The WonkLine: April 11, 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

“Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s military forces appeared to falter in eastern Libya on Sunday on the second day of an assault against the strategic rebel city of Ajdabiya, as opposition fighters aided by NATO airstrikes retook their positions and claimed the checkpoints at the city’s approaches.”

“Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian autocrat forced from power by the throngs in Tahrir Square two months ago, spoke for the first time since then in an audiotape broadcast on Sunday, denying that he and his family had amassed wealth overseas and defending his honor and legacy.”


“A French ban outlawing full-face veils in public, the first to be enacted in Europe, came into force on Monday and faced immediate, if low-key, challenges.”

Health Care

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health agencies are about to lift the ban on transplanting organs from HIV-positive people and “encourage research involving transplanting H.I.V.-positive organs into H.I.V.-positive people.”

Tomorrow, Democrats in New Hampshire and Massachusetts will throw dozens of parties celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Massachusetts universal health care law signed by potential Republican presidential candidate and former governor Mitt Romney.

“A committee of the Vermont Senate is expected to work an extra day Monday as lawmakers push to finish work on a bill that would move the state toward Gov. Peter Shumlin’s goal of universal, single-payer health care.”

Climate Change

“Firefighters from 25 states were battling more than a dozen blazes across much of West Texas on Sunday in what state forest service officials called the single worst fire day the state has ever seen.”

Natural gas produced from hydraulic fracturing contributes to global warming as much as coal, or even more.

“New University of Washington research shows that rising sea surface temperatures in the area of the Pacific Ocean along the equator and near the International Date Line drive atmospheric circulation that has caused some of the largest shifts in Antarctic climate in recent decades.”


Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) is seeking a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into a GOP election official’s sudden discovery of over 14,000 largely Republican votes in a state supreme court race.


As the federal court system cracks under the strain of the judicial vacancy crisis, 103 year-old Judge Wesley Brown is trying to reduce the strain by still hearing cases.

John Thompson, the man who spent 18 years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit only to be denied compensation by the Supreme Court, tells his story in Saturday’s New York Times.


In an address on Wednesday, President Obama plans to present his own deficit reduction plan, inclusive of specific proposals to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

A new class action lawsuit “accuses JPMorgan of breaching its responsibility to keep its clients in safe investments, and it sheds new light on one of Wall Street’s oldest problems — whether banks treat their clients’ money with the same care that they treat their own.”

“US regulators are expected to file up to 100 lawsuits against executives and directors of failed banks in the next two years,” the Financial Times reports.


“While universities routinely maintain that it costs them more to educate students than what students pay, a new report says exactly the opposite is true,” the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.


The budget deal struck Friday night does not include a provision sought by House Republicans that would block new regulations of the for-profit college industry, but the subprime schools are lobbying to resurrect it.

“The economic recession has exacerbated youth homelessness, and schools serving this vulnerable population” are having trouble keeping up with the growing population.


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for immigration reform at an international tech students contest. The Wall Street Journal reports, “The explosive growth of the Hispanic population reflected in the 2010 census will remake the electoral map — and could present Republicans with a challenge.” One N.Y.C., One Nation is a new program run by the New York City’s mayor’s office “that is intended to improve the relationship between city government and immigrants who are often wary of local authorities or unaware of city services available to them.”

LGBT Equality

Now that the transgender non-discrimination bill passed out of committee, it’s up to the Maryland General Assembly to finalize passage before adjourning today.

The U.S. State Department has identified a number of international abuses against LGBT people in its human rights report.

The UK will now allow gay men to donate blood, but only if they haven’t had sex in ten years.