The WonkLine: June 11, 2010

Welcome to The WonkLine, a daily 9:30 a.m. roundup of the latest news about health care, the economy, national security, immigration and climate policy. 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

“From the moment South Africa was awarded the 2010 World Cup five years ago, there has been far more at stake than soccer. In being chosen to host the world’s biggest sporting event, South Africa seized the global spotlight for good reasons rather than bad…‘Ke Nako,’ as the 2010 World Cup slogan says. ‘It’s Time.’”

“Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain flew to Kabul, Afghanistan, on Thursday, saying this would be the ‘vital year’ for the campaign against the Taliban.”


“Top Iranian officials threatened to scale back cooperation with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog on Thursday as a chorus of political leaders raged against new economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic republic’s military establishment.”


Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig has voiced his support for Sen. Lincoln’s (D-AR) financial reform provision requiring banks to spin off their derivatives trading desks, calling it “of utmost importance to our nation’s long-term financial and economic stability.”

Today, the nation’s financial markets “will start pausing trading in any stock in the Standard and Poor’s 500-stock index if it declines more than 10 percent in any five-minute period,” the first policy response to last month’s “flash crash.”

“The labor movement is lobbying in Washington and overseas to win support for a financial transactions tax at the upcoming G-20 summit in Toronto,” the Hill reports.

Climate Change

Yesterday, the Senate voted 53–47 to block Sen. Murkowski’s (R-AK) resolution that would have stripped the EPA of its power to regulate carbon emissions.” New assessments from a government panel have “essentially doubled” estimates of the amount of oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. Calculations indicate the BP well is gushing approximately 25,000 to 30,000 barrels of oil a day — generating an amount of oil equivalent to the Exxon-Valdez spill every 8 to 10 days. A regional EPA director in Dallas has barred Texas from issuing a permit for a refinery in Corpus Christi — an unprecedented first step to end the “long-running dispute” with Texas on how it issues such permits.


Karl Rove flip-flopped on his position against the Arizona immigration law and accused President Obama of “hyperventilating” and “willingly mischaracteriz[ing]” SB-1070.


A group of young undocumented students ended their hunger strike in front of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) office yesterday with a “die-in” after several of them had grown weary or ill.

Following the death of a Mexican teenager who was shot by a border patrol agent who alleges he was throwing rocks, many have commented that the situation at the border “looks too much like Israel and Palestine for comfort.”

Health Care

“After focusing for weeks on the causes of the Gulf oil spill and its economic and environmental impact, Congress shifted its attention Thursday to the dangers it poses to human health.”

“The government is set to begin handing out $25 million in grants Friday aimed at reducing medical malpractice lawsuits, part of a compromise offered by President Barack Obama last year in response to calls for an overhaul of the malpractice system.”

“No sooner than the administration dropped the first batch of $250 Medicare rebate checks in the mail, they have already run into their first snafu: a state government demanding that some seniors turn over the money.”