The WonkLine: October 6, 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

“Global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 could exceed the limit recommended by climate scientists by almost a third,” while new paleoclimate research finds even the two-degree warming limit could result in catastrophic sea level rise due to extreme polar melt.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), a global warming denier, “has tentatively scheduled a special legislative session for next Monday to ensure that state funding is available to help southern Minnesota residents clean up from last month’s flooding,” hoping that President Obama will declare a federal disaster and pick up the tab.

New research “suggests that the temperature of the Earth beneath the state of West Virginia is significantly higher than previously estimated.”

Health Care

“An advocacy group led by former New York Gov. George Pataki has begun running television ads in New Hampshire and New York attacking Democratic supporters of the new health care reform law.”

“Almost a million workers, a third of them members of New York’s teachers union, were left out of a consumer protection in U.S. health law meant to cap insurance costs after the government exempted their employers.”

” Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz told a meeting of 300 health industry representatives Tuesday his agency would explore an ‘expedited review process‘ for hospitals and doctors looking to determine if new partnerships they form to provide care would violate antitrust laws.”


A poll released Tuesday found that even though Latinos strongly back Democrats over Republicans, only 51 percent said they would absolutely go to the polls.

California senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina (R) said that she was mounting an aggressive campaign to reach out to the Latino electorate, a key segment of voters.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) is opposing a court ruling that lets other countries file a friend-of-the-court brief in her appeal of a decision that enjoined significant parts of SB-1070.


In 2009, “middle-class Americans made their deepest spending cuts in more than two decades, slashing spending on such discretionary items as restaurant meals and alcohol during the recession.”

The SEC said yesterday that it is “putting on hold new rules that make it easier for shareholders to nominate directors of public companies, after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sued to block the changes.”

Why are progressives fighting student loan reform?” asks Mike Elk.

National Security

“Taliban representatives and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai have begun secret, high-level talks over a negotiated end to the war, according to Afghan and Arab sources.”

“Gunmen fired a rocket at a convoy carrying Britain’s No. 2 diplomat in the capital of Yemen on Wednesday, damaging a car and wounding four people amid heightened fears about growing al-Qaeda influence in the impoverished Arab nation.”

“Thai investigators Wednesday said they found suspected bomb-making materials at the site of a blast that killed four people at a suburban Bangkok apartment building a day earlier, heightening fears that opposition ‘Red Shirt’ activists are stockpiling bomb-making material and planning violent attacks.”