The WonkLine: August 13, 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

The New York Times editorializes: “We are increasingly confused and anxious about the strategy in Afghanistan and wonder whether, at this late date, there is a chance of even minimal success.”

In Kashmir, “the protests, which have erupted for a third straight summer, have led India to one of its most serious internal crises in recent memory. Not just because of their ferocity and persistence, but because they signal the failure of decades of efforts to win the assent of Kashmiris using just about any tool available: money, elections and overwhelming force.

“Russia says it will undertake a key step next week towards starting up a reactor at Iran’s first nuclear power station.”


According to a new report from the International Labor Organization, “global youth unemployment has hit a record high following the financial crisis and is likely to get worse later this year.”

Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, who first suggested creating a consumer financial protection agency and is one of the front-runners to be the first director of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, met with White House officials yesterday.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solia announced yesterday that BP “will pay a $50.6 million fine for failing to fix safety hazards at its Texas City, Texas, oil refinery after an explosion in 2005, and will pour $500 million into the facility for safety improvements.”

Health Care

“Arizona lawmakers joined a conservative watchdog group Thursday in filing a 78-page lawsuit challenging the federal health care overhaul.”

“The Obama administration is planning to upgrade consumer protections for tens of millions of workers and family members covered by health, disability and pension plans, ordering companies to clearly explain decisions on claims.”

Uwe Reinhardt looks at health care, uncertainty, and morality.


This morning, President Obama will sign a bill that provides $600 million in emergency funding to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R-CA) said she opposes calls from some conservatives to change the 14th Amendment, saying it’s not “a useful dialogue.”

NCLR President Janet Murguia writes that the GOP is “flirting with disaster on Latinos.”

Climate Change

The 100-degree August heatwave gripping America’s heartland is hurting corn yield and pushing up soybean futures as “crops are going downhill rapidly.”

The “waters atop Lake Superior reached the highest temperature ever recorded” and “Lake Mead, the enormous reservoir of Colorado River water that hydrates Arizona, Nevada, California and northern Mexico, is receding to a level not seen since it was first being filled in the 1930s.”

Efforts to stall the clean energy economy seem to be working, with layoffs at the Chicago Climate Exchange and the Proposition 23 campaign threatening California’s solar industry.