The WonkLine: December 20, 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.


The Roberts Court deeply, passionately loves powerful corporate interests.

The Senate confirmed a small handful of judges this weekend, barely putting a dent in the enormous backlog of nominees GOP obstructionism has created.


When the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay servicemembers finally lifts next year, the United States will be only ten years behind the United Kingdom.


The continuing resolution unveiled by Senate Democrats covers a $5.7 billion shortfall in Pell Grants, preventing millions of awards from being reduced if it passes.

About one in five public colleges “projected a decline in tuition and fee revenue for the current fiscal year,” a move Moody’s Investor Services “attributes to political pressure on some to slow tuition increases.”

Will firing five to ten percent of teachers make us Finland? (Probably not.)


The Fed’s policy of quantitative easing is working “at least modestly successful so far,” said St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard.


Workers and labor experts are concerned that “temporary employees will become a larger, more entrenched part of the work force.”

A former JP Morgan Chase employee has filed a whistleblower complaint against the bank, charging it with “with grotesque and illegal practices involving its credit card debt processes, including robo-signing.”

National Security

“Gas and oil prices rose in Iran Monday after the country dramatically cut subsidies for its citizens to bolster the nation’s sagging economy.” “The US vice-president, Joe Biden, today likened the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, to a ‘hi-tech terrorist’, the strongest criticism yet from the Obama administration.” “In the latest of several European terrorism alerts, the British police arrested 12 men before dawn on Monday in raids in three cities under counterterrorism laws — the biggest operation of its kind for months.”


According to immigration advocates, “Senate defeat of the [DREAM Act] legislation, which the House passed earlier this month, slams the door on immigration reform for the next two years.” The Obama administration has quietly resumed deportations of Haitians who have been convicted of crimes and have finished serving their sentences for the first time since the earthquake last January. Utah state Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R) — sponsor of the state’s Arizona copycat law — was called out for meeting with staff of an organization that’s designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Climate Change

“Ignored by much of the world, the starving children of the African Sahel represent a new global challenge: How to respond to the climate crisis that the world’s politicians have failed to fix, and how to break the cycle of endless emergency aid in an era of donor fatigue.”


A lethal “winter storm moving into California from the Pacific Northwest pounded the Sacramento region with rain Sunday,” and “a powerful storm that battered Southern California over the weekend is forecast to bring more rain, wind and snow.”

“Eighteen months after its deadline, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) released guidelines aimed at ensuring government scientists’ work isn’t altered for political purposes.”