The WonkLine: September 28, 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.


Climate Change

After a “new wave of black oil suddenly came ashore west of the Mississippi River on Friday and Saturday,” oceanographer Ian MacDonald told a presidential panel that more than 50 percent of BP’s oil — 105 million gallons — is still in the Gulf of Mexico.

Los Angeles hit an all-time record 113 degrees, killing a hiker and breaking the record for electricity demand.

While corporations outside the United States are becoming climate leaders, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) plan to “investigate climate science and police President Barack Obama’s green policies” if Republicans take back the House of Representatives this fall.

Health Care

“A little-noticed section in the health-care overhaul aims to raise awareness among young women and their doctors about the risk of breast cancer between the ages of 15 and 44.”

“Healthcare premiums paid by large U.S. employers have more than doubled over the last decade, but the costs to their employees more than tripled, a study released Monday found.”

“Facing an irate electorate unsold on the new healthcare law, many Democrats have shied away from President Obama’s signature domestic achievement on the campaign trail. Sen. Harry Reid has no such option.

National Security

“Members of an American Army unit consumed with drug use randomly chose Afghan civilians to kill and then failed to report the abuses out of fear they would suffer retaliation from their commander.”

After weeks of escalating diplomatic tensions between Japan and China over the detention of a Chinese fishing captain, China appeared to ease up on the invective slightly on Tuesday by calling on Tokyo to work together to resolve what has become a messy dispute over territorial sovereignty.”

“The Israeli Navy has intercepted a Gaza-bound boat with nine Jewish activists on board and escorted it to Israel’s Ashdod port.”


According to the latest Census data, “the income gap between the richest and poorest Americans grew last year to its widest amount on record,” as the top twenty percent of households received almost half of all income.

“Women made little progress in climbing into management positions in this country even in the boom years before the financial crisis,” accounting for 40 percent of managers in 2007, up just one point from 2000.

Under new rules adopted by the FDIC as part of the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform bill, banks will have to hold at least 5 percent of risky securities on their own books, instead of selling them entirely to investors.


One of the possible candidates in the race for Chicago’s mayor, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) repeated his criticism of Rahm Emanuel’s record on immigration issues.

President Barack Obama opens a four-state trip today with events that will draw in two groups, Latinos and college students, the administration is counting on to help defend Democratic congressional seats in November.

The Arizona billboard featuring a picture of a Latino family with a quote attributed to Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu on the other reading, “This is our most serious public safety issue and national security threat” has been taken down.