The WonkLine: November 10, 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.



In his book, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) writes, “Gov. Brewer and the Arizona legislature took a modest step to fill the breach caused by the failure of the federal government — and are completely within their rights to do so.”

Though Perry still believes the Arizona law isn’t right for Texas he said he wouldn’t “take the bait” and declare that he would veto certain legislation.

Former President George W. Bush blames Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for “failing to seize the moment when bipartisan [immigration] reform was most likely to pass.”

Health Care

“In a speech to the Association of American Medical Colleges, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pushed for an extension to the so-called doc fix to stop an expected 23% cut to Medicare payments for physicians.”

“Republicans plan to use the investigative powers of Congress to go after President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, and they’re focusing on questions uppermost in the minds of consumers.”

“Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to file a friend-of-the-court brief in the multi-state lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform law.”


New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has resigned, and will be joining Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp as a senior adviser. He will be replaced by Cathie Black, currently chairwoman of Hearst Magazines.

The office of Gov.-elect John Kasich (R-OH) insists that Kasich’s education plan will not cause Ohio to lose $400 million in Race to the Top funding.

Why Pell Grants are key to the nation’s economic competitiveness.

LGBT Equality

“Sen. Carl Levin is feeling heat from all sides on a proposal to end the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t tell’ law.”

“A consistent theme is beginning to emerge as a rationale for convincing detractors of “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal to back legislative action before the end of the year.”

“The National Organization for Marriage’s insidious attack on the independent judiciary should give us all pause, writes Freedom to Marry executive director Evan Wolfson.”

National Security

“Iran has proposed two dates for fresh nuclear talks with the major powers, Nov. 23 and Dec. 5, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday.”

“A series of bombings across Baghdad Wednesday morning targeted Christian homes, killing at least three and wounding 26. The attacks came just 10 days after Islamist militants stormed a church during Sunday mass, eventually killing more than 50 people, mostly Christian worshipers.”

“The Pakistani government on Wednesday condemned the US backing for a permanent seat for arch-rival India on the UN Security Council as ‘incomprehensible.'”


A Bloomberg News analysis shows that Wall Street has collected $4 billion from taxpayers as states and towns pay fees and fines to get out of lousy swap deals.

In a a confidential memorandum obtained by OpenSecrets Blog, JPMorgan Chase “predicts that the newly Republican-controlled U.S. House will clash with the still-Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate to the point where progress on large legislation is completely halted.”

Mortgage banks looking to push through foreclosures are being stopped by judges across the country, who are taking the banks to task for potentially fraudulent documents and exorbitant fees.


President Bush’s new book reveals that the runner up for a Supreme Court nomination eventually given to Harriet Miers was Fifth Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen. Owen is best known from taking thousands of dollars in campaign donations from Enron and then writing a key decision giving Enron a $15 million tax break.

Justice Antonin Scalia appeared unsympathetic to the cell-phone industry’s claim that they should have free reign to scam their customers a few dollars at a time — a hopeful sign that the Court lacks five votes to expand corporate immunity from the law even further.

A federal appeals court struck down Colorado state disclosure laws governing political campaigns supporting ballot initiatives.

Climate Change

“Global warming may be making pesticide residues, heavy metals and household chemicals more dangerous to fish, wildlife and, ultimately, humans,” scientists warn.

“We have to make it clear that the ice sheets are not Republicans or Democrats – they don’t have a political agenda as they disappear,” said Michael Mann.

Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, told the commission investigating the spill Tuesday that “efforts to ensure the safety of offshore drilling operations — including hiring new personnel to scrutinize permits and inspect rigs — could fail without more funding.”