The WonkLine: April 19, 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.


Climate Change

“A better monitoring network for greenhouses gases is needed to warn of significant changes and to keep countries that have agreed to cut their emissions honest,” scientists said in papers published Monday.

U.S. wheat futures climbed Monday on increasing concerns that drought jn key growing areas of the U.S., China and Europe will reduce global output.

The US Supreme Court hears arguments today on a “blockbuster” case about global warming.


Multinational corporations “have been hiring abroad while cutting back at home, sharpening the debate over globalization’s effect on the U.S. economy.”

“President Barack Obama begins a tour promoting his proposal to cut long-term budget deficits with a new urgency after Standard & Poor’s warned that the nation’s AAA credit rating.”

“Economists say the U.S. economy is gaining strength despite political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East and last month’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan.”


“A new Associated Press-Viacom poll suggests most high schools are failing to give students a solid footing for the working world or strong guidance toward college, at a time when many students fear graduation means tumbling into an economic black hole.”

“Education Minnesota is blasting a bill in the state Senate that would change the way public employee unions can collect dues.”

Massachusetts’ education commissioner is “recommending a universal evaluation process for all teachers and administrators in the state that would use students’ MCAS scores as one way to judge educators.”

LGBT Equality

Speaker Boehner announced yesterday that $5 million lawyer and former solicitor general Paul Clement will defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

The chair of Maine’s Yes on 1 anti-same-sex marriage campaign, Marc Mutty, shares extreme regret for his work on the campaign in a new documentary about the referendum.

Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer has signed a bill preferencing married heterosexual couples for all the state’s adoption and foster care services.


The Supreme Court punted on Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s (R) attempt to jump in line and have his case heard by the Supreme Court before any court of appeals judges weigh in. It is likely that the justices will deny Cuccinelli’s petition next week.

The Court also decided not to hear an appeal by five Uighur Gitmo detainees, with four justices citing the fact that those detainees had twice refused an opportunity to leave Gitmo and relocate to another country.

Arizona lawmakers placed a referendum on that state’s ballot which will eliminate public financing of elections in that state — a huge potential boon to the David Kochs and the Chamber of Commerces of the world.

National Security

Syrian security forces fired on a crowd of thousands of demonstrators earlier today in the central square of the city of Homs. “We fear that many are killed in the square, that it’s a massacre,” said one witness.

American and European diplomats warned that the U.S., the EU, the UN and Russia may formally recognize a Palestinian state if peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians are not renewed.

NATO’s top military official Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola said today that the alliance is having trouble destroying Muammar Qaddafi’s rockets and mortars, and that his arsenal is “still considerable.”


President Barack Obama will be meeting with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), the mayors of New York and San Antonio and Philadelphia’s police commissioner to discuss revamping the immigration system.

A former Salvadoran general and defense minister during one of central America’s most vicious civil wars was charged yesterday in a Florida immigration court with grave crimes and may be sent home to face justice.

In Tennessee, eight bills are in committee this week that would make life more difficult for immigrants, their children, refugees, and anyone still learning English.

Health Care

“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) lobbied seniors Monday against the Republicans’ 2012 budget proposal, warning it will erode their Medicare benefits to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.”

“House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton is expanding his investigation into the meetings between special interest groups and the Obama White House that set the stage for the passage of Obamacare.”

“People with low incomes or chronic health problems who have high-deductible health plans are not at greater risk of curtailing necessary medical treatments than healthier or higher income people also enrolled in such plans.”