The WonkLine: August 9, 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.



Russia’s extreme heat wave — which has doubled the death rate in Moscow — is “an absolutely unique phenomenon” — ” there was nothing similar to this on the territory of Russia during the last one thousand years in regard to the heat.”

The situation in Asia is “increasingly desperate” as extreme rains cause “flash floods and landslides” throughout the continent.

Defending coal and oil pollution, Sens. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and George Voinovich (R-OH) “plan to send a letter to U.S. EPA today questioning the agency’s decision to reconsider — and probably tighten — the federal ozone standard,” signed by Sens. Kit Bond (R-MO), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Richard Lugar (R-IN) and David Vitter (R-LA).

Health Care

“Across Texas, hospital systems are scooping up physician groups and solo practitioners, scrambling to create the kinds of coordinated medical teams that federal health care reform puts a premium on.”

“Shrinking Medicare increases and a focus on improving quality and efficiency of health care services brought on by health care reform will likely lead to more collaboration among area hospitals in the coming years, officials said.”

The American Spectator’s Phil Klein has some ideas about starving “Obamacare.” “There are a lot of scenarios for how a defunding push could play out, especially based on whether Republicans gain control of one or both chambers of Congress,” he writes.


McClatchy looks at how Education Secretary Duncan “arguably got more states to buy his brand of change in 18 months than any other U.S. school chief had in the Cabinet-level Education Department’s 29-year history.”

“More people filed for Social Security in 2009 — 2.74 million — than in any year in history, and there was a marked increase in the number receiving reduced benefits because they filed ahead of their full retirement age,” the Washington Post reports.

As part of its response to the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Goldman Sachs said that 25 to 35 percent of its revenue comes from its derivatives trading business.


Politico reports that “immigration reform advocates blasted Democrats on Friday for pushing a $600 million border security bill through the Senate, accusing them of trying to placate Republicans who will never be satisfied.”

Chairman of the Prince William County board of Supervisors Corey Stewart claims federal immigration officials will be releasing the identities and details on every convicted undocumented immigrant police take into custody in the county.

Despite deporting a record number of immigrants convicted of crimes, the Obama administration “is sparing one group of illegal immigrants from expulsion: students who came to the United States without papers when they were children.”

National Security

“Indonesia’s anti-terrorism unit arrested a radical Islamist cleric for alleged ties to an al-Qaida-affiliated cell accused of plotting high-profile assassinations and Mumbai-style attacks targeting foreigners in the capital.”

“In a pointed example of escalating tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea fired more than 100 rounds of artillery into the waters off its west coast, according to South Korea’s Defense Ministry.”

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told an inquiry into the Israeli naval raid on a Gaza aid flotilla that Turkey had ignored warnings and appeals ‘at the highest level’ many days before the fatal clash.”