of a Japanese oil tanker that was mysteriously damaged this week as it traversed a strategically vital waterway between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. The ship’s owner has said that it may have been attacked.”