The WonkLine: October 28, 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.



President Obama embraced calls for Senate rules reform yesterday, noting that Senate obstructionism has done “profound” and “unprecedented” damage to American democracy. A recent Center for American Progress documents how such obstructionism is hollowing out America’s ability to function.

Right-wing attack dog Ed Whelan is nipping at retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor because she actually has an opinon on how to ensure a fair and impartial judiciary.

The Michigan Supreme Court will not hear a local school board’s demand that school teachers be asexual robots.


College tuition and fees climbed once again this year, but the burden was tempered for some students and their families by a big jump in federal aid,” according to a new report by the College Board.

Today, the Obama administration plans to announce “new regulations for colleges that participate in federal student aid programs.”

“Half of high school students say they’ve bullied someone in the past year, and nearly half say they’ve been the victim of bullying,” according to a national survey released by the Josephson Institute of Ethics.

Health Care

“A majority of likely voters in the most competitive House districts support repealing the Democrats’ health overhaul, according to recent polling data.”

“South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham was in Myrtle Beach Wednesday, talking about what he says are problems with President Barack Obama’s health care reform. Graham came to the Sea Captain’s House restaurant, which he says will have to pay $225,000 more to insure its employees in 2014, when health care reform kicks in.”

NYT editorial: “The courts should uphold a mandate that was crafted to comply with the Constitution and is central to reform’s success.”

LGBT Equality

“Pro-military advocates are warning against the dangers of letting federal district court judges start making significant Pentagon policy.”

“Sharron Angle delivered a religiously charged speech at a church in Gardnerville, Nevada earlier this month and appeared to lump social programs such as Social Security and welfare along with what she called the ‘wicked ways’ of abortion, divorce and gay marriage that had overtaken the nation.”

“Arkansas’s education department director Tom Kimbrell is losing faith in Facebook gay-basher Clint McCance, who is running unopposed for reelection November 2nd. But Kimbrell stopped short of calling for his resignation.”

National Security

“The Obama administration and its European allies are preparing a new offer for negotiations with Iran on its nuclear program…but the conditions on Tehran would be even more onerous” than a deal Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected last year.

“Nestor Kirchner, an Argentine power broker who as president from 2003 to 2007 helped guide his country out of a calamitous economic crisis, died Oct. 27 after an apparent heart attack.”

“China’s main Communist Party newspaper bluntly rejected calls for speedier political reform on Wednesday, publishing a front-page commentary that said any changes in China’s political system should not emulate Western democracies.”


Senate Majority Harry Reid (D-NV) said yesterday that “his campaign is not hurt by the failure to enact immigration reform because Hispanic Nevadans ‘know’ he has spent more time on immigration in the last two Congresses ‘than on any other issue — period.'”

The Washington Independent’s Elise Foley looks at which races Latinos could decide on election day.

In the Lexington Herald-Leader, CAP’s Vanessa Cardenas explains why “conservatives have a lot of gall to tell Latinos not to vote in the upcoming elections because the Democrats have not delivered on immigration reform.”

Climate Change

The Exxon Mobil Corporation, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, said Thursday that “its quarterly profit rose 55 percent” to $7.35 billion, “surpassing expectations, as higher crude prices lifted results in its exploration business.”

Massey Energy “has a totally clear conscience” about the explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia that killed 29 mine workers in April, CEO Don Blankenship told coal industry analysts Wednesday. “We don’t feel like we contributed in any way to the accident.”

“There are very strong indications that the current rate of species extinctions far exceeds anything in the fossil record,” as climate change, human exploitation and pollution threaten “mass extinctions.”


“The foreclosure crisis intensified across a majority of large U.S. metropolitan areas this summer,” with Chicago and Seattle seeing a sharp increase in foreclosure notices, according to RealtyTrac.

Corporate profits have increased 62 percent since the start of 2009, according to the Commerce Department, which is “faster than any other year and a half in the Fabulous ’50s, the Go-Go ’60s or the booms under Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.”

Tim Fernholz pens “The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Tools, Transitions, and Choices.”