The WonkLine: October 14, 2010

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 9:30 a.m. roundup of the latest public policy news. 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

The heat wave that has hit the San Francisco Bay Area with “blistering temperatures into the mid-90s” is “making traveling uncomfortable on some BART cars this week,” and Arizona had a record eight tornadoes in one day.

Minnesota has received a Presidential Flood Declaration, meaning the federal government will pick up 75 percent of the costs, and Wisconsin officials think federal assistance is likely for its $10 million flood damage as well.

Global warming deniers around the nation: GOP Louisville mayoral candidate Hal Heiner, GOP MA-3 candidate Marty Lamb, Rep. Don Young (R-AK), and Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV).


Education officials in Georgia voted Wednesday to bar undocumented immigrants from attending the state’s five most selective public colleges, a decision that immigrant rights groups may challenge in court.

Today, two Pennsylvania men who are charged with a hate crime related to the fatal beating of an undocumented immigrant are set to hear Senior U.S. District Judge A. Richard Caputo charge the jury that will decide their fate.

Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) asked a federal appeals court to ignore the pleas of the Mexican government to keep the state’s immigration law from being enforced, stating “Mexico and Latin America, I don’t believe they belong in our courts.”


Bloomberg details the Wall Street lobbyists besieging the CFTC to try and shape new derivatives rules that the agency is writing.

260 congressional candidates (including 253 Republicans and two Democrats) have signed a pledge to repeal the estate tax. Just 30 candidates signed this same pledge in 2008.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and more than 50 other lawmakers sent a letter to President Obama’s debt commission “describing the ‘urgent need’ to cut excess defense spending.”

Health Care

“The Obama administration, aiming to encourage health insurance companies to offer child-only policies, said Wednesday that they could charge higher premiums for coverage of children with serious medical problems, if state law allowed it.”

The political consequences of voting for the health bill “are unclear, especially for Democrats in moderate and conservative districts.”

A Republican pollster explains why he opposes the ‘repeal and replace’ health law strategy.

LGBT Equality

The case for why the Obama administration should appeal the recent court decision barring the Pentagon from enforcing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

“American support for same-sex marriage is rising steadily – and conservative Protestants seem to be the last religious group holding out against it, a large new poll suggests.”

“Several DFL lawmakers are planning to introduce an anti-bullying measure when the bodies briefly reconvene.”


Washington D.C.’s presumptive Mayor-elect Vince Gray has named Kaya Henderson as interim schools chancellor.

Did the White House abandon Michelle Rhee?

Nearly 12.5 million students last year took advantage of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which was created as part of the 2009 stimulus package. President Obama has called on Congress to make the credit permanent.

National Security

“A former Afghan president who heads a new peace council said Thursday that he’s convinced the Taliban are ready to negotiate peace. Burhanuddin Rabbani told reporters in Kabul that the Taliban have not completely rejected the idea of negotiating a nonmilitary resolution of the war.”

“Responding to an offer by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to extend a freeze on building in West Bank settlements if Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, top Palestinian official Yasser Abed Rabbo said Wednesday that such recognition could be granted to Israel within its 1967 borders.”

“The calls for reform of China’s political system have come repeatedly in the past few months from an unexpected source — the country’s premier — and his surprising remarks are stirring consternation and debate in the Communist Party.”