The WonkLine: October 21, 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.


National Security

“The US State Department officially announced Wednesday plans to sell up to $60 billion in advanced military aircraft to Saudi Arabia, in what experts call an effort to bolster regional powers against Iran.” The deal “will include authorization for the Saudis to purchase up to 84 new F-15s and upgrades to Saudi Arabia’s existing fleet of 70 F-15s.”

“A military offensive in southern Afghanistan is chasing the Taliban out of their stronghold in Kandahar province, the Afghan president’s half brother said.”

“China has evacuated more than 150,000 people and recalled more than 50,000 fishing boats to port as its southern coast braces for Typhoon Megi, state-run media said Thursday.”


“New York courts are the first in the United States to require lawyers handling foreclosures for banks and servicers to take steps to ensure the procedure is done properly,” the state’s top judge said yesterday.

Senate candidate Chris Coons (D-DE) “changed his previous position on the Bush era tax cuts this morning,” saying “he would support extending all of the tax cuts for everyone for ‘several years.'”

“A key plank of the U.S. financial overhaul, aimed at preventing a potential collapse of a large financial firm, is being complicated by international disagreement,” the Wall Street Journal reports.


Outgoing D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee “is considering jobs in both the public and private sectors, she said Wednesday, declining to say whether she was offered or would consider New Jersey’s top education post.”

Oregon gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley (R) said yesterday that “if elected he would partner with the president on education reform,” even as President Obama was in the state to campaign for Dudley’s opponent.

A little-noticed provision in the Higher Education Opportunity Act may end up reshaping how the federal government measures the success of community colleges and other institutions that award two-year degrees,” Inside Higher Ed reports.


Latino organizers in battleground states say they’re seeing little evidence of money the DNC says it is pouring into Latino voter outreach.

Experts are saying that a GOP group’s ad telling Latinos not to vote may cause a backlash and “turn out to be a perverse and unwelcome gift for Hispanics — and Democrats — in 2010.”

Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced that he has endorsed Nevada Republican senatorial candidate, Sharron Angle before attending a tea party rally in her home state.

Climate Change

I what ” may prove to be the worst such event known to science,” a “huge coral death has struck Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean reefs over recent months” due to global warming pollution.

“Some people say I’m extreme, but they said the John Birch Society was extreme, too,” Kelly Khuri, founder of the Clark County, Indiana Tea Party Patriots told the New York Times, explaining her belief that “so-called climate science is just ridiculous” and climate legislation is “all just a money-control avenue.”

“The president is opposed to Prop. 23 — a veiled attempt by corporate polluters to block progress towards a clean energy economy,” the White House announced Wednesday.

LGBT Equality

A three-judge panel granted the Justice Department’s emergency request to allow Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell “to remain on the books so that the appeals court could have more time to fully consider the issues presented.”

“The longest serving openly gay member of Congress on Wednesday said President Obama ‘made a mistake’ by appealing a court decision against ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and should consider the reconsider the decision if the Senate can’t pass repeal in the lame duck session.”

“The White House has rejected the nomination of Daniel Alter, who would have become the first openly gay man to sit on the federal bench, because of comments he made that were considered anti-Christian.”

Health Care

“A seven-month-long process for determining how much U.S. health insurers must spend on medical care comes to a head on Thursday, amid fresh concerns that the rules will lead companies to desert some small-group and other niche markets.”

Peter Orszag: “The health care legislation that Congress enacted earlier this year, contrary to much of today’s overheated rhetoric, does many things right. But it does almost nothing to reform medical malpractice laws.”

“A national health insurer and its majority owners, Wall Street powerhouses Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Blackstone Group, were accused in a lawsuit Wednesday of defrauding their California customers with ‘junk insurance’ that provided little or no protection.”