The WonkLine: March 2, 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.


National Security

“Forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi have moved into rebel territory in the east and are battling for an oil installation in the town of Brega.”

“U.S. defense leaders expressed caution Tuesday about military intervention in Libya, warning that enforcement of a no-fly zone would require scarce air assets, domestic political approval and international authorization.”

“Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, maintained a tenuous hold on power on Tuesday, blaming the United States and Israel for protests across the Arab world, while a prominent radical cleric joined the growing crowds demanding his ouster and called for an Islamic state.”


The Supreme Court reached the obvious but welcome conclusion that a racist, sexist or otherwise prejudiced supervisor can’t get a worker fired by whispering falsehoods in the boss’ ear until the boss decides to fire the worker.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris asked the Ninth Circuit to lift its stay preventing marriage equality in that state now that the Prop 8 lawsuit is taking much longer than expected.

The addition of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan to the Supreme Court has added something to oral arguments that has been tragically missing for too long — aggressive progressive questioning.


“Thousands of union supporters descended on the Ohio Statehouse on Tuesday to protest a proposal that would dramatically curtail bargaining powers of government workers, as the state becomes the latest flash point in the fight over union rights,” the Washington Post reports.

The House yesterday approved a two-week continuing resolution that Senate Democrats have also agreed to pass, averting a government shutdown for now.

Mega-bank Goldman Sachs “said it could rack up as much as $3.4bn in losses from the various regulatory and legal proceedings the bank faces following the financial crisis.”

LGBT Equality

“The same day California’s attorney general asked the ninth circuit court of appeals to allow same-sex marriages to immediately commence in the state, California’s supreme court refused to expedite a hearing crucial to the marriage ban being lifted.”

“In light of the repeal of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy against openly gay servicemembers, some elite colleges and universities that have long banned ROTC programs on campus have begun considering changes in their policies. ”

In a conference call with reporters yesterday, “White House Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki said that next Thursday, Mar. 10, the White House will hold a conference on bullying.”


Arizona teachers rallied at the Arizona State Capitol Tuesday night, protesting bills that would require schools to identify children who are in the country illegally before they are enrolled.

Democratic lawmakers accused Republicans on yesterday of trying to “manufacture tension” between African-American and immigrant workers by pitting one against the other.

Harold Meyerson writes that the numbers of Latinos and Asians among young Texans is soaring and could turn the red state blue.


President Obama and former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) will appear together at a Miami high school Friday to talk about education reform.

20 states and the District of Columbia have spent less than 5 percent of the money granted to them by Congress last year to prevent teacher layoffs.

“New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to allow teacher layoffs based on merit rather than seniority has been shelved in the Assembly hours after it advanced in the state Senate,” the AP reports.

Health Care

“The Obama administration expressed strong support for repealing the 1099 reporting provision included in the healthcare law but is concerned about how the cost of the measure is offset in House and Senate legislation.”

Half of U.S. adults still oppose the “individual mandate” clause in the new health care reform law that requires all Americans not already insured to purchase health insurance, while only 22 percent support it, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll finds.”

“Arizona’s plan to cut about a quarter million adults from Medicaid would lead to uninsured patients crowding emergency rooms, hospitals slashing services and laying off thousands of workers and health plans increasing premiums to make up for lost revenue, health providers say.”

Climate Change

“Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee agreed Tuesday to hold a hearing next week on climate science at the request of top Democrats on the panel,” the Hill reports.

“Two Florida state senators filed a lawsuit against Republican Governor Rick Scott on Tuesday, saying he overstepped his authority in rejecting $2.4 billion in federal funds to build a high-speed rail link in Florida.”

“The Interior Department has done a poor job tracking production of oil and gas from public lands and waters and has likely cost taxpayers billions in lost royalties,” according to a panel of government oversight officials.