The WonkLine: October 19, 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

In a Senate debate, Gov. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said climate legislation would ruin “the entire country,” and Republican John Raese called global warming a “myth,” saying “what we have to do is find more coal.”

In Hawaii, the Republican gubernatorial candidate James “Duke” Aiona has “set a bold and ambitious goal for Hawaii to cut its consumption of foreign oil in half within eight years,” while Democrat Neil Abercrombie’s plan “calls for a new agency to oversee the state’s energy initiatives.”

Floods killed seven people and affected thousands in Thailand and Australia.

LGBT Equality

“A federal judge in California on Monday tentatively denied a request by the federal government to stay a permanent global injunction barring enforcement of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the military’s ban on open homosexuals.”

“Lawyers for the city of San Francisco are firing back at gay marriage opponents who want an appeals court to overturn the judge who struck down California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex unions.”

“A web video produced by a member of a controversial Sioux City church is arguing that because the Iowa Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage last year, the next logical step will be legalizing incest.”


According to depositions released by the Florida Attorney General’s Office, a manager at a Florida foreclosure mill “signed up to 1,000 documents a day without reading them and employees were given gifts to speed up foreclosure paperwork.”

Senate Democrats are trying to pass a one-time payment to Social Security recipients, since seniors will receive no cost-of-living adjustment this year, “but Majority Leader Harry Reid will have to tackle deficit concerns to convert Democratic and Republican opponents.”

What if Obama cut taxes and nobody noticed?


Marriott and Hilton Worldwide are among the large companies seeking to boost the number of legal immigrant workers they’re allowed to hire through an increase in worker visas and more employment-based green cards.

About two dozen New Orleans-area community leaders are calling on Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to apologize for a TV ad they say stereotypes Latino immigrants.

Kris Kobach (R), author of SB-1070 running for Kansas Secretary of State claims thousands of undocumented immigrants are potentially voting in his state and promises to safeguard Kansas elections.


“Congress adjourned for the November elections without reauthorizing the federal law that controls the nation’s school meals program. But school nutrition and anti-hunger advocates say that delay could be a blessing in disguise,” Education Week reports.

Heading into November, “state ballot measures involving education are largely tied to a similar theme: the burden of funding K-12 programs when state finances are shaky.”

Do billionaire donors harm public education?

National Security

“Islamist militants stormed Chechnya’s parliament Tuesday, killing at least four people in the worst terrorist attack there since August.”

“US Attorney General Eric Holder called Tuesday for the release of detained Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, ahead of a visit to Beijing this week.”

“Iran welcomes any ‘fair and purposeful‘ talks with the West over its nuclear program and plans, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday.”

Health Care

“A federal judge said Monday that he would rule before year’s end on whether the health overhaul violates the Constitution, and he seemed sympathetic to the plaintiff’s core argument. ”

“After weeks of avoiding the health care overhaul on the campaign trail, some Democrats are out bragging about the law in the final run-up to the mid-term elections.”

“The Justice Department sued Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan on Monday, asserting that the company, the state’s dominant health insurer, had violated antitrust laws and secured a huge competitive advantage by forcing hospitals to charge higher prices to Blue Cross’s rivals.”