The WonkLine: February 15, 2011

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.


LGBT Equality

“Scott Seitz, founder of SPI Marketing and chief executive of dotGAY, discussed why he’s planning to ask the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to approve a disputed new top-level Internet domain: .gay.”

“Lawmakers in Olympia, Wash., introduced a marriage equality bill in the state senate Monday.”

“The state Legislature is poised to give final approval today to a proposal to permit civil unions in Hawaii.”


Big business lobbyists are criticizing the tax increases included in the Obama administration’s budget; will it complicate corporate tax reform?

President Obama sets up the Bush tax cut fight, round two.

New Orleans continues to struggle with blighted, vacant homes.


The Senate confirmed Judge James Graves to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit yesterday. Graves will be the first black Mississippian ever to serve on a U.S. Court of Appeals.

A proposed South Dakota law could make it legal to murder an abortion provider in that state.

Justice Thomas’ claim that he only made a “brief drop-by” to a Koch-led right-wing fundraising session does not square with the fact that the Federalist Society reimbursed him for a four day trip to the Koch event.

National Security

“A day after riot police in Iran beat demonstrators and fired tear gas to contain the most significant street protests since the end of the 2009 uprising there, confrontation with the authorities continued to unfold in the region on Tuesday as protesters clashed with security forces in Bahrain and Yemen.”

“A judge Tuesday ordered Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to stand trial on charges that he paid for sex with a 17-year-old girl.”

“The military officers who have governed Egypt since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak on Friday have laid out a brisk six-month timetable.”

Climate Change

After Republicans proposed slashing the Environmental Protection Agency budget by $3 billion, President Obama countered by proposing a cut of $1.3 billion.

As “global warming is heating up the world’s oceans and atmosphere” and cyclones are striking northwest Australia and Madagascar.

Record-breaking highs across southern Manitoba are good news for the province’s flood outlook, but forecasters warn things could change quickly with a few good storms,” and “efforts are starting early to prepare for flooding along the Red River in Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn.”


President Obama’s proposed 2012 budget is good for early childhood education.

Cleveland is a school turnaround success story.

In Texas, “school superintendents are bracing for the largest cuts to public education since World War II“: “Republican leaders in the Legislature have put forth bills that would reduce the state’s public school budget by at least 13 percent — nearly $3.5 billion a year — and would provide no new money to schools for about 85,000 new students that arrive in Texas every year.”

Health Care

“Critics quickly pounced on President Barack Obama’s proposal to head off scheduled cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, saying his funding method would cause serious problems.”

“Physicians, hospitals, drugmakers and states would all have to undertake various sorts of belt-tightening under President Barack Obama’s proposed fiscal 2012 budget, administration officials acknowledged.”

“Spending by the Department of Health and Human Services would decline in 2012 for the first time in the agency’s 30-year history under President Obama’s budget request.”


Shawna Forde, a border vigilante and Minutemen leader, was convicted yesterday of two counts of murder for orchestrating a home invasion that left a 9-year-old Latina and her father dead.

Former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie warned his party about its rhetoric on immigration reform, stating, “we also have to welcome people into our country and into our party, I would argue as a Republican.”

An Arizona copycat immigration bill in the Colorado General Assembly died yesterday when its sponsor withdrew it over concerns about constitutional challenges in court.